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Fox Fires Friedman for Reviewing Pirated Wolverine

What was Fox News 411 columnist Roger Friedman thinking? It's hard to fathom what was going on in his mind when he downloaded the pirated early edit of Fox's Wolverine and reviewed it. He was out of line on several fronts, along with being just plain self-destructive. Yes, he was showing how easy it was to view a bootleg movie online. But you don't go ahead and review an early version of a movie that is a big-budget summer tentpole--from his employer. Well, not surprisingly, Fox has let the freelancer go, reports Nikki Finke. UPDATE: Over the weekend, Friedman told Variety he was still employed, but the separation was official after a Monday confab. The studio has been one of the most ardently anti-piratical of all the majors.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 5, 2009 5:36 AM
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ShoWest: Roger Ebert Honored

After a video montage in which directors Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, and Oliver Stone paid tribute to Roger Ebert, Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker presented ShoWest's Career Achievement in Film Journalism Award to the Pulitzer-Prize winning critic of the Chicago Sun-Times. "Roger Ebert is the most popular, most respected, most honored, and most eclectic film critic in American history," Barker said, citing Ebert as "one of the few saviors of independent film--films of all shapes and sizes--American independent features, foreign films, documentaries, and animated films. Ask any independent filmmakers who Roger has championed. Errol Morris will tell you Roger gave him his career. Louis Malle used to tell everyone Roger Ebert saved My Dinner With Andre and Atlantic City from disaster, Robert Altman the same with several of his films. Pan's Labyrinth, Memento, Monster, Hoop Dreams, Roger and Me--we would not know these movies in the way we know them if it were not for Roger Ebert. This is fact."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 3, 2009 5:42 AM
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Inglourious Basterds: Vanity Fair Photo Gallery

Vanity Fair has posted a glorious photo gallery of shots by Brigitte Lacombe taken on the set of Quentin Tarantino's new movie Inglourious Basterds--which I cannot wait to see at Cannes. Enjoy.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 3, 2009 5:39 AM
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Links: Richardson, NY Fests, Katzenberg, Flip-Cam Sale, Cinephile Fare, Newspaper Death Rattle

Back from SXSW, I've been playing catch-up. For much of the news media, Natasha Richardson was the sad, sad story of the week.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 19, 2009 9:16 AM
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Blog Watch: NYT Turns Carpetbagger into Year-Round Movie Blog

The New York Times has finally figured out that it's dumb to shut down their movie blog, The Carpetbagger, which has been pegged to media columnist David Carr writing in the guise of amateur Oscar-watcher The Bagger. In past years, when Carr quit the seasonal gig, the blog went dark, which I always thought was a crime. Especially in this competitive age, blog traffic is hard-won and foolish to lose. For the moment, this impersonal NYT staff blog has replaced Carr, who lent a marvelous pulse to The Carpetbagger. Most people want to find a personality, a reason to check out a blog. Aggregation might hold the space for a while. But the numbers will, inevitably, dip.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 5, 2009 5:46 AM
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More Media Upheaval, Leibovitz and Watchmen Reviews

The L.A. media ranks continue to be winnowed. The Media News Group is turning long-time Daily News critic Bob Strauss into an entertainment editor, leaving colleague Sean Means in Salt Lake City (who is keeping track of the declining numbers of film critics) as one of the chain's surviving movie reviewers. At least Strauss has a job. For the moment. The Daily News' film critic Glenn Whipp and TV critic David Kronke are gone. And Media News' Denver Post, which asked its employees to take a week off without pay before March 1, is now the surviving paper in Denver: The Rocky Mountain News published its last edition last week.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2009 6:10 AM
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Blogging: Fast and Loose

Deadline Hollywood Daily's Nikki Finke insists that she is a journalist/dominatrix--not a blogger. I am tired of bloggers not wanting to cop to being bloggers.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2009 6:01 AM
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Jolie Rates on Forbes List

The most remarkable thing about the top-ranked players in the Forbes Star Currency list (which measures power, money and fame) is that Angelina Jolie competes head-on with Johnny Depp, her partner Brad Pitt, and Will Smith. It helps that she nabbed an Oscar nom for Changeling. But she's ranked so high because of Wanted. She nabbed $15 million to anchor that movie, because she's an action star, the first ever to compete on a level playing field with her male peers. The studios will even give Jolie a role written for a man: she replaced Tom Cruise in Phil Noyce's upcoming studio thriller Edwin A. Salt.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 12, 2009 8:06 AM
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Recession Red: Media Industry Jobs Slashed

When I run into my fellow journos on the town, they look at me with palpable anxiety. I'm a reminder of their worst fear: losing their staff jobs. (The ranks of media freelancers are expanding rapidly.) And many of the people I'm talking about are stars, writers who by any measure are hard-working and successful. Some are veterans who expected to finish out their careers at their paper, others are young rising careerists. All are scared.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 12, 2009 7:32 AM
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Dueling Journo Divas

Ex-NYT reporter Sharon Waxman's online news site The Wrap is off to the races, with tough features from Kim Masters and Devin Leonard about the networks and inflated showbiz salaries. The online media universe is getting more crowded, and the LAT's Claudia Eller isn't about to sit back and let Waxman (or even her own inter-office rival, Patrick Goldstein) beat her to stories. I was amazed that the powers that be at the LAT took Eller's Company Town column away some years back, leaving her to do breaking business pieces--which nobody does better. Now Eller and the film biz reporters are going to get access to that column with a later deadline as they already take advantage of the Company Town blog.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 4, 2009 2:24 AM
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