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  • ReelPolitik
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    Bidding Wars Return to Toronto

    Bidding Wars Return to Toronto

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  • Eric Kohn
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    TIFF '10 Tidbits: "Meek's Cutoff."

    TIFF '10 Tidbits: "Meek's Cutoff."

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    TIFF: Magnolia's Magnet Acquires Kim Jeewoon's I Saw the Devil

    I love the Korean western The Good the Bad and the Weird; Magnet Releasing, Magnolia's genre label, has acquired North American rights to Kim Jewoon's I Saw the Devil. More at indieWIRE.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    IFC Makes Second Toronto Buy: Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams, in 3-D

    IFC Films has acquired all U.S. rights (except TV) to Werner Herzog’s 3-D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which explores the ancient walls of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc cave in the south of France. Herzog was able to get access to areas that have been off-limits by deploying special no-heat lights.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    TIFF 2010: Essential Killing

    Whoa, Vincent Gallo, look out for that tree! The toppling mighty oak in question is being buzzed down by a grizzled worker, and Gallo, though the only other man in the woods, happens to be in striking distance of it. No matter, it’s just one of many harebrained circumstances in which Gallo finds himself in Jerzy Skolimowski’s latest, Essential Killing, a self-consciously stripped-down action-art survival film. For his part, Gallo, with nary a line of dialogue, is put through the ringer. A fish out of water and an escaped convict tossed from his transport after a Fugitive-like hillside crash, Gallo, in addition to being nearly flattened by that tree, accidentally steps on an open bear trap, has to stab a marauding hunting dog, and eats ants and tree bark for nourishment. Trapped in the middle of nowhere and not knowing the local language, Gallo is forced to rely on his wits and animal-like fury, not to mention adeptness with hunting knives and chainsaws. Essential Killing is a one-man Lord of the Flies. Oh, and did I mention Gallo’s character is named Mohammed and he is an extradited Afghan prisoner en route to an unspecified location for imprisonment?

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  • Spout
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    80s Soundtrack Nostalgia in "Easy A," "Going the Distance" and "Heartbreaker"

    There's an interesting trend I've noticed in recent films, including the rom-coms "Going the Distance" and "Heartbreaker," that culminates (so far as I know) this week with the highly derivative -- but knowingly so -- teen comedy "Easy A." The new movie stars Emma Stone as a girl with such an appreciation for 1980s high school movies that it seems to inadvertently come through in both her dialogue (though her "never had one lesson" remark may have been an intentional "Ferris Bueller" nod) and her social life choices, the latter which turns her into a kind of reverse Ronald Miller (from "Can't Buy Me Love"). The end of the film, without giving too much or anything unexpected away, involves a mashing together of allusions, all of which somewhat require the viewer to have seen the cited '80s films, or at least paid attention during an earlier montage of licensed clips. One of these nostalgic references is an audio of Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)" from "The Breakfast Club."

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Deadline Hires ex-Variety Staffer Speier as Managing Editor

    Variety's losses continue to be gains for its competitors, as Deadline has snapped up another ex-Variety staffer, Michael Speier, who left the dwindling trade last year (as did I) to work in corporate PR at Disney, a job that must have been a challenge for him after co-running the daily paper as executive editor. Speier not only knows the entertainment news business but gets the online side of the trade wars in a way that few of the survivors at Variety do. How strange for him to be working for Nikki Finke.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    TIFF: Eastwood's Hereafter Debuts in Toronto to Mixed Reaction

    One of the things that happens at a fest like Toronto is bad timing: I went to see Barney's Version at Roy Thomson Hall Sunday night with a ticket in my pocket for the later public screening of Clint Eastwood's Hereafter at the Elgin/Visa, a brisk fifteen-minute walk away. But producer Robert Lantos and his team made such a long intro, and the movie was significant enough to stay through to the end, so I missed the Eastwood. I'll see it later. The movie has gotten a "good not great" response here.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    Glasses Full of Rye: Lionel Rogosin's "On the Bowery"

    Under the steelwork silhouette of the Third Avenue El, bums splay out across doorjambs in mid-afternoon; anyone who has scraped together enough money already has their binge underway. It’s a few stops downtown from P.J. Clarke’s and Don Birnam’s apartment in The Lost Weekend, but formally it’s another universe—shots of winos being scooped into police vans seem cut-in direct from life, seemingly surreptitiously filmed; people, buildings, everything in sight shows marks that could only come of long, terrible attrition. There are no open-armed, redemptive Jane Wymans here, only men, specimens in advanced states of decay, in-and-out-of-Bellevue types not quite able to fill out their rusty, piss-scented trousers. Enter a new guy, Ray (Ray Salyer), whose biceps still fill out his sleeves, his chest not yet concave, looking preoccupied as he enters the Confidence Bar & Grill. He’s railroaded into buying a round of drinks, learns a few names, and just like that he’s part of the Bowery.

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    More: Repertory
  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    The Social Network Early Reviews: Suspenseful, Absorbing, Compelling, Oscar Frontrunner

    The Social Network Early Reviews: Suspenseful, Absorbing, Compelling, Oscar Frontrunner

    Film Comment's Scott Foundas got the ball rolling a month before David Fincher's The Social Network was set to open the NYFF ("big and brash and brilliant") on September 24. And Rolling Stone's Peter Travers swiftly offered up a juicy Tweet quote: “David Fincher’s Social Network is the 1st film I’ve given **** in 2010. It’s the movie of the year that also brilliantly defines the decade.” And this week Sony screened the movie for several online folks--they invited me, but I was in Toronto and figured I'd see it Monday when I got back to L.A. Jeffrey Wells couldn't wait that long: he flew from Toronto to New York to see the film, and reported thusly:David Fincher's The Social Network (Columbia, 10.1) is Zodiac's younger, geekier, greedier brother. That means it's good, as in really good -- a movie for guys like myself and critics like Eric Kohn, Karina Longworth and Robert Koehler to savor and consider and bounce up against, and basically for smart, sophisticated audiences to savor in every cultural corner, and....can I just blurt it out? It's the strongest Best Picture contender I've seen so far this year, and in saying this I'm obviously alluding to Inception.

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