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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    DreamWorks' Katzenberg Packs Animated Pics with Celebs

    James Sims reviews Nicole LaPorte's new book The Men Who Would Be King: An almost epic tale of moguls, movies, and a company called DreamWorks and agrees with me that of the founding troica, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, LaPorte gives the latter the worst appraisal of the three. While Katzenberg came off great just five years ago in James Stewart's book Disney War and in this year's hagiographic insider-documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty which covers the Katzenberg golden Disney years that yielded his career peak, the $700-million-grossing The Lion King, LaPorte and Sims are both more critical. Here's Sims:

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  • Matt Dentler's Blog
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    Netflix Business Opportunity

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  • Eric Kohn
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    "Lost" Recut, But Why?

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  • iW NOW
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    Sundance Institute Directors Lab Names Eccles Fellow

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  • Todd McCarthy's Deep Focus
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    David Ansen's First Film Festival

    "I'm just hoping the Lakers don't go to game seven, because it would happen at the same time as our opening night," David Ansen concedes as he looks ahead to the upcoming Los Angeles Film Festival, which kicks off on June 17.

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  • The Lost Boys
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    R.I.P. Rue McClanahan

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  • Jared Moshé's Blog
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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    From the Depths: Neil Jordan's "Ondine"

    “I kind of wish that something strange or wonderful would happen,” eleven year-old Annie (newcomer Alison Barry) sighs to her fisherman father Syracuse (Colin Farrell) as she prepares for dialysis treatment towards the beginning of Neil Jordan’s Ondine. Like many of Jordan's protagonists, Annie and Syracuse are outsiders. Precocious, largely wheelchair-bound Annie suffers from kidney failure and endures callous taunts from her unsympathetic classmates; Syracuse, a recovering alcoholic, remains an object of ridicule in the Irish town where he's commonly known as Circus, a nickname he earned years earlier for his drunken behavior. Both the film and its kindhearted central characters are firmly rooted in a sense of place: set and shot in Jordan's home of Castletownbere, the film subtly evokes the diffuse mechanisms of social judgment and exclusion that can too often typify small, hermetic communities. For Annie and Syracuse, neither escape nor belonging is really possible. They aren’t completely impotent—after all, Syracuse sobered up and left Annie's mother through sheer force of will when he discovered his daughter's illness—but their social circumstances are not entirely of their own making. But deliverance has perhaps already arrived in the form of the titular Ondine (Alicja Bachleda), a mysterious woman Syracuse pulls from his net while fishing in the film’s opening scene. Read Chris Wisniewski's review of Ondine.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    First Universal Tour of Rebuilt New York Street; Spielberg Talks

    First Universal Tour of Rebuilt New York Street; Spielberg Talks

    On the morning of June 1, 2008, Steven Spielberg was sound asleep when the phone rang with horrible news: "The lot is burning down again." Spielberg jumped out of bed and drove 28 minutes to Universal City, waving his ID at roadblocks until he got to scene of the fire. "It was a wall of flame," he recalls. "At the height of the fire it was like watching special effects--the only problem was that it wasn't."

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  • Todd McCarthy's Deep Focus
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    Fraker Takes Aim

    By the time he died at 86 on May 31, William A. Fraker had long since been known as an avuncular eminence gris among American cinematographers. An enthusiastic, white-bearded sage, he was a multi-term president of the American Society of Cinematographers, had taught for years at his alma mater, USC, and loved to expound on film technique, its history and foremost exponents.

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