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  • Shadow and Act
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    Weekend B.O. Nov. 16-18 (Permit Me To Ask A Question About 'Twilight'...)

    Do I have to tell you what the number one film was this weekend? What’s the point? Grossing $141 million ($71 million of that just on Friday alone - the sixth largest opening ever), it’s so easy to mock those sparkling vampires movies and the people who love them. But this time I’ll be on my best behavior, for a rare change, and not say anything.

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  • The Playlist
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    Box Office: 'Twilight' Rings Up $140 Million For #1, 'Skyfall' Becomes Biggest Bond Ever

    Decline of western civilization, moviegoers aren’t smart, cinema is dead, bla bla bla. Edward and Bella performed yet another hit-and-run on the box office this weekend, and while “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2” closes this particular story with a $140 million three-day opening, you’d have to be a Grade-A Moran to think that a series that consistently produces $100 million plus weekends is going to be put into storage by Lionsgate, even if the studio now has a new ATM machine in “The Hunger Games” films.

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'In The Family' A Sincere, Heartbreaking Indie Drama

    It’s tough for the drama. For every movie that is successfully earnest and sincere in its heartbreaking story, about fifty others are willed into the cinema that rest on familiar tropes, forced emotions lacking any legitimate heart, and a trusty sensational score that knows just when to blare. Their power is so considerable that it’ll make a pessimist out of even the least bitter moviegoer. But when that anomaly does come along, it needs to be held high, trumpeted so fiercely that it drowns out all of the other hollow tearjerkers. So here we shall declare Patrick Wang’s “In the Family” that able wonder to which we shall champion with fervor.

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  • The Playlist
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    Larry Clark's 'Marfa Girl' & 'The Motel Life' Earn Top Awards At The Rome Film Festival; Italian Films Also Rule

    Last night in Rome, the Festival came to a close, as the winners were announced, the awards handed out and the dissection of What It All Means began. The festival, suffering a cut in budget from last year, but boasting perhaps the closest thing to a superstar Artistic Director in Marco Mueller (ex of the Venice Film Festival) for the first time this year, was, as Mueller himself admitted, a schizophrenic affair. The lack of really standout high-profile premieres (the festival would have taken on a different shape if it had landed, say "Django Unchained") gave rise to a somewhat cobbled-together last-minute feel, in which the targeted 60 world premieres happened, but we got the feeling quite a few might have been there just to make up the numbers.

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  • Criticwire
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    This Week on Criticwire: How Much is Too Much?

    Whether it's the amount of reviews for a well-respected publication, the extent to which we should consider someone's effort when judging their final product, or the equality of criticism aimed at child performers, this week was mostly about degrees.

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  • The Playlist
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    Rome Review: 'Hand In Hand' Is A Gently Surreal Parisian Romantic Comedy Featuring Your New French Crush

    Whimsical and high-concept, and featuring a standout performance from our new boyfriend Jérémie Elkaïm, who has just won Best Actor at the Rome Film Festival for this role (clearly the jury was crushin' on him too), "Hand in Hand" ("Main dans la Main") is a gentle, quirky take on the mystical and somewhat random power of attraction and love. By contrast with the artifice of the other French rom-com we reviewed in Rome, "Populaire," writer-director (and supporting star and Elkaïm's wife) Valérie Donzelli's lightness of touch evokes more the sensibility of a loved-up Miranda July in its attention to off-kilter but grounded detail.

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  • The Playlist
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    Rome Review: '1942' Is A Long, Old-Fashioned But Absorbing Epic Of Chinese Historical Cinema

    If the appropriate length of a film were calculated in proportion to the scope of its subject, all 144 minutes of Feng Xiaogang's "1942" (also known as "Back to 1942"), which played In Competition at the Rome Film Festival, would be wholly justified. While the Henan Famine of the early 1940s is not a well-known tragedy outside China, the scale of the suffering, death and displacement it caused simply boggles the mind, the numbers are so colossal. And for the most part, Feng does an impressive job of memorializing the 3 million dead; "1942" is not an unqualified success, but it did retain our interest and engagement across its multiple story lines and over its expansive running time.

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  • The Playlist
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    Listen: Fiona Apple's "Dull Tool" From The 'This Is 40' Soundtrack; Paul Rudd Hearts Ween In New Poster

    It's already been revealed that the soundtrack for Judd Apatow's "This is 40" -- his sort-of-sequel to "Knocked Up" -- will feature another choice selections of cuts, including songs by Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney, Avett Brothers, Loudon Wainwright and more. But even more appealing is the fact that there are four artists who contributed new songs to the film's soundtrack, including Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, Graham Parker (who cameos in the film), and Lindsey Buckingham; all produced by the film's composer Jon Brion (Wilco and Ryan Adams also contribute new/live versions of previously known songs). It's a bit of a Dad-rock mix, but hell, it fits the material, and these kind of song selections served the tone for "Knocked Up" and Apatow's previous film "Funny People" extremely well.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Saturday Box Office Preview: 'Twilight' Finale Soars, 'Lincoln' Solid Wide Break, 'Silver Linings' Builds Buzz

    The opening of the final "Twilight" film leads all grosses this weekend, but it's not the only box office news. Without taking anything away from its strong $71-million first day and midnight show gross (equalling last year's, as expected), the most interesting figures come from a trio of likely Oscar contenders.

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  • The Playlist
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    Rome Review: 'Tar' With James Franco Is A Dreamy Collage Of Pretty But Overfamiliar Aesthetics

    It's difficult to know quite what to make of 'Tar,' a multi-authored project seemingly coaxed into being by the sheer force of James Franco's current artistic cachet. Playing In Competition in the XXI sidebar of the Rome Film Festival, the film represents the work of twelve newbie directors -- NYU film students all -- and attempts to create an impressionistic interpretation of the work of poet CK Williams, who himself appears occasionally, reading from his collection. Championed by and starring Franco, amongst a starry cast including Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Henry Hopper, Bruce Campbell and Zach Braff, the film shifts around in time and mood, using four different actors (Franco one of them) to depict Williams at different stages in his life, with the scenes sometimes playing out with internal dialogue and mini-storylines, and other times played mute, with snatches of poetry voiced over.

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