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Directors

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    Rolling Stones Shine a Light

    While Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stone concert doc Shine a Light grabbed some flat reviews out of Berlin (here's ">Variety), I was delighted with it when I saw it Tuesday night. That's partly because Scorsese gives camera operating duties to 10 top cinematographers (Robert Richardson! Robert Elswit! ...

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    Coens' Burn After Reading, Starring Pitt and Clooney, Goes Wide

    While speculation runs rampant on whether or not the Coens will take their next movie, the CIA pic Burn After Reading, starring Brad Pitt and George Clooney, to Cannes--obviously Thierry Fremaux will want it, but he hasn't screened it yet; UPDATE: Working Title says it probably won't be finished in ...

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    Oscar Watch: Predicts

    At long last, the Oscar ballots are in and it is the week before the Oscar kudocast! It's time to make your fearless forecasts and plunk your money down in your office pool. (I can tell you one thing--it's not easy to come out on top here at Variety, where everyone is an Oscar expert.)

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    Oscar Watch: Bay Hosts Transformers Tech Show

    Transformers director Michael Bay returned to the scene of the crime Thursday night at the Cary Grant mixing stage at the Sony lot to revisit the Oscar-nominated achievements in VFX and sound. The place was packed with filmmaking geeks eager to hear and see the behind-the-scenes machinations that go...

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    Oscar Watch: Nominations Analysis

    There were some welcome surprises this nominations morning. (Here's Variety's story.) Atonement made it to best picture. While Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and Joe Wright did not win noms, Saorise Ronin did. Christopher Hampton earned a screenplay nod. The Guilds don't always reflect the Academy, clearly; this means the battle for the fifth slot was fierce. But Atonement got seven noms altogether; Michael Clayton seven, Juno four, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, four, and Sweeney Todd got only three (Johnny Depp, art direction and costume); Juno's Jason Reitman, not Tim Burton, landed a director's slot. A surprise, but well-deserved. (I w...

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    Sundance Watch: Polanski Doc Goes to HBO Docs

    Sheila Nevins' HBO documentary unit has acquired all U.S. rights including theatrical and video to Marina Zenovich's Polanski: Wanted and Desired, the hot buzz title of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Magnolia Films was also chasing the pic. It is revealing that the movie may not get a theatrical r...

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    Sweeney Todd Opens in 5th Place

    Sweeney Todd opened to excellent reviews (87% fresh on Rottentomatoes.com) and strong initial numbers on Friday, but the movie dropped an estimated 28 % (actually 25%) between Friday and Saturday. (Here's Sunday's Variety weekend boxoffice report.) This indicates that many viewers were lured by Paramount's mainstream horror-driven ad campaign, which did not sell the film as a Stephen Sondheim musical, and walked away disappointed. (The company also seeded the internet with clips showing the musical numbers.) Selling a unique movie like this, where there is no tried-and-true pattern to follow, is admittedly tricky. So Paramount made the call ...

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    Awards Gauntlet Syndrome

    Pity the poor filmmaker with an Award season movie to flog. If it's good enough to have a shot at some awards attention, then the distrib is going to make you do the rounds: the guild screenings and Q & As, the dinners, the AFI Fest, the Hollywood Fest, the Variety screening series, my UCLA Sneak Previews class, the Behind the Camera Awards--and that's just the beginning. As we go on there's the gauntlet of awards ceremonies, the LA and NY critics, the Board of Review, the Indie Spirits, The Gothams, the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards. The real horror is keeping the thing going all the way to the Oscars. If I were Julian Schnabel, I'd pack my ...

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    Oscar Watch: Juno

    Various Oscar prognosticators suggest that Juno is too much of a teen flick to play to senior Academy voters. Judging from how the pic performed at my class this week, which reps the older demo quite well, that will not be an issue. This movie will build into a huge hit across many demos. Imagine th...

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    Sweeney Todd Reactions

    DreamWorks has been holding Sweeney Todd back. Well, they finally screened it last week, and elicited "non-reviews" from the Internet folks. The two trades are sufficiently alarmed by all this activity to consider running their reviews sooner rather than later, I hear.

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