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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Cedar Rapids' Provides A Trickle Of Laughs Instead Of A Torrent

    On paper, "Cedar Rapids" sounds like a no brainer. The Frank Capra-esque premise is familiar: a small town man is sent off to the big city where he struggles to adjust to the fast pace and shifty morals of metropolitan life. And when you line up a stacked roster of talent that includes John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Sigourney Weaver, Alia Shawkat, Rob Corddry and Stephen Root, the movie should pretty much just write itself. Figuratively speaking, that is. But unfortunately, Miguel Arteta seems to have literally taken what was probably a great treatment and hoped that his actors and actresses could do the rest with unfortunately middling results.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    Reverse Shot Podcast: TV Party at the Museum of the Moving Image

    As their recent all-night event Signal to Noise proved, the newly reopened Museum of the Moving Image really knows how to throw a party. Don't miss out this and next weekend when special guest curators (and Reverse Shot staff writers) Leah Churner and Nicolas Rapold unleash a whole new kind of celebration at the museum—TV Party: A Panorama of Public Access Television in New York City. With StoryCorps' inimitable producer Michael Garofalo, we interviewed Churner and Rapold for the latest edition of the Reverse Shot Podcast, as they prepared for the series, which kicks off with a live reunion event tomorrow, Friday, February 11, and runs through February 20. It promises to be an amazing show, full of anything-goes, garrulous late-night talk-show hosts, stuffed-animal dance parties, adult-only curios of a lost New York (pre-AIDS–era gay bathhouse ads, included), and, of course, the Rock and Roll Psychiatrist himself. Subscribe to the Reverse Shot podcast to listen now.

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'The Eagle' Marred By Humorless Melodrama & A Silly Bromance

    Helluva Chase Though...While mildly engaging initially, but soon marred by cliches, all-to-familiar and humorless swords and sandals tropes, a barrage of mixed accents (including puzzling Brooklyn ones), and the unintentional bromance comedy of two warring leads turned bffs by the end of the picture, Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle" fails to deliver anything we haven't seen from the Roman soldiers/bros. on-the-run genre.

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    movie review: CEDAR RAPIDS

    One of the things I admire most about director Miguel Arteta’s films (including Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl) is that he shows such compassion for his characters. That’s why I was thrown off by Cedar Rapids, at first. The screenplay, by newcomer Phil Johnston, seems to be making fun of its naïve, almost childlike small-town hero, Tim Lippe, a dedicated insurance salesman played by Ed Helms.

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  • Caryn James
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    TV Review: Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones Film Cormac McCarthy

    Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson are confined to a single room in The Sunset Limited, but this film version of Cormac McCarthy’s play distills the same questions that explode in action in his best-known novels and the movies made from them. Just as No Country for Old Men can be seen as a parable of good and evil set in a contemporary gun-slinging West, and The Road projects issues of faith and responsibility across a barren, apocalyptic landscape, the two characters who sit and talk in a shabby New York apartment here deal with moral issues of light and dark straight out of Milton.

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  • The Playlist
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    Bummer: Miguel Arteta Gives Us The Rundown On Many Of His Failed Projects

    EXCLUSIVE: With "Cedar Rapids" opening this weekend, director Miguel Arteta has proven himself as a keen observer of subtle comic stories with a light touch. Of course, even with a body of work like his ("Chuck and Buck," "Youth In Revolt") there are bound to be a few films that fall by the wayside. When we talked to Arteta recently, we found that many of the projects he was considering were actually dead, as he's currently devoting his energy into the new HBO show "Enlightened."

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  • The Playlist
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    'Gnomeo & Julet' Director Kelly Asbury Talks the Narrative Quality of Elton John Songs

    Plus: His Take on the Nearly Endless Development Process & Why Everyone Gets Uptight About the Movie's EnglishnessDisney and Rocket Films' "Gnomeo & Juliet," opening nationwide this Friday, has had a storied production history that could be its own compelling film. The story of star-crossed lawn ornaments was set up as a joint Disney/Rocket Films production in the first part of the aughts, under the supervision of "Beauty and the Beast" co-director Gary Trousdale, with Kate Winslet and Ewan McGregor attached (they're now replaced by Emily Blunt and James McAvoy). The project fell apart, only to regain steam and be cut down again when Pixar's John Lasseter was installed, as the head of Disney's animation division (this was around the time he axed Chris Sanders' "American Dog," before neutering it and turning it into the toneless "Bolt"). The project was finally rescued by executive Dick Cook, who set it up not at Disney Animation proper, but with Miramax instead. Of course, with Miramax since being sold, Walt Disney are now taking on distribution duties for the film. At the end of all the back and forth, this take on the Shakespearean classic, thankfully, did not end in tragedy.

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  • Spout
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    John Hughes Honored With Artwork, "Captain America" Marketed Correctly and More Discussion Fodder

    - "Scooby Hughes" by David Macdowell, which depicts "The Breakfast Club" as "Scooby-Doo" characters will be on display at Gallery88 in Santa Monica, California, as part of the exhibition "The Road to Shermer: A Tribute to John Hughes," which begins tomorrow.

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  • The Playlist
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    Review: 'Orgasm Inc.' Leads The Fight Against The Myth Of Female Sexual Dysfunction With Maturity

    Documentary filmmakers got a bone to pick nowadays, probably more than they ever have. Is it the lack of rough and tough journalists digging deep to reveal horrid truths involving corporations, government, and society? Or is it the ease that the digital age has brought us, allowing modern, pissed off man to obtain a half-decent camera sly enough to capture anything without seeming too suspicious? There's also the growing crop of outlets catered to the style (festivals, indie theater programs, internet streaming, etc.) plus the appealing excuse to document absolutely everything. Throw all these into a mixing bowl (along with a dash of ego for the director-as-a-host docs) and you've got your answer. Unfortunately even the best enlightening/exposé docs fail to hit the mainstream hard ("Food Inc." comes to mind), instead only pampering the holier-than-thou twits who can already recite all of the bullet-point facts included in the films. So what's the point? Hard to say, but frankly it's a bit defeating to make a rally-up flick and have it just give the faux-activists a topic to post on their Facebook walls for a fortnight. Thankfully there's more than a handful that do a little bit more, turning accepted opinion ass-up and starting a conversation everyone needs partake in. Elizabeth Canner's debut feature does just that - "Orgasm Inc." delves into the "disease" Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD), aiming the camera at the people (and pharmaceutical companies) making top dollar telling women they're abnormal.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Oscar Watch: Bening Could Beat Portman, Exclusive The Kids Are All Right Video, Tribute Q & A

    Oscar Watch: Bening Could Beat Portman, Exclusive The Kids Are All Right Video, Tribute Q & A

    Annette Bening is a classy theater actress who came late to movies--she was almost 30 when she took her first lead role in Milos Forman's Valmont. She went on to work for future husband Warren Beatty on Bugsy and Love Affair, and had three Oscar-nominated roles, in Stephen Frears' The Grifters, Sam Mendes' American Beauty and Istvan Szabo's Being Julia before landing a fourth for Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right.

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