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  • Shadow and Act
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    Documentary on Congolese Street Musicians, "Benda Bilili!" Hits American Theaters This Week

    We initially covered Benda Bilili! back in February when it was chosen to screen at South by Southwest Film Festival. Since then, it has continued on through the festival circuit and this week, will receive a limited release in the U.S. and Canada.

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  • The Playlist
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    Lee Daniels Will Visit 'Valley Of The Dolls' For NBC

    In case you didn't get the memo, period programming is the new black. Thanks to the runaway success of "Mad Men," ailing network channels who have been losing viewers to better programming on their cable rivals have been falling over themselves to try and replicate the popularity of AMC's show. This past weekend, ABC bowed the very expensive looking, though somewhat middling "Pan Am," while NBC is already two episodes deep in their poorly received "The Playboy Club." Perhaps sensing they might need to get another show moving if 'Playboy' doesn't pick up, the network is looking to one of the most popular melodramas of all time to try and find a winner, and have now found a helmer who knows his way around a genre to help out.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    Simply the Worst: Cameron Crowe's "Vanilla Sky"

    A little more than a decade ago, Almost Famous cemented writer-producer-director Cameron Crowe’s status as the reigning king of feel-good movies. It earned near-unanimous critical praise, won Crowe an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and was named the best film of the year by no less than Roger Ebert. His previous efforts, 1996’s Jerry Maguire in particular, were similarly successful. Crowe had long been a critical darling, something a cursory glance at his Rotten Tomatoes page can quantify. And then something happened: he made Vanilla Sky. Many who championed Crowe’s earlier, more lighthearted work seem quite frankly to have viewed his foray into sci-fi as not only a far cry from his unbridled optimism of yore but also, as Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek wrote, a “a betrayal of everything that Crowe has proved he knows how to do right,” and the formerly beloved filmmaker was quickly reevaluated. His next film, 2005’s Elizabethtown, was no less reviled than its predecessor but also something of a return to form: romance sans psychodrama. Crowe’s other films betray a certain boyishness and nostalgia, as well as the sense that good things happen to good people and everything tends to turn out okay in the end. But Vanilla Sky is more concerned with remorse, unfulfilled desire, and death. Quite a thematic jump, and one which many deemed a failure. Read Michael Nordine's entry in Reverse Shot's "Simply the Worst" symposium.

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  • ReelPolitik
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    Is Netflix Killing Off Micro-Indie Film?

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Real Steel' A Simple, Effective Crowd Pleaser Like A Robot-Driven 'Warrior' For Kids

    If the maturity and sophistication of “Warrior” is more than you can handle, then “Real Steel” might be the movie for you. A start-to-finish festival of storytelling conventions, director Shawn Levy’s bid for credibility differs only from its predecessor in that it’s aimed at a kid-friendly audience, making its relentless obedience to formula perhaps more acceptable, but less augmented by genuinely great performances. Nevertheless a crowd-pleaser of the first order – even on par with the ‘80s films from folks like Spielberg and Zemeckis that inspire it – “Real Steel” is an effective retelling of a familiar story, albeit one that it might help being ten years old (or having the same mindset) to fully enjoy.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Brad Pitt's Movie Eating: Moneyball the Latest Evidence in Vulture's Theory

    Vulture put together a list of food that Brad Pitt has eaten in movies to prove their "Brad Pitt Eating in Movies Theory." Yes, really. Moneyball is the latest piece of evidence, and if you've seen the film you know that in between throwing inanimate objects, the man does like to eat. He sucks blood in Interview with a Vampire, devours peanut butter in Meet Joe Black, and in Moneyball savors a Twinkie. Oh, and here's the "Brad Pitt eating in every scene of all his movies" Facebook page.

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  • The Playlist
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    'Whale Rider' Helmer Niki Caro To Write And Direct Film About Opera Legend Maria Callas

    New Zealand helmer Niki Caro is set to tackle writing and directorial duties for "Callas," a film about the life of legendary opera star Maria Callas based on Alfonso Signorini's book "Too Proud, Too Fragile"

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Review - Nucky Nosferatu

    Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Review - Nucky Nosferatu

    As its second season begins, David Chute finds that he admires Boardwalk Empire but does not love it.We took it as a sign during Boardwalk Empire’s first season that the show’s fabulously expensive exterior and interior sets never felt lived in. Compare Boardwalk’s boardwalk, a beautiful sweep of CG-enhanced Hollywood carpentry, with Deadwood’s Deadwood, an assortment of tents and swaybacked outhouses, awash in mud and dust and struggling humanity. Even the Harlan County, Kentucky, of Justified, cobbled together from various locations in Southern California, conveys a more organic sense of place. The characters are convinced that they were born and raised and rooted there, and so do we.

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  • Women and Hollywood
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    Why Being Visible Matters

    Who knew aside from folks on the inner world of documentary film that Ken Burns had an equal partner on his most recent epic documentary series?

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  • The Playlist
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    Sofia Coppola Prepping New Film? Aussie Actress Olivia De Jonge Says She's Meeting Director Soon

    After her minimalist, moody drama "Somewhere," Sofia Coppola has been busy with the arrival of her second child and recent marriage to longtime partner, Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars but it looks like the writer-director may already be plotting her next feature. Coppola has reportedly thrown an invitation out to young, little-known Australian actress Olivia De Jonge to audition this November for what is described as the filmmaker's "newest film."

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