Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

Read More »

Magnolia Acquires Freakonomics Movie

Freakonomics

Magnolia Pictures has acquired the domestic distribution rights to the big screen adaptation of Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner‘s bestselling book Freakonomics.

Like the book, the film examines human behavior with provocative and sometimes hilarious case studies, bringing together a dream team of filmmakers responsible for some of the most acclaimed and entertaining documentaries in recent years: Academy Award® winner Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Casino Jack and the United States of Money), Academy Award® nominees Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp), Academy Award® nominee Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight) and Seth Gordon (The King of Kong).

The film is set to premiere as the closing night film of the Tribeca Film Festival in early May. No release date has been announced. You can read the whole press release after the jump.

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abramoff

For once it isn’t M. Night Shyamalan getting stuck into a bitter dispute over a film’s title (see The Woods/The Village and the Avatars) but some fresh meat. The combatants this time are documentarian Alex Gibney and sometime documentarian, sometime fiction filmmaker George Hickenlooper. At this moment, they’re both at work with films about the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff – Gibney a doc, Hickenlooper a drama set to star Kevin Spacey – and both of the films are claiming the title Casino Jack.

A cease and desist letter has been sent to Hickenlooper from the legal representatives of Gibney, threatening “any and all necessary action” if Casino Jack the second doesn’t budge over and find a new handle. What could “any and all necessary action” actually amount to?

Some excerpts from the letter and from Hickenlooper’s stinging response coming right up after the break.

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