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  • Caryn James
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    Best on TV: So Much to Watch, So Few Hours In One Sunday

    There are no good, major films turning up this weekend, but Sunday is crammed with great television.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Oscar Talk: True Grit vs. Social Network, Party Circuit, Vulnerable Contenders, Spoilers, 2011 Picks

    Oscar Talk: True Grit vs. Social Network, Party Circuit, Vulnerable Contenders, Spoilers, 2011 Picks

    During this week's Oscar Talk (on the jump), Kris Tapley and I debate the Hailee Steinfeld category issue for True Grit. He thinks she's best actress material, while I argue that she's a rookie who belongs in supporting. At Thursday night's The Social Network DVD party at Spago, producer Scott Rudin was all smiles (True Grit is also vying for best picture). He opted to compete in the supporting category, he said, because it would seem "brazen" to put a newcomer up for best actress. Besides, he argued, Mattie Ross is the instigator of the plot, not the protagonist. The movie is about Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges); he is the character that changes. (Here's my Rudin interview.)

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  • The Lost Boys
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    Send This Man Your Short Films!

    My very dear friend Brad Horvath has been hired as head of acquisitions at Ouat Media Distribution, North America’s largest international short film distribution and world sales company. Send him your (good) short films!. Also, they'll begin acquiring feature films later this year as well...

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    film review: Blue Valentine

    Two daring performances make Blue Valentine a standout, even if the film’s reach somewhat exceeds its grasp. Director and co-writer Derek Cianfrance attempts to explore the beginning and end of an intimate relationship, hopscotching back and forth in time from the couple’s first meeting and subsequent wooing through the utter disintegration of their marriage.

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  • The Playlist
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    In Theaters: 'Season of the Witch,' 'Country Strong,' and...

    Probably Best to Hit Up Your Netflix InsteadYikes, guys. YIKES. It is really dismal for new releases this week. REALLY dismal. The first opening Friday of 2011 is kicking off with not a bang but a fizzle, as is traditional for the first week of January, which really should just be deemed Oscar Catch-Up Week-- go see one of the excellent releases from the last couple of weeks ("Blue Valentine," "True Grit," "The Fighter," "Rabbit Hole," "Another Year") or rent something ("The Kids Are Al Rright") to improve your chances of sweeping the Oscar pool, cause it's ugly out there. It could be possibly entertaining, as the inimitable Nic Cage 2.0 brings his delightful brand of crazy to "Season of the Witch," and most unlikable Oscar winner ever Gwyneth Paltrow gets her twang on in "Country Strong," and those performances are sure to provide some HI-larious high camp entertainment. If you're, you know, into that kind of thing.

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  • Caryn James
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    Catching Up on The Great Oprah Filibuster of 2011

    Twice a year, the Television Critics’ Association has what I consider a dinosaur of a gathering, commonly known as TCA Press Tour, in which networks trot out their new shows and talent. I’m always happy not to be there, especially yesterday when I could sit back and read the very funny tweets from critics trapped in the room during the presentation for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. The headline: in answer to a single question which no one can quite remember, Oprah went on for – someone clocked it – 18 minutes and 15 seconds. This was supposed to be a press conference, not a dramatic monologue, but it ended up inspiring the hashtag #oprahfilibuster.

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  • Spout
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    "Season of the Witch" - Christianity is Evil, But the Devil Could be Worse

    I'm a sucker for bad movies set in the Middle Ages that function as attacks on the Church, then and now. My favorite might be Jacques Demy's "The Pied Piper," which stars Donovan in the title role. Like that film, "Season of the Witch" concerns the Plague and the belief that it's been caused by an unnatural source. There is also a minor link in their references to the Crusades. But the new movie, starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman as knights who go AWOL at the end of a hilarious, and surely historically inaccurate, montage of multiple Crusades battles, doesn't mess with the greed and corruption stuff so much as the scapegoating and hypocrisy.

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  • The Playlist
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    Shudder To Think Frontman Craig Wedren Scoring David Wain's 'Wanderlust'

    Shudder To Think frontman Craig Wedren can add yet another film to his repertoire come October. Wedren has been hired by longtime friend David Wain to score his latest comedy opus “Wanderlust”. The Shudder To Think vocalist is far from a stranger to the former member of the comedy troupe "The State," previously working on all of the funnyman's past films not to mention creating the theme songs for both "Reno 911!" and the short lived, yet hysterical, "Stella." The friendship first began in the MTV days, when Wedren composed music for the fan favorite "The State" and the rest, as they say, is history.

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  • Caryn James
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    TV Review: Shameless, Now With U.S. Welfare Fraud

    Can a falling-down drunk, single father of six, who pays his $700 a month bar tab – when he pays it at all – with his fraudulently-gotten disability checks be the hero of a series? Well, sure. It’s not easy. The original British Shameless, about an irresponsible father and his children, all of them resourcefully skirting the law, was about a family with accents that were sometimes hard to decipher, living in Manchester council housing. They were original, surprising, and they were Britain’s problem. The American remake follows the original almost to the letter, but the distance vanishes when the family lives in Chicago and is cheating the U.S. government.

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  • The Playlist
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    Sundance Selects Picks Up 'Mad Bastards'; Roadside Attractions Gets 'The Music Never Stopped'

    As luck would have it, two Sundance bound films have already found homes. When the list of titles were announced for this year's Sundance festivities, those included were a tad underwhelming and we were starting to wonder if it was going to be a lackluster year for the snowy peaks of Park City.Sundance Selects and Roadside Attractions hope that is not the case, as both have acquired films two weeks prior to the kick off of the prestigious film festival.

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