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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Weekend Box Office: Saw 3D Wins Halloween Horror Duel

    Saw 3D won the Halloween weekend box office battle between two mighty horror sequels with an estimated $24.2 million, ahead of Paranormal Activity 2, which dropped 59% to $16.5 million, reports Anthony D'Alessandro. (Check out his seven rules for horror success here.)In the battle between phantasms and slashers at the Halloween weekend box office, the latter won out as Lionsgate’s Saw 3D hooked the top spot with $24.2 million at 2,808 theaters --the fifth-best bow for the Jigsaw series. Paramount’s Paranormal Activity 2 dropped to second with $16.5 million, off 59% from its solid bow a week ago---not too bloody for a horror title, which can plunge as much as 70% on the second weekend.

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  • The Playlist
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    Robert Zemeckis Says 'Roger Rabbit' Sequel Is Coming Along, But Moving Slowly

    While talking with MTV during one of the seemingly endless press appearances for the new "Back to the Future" Blu-ray set (which is totally worth picking up, by the way), Robert Zemeckis gave a brief update on the status of the long-in-development "Roger Rabbit" sequel. When asked if the script was still being penned by the original writers (Peter S. Seaman and Jeffrey Price), Zemeckis confirmed, and said, "They're slow." When pressed for details if he had actually read anything, Zemeckis stated that he had and, "It's great... I think it's gonna be great."

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    A Few Great Pumpkins V—Seventh Night: Rosemary's Baby

    The history of horror cinema is besotted with effective scares, unimaginable scenarios, gallows humor, effortlessly eerie performances . . . but how many films of the genre can claim perfect storytelling? A great many of even the greatest are cursed with sputtering storylines, even the most epochally frightening among them designed as machines lurching ahead to the next great gotcha set piece. Are we watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the interstitial moments between massacres? Halloween for the little connections its flat characters make amidst Carpenter's careful, classical compositions? Are we invested so much in the lives of Regan and Chris MacNeil that we would happily forgo The Exorcist's roller-coaster second half? Are the kids in A Nightmare on Elm Street multifaceted enough that we care about them before they're eviscerated? Rosemary's Baby is one of the few horror movies I can name that is so compelling in its minutiae, so perfectly structured, or sculpted, rather, and most importantly, such a completely realized portrait of recognizable humans caught up in a bizarre situation (from its hero to its many villains), that by the time its characters' idiosyncrasies have been revealed as indicative of something far more sinister, we're already emotionally invested enough that we dread rather than crave shocks.

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    More: Halloween
  • Peter Bogdanovich
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    Psycho

    In June, 1960, when Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (available on DVD) first opened in New York, neither the public nor the press had any idea what it was about. Contrary to all accepted policy, there were no advance screenings, and no synopsis or story outline was supplied to critics or reporters. The very first time the media saw the movie was the same morning the public did—-the 10:00 a.m. running at the (now long gone) DeMille Theater at 47th Street and Broadway. One thousand eager paying customers filled the downstairs, and five hundred members of the press were in the balcony—-myself included. It was the single most memorable performance of a film I’ve ever attended. Not the most pleasant one.

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  • The Playlist
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    Filmmaker George Hickenlooper Dead At 47

    American filmmaker George Hickenlooper, known for directing "Factory Girl," the documentary, "Mayor of the Sunset Strip," and co-directing "Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse" with Fax Bahr, among many other pictures, was found dead this morning according to the Denver Post.

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    maltin on movies: The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest

    The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest | Leonard Maltin | Maltin on Movies | Movie Trailer

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Film Independent Filmmaker Forum Keynote by Lionsgate's Joe Drake: Put In Your 10,000 Hours

    Film Independent Filmmaker Forum Keynote by Lionsgate's Joe Drake: Put In Your 10,000 Hours

    Lionsgate motion picture group president Joe Drake kicked off Film Independent's weekend Filmmaker Forum with the keynote speech at the DGA on Saturday. Film Independent executive director Dawn Hudson introduced Drake (the full text is at indieWIRE, which is a sponsor of the event), who began with how he called about six folks in Film Independent's Film Talent Guide to find out what people were thinking about. Herewith some highlights of the speech. Drake is a smart exec; there's some strong nuts and bolts advice here. And some fascinating nuggets, like: studios and indie distribs are releasing 40% fewer movies in 2010 than four years ago--even fewer are expected in 2011--so there's less competition. The declining demo is males 18 to 24. The increasing one is males over 55. Put that in your pipe...

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  • Eric Kohn
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    On Pirates and Piracy.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    A Few Great Pumpkins V—Sixth Night: Empire of Passion

    When an established auteur breaks away to make his or her first—and in many cases, only—horror film, watch out. Film history is full of such instances, from old masters (Clouzot's Diabolique, Bergman's Hour of the Wolf, Kubrick's The Shining, and, to a certain extent, Pasolini's Salò) to contemporary art-house arbiters (Claire Denis's Trouble Every Day, Bruno Dumont's Twentynine Palms, Lars von Trier's Antichrist); these are films in which the director's concerns don't get displaced but rather find a pure outlet of expression. Utilizing horror tropes can give filmmakers free reign for extremes, whether in terms of extraordinary content, stylistic flourish, or, of course, violence. (Don't we wish Bresson had made a horror film? I suppose L'Argent does come awfully close...) One of the great one-off horror auteurs is surely Nagisa Oshima, although considering the way it was marketed for years, his 1978 Empire of Passion has not long been widely known as the gruesome ghost story it is. Consistently paired with In the Realm of the Senses (even released here as In the Realm of Passion), Empire may have contained echoes of that prior film's obsessive, destructive eroticism, but it's a different beast altogether—a kaidan about supernatural vengeance.

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    More: Halloween
  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Lena Dunham Talks Tiny Furniture, Writing for Hollywood, Rudin, HBO

    Lena Dunham Talks Tiny Furniture, Writing for Hollywood, Rudin, HBO

    The discovery of this year's SXSW (and best narrative feature winner) was 24-year-old New York writer-director Lena Dunham, who shot her semi-autobiographical micro-budget film Tiny Furniture at her family's Tribeca loft with herself, her sister Grace and her artist mom Laurie Simmons (The Music of Regret) in leading roles, along with indie professionals Jemima Kirke, Alex Karpovsky and Merritt Wever, who she met at SXSW when she debuted her first film Creative Nonfiction there. Dunham's painter father Carroll didn't want to be in the film, she admits during our flip cam interview during LAFF at L.A.'s Four Seasons (below, with trailer). "I was exploring a more female-centric thing." Her family worked their butts off during fifteen days of filming (Jody Lee Lipes is her cinematographer) and are "quite proud of it. We all went through that artistic process together."

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