MOVIE OPENINGS – Feb 27, 2009


Director: Wayne Kramer 
Stars: Harrison Ford, Sean Penn, Ashley Judd
Studio: Weinstein Company, The

The Plot: A multi-character drama centered around the issue of illegal immigration in the United States.


Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak 
Stars: Kristin Kreuk, Neal McDonough, Michael Clarke Duncan
Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

The Plot: Interpol agent Chun-Li (Kreuk) enters an underground fighting tournament, with her eyes set on M. Bison (McDonough), the contest's founder and leader of a crime syndicate who may have been responsible for the death of Chun-Li's father


Director: Greg Marcks 
Stars: Shane West, Edward Burns, Ving Rhames 
Studio: After Dark Films

The Plot: An engineer (West) receives an untraceable cell phone, which he slowly becomes aware is used for dangerous purposes. Following the instructions he receives via text message, soon finds himself fighting for his life as the target of an international plot.

Working in the documentary film form

Interviews with USC Professor Jeremy Kagan and MHZ Networks producer Glenn Luther about the challenges for modern documentary filmmakers.

Obama watched ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ as first movie in White House theater

Knowing that the current president is a movie fan and avid supporter of the arts, news was leaked that Obama watched 'Slumdog Millionaire' in the White House theater as his first official movie in the White House theater. CNN's John King notes:

"The first movie Obama viewed in the White House theater was 'Slumdog Millionaire.' He loved it, and parts of the movie reminded him of his childhood days in Jakarta, Indonesia."

This was reported during the President's lunch with noted news anchors.

Director Mike Leigh on playing cowboys and indians

Mike Leigh was born on February 20 1943, in Salford, Greater Manchester. The only British director to have won both the Palme d’Or at Cannes (for Secrets and Lies in 1996) and the Golden Lion at Venice (forVera Drake in 2004), Leigh is also a six-time Academy Award nominee, and this year he is once again Oscar-nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category for his latest film, Happy-Go-Lucky. The inimitable method that Leigh has developed in order to devise his film and theatre productions has been much misunderstood and misreported, but in the definitive career-length interview book Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh, edited by Amy Raphael and published by Faber and Faber in 2008, Leigh addresses the huge interest in his working methods that exists among film fans and would-be filmmakers alike.


Signs Of A Bad Film Director

Every movie director will have a specialty. Some directors pay more attention to the performances, some to production design, some put all the emphasis on the camera work. No matter what the differences may be amongst film directors, the one thing that will ultimately lead to their downfall is lack of people skills. Nothing is more indicative of the possibility of a filmmaker failing in the future as not knowing how to treat people.


U.S. cable, programmers set for Web TV by summer


Cable and satellite TV providers are working on a free online video service to deliver up-to-date cable shows to computers and mobile phones, but the industry is worried the project could cannibalize pay-TV's long-standing revenue model.

Millions of U.S. consumers are already watching broadcast TV shows on free websites such as, but cable network programing is available primarily on cable and satellite TV services, such as Comcast Corp and DirecTV Group Inc, or nascent video services from phone companies.

"This is about bringing new amounts of content to the Internet in a business model that continues to support the creation of that content," said Sam Schwartz, executive vice president of Comcast Interactive Media.


Tough economy affects new TV pilot shows

Pilot season is feeling the economy's pain in more ways than one.

The mandate at the networks and studios this year is to cut costs by any means necessary -- from slashing above-the-line salaries to shooting far from Hollywood to secure tax breaks -- and to generally deliver as much or more than in past years but with smaller budgets.

The sharp downturn in the nation's economic fortunes also is directly influencing the premises of a number of projects for the 2009-10 season, particularly on the comedy side.


Woody Allen signs up ‘Slumdog’ star Freida Pinto


His movie-making has cemented the careers of a host of actresses who have gone on to claim Oscar success after starring in his whimsical comedies. Now, Woody Allen has adopted the Indian actress and star of Slumdog Millionaire, as his latest ingenue.

Allen, who famously uses the same female muses over and over again, has cast Freida Pinto, 24, alongside established Hollywood alumni including Naomi Watts, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Josh Brolin, who recently starred in the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men. He starts filming for the unnamed comedy in London this summer.

Fresh from her red-carpet triumph at the Oscars ceremony, where she wowed the crowds and international media, Pinto appeared on the American morning news programme Today to speak about the role. "Yes, it's up in July. So thank you, Danny Boyle, for helping me take off," she said.


Behind the scenes peek at Vanity Fair’s Oscar party

The champagne’s been guzzled, the confetti swept, and the golden statuettes taken home to adorn the winners’ mantelpieces. Vanity Fair’s 15th Oscar party may be over, but you can relive the Hollywood magic with this slide show of the evening’s most glamorous images.

Ashton Kutcher struggles with online ventures

In his Los Angeles production office, Ashton Kutcher, the star of Punk’d and That ’70s Show, is leaning over a coffee table doing algebra. It’s the day before his production company, Katalyst Media, will launch a game show called Opportunity Knocks, and Kutcher is trying to make a point: Just because he can’t spell his stepdaughter Tallulah’s name doesn’t mean he’s stupid. 

“I didn’t name her!” exclaims Kutcher, who is married to Tallulah’s mom, Demi Moore. “It’s not like I sat down with the wife and went through 'Should we have two l’s or one l?' She’s my stepdaughter!... I was never a good speller,” he adds. “I’m a math person.”

Kutcher has a challenge. He’s a model turned actor turned camera pitchman turned successor to Bruce Willis in the Moore household. Getting people in the business world to take him seriously is no easy task. Though he has a track record in Hollywood, producing TV shows and films, he’s now venturing outside his comfort zone to Silicon Valley. 


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