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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    You Can't Force Funny: Jeff Daniels Sings the Blues

    Watch Jeff Daniels strum his stuff in Funny or Die’s absurd riff, “Forcin’ the Blues with Jeff Daniels." There’s a particularly silly shout-out to his impeccable acting choices towards the end.

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  • The Playlist
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    L.A. Film Festival Review: 'Salaam Dunk' A Colorful Portrait Of Modern Life In Iraq

    Of the majority of images and video to be coming from Iraq right now, “Salaam Dunk” stands aside from the pack. Colorful, hopeful and charming, ‘Dunk’ follows a women's basketball team at the American University of Iraq -- Sulaimani. We see their wins, their losses, what brought them to this team and how being a part of it has changed and shaped them, because for many of the girls it was the first time they had ever picked up a basketball, much less played on a sports team.

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    More: Review
  • The Playlist
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    Watch: Lush International Trailer For Studio Ghibli's Latest 'Arriety'

    Despite the patronage of Disney and John Lasseter, the work of Hayao Miyazaki has never quite made the impression abroad that it has in its native Japan, where his films number among the all-time biggest grossers: in the U.S. 2009's "Ponyo" is his most successful film, despite the raves given to "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away." At the same time, it has at least been demonstrated now that there is an audience for both his films and those of his professional home, Studio Ghibli, and it's now common for those films to get a U.S. release, even if Miyazaki himself isn't at the helm.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    HBO Doc Shows Why DA Needed Exiting Sex Crimes Unit Chief Friel's Division in Strauss-Kahn Case

    HBO Doc Shows Why DA Needed Exiting Sex Crimes Unit Chief Friel's Division in Strauss-Kahn Case

    There's no question that my reaction to the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case was influenced by having seen Lisa Jackson's Sex Crimes Unit, which played at the Los Angeles Film Festival before beginning its run on HBO June 20. Jackson got unprecedented access to the respected Unit of the New York District Attorney's office that specializes in sex crimes. You see how the attorneys work under unit chief Lisa Friel, who unexpectedly announced last week that she will be leaving the division.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Video: A Quick Look at Google +

    I have not been invited yet to Google +, although frustratingly, others have invited me to join. But Google had to shut down that option after too many people rushed to sign up. Check out Google's demonstration video for Google +. If you're like me, Facebook has become this huge mass of disparate folks ranging from close family and friends to work colleagues and acquaintances and people I don't even know. Twitter is easier--anyone can follow me, and I can select who I follow. But when one group starts live-tweeting a movie or football game--that could be done as a Google + hangout without either imposing it on disinterested Twitter followers or asking people to temporarily unfollow you.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Weekend B.O. (July 1-4)

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Watch Daniel J. Gordon in FALLING SKIES

    If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you’ll know that the talented young actor Daniel J. Gordon is one of our faves from the Canadian-based director Charles Officer’s NURSE.FIGHTER.BOY. What you may not know is that the young man is also appearing in TNT’s new drama FALLING SKIES.

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    More: Television
  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Ten Films To Compete For LUX Prize

    Ten films have been selected to compete for Europe's LUX prize. Details below. The European Parliament unveiled, in the frame of the 46th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF), the ten films pre-selected to compete for this year’s LUX Prize. These films, (co)produced in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland or UK, all reflect the excellence and richness of European cinema which the European Parliament is very pleased to support.

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  • The Playlist
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    Weekend Box Office: 'Transformers 3' Obliterates 4th Of July Weekend Record

    But Underperforms Domestically Over 5 Days, 'Larry Crowne' Can't Get Out Of First GearThere's astronomically good and slightly bad to report as the sequel to a less-than-critically-loved-blockbuster-created-solely-to-move-toys hit the marketplace. Michael Bay's “Transformers: Dark Of The Moon” underperformed domestically compared to its predecessor. It grossed $97.4 million in its Friday to Sunday opening box-office weekend, compared to the $108 million "Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen" accumulated in 2009 without the aid of inflated 3D ticket surcharges (and yet, it's won the top-grossing weekend of 2011 so far). But an overseas bonanza did take place as expected. Hauling in $372 million worldwide so far, "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon," set the record for the third best worldwide debut of all time. And good news for ailing 3D numbers -- approximately 60% of the ticket sales came from theaters using the stereoscopic visual format.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Weekend Box Office: 3-D Transformers 3 Breaks Records, Larry Crowne Fizzles

    The weekend box office brings back event 3-D with Michael Bay's Transformers 3's $372 million worldwide so far (UPDATE: six day worldwide total was $379 million), and puts major movie stars on notice that they'd better deliver high quality if they want to target adults: Tom Hanks may have bitten off more than he could handle by co-writing, producing, directing and starring in Larry Crowne, an old-fashioned romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts which has totaled just $13 million (UPDATE: four day total was $15.7 million). Anthony D'Alessandro reports:

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