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I confess I'm not the biggest fan of "The Descendants." But clearly I'm in the minority.

For one, the film is a near lock to nab Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (George Clooney) and Best Director (Alexander Payne), and could walk away with wins for all three if Academy voters sour on "The Artist." Two, I don't think I've heard crying like that in a theater since "Schindler's List," or perhaps "Jack and Jill." And three, "Descendants" landed in the #9 spot in MTV's list of the best movies of 2011.

My knock against the movie is squarely with Clooney's Matt King, an egocentric, workaholic, absentee father who suddenly discovers he loves his after she suffers a catastrophic brain injury and is going to die. To me, that's not genuine — it's self-delusional and just loathsome. It'd be one thing if the movie made a point of exploring King's egotism. Instead, he's held up as a hero, a blameless good guy, even as continues to put his needs ahead — indeed, in place — of those of his loved ones. Imagine if this movie were told from the wife's perspective, and it's this tragedy where she's in a loveless marriage with a guy who's a total d--k, and suddenly she falls in love with another guy and starts dreaming of another life for herself but ends up falling into coma. Exact same story, and King's the villain. In Payne's telling, I never really buy King's grief. It feels forced, inauthentic.


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George ClooneyGeorge Clooney is about to go from staring at goats to looking up his relatives in "The Descendants," a new family dramedy from Fox Searchlight.

Variety reports that Clooney is in talks to headline "The Descendants" for director Alexander Payne, the filmmaker behind the critically acclaimed "Sideways" and "Election." The screenplay, penned by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, is based on a novel of the same name written by Kaui Hart Hemmings. The movie will start shooting in Hawaii this February. Read More...

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Bill Hader-- Take this as a rumor I guess. Even though it really isn't. In an interview, "Saturday Night Live" castie Bill Hader revealed that he's read the script for the upcoming "MacGruber" movie. The verdict? It's a "hard-R" rating sort of affair. Sweet. (Vulture)

-- The lineup for the 2009 edition of the New York Film Festival has been revealed. Highlights include Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embrace," Sundance winner "Precious" from director Lee Daniels, Michael Haneke's Cannes Palme d'Or winner "The White Ribbon" and Lars Von Trier's controversial art-horror flick "Antichrist." (Indiewire) Read More...

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Sacha Baron CohenMovies about the failing economy are all the rage these days. Ridley Scott is choosing to tackle it via a board game. Baz Luhrmann plans to teach us a lesson by remaking "The Great Gatsby." Fox is doing the obvious and just developing a sequel to "Wall Street." But one director is planning on tackling it by introducing science and satire.

According to Variety, Paul Giamatti, Sacha Baron Cohen and Reese Witherspoon have signed on to star in Alexander Payne's "Downsizing." Giamatti will play a man who decides to escape his economic woes by undergoing a process to shrink himself. Depending on which Variety story you read, Witherspoon either plays a woman he meets after shrinkage, or his wife who decides to stay normal sized at the last minute. Cohen will employ his manic comedic skills and play a dual role: a tiny Spaniard, and his normal sized brother and business partner. Read More...

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