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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Aronofsky Talks the "Nightmare" of Getting 'Black Swan' Made

    Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan opened the Venice Film Festival and took the Lido by storm. I talked with the director about the long "nightmare" of getting the script right and financing the film, casting Natalie Portman and Vincent Cassel, shooting in a gritty up-close verite style, and how he set about "creeping out" the audience.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    TIFF Review: Yves Saint Laurent Doc L'amour Fou

    Meredith Brody reviews the latest doc about Yves Saint Laurent, L'amour Fou:

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    TIFF Diary: Beginners is Charming Trifle, Attenberg, Incendies, The Trip, Sayles' Amigo

    Meredith Brody can't see every movie at TIFF. But damn it, she's going to try.

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  • Spout
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    In Praise of Carey Mulligan, Isobel Meikle-Small and the Young-to-Old Casting of "Never Let Me Go"

    Mark Romanek's film adaptation of "Never Let Me Go," which opens in limited release Wednesday, is ultimately a let down. It begins very well, develops into a strong combo of love story and existential sci-fi, but the climax feels horribly rushed. This shouldn't come as a surprise after screenwriter Alex Garland's disappointing third act for Danny Boyle's "Sunshine," which is otherwise a gorgeous, well-acted and psychologically and philosophically stimulating story involving the sun's dual capability for giving and ending life. "Never Let Me Go" actually is quite similar to that movie, in spite of its obvious setting differences, though the life/death issue concerns an ethical conundrum involving man-made science rather than a natural occurrence and premise (albeit an implausible one). Also, it's more emotional where "Sunshine" is more cerebral.

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  • Spout
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    Video: Werner Herzog Saves Joaquin Phoenix

    Coinciding with today's DVD release of Werner Herzog's "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?" is an animated short titled "When Herzog Rescued Phoenix" depicting the time that the German filmmaker saved Joaquin Phoenix from an accident when the actor-turned-"I'm Still Here" subject flipped his car. The story is true, one of the many strange tales making up the legend of Herzog, and occurred back in January 2006. In fact, the short features audio narration by the filmmaker, presumably from an old interview. The visuals were done by Sascha Ciezata, who previously made "When Lynch Met Lucas," employing real audio of David Lynch talking about being considered to direct "Return of the Jedi." Watch the clip after the jump and let me know if you agree that "I'm Still Here" would have been better with Herzog at the helm. Or at least with him providing narration.

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  • THE BACK ROW MANIFESTO by Tom Hall
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    Toronto 2010 | NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT

    Toronto 2010 | NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    EAT THIS FILM #3: Marco Canora

    Inspired by Ermanno Olmi's neorealist classic The Tree of Wooden Clogs, which showed at last month's Eat This Film! series at 92Y Tribeca, acclaimed New York chef Marco Canora (Hearth, Terroir) reminisces about his own culinary upbringing and preps a delicious cucina povera salad.

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  • Spout
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    Killer Shrimp? Just Another Excuse to Watch the "Day-O" Scene From "Beetlejuice" Again

    I avoided including a video of the dinner party scene from "Beetlejuice" in last week's post about the death of actor Glenn Shadix because I thought it was a bit cliche. Good thing, because now I have an even better excuse to feature the clip. News from the UK about "killer shrimp" has caught the attention of the interweb, despite there being even less to fear from these predatory sea creatures than the killer bees everyone was worried about twenty years ago. Still, it made for a fun Best Week Ever post yesterday calling for "Killer Shrimp: The Movie" (starring Snooki). And now I can continue to spotlight Shadix while reminding everyone that the "Day-O (Banana Boat Song)" number from "Beetlejuice" concludes with an attack by the shrimp cocktail. Watch it for the billionth time after the jump.

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  • Eric Kohn
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    TIFF '10 Tidbits: "Cave of Forgotten Dreams."

    TIFF '10 Tidbits: "Cave of Forgotten Dreams."

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  • Todd McCarthy's Deep Focus
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    Review | "Hereafter"

    There have been a helluva lot of deaths in the 31 feature films Clint Eastwood has directed, but I can't remember too many of the doomed characters in them giving much thought to the afterlife. How, then, to account for the flirtation with the idea that there's something out there bigger than all of us in “Hereafter,” a quiet, contemplative and absorbing inquiry into how jarring incidents can make you look at life from an entirely different perspective than you've done all along.? Is it that Eastwood, at 80, is ruminating about mortality in a way he never did before? Does it have anything to do with his beloved mother's death, at 96, four years ago? Or is it just that he liked Peter Morgan's atypical script, which offered one of the most prolific directors in the United States the opportunity to tackle yet another fresh and unpredictable topic?

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