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Court Sets Back FCC Jurisdiction Over Net Neutrality

In a blow to the FCC's ability to require net neutrality by expanding broadband and barring internet service providers from favoring their own content at the expense of others, on Tuesday a three-judge Federal Appeals court panel ruled against the FCC. Here's The Wrap and THR:The court tossed out an Aug. 2008 cease and desist order by the FCC against Comcast, which had slowed transfer speeds for peer-to-peer file sharing service BitTorrent.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 6, 2010 4:42 AM
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  • 0 Comments
More: Web/Tech, News, TV

Spielberg Does Not Have Asperger's Syndrome

Imagine my surprise when listening to an NPR report stating as fact that Steven Spielberg has Asperger's Syndrome. Anyone who has had any interaction with the guy knows that he's not only a super-smart and gifted filmmaker with extraordinary technological command (which easily could accompany an Asperger's diagnosis), but he's also highly intuitive, with warmth, charm and social skills to spare (which is far less frequent).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 29, 2010 9:22 AM
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  • 26 Comments

MGM Accepts Bids, Extends Debt Deadline

In anticipation of a reported $1.5 billion bid by Time Warner, MGM extended the deadline for the close of bidding from Friday to Monday, reports Reuters: "Lions Gate Entertainment and billionaire Len Blavatnik's industrial holding company Access Industries have put in second-round bids for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but Time Warner Inc is still considering a bid, sources told Reuters on Monday."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 22, 2010 11:46 AM
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  • 0 Comments

MPAA Launches New Film Ratings Site

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has launched a rejiggered film ratings website for its Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA). Outgoing MPAA chairman Dan Glickman wants the site to provide parents with more "clear and concise information about the content of a film in order to help them determine whether a movie is suitable for their children,” he said.  The new site boasts FAQs, ratings definitions and an expanded printable and searchable database of films rated as far back as 1968, when then MPAA-chairman Jack Valenti devised the ratings system to stave off local censorship of movies. Parents can also sign up for a free weekly email service ("red carpet ratings") with ratings info on current films, and if they're interested, check out the way the MPAA rates and monitors showings of trailers, too.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 17, 2010 6:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
More: Studios, News

Conan O'Brien and Fox Talk Real Deal

NBC paid $50 million to refurbish the old Jack Benny stage on the Universal lot, and is willing to lease it back to O'Brien for his new late night show, which could go to Fox, reports the LAT, one of several cable channels (not Comedy Central) or into syndication.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 17, 2010 5:12 AM
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  • 1 Comment
More: News, TV

Variety Cuts Its Life's Blood: Critics McCarthy and Rooney

Variety Cuts Its Life's Blood: Critics McCarthy and Rooney
At Saturday's HBO Oscar party, I enjoyed dishing about the upcoming Cannes line-up with Todd McCarthy, Variety's film critic for three decades, who is the paper's biggest star and the main reason readers all over the world read the august trade. His reviews post first, and are the best-read thing in Variety, bar none. The day after the Oscars, publisher Neil Stiles confirmed that as a cost-cutting measure, film critics Todd McCarthy and Derek Elley and theater critic David Rooney are out, set loose as possible freelance contributors. (No talks on such deals have yet taken place.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2010 9:17 AM
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  • 12 Comments

Woody Allen Sells Stranger to Sony Pictures Classics, Shoots Next in Paris

As expected, Sony Pictures Classics continues to release Woody Allen's Euro-financed pictures, acquiring North American rights to his latest, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, starring Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Freida Pinto and Naomi Watts. Shot last August in London, the film was financed by Spain's Mediapro, which backed Vicky Cristina Barcelona. SPC also released Allen's Whatever Works in 2009 and Sweet and Lowdown in 1999. Expect a Cannes debut followed by a fall opening stateside.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 3, 2010 3:42 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Twilight Stars Hit Media with Remember Me, Yellow Handkerchief, Runaways, Oscars

Twilight Stars Hit Media with Remember Me, Yellow Handkerchief, Runaways, Oscars
One of the dangers of hitting big in a franchise like Twilight is that that every blessed indie movie that can't get arrested suddenly gets a release. And everyone wants you to do press. Poor Kristen Stewart! After opening Twilight: New Moon last November, she hit Sundance like a freight train in January with the hard-edged drama Welcome to the Rileys and The Runaways, in which she stars as rocker Joan Jett opposite Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2010 11:54 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Jolie Passes on Wanted Sequel, Universal Bails

The deal on The Wanted sequel: Universal wanted Angelina Jolie to star. That meant that she had to approve the script--which had to persuasively bring her back from certain death. Once she turned the movie down, Universal killed the sequel--what could have been a valuable franchise for the studio--and Jolie is moving on to space thriller Gravity, for Warners, reports New York Vulture.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 26, 2010 12:44 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Superman Reboot is Goyer's Man of Steel

Warners/D.C./Legendary have hired David Goyer to write the new Superman reboot. Goyer's working with Jonathan Nolan (Batman Begins) on an idea from his brother Christopher Nolan. There had been speculation--denied by DC--that Christopher Nolan would be supervising the new Superman iteration. In fact, Goyer reinvented Batman with Nolan. And his story for Nolan's The Dark Knight went on to earn $1 billion. He also wrote Marvel's X-Men Origins: Magneto. Warner Bros. was cautiously making sure it had the right approach to its next Superman picture before losing the rights to the character in 2013. Here's Variety (which credits Latino Review with breaking the story):
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 25, 2010 7:54 AM
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  • 5 Comments

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