stars, sex and nudity buzz : 01/16/2013


We're barely into 2013, and already the film festival circuit is kicking off again. It's only a matter of weeks since The Playlist hung up our collective traveling pants from our last festival trip of 2012 (Marrakech), but even ahead of Berlin next month, we're packing our bags again for one of the major dates in the cinephile calendar -- the Sundance Film Festival.

For over thirty years, the festival has served as a major showcase for independent cinema both from the U.S. and abroad, helping to discover the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, Paul Thomas Anderson and David O. Russell, among many others. And the 2012 edition brought with films that were talked about for the rest of the year including "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Safety Not Guaranteed," "Middle Of Nowhere," "The Sessions," "Searching For Sugar Man," "Smashed," "Room 237" and many others.

Now, we're only a day or two away from catching our flight to Robert Redford's Utah hideaway, and to serve as a precursor to our coverage, we've gathered up 25 films -- some reassembled from our Most Anticipated coverage, some of which are new picks -- that number among the most promising in the line-up.

"A.C.O.D"
Synopsis: Having spent most of his life torn between his bitterly divorced parents, a man must try to bring them back to good terms before his brother's wedding, while discovering that his childhood psychiatrist wrote a book about him.
What You Need To Know: While our long-professed desire to see Adam Scott in a leading role led to less-than-happy results with "Friends With Kids," there's still no doubt as to the talents of the "Step Brothers "and "Parks and Recreation" actor, and this new comedy seems like it could be a far more promising proposition. Scott is joined by a top-notch bunch of comic talent, including Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Amy Poehler, Jane Lynch, Clark Duke, Adam Pally, Ken Howard and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (with Jessica Alba also involved), and the premise is pretty ripe for hilarity and something a little more besides. And whatever hesitation caused by the presence of "Elektra" co-writer Stu Zicherman, who co-wrote the script and makes his directorial debut here, is counter-balanced by long-running "Daily Show" writer/producer Ben Karlin as his co-writer. And indeed, the Black Listed screenplay was, at least in the early form we read, a pretty good little comedy that should give the cast plenty to play with. There's always the possibility that this turns out to be this year's Park City equivalent of the underwhelming "Bachelorette," but we're definitely hopeful that "A.C.O.D" will be something more.
When: January 23rd and 24th at the Eccles Theater in Park City, Jan 25th at the Sundance Resort Screening Room, and Jan 26th at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center.



"Ain't Them Bodies Saints"
Synopsis: Four years after their crime spree was brought to an end by the authorities, a young couple, Bob and Ruth, are reunited when he escapes from prison.
What You Need To Know: Attracting talent like Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Ben Foster and Nate Parker for your first big feature suggests that you might potentially be a big deal, and all the promise that David Lowery has shown over the last few years looks to come to a head with "Ain't Them Bodies Saints." A familiar name on the indie circuit thanks to his debut feature "St. Nick," and his short "Pioneer" (which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2011), Lowery's all over Park City in 2013, as an editor on "Upstream Color," and the co-writer of NEXT entry "Pit Stop," but his '70s-set Texas crime tale is undoubtedly his magnum opus this year. There are obvious echoes of "Badlands" and "Bonnie and Clyde" here, but it sounds like Lowery has his own take at work, and he couldn't ask for a more talented cast. "Pariah" and "Middle Of Nowhere" DoP Bradford Young is shooting the film too, so it should look glorious.
When: January 20th at the Eccles in Park City, the 21st at the Rose Wagner in Salt Lake City, the 22nd, the 23rd and the 25th at the Redstone, MARC and Prospector Square Theatres respectively, and the 24th at the Sundance Resort.


“Before Midnight”
Synopsis:  Now in their forties, Celine and Jesse meet nine years after their last rendezvous in France, this time in Greece.
What You Need To Know: Almost two decades have passed since their first encounter on a train bound for Vienna, but Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are clearly enamored of the romantic duo of Celine and Jesse, first introduced in “Before Sunrise” in 1995. The trio earn the best misdirection award of 2012 -- earlier in the year, all three of them in separate interviews gave the, “who knows?” answer (though Hawke kind of gave up the ghost) when quizzed about a third picture in this would-be trilogy, but by September they had shot the entire thing in secret. While it’s been called a type of conclusion to this will-they-or-won’t-they romance, Linklater himself has suggested that the picture doesn’t end on so much of a definitive note that they couldn’t do another follow up if they wanted.
When: Park City: the 20th at the Eccles, the 21st and 26th at the MARC. Ogden: the 23rd at Peery's Egyptian. SLC: 24th at the Salt Lake City Library Theatre. And the 25th at the Sundance Resort.


"Blue Caprice"
Synopsis: A retelling of the story of the Beltway Snipers -- two men who killed ten people, and wounded a further three, in Virginia and Maryland in 2002.
What You Need To Know: A little over a decade ago, the Washington D.C. area was terrorized by The Beltway Sniper, a shooter who struck, seemingly at random, over the space of twenty days. The perpetrators turned out to be John Allen Muhammed, a Nation of Islam member, and his seventeen-year-old accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo. Now the story is coming to the screen, thanks to art director/filmmaker Alexandre Moors, best known for his work with Kanye West on "Cruel Summer," alongside videos for the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Talib Kweli. While the cast has some familiar faces, including "Out Of Sight" and "Grey's Anatomy" actor Isaiah Washington as Muhammed, and Joey Lauren Adams and Tim Blake Nelson among the other co-stars, we're hoping for something closer to Gus Van Sant's "Elephant" than to a Lifetime movie reconstruction. That said, we're curious to see if Moors' approach has the substance to match the style, but it's certainly an intriguing prospect, and quite different from many of the other festival entries.
When: January 19th at the Library Center Theater in Park City and the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City, Jan 21st at Prospector Square Theatre in Park City, January 23rd at the Sundance Resort Screening Room, and Jan 24th at the Yarrow Hotel Theatre in Park City.


"Breathe In"
Synopsis: A happily married New York City music teacher is drawn to a young British foreign exchange student.
What You Need To Know: Between 2010's "Douchebag" and 2011's breakout "Like Crazy," youthful director Drake Doremus has virtually become part of the furniture at Sundance in recent years. And he's back in 2013 with "Breathe In," a drama the prolific filmmaker had already completed photography on before "Like Crazy" was even in theaters. Reuniting him with the ludicrously talented star of the latter, Felicity Jones, "Breathe In" also sees the always-welcome Guy Pearce and Amy Ryan getting involved too, in a production that uses the same semi-improvised process that Doremus has made good use of in the past. But it's not just business as usual; word is that Doremus is using a more classical, handheld-free aesthetic, which should be interesting to see. "Like Crazy," for all its beautiful flaws, certainly made us keen to see more from the director, so this is high on our list for Park City and beyond.
When: 19th at the Eccles in Park City, 20th and 25th at the MARC, 22nd at the Rose Wagner and 26th at the Library Theater, both in SLC.


"Computer Chess"
Synopsis: In a hotel in 1980, a group of programmers try to create the ultimate computer chess program.
What You Need To Know: Probably one of the most talented directors to be part of that dreadful m-word American film movement (m*mbl*c*re), Andrew Bujalski has been sorely missed since we last saw him in 2009 with the fantastic and criminally underseen "Beeswax." Thankfully his new film, a period piece if you will, not only succeeded in its crowd-sourcing endeavor but completed shooting late in 2011, and will premiere at Sundance in just over a week. While the "Funny Ha Ha" filmmaker has shied away from big names ("Dazed and Confused" actor Wiley Wiggins is the biggest name involved), this film will mark his move away from celluloid and flatbed editing -- instead, the PortaPak digital cameras of the era will be used. It sounds like an interesting prospect and quite a bizarre world, especially considering how far we've come technologically since then. Smartly, Bujalski has insisted that he will not include any wink-wink 1980s references, but his camera will be watching these characters like a hawk and there will be plenty of humor despite the lack of Suncoast Video references.
When: 21st, 22nd and 25th at the Library Center, Redstone and Prospector Square, respectively, in Park City, and the 23rd at the Tower Theater in SLC.


"Don Jon's Addiction"
Synopsis: A Casanova figure sets out to find a more fulfilling sex life, but learns some life lessons along the way.
What You Need To Know: Almost every major star tries to step behind the camera at some point, to varying effect -- some turn out Clint Eastwood or Ben Affleck, others closer to Johnny Depp (whose "The Brave" hardly got any kind of release). Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn't hanging around -- he's barely turned 30, but the "Looper" star, who's been sponsoring all kinds of interesting creative work through his hitRECord projects, is making his feature writing/directing debut at Sundance this year. Seemingly a light, comic take on "Shame," the idea of casting yourself as a sex addict opposite Scarlett Johansson might seem like a vanity project, but there's plenty of other promising talent involved, including Julianne Moore, Rob Brown and, of all people, Tony Danza. It's one of those projects that could go either way, but given Gordon-Levitt's pretty great choice in projects in general, we've got faith that he'll come up with something interesting when he's in charge.
When: Jan 18th, 19th and 26th at the Eccles in Park City, plus the 22nd at the Library Center, while it hits the Rose Wagner in SLC on the 19th, and the Sundance Resort on the 21st.


"The East"
Synopsis: A young woman is hired to infiltrate a group of eco-terrorists, only to fall in with their inscrutable leader and their cause.
What You Need To Know: Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij re-team after last year’s fascinating genre-bender “Sound Of My Voice,” with Marling handling co-writing and starring duties once again. With that picture, and 2011’s “Another Earth,” Marling’s announced herself as a major voice in genre filmmaking, but for her follow-up with Batmanglij, it looks like they’ve opted for a more expansive, unsettling experience, with urban political statements cross-bred with an escalating sense of doom. All accounts are that “The East” is going to boldly toe the line between the group’s dangerous beliefs and the horrible aftermath of their actions, with Marling at the center of a cast that includes Alexander Skarsgaard, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell and Patricia Clarkson.
When: 20th at the Eccles in Park City, 21st at the Library Center in Park City, 25th at the SLC Library Theatre, 26th at Peery's Egyptian in Ogden, and 27th at the Sundance Resort Screening Room.


"Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes"
Synopsis: A teenage girl forms a friendship with the young mother who moves in next door.
What You Need To Know: The increasingly busy schedule for Rooney Mara ultimately meant that something had to give, and the actress had to drop out of a reunion with "Tanner Hall" director Francesca Gregorini on this coming-of-age drama. In her place is "Skins" and "Wuthering Heights" star Kaya Scodelario, who's looking like an early prospect to be this year's Felicity Jones-style breakout star. Joining a cast that also features Jessica Biel, Alfred Molina, Frances O'Connor, Jimmi Simpson and rising British actor Aneurin Barnard, this promises a stylized take on the indie drama from a director whose "Tanner Hall" showed promise, even if it wasn't all the way there. If she can step up her game -- and if Scodelario fulfills the promise that she's long showed -- this could definitely be one to watch.
Release Date: 18th and the 21st at the Library Center in Park City, plus the Eccles on the 23rd and the MARC on the 25th. Also going to Ogden at Peery's Egyptian on the 19th, and the SLC Library Theatre on the 20th.



"I Used To Be Darker"
Synopsis: A pregnant Northern Irish woman runs away to relatives in Baltimore, only to discover that her aunt is on the verge of getting divorced.
What You Need To Know: Matthew Porterfield's "Putty Hill" became something of a critical hit when it premiered in Berlin three years ago, and the picture kept up that momentum when it was released in the U.S. in 2011. Now, Porterfield is ready to strike again with a crowd-funded follow-up that shot late last summer, which reunites him with much of the same creative team, musicians Ned Oldham and Kim Taylor and newcomers Hannah Gross and Deragh Campbell leading the cast. Hopefully we can expect the same realistic, truthful approach, and the same picturesque Baltimore locations, but with a musical leaning that some have compared to "Once."
When? The Yarrow Hotel in Park City on the 19th, also showing at the Temple in Park City on the 20th and 25th, and the 21st at Broadway Centre in SLC.


"In A World..."
Synopsis: A vocal coach sets out to follow in her father's footsteps and become a successful trailer voice-over artist.
What You Need To Know: Lake Bell is another of those actresses who's consistently been cropping up in high-profile film and TV roles that somehow, despite her being beautiful, funny and immensely talented, have never quite led to her becoming a household name. But after premiering a short at the festival last year, and directing two episodes of the excellent "Children's Hospital," she's back in Park City for her feature debut, which delves into the competitive world of voiceover artists. The set up, with the promise of family conflict and romance, might not be that different from some of the competition, but the voice-over angle should give it some freshness, and Bell should bring a new sensibility to things. And she's certainly got a great cast assembled, with "Children's Hospital" alumni Rob Corddry, Ken Marino and Nick Offerman joining Geena Davis, Demetri Martin, Michaela Watkins, Jeff Garlin and, as her father, "A Serious Man" stand-out Fred Melamed. The chance to see the latter as the vocal cords behind movie trailers seems like it would be worth the price of admission on its own.
When: January 20th at the LIbrary Center Theatre in Park City, January 21st at the Rose Wagner in Salt Lake City, and January 22nd, 23rd and 26th at the MARC, Eccles and Egyptian respectively, all in Park City.


"In Fear"
Synopsis: A young couple on their way to a music festival become lost and tormented by a mysterious stranger.
What You Need To Know: As far as British genre fare goes, Big Talk Productions has one of the more solid track records out there. They've barely put a foot wrong on the big screen thanks to the likes of "Shaun Of The Dead," "Hot Fuzz," "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," "Attack The Block" and "Sightseers" (which also screens at Sundance this year), and it's their involvement that's pricked up our interest in this under-the-radar genre entry. The premise might not seem particularly ground-breaking, but the process that director Jeremy Lovering -- a TV veteran who worked on "Miss Austen Regrets" and "Money" -- put his cast through seems more interesting. Alice Englert ("Ginger and Rosa") and Iain De Caestecker (soon to be seen on the small screen in Joss Whedon's "S.H.I.E.L.D") weren't shown the script, and didn't know what was going to happen to their characters, which has the potential to be something fresh and chilling, while production notes promises a film with smarts to match the scares. Could we be looking at the next breakout genre flick from across the pond?
When: January 20th at the Egyptian in Park City, January 22nd at the Broadway Center in Salt Lake City, and January 23rd and 25th at the Prospector Square and Redstone Theatres in Park City.


"Kill Your Darlings"
Synopsis: Young Allen Ginsberg arrives at Columbia University and immediately makes friends with Lucien Carr, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, planting the seeds for what would become the Beat movement. But their lives are shattered when an older man in love with Carr is found dead.
What You Need To Know: "On The Road" made a decent fist at adapting the Beat classic last year without ever feeling truly inspired. Will an attempt at going back to the early days of some of the movement's key figures be more successful? First time writer-director John Krokidas has the benefit of a doozy of true-crime story here, and he's certainly assembled an interesting cast, with Daniel Radcliffe as Ginsberg, Ben Foster as Burroughs, Jack Huston as Kerouac, Dane DeHaan as Lucien Carr and Elizabeth Olsen as Edie Parker (with Michael C. Hall, David Cross, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kyra Sedgwick also featuring). There's the risk that it could come across as a sort of Beat Muppet Babies, or "On The Road: First Class." But there's a good story here, and a lot of talent in front of and behind the camera, so we're definitely feeling optimistic.
When: Four Park City screenings: the Eccles on the 18th, the Redstone on the 19th, the Egyptian on the 23rd, and the Library Center on the 25th. Also screening at the Rose Wagner in SLC on the 20th.


"The Look Of Love"
Synopsis: Biopic of Paul Raymond, the pornographer who, thanks to canny investment, became one of Britain's richest men, and the self-styled "King Of Soho."
What You Need To Know: We're on record as being big Michael Winterbottom fans, but even we struggled a little bit with his last theatrical release, "Trishna." 2013 brings two films from the director, and while we're looking forward to "Everyday" too, it's "The Look of Love" that really has our attention.  Over a decade on from "24 Hour Party People," one of the best British films of the '00s, Winterbottom reteams with star Steve Coogan for the fourth time for a film that seems to be a sort of spiritual sibling to that earlier one. Digging into seedy London of the 1960s and beyond, rather than Manchester in the 1970s, it promises to be as stylistically playful, but darker in tone. "Control" writer Matt Greenhaigh penned the script, and the cast is strong too, with Anna Friel, Imogen Poots and Tamsin Egerton as the women in his life, and comic talent like Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Sarah Solemani and Chris Addison also cropping up. We haven't looked forward to a Winterbottom film this much in years.
When: The Eccles on the 19th and 20th, the Rose Wagner in SLC on the 23rd, Sundance Resort on the 24th, and back in Park City for the MARC on the 26th.


"Magic Magic"
Synopsis: An American tourist, traveling with friends through rural Chile, is struck by crippling insomnia which makes her start to lose her grip on reality.
What You Need To Know: After a few quiet years, 2013 marks the return of Michael Cera to our screens. He's barely been glimpsed since the release of "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," but between the return of "Arrested Development," plus appearances in "This Is The End" and another Sundance flick "Crystal Fairy," he's firmly on the comeback trail, and "Magic Magic" might be the most promising film on his slate. Marking the return of "The Maid" director Sebastian Silva (who won the dramatic jury prize at the festival in 2009, and who also helmed "Crystal Fairy"), it seems to be a heady and picturesque sort of psychological thriller which, with cinematography by Wong Kar-Wai's legendary DoP Christopher Doyle, should look pretty stunning. And the talent in front of the camera is equally strong, with the excellent Juno Temple in the lead role, Emily Browning and Catalina Sandina Moreno in support, and what promises to be a very different kind of part for Cera, that could turn out to be something very interesting indeed.
When: January 22nd and 24rd at the Library Center Theater in Park City, January 24th at the Salt Lake City Library Theatre, and the 26th at the Egyptian Theatre back in Park City.


”The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman”
Synopsis: Traveling abroad, Charlie Countryman falls for a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart is connected to Nigel, her violent, charismatic ex. As her dark past increasingly envelops him, Charlie resolves to win her heart, or die trying.
What You Need To Know: Swedish-born first-time feature-length filmmaker Fredrik Bond might be an unknown in the film world,  but he has accumulated numerous awards throughout the course of his successful career as a commercial director including one at Cannes. The two leads are Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood, and the excellent supporting cast features Mads Mikkelsen, Til Schweiger, Rupert Grint, Vincent D’Onofrio, James Buckley, Aubrey Plaza and Melissa Leo. Written by Matt Drake (who also wrote "Project X"), the music is by Christophe Beck and Dead Mono, with songs by Moby and more, so at the very least the picture should have some good tunes in it. And it's being sheperded by Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, the producers behind "Little Miss Sunshine," "Ruby Sparks," and Alexander Payne's upcoming film, "Nebraska" so you know they at least have good taste.
When: 21st and 22nd at the Eccles, and 26th at the Library Center, both in Park City. Plus 25th at the Rose Wagner in SLC.


“Prince Avalanche”
Synopsis: Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives at odds with each other and the women they left behind.
What You Need To Know: You kind of never know what director David Gordon Green is going to do next. Just when he appeared to be the heir apparent to Terrence Malick with lyrical, poetic indie films, the filmmaker pivoted to comedy and even became part of the Judd Apatow gang when he helmed “Pineapple Express.” Three silly comedies later, Green was supposed to take on a remake of “Suspiria,” but quietly, while no one was looking, shot and completed “Prince Avalanche,” a remake of the Icelandic film “Either Way,” in Texas last year. A two-hander, the picture stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch (who Green almost worked with years ago on a a shuttered project called, "Bully"), with no else listed in the cast other than 77-year-old character actor Lance LeGault. Said to be a meditative character study, this may be the “getting back to his roots” movie that many have been asking for.  And to give it some appropriate mood, the score has been written by Explosions in the Sky and David Wingo, Green's longtime music collaborator from the indie folk band Ola Podrida.
When: 20th and 24th at the Library Center Theatre in Park City, plus 21st at the Egyptian, and 25th at the SLC Library Theatre.


"Sound City"
Synopsis: A documentary that sees Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl bring together a legendary group of musicians to record a new album in a legendary analog recording studio in the San Fernando Valley.
What You Need To Know: Dave Grohl's already something of a polymath; drummer for Nirvana (among others), frontman and guitarist for Foo Fighters and, of course, member of the Moopets. And hot on the heels of the latter, he's making his own directorial debut with this promising-sounding documentary about the Sound City recording studio in Van Nuys. Opened in 1969, it was where classic albums including Nevermind, Rumours, After The Gold Rush and Rage Against The Machine were all recorded, and Grohl's assembled a selection of big names who once used the non-digital studio, to record a new album including Stevie Nicks, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Rick Springfield and Paul McCartney. The trailer promises muso heaven, while he's brought in some doc heavyweights, including some of the people behind "The Cove" and "Dogtown and Z-Boys" to give him a hand. But Grohl's smart enough that he probably could have done the whole thing on his Macbook and it would still be one of the best music documentaries of the year.
When: In Park City at the MARC on the 18th and the LIbrary Center on the 19th and 24th of January, with the Sundance Resort on the 19th, and the Salt Lake City Library Theatre and the Tower Theatre on the 22nd and 27th. The film's then released on February 1st, with the record following in March.


"The Spectacular Now"
Synopsis: A heavy-drinking high-schooler is drawn to an outcast classmate.
What You Need To Know: One of a handful of teen flicks to premiere this year, "The Spectacular Now" marks the return of two separate Sundance successes: duo Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber who wrote "(500) Days Of Summer" and director James Ponsoldt, whose film "Smashed" won a ton of acclaim in Park City last year. The trio have teamed on an adaptation of Tim Tharp's coming-of-age novel, and Ponsoldt's got a great cast together, with "Smashed" lead Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bob Odenkirk and Andre Royo among those involved. Perhaps most excitingly of all, he's got two of the most hotly tipped young actors around filling the lead roles, "Rabbit Hole" actor Miles Teller and "The Descendants" star Shailene Woodley. While it might seem a bit Sundance-by-numbers at first glance, we liked Neustadter and Weber's script, which is raw and truthful and less precious than '(500) Days,' and Ponsoldt showed plenty of promise with "Smashed." Could this be 2013's answer to "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower"?
When: Park City on the 18th and 25th at the Library Center, the 20th at the Redstone and the 22nd at the Eccles, plus the Tower Theatre in SLC on the 23rd.


“Stoker”
Synopsis: An strange and creepy uncle moves in with a teenage girl and her emotionally unstable mother after her father dies. Although the girl, India, has suspicions about his motives, she finds herself drawn to him.
What You Need To Know: Pitched somewhere in between horror, family drama and psychological thriller, “Stoker” is the English-language directorial debut of Park Chan-wook, the heralded South Korean film director behind "The Vengeance Trilogy" (which includes “Oldboy"), "Thirst" and "Joint Security Area." Written by actor Wentworth Miller under a pseudonym, the picture stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode. It will be interesting to see how the Southern-Gothic flavor of the screenplay translates in the hands of a foreigner, but we assume this might be the beginning of a new career in America for the director if all goes well.
When: 20th and 21st at the Eccles in Park City, 23rd at the Sundance Resort, 25th at the Rose Wagner in SLC, and 26th at Peery's Egyptian in Ogden. Fox Searchlight release the film on March 1st.


"Top Of The Lake"
Synopsis: A police detective attempts to solve the disappearance of the pregnant 15-year-old daughter of a drug kingpin in a small New Zealand town.
What You Need To Know: Almost all of the films heading to Sundance are hoping for theatrical distribution, but there's one that has no intention of even courting it -- the epic mystery "Top Of The Lake," a seven-hour TV miniseries. But even so, it's one of the most anticipated premieres of the festival, because it marks the return of Jane Campion (who co-directed with commercials veteran Garth Davis, as well as co-writing the script) to the festival where her debut "Sweetie" first unspooled a quarter of a century ago. The idea of Campion (whose last film, "Bright Star," numbers among her best) turning her hand to long-form narrative is an exciting one, and this seems like it could be the kind of material that brings out the best in her. "Mad Men" star Elisabeth Moss leads a cast that also includes Peter Mullan, David Wenham and "The Piano" star Holly Hunter.
When: One showing only, at the Egyptian on January 20th. But it should air on the Sundance Channel, and elsewhere later in the year, before too long.


“Touchy Feely”
Synopsis: A massage therapist is unable to do her job when she suddenly develops an aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother's foundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his “healing touch.”
What You Need To Know: Writer/director Lynn Shelton is practically a mainstay at Sundance and with good reason. She's been lumped into the fast and loose mumblecore movement with organic, naturalistic comedies like "Humpday," but she's also matured well beyond that delineation with the observational exploration of family and lovers in the insightful, sharp and keen, “Your Sister’s Sister.” Her 'Sister' actress Rosemarie DeWitt takes the lead here, with recognizable neurotic character actor Josh Pais as her brother and Scoot McNairy as her boyfriend, while the solid indie cast is rounded out by Ellen Page, Allison Janney and Ron Livingston. On paper, this one has everything going for it and Shelton is on a roll.
When: Park City gets it at the Eccles on the 19th, the Egyptian on the 21st, the MARC on the 23rd, and the Library Center on the 24th. SLC gets it at Rose Wagner on the 19th, and the Sundance Resort on the 20th.


"Toy's House"
Synopsis: Three young teen boys try to claim their freedom by building a house in the woods.
What You Need To Know: One of the most impressive short films of the last few years was "Successful Alcoholics," a sort of shorter, funnier, better version of "Smashed," which starred T.J. Miller and Lizzy Caplan among others. The film was a big hit at Sundance in 2010, and three years on, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is back in Park City with his first feature. Based on a script by Chris Galletta that finished high on the 2009 Black List, we're expecting an offbeat combination of "Moonrise Kingdom," "Son Of Rambow" and"Where The Wild Things Are" (we may yet be way off...), and while the film has a trio of newcomers in the lead roles, there's some ace comic talent in the supporting cast, including "Community" actress Alison Brie, and "Parks and Rec" duo Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally as some of the boys' parents. We've been tipping Vogt-Roberts for big things for a while, and we think this has a good chance of being one of the breakout hits of the festival.
Release Date: Library Center on the 19th, Prospector Square on the 21st and 26th, the Eccles on the 24th, all in Park City, and the Tower in SLC on the 25th.


"Upstream Color"
Synopsis: A young woman is abducted and seemingly brainwashed via an organic material harvested from a specific flower. She later meets a man and after the two fall for each other, they come to realize he may also have been subjected to the same process.
What You Need To Know: Nine years back, Shane Carruth made a hell of a debut at Sundance with the micro-budgeted time travel picture "Primer," a fearsomely impenetrable, ingeniously clever little film that's become a cult hit over the years. Now, after a false start or two (he was working on a script called "A Topiary" for a while), Carruth is back in Park City, and it's one of the most anticipated film of the festival. Another unclassifiable, firmly original science fiction tale, footage and synopses released so far aren't giving much away, but it looks like his filmmaking has taken a big step forward, and the film seems to have a relationship-y core to it that might make it more accessible to the more casual fan. Might being the operative word. We're sure it'll be, at heart, another complex, mind-bending headfuck, and we wouldn't want it any other way. Carruth himself stars, alongside actress Amy Seimetz ("You're Next," "Tiny Furniture").
Release Date: The Eccles on the 21st, the Egyptian on the 22nd, Prospector Square on the 24th and Library Center on the 26th, all in Park City. Sundance Resort gets it on the 23rd, and the Tower in SLC screens it on the 25th. Beyond that, Carruth seems to be self-releasing it in some way on April 5th.


"The Way, Way Back"
Synopsis: A 14-year-old on vacation with his mother and her new boyfriend gets a job at a water park, where he finds a new friend and mentor.
What You Need To Know: Despite winning an Oscar for their screenplay for "The Descendants," Jim Rash and Nat Faxon are probably most familiar (at least to discerning comedy fans) for their regular roles on awesome-but-low-rated sitcoms "Community" and "Ben and Kate." But that could change as their directorial debut "The Way, Way Back" finally unspools. A coming-of-age tale (that seems, on the surface, to share a certain amount of DNA with Greg Mottola's 2009 Sundance flick "Adventureland"), this was the script that saw Faxon and Rash come to Alexander Payne's attention, and we're still excited about this one, not least because of the cast. Relative newcomer Liam James ("The Killing") takes the lead, with Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell, Steve Carell, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, AnnaSophia Robb, Amanda Peet and Faxon and Rash themselves all taking roles. When that many awesome people are gathered in one place, you figure there must be something special, and so long as the writers don't drop the directorial ball, this could be big.
When: The Eccles in Park City on the 21st, with screenings also at the MARC on the 22nd and 26th. The Rose Wagner in SLC gets in on the 22nd, and it comes to Ogden's Peery's Egyptian Theater on the 24th, and the Sundance Resort on the 27th.

Honorable Mentions: We only have so much space, so there's plenty more in the line-up, any one of which could turn out to be the real highlight of the festival. Among them are: a rare lead role for the great Kathryn Hahn in "Afternoon Delight"; David Sedaris adaptation "C.O.G"; Keri Russell/Bret McKenzie rom-com "Austenland"; the intriguing "Concussion" starring Robin Wiegert; the potentially powerful competition entry "Fruitvale" starring Michael B. JordanKristen Bell in "The Lifeguard"; George Tillman Jr's "The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete"; western "Sweetwater" with Ed Harris and January Jones; "Two Mothers" starring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright" and "Very Good Girls" with Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning.

As for genre fans, that itch could be scratched by remake "We Are What We Are"; live-action "Wreck-It Ralph"-ish "Virtually Heroes"; found-footage sequel "S-VHS"; Dermot Mulroney in "The Rambler"; and/or Leslie Bibb and Rob Corddry in horror-comedy "Hell Baby." More questionable are a pair of biopics: Ashton Kutcher as the founder of Apple in "jOBS," and Amanda Seyfried as the star of "Deep Throat" in "Lovelace." Documentary lovers have plenty to look forward to, including new films from Alex Gibney ("We Steal Secrets," about Wikileaks), Lucy Walker ("The Crash Reel," about snowboarding) and Sebastian Junger ("Which Way Is The Front Line From Here?," a tribute to his late "Restrepo" co-director Tim Hetherington. 

- Oliver Lyttelton, Rodrigo Perez

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Creepy NSFW Trailer for THE STRANGER INSIDE

I had never heard of The Stranger Inside until I watched the trailer. Adam Neutzsky-Wulff directed this psychological thriller, which stars William Baldwin, Estella Warren, and Sarah Butler. I liked Baldwin in Backdraft, Flatliners, and Sliver. This looks like it could be a good watch on DVD or Blu-ray.

Synopsis:
Actress Emily Moore (Warren) is kidnapped and tortured by a masked man. Deemed a psychotic fan by the world's press, only Emily knows the real reason why he did so. On the run from the terror that has caught up to her, Emily leaves New York for a Mediterranean island with her husband Robert (Baldwin), a psychiatrist. But the idyllic seclusion of this paradise now serves as a trap when a young and attractive girl (Butler) turns up with blood on her hands and a penchant for mind games.


There is not an official release date yet, but the movie is scheduled to premiere at the Berlin Film Festival EFM in February. Check out the trailer and share your thoughts:


* Don't know how long this shitty looking flick (if they showed the best parts in the trailer...) was in production but Sarah Butler made a blunder by turning down roles requiring nudity after cult success of I Spit on Your Grave. You have to grind on and play the game to your advantage. The biz is tough enough but if you have the mindset further nudity will hold your career back or pigeonhole you into certain roles, you going to regret it when you're on the wrong side of twenties. The fact is and I have mentioned this before - agencies and reps are responding to current surge of original content on premium cable/Netflix by urging their young starlets to go for auditions even if it's one requiring outright nudity. And in wake of Sandy Hook massacre, I'm very optimistic Hollywood will shift away from gun-themed violent movies. It's time we mature as a society by celebrating sexual liberation and denouncing culture of lionizing violence. Hollywood should lead the way. The above thriller looks like a meaty part for Sarah. She is really quite talented. Don't be surprised if she eclipses both Warren and Baldwin performance-wise.

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Rebecca Ferguson and Max Irons talks briefly about their characters in The White Queen.
She is gorgeous, isn't she? Can't take my eyes off her rack though.


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Girls Season 2 Premiere on HBO: A Messy, Awkward Letdown


Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 2 premiere of HBO's "Girls," titled "It's About Time.

I am in love with the show Girls, which premiered its second season Sunday night on HBO. I love it so much I have forgotten the name of that other series about sex in some city with overpriced rents and a shoe fetish. Directed, created, produced, and written by the brilliant Lena Dunham, who just won a Golden Globe for best Comedy or Musical TV Series, Girls is one of the funniest, grittiest, and most endearing shows I have ever watched. In short, Lena Dunham is my hero. And that is why it pains me to say this: The season premiere was a big, messy, awkward letdown. Here's why:

1) Hannah
Hannah apparently had a lobotomy between seasons one and two. The insecure and vulnerable Hannah, whom we said goodbye to in season one as she sat on a beach eating a piece of cake after watching her boyfriend, Adam, get hit by a truck, has been replaced by a strange, uber-confident Hannah who forbids her new boyfriend (or whatever she's calling him) to say the word "love." Really. He may not utter the word "love" in verb form around her. Apparently, she tried out the big "L" Adam and it didn't work so well, so now she's in total control of her feelings toward all men. Bor-ing.

When she and Adam finally show up in the same scene, we don't know if they're romantically involved or if he just feels like peeing on her again, though not in the same way he did in season one. After some awkward dialogue, we move away from bore and directly into snore. And weird. And confusing.

2) Shoshana
While Hannah taught me last year that I can be sexy even with craters in my ass, Shoshana taught me, well, she didn't teach me much of anything but she was breathtakingly fresh and funny. This season, it seems, Zosia Mamet is required to perform tribal dances while burning incense, say all of her lines in a monotone voice, and move like the Tin Man in need of a greasing.
In the scene at Hannah's, when Shoshana is lifting up others' stuff off the bed and then slamming them back down again robotically as she looks for her purse, all I could do was sigh and check my Facebook updates out of embarrassment for her. Do we not remember Zosia Mamet's facial expressions from last season, particularly when she was lying in bed with the guy from camp? Those were among the most magnificent moments I have ever seen on a screen. Where are the close-ups of all these women that we saw last season? Why is Lena keeping us at a distance?

3) Marnie
Which brings me to the next gal to disappoint, Marnie. I'll admit, while I fell in love with this show last season, I was a little wary of Allison Williams. It looked like she had a shit-eating grin on her face that she just could not erase. It seemed to say, "Can you seriously believe I am on a show on HBO?"

Her facial expressions appear to be a bit more varied this season, but the premiere's anemic script didn't give her much to work with. There was the expected run-in with her ex-boyfriend, Charlie, who is already annoying his second girlfriend as much as he annoyed Marnie. Cool. Then there was a very awkward scene with Rita Wilson, whom I just didn't buy as Marnie's pathetic, superficial mom. And as a mom myself, I just have to ask: Can we do something other than caricature and blame the evil mother for the daughters' struggles? Can't we throw the dad under the bus once in a while, too?
Out of all of this awkwardness, what bothered me the most about Marnie was her incessant Hannah bashing. Note to Lena, my hero: There are other ways to show Marnie's frustration with their friendship besides having her say shit about Hannah to all of their friends. It's getting old, and you're way too talented to keep it going. Let's move on.

4) Elijah
And move on Hannah does, as she now lives with Elijah. Actor Andrew Rannells is a great complement to the estrogen-fueled cast. But he too had a hard time finding his groove during the season premiere. The storyline with his boyfriend, George, getting wasted? Lame. What happened with him and Marnie? Lame. I was embarrassed for both of them, particularly when it looked like Allison couldn't decide whether she wanted to show boob or not show boob. She doesn't seem comfortable with nudity at this point, so just let the gal wear a bra already. I'm not sure I want to see Brian Williams' daughter's breasts anyway, to be honest.

Like I said, I love this show. Love, love, love, love, love. But there was no flow to Sunday's episode. It worked too hard to catch us up. I'm glad they added some color to the cast with her new black boyfriend or whatever non-boyfriend title she's giving him permission to use, but she acts like he's nothing more than the person of color who has been invited to the show because of all the flack she got last year for not having diversity in the cast. We know he's black. Now how about showing he's got a personality too? The only thing we know at this point is that he's smitten with Hannah, something she's totally cool with and even expects, I assume because of that lobotomy.

Yes, a tough-love review, given that this was only the first episode of the season and really, we all know that you can't do everything in one episode. But do you remember the pilot? It flowed, it didn't over-explain, and it was absolute perfection. Hopefully, Girls will get its groove back as the season progresses. I want them to. We all want them to, because this groundbreaking show is finally showing us, in a very real and raw way, what it means to be a 20-something in this messed up world. And this messed up world needs that, big time.

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The Sundance Film Festival starts Thursday, a few short weeks later it's the Berlin International Film Festival and just as the weather starts getting warmer, film fans will flock to Austin for the SXSW Film Conference And Festival. In fact, it's less than two months away and now the slate is beginning to be unveiled.

Organizers announced today that the Steve Carell and Jim Carrey-starring duelling magician comedy "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" will kick things off in Texas as the opening film, making its World Premiere. But even more, SXSW have revealed a initial batch of titles that should be cause for excitement for anyone attending. Appropriately, Harmony Korine's hotly buzzed "Spring Breakers" with James Franco, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens and Rachel Korine will get everyone into the partying spirit.

Other films of note making their World Premiere: Joe Swanberg's surprisingly star-driven, alcohol-soaked "Drinking Buddies"; the much-talked-about "Evil Dead" remake that's boasting a pretty hard-R rating, the Napster documentary "Downloaded" from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" star Alex Winters and much more. Not too shabby.
And when you're not seeing movies, it might be worth sitting in on the planned conversation with Matthew McConaughey, or an acting seminar/one man show with "Arrested Development" star Jeffrey Tambor, or a Carlton Cuse talk about "Bates Motel" among other options. 

SXSW Film runs from March 8-16. Details on the first slate below. 

The 2013 SXSW Film Festival will feature: 

Downloaded (World Premiere) -- Director: Alex Winter
Downloaded is a documentary that explores the rise and fall of Napster and the birth of the digital revolution. It's about the teens that helped start this revolution, and the artists and industries who continue to be impacted by it. 

Drinking Buddies (World Premiere) -- Director/Screenwriter: Joe Swanberg
Weekend trips, office parties, late night conversations, drinking on the job, marriage pressure, biological clocks, holding eye contact a second too long… you know what makes the line between "friends" and "more than friends" really blurry? Beer. Cast: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston
* The bad news

Everyone's Going to Die (World Premiere) -- Director/Screenwriter: Jones
A modern British story about coming home, getting by and the redemptive power of feeling you're not alone. A story where porn hotlines rub shoulders with sexy beavers on rollerskates; where the past is laid to rest, two lives are changed and nobody, finally, is going to die. Cast: Nora Tschirner, Rob Knighton, Kellie Shirley, Madeline Duggan (United Kingdom) 

Evil Dead (World Premiere) -- Director: Fede Alvarez, Screenwriter: Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues
Five friends, holed up in a remote cabin, discover a Book of the Dead that unwittingly summons up dormant demons, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left to fight for survival. Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore 

Good Ol' Freda (World Premiere) -- Director: Ryan White
Good Ol’ Freda tells the story of Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teenager asked to work for a young local band hoping to make it big: The Beatles. Their loyal secretary from beginning to end, Freda tells her tales for the first time in 50 years. 

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (World Premiere) -- Director: Don Scardino, Story by Chad Kultgen and Tyler Mitchell and Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley. Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley
When superstar Vegas magicians Burt and Anton let their act grow as stale as their friendship, an ambitious rival with a cutting-edge delivery swoops in for the kill. Cast: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, with Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini and Jim Carrey

Spring Breakers (U.S. Premiere) -- Director/Screenwriter: Harmony Korine
Four college girls who land in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation find themselves bailed out by a drug and arms dealer who wants them to do some dirty work. Cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine

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In the Realm of the Senses director Nagisa Oshima dies at 80

Nagisa OshimaJapanese filmmaker Nagisa Oshima, best known for his sexually explicit film, In The Realm of the Senses, has died at the age of 80.

The 1976 film, also known by its Japanese title, Ai No Corrida, featured unsimulated sex between the actors.

Oshima also directed singer David Bowie in the WWII prison-camp drama Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence.

"My father died calmly," his son Arata told the AFP news agency, adding that the film-maker had died of pneumonia.

Born in Kyoto, Japan, Oshima made his debut feature, A Town of Love and Hope, in 1959.

A series of politically charged films followed throughout the 1960s, in which Oshima aimed his keen director's eye at issues including capital punishment and racism, in films like The Catch and Death By Hanging. 

Banned
His most controversial project reflected his lifelong criticism of censorship.

In The Realm of the Senses, a film based on a true story of obsession in 1930s Japan, was incredibly explicit for the time, with the two protagonists engaging in increasingly intense, graphic and bizarre sexual practices.

In the final scenes, the male protagonist has his genitals severed by his lover, a prostitute-turned-hotel worker.

The film fell foul of censors in Germany, the UK and the US - where it was seized by customs officials ahead of a planned screening at the New York Film Festival.

Oshima's companion film, the more restrained Empire of Passion, won him the best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1978.

He followed that up with Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, starring rock star David Bowie and Tom Conti as WWII prisoners of war, interned in a Japanese camp. It was shortlisted for the Palme d'Or at Cannes and its score, by Ryuichi Sakamoto, won a Bafta.

Nagisa Oshima and David Bowie at the Cannes Film Festival in 1983 The Cannes jury also shortlisted his next film, bizarre comedy Max Mon Amour, which featured British actress Charlotte Rampling as the wife of a philandering diplomat, who takes a chimpanzee as her lover.

During the 1980s and 90s, he served as president of the Directors Guild of Japan but in 1996 suffered a stroke.

He recovered and directed his final film, 1999's Taboo, which was set among Japanese samurais in the mid-19th Century and concentrated on the issue of homosexuality.

At his death, "he was with members of his family, wife Akiko and elder son Takeshi," said his son Arata, speaking from his late father's home in Fujisawa, outside Tokyo.

"I wasn't there. My father had been in hospital since late last year and died of pneumonia."

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Improv Everywhere : Meet a Black Person



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Lots Of NYU Students Are "Sugar Babies," Or Something


11513sugar.jpgDespite how easy it is to make $450 a day online at home in your pajamas, NYU students are signing up with "sugar daddy" dating website SeekingArrangement.com at a rapid clip. According to a highly scientific study conducted by the site, NYU had a 154% increase in new accounts in 2012, making it the second-highest growing "sugar daddy" school behind Georgia State. The site claims "sugar babies" make an average of $3,000 a month for the "mutually beneficial relationships," most of which goes to tuition and food, per a user survey. It's unclear how many NYU students have changed their majors to Listening To 38-Year-Olds Complain About How Thin Their Hair Is While Using Cocaine At A Ski Lodge In Whistler. 

SeekingArrangement is not to be confused with SugarSugar, the website that splurged on stock images, or Sugardaddie.com, the website for aging Benson and Hedges models who just want to feel close to someone again, if only for six hours in a Howard Johnson next to the Racino and money? Child, there's no money, just please don't call the police. 

Most of the schools in the top 20 "fastest growing sugar baby schools" are in the South, a fact that SeekingArrangement's founder and CEO, Brandon Wade muses on in their press release.

“It’s tough. The South went from being the epitome of success and money to faring the worst in terms of well-being. Even if NYU is still our biggest Sugar Baby university, the growth of southern female coeds seeking the Sugar Lifestyle is a move in the right direction to bring back Southern charm.”
It sounds like a Sugar Baby taking HIST-UA 10 US Since 1865 should inform Wade about—actually, sure, Gone With The Wind was about sugar babies. Would you like another shoulder rub?

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How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana's creationists

How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana’s creationists


For Zack Kopplin, it all started back in 2008 with the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The bill made it considerably easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into the classroom. Outraged, he wrote a research paper about it for a high school English class. Nearly five years later, the 19-year-old Kopplin has become one of the fiercest — and most feared — advocates for education reform in Louisiana. We recently spoke to him to learn more about how he's making a difference.

Kopplin, who is studying history at Rice University, had good reason to be upset after the passing of the LSEA — an insidious piece of legislation that allows teachers to bring in their own supplemental materials when discussing politically controversial topics like evolution or climate change. Soon after the act was passed, some of his teachers began to not just supplement existing texts, but to rid the classroom of established science books altogether. It was during the process to adopt a new life science textbook in 2010 that creationists barraged Louisiana's State Board of Education with complaints about the evidence-based science texts. Suddenly, it appeared that they were going to be successful in throwing out science textbooks.

A pivotal moment

How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana's creationists "This was a pivotal moment for me," Kopplin told io9. "I had always been a shy kid and had never spoken out before — I found myself speaking at a meeting of an advisory committee to the State Board of Education and urging them to adopt good science textbooks — and we won." The LSEA still stood, but at least the science books could stay.

No one was more surprised of his becoming a science advocate than Kopplin himself. In fact, after writing his English paper in 2008 — when he was just 14-years-old — he assumed that someone else would publicly take on the law. But no one did.

"I didn't expect it to be me," he said. "By my senior year though, I realized that no one was going to take on the law, so for my high school senior project I decided to get a repeal bill."
Indeed, it was the ensuing coverage of the science textbook adoption issue that launched Kopplin as an activist. It also gave him the confidence to start the campaign to repeal the LSEA.

Encouraged by Barbara Forrest, a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University — and a staunch critic of intelligent design and the Discovery Institute — Kopplin decided to write a letter that could be signed by Nobel laureate scientists in support of the repeal. To that end, he contacted Sir Harry Kroto, a British chemist who shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley. Kroto helped him to draft the letter — one that has now been signed by 78 Nobel laureates.

In addition, Kopplin has introduced two bills to repeal the LSEA, both of which have been sponsored by State Senator Karen Carter Peterson. He plans on producing a third bill later this spring. And along with the Nobel laureates, he has the support of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), New Orleans City Council, and many others.

But as the early results of his efforts have shown, it's not going to be an easy battle.
"We've had gains over the last few years," he says, "But our first attempt to repeal the LSEA was defeated 5-1 in committee, and in our second attempt we lost 2-1." Kopplin is hoping to get out of committee this year.

He also has his eyes set on vouchers. After an Alternet story came out about a school in the Louisiana voucher program teaching that the Loch Ness Monster was real and disproved evolution, Kopplin looked deeper into the program and found that this wasn't just one school, but at least 19 other schools, too.
School vouchers, he argues, unconstitutionally fund the teaching of creationism because many of the schools in these programs are private fundamentalist religious schools who are teaching creationism.

"These schools have every right to teach whatever they want — no matter how much I disagree with it — as long as they are fully private," he says. "But when they take public money through vouchers, these schools need to be accountable to the public in the same way that public schools are and they must abide by the same rules." Kopplin is hoping for more transparency in these programs so the public can see what is being taught with taxpayers' money.

Facing opposition

His efforts, needless to say, have not gone unnoticed — particularly by his opponents. He's been called the Anti-Christ, a stooge of "godless liberal college professors," and was even accused of causing Hurricane Katrina. Kopplin cooly brushes these incidents aside, saying they're just silly distractions.

But some of the most aggressive broadsides, he says, have come from state legislators.


"I'm not talking threats or name calling, but they were really something to experience," he says. [In addition to the video above, Kopplin provided other examples that can be seen here and here)

"I don't enjoy upsetting people, but you have to brush the attacks off," he says. "I know that I'm fighting for a good cause — and I would be neglecting my duty if I stopped my campaign just because I felt uncomfortable about opposition."

And perhaps not surprisingly, a number of people have refused to take Kopplin seriously on account of his age. "Oh, for sure — there have absolutely been people who have dismissed me because I'm still a kid," he told us. Some of his opponents have even suggested that his parents are really the ones behind the campaign — an accusation he flatly denies.

"They have their own lives to live, and certainly don't have time to run a public issue campaign," he says.
"What disturbs me though, is when other kids are the ones to dismiss me based on age," he told io9. "They see a 19 year old kid and can't believe that I can actually go out and change the world. Too many of my peers have this attitude that they need to dress nicely, sit quietly, and wait until we are adults to change things. This attitude must change. My generation needs to speak out for what we believe."

It's simply not science

And indeed, Kopplin is a passionate defender of scientific inquiry, and vociferously rejects the notion that creationism and evolution should be taught side-by-side.

"Creationism is not science, and shouldn't be in a public school science class — it's that simple," he says. "Often though, creationists do not, or are unwilling, to recognize this." Science, he argues, is observable, naturalistic, testable, falsifiable, and expandable — everything that creationism is not.

But what also drives Kopplin is the inherent danger he sees in teaching creationism.
"Creationism confuses students about the nature of science," he says. "If students don't understand the scientific method, and are taught that creationism is science, they will not be prepared to do work in genuine fields, especially not the biological sciences. We are hurting the chances of our students having jobs in science, and making discoveries that will change the world."

He worries that, if Louisiana (and Tennessee, which also has a similar law) insists on teaching students creationism, students will not be the ones discover the cure to AIDS or cancer. "We won't be the ones to repair our own damaged wetlands and protect ourselves from more hurricanes like Katrina," he says.

Moreover, he's also concerned that teaching creationism will harm economic development.
"Just search creationism on Monster Jobs or Career Builder and tell me how many creationist jobs you find," he asks. Kopplin tells us about how this past Spring, Kevin Carman, the former Dean of LSU's College School of Science (now the Executive Vice President and Provost for the University of Nevada, Reno) testified in the Louisiana Senate Education Committee about how he had lost researchers and scientists to other states because of the Louisiana Science Education Act.

"But it also violates the separation of church and state," he says. "Teaching Biblical creationism is promoting one very specific fundamentalist version of Christianity, and violating the rights of every other American citizen who doesn't subscribe to those beliefs. So it would be stomping on the rights of Catholics, Mainline Protestants, Buddhists, Humanists, Muslims, Hindus, and every other religious group in the country.
These creationists, he argues, would be horrified to see the Vedas being taught in science class. "And they would have every right to be," he says, "That's how the separation of church and state works and it's the foundation of our country."

Changes needed

Kopplin is also concerned about the future, and how unprepared the United States has become.
"We don't just deny evolution," he says, "We are denying climate change and vaccines and other mainstream science. I'm calling for a Second Giant Leap to change the perception of science in the world."
To that end, Kopplin would like to see $1 trillion of new science funding and an end to denialist science legislation. He wants to see the American public become more aware and better educated about science.
"My generation is going to have to face major challenges to our way of living — and the way to overcome them is through rapid scientific advancement," he says. "But as as of right now, America has a science problem."

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MARIE OSMOND FAMILY SEX SCANDAL


MARIE OSMOND has been rocked by a shocking family sex scandal that triggered her 23-year-old daughter Rachael’s rush to the altar on Christmas Day!
The ENQUIRER has learned the real reason why Rachael had a quick­ie wedding in a Park City, Utah, cabin only 10 days after her fiance Ga­briel Krueger proposed.
“They rushed to get mar­ried at warp speed be­cause they wanted to start having sex,” revealed a family insider.
“But the quickie wed­ding caused a rift between Marie and her daughter. She thought Rachael should wait until November so she could have a proper ceremony in a Mormon temple.
“But Rachael didn't want to wait – she wanted her lovemaking with Gabriel to start now. And in the Mormon religion, sex before mar­riage is not allowed.”
Headstrong Rachael “is driving Marie crazy and had her in tears,” a source close to the family told The ENQUIRER.
Rachael’s 22-year-old fiance is a recent Mormon convert, but under tenets of the church, converts must be members of the church in good standing for at least a year before they can be wed in a Mormon temple.
“Marie had to go along with the couple’s wishes because they made it clear they didn’t intend to wait a whole year to have sex,” said the close source.
Rachael, who works for her mother as a wardrobe stylist, met Gabriel, a student at the Illinois Institute of Art, in December 2011 when she was in Chicago working on the “Donny and Marie” holiday show.
The following February, Rachael invited Gabriel on the “Donny and Marie Cruisin’ with Friends” cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau – and Marie rocked the boat with a startling announcement.
“Marie introduced her daugh­ter from the stage as Rachael Blosil Krueger and told everyone they were planning to marry,” a source on the ship told The ENQUIRER.
But then, on June 11, Marie made another surprise announcement via Twitter, saying that Rachael was now engaged to Las Vegas emergency medical technician Bart Ritchie. That relationship wound up fizzling a few weeks later, and Rachael soon ran back into the arms of Gabriel.
The romance heated up so much that in December Rachael told her 53-year-old mom she was hot to trot down the aisle with Gabriel, even if it meant no church wedding.
Deeply religious Marie “hit the roof,” revealed a family insider. “Rachael’s decision caused Marie a huge amount of embarrassment, in part because a lot of people will mistakenly assume that the wed­ding happened so quickly because Rachael is pregnant.”
But Rachael has done her best to soothe her mom’s temper.
“Rachael promised Marie that as soon as they are able to have their mar­riage sealed in a Mormon temple, they will,” said the close source. “And in the end, Marie accepted it – although reluctantly.”

* we make our plans but God fingers us in the asshole.

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Cinemax banks on Banshee to establish brand identity


US premium cable network Cinemax is gearing up to launch its third original series, Banshee, in a move that one analyst said could finally give the network the identity that it's been missing all these years.

Helping things along is a multiscreen, multi-platform push around the series to bring it to mainstream attention.

Cinemax has long been the home of second-run films and what is popularly known as 'Skin-emax', its late-night 'adult' programming block. But most of all it's been living under the shadow of sister network HBO, which has consistently been setting itself apart with a roster of top-notch original series and specials, like Hemingway and Gellhorn, Game of Thrones, Girls, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom and Mildred Pierce.

For years, Cinemax "never really had a brand definition and lacked the original programming that defines HBO," said BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield, in a blog. "That is all beginning to change with Cinemax rolling out Banshee ... Cinemax is trying to become a network that means high quality action/thriller series."

Banshee, executive-produced by Alan Ball (True Blood, Six Feet Under) and Greg Yaitanes (House), is set in New York and Pennsylvania Dutch Country, and features a shades-of-grey cast of characters who could be good or could be bad, but make for high drama as crimes are committed and avenged.

For Greenfield, the fact that Banshee was conceived as a multiscreen production is significant. "What caught our attention about Banshee is how the series is using technology to fuel how they make and market the content," he said.

For instance, a prequel digital comic book explains the origins of the characters and their situations, while a Banshee microsite offers show information and the ability to unlock content related to the codes displayed by the lock during the title sequence of each episode. There are also tweets from one of the show's characters discussing what happened during that week's episode from their perspective (Deva's Twitter page, @bansheedeva).

"While it's too early to tell whether Banshee and the Cinemax rebrand will be successful, this could yield an interesting and unexpected leg of growth for the HBO division of Time Warner," Greenfield said. "In success, Cinemax would not only be creating another outlet for great serialised drama, but also continuing to move consumers away from ad-supported television content and increasing the competition with SVOD services trying to break into original programming such as Starz, Netflix, Amazon and even EPIX."


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Broadway Ladies: Ms. January 2013: Maggie Grace


MS. BROADWAY JANUARY 2013

aka MS. "LEGS"

MAGGIE GRACE 

WHY SHE'S MS. BROADWAY:  She became the talk of the Twitterverse thanks to a creepy, sexual harassment-filled Ben Brantley review (including several mentions of  her "exquisitely shaped pair of legs") of her Broadway debut.  It could be the steamy chemistry between her and her co-star, aka "torso/nipple" guy nightly at the American Airlines Theatre in the Roundabout revival of Picnic.  No matter what it is, welcome to Broadway, Ms. January, Maggie Grace.


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'Spring Breakers' Cast Remembers Excitement, Tears At Venice Premiere

In the months leading up to the release of "Spring Breakers," we've seen everything from set photos to jailhouse monologues that suggest that this movie is going to be something completely different—not just for us, but for the pretty young things who stepped out of their comfort zone to make a film that's bound to raise a few eyebrows. And when we got the stars to sit down for an interview, they were all still just the slightest bit shell-shocked by the standing ovation their movie got after its first outing at the Venice Film Festival.


"It is nerve-wracking, because we've just stripped ourselves down and it's so raw and bare and real, and the fact that they received it so well is such an accomplishment," Vanessa Hudgens said. "You watch the movie and your stomach is literally in knots, and it's just amazing that you can push an audience so far to feel something."

Selena Gomez, who was making the biggest leap into the extremely adult territory of "Spring Breakers" after ending a stint on the Disney Channel, echoed her co-star's thoughts: "After my show ended, going from that to this was an extreme. But it was so incredibly liberating and something that I was so proud of, and I learned a lot," she said. "And it was just a great experience."

And while the sexy and sordid plot of the film might have been more familiar territory for pretty little liar Ashley Benson, she said that she'd never expected the reception they got in Venice—or her own emotional response to the finished product.

"Seeing it for the first time with an audience was such an amazing feeling," she said. "I had a tear come down, right when the credits rolled. What made it for me was seeing the reaction the audience had."

Alas, the rest of us non-Venice-Film-Festival-attending mortals have to wait until later this year to see the movie in theaters—but if you want a sneak peek at the action of "Spring Breakers," then make sure you're right here on Thursday morning, because we've got the EXCLUSIVE hookup! Direct your browser to MTV.com at 7:00 a.m. for the online debut of the trailer, then again during primetime on MTV.

* The movie going to be a massive hit. Trio of well-known TV-stars in bikini for much of the running time....I know I'm going to watch this on the big screen. Pity about the nudity. If we had similar attitude towards movie nudity like France, bet all three girls would been 'properly' naked at some point in the flick.

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The Canyons SNUBBED By Sundance
0115_lindsay_james_02
The producers of Lindsay Lohan's film, "The Canyons," are stunned that their flick has been rejected by The Sundance Film Festival and they think it's largely Lindsay's fault.

We're told the Sundance people reached out to producers to screen the movie, and we're told producers were led to believe it was a shoo-in.

But we found out Sundance passed on the film recently, and the film's producers believe it might be due in part to the hijinks of its troubled star.  They think Lindsay was a "turn off" to the highfalutin Sundance folks.

"The Canyons" producer, Braxton Pope, tells us his agents William Morris/Endeavor are having a screening for buyers at the end of the month and a number of big companies are interested.

We also spoke with Lindsay's co-star -- porn star James Deen -- who tells us he's not bothered about the Sundance diss ... saying, "It coincides with AVN (the porn awards). Priorities man!!!!!"

* That couldn't possibly be the sole reason. The movie likely sucked big time despite the sexual content and the novelty of seeing LiLo naked. Paul Schrader lost his directing mojo long time ago. Always been a better writer in my book. Bret Easton Ellis is a pretentious puss. A great novelist but a poor scripter. Stephen King went through the same delusional period back in the 80's.

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How Do You Feel About People Who Say Asians Want To Look White?

Ask Asian Junkie tackles a rather … uh … controversial topic today, which, if nothing else, should make the comment section interesting.
How do you feel about the whole “Asians who want pale skin and double eyelids are trying to be white” stereotype?
Okay, let’s not beat around the bush here. Whenever anybody asks this question, they are referring to Asian females. Asian males are far less important in the plastic surgery discussion, likely due to patriarchal reasons and other cultural/societal/worldly shit.
Whatever the reason you want to use, that’s the reality of the question, so I’ll address it as if it’s directed towards Asian women.
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General
Honestly? I feel like it’s not a coincidence that most people who espouse that train of thought are white themselves. And at the very least, it’s an oversimplification of the issue on their part.
I’ve never heard anybody say that they wanted to be more white in regards to beauty, but I’m not going to deny that Asians who want to be white exist (more about fitting in than actually wanting to magically transform into a white person). However, I feel that they’re a significant minority, especially in Asia.
With that said, the whole issue reeks of white hegemony, does it not? I dunno, the whole stereotype itself is a bit like Asians saying that all white women who get rhinoplasty for nose reductions want to be more Asian. Point being that it’s more than a bit self-centered to attribute positive physical features as belonging to a certain racial group (the one in power, no less) and then taking the liberty to make fun of other races when they strive for said features.
Ironically, people who espouse this point of view will commonly complain about Asian beauty standards and how difficult they are to meet. So … guess it’s not as simple as “just be white”, huh?
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Pale Skin
Internationally, the discussion about the pale skin thing is just completely stupid. It has zero to do with wanting to be white, unlike what so many people spew all the time. Seriously though, it just shows a complete lack of cultural and historical understanding.
The pale skin issue boils down to two simple equations:
Pale = Upper Class
Dark = Lower Class
It’s more complicated than that in specifics, but that’s the basis of it.
You can say it’s a dated preference or call it stupid or say it sucks or whatever, but it’s something that predates any level of Western assimilation (they did it to their own countrymen), so stop making it a race issue when it’s actually classism.
Shockingly, everything that happens in Asia doesn’t revolve around the feelings and actions of foreigners. Asians do have cultural/societal issues that have nothing to do with foreigners, despite the apparent desire of outsiders to inject themselves into every cultural/societal issue. Get over it.
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Double Eyelids
Once again, why is this a white trait when black and latino people have double eyelids and/or round eyes as well? Ugh.
Anyway, people specifically talk about double eyelids, but really this is about any procedure that gives them features not seen as those of the stereotypical Asian.
In my opinion, the eyelid surgery is just an effort to be more attractive. Plain and simple. Certain features are found more attractive by a majority of the world population, and to nobody’s surprise, people tend to strive for that ideal.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe there are individual tastes, but I also feel there’s a general template for beauty. I know that’s something hyper politically correct people try to deny, but there’s a reason Brad Pitt is a sex symbol and Steve Buscemi is … well … used as an example of ugly people. We can all agree on that much, right? So spare me the shit about “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” unless you see a market out there for a Ron Perlman boy band in the near future.
While I do think that preferences on body type differ heavily from culture to culture, it seems like there’s a relatively consistent ideal for facial features.
In the end, the science of beauty seems to point to a few general parameters: We tend to like large eyes, high cheekbones, a small nose, a large smile, and a small chin.

By applying the stringent conditions of the scientific method, researchers now believe symmetry is the answer the Greeks were looking for.
Babies spend more time staring at pictures of symmetric individuals than they do at photos of asymmetric ones. Moreover, when several faces are averaged to create a composite — thus covering up the asymmetries that any one individual may have — a panel of judges deemed the composite more attractive than the individual pictures.
Victor Johnston of New Mexico State University, for example, utilizes a program called FacePrints, which shows viewers facial images of variable attractiveness. The viewers then rate the pictures on a beauty scale from one to nine. In what is akin to digital Darwinism, the pictures with the best ratings are merged together, while the less attractive photos are weeded out. Each trial ends when a viewer deems the composite a 10. All the perfect 10s are super-symmetric.
Scientists say that the preference for symmetry is a highly evolved trait seen in many different animals. Female swallows, for example, prefer males with longer and more symmetric tails, while female zebra finches mate with males with symmetrically colored leg bands.

Michael R. Cunningham of the Department of Psychology at the University of Louisville found, using a panel of “Asian”, “Hispanic” and “White” judges, that the “Asian”, “Hispanic” and “White” female faces found most attractive were those that had “neonate large eyes, greater distance between eyes, and small noses” and his study led him to conclude that “large eyes” were the most “effective” of the “neonate cues”. Cunningham also said that “shiny” hair may be indicative of “neonate vitality”. Using a panel of “Blacks” and “Whites” as judges, Cunningham found more neotenous faces were perceived as having both higher “femininity” and “sociability”. In contrast, Cunningham found that faces that were “low in neoteny” were judged as “intimidating”.

Upon analyzing the results of his study Cunningham concluded that preference for “neonate features may display the least cross-cultural variability” in terms of “attractiveness ratings” and, in another study, Cunningham concluded that there exists a large agreement on the characteristics of an attractive face.
Thus, in my opinion, the plastic surgery issue is a lot less about racial self-hatred than it is about wanting to be seen as universally beautiful. That’s to say that Asians don’t get eyelid surgery to look white, they get it to fit the standard of beauty within their own society, which is one that is generally consistent across cultures. Now if you want to criticize that standard of beauty and why people can’t accept themselves for who they are, then that’s another issue entirely, but simplifying this issue to “everybody wants to be white” is lazy and ignorant.
To me, the stereotypical notion that Asian women or black women or Latino women want to “whiteify” their faces is, in itself, evidence of a racial hegemony that favors whites rather than serving as evidence that minority women strive to be white. In other words, all people get plastic surgery to fit beauty standards. That’s universal. What’s biased is people believing that only white people fit the ideal beauty standard to begin with and therefore all minorities who get plastic surgery do so to be like white people.
So … uh … stop saying that shit … because it’s dumb.
Thanks.
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Sources: [1],[2],[3],[4]
=====
Update
So from what I’m getting, I’ve gathered that the majority of the dissenters didn’t exactly understand the entire point of the article, which might be poor reading comprehension or might be a fault of my own writing, but regardless, I think it needs to be clarified.
The best clarification I can think of at the moment is a convo I had on Twitter with @pixiestateomind, who always provides thoughtful opinions.
—–
@asianjunkiecom
My point is that I think it’s a societal/cultural flaw that we assume that white people are the ideal. As in, I don’t think the studies themselves are wrong, but most of us have been fed bullshit all our lives about white people not needing help to be beautiful.
@pixiestateomind
Google the words beauty or beautiful and go to the images. There shouldn’t be an ideal, but it’s not like white as an ideal or standard of beauty isn’t shoved down our throats. When there is a dominant voice, that voice tends to be the one that has the last word, and the white voice is the most dominant. This we cant deny and this trickles into every facet of life. That is why when you Google beautiful women, you see a sea of white women and a few women of color.
@asianjunkiecom
I completely agree with what you’re saying, but I think they’re separate issues. One issue is what the ideal actually is and the other issue is the perception of which race holds the key to those ideals. I guess my stance is that the ideal features studies have merit, but that white people don’t hold that ideal in reality. We’re just sort of brainwashed into accepting them as the status quo of beauty when they get cut up just as much as anybody.
@pixiestateomind
Exactly! It’s the brainwashing that needs to be undone. Speaking from a black perspective, we need to undo 500 years of it.
—–
I think that provides clarity on what I was trying to say.

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Porn's Most Popular Stars

Fame, in any part of the celebrity world, is a fleeting thing – but that's especially true in the porn industry.
A new generation of porn stars is on the rise and while the old guard is certainly not stepping out of the spotlight, there are a lot of up-and-comers eager to take their place.
With the industry's annual expo under way in Las Vegas Jan. 16-19, we've once again assembled a list of the most popular porn stars. This year, however, only four of the actors who appeared on last year's list make a return.
While well-known stars like Jesse Jane are still sure bets,a younger crop of performers is starting to capture fans' eyes – and earning nominations in the annual AVN and Xbiz awards (the industry's two highest profile awards shows), which we used as the basis for this year's rankings.
Their drawing power is especially important to the multi-billion dollar industry as sales of video content continue to fall.
Chris Morris | CNBC

Chanel Preston

Preston had a rapid rise in the adult entertainment world, but not one that's so fast it risks a quick burnout. She captured 16 total nominations this year, including female performer of the year nominations from both AVN and Xbiz. She has also represented the industry on several newscasts. In addition to her onscreen talents, Preston is a good writer, spinning sometimes insightful (and often hilarious) tales of the industry from an insider's perspective.
Also, in 2012, she was named a Penthouse Pet, a distinction which increases a performer's recognition factor – and the price they can charge per scene. She also appeared in a music video, further boosting her fame.

Photo by: Morbidthoughts

Brooklyn Lee

Lee boasts female performer of the year nominations from AVN and Xbiz, but she also popped onto the mainstream world's radar for her cameo in Pink's 2010 music video "Raise Your Glass." And when the porn industry decided to make a parody of the 1980s film "Revenge of the Nerds," cast members from the original film took a picture of themselves holding a sign endorsing her work in the film.
She's also a popular feature dancer at major strip clubs around the country, including Sapphire in New York – which can be a much more lucrative source of income than films.

Glenn Francis | Pacificprodigital.com

Lily Carter

Carter got her start in porn two years ago by Googling "how to become a porn star." She started as a Webcam model, but quickly moved into feature films, where she gathered a fan base.This year, she earned 17 nominations, including best actress and female performer of the year nominations from both Xbiz and AVN.

Photo by: Morbidthoughts

Lily LaBeau

LaBeau was a fashion model before entering the world of porn a little over three years later. She didn't jump in with both feet, either. Before becoming a hardcore performer, she took an interim step as a non-nude model, running her own site. Since making the move to true porn star, she has built an impressive resume, garnering nine nominations this year.
Her background as a fashion model is rumored to make her fees a bit higher than people with equal levels of experience.

Source: vanstyles.com

Remy LaCroix

LaCroix was all set to be porn's next "it" girl, but in June she surprised the adult entertainment industry by announcing that she was "gracefully backing out of porn." Saying that "it just doesn't feel right anymore…physically, mentally, or emotionally," she took her leave, but still managed to rack up 11 nominations among this year's awards.
Will the retirement last? Only she can say, but she has remained active on Twitter, telling industry insiders she misses them and posting nude pictures. The time away could only build up demand, raising her asking price.

Chris Morris | CNBC

Allie Haze

A one-time contract performer for Vivid Entertainment, Haze is now a free agent in the industry, a situation that allows her to set her own price per scene. Ans she's racked up 16 nominations this year. She's also a hit in the soft-core porn world, having signed a nine-film deal to play the French soft-core sex icon Emmanuelle (which will likely make her more familiar to Cinemax viewers).

Glenn Francis | Pacificprodigital.com

Bobbi Starr

Starr (who also made CNBC's Dirty Dozen in 2011) has widened her reach in the industry. While she's still acting, she also has become a director for Evil Angel and launched a specialty Website for Kink.com.That diverse resume boosts her earnings potential and gives her increased longevity in the industry. Not bad for someone who failed to win the 2007 pay-per-view reality show "America's Next Hot Porn Star."

Glenn Francis | Pacificprodigital.com

Asa Akira


This Japanese-American porn star is one of the most sought-after performers in the industry (and, rumor has it, makes her one of its highest-paid stars). She's got 18 award nominations and will also be co-hosting the AVN awards ceremony this year. 

Glenn Francis | Pacificprodigital.com

Gracie Glam

After winning AVN's best new starlet in 2011, Glam has seen her career really take off. 
A former student at LA's Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, she had to drop out as fan
and industry demand for her increased. This year, she's nominated for 12 awards.
After winning AVN's best new starlet in 2011, Glam has seen her career really take off. 



Chris Morris | CNBC

Joanna Angel

Angel is one of a handful of women who not only act and star in films, but also own the studio that releases them. She developed a niche by appealing to fans of girls with punk rock and gothic appearances and established a significant following in the process. Today, her firm control of that niche makes her not only popular among fans, but also respected among other porn titans.This year, she has been nominated individually for a dozen awards.

Glenn Francis | Pacificprodigital.com

Lexi Belle

Belle has a huge following online and has expanded her film work this year, earning three nods from AVN and Xbiz. Another 2011 member of the Dirty Dozen, she has won at least one major AVN award each year since 2010. And between AVN and Xbiz she has 20 nominations this year.

Glenn Francis | Pacificprodigital.com

James Deen

While women are typically the faces of porn, Deen has broken through to the mainstream world this year, snagging a co-starring role with Lindsay Lohan in the mainstream film "The Canyons." His atypical look has made him especially popular with teenage girls and led ABC News to dub him "Porn's Boy Next Door." If there's one star with the potential to break out of porn into mainstream fame, like Jenna Jameson before him, Deen is it. And that could add millions to his bottom line.

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Sex sells at Sundance – but there’s more than porn at this year’s festival

This year's Sundance will be showcasing more than just new film talent, with the porn industry and sex addiction featuring in releases.

The 2013  Sundance Film Festival runs from January 17th to 27th

The number of films being shown at Sundance which tell tales of porn, addiction and the sex industry have got industry types claiming this year's festival theme as "sexual coming-of-age."

Lovelace, a film starring Amanda Seyfried as porn star Linda Lovelace and Don Jon's Addiction, about a man overcoming his addiction to porn, are two releases about sex at the festival. Steve Coogan and Stephen Fry star in The Look of Love, a biopic about Soho porn baron Paul Raymond.

Howl actor James Franco is introducing two further films about sex: the documentary kink and S-and-M film Interior. Leather Bar.

Speaking to Reuters, Sundance's Director of Programming Trevor Groth said the films indicate a new audience 'hungry for the taboo of sexuality and sexual relationships'.

There's arguably more interesting things about these films than the sex aspect. Don Jon's Addiction is the directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who starred in Sundance films Brick (2005) and (500) Days of Summer (2009). The film features Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore alongside Gordon-Levitt, who plays the title role.

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New Images From 'The Spectacular Now' Starring Shailene Woodley Of 'The Descendants'

by Rodrigo Perez
If you're not a film blogger, PR person or industry insider, you may not have heard of the upcoming indie drama "The Spectacular Now." But a week from now when the Sundance Film Festival is winding down, the title could be on everyone's lips.

It's already high on our list of the 25 Most Anticipated Films To See At Sundance, and reasons why you should care and pay attention beyond that are myriad. The film is directed by James Ponsoldt, who came out of nowhere last year and made a strong name for himself with the alcoholism drama "Smashed," which pulledthe best performance to date out of actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead ("Breaking Bad" actor Aaron Paul also co-starred). It's also written by Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter the guys who penned the Sundance breakout hit, "(500) Days Of Summer."

Its leads are on the verge too. While mostly an unknown outside the industry, we've already detailed out why Hollywood is placing a strong bet on actor Miles Teller, who first received acclaim by giving as good as he got opposite Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole" (which earned her an Oscar nom). Shailene Woodley was nominated for a Golden Globe for her turn as George Clooney's daughter in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" last year and her cachet is about to increase as the star of an upcoming YA novel adaptation ("Divergent") that could become the next "Hunger Games," and a role in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
The film also boasts a pretty impressive supporting cast that includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler, "Breaking Bad" co-star Bob Odenkirk, "The Wire" alum Andre Royo, "The Hunger Games" actor Dayo Okeniyi and more. Here's what the Sundance Film Festival has to say thus far:

Sutter Keely (Teller) lives in the now. It’s a good place for him. A high school senior, charming and self-possessed, he’s the life of the party, loves his job at a men’s clothing store, and has no plans for the future. A budding alcoholic, he’s never far from his supersized, whisky-fortified 7UP cup. But after being dumped by his girlfriend, Sutter gets drunk and wakes up on a lawn with Aimee Finicky (Woodley) hovering over him. Not a member of the cool crowd, she’s different: the “nice girl” who reads science fiction and doesn’t have a boyfriend. She does have dreams, while Sutter lives in a world of impressive self-delusion. And yet they’re drawn to each other. Adapted from Tim Tharp’s novel, "The Spectacular Now" captures the insecurity and confusion of adolescence without looking for tidy truths. Young actors rarely portray teens with the maturity that Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley display, and they are phenomenal together. Funny, compassionate, and poignant, James Ponsoldt’s third feature again demonstrates his ability to lay bare the souls of his characters.

Ponsoldt sounds pretty happy with the script too. In his "Meet The Filmmakers" Sundance video clip below he elucidates on the film's tone by calling it, "a serious adult love story where the characters happen to be teenagers." Saying he looked at Peter Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show" and "Splendor In The Grass" for inspiration, the filmmaker said, "It's a film that tries to dignify the adolescent experience in all its complexities."

"The Spectacular Now" debuts at Sundance on Friday, January 18 and plays several times overt the course of the 10-day festival that runs Jan 17-27. Check out two exclusive photos from the film below.




* Engrossing script. Read it in one go. I'm enviously of the guys who gets to watch it first at the film festival. It'll be one of the stories of Sundance if the director successfully transferred the lively banters, vigor and spontaneity from the script on to the movie.

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James Franco's NSFW Sundance Film Fest



James Franco—actor, writer, something-or-other—is all over the Sundance Film Festival lineup and the films to which his name are attached are, frankly, NSFW. Back in November the New York Times's Brooks Barnes reported that, as Sundance revealed its lineup, Franco would be exploring "sadomasochistic sex in two films." With the addition of a role in a high profile movie also about sex that makes Franco the sex king of Sundance. Or something like that. This isn't Franco the movie star of Oz the Great and Powerful on display. It's not even Franco the Justin Bieber impersonator. This is Franco of the multiple academic degrees. This is Franco the Weird and Powerful.

Let's look at what will be on view in Park City:

Lovelace
This is perhaps Franco as we're most used to seeing him—though, really, are we used to anything with Franco? Lovelace is the high profile biopic of porn star Linda Lovelace, starring Les Misérables' Amanda Seyfried. Franco plays, get this, Hugh Hefner. Yes, James Franco, is playing the younger version of the Playboy founder, new husbandUs had pictures of Franco in the role. Hey, the cheekbones are right.

Naturally, given the subject matter, the movie—directed by the people who cast Franco in Howl— will feature a lot of sex (here's a recently released still) though it is a fairly mainstream project compared to what else Franco has on his plate. 

Interior. Leather Bar. 
Franco is one of the directors of this highly meta film. In it he and his co-director Travis Mathews, no stranger to the world of gay cinema"reimagine" the "40 minutes of sexually explicit material" that were rumored to be cut out of the 1980 film Cruising. It "defies categorization" by its own description. Franco and Mathews also appear in the film. That said, Franco himself is not engaging in the sex. He told Entertainment Weekly, which also has a clip of the project:
I play a dual role in this project. I co-directed and designed it with Travis, but I’m also in front of the camera, and my presence in front of the camera is an important component of the movie. Maybe the sequel, I engage in the sex. It wasn’t my job to do that in this piece. In some ways, that would put too much focus on myself, I think, the focus I was actually having sex in front of a camera. That would take all the attention. It’s about me and it’s not about me. It’s about me lending my history and my place in movies to a project that may otherwise not get the same amount of attention. It’s enough for me to be the observer in this.
kink
Franco is the executive producer on this film, a documentary about BDSM porn company Kink.com, which uses the San Francisco Armory as its production studio. The film is directed by Christina Voros, who was profiled in Cosmopolitan and who has done a number of projects with Franco in the role of cinematographer. Franco told Entertainment Weekly he had spent time at the Kink.com facilities when doing a day on a Stephen Elliott movie. He explained he did not want to "normalize" the work of the Kink.com employees: "Part of what is so great about what they do is that it is anti-normal. Both films, kink and Interior. Leather Bar., try to frame the subject matter in such a way that it can’t be written off -- that there are a lot of hypocritical preconceptions people have."

So if you're a Franco fan be prepared for a lot of intellectualizing of a lot of sex acts — because Sundance will be filled with it.

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