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Thompson on Hollywood

Garner/Renner Get Addicted, Boardwalk Empire's Williams, Jacki Weaver, The Fighter Trailer

- Jennifer Garner will play the trophy wife addicted to prescription drugs and Jeremy Renner will play the lifeless pharmacist catering to (and falling for) the woman and the addiction via their disastrous extra-marital affair in Better Living Through Chemistry. (This seems to be a trend: another upcoming title is Love and Other Drugs.) THR is calling it a dramatic thriller, not a romantic comedy. Garner was at her post-Alias best in 2007's action/drama The Kingdom. This picture seems the most promising of her handful of projects in development (mostly comedies). And Renner's role sounds like a treat for The Town star to crack and crumble with. Writers Geoff Moore and David Posamentier will make their directorial debuts with this project.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 17, 2010 12:10 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Daily Show vs. America, Reality TV Wins, HBO Subscriber Drama

- Has Jon Stewart's career benefited from the fall of America? New York Magazine points out that America's decade of domestic decline has provided The Daily Show with plenty of material, and "unfortunately things are getting even funnier." Stewart says he likes to figure out "where the media is trying to build the narrative and where the story lines are going to go,” in order to position his political satire a bit higher on the joke spectrum than a kick in the groin. Since the beginning of the new century, with politicians increasingly appearing as mouthpieces for cable producers and the media transforming the way it is delivered and processed, Stewart has built longevity via counter-culture-political-comedy: "As truth has been overrun by truthiness and facts trampled by lies, he and The Daily Show have become an invaluable corrective—he’s Cronkite, the most trusted man in America."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 13, 2010 5:30 AM
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Modern Crime Families, Networks TV's New Challenges, Mad Men's Peggy Olson

- The LA Times thinks the family that slays together stays together. Pop culture's healthy appetite for criminals (nothing new) has been fed with low-key gems Animal Kingdom and Winter's Bone, and while they are no Godfather trilogies in scale, they deliver the same family-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-law drama that we love. And those of use who have had a void in our lives since The Sopranos ended will find hope in HBO's upcoming Boardwalk Empire. We are easily charmed by anyone that breaks the law, it's fun to be vicariously bad through our favorite TV characters (Dexter, anyone?), and there's something about the blood-bound clans that really get our attention - always has been. But our affection for (or identification with) contemporary crime families signals an evolution, suggests the LAT:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 6, 2010 5:30 AM
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Director Clooney Casts Political Drama, Affleck "All In" with The Town, TV vs. Cinema

- Occasional director George Clooney announced his intentions to adapt the play Farragut North some time ago. And now this February his movie is set to shoot with a powerful cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and possibly Chris Pine, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei (should they accept Clooney's offers). At some point, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio were each attached to play leading roles in the film but schedules didn't work out. Former Democratic politico Beau Willimon, after working on Howard Dean's '04 campaign, wrote the original story and first script draft about behind-the-scenes dirty campaign tricks for a Democratic candidate who will barely be seen on screen. The main characters include a young campaign whiz kid (Pine already won praise for playing the role onstage at the Geffen [pictured]), a veteran boss (Hoffman), a rival campaign manager (Giamatti), a teen staffer (Wood?) and journalist (Tomei?). Though the specifics of funding and distribution are as yet unconfirmed, Vulture says, "finding funding with this cast shouldn't require kissing a lot of babies."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 2, 2010 3:23 AM
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HBO Acquires Toronto Fest Doc Precious Life

Israeli documentary Precious Life marks an early pre-Toronto Film Festival sale as HBO acquires U.S. rights. Directed by Israeli broadcaster Shlomi Eldar and produced by Ehud Bleiberg and Yoav Ze’evi, Precious Life tells the story of a four-month-old Palestinian boy from Gaza who lacks an immune system and requires a bone marrow transplant. This can only be done in an Israeli hospital.  As his doctor pleads for help, Israeli journalist Shlomi Eldar decides to document this complex drama about Israeli and Palestinian doctors’ attempt to save the kid's life.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2010 10:13 AM
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HBO Celebrates 25 Wins at Emmy After-Party

HBO scored a whopping 25 Emmy wins Sunday, and studded the red carpet and after-parties with many of their stars. Amy Dawes and videographer Billy Vasquez were there:
  • By Amy Dawes
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  • August 31, 2010 1:52 AM
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More: Awards, Video, TV, Emmys, HBO

Boardwalk Empire: New Making-Of Promo

This HBO making-of promo for Martin Scorsese's Boardwalk Empire (September 19) is tantalizing to say the least. The featurette includes interviews with Terence Winter (The Sopranos), Scorsese, and each of the leads, as well as more reveals on the story.
  • By Cameron Carlson
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  • August 25, 2010 6:27 AM
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Idris Elba as Alex Cross, Bateman's Reckless Masturbation, Fair Game's Identity Crisis

- It's no longer Morgan Freeman's time on the James Patterson murder mystery series (Kiss the Girls, Along Came A Spider). The veteran actor last played the role of Dr. Alex Cross in 2001, but now a new man is taking over the role for Cross, the next cinematic installment in the best-selling series: Idris Elba, of The Wire, The Office, and Obsessed. The 37-year old Brit actor has a long TV and film resume and is due for a meatier lead in a studio feature. Although he's stepping into a role played by Freeman, he's reminiscent of Denzel Washington circa 1999's The Bone Collector. Washington at 43 was in his prime: dignified, sexy, powerful. David Twohy will direct Cross, which follows the character as he tracks a rapist he believes to have murdered his pregnant wife years ago.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • August 19, 2010 3:59 AM
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Sexy Vampires: From Rolling Stone's True Blood Cover to Burton's Dark Shadows

Got to give Rolling Stone points for one of the most memorable covers in some time. (Here's the True Blood story that goes with it.) Clearly, sex, nudity and vampires sell.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 17, 2010 9:41 AM
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  • 10 Comments
More: Media, TV, HBO

TCA: HBO Unveils New Material from Scorsese, Lee, Mann, Haynes and Milch

Saturday's HBO panel at TCA was full of news on much-anticipated projects from Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Michael Mann, Todd Haynes and David Milch. Amy Dawes reports:A new slate heavy on cross-over cinema talent and enlivened by the antics of wild card talents like Carrie Fisher and Spike Lee was presented late Saturday by HBO, clearly the big dog at the cable portion of the TCA press tour, to finish out the biannual event.
  • By Amy Dawes
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  • August 8, 2010 12:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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