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  • The Playlist
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    16 New Images From Alexander Payne's 'The Descendants' Starring George Clooney; Plus Roll-Out Expansion Plan Schedule

    Everyone seems to be talking to director Alexander Payne these days thanks to the festival success of his latest feature, "The Descendants." That is, except for The Playlist (*bitter tears*). Such is life. The director recently sat down with both the New York Times and L.A. Times for in-depth profiles, and while Payne hasn't made a feature-length film since 2004 ("Sideways"), both outlets remind us he's still been busy.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Will Roth & Fincher Deliver Jolie's Cleopatra?

    Let us count the ways that Sony's "Cleopatra" could go wrong. But hiring Eric Roth to write the script for the Angelina Jolie epic (possibly with David Fincher at the helm) is a good sign. We can thank Roth for "Forrest Gump," "The Insider," "Munich," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and many other fine scripts including the upcoming "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." Based on Stacy Schiff's sprawling bestseller, this "Cleopatra" is rooted in a complex history and demands a seasoned writer who will not lose sight of the biography's authentic primary sources. Bringing Fincher on board would also set the project on the right course. Exuding the infamous intelligence, charisma and sexuality of Cleopatra will be easy for Jolie, who nonetheless needs a strong director to pull from her a layered and compelling performance. The Egyptian queen--arguably the most powerful woman of all time-- was a master political strategist who deftly manipulated her two life mates, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.  (Picking the right two co-stars is also key.) If the movie gods align the elements, this could be Jolie's career-defining role--and her best shot at a Best Actress Oscar.

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  • The Playlist
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    Guillermo del Toro Confirms Ron Perlman for 'Pacific Rim,' Although, Surprisingly, Not As One Of The Giant Scary Monsters

    Few filmmakers seem to have as much on his plate as Guillermo del Toro. He always has a plethora of projects threatening to occupy his time, this is even though the director hasn't had a film in theaters since 2008's fantastical superhero tale "Hellboy II: The Golden Army." He recently spoke with Wired Magazine, ostensibly about the conclusion about his lackluster vampire trilogy "The Strain" (co-written with original "Town" author Chuck Hogan), and he talked about a number of things that he has coming down the pipeline, including acknowledging the involvement of a Guillermo del Toro regular in his new monster movie.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    On DVD/Blu-ray/VOD This Week - "The Weird World of Blowfly" (The Original Dirty Rapper)

    He's known as the original dirty rapper! Blowfly - the stage name for Clarence Reid, who wrote songs for several hit R&B groups in the 1960s and '70s. But he also recorded albums as Blowfly, his alter-ego usually seen in an ostentatious superhero costume, known especially for his x-rated raunchy raps, starting with a track called Rapp Dirty released in 1965.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    TRAILER WATCH: Pixar's Brave Stars Athletic Feminist Princess

    The exciting trailer for Disney/Pixar's "Brave" -- featuring Kelly Macdonald ("Boardwalk Empire") as the voice of Princess Merida -- has arrived. Merida, complete with Scottish accent, is a free-spirited tomboy with fiery red hair. (Think of her as a young William Wallace in "Braveheart.") Bravo to male-dominated Pixar for finally introducing their first female lead. "Brave" premieres June 22, 2012.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    HBO Teams with Sports Illustrated, Endgame & Playground for Sport in America: Our Defining Stories - Submit Yours

    HBO, Sports Illustrated and Endgame Entertainment, in association with Playground for Sport in America have teamed up for "Sport in America: Our Defining Stories," a documentary series set to air on HBO in 2013. Their goal: "a sweeping cross-platform examination of how the universal thread of sport has shaped America’s character." HBO Sports exec producer Rick Bernstein says: "This is one of the most ambitious sports projects that HBO has launched." Sports Illustrated editorial packages and content on HBO and SI's social media platforms will accompany the series.

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    More: News, Genres, TV, Media, HBO
  • The Playlist
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    Michael K. Williams Won't Be In 'Django Unchained' But Books 'Snitch'

    Bummer! Though once mooted for the lead role that eventually went to Jamie Foxx, Quentin Taraninto has long had his eye on Michael K. Williams (aka Omar from "The Wire") for a role in "Django Unchained." The actor himself chatted up the prospect of starring in the movie, saying earlier this year that the director was writing a part for him and following that up shortly thereafter with the tease that his participation looked "good to go." But a long time has past since, with a ton of casting along the way and unfortunately, Williams won't be in the film.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Michael K. Williams Will Be Narcotics Kingpin Opposite Dwayne Johnson In Thriller "Snitch" + "Django" Role

    UPDATE: Deadline just added that his Django Unchained role has been scrapped completely, due to scheduling conflicts with Boardwalk Empire.

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    More: casting
  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Happy Feet Two' Feels Stuck, Motionless & Terribly Cold

    There is some precedence for being genuinely excited about "Happy Feet Two" (yes, the number is spelled out). For one, the original film, 2006's "Happy Feet," was more slyly subversive than a movie about tap-dancing penguins has any right to be, with a strong thematic undercurrent that championed not only individualism but, more boldly, atheism. Plus, director George Miller, who co-directed the original (with Warren Coleman and Judy Morris) assumes chief creative control this time around, has a history of whacked-out sequels, having not only crafted the glorious "Mad Max" flick "The Road Warrior," but also the darkly hued follow-up to the sunny Best Picture-nominated "Babe," the altogether unclassifiable "Babe: Pig in the City." Plus, the trailers for "Happy Feet Two" promised a subplot about a pair of shrimp-like crustaceans (voiced by Matt Damon and Brad Pitt) on a journey of their own, which is pretty fucking weird. Sadly, though, "Happy Feet Two" is neither as visually inventive or politically in-your-face. Like many of its feathered stars, the sequel feels stuck, motionless, and terribly cold.

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  • The Playlist
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    Maybe It Doesn't Sink This Time? Trailer For 'Titanic 3D'

    The second highest grossing movie of all time, winner of 11 Academy Awards and the movie that launched the careers of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, this is no denying that James Cameron's "Titanic" was as big as the iceberg that sunk the fabled ship. And now, on the 15th anniversay of the movie's release and the 100th anniversary of the ship's maiden (and final) voyage, "Titanic" is wading back into theaters, this time in 3D.

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    More: Titanic