great newsroom movies

In honor of Steven Spielberg‘s new newspaper drama The Post, we’ve combed through the archives, pounded the pavement, dusted off the typewriter and put together a list of some of the best newsroom movies fit to print. It’s a list comprised of both crusading, truth-seeking journalists and career opportunists willing to bend the truth as long as it makes for a great story. The connective tissue holding these films together is the ever-present newsroom, where typewriters sing and the truth lives or dies when a story goes to the presses.

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This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the films at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.

Rent It

A love note to newspapers and old-school reporting, State of Play overcomes its more conventional aspects–most of which relate to the overall murder mystery/conspiracy plotline–with a fascinating (if not altogether realistic) look at investigative journalism and one man’s attempts to discover the truth. If that too sounds at all familiar to dozens of other thrillers following the lone-protagonist-trying-to-unravel-a-conspiracy story arc, that’s understandable, as even those aspects of the film tread familiar waters. In this particular respect though, the similarities are mostly superficial. Rarely before has the process of finding out information been handled so thoughtfully as in State of Play, and with such great pacing and intelligence. This movie is popcorn entertainment at its finest. On the surface, it’s a thoroughly engaging thriller that’s both well-written and directed, but look past the glossy veneer, and it also addresses a number of thought-provoking issues such as how people consume news and the current state of journalism. It’s well worth a watch.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD & Blu-ray – Making-of featurette and deleted scenes.

Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $15.99 $15.77
Amazon – $15.99

Target Best Buy Fry’s
$25.99 $25.99 $25.77
Amazon – $25.99

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As recently as January 2009, industry observers speculated that The New York Times might go out of business before the end of the year, crushed under the weight of insurmountable debt. In the January/February 2009 issue of The Atlantic, Michael Hirschorn asked, “Virtually all the predictions about the death of old media have assumed a comfortingly long time frame for the end of print…But what if the old media dies much more quickly? What if a hurricane comes along and obliterates the dunes entirely? Specifically, what if The New York Times goes out of business—like, this May?” The NYT’s troubles reflect the broader problems of the newspaper industry as a whole, which continues its Bataan death march into financial ruin.

Many might rejoice at the notion of an entirely digital future for journalism, where information is easily accessible, facts are often accompanied by easy-to-read opinion, and citizen journalism (and maybe a touch of internet vigilantism) are allowed to take hold. But the facts don’t conveniently line up with that kind of thinking. Hirschorn writes: “Internet purists may maintain that the Web will throw up a new pro-am class of citizen journalists to fill the void, but for now, at least, there’s no online substitute for institutions that can marshal years of well-developed sourcing and reporting experience—not to mention the resources to, say, send journalists leapfrogging between Mumbai and Islamabad to decode the complexities of the India-Pakistan conflict.”

These tensions in the journalism industry are adeptly brought to the forefront in Kevin MacDonald‘s new film, State of Play.
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observeIn this episode of the /Filmcast, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley discuss the ideal business situation for 3-D glasses at theaters, get excited about Duncan Jones’ Moon, deconstruct the awfulness of Marley & Me, and reflect on the brilliance of Jody Hill. Special guests Katey Rich from Cinemablend and Whitney Matheson from USA Today’s Popcandy blog join us.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next MONDAY night at Slashfilm’s live page at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST as we review Crank 2.

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Academy Award’s 2009 Movie Preview

sherlock holmes oscars

During the credits of the 81st Academy Awards, video clips were shown for many of the films that will hit theaters in 2009. You might have turned off the television after Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture and missed everything. Or maybe you just want to see the awesome Terminator Salvation footage or the first look at Public Enemiess again. If so, don’t worry, we have the whole 3-minute clip embedded after the jump.

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State of Play Movie Trailer

Universal Pictures has released the trailer for State of Play, the new dramatic crime thriller starring Ben Affleck and Russell Crowe. Based on the BBC mini-series of the same title, the film tells the story of ” a team of investigative reporters work alongside a police detective to try to solve the murder of a congressman’s mistress.” Ben Affleck, who replaced Edward Norton in the final hour leading up to the production, plays the fast-rising politician who is caught up in a murder conspiracy. Crowe of course plays a journalist who is investigating the killing. Brad Pitt was attached to play the reporter role but also dropped out at the last minute. Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn and Jason Bateman co-star.

State of Play is directed by Kevin Macdonald, the Academy Award winning documentary turned feature filmmaker behind Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void and One Day in September. The screenplay adaptation was penned by Michael Clayton and Bourne scribe Tony Gilroy and Matthew Michael Carnahan (The Kingdom). The movie looks like a decent crime thriller, but not much more. May-be I was just expecting a lot more considering all the talent (currently and formerly) involved with the project. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Watch the trailer in High Definition on Yahoo. State of Play hits theaters on April 17th 2009.

There’s a lot of casting news tonight, and instead of boring you with three separate news stories, I thought it might be better to combine them into one Casting update. So here we go.

Chow Yun Fat in Dragonball Z

Chow Yun Fat has been cast as Master Roshi in 20th Century Fox’s live-action Dragonball Z movie. Chow’s character trains Goku, played in the film version by  Justin Chatwin, an alien warrior who must protect Earth from “an endless stream of rogues bent on dominating the universe and controlling mystical objects known as Dragon Balls.” He may look like an old man but he is stronger than most beings on Earth. In English, his name means “Invincible Old Master”. The announced cast also includes: James Marsters, Emmy Rossum and Jamie Chung. Dragonball is currently shooting in Mexico City.

Kevin Macdonald is currently in talks with Ben Affleck to replace Edward Norton, who has officially left Universal’s State of Play. The film which was scheduled to begin production in Mid-November, will now begin production in January 2008. Affleck will play a fast-rising politician who is caught up in a murder conspiracy. Russell Crowe will play a journalist who is investigating the killing. Helen Mirren, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn and Jason Bateman are also attached.

Brad Pitt, who also just left State of Play, is now in talks to replace Heath Ledger in Terrence Malick‘s Tree of Life. Sean Penn is still scheduled to play a supporting role in Tree of Life. Apaprently Pitt would have earned $20 million against the gross to star in State of Play, but is considering this film which offers “nearly no upfront money.” In this Brad Pittday and age, you have to respect an actor who would turn down that kind of cash, and instead opt to work for Malick for next to nothing (at least up front).

What is it about? In one version of the screenplay, the story opened with “a sleeping god, underwater, dreaming of the origins of the universe, starting with the big bang and moving forward, as fluorescent fish swam into the deity’s nostrils and out again.” Malick supposedly wanted to create something that has never been seen before, and dispatched cameramen all over the world. They shot micro jellyfish on the Great Barrier Reef volcanic explosions on Mount Edna, and ice shelves breaking off in Antarctica. special effects consultant Richard Taylor describes sections of the script as “pages of poetry, with no dialogue, glorious visual descriptions.” Sounds interesting

sources: THR, Variety, Variety, Vanity Fair