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<p>Anthony Hopkins and Scarlett Johansson co-star in the disastrous 'Hitchcock,' set during the making of 'Psycho'</p>

Anthony Hopkins and Scarlett Johansson co-star in the disastrous 'Hitchcock,' set during the making of 'Psycho'

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review: 'Hitchcock' fails on almost every level as drama and biography

Only someone who hates the filmmaker would endorse this mess

Just as Fox made it easy for people to mainline James Bond movies in the lead-up to the release of "Skyfall" by putting out that beautiful Bond 50 box set, Universal has made it easy for people to take a crash course in Alfred Hitchcock by releasing their retrospective box of his films on Blu-ray.  Unfortunately, the Bond 50 box set put "Skyfall" in a perfect context to be enjoyed, but comparing even the least of Hitchcock's films to Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock" isn't going to do this new film any favors.

If you'd asked me for my reaction to "Hitchcock" as I walked out of the theater, it would have been mildly negative, but the more I've thought about it, the less I like it.  Gervasi was the director of the wonderful documentary "Anvil: The Story Of Anvil," and as a screenwriter, he's responsible for Spielberg's "The Terminal" and a small indie called "Henry's Crime," which I didn't see.  I liked "Anvil" so much that I've been curious to see what he could do as a director with a great script.  And now, the wait continues.

I've read Stephen Rebello's book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of 'Psycho,' and it's a well-written, well-researched look at the director and the production of one of his most famous films, but Rebello's book doesn't really feel like a story that demands to be told as a film.  It wasn't the most demanding process in Hitchcock's career, nor is it a film that reveals Hitchcock's own inner life to the degree that, say, "Vertigo" does.  So why tell this story as a film?  And if you are going to tell it, why lie about so much of what actually occurred if you can't even come up with a compelling drama with your falsehoods?

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<p>Larry Hagman may be gone, but he leaves behind a well-loved body of work.</p>

Larry Hagman may be gone, but he leaves behind a well-loved body of work.

Credit: TNT

TV's infamous J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, has passed away at 81

Not many actors are able to stay as relevant for as long

Larry Hagman will always be identified with the indelible roles he played on "I Dream Of Jeannie" and both iterations of the series "Dallas," but as we mark the occasion of his passing tonight, let's remember that he was a gifted comic and dramatic actor who had a long and robust career on both the big and small screens.  Born into a show business family (his mother was Mary Martin, a huge star in her day), he endured in a way that few performers ever do.

For my money, his finest work ever was in the Blake Edwards comedy "S.O.B.," and that's the film I'll be throwing on later tonight in honor of him.  It's a blistering Hollywood satire, and Hagman plays a disgusting version of a Hollywood executive, the type of person I'm guessing he had plenty of experience with over the years.  Hagman seemed to be most at home in his work when playing people whose personal moral compasses were somehow poorly calibrated, and maybe that's why he became a pop culture sensation starring as J.R. Ewing on "Dallas."  He enjoyed the work so much that it spilled over to the way audiences would watch him.

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<p>Hugh Jackman performs &quot;What Have I Done?&quot; in &quot;Les Mis&eacute;rables,&quot; one of many moments that brought a round of applause in this afternoon's screening.</p>

Hugh Jackman performs "What Have I Done?" in "Les Misérables," one of many moments that brought a round of applause in this afternoon's screening.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Tom Hooper unveils 'Les Misérables' to over-the-moon, theater-loving NYC audience

The crowd of guild and Academy members (and press) ate it up with a spoon

NEW YORK -- "Happy Thanksgiving," director Tom Hooper said by way of introduction to an Alice Tully Hall packed with guild and Academy members this afternoon. He was on hand to present his latest film, an adaptation of the musical "Les Misérables," his first effort since the Oscar-winning "The King's Speech" two years ago and one of the awards season's most anticipated titles.

The film had screened for Screen Actors Guild Nominating Committee members earlier in the morning, but Hooper nevertheless made the crowd feel special with a little white lie. "In case you feel you're slow to the party, you are the first audience to see the film," he said. "We finished it at 2am yesterday."

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Interview: Adrianne Palicki and Josh Peck talk teens and 'Red Dawn's' race change

Interview: Adrianne Palicki and Josh Peck talk teens and 'Red Dawn's' race change

How do you start to feel like a family (with guns)?

Adrianne Palicki and Josh Peck battled one of Hollywood’s biggest monsters for action remake “Red Dawn”: the threat of casualty, after MGM imploded and it and “Cabin in the Woods” were shelved indefinitely. “Poor Chris” Hemsworth, as Peck called him in our recent interview, were in both. 

FilmDistrict picked “Red Dawn” back up again; the invaders in the film were changed from Chinese to North Korean so it could get release in China; and actors like Peck and Palicki continued to be cast in roles outside their known TV realms, in Nickelodeon’s “Drake & Josh” and “Friday Night Lights,” respectively.
 
“Red Dawn” has finally broken. Palicki’s got “G.I. Joe: Retalitiation” on the horizon, as Lady J, and Peck will be putting down his gun and breaking down instead in “Battle of the Year.”  
 
Below, we discuss remaking the film, the controversy surrounding the race and plot changes and what it takes to never play a teenager again.
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<p>Keira Knightley in &quot;Anna Karenina.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Keira Knightley in "Anna Karenina." 

Credit: Focus Features

Tech Support: Jacqueline Durran on playing with history (and Chanel) in 'Anna Karenina'

The British costume designer seeks her third Oscar nod for Joe Wright's latest

It's rare that a single garment in a film takes on an iconic status independent of the character or performer wearing it, yet such was the case five years ago when British designer Jacqueline Durran created That Dress for Keira Knightley in Joe Wright's “Atonement.” I needn't describe it: the shimmery emerald number launched a thousand prom-night knockoffs, has entire blogs devoted to it and is currently on display in London's Victoria & Albert Museum. Durran may have lost the 2007 Oscar to “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” but it turns out there's more than one way to reward great costume design. 

Intricately in-period, yet subtly, flexibly modernized, Durran's creations were a vital collaborative element in Wright's first two films with actress Keira Knightley: two years before “Atonement,” she earned her first Oscar nod for her youthfully mud-splashed Regency garb in “Pride and Prejudice.” 

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<p>Thelma Schoonmaker at the 2004 Academy Awards.</p>

Thelma Schoonmaker at the 2004 Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Kevork Djenasezian

Roundup: Thelma Schoonmaker on the perils of digitization

Also: Older women in the Oscar race, and a 'Grave of the Fireflies' remake?

It's obviously a slow day for movie news, but this Atlantic piece about the danger posed to classic cinema by the digital revolution really registered with me. Much column ink has already been spilled on the demise of 35mm in contemporary film -- some of it overly doom-laden -- but less has been said about the effect the digital switchover will have on repertory screenings. Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who recently found herself unable to obtain a new print of "The Age of Innocence" for a museum screening, is worried, not just about the future availability of older titles, but the preservation of the ones that do get converted: "I saw a digitized version of a film that David Lean made during World War II, and it looked just like a TV commercial that was shot yesterday. It was wrong, the balance was completely off. [Colorists] have no idea what these movies should look like anymore." [The Atlantic]    

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<p>Anthony Hopkins in &quot;Hitchcock&quot;</p>

Anthony Hopkins in "Hitchcock"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Hitchcock'

The Master of Suspense gets his own close-up this weekend

We don't have much more to say about "Hitchcock" around these parts. Greg Ellwood was mostly positive at the AFI Fest premiere. I was surprised at how much it's tale of an artist desperate to feel the spark of creativity again spoke to me. We've talked to star Helen Mirren and even dedicated some content to Hitchcock's own history at the Oscars. But now it's time to hear your thoughts on Sacha Gervasi's film, which makes its way to limited release today. So if you aren't too stuffed with Thanksgiving goodies, give us your take. And feel free to rate it above.

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<p>Grant Bowler and Lindsay Lohan are Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Lifetime's &quot;Liz &amp;&nbsp;Dick.&quot;</p>

Grant Bowler and Lindsay Lohan are Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Lifetime's "Liz & Dick."

Credit: Lifetime

Review: Lindsay Lohan doesn't impress in Lifetime's 'Liz & Dick'

Co-star Grant Bowler does better as Richard Burton than she does as Elizabeth Taylor
It's not hard to understand why Lifetime would want to take a risk on the erratic Lindsay Lohan to play Elizabeth Taylor in the channel's new movie "Liz & Dick" (Sunday at 9 p.m.).
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<p>Helen Mirren discusses her role as Alma Reville in &quot;Hitchcock.&quot;</p>

Helen Mirren discusses her role as Alma Reville in "Hitchcock."

'Hitchcock's' Helen Mirren say she's no Alma Reville when it comes to her husband's work

The Oscar winner and Taylor Hackford do their own thing

NEW YORK - In the 1950's and early '60s, Alma Reville was a creative power unbeknownst to the moviegoing public.  The wife of acclaimed filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, Reville was an accomplished screenwriter, defacto producer and editor who was responsible for much of her husband's success.  While some may question a number of the more salacious storylines in Sacha Gervasi's new drama "Hitchcock," no one will complain that the film is finally giving Reville her long awaited due.

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Kevin McHale and Cory Monteith on "Glee"

Kevin McHale and Cory Monteith on "Glee"

Credit: Fox

'Glee' recap: 'Dynamic Duets'

Not really a Thanksgiving episode, just an episode that airs on Thanksgiving

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'll restrict this week's recap to the things I enjoyed about "Dynamic Duets."

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<p>Russell Crowe in &quot;Les Mis&eacute;rables&quot;</p>

Russell Crowe in "Les Misérables"

Credit: Universal Pictures

Tech Support: 'Avengers,' 'Les Mis' and 'Skyfall' stir it up with others in Best Sound Mixing

One of the most competitive crafts categories is an embarrassment of riches

Last year’s Best Picture winner highlighted one of the great innovations in cinematic history – the introduction of sound. As I noted in my cinematography column, it is the moving picture that, first and foremost, distinguishes cinema from other art forms. But in the absence of sound, our films feel incomplete. On this American Thanksgiving (even if I’m spending the day north of the border), I’m very grateful for our movie sound artists.

The category of Best Sound Mixing awards those who bring all elements of a movie’s aural experience – music, dialogue, effects – into a soup of sound. When done well, it exquisitely develops the atmosphere and brings the audience into the world on screen.

Up to three re-recording mixers are eligible for the prize (concerned with mixing in post-production) and the production sound mixer (who has the exceptionally important task of capturing and leveling the sound during filming). This is certainly a category where favorite artists tend to do very well as many, many sound re-recording mixers have seven-to-15 nominations over the course of their career, or even more.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Hannah and Her Sisters.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Hannah and Her Sisters."

Credit: Orion Pictures

Roundup: What are your favorite Thanksgiving movies?

Also: The year in film music, and Winslet's royal appointment

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Everybody who gets to participate in it, at least: the rest of us are getting on with our working days and eating less-than-festive dinners. My experience of Turkey Day comes mostly through the movies, so I'm interested to hear if you have any go-to Thanksgiving movies that make the holiday complete. "The Ice Storm" comes first to mind for me, though it's hardly celebratory. Tim Grierson makes a solid case for "Hannah and Her Sisters," which is one of my favorite movies, period. Woody Allen's film, he writes, "recognizes that life is never perfect but that sometimes we can cobble together enough happiness to keep going... there are reasons to be thankful all around us, if only we’ll stop and appreciate them." What films give you that feeling? [IFC]

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