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Liam Neeson Is Go-To Global Star, Takes on Matt Scudder in 'A Walk Among the Tombstones'

In a world where you can't count on many movie stars--Tom Cruise? Will Smith?--and foreign sales financing dictates non-studio indie production, most of it formula genre fare aimed at a global market, Liam Neeson is king. The "Schindler's List" and "Taken" star has taken the place of aging tentpole anchors Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Tommy Lee Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino as the older guy with authority, gravitas and menace who can handle some action and romance as well as carry a movie in multiple markets around the world. He can believably play presidents and kings, fathers, lovers and action heroes. His presence even for a short bit in a movie is worth millions and can get it made.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 13, 2013 2:26 PM
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Louisiana Film Prize Announces iTunes and Festival Distribution Deal for Top Five Winners

The Louisiana Film Prize has announced that it will provide a distribution deal through Shorts International for the award winners. This means filmmakers will not only be competing for $50,000 -- one of the largest cash prizes for a shorts festival -- but also for a chance to further screen at the Dallas VideoFest, Sync Up Fest and the Hollywood Shorts Fest.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 13, 2013 12:07 PM
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First Look: Two Julianne Moore Flicks, 'The English Teacher' and 'What Maisie Knew' Hit Screens in May

Julianne Moore is on a roll, winning a Primetime Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a miniseries or television movie for her ringer portrayal of Sarah Palin in "Game Change." And the actress has two movies coming out in May—a loosely adapted Henry James novel called "What Maisie Knew" and "The English Teacher."
  • By Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange
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  • March 13, 2013 6:38 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Magnolia Acquires Sundance and SXSW Music Doc 'Muscle Shoals'

Magnolia Pictures likes docs. The indie distributor has acquired US rights to Greg "Freddy" Camalier's Sundance entry "Muscle Shoals," a documentary about the Alabama Muscle Shoals recording studio that spawned some of the greatest records of all time. Produced by Stephen Badger and Camalier, the film includes interviews with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Alicia Keys, Bono and more. The film is debuting in Austin Tuesday at the Paramount Theater as part of the SXSW Film Festival.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 12, 2013 2:29 PM
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Warner Bros. to Release 20-Film Comedy Box Set for 90th Anniversary, Includes Cary Grant Classics, Marx Brothers, Mel Brooks

Warner Bros. celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2013, and to mark the occasion is releasing five box sets throughout the year, with 20 films each highlighting the best of the studio's output. First up: the Comedy Collection, including such unbeatable classics as Howard Hawks' "Bringing Up Baby," George Cukor's "The Philadelphia Story" and Frank Capra's "Arsenic and Old Lace." Alas, it also includes "The Hangover," but nothing's perfect. Full list of titles below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 12, 2013 11:54 AM
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Happy National Hitchcock Day, From 'Vertigo' Topping 2012's Sight & Sound to 'Bates Motel'

March 12 is National Hitchcock Day, celebrating the Master of Suspense and his oeuvre of films.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 12, 2013 11:51 AM
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Cannes Picks Luhrmann's 'Great Gatsby' to Open Fest May 15, After its Stateside Release UPDATED

Cannes opening night is always Fest Delegate General Thierry Frémaux's biggest headache. How to find the right combination of "big" movie with artistic pretensions directed by a proven auteur delivering some glamorous stars for the red carpet? All too often, the actual quality of the film is irrelevant. Thus the opening night of the 66th Festival du Cannes is "The Great Gatsby," Warner Bros.' 3-D spectacular from Baz Luhrmann. The Australian filmmaker memorably opened the fest with Fox's "Moulin Rouge" in 2001, with one of the best parties I have ever been to in my life. I remember Rupert Murdoch dancing with Nicole Kidman, among other things.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 12, 2013 1:53 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Joss Whedon Makes 'Much Ado' About Tweeting

Fans rejoiced as Joss Whedon sent out his first tweet on March 7: "Hey it's Joss. I'm tweeting. I'm a member of the twitterati. I hath tweeth'd. It's on. -Joss— @MuchAdoFilm"
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • March 10, 2013 5:45 PM
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First Look: Set Images from Wes Anderson's 'The Grand Budapest Hotel,' Starring Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave

  • By Maggie Lange
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  • March 10, 2013 4:06 PM
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  • 3 Comments

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Preview Report: Producer Bryan Burk Talks Promo Tour, Franchise Future

Friday in London, Paramount Pictures screened an extended look at "Star Trek Into Darkness" at the BFI IMAX cinema, introduced by producer Bryan Burk and including the opening 28 minutes of the film plus two other extended sequences. What they showed of J.J. Abrams’ belated sequel, which arrives four years after he rebooted the franchise with 2009’s "Star Trek," was thrilling stuff, even if you don’t count yourself a colossal (or even casual) Trekkie. That, as Burk explained in his intro to the footage, has always been their primary goal with this sequel: to make a film that appeals across the board.
  • By Matt Mueller
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  • March 8, 2013 5:46 PM
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