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Studio Film

Peter Bogdanovich’s Very Strange Netflix Experience

For the first time since the Burt Reynolds-Cybill Shepherd musical comedy At Long Last Love was released in 1975, there exists a proper version on DVD. A reconstituted Blu-ray edition was released this month by 20th Century Fox and to mark the occasion, writer-director Peter Bogdanovich retraces on his Indiewire blog this unlikely miracle of modern film restoration.

The original version opened to very mixed reviews, although Woody Allen later told Bogdanovich he had seen it three-four times at Radio City Music Hall and loved it. The director cut a new “TV version” of the film shortly thereafter, but despite that effort, the movie quickly faded away. Cut to a few years ago:

A friend called to tell me that Netflix was streaming At Long Last Love. I decided to take a look at it that way; I hadn’t seen the movie in 35 years.

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Travel Writing

Travel WritingStarting September 23, learn how to turn your travel stories into published essays and articles! Taught by a former Vanity Fair staff writer, James Sturz will teach you how to report, interview, and find sources, discover story ideas and pitch them successfully, and understand what travel editors look for in a story. Register now! 

Meet the Critic Who Liked After Earth AND Battlefield Earth

Topless Robot editor Luke Y. Thompson knew what he was getting himself into when he gave After Earth a positive review. On his personal Facebook page Thursday, he linked to the article with the declaration “I liked it. I’ll defend it.” This prompted fellow LAFCA member Wade Major to comment: “Oh dude… That’s seriously putting yourself out there… Armor up.”

Actually, what really puts Thompson out there is that on Rotten Tomatoes, he is the only critic tagging both After Earth and John Travolta’s 2000 Scientology sci-fi epic Battlefield Earth as “Fresh:”

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Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy Make Room for the Smartphone

Tuesday night, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and their charmingly low-key Before Midnight director and co-writer Richard Linklater were back where it all began 18 years ago: the stage of the DGA Theatre on Sunset Blvd. The LA premiere of the third installment of the trio’s epic indie romance series was preceded by a crowded food-and-vodka reception in the lobby.

When Before Sunrise arrived in 1995, cell phones were just becoming affordable and popular. Today of course, the smart devices are ubiquitous; in the DGA lobby, where patrons snapped Delpy and Hawke on the indoor red carpet; and later on the DGA big screen. In Before Midnight, critical cell phone calls and text messages anchor each of the movie’s three conversational acts.

Because most of today’s film critics still (foolishly) believe that reviews must detail a movie’s plot points, it will be virtually impossible for any such critique to avoid spoilers. Our best advice to Before series fans is not to read any of the write-ups until after you’ve watched the latest chapter, which opens Friday in LA, New York and other select cities.

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Rambo Gets the Bollywood Green Light

Is this really necessary? Today in Cannes, Dave McNary of Variety confirms that a Bollywood film company will soon be remaking Sylvester Stallone’s 2008 offering Rambo. This plan was originally outlined at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, but it is only now – a year later – that full funding is in place:

Daljit Parmar, nephew of the late Bollywood multi-hyphenate Mehmood, said the Rambo and Expendables remakes should be in production by the end of the year.

“I am extremely excited to announce the launch of our slate to remake titles from some of the most successful action franchises in Hollywood on this historic 100-year anniversary celebration of Indian cinema at Cannes,” he said.

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Ron Burgundy Casting for SeaWorld Extras

And who better to report about this Saturday May 11 cattle call than San Diego ABC affiliate Channel 10, one of the places where the alleged loose inspiration for Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy character – Harold Greene (also of KCBS fame) – once worked?

The non-union open casting for Anchorman: The Legend Continues is happening today from noon to 4 p.m. at a Mission Valley area DoubleTree Hotel in San Diego, for a local shoot later this month. From the 10news.com report:

Tammy Sandler of the Los Angeles-based company Facetime Media told 10News, “All I can really say is it is a scene with Will Ferrell being shot at SeaWorld…”

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The Best Article About The Hangover Part III is Mostly All About The Hangover Part I

Everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about Mike Tyson and Ken Jeong’s stellar supporting work in The Hangover can be savored this week in The Hollywood Reporter. In an ingenious editorial move, executive editor Matthew Belloni and senior TV writer Lacey Rose chucked the usual script for sequel promotion and orchestrated instead a rollicking oral history of the 2009 R-rated smash that started it all. (The final Part III installment opens in theaters May 24.)

FishbowlLA can never get enough of Jeong’s Mr. Chow. In the article, the actor’s work is fully retraced, from the audition to the origins of some of the most repeated lines to a touching backstory:

JEONG: It was a very magical shoot. My wife was going through breast cancer and chemotherapy at the time. [She recovered.] It was part of the reason I was so unhinged in the character; I think I was working out my own demons. Todd and Bradley were the only people who knew. Hangover got me through the most difficult time in my life.

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Hollywood Plays Host to ‘Coolest Person on the Planet’

Iron Man 3 co-star Gwyneth Paltrow was crowned by People magazine as the “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” just ahead of last night’s big splashy El Capitan Theatre premiere. In this red carpet photo, she is firmly in the clutches of  the person we think owns the “Coolest Person on the Planet” honors.

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Peter Bart Shares a Few Gatsby Memories

Under the hilarious headline “Hollywood’s F. Scott Fitz and Starts,” Variety executive vice president and editorial director Peter Bart frames the upcoming fourth film version of The Great Gatsby in ways that the average pajama-clad movie blogger can only dream of.

Not only was Bart instrumental in version number three, one that almost paired Marlon Brando with the script nuances of Francis Ford Coppola. But he was also there at the genesis of version number four. If we had this kind of access, we’d lead with the information as well:

Baz Luhrmann took me by surprise four years ago when he confided over lunch that he intended to shoot The Great Gatsby as his next movie — he explained that he had become obsessed with the Gatsby story. I told him that I, too, admired the great F. Scott Fitzgerald novel but could never quite figure out its story — nor could the three directors who’d made previous Gatsby’s.

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Thom Mount, Roman Polanski Visit ‘Skypetown’

There was a one-of-a-kind cinematic event on Saturday in San Francisco. Following a screening at the Roxie theater of the 1974 classic Chinatown, director Roman Polanski beamed onto the screen via Skype (at around 11:30 p.m. Paris time) for a Q&A with producer Thom Mount, with whom he collaborated on several subsequent film projects.

Freelance writer Pam Grady notes in her weekend coverage that Polanski bristled at Mount’s suggestion the the LA featured in the film was make-believe. “That LA existed,” he said. “We were trying to be historically correct. Bob [Robert Evans] loves the city of Los Angeles and he was inspired by it.”

Meanwhile, today, SF Weekly fellow attendee Casey Burchby highlights an infamous exception to Polanski’s smooth-sailing leading lady experiences:

Mount observed that Polanski’s career has been marked by outstanding performances by actresses: Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion, Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, Nastassja Kinski in Tess — and Faye Dunaway in Chinatown. Polanski said that in each case, he’d enjoyed good working relationships with those women, with the exception of Dunaway.

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On the Block Next Week at Julien’s: DiCaprio’s Audition for The Outsiders

This is really intriguing. As part of its next “Hollywood Legends” event April 5-6, Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills will be for the first time selling some slices of videotaped Hollywood casting history. With all sorts of big names in the mix:

Tapes include Leonardo DiCaprio’s audition for the role of Ponyboy in The Outsiders; Brad Pitt, Robert Downey Jr., Keanu Reeves and Dermot Mulroney for Backdraft; Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Helen Hunt and others for roles in Jurassic Park; David Arquette, Adrien Brody, Noah Wylie, Ben Affleck and Lisa Kudrow auditioning with Ellen DeGeneres for Mr. Wrong; Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Patrick Dempsey and others for A Beautiful Mind; and more.

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