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  • September 05, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    Now that we’ve gotten war off our TV screens, we can put it back where it belongs, in movie theaters. Because it looks like the war movie is back, repackaged and marketed anew, just like the war we used to see on TV. So observes “The Hollywood Reporter” after taking a look at the upcoming films now being showcased at the Toronto Film Festival.

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  • September 02, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    Who says movies don’t offer a window into the truth, a mirror of the zeitgeist? The titles, anyway. A tip of the hat to the people at Mudflats.com, a site dedicated to “tiptoeing through the muck of Alaskan politics,” for this update on what’s playing at the local movie house in Wasilla, Alaska, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s hometown.

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  • August 28, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    So Barack Obama has been nominated as the Democratic candidate for president, which inevitably raises the question -- is he the Antichrist? The McCain people have been sort of suggesting that with their “The One” commercial though they didn’t come right out and admit it when David Whittenberg, a blogger for the “Washington Post,” confronted McCain spokesperson Brian Rogers about it.

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  • August 25, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    Never one to pass up a chance both to kiss a celebrity’s ass and show off my feigned erudition, I wasted no time in discussing Coogan’s role in Michael Winterbottom’s “A Cock and Bull Story,” an adaptation of Laurence Sterne’s bizarro18th century novel “Tristram Shandy” in which Coogan played himself as an actor in a film within the film that also is adapting “Tristram Shandy.

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  • August 22, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    Before we get back to Mr. Coogan, I think I should follow up on a posting a few days ago about the “2008 Brandcameos Product Placement Award,” which this year, for the first time, are being selected in part by popular vote. Well, the results are in. And though the motion picture industry pretty much pales in promotional and advertising significance before, say, the Olympics, I think it’s important to keep up with the latest developments.

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  • August 21, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    Steve Coogan has starred in two of the best movies of the century (“24 Hour Party People” and “Tristram Shandy,” both by Michael Winterbottom), he's one of the most popular TV personalities in Britain (Alan Partridge? Tommy Saxondale? No? I didn’t think so.) and is one of the funniest and most inventive comic minds from over there since Monty Python.

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  • August 18, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    “Stupid is,” a great though imaginary person once said, “as stupid does.”

    However it does for “Tropic Thunder” (and its opening weekend numbers, $26 million to beat out “The Dark Knight” for top spot, suggest it is playing pretty well), going the “full retard” doesn’t seem a liability when it comes to running for President.

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  • August 13, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    Long conceded by conservatives to being an inveterate nest of Liberals, Hollywood may be taking a rightward turn. Such is the hope expressed by “The National Review” in their story about the production of David Zucker’s (late of the team that turned out such funny movies as “HotShots, Part Deux” and the Naked Gun series) political satire, “An American Carol.

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  • August 11, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    For six months, long after the film crept into box office oblivion, a Hindu group has been sending me and I guess everyone else who writes about movies a manifesto condemning Mike Myers's "The Love Guru," demanding it be banned or censored, asking for an apology, or all of the above. I don’t know whether they saw the film, but I didn’t, so I’ll say no more except I think that kind of action serves only to get publicity, if not for the film itself than for the group making the complaints.

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  • August 07, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    Though his favorable ratings are down for the count, President Bush and those who still support him have faith that history will ultimately vindicate his administration. Since these days History is written by Hollywood movies, that process may have already begun.

    Hence the brouhaha over “The Dark Knight,” which not only may be the most commercially successful film of all time but is the one taken most seriously by political pundits.

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  • August 01, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    Once again the Brandchannel people are about to present their annual awards for product polacement achievements in film, but this year they are including the poor schmucks who pay $10 to be unwittingly subjected to this insidious advertising in the award process. But you have to act fast! Voting ends today!

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  • July 29, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    So you toss the word “misogynist” around the hip young director and his ingenue star and everyone gets bent out of shape. I mean, of the three women in “The Wackness,” one (Stephanie played by Olivia Thirlby) is a cold-hearted, selfish and hedonistic bitch, her mother, played by Famke Jannsen, is a cold-hearted, joyless shrew, a chick named unity played by Mart-Kate Olsen is a drug addled Park Avenue ditz and the hero’s mother is a nag.

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  • July 25, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    Say what you will about the films of Judd Apatow, but “Knocked Up,” “Superbad” and the rest have inspired one worthy trend in Hollywood movies: dope smoking. Not only is it prominent in the upcoming Apatow movie, “Pineapple Express” (the title refers to a lethal blend of cannabis) directed by David Gordon Green, but also in “The Wackness,” JonathanLevine's vaguely-memoiristic tragi-comedy of being an 18-year-old dope dealer hopelessly in love with a seemingly unattainable woman in New York City in 1994.

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  • July 24, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the greatest movie of all time .

    THE DARK KNIGHT

    Already fans are declaring “The Dark Knight” the best film of all time. Well, I’m not even sure it was the best film released last week. True, so much hype and near unanimous critical raves can set one up for disappointment.

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  • July 22, 2008
    By Peter Keough

    Kudos to fellow "Phoenix" film critic Brett Michel for being one of the few ( Dave Kehr makes similar observations in his blog) to recognize the resemblance between Heath Ledger’s Joker in “The Dark Knight” and Andy Robinson’s antic, anarchistic Scorpio in “Dirty Harry” (1971). Physical and stylistic similarities aside, they are basically the same in being domestic terrorists, sado-masochistic nihilists willing to kill the guilty and innocent alike in order to overthrow the status quo.

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