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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Weekend Media Watch: Andy Rooney Dies at 92, Pandora Seeks More Ad Revenue, Facebook Adds Ads

    The consistent thing about Facebook’s constant changes: the levels of frustration they cause. Today, TechCrunch reports that the social media site will begin placing advertisements in the real-time updates portion of the homepage. Events, ticker, and birthday announcements have been placed below these ads.

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  • The Playlist
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    Benicio Del Toro In Tractor Beam for Villainous 'Star Trek 2' Role

    Benicio Del Toro In Tractor Beam for Villainous 'Star Trek 2' Role

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Film Franchises Built Around Black Characters (Survey)

    This all came to me thanks to a virtual chat I had recently with a friend about the reboot of the the Alex Cross detective thriller series, based on the novel franchise written by James Patterson, which Idris Elba was once attached to take over, only to be recently replaced with Tyler Perry. Alright so... my research tells me that Virgil Tibbs was the first black fictional character to have a film franchise centered around him, that was backed by a Hollywood studio. Sidney Poitier starred in 3 successive films as Virgil Tibbs: In The Heat Of The Night (1968), They Call Me MISTER Tibbs (1970), and The Organization (1971). The last 2 were not as good as the first, but I'd say that The Organization was superior to They Call Me MISTER Tibbs.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    Watch Behind-The-Scenes Video Of Promo Shoot For Vin Diesel's New Web Series "The Ropes"

    Haven't heard much on this since the initial announcement many months ago... Vin Diesel's new web series (he's producing) with Fox Digital Entertainment, titled The Ropes - an original series about the lives of bouncers; something Vin himself was in a former life. Recall Zoe Saldana signed on the direct at least one episode (including the pilot). Not sure if that's happened yet, though I assume something of the series has been shot at this point. What I did find is the below behind-the-scenes video put together for the promo photo shoot for show, featuring its cast - a group I don't think have been formally revealed yet.

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    More: Watch Now
  • Shadow and Act
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    Watch Episode 1 Of New Web Series "The Girls Bathroom" (4 Black Girls, High School, Chit-Chat)

    Continuing to unload web series from my virtual pile... so far, we're two-for-two; the first two I featured over the last week or so were mostly well-received. Let's see if that trend continues... or not :) Today's title is called The Girls Bathroom, and it follows four teenagers - Red, Blondie, Brownie and Noir - at the beginning of their high school senior year. In each episode, the girls converse as they prep for each school day; Topics of discussion include boys, hair, make-up, fashion and other subjects that tend to be popular amongst today’s teens. The series is a Chapter 3 TV project, created by Darralynn Hutson and Michael Negri. Watch episode 1 below, and leave your constructive comments underneath:

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  • Shadow and Act
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    2011 AFI Film Festival Showcasing African Titles In World Cinema & New Auteurs Sections

    The AFI Film Festival is currently underway, running through the 10th of November (it officially started yesterday, the 3rd). Of note, in its World Cinema and New Auteurs sections are 4 titles we've covered several times on S&A, namely: The Invader, Kinyarwanda, Mama Africa, and in the New Auteurs section, Restless City. And since films in the World Cinema and New Auteurs sections are eligible for their respective section’s Audience Award, any of these 4 films could walk away with the the prize. Screenings will take place at the historic Chinese Theatre, the Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.Individual tickets and special passes are available to the general public. Ticket information can be found HERE, including how you can get FREE tickets to all screenings. Full writeups for each of the 4 films, as well as specific screening times and locations, follow below:

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar: Review and Round-up

    All eyes are on the last batch of major year-end movies to be factored into the Oscar zeitgeist. Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, at least, will play better for the older Academy--many of whom lived through the decades depicted in this ambitious J. Edgar Hoover biopic dominated by Leonardo DiCaprio's moving performance in the title role--than the wider moviegoing public. Eastwood acknowledged this during his intro at Thursday's AFI FEST opening night unveiling at Mann's Chinese, thanking Warner Bros., his home for 41 years, for supporting so many offbeat projects that were not mainstream: "Sometimes they turned out pretty good," he said. Indeed, Eastwood has delivered a consistent string of quality films, even after his career peaks, the Oscar-winning Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby. Written by Milk's Dustin Lance Black, J. Edgar cross-cuts between the old Hoover, not willing to release his hold on the reins of power after 48 years and eight presidents (many of them afraid of his secret files), and flashbacks to his life from age 19 through his rise to power at the Bureau of Investigation (eventually the FBI). Hoover started out responding vigilantly to terrorist violence and wound up corrupt, paranoid and egomaniacal. More details and a round-up of early reviews are below.

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  • The Playlist
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    Set Pics Of Ryan Gosling & Rooney Mara Shooting Terrence Malick's 'Lawless'

    While it's not nearly as sexy as the video footage of Terrence Malick in action, directing Christian Bale at the Austin City Limits music festival in September, it's still something. And given how tightly everything else is kept under lock and key for Terrence Malick's films, we'll take what we can get.

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  • The Playlist
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    Liam Hemsworth, James Badge Dale & D.J. Cotrona All Vie For 'A Good Day To Die Hard'

    Wait a minute? Didn't we have a shortlist on this already? Sort of. A couple weeks back it was reported that Ben Foster, Paul Dano, Aaron Paul and Milo Ventimiglia were all going to be reading for the part of Bruce Willis' offspring in "A Good Day To Die Hard." Well, none of those guys survived except for the "Breaking Bad" star and he's got three people fighting him for the job, that he might not get anyway due to scheduling commitments for the AMC show.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Why Berneys Left FilmDistrict; What’s Next?

    As New York indie distributor Bob Berney leaves FilmDistrict, which is consolidating operations in Los Angeles, he and marketing chief Jeanne Berney will be able to do what they should have done all along. Go into business for themselves. Why manage egos, seek credit and deal with others’ production choices and cozy relationships when you should be your own boss? Let the Berneys run with their own taste and judgement.

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