NEW MOVIES IN THEATERS – Jan 29, 2010

WHEN IN ROME

Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Stars: Kristen Bell, Josh Duhamel
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The Plot: Beth (Bell) is a young, ambitious New Yorker who is completely unlucky in love. However, when she impulsively steals some coins from a reputed fountain of love during a whirlwind trip to Rome, she finds herself aggressively pursued by a band of suitors.

EDGE OF DARKNESS

Director: Martin Campbell
Stars: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Plot: As homicide detective Thomas Craven (Gibson) investigates the death of his activist daughter, he uncovers not only her secret life, but a corporate cover-up and government collusion that attracts an agent (Winstone) tasked with cleaning up the evidence.

SAINT JOHN OF LAS VEGAS

Director: Hue Rhodes
Stars: Steve Buscemi, Romany Malco, Sarah Silverman
Studio: IndieVest Pictures

The Plot: John (Buscemi) is a compulsive gambler who fled Las Vegas for a more normal life and steady job at an auto insurance company in Albuquerque. Tasked with co-investigating a dubious car accident, however, John finds himself back on the road to Sin City.

Miramax, RIP: A major mini fades to black

It was built on sex, lies and videotape. Also “Sex, Lies and Videotape.” And “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “The English Patient” and “The Postman.” Plus Quentin Tarantino, Matt and Ben, Gwyneth and Renee, and a foul-mouthed Jersey clerk named Smith.

And yesterday, it finally faded out.

Thirty-one years after it started – and 17 years after its founding brothers, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, fatally sold the company to Disney – Miramax has shut down for good.

According to its Mouse Factory overlords, its New York and Los Angeles offices will be swept clean. Its 80 employees will fill out unemployment applications. Its few remaining, unreleased movies? Sold off quickly to cable, probably, and forgotten.

The story of Miramax will be harder to forget.

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Final two “Harry Potter” movies coming in 3D

Studio executives around town have been scrutinizing film slates for opportunities to expand forays into 3D releasing. Warners has been testing footage from its upcoming "Clash of the Titans" -- converted into 3D by an outside vendor -- and the tests have gone so well that the studio has decided to release not only "Titans" but also the two-part "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in 3D.

Warners refused to confirm the decisions Tuesday, but an announcement on "Titans" -- a co-production with studio-based producer Legendary Pictures -- is expected by week's end. Official word on the "Potter" pics also is awaited.

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Apple iPad Will Deliver New Ways To Watch Movies

The iPod forever changed the way we listen to music: how we just dance to Lady Gaga, our state of mind about Jay-Z, the manner in which Taylor Swift belongs to us. On Wednesday (January 27), Apple introduced another sleek portable device it's hoping will further transform how the world consumes its multimedia: the iPad.

As unveiled by Apple top dog Steve Jobs at the company's press conference in San Francisco, the iPad is a tablet computer that's essentially an oversize, souped-up version of the iPod Touch or iPhone. It also comes with a whole host of news features that offer consumers fresh ways to consume video, from HD movies to full-screen YouTube clips to web footage on The New York TimesWeb site. The intention is that it'll now be just as easy to go where no man has gone before with "Star Trek" as it has been to rock out with Gaga's "Poker Face."

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At Sundance, New Routes to Finding an Audience

The starkest picture to emerge from the opening days of this year’s Sundance Film Festival may be of an independent film business forced to stretch in untested directions because its old distribution model no longer works.

Standard operating procedure over the years at Sundance, the cinematic bazaar now under way in this resort town, has been simple: show your film and hope it plays well enough to attract a theatrical distributor or, if the movie is particularly small and arty, a video-on-demand deal.

If no deal happens — and this is where more than 75 percent of Sundance offerings landed last year — you go home and try Internet downloads, DVD and foreign television sales.

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Making of ’24’ Season 8

‘Human Target’ TV series creator Jonathan Steinberg and actor Jackie Earle Haley chat about Fox’s new action show

On Sunday, January 17, FOX launched Human Target, an action adventure series starring Mark Valley (FringeBoston Legal), Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies), and Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen). The show is loosely based on a DC comic and features Chance (Valley), an amazingly skilled bodyguard who protects clients in serious danger by integrating himself into their lives.

Human Target is fast-paced and funny, with impressive action sequences. Executive producer Jonathan Steinberg and co-star Jackie Earle Haley spoke to the media about what to expect from the mid-season series.

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Memo to Sundance filmmakers: Be distinct

Only a few years ago, a first-time filmmaker might bring a good movie or fresh idea to the Sundance Film Festival and, simply because they made it into the event, walk away with a paycheck. But not anymore.

Sundance, the top U.S. gathering for independent film, headed into the second-half of its 10-day run on Tuesday with only a few titles, including thriller "Buried," having been acquired by distributors.

Gone are the days when headlines trumpeted record-breaking sales ("Little Miss Sunshine" in 2006), and distributors bought movies here just to be a player in the market for low-budget dramas and comedies made outside Hollywood's studios.

Those heady times of the late 1990s and 2000s have been replaced by a greater focus on what makes a film unique and more business savvy about production costs and marketing.

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’24’ Dossier: Get to Know Season 8’s New Faces

Same stuff, different day: Jack Bauer may have spent his offseason bonding with his granddaughter in New York City, but that doesn't mean our country doesn't need him to save lives.

As Season 8 of "24" kicked off last week, Jack found himself drawn into a new terrorist plot — and all the grandfather wanted was to get on a plane to join his family in Los Angeles. Instead, he found himself in the midst of an assassination attempt when a bleeding Victor Aruz showed up on his doorstep.

And while the "24" universe features some familiar faces once again this season — including Jack, Chloe, Renee Walker, and President Taylor — there's a host of new players on the show. Here's a roundup of the ones to watch.

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Small films take over at Sundance film festival

The snow is piling up in Park City, Utah, almost as fast as the Sundance Film Festival’s unsold movies—especially among the festival’s most prominent titles. But a number of smaller, more personal films, along with one low-budget genre title -- are beginning to emerge as the talk of Park City.

The Ryan Reynolds thriller “Buried” screened very strongly in its late-night slot Saturday, as both specialty and studio buyers, emboldened by the success of “Paranormal Activity,” scouted the film.

Insiders said a deal for the movie – in which a civilian truck driver held for ransom in Iraq tries to escape a coffin using only his wits and a cellphone – could happen as early as Sunday evening. Lionsgate, Fox Searchlight and other high-profile studios sent executives to see the film, with the first two considered the frontrunners to land the picture (top executives from both companies were watching the movie in private screenings Sunday morning). With several effusive fan boy reviews, a multi-million dollar deal could be possible, making it one of the most lucrative sales of the past few years.

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