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Weekend Wrap: Newsweek Cover, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Django’ Last Push, Gibney on ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Weekend Wrap: Newsweek Cover, 'Les Miserables' and 'Django' Last Push, Gibney on 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Newsweek wrapped up its print life this week with its final cover – featuring a hashtag and the phrase “lastprintissue.”  In honor of the issue, Andrew Romano compiled an oral history of the magazine here.

– Tarantino has participated in a New York Times “Anatomy of a Scene” series and simultaneously showcased new “Django Unchained” material.  It centers on Broomhilda Von Shaft, played by Kerry Washington – Django’s wife and the object of his quest.  Watch below or with a new trailer at The Playlist.

– In an astoundingly researched and strongly argued essay, Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side”) weighs in on the controversy surrounding “Zero Dark Thirty,” its accuracy on its use of torture, and why torture must not be sanctioned, ever. He begins with this:

“It’s difficult for one filmmaker to criticize another. That’s a job best left to critics. However, in the case of Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, an issue that is central to the film — torture — is so important that I feel I must say something. Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow have been irresponsible and inaccurate in the way they have treated this issue in their film. I am not alone in that view. Yesterday, Senators Carl Levin, Dianne Feinstein and John McCain wrote a letter to Michael Lynton, the Chairman of Sony Pictures, accusing the studio of misrepresenting the facts and “perpetuating the myth that torture is effective,” and asking for the studio to correct the false impression created by the film. The film conveys the unmistakable conclusion that torture led to the death of bin Laden. That’s wrong and dangerously so, precisely because the film is so well made.”

– In an unusual move, the current CIA director, Michael Morrell, has engaged with the debate about accuracy in “Zero Dark Thirty,” according to the LA Times.  This follows a bipartisan set of senators – John McCain, Dianne Feinstein, and Carl Levin – who also admonished Kathryn Bigelow’s movie for its use of torture.

– Just before the Christmas Day release of “Les Miserables,” Universal has issued a new trailer, highlighting “Les Mis” stage veteran Samantha Barks singing “On My Own,” over new clips form the film (watch below).  Barks played Eponine in the West End production of the musical. Expect to see more of her on film.

Director Joseph Kosinski provides commentary for the trailer of “Oblivion,” in which Tom Cruise plays a technician trying to survive and work in a post-apocalyptic Earth.  The trailer released earlier in December introduced audiences to the landscape and look of this lonely world and Kosinski talks through the video with 12-minute audio track.

– Six “Gatsby” character posters have hit the web – with Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan, Jordan Baker, Myrtle Wilson, and Nick Carraway.  Head here for all the shots.

MUBI, the online cinema lovers site, now offers a set of 30 hand-picked films — from “Momento” to “The General”– to subscribers.  For $4.99 a month, it releases a continually revolving library.

In an interview with IndieWire, Kristen Stewart confirms that she will appear in “Snow White and the Huntsman” sequel, saying: “Oh, it’s gonna be f**kin’ amazing,” Stewart said. “No, I’m so excited about it, it’s crazy … I’m not allowed [to talk about it]. The other day I said that there was a strong possibility that we’re going to make a sequel, and that’s very true, but everyone was like, ‘Whoa, stop talking about it.’ So no, I’m totally not allowed to talk about it.”  While Stewart will return, director Rupert Sanders will not.

Wired has published a wonderful profile on Pixar animator Jeff Pidgeon, who manufactures his own (Pixar-like) toys.  Head here for more about his backstory.

Amazon will start culling and editing its user reviews on books. Writers can’t review other writers, no family member bolstering, but giving five stars to a book you haven’t read is still fair game. These rules come after multiple cases involving writers manipulating their reviews.  

– The Oklahoma Film Critics Circle has named “Argo” as their best film of 2012.  Follow Ben Affleck’s film, “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Django Unchained,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “The Master,” “Lincoln,” “Looper,” and “Les Miserables” round out the list.

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