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'Rango,' 'Margaret' head back into movie theaters Friday

January 26, 2012 |  5:14 pm


Two films that initially received very different theatrical runs are finding their way back to the big screen Friday: “Rango,” the Gore Verbinski-directed animated film that charts the adventures of a chameleon voiced by Johnny Depp who finds himself the sheriff of an Old West town, and “Margaret,” a drama starring Anna Paquin as a teenager who struggles with guilt over her role in a deadly traffic accident.

In the case of Paramount’s “Rango,” the re-release comes on the heels of the movie’s Oscar nomination for animated feature — the film, which originally opened in March of last year and grossed upward of $123 million at the domestic box office, is one of five titles that will compete for the top prize in the category at the 84th Academy Awards next month.

Verbinski, a director who typically works in live action, made a fan of Depp in his handling of the animated production that won over critics and moviegoers last year. “Gore amazed me right away with his technical ability,” Depp told The Envelope last fall. “He knows cinema backwards and forward and he’s completely unafraid. When I saw ‘Rango’ I was pretty stupefied — it was unlike anything I had ever seen before.”

As for “Margaret,” the Fox Searchlight film, written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, has become the subject of an unlikely groundswell of interest since it opened for a very limited run last September. A number of film critics took to Twitter to campaign on the movie’s behalf, some hailing it as an overlooked masterpiece, others simply lobbying for it to play more broadly so more people would have the opportunity to see it.

“Margaret” was originally shot in 2005 but its release was delayed for years as the film ran into post-production problems and became the subject of several legal disputes.

In an interview with The Times earlier this month, Paquin — who heads up an ensemble cast that includes Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Jean Reno, Allison Janney, J. Smith-Cameron, Matthew Broderick, Kieran Culkin and Jeannie Berlin, among others — had nothing but praise for Lonergan, saying, “I could not possibly have loved that script or loved doing that movie any more.”

“What I love about that character is she's not really likable all the time,” Paquin continued. “She's going through such trauma and she is kind of buried under this whole pile of guilt and confusion as to why when she tried to make it right there is all this resistance. She's sort of kicking her way to the surface and taking on everyone who stands in her way. She's hitting the self-destruct button but doing it in a really outwardly aggressive way.”

“Rango” will play for one week at the ArcLight Hollywood; “Margaret” will have a one-week run at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles.


Anna Paquin on the unlikely resurrection of 'Margaret'

'Margaret' growing on critics, but will audiences find it?

-- Gina McIntyre, Geoff Boucher and Mark Olsen

Photo: "Rango." Credit: Paramount