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There are two films about disgraced ‘super-lobbyist’ Jack Abramoff. The documentary Casino Jack & The United States of Money is in theaters now. The other, a feature once called Casino Jack and now titled Bagman, is directed by George Hickenlooper and stars Kevin Spacey as Abramoff. A promising combination, to be sure, but if this new trailer for the film is anything to go on, this is a promise unfulfilled. Read More »

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Update: Buzz continues to build as the film just won Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival.

I like how Todd Solondz talks. In the below featurette—ideal for a Saturday afternoon in both length and Puerto Rico palm casualness—the writer/director of Welcome to the Dollhouse discusses his new film, Life During Wartime. Yep, titled after the Talking Heads’ classic. You may or may not know that Wartime is being cited in early reviews as a return to form for Solondz, the rare American director who is unwaveringly committed to exploring the fringes and norms of society.

There was a time in the mid ’90s when I actually confused Solondz and Wes Anderson, due to their media-buzz indie predilection and similar disheveled nerd-artist appearances. Funny that in 2009, that seems like such an odd and off mix-up. Perhaps tellingly so. Wartime stars Paul Reubens, in sickly make-up, the swell Allison Janney, a dour-looking Ally Sheedy, and Little Boston’s Paul Dano, and finds Solondz revisiting and reimagining several characters from his controversial pedophile study Happiness, in addition to ones from Dollhouse. Variety has called it Solondz’s best.
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