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  • Caryn James
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    Christmas Oddity # 2 : Mr. Magoo Sings Dickens on Broadway

    Don’t scoff at Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol before you hear the conceit of this 1962 animated feature: Magoo is starring on Broadway in a musical version of Dickens’ classic. Three minutes in, the Magoo character vanishes into his portrayal of Scrooge, and you might as well be watching a first-rate Broadway show. There are memorable songs by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill (Funny Girl and other hit shows). And the story, which stays pretty true to Dickens – all the ghosts are there -- is funny and affecting. Magoo plays Scrooge straight, and turns out to be one of the better versions around. The film has its kitschy elements, but what Broadway musical doesn’t? It’s also as cheerful and heart-warming as Christmas is meant to be.

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  • The Playlist
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    Jack Black Says Muppet Cameo Will Be Meta; Jason Segel Trying To Land Lady Gaga, Says No 3D

    Disney’s new Muppet movie -- now called “The Muppet Movie” -- has had more actors attached to it than the Academy Awards. On the surface the plot is classic Hollywood but according to a recent interview with Jack Black, there’s an interesting kick to it. No, we're not talking about an “Inception” type kick, although we would like readers to pause for a moment and contemplate that story arc. Instead, Black will play someone very close and familiar.

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  • Caryn James
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    Christmas Oddity # 1: Creepy Santa in "Rare Exports"

    Like many of you I’ll be taking a break over the holiday weekend, but I leave you with a few off-beat recommendations to come back to, no matter what your mood: pre-ghost Scrooge, post-ghost Scrooge, or ready to escape into another world. First: Creepy Santa. Cheers!

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Holiday Box Office Preview: True Grit vs. Little Fockers

    Every year the studios dream of scooping up Christmas holiday sugar plums. Will they find them this season? Anthony D'Alessandro makes a fearless holiday box office forecast:What present do the majors want to open under the Christmas tree? A box office full of cash. "There’s no better time of year for adult moviegoing then the week between Christmas and New Year’s,” says Paramount distribution exec vp Don Harris. “Good movies play well to everybody. The play’s the thing.”

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  • The Playlist
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    Exclusive: Kazakh Director Akan Satayev Says Kevin Coster In Talks For Upcoming Historical Epic

    We recently talked with director Akan Satayev, the helmer behind the Kazakhstan official foreign language film entry "Strayed." The picture is a unique entrant in the foreign language race, an unusually genre based film that's a little hard to explain and falls somewhere between David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock; telling the enigmatic, very visual story of a man who gets stuck on a country road with his wife and son only to encounter something far stranger than he ever expected. It's a film we never would have thought to come from Kazakhstan as it has much more in common with European arthouse fare, but when we asked the director what he was up to next, we got a little bit of a surprise.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    E Film Critics' Top Ten Quote Whores

    E Film Critic's Erik Childress continues to wage war against critics who he deems "whores." They consistently deliver the film quotes that the studios love to include in their ads. Finally, I don't know who most of these people are.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    All Good Things: The Coen's "True Grit"

    The early teaser of True Grit that played before last summer’s Inception presented staccato shots of glowering cowboys raising heads and six-shooters from the shadows, cocking them at quivering defenseless victims, and muttering cryptic macho dialogue. It promised “retribution” come Christmas, and seemingly a return to the godless, pitiless worldview of No Country for Old Men. Obviously trailers can’t be trusted, especially when tailored to the audience of the accompanying feature, but if True Grit ended up as mean-to-the-bone as advertised, it seemed a counterintuitive choice for Paramount to release during a holiday week. Yet True Grit is the Coens’ straightest adaptation yet, and the original Charles Portis novel is both a comedy and young adult adventure story before it is a violent revenge tale or even a western. And while fingers do get sliced off and characters are shot point blank in the face, the well-meaning True Grit is a surprisingly principled and square family option for the holidays.

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  • The Playlist
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    Trailer & Poster For 'Cedar Rapids' Starring Ed Helms & John C. Reilly

    Hot off the presses as a 2011 Sundance Film Festival entry arrives the trailer and poster for "Cedar Rapids," Fox Searchlight's new salesman roadtrip film with "The Hangover" star Ed Helms in his first big shot since that 2009 breakout movie. Directed by Miguel Arteta ("Youth In Revolt," "Chuck & Buck"), the film also co-stars John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr. (Sen. R. Clayton 'Clay' Davis from "The Wire") Sigourney Weaver, Alia Shawkat, Rob Corddry, Stephen Root and more.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Alliance of Women Film Journalists Nominees

    Alliance of Women Film Journalists Nominees

    The Alliance of Women Film Journalists has posted its nominees for the 2010 AWFJ EDA Awards (full list is below). Nominated for Best Film are Black Swan, Inception, The King's Speech, The Social Network and Winter's Bone. Oddly, The Kids Are All Right received 16 nominations-- but not best picture. Helen Mirren (RED) got five.

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  • The Playlist
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    New Look At 'The Smurfs' Reveals Stone Cold Thuggin' Gangsta Smurf

    Here's a new look at a probably terrible movie and no, that's not Gangsta Smurf standing to the right of Papa Smurf, but probably Grouchy Smurf. But doesn't it look like he's about to whip out a gat and bust a cap in yo ass? We don't want to run into that guy in a dark alley.

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