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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Weekend Box Office: Cars 2 Beats Critic Brickbats and Cars with $68 Million; Diaz Opens Bad Teacher

    Weekend Box Office: Cars 2 Beats Critic Brickbats and Cars with $68 Million; Diaz Opens Bad Teacher

    While Disney/Pixar's Cars 2 suffered the worst reviews of any of Pixar's past 11 blockbusters, the John Lasseter-helmed sequel still scored with mainstream audiences, reports Anthony D'Alessandro.Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 popped the clutch into fifth and ran over its muddy estimates and critical reviews with an estimated weekend of $68 million at 4,115 theaters; 61% were equipped in 3-D. No doubt Disney executives are overjoyed, but no one can be happier than box office rebound girl Cameron Diaz, whose sex pot comedy Bad Teacher collected $31 million. Even more mouth-dropping than Diaz’s raunchy hijinks in the film was that it was made for the same price as her Charlie’s Angels 2 paycheck -- $20 million.

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  • The Playlist
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    'Jupiter Rising': Do The Wachowskis Have A New Secret Project Moving Forward At Warner Bros?

    As this writer posited a few months ago, there's an argument to be made that the co-directing Wachowski siblings Andy and Lana lost their mojo after "The Matrix" and the spark that once made them special has faded. Their follow-up films have been lackluster: “Speed Racer,” the last two “Matrix” movies and most of the films they’ve produced (”Ninja Assassin,” “The Invasion”) during the aughts were straight up duds or major disappointments. But there's plenty of options that could bring redemption.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Weekend Box Office (June 24-26)

    Is there another studio as successful as Pixar? In the 25 years it's been in operation they have yet to have a single box office failure. They know how to put together an extremely well made solid story with interesting involving characters better than anyone. As well as knowing how to market the hell out of their films.

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  • Hope for Film
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    Private Film Festival: Chris Wiatt's DUPE

    I have been planning a mini-fest of my own: six features, six scripts, one weekend. As I write this I have eleven to go. I just added one short to the list. Howard Gertler tipped me to Chris Wiatt's short DUPE as an example of good low bud use of VFX where the storytelling doesn't suffer due to the use of the incredible tools now available. I am glad he did. Check it out.

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  • SydneysBuzz
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    Napa Valley Film Festival Call for Entries

    Talk about Location! Here is the place you want to go. Paradise! And they are now focusing now on the unique Artist-in-Residence program created with the sublime Meadowood Resort & Spa who will be housing (for up to five nights!) the directors of the films in the Dramatic Features Competition. This Festival holds promise to be the most comfortable and creative venue in the U.S. Filmmakers are invited to submit for the inaugural Film Festival November 9-13, 2011, featuring new independent films as well as Napa Valley’s finest food, wine and hospitality Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) Co-Founders and Directors Brenda and Marc Lhormer are accepting film submissions for the first annual Napa Valley Film Festival until June 30 through Withoutabox. Showcasing the best of new independent cinema along with the Napa Valley’s finest food, wine and hospitality (with partners like Chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry, Chef Michael Chiarello, Emmy-winning host of the Food Network’s Easy Entertaining and more than 50 award winning wineries in the region), NVFF will debut November 9-13, 2011 with a five-day festival spread over four of the valley’s postcard-perfect towns.

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  • The Playlist
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    L.A. Film Festival: Eric Wareheim's 'Kewl Vids' A Great Look Back At His Music Videos

    Plus A First Look At The Trailer For 'Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie'Of the curated programs we've seen this week at Los Angeles Film Festival is a retrospective of the music video work from Eric Wareheim that also included an uncensored version of his short film with Tim Heidecker, “The Terrys.” The actor/director was on hand for the event this past Thursday, so not only did we have the chance to see his eye-popping videos projected on the big screen, but we got to hear him speak afterward about his directing process, making it on MTV and his latest endeavor, a feature film.

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  • The Playlist
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    Watch: Leaked 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' Trailer Still Looks Awesome In French

    In just a couple of days, "Transformers: The Dark Of The Moon" will swoop over multiplexes worldwide delivering loads of robot smashing fury, but for us, the most anticipated moment of that film will happen even before it begins. The trailer for the franchise sequel/refresh of sorts "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" will be unveiled in front of the Michael Bay film, and if this (curiously well shot) bootleg of the French version is anything to go by, it looks pretty damn great.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    First Look at The Raven: Cusack Frighteningly Passable as Edgar Allen Poe

    Until this first-look photo, it was difficult to imagine John Cusack, likeable and attractive, as the mysterious and macabre Edgar Allen Poe. But in the upcoming The Raven (Relativity, March 12, 2012), loosely inspired by Poe's life, Cusack looks craggy-faced and alarming as the American gothic literary genius. The film is shooting in Serbia for Baltimore circa 1846; Luke Evans (Tamara Drewe), Alice Eve (She's Out of My League and Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) co-star.

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  • Caryn James
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    “True Blood” Enters Fairy Land

    If you’re going to add werewolves, fairies and witches to a vampire story, you better make sure you can handle the extra-human overload. Last season True Blood lost me with its leaden theme of Nazi werewolves. The new fourth season (beginning Sunday on HBO) piles on even more characters with loony powers.

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  • The Playlist
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    L.A. Film Fest Reviews: Songs by Animal Collective & Bon Iver Can't Save 'The Dynamiter'

    Plus Iranian Indie 'Please Do Not Disturb'"The Dynamiter" opens in the fields of the South with two young brothers (one fourteen, one eight) throwing sharpened sticks they've made at a pile of hay. We keep seeing wannabe Malick-like cuts and shots as the older brother is telling a joke, the sky is an amazing blue, and "Banshee Beat" by Animal Collective plays in the background. This sets the tone for the rest of the film; one of shallow cliches, disingenuous nostalgia, and a coldly calculated style.

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    More: Review