Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart in 'The Runaways'Sex, drugs, rock n' roll and the girls from "Twilight"?!? Don't have too big a laugh though because Kristen Stewart and most especially Dakota Fanning rock the house with the best of them in "The Runaways," an electrifying if formulaic account of the brief rise and fall of the titular band.

Forget the executive producer credit for Joan Jett, the true telling credit for the film is where director Floria Sigismondi found her source material--lead singer Cherie Currie's memoir.

Indeed, "The Runaways" is owned and just about swallowed up by Fanning's riveting portrayal of the singer (not too dissimilar from the way Currie overwhelmed the group). First glimpsed as a teen literally transforming into a woman, this is the performance that seems sure to launch Fanning into a new thrilling phase of her career. From a sulking broodish David Bowie enthusiast to a howling rock goddess Fanning sells sells sells. I'd watch that band. Hells yeah. Read More...

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James Franco in 'Howl'The beats are alive and well thanks to a soaring performance by James Franco in the Sundance opener, "Howl." Debuting to a predictably packed house at the Eccles theater in Park City, writer/directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman unveiled their ode to the late Allen Ginsberg in a 90-minute mash-up of black and white, color, cartoon, and archival footage.

While not a standard issue biopic, "Howl" ably traverses some of the key points in the poet's life--namely the 1957 obscenity trial surrounding his most famous work. Zigzagging through time, the film is essentially narrated by Ginsberg himself through recreations of interviews, court transcripts, and most notably his powerful reading of "Howl." Read More...

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Sundance is about to get underway and MTV News is converging from all the corners of the globe. Well at least NYC and LA. Today is our travel day but there's also plenty of work to be done with the opening night film being unveiled at 6pm in Park City and setting up a home base at the Bing Bar on Main.

Later on, we'll be on the carpet talking to the stars of "Howl," namely James Franco, Jon Hamm, and Bob Balaban. All three are equal in my eyes. And hopefully we'll catch the film as well. We're cautiously optimistic given the cast and pedigree (it's about Allen Ginsberg), the caution coming from the checkered opening night track record of recent Sundances. You remember "Chicago 10" and "Mary & Max," right? Right?!? Read More...


Ginormous red carpets are kind of like a round of speed dating. That is if the pool of your potential dates are those that keep US Weekly in business. Heather Graham gives you a once over and then makes a face as if she ate some sour milk as she saunters past. George Lucas pauses, thinks it over, and decides nah, why make me the happiest lad on the carpet (and I actually liked Jar Jar)? On your end, it's a series of split second bizarre calculations your mind is not meant to make. For instance Kenneth Branagh and Joseph Gordon-Levitt walk up to you at the same time but you can only talk to one (some skilled practitioners of the red carpet arts would say grab both but perhaps I'm not there yet), right? What do you do?

Yesterday was my second Globes red carpet. When we arrived I was thrilled to see we had a lovely position next to the giant "Extra" platform (we'll see in the weeks to come if some of that Mario Lopez je ne sais quoi rubbed off on me) and a USA Today reporter who literally almost poked Penelope Cruz's eye out with her umbrella. Read More...

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George Clooney doesn't do interviews anymore. Those of us on the junket/red carpet beat have come to accept this in recent months. Sure, he'll do a press conference here and there. And yeah he'll walk a red carpet and kinda sorta stop and say hi but he rarely will stop and chat. In Toronto at "Up in the Air" premiere he slowed his gait JUST enough for every reporter to think they had a moment with him--they didn't.

Clooney even confirmed his new no interview stance in a recent interview. So even though I knew he was walking the National Board of Review red carpet the other night here in NYC I didn't think there was a chance in hell I'd get time with him. Stupid Josh. This is what happens when the most charming man on the planet decides to blindside you and actually chat. Topics covered: "Sunset Beat," beards, and "Jersey Shore."

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DESC2009 was a year of delights at the movies. The list below testifies to that. It doesn't rival '07 when two examples of virtual moviemaking perfection were released--namely "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" but '09 may have been filled with as many unexpectedly joyful film going experiences as I can remember in a single calendar year.

From sitting in the first public screening of what should have been a forgetful and frivolous romantic comedy on a frigid night in Park City (see #8) to being flabbergasted by the inventiveness of a would-be sci-fi auteur (whose name I couldn't spell or pronounce at the time, see #7) for 112 riveting minutes. Franchises were reborn. Genres were injected with new life. Stephen Sommers made a watchable film called "G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra." Young filmmakers came of age. And one mad genius with the heart of a pussycat and 300 million at his disposal opened our eyes once more to how a night at the movies can make us feel.

THE TOP TEN (er ELEVEN)

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FROM MTV.COM: Brittany Murphy, the 32 year-old actress best known for energetic roles in "Clueless," "8 Mile" and "Sin City," died at 10:04 a.m. PT on Sunday (December 20) in Los Angeles, a spokesperson for Cedars Sinai Hospital confirmed to MTV News. The spokesperson would not provide further details, but TMZ.com reported that the actress went into full cardiac arrest and could not be revived. The Los Angeles Times reports that the city's police department has opened a preliminary investigation into Murphy's death.

A rep for the actress reportedly told TMZ: "In this time of sadness, the family thanks you for your love and support. It is their wish that you respect their privacy."

Continue reading Brittany Murphy Dead At 32


FROM SPLASH PAGE: Even though he hasn't been contacted by Marvel Studios, Sam Worthington would kill to play Captain America. Still, the actor — who stars in tomorrow's massively hyped "Avatar" from director James Cameron — understands that some fans would have a problem with an Australian assuming the most iconic American superhero's mantle.

That's not to say that Worthington should be ruled out from playing Steve Rogers — I personally would have no trouble with that casting, even if that's not the majority opinion — but in the spirit of finding an amicable resolution, I think we should explore some other comic book options for the up-and-coming actor, who is already signed on for "The Last Days of American Crime."

If the role of Cap goes to another actor, here are five other comic book heroes that Worthington could play fantastically.

Continue reading SECRET IDENTITY: Five Comic Book Characters Sam Worthington Could Play

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FROM MTV.COM: A lot of films try to lay claim to the old "most anticipated of the year" handle, but it was clear that the world premiere of "Avatar" Thursday night was indeed one of the biggest, baddest, call-your-friends-right-away events of 2009.

After 14 years incubating in director James Cameron's brain and years of production on soundstages and within the most sophisticated computers money could buy, "Avatar," the once-ultra-secret project known as "Project 800," finally premiered to an enraptured and appreciative London crowd.

Continue reading 'Avatar' London Premiere Brings Out Stars, Wows Crowd

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24 hours have passed since I caught "Avatar" in London. And I suppose it's sunk in enough for what I'd call a still instinctual/gut review.

In a nutshell? This is the one you've been waiting for. Not since "The Dark Knight" has a Hollywood film been poised to take hold of popular culture like this one. Let the haters have at it. History will be kind. The dialogue may be trite at times. The cynic in you may urge you to roll your eyes at the sight of a blue alien or a snarling company man but then you're just going to miss out on the jaw-dropping adventure of the year.

So if you haven't bailed out yet... know this: you need to see this movie. Read More...

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