Osama Bin Laden

Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow’s awards season contender and recent winter box office champion Zero Dark Thirty was released wide on the coattails of considerable controversy pertaining to the film’s depiction of torture. Journalists Frank Bruni and Glenn Greenwald, critic David Edelstein, and documentarian Alex Gibney are amongst those who have criticized the film for seemingly forging a direct link between “advanced interrogation techniques” (better known as “torture”) and the actionable intelligence that lead to the death of Osama bin Laden. This controversy has gone far beyond the film community; politicians and CIA spokespersons have called the film out for alleged misrepresentation. After finally seeing Zero Dark Thirty after reading about this controversy for months, I wonder, did any of these people see the same film I saw? And are criticisms like these really what it means to be anti-torture in a post-Cheney America?

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What is Cannes in 60 Seconds? If you say it with a pompous accent, it’s a hilarious pun on a classic Nic Cage/Angelina Jolie film that no one can rightfully claim is at all terrible. If you say it with a normal accent, it’s still a news and review round-up from the South of France. The biggest news comes from the mouths of critics after seeing the opening night flick – Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom. It’s garnered high, near-universal praise. A smattering of reviews can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. But that’s not all that’s going on:

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What is Movie News After Dark? This week, it is like the idiotic parents’ suburban Pasadena home in Project X. The responsible party is taking some time off, so he has handed the keys to some of us on staff, and we are having the Movie News After Dark House Party of the century. We’re doing our best to remain somewhat respectable and deliver some entertainment news you may have missed this week, but at some point we all know we’ll put a dwarf in the oven. On with the show. The first story is one you’ve likely seen already this weekend, but it’s worth repeating for the sheer joy it brings. This weekend, Movies.com published the story of George Lucas doing something we can all get behind. After decades of trying to develop land in Marin County to make the biggest movie studio in the galaxy, and with his snooty neighbors blocking the $300m a year initiative for fear of causing problems, he has decided to develop low-income housing. Finally, people can pat him on the back and forget about Jar Jar, Han shooting first and a certain crystal skull.

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Everyone is currently lining up to fictionally kill the mass-murdering asshole Osama Bin Laden (South Park) for Kathryn Bigelow. It’s obviously a wonderful opportunity for actors to work with the Oscar winner, especially considering how Jeremy Renner’s career blew up after defusing bombs for her. The good news is that all the names that are signing on the line happen to be worth their weight in statues. According to Deadline Destry, Jessica Chastain might continue her dominance with the now-untitled project alongside Mark Strong and Edgar Ramirez (Carlos). Meanwhile, Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) is now confirmed, and Joel Edgerton is double confirmed. Bringing on Chastain, Strong and Ramirez would be a strong move for the production. Bigelow is of course re-teaming with writer/producer Mark Boal for a project that will most likely be controversial due to the subject matter. They’re currently slated for a December release (a date conspicuously after the Presidential election). It’s possible that the date might be moved back due to a congressional investigation into whether the production was given information it wasn’t supposed to have, but December is what to watch for currently. And all of it sounds fantastic. The big question is how star-spangled this thing can get.

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According to the LA Times, Congressman Peter King of the great state of New York is urging the CIA and the Department of Defense to take a look into Kathryn Bigelow‘s forthcoming, still-untitled movie about killing Osama Bin Laden. Apparently, Mr. King thinks the government should have script approval. Why is he calling for such a probe? It’s not readily obvious that he has any evidence to warrant it, but the movie deals with very sensitive subject matter, and that, for Mr. King, seems to be reason enough. On the one hand, it’s absolutely important that the movie not contain any classified secret or top secret information on how the raid was carried out, but on the other, what Mr. King is insinuating is that government officials and CIA members that cooperated with the production may have given out secret information. “I’m very concerned that any sensitive information could be disclosed in a movie,” King told the Times. “The procedures and operations that we used in this raid are very likely what we’ll use in other raids. There’s no way a director would know what could be tipping off the enemy.”

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up written (at least this evening) by an exhausted, cranky bastard. He is in need of a vacation, which means one of two weeks: he either needs to convince Todd Phillips to let him join The Wolf Pack or he needs to find an appropriately film-themed resort somewhere in the Middle East. As it turns out… The image above image is a concept for a $1 billion dollar Star Trek resort in Jordan to be fashioned by Rubicon Group Holding and themed with the stylings of Gene Roddenberry’s 23rd century, as seen through the lens of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. I mention Abrams because the original story references it. It almost feels like developers are ignoring a few years of Star Trek lore there… Alas, it will be extravagant and if it’s got a Captain’s Chair in my suite, I’ll go there. When I can afford to travel to Jordan. I’ve got until 2014 to make it happen.

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Culture Warrior

There will inevitably be a movie about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden – this much is certain. Recent news has established that Kathryn Bigelow might be the first to try to put into play one of several projects related to last week’s assassination amongst several that are being shopped around. The reasoning is clear, as the material lends itself inherently to cinematic expression. The mission itself, in short, feels like a movie. Whether or not this movie (or movies) will have anything to say beyond what we already know and think and feel is unknown and, in Cole Abaius’s terms, it will be difficult for such projects to escape an inherent potential to come across as a shameless “cash-in.” My personal prediction is that the first movie that arises from bin Laden’s death will, at best, be an exciting procedural that visualizes an incident we are currently so invested in and preoccupied with. But I doubt that anything released so soon will remotely approach a full understanding of bin Laden’s death as catharsis for American citizens, as a harbinger for change in the West’s relationship to the Middle East and the Muslim world, as a precedent for the possible fall of al Qaeda, etc. In short, we won’t be able to express cinematically (or in any other medium, for that matter) what the death of bin Laden means until the benefits of time and hindsight actually provide that meaning. This is why I think any movies about Osama […]

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Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal continue to play in the political sandbox, and the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden has turned their attention back to a project they were already formulating. Their next task is to assemble an ensemble of men that are up for the mission, and according to LA Times Blog, Joel Edgerton is the first name on the team. It’s difficult to speculate at this point about the project, but Edgerton is a solid talent that can absolutely take on more physical roles. All in all, it’s a great call. What’s questionable is whether a movie about the event coming out so quickly will be cathartic or intrinsically problematic. As with most traumatic events, it will be a gamble as to whether this injures the real-world closure of the death or seems like a cashing-in of sorts. Fortunately, Bigelow is one of the better talents working in Hollywood, and her skill at creating true tension should come in handy here. Plus, maybe in thirty years, Tarantino can come along and cinematically fill Bin Laden with thousands of bullets instead of just two.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s like watching CNN or the New York Times, but funnier and without all of the big words. It covers movie news every night in a way that no other movie news column set to run at 11p CST can. It was also far more punctual than President Obama’s speech tonight. So it’s got that going for it. Earlier this evening it was announced that Osama Bin Laden was killed by American forces. Great job to our fighting men and women. That guy was a real douche. Perhaps just as interesting, as Badass Digest points out, was the fact that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was aware of the news before anyone else. This is what happens when you kick ass in Fast Five and open with an $83 million dollar weekend.

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How is Osama Bin Laden like Prince? If you’ve been wondering the answer to this burning question, Chris Morris might just have the answer for you. The writer/director just had his first film, Four Lions, picked up for distribution by Tim League’s new Alamo Drafthouse releasing arm. The comedy focuses on four wanna be terrorists who can’t do anything correctly. The humor takes something completely inhuman in our society and reminds us that there’s a comedic folly to some of the people out there trying to blow us up. It’s a smart film that treats the threat of violence with the severity it deserves while still delivering an absurd amount of Three Stooges-like, bumbling comedic moments that come with being human. You can check out my review of the film here, but be sure to watch the interview to find out what Joaquin Phoenix has to do with Al Qaeda, what happens when a woman wearing a niqab laughs, and how to stop terrorism once and for all with movies and twitter. Check after the jump for the cities where Four Lions will see the darkness of the theater on November 5th:

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Morgan Spurlock Wonders Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?

It tries to say too many things at times, but ultimately has a good message. Unfortunately, it spends too much time trying to live up to the cool, marketable title when Osama Bin Laden isn’t even the focus of the message.

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Would you like a little drinkie, Mr. Bin Laden?

First, Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonalds for a month. And it almost killed him. Now, he’s got his wife pregnant, and he’s looking for Osama Bin Laden. What does that have to do with drinking? Nothing! But that’s not going to stop me from doing it.

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Morgan Spurlock goes in search of the world’s most wanted man…

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Morgan Spurlock is looking for looking for Osama. Do you want to help?

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