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  • ReelPolitik
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    Will "A Separation" Oscar Win Hurt or Help Iranian Cinema?

    It's practically a forgone conclusion that "A Separation," Asghar Farhadi's incisive examination of domestic and class struggle in Iran, will win the award for Best Foreign Language Film at the forthcoming Oscars. As I've mentioned before, the film reveals universal truths about fidelity and concealing it that transcends borders, and as of last weekend, I believe the movie became the top-grossing Iranian film in the U.S. ever (CORRECTION: Not yet, it's still got half-a-million to go to beat Majid Majidi's 2000 release "Color of Paradise"). It's a strong film, worthy of its screenplay nomination, as well, and by all measures, such success and accolades should be cause for celebration in the Iranian film industry. But it's not.

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  • The Playlist
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    'Book Of Mormon' Star Josh Gad Will Play 'The Game' With James Franco

    Exactly a month ago today we were talking about James Franco taking the lead role in "The Game," the latest project from the writing and directing pair Brian Koppelman and David Levein (who also penned "Ocean's Thirteen" and "The Girlfriend Experience" for Steven Soderbergh). The film will be based on Neil Strauss' autobiographical bestseller which follows the author's experiences infiltrating the guys club world of pick-up artists. Franco will play Mystery, a sexual guru who teaches others how to transform from nerd to stud and use secret techniques to pick up women.

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  • The Playlist
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    Sony Pictures Classics Pick Up Acclaimed Sundance Drama 'Smashed' With Mary Elizabeth Winstead & Aaron Paul

    After the disappointing box office performance of last year's Sundance crop -- films like "Take Shelter," "Like Crazy" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" all failed to live up to expectations, with none making more than $4 million -- it's unsurprising that buyers have been a little less trigger happy this time around. There have been plenty of major sales -- most notably Fox Searchlight's pick ups of "The Surrogate" and "Beasts of The Southern Wild" -- but over a week after the fest wrapped up, a number of major titles remain in play. For instance, most had pegged the starry, foul-mouthed comedy "Bachelorette" as the most likely pick up, especially in a post-"Bridesmaids" climate, but the film is yet to find a home.

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  • Caryn James
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    Lilyhammer: Take the Gun, Leave the Sheep's Head. Silvio Goes to Norway

    As Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano, a mob guy who has crossed too many people, Steven Van Zandt looks and sounds exactly like Silvio Dante, his character from The Sopranos, right down to the giant pompadour and petulant lower lip. The similarity is intentional and for a short time a problem. There’s a reason secondary characters are secondary. Much as we love him, do we really want a whole series about Sil? But as soon as Lilyhammer makes its offbeat swerve, this new series really takes off. Frank rats out his boss and asks to be relocated to Lillehammer because he remembers it from the ’94 Olympics as the land of beautiful snow and beautiful women. Suddenly he’s Giovanni (“Call me Johnny”) Hendriksen, importing his tough-guy ethos to Norway, and Van Zandt convinces us we do want to see what happens to Silvio in the gentle land of snow. It’s not always so different from hunting down a victim in the Pine Barrens, but this victim is a wolf. Not a metaphorical wolf, an actual animal.

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  • The Playlist
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    New Images From 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation,' 'Prometheus' & 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

    Now that we've all had a chance to recover from the excitement of either a) some of the awesome Super Bowl spots or b) a pretty thrilling Super Bowl (depending on your relative levels of interest) it's time to check out something a little more sedate -- still images.

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  • Press Play
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    OSCARS DEATH RACE: HUGO

    Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in a fairy tale, in both senses of that word. He's not troubled with real-life adolescent bagatelles like homework, and he lives unsupervised in the clock tower of a Parisian train station, where he's in charge of keeping the clocks running. But Hugo is unsupervised because his parents have both died. (…I believe? I'm not entirely clear on what has become of his mother; his father, played by Jude Law, is consumed by a fiery backdraft in flashback, and this is not explained either.) Hugo's druncle Claude (Ray Winstone) takes custody of the boy, sticks around long enough for Hugo to learn the station-clock trade, then goes on walkabout, and Hugo is left to fend for himself. Fortunately, he's gifted at fixing things, so he keeps the clocks running in the hopes that nobody will notice Claude has gone missing, and dodges the station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen), an orphan-phobe with a mechanical leg and an equally hostile Doberman. Hugo nicks pastries from bakeries, and spare parts from Georges, the sour proprietor of a toy stall (Ben Kingsley), because on top of keeping the time and staying out of the boys' home, Hugo has a third job: trying to fix an old automaton repatriated by his father from a museum, in the hope that the machine will send him one last message from beyond the grave. And it does, in more ways than one.

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  • Press Play
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    OSCARS DEATH RACE: Surveying the race for Best Supporting Actress?

    OSCARS DEATH RACE: Surveying the race for Best Supporting Actress?

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    Wartime Britain – Three Complete Dramas on DVD

    Stories inspired by real-life events of World War Two continue to inspire dramatists and filmmakers, especially in the UK…and I never tire of watching them. Here are three solid examples recently released as a boxed DVD set by Acorn Media.

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  • The Playlist
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    Watch: 'Battleship,' 'John Carter,' 'The Avengers' & Clint Eastwood Lead Super Bowl Ads

    The greatest advertising opportunity of the year aka the Super Bowl, is over, and one highly priced team of players beat another highly priced team of players. But as always, it's the ads everyone is talking about anyway, and this year, Hollywood dropped a bunch of cash hoping to lure football lovers to theaters over the next few months.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    'Luck' Episode Two: Dustin Hoffman Is Still Trying to Get Traction

    Does it say something very good about television or something very bad about movies that Dustin Hoffman is appearing in (and producing) “Luck”?

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