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  • Shadow and Act
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    Today's Birthdays - 9/23/11 (Anthony Mackie, Chi McBride and LisaRaye)

    New Orleans native Anthony Mackie welcomes 32 today. The stage and screen actor has appeared in 8 Mile, Brother To Brother, She Hate Me, Law & Order, The Manchurian Candidate, Half Nelson, We Are Marshall, American Violet, The Hurt Locker, Notorious, Desert Flower, Night Catches Us and The Adjustment Bureau. He currently can be seen in What's Your Number?, Man On A Ledge and Real Steel.Chi McBride says "hello" to 50. The Chicago native's impressive list of film and tv credits include The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Revenge Of The Nerds 3, Married With Children, Gone In Sixty Seconds, The Practice, Max Steel, Undercover Brother, Boston Public, The Terminal, I, Robot, House M.D., Roll Bounce, First Sunday, Pushing Daisies, The Family Tree, Psych, Hawthorne and How I Met Your Mother among others.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    China Selects Zhang Yimou's Flowers of War, Starring Christian Bale, as Oscar Entry

    The backers of Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War, a tough period drama set during the horrific 1937 Nanking Massacre, are heaving sighs of relief. China has chosen the film as its official Oscar entry. It is due for December 16 release in Asia and was for sale at the recent Toronto Film Festival, where I saw a stunning 20 minutes of footage. This means that a buyer is now more likely to step up to qualify the film at year's end for a Christian Bale Oscar campaign, knowing that The Flowers of War may wind up a foreign Oscar nominee. (There's just enough Chinese in the English/Mandarin dialogue to qualify.)

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Review Round-Up: Roger Ebert's Life Itself: "The best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written"

    Roger Ebert, the owner of arguably the most powerful thumbs in America, has published a memoir documenting his 69 years. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the only film critic to garner a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Ebert writes in Life Itself how he helped to change the way movies were reviewed. Especially in light of his recent struggles with cancer, film and book critics alike are lauding Ebert's introspective portrayal of his past, with some saying that Life Itself is the best writing the Ebert has ever penned. Read the reviews below.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Media Watch: Dish Network Unveils Blockbuster Movie Pass, Facebook's Push to the Past

    Today, the Dish Network revealed Blockbuster Movie Pass, its competitor to Netflix. Blockbuster Movie Pass will resemble the previous Netflix model, bundling DVD-by-mail rentals as well as online video streaming. However, its customers must sign up for the satellite provider for access to streaming. The new program, which will be available Oct. 1 and costs $10 a month, will offer 100,000 movies and TV programs to rent by mail, with another 4,000 movies available streaming. Read more at the Wrap.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Taylor Lautner: What Happens If Abduction Fails?

    Taylor Lautner, the Twilight teen idol, has been poised for movie stardom. But what if his first solo attempt, the upcoming action film Abduction, fails? Lautner's agents at William Morris have posed the ripped 19-year old at a big star, lining up multi-million dollar roles (he will receive $5 million for Abduction), but what if he can't move past Twilight? (Neither Kristen Stewart nor Rob Pattinson has scored in a big way on their own outside the Twilight franchise.)

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  • The Playlist
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    Johnny Depp Visits The Set Of 'The Hangover' In New Poster For 'The Rum Diary'

    Back when the trailer dropped for "The Rum Diary," this writer (who has not read the book on which the film is based) got pilloried for daring to suggest that the boozy, Caribbean vacay vibe felt less adventurous than Terry Gilliam's "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas." "It’s way different than fear and loathing," our commenters said with folks arguing, "These stories are two different galaxies" and that "nothing really happens in the book other than him going to South America, trying to keep a paper from going under eating alot of cheesburgers and of course drinking alot of rum." Ok, we'll grant that the story is different and comparing "Withnail & I" director Bruce Robinson's film to Gilliam's isn't fair. But we will say this, no matter what is actually contained in the book, the marketing folks behind the movie want you to believe Johnny Depp is gonna get wrecked.

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    Dolphin Tale—movie review

    Not all family films are created equal. This one was inspired by the remarkable real-life story of a dolphin named Winter who washed ashore in Florida, had to have its tail amputated, and taught itself to swim even without the appendage. As it turns out, that wasn’t the end of Winter’s challenges.

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  • Shadow and Act
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    "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey" Gets A Trailer (In Theaters October 21)

    A documentary both Sergio and I have seen and gave thumbs up to. I saw it at Sundance; he at Black Harvest; We both thought it was charming, funny and inspirational. So, now you know you have to see it as well, when it officially opens in limited release, on October 21st.

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  • The Playlist
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    Mychael Danna's Rousing 'Moneyball' Score Feat. This Will Destroy You & A Lenka Song Is A Big Winner

    Discussing soundtracks, especially scores can be, in some instances, sort of dull. It's easy to confabulate when a pop or rock figure like Trent Reznor ("The Social Network"), Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead ("There Will Be Blood") or Karen O & The Kids ("Where The Wild Things Are"), but aside from Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Clint Mansell, Jon Brion and maybe John Murphy known for his great collaborations with Danny Boyle, there are very few "superstar" composers that mainstream audiences appreciate or generally want to read about. For example, Alberto Iglesias (known for his work with Pedro Almodovar) is probably, aside from Alexander Desplat, one of the greatest living composers on the planet right now, but not that many spend time spilling ink over his work. In our minds, Abel Korzeniowski ("A Single Man") is certainly a composer to watch, but can anyone hum one of his works?

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  • The Playlist
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    In Theaters: 'Abduction' Will Try To Kidnap The Box Office From 'Moneyball' & 'Killer Elite'

    Greetings, earthlings. How is your September treating you? Pleased as punch that good movies are coming back? Well this week we have "Abduction" ahahaha, joke's on you! No but seriously, we have the smart baseball movie "Moneyball" that has made its way to the screen, by hook or by crook, despite the development hell it went through. And we also have the Statham-De Niro-Owen crotch-punching actioner "Killer Elite." It's a mixed bag this weekend at the 'plex!

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