Monday, August 03, 2009

THE HURT LOCKER: Anne Thompson Interviews Kathryn Bigelow

Film news analyst/reporter, and sometime critic, Anne Thompson has migrated her insightful film industry column away from industry dinosaur Variety over to the IndieWire blog network. The column keeps its "Thompson on Hollywood" title and Thompson continues to provide high value content.

In a recent post, Thompson opines on the Oscar worthiness of Kathryn Bigelow's latest film THE HURT LOCKER which is an early dark horse candidate. Embedded below is the 8 minute interview Thompson recorded with Bigelow at the Toronto Film Festival.

Thompson's move to Indie Wire would seem to be a good match for the analyst. Historically, Thompson seems to favor "independent films" -- by which she typically means "art film" rather than movies like Evil Dead, though there are exceptions -- and it was always a slightly awkward fit at the industry oriented magazines like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter where she formerly hosted her columns. Her move from Variety comes after her print column had been canceled by the magazine and her duties had been completely shifted over to Variety's digital portal. She had been a Deputy Editor for the magazine before they made her a full-time blogger, a shift that no doubt included a substantial reduction in pay and benefits. Variety, like The Hollywood Reporter, doesn't quite seem to know how best to use the internet -- or print -- in its business model.

The move away from Variety appears, on the surface, to be less contentious than her move away from The Hollywood Reporter. When she left The Hollywood Reporter for Variety, The Hollywood Reporter made her leave her column masthead Risky Business behind. It didn't matter to THR that Thompson had been writing a column of that title since her days as an analyst at LA Weekly, they wanted to benefit from the reputation that Thompson had built up while working at THR. Risky Business has tried hard to live up to Thompson's legacy, but has continually fallen short.

This blogger's respect for Thompson's columns shouldn't be read as blind worship, Thompson has significant blind spots in her analysis. Her vision of Hollywood's past, with regard to quality and originality, is sheer fantasy. Her love of independent film often leads her to overlook excellent blockbuster fare. Not to mention that her obsession with "independent film," has as its foundation a fairly narrow definition of what constitutes independent. She also, as seems so often today among film analysts and reviewers in the post-internet era, seems to find it difficult to avoid being a political blogger from time to time. She is far from perfect, but she is very much worth reading if you want a more sophisticated view of the industry than you'll get from the "hype mags."

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