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  • The Playlist
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    Matt Damon Says Steven Soderbergh's 'Liberace' Will Now Shoot In 2012

    Unsurprisingly Thinks Ben Affleck Deserved An Oscar Nomination For 'The Town'Last we heard, Steven Soderbergh was clearing his final batch of products, preparing his exit from the world of movie directing to take up painting, a pastime he has quietly but studiously pursued for quite some time. Well, retirement is still in the cards but it might just have to wait as his film projects may keep him busier a little longer than expected.

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  • Spout
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    "Unknown" - An Allegory for Germany That Forgets It's an Allegory for Germany?

    Many will walk out of "Unknown" wishing that the slightly "Bourne"-esque espionage thriller about identity and memory (and Monsanto's worst nightmare) was directed by Paul Greengrass (or even Doug Liman). I would have preferred it to be the Hollywood debut of "The Lives of Others" director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who instead went and made "The Tourist." Based on the novel "Out of My Head," by French author Didier van Cauwelaert, "Unknown" was in fact directed by Barcelona-born Jaume Collet-Serra ("Orphan"), and if the book is as comically absurd as I'm thinking it is, perhaps Warner Bros. chose correctly. The film, which was scripted by Oliver Butcher ("Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde") and Stephen Cornwell (son of espionage fiction legend John le Carré, as it turns out), is rather silly. Its other major theme is the development of a cure for world hunger, after all. The plot, about a botanist (Liam Neeson) attending a conference in Berlin who wakes from an accident to find his identity and wife (January Jones) stolen by an impostor (Aidan Quinn), is surely a midpoint between Bourne and the worst of James Bond with a bit of "Twilight Zone" thrown in.

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  • The Playlist
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    Watch: Red Band Trailer For 'Hall Pass' Slightly Better, Proves Richard Jenkins Is Amazing

    We've always got a lot of hope for the Farrelly Brothers but we're unsure why. The duo haven't made a decent comedy in over a decade, and their recent output has paled greatly to the new school raunch comedy directors led by Judd Apatow and his merry band of filthy mouthed thesps. So here we have "Hall Pass," a film that has a good concept, but that failed to impress us with its first trailer. However, a new red band trailer for the film has arrived courtesy of Digital Spy and it's a slight improvement, with a couple of well-earned big laughs and Richard Jenkins showing up and pretty much stealing the whole thing.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Development Watch: Kunis/Franco in Oz, DiCaprio/Scorsese's Wolf, Firth's Fair Lady (UPDATED)

    - UPDATE 5/18: Michelle Williams will play Glinda, The Good Witch in Oz, The Great and Powerful.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    SBIFF: Writers' Panel, It Starts With a Script, The Writer's Journey

    My favorite assignment every year is moderating the Santa Barbara Film Festival screenwriters panel It Starts With the Script. This year it featured (right to left in photo) Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), Scott Silver (The Fighter), David Seidler (The King's Speech), Charlie Mitchell (Get Low), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3). Check out the videos below.

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  • Leonard Maltin
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    movie review: Unknown

    In the French-made, English-language sleeper Taken, Liam Neeson was a former CIA operative who was (outlandishly) able to thwart a sex-trafficking ring. Audiences responded vociferously to his take-charge character. His latest film, Unknown, was also made in Europe—this time, Berlin—by Spanish-born director Jaume Collet-Serra, and it casts the reliable actor in a role that couldn’t be more different. In this yarn, he loses control of his life, or to be more specific, his identity.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Oscar Noms Boost Soundtrack Sales of Inception and The Social Network

    The heyday of the movie soundtrack--once a powerful marketing tool for the studios--has waned. But Oscar nominations can boost a soundtrack into big sales, reports Anthony D'Alessandro: When it comes to recent soundtracks and film scores, consumers have been powering down their stereos.  Over the last four years, SoundScan sales for the genre fell from 27.2 million in 2006 to 16.4 million last year -- a 40% drop.   What was once a dependable ancillary for a film’s theatrical launch is now seen as a business gamble; record companies can no longer depend on the wallets of single males.  Aside from burgeoning digital downloads and piracy, the major studio music executives also gripe that there’s a disconnect between radio listeners and movie crowds.  Rap dominates the Top 40, leaving no room for a pic’s adult-contempo "love theme." MTV limits soundtrack music vids to a small percentage of film footage-- so that it doesn't play like a second trailer.

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  • The Playlist
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    Eddie Redmayne Joins Blake Lively & Chloe Moretz In 'Hick'

    More casting is coming together for the indie drama "Hick," following yesterday's news of Blake Lively joining the cast that also includes Chloe Moretz.

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  • The Playlist
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    Steve Carell To Join Meryl Streep In 'Great Hope Springs'

    With his run on "The Office" set to end soon, Steve Carell will be looking to fill up his calendar with movie roles. He's been linked to numerous projects over the past year -- too many to recount here -- but it looks like he's lining up one that will pair him with one of the great screen actresses of all time.

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  • The Playlist
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    In Theaters: 'I Am Number Four,' 'Unknown,' 'Big Mommas,' 'Putty Hill'

    Another Friday brings us another blockbuster, this one aimed squarely at the fluttering innards of tweenish types everywhere. And for the dads that drop them off at the theater, Mr. Neeson kicking ass, and for the true masochists, a new entry in the Granny Drag cannon. Of course, if you so choose, there are some interesting offerings in the mix, if pretty aliens and badass Neeson and Martin Lawrence don't entice you. Opening in wide release, Alex Pettyfer hopes to earn his diva behavior with "I Am Number Four," Liam Neeson stars in the reverse-amnesia vehicle "Unknown," and there's an unasked for sequel in the "Big Momma's House" franchise. In limited release, we've got some interesting stuff, including narrative/doc hybrid "Putty Hill," Gael Garcia Bernal in "Even the Rain," and Mexican cannibal flick "We Are What We Are." Let's begin, shall we?

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