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  • Leonard Maltin
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    James MacArthur: The Disney Connection

    When James MacArthur passed away last week at the age of 72, the obituaries I read emphasized his role as “Danno” on the long-running TV hit Hawaii Five-O, and understandably so…but at the same time they glossed over his career-building years at the Walt Disney studio. I was too young to see teenaged MacArthur in the live TV drama The Young Stranger and the feature film it spawned was over my head as a young moviegoer, but I vividly remember being introduced to the actor when Disney released The Light in the Forest, Third Man on the Mountain, Kidnaped, and Swiss Family Robinson. I wrote about all those films, and their significance, in my book The Disney Films, and still think Third Man on the Mountain is an—

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  • SydneysBuzz
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    Our Daily ISA (International Sales Agent): Bleiberg Entertainment and its genre label Compound B

    I asked Roman Kopelevich, chief of sales for Ehud Bleiberg's company to send me information on the company which stands out as a U.S. based company which produces and sells quality films both in U.S. and in Israel. Producer Ehud Bleiberg launched Beverly Hills-based production and international sales company Bleiberg Entertainment in September 2005 after 12 years as Chairman & CEO of another international production, distribution and sales company he co-founded in 1993. At that time when he and his partner arrived in L.A. from Israel, the film community was curious to know how the "new Israelis" would fit in. Others had come and gone, leaving their distinctive marks (scars?) and it was a new generation. Bleiberg had managed advertising agencies, foreign news entities, and was a business developer before devoting his career to the entertainment industry. Before arriving in the U.S., he also produced feature films in Israel. His film "Himmo: King of Jerusalem" (1988) was highly acclaimed abroad and was an official selection in the Toronto, Chicago, and Edinburgh Film Festivals. His next film, "The Appointed" (1990), enjoyed even more success as an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival. This was followed by the hit film "Tel Aviv Stories" (1992) which was one of the year's most successful films in Israel and throughout Europe. The company operates on a proven business plan with respect to the production, acquisition, financing and distribution of filmed entertainment to the worldwide marketplace with a slate of projects geared toward the theatrical, DVD and TV markets and mixing specialty fare such as Precious Life (premiered Toronto and sold to HBO) or his production, multi award winning The Band's Visit with more commercial genre fare. Precious Life was the subject of a fascinating article by L.A. Times' Patrick Goldstein entitled Middle East Politics Seen Through A Personal Lens.The company develops, funds and produces a diverse array of feature films and is currently in various stages of production on a number of high-profile projects including Danny Lerner's sophomore project, the action thriller Kirot starring Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, Hitman), which premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.

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  • The Playlist
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    "It's Going To Be A Bloodbath:" Who Will Survive The Summer Of 2011, And What Will Be Left Of Them?

    The knock-on effects of the 2007 writers' strike have been felt heavily in the last few years. Last summer saw the obviously rushed likes of "Wolverine," "Terminator Salvation," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra;" all of which were patently harmed by the disruption caused by months of inaction by screenwriters, while the films were in or gearing up for production. Hell, even "Star Trek," easily the strongest of the tentpoles that year, had script issues.

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  • The Playlist
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    'True Grit' Release Date Moved Up To December 22nd

    The wait for the Coen Brothers' highly anticipated "True Grit" has just gotten slightly shorter. Paramount has moved up the release date of the film by three days to December 22nd from its original Christmas Day bow.

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  • The Playlist
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    New 'Gulliver's Travels' Trailer Has Mega iPhone Product Placement & Jason Segel With A Bad Accent

    You know, we really tried to be optimistic about this. The cast features a bunch of very funny people we really like such as Jason Segel, T.J. Miller, Romany Malco, Joe Lo Truglio and hell, even Jack Black, who can be great in the right circumstance. And with a script co-written by Nicholas Stoller ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall," "Get Him To The Greek"), we figured this might be the rare mainstream comedy that would have some fun with its premise. But alas, that's not to be.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Tim League Talks Alamo, Four Lions, Badass Digest, Fantastic Fest

    Austin exhibitor Tim League came to Los Angeles to promote the November 5 release of rookie director Chris Morris's fest hit Four Lions, the first film to be released by his expanding dinner-theater chain, The Alamo Drafthouse. We talked about the success of the Alamo theaters, the Austin film scene, hiring CHUD's Devin Faraci to create Alamo's new blog, Badass Digest, and why League felt compelled to launch indie distributor Drafthouse Films with a British terrorist comedy.

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  • Spout
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    "Monsters" and "127 Hours" - Two Films Too On-the-Nose?

    Can a movie still be great if it has to beat you over the head with its message? This is a question I'm asking myself this week in response to two new films, "Monsters," which opened modestly in limited release over the weekend, and "127 Hours," which debuts in a few theaters this Friday. I really like both, the former more than the latter, but I can't ignore the fact they each could have been a lot subtler. I can't rightly complain too much about works featuring very on-the-nose denouements. I do love Frank Capra, after all, and though he was subtle enough politically to be often confused for a New Deal Democrat, or even an outright "comrade" by the Soviets, he does have a number of films with spelled-out messages, such as the title-reinforcing monologue by Lionel Barrymore at the end of "You Can't Take It With You." I'm also a huge fan of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Danny Boyle Talks 127 Hours: Intense Reality, Franco, Crowds, Rahman

    In this video interview, Danny Boyle talks about his decisions on 127 Hours, including: how intense should the climactic scene with hiker Aron Ralston (James Franco) be for audiences? He has to hack through his arm's muscle and bone to extricate himself from an unmovable Utah boulder pinning him in a remote canyon, where no one knows his location. Obviously, as there have been repeated instances of audience members fainting during the scene, it is too realistic for some people. And Boyle worries about this: to him it is not a fun marketing ploy. It could in fact keep moviegoers away. But truth is, the movie pushes us to root for the stranded hiker's survival. It is a true story about isolation, endurance, and connection. (Here's the piece I wrote in Toronto, including a flip cam interview with Boyle and Franco.)

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  • The Playlist
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    Jonah Hill Calls 'Sausage Party' "A Very Hard And Aggressive R" Rated 3D Animated Film

    Wait, what's "Sausage Party" you ask? Let's rewind a bit to last summer.

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  • The Playlist
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    Heavy Drug Use, Escort Abuse And Now 'The Expendables 2' & 'Major League IV' For Charlie Sheen

    Your screenplay isn't selling. You aren't scoring acting auditions anymore and your singing voice is being booed at the local bar and grill. Is there any way you can finally score a working job in Hollywood? Well, have you tried attacking an escort lately? You haven't? Well, clearly some of us are making $25-30 million a year working on a shitty sitcom, and some of us aren't.

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