Who's Been Invited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? 

135 filmmakers and executives have been invited by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to join its ranks. Recent Oscar nominees and winners such as Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Mo'Nique, Carey Mulligan, Jeremy Renner, Gabourey Sidibe and Christoph Waltz have been invited to join; but even "Saw's" Tobin Bell and "Avatar's" Zoe Saldana received invites.

New members will be "baptized" in an invitation-only reception in September at the Academy's Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study in Beverly Hills.

Here's a complete list of the 2010 invitees:

Tobin Bell -- "Saw," "The Firm"
Vera Farmiga -- "Up in the Air," "The Departed"
Miguel Ferrer -- "Traffic," "RoboCop"
James Gandolfini -- "In the Loop," "Get Shorty"
Anna Kendrick -- "Up in the Air," "Twilight"
Mo'Nique -- "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," "Phat Girlz"
Carey Mulligan -- "An Education," "Public Enemies"
Jeremy Renner -- "The Hurt Locker," "28 Weeks Later"
Ryan Reynolds -- "The Proposal," "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"
LaTanya Richardson Jackson -- "Mother and Child," "Losing Isaiah"
Peter Riegert -- "Traffic," "Crossing Delancey"
Sam Robards -- "A.I. Artificial Intelligence," "American Beauty"
Saoirse Ronan -- "The Lovely Bones," "Atonement"
Zoe Saldana -- "Avatar," "Star Trek"
Adam Sandler -- "Funny People," "Punch-Drunk Love"
Peter Sarsgaard -- "An Education," "Boys Don't Cry"
Gabourey Sidibe -- "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Shaun Toub -- "Iron Man," "The Kite Runner"
Christoph Waltz -- "Inglourious Basterds"
George Wyner -- "A Serious Man," "American Pie 2"

Ken Bielenberg -- "Monsters vs Aliens," "Shrek"
Peter de Seve -- "Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs," "Ratatouille"
Steve Hickner -- "Bee Movie," "The Prince of Egypt"
Angus MacLane -- "Toy Story 3," "WALL-E"
Darragh O'Connell -- "Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty," "Give Up Yer Aul Sins"
Simon Otto -- "How to Train Your Dragon," "Kung Fu Panda"
Bob Pauley -- "Toy Story 3," "Monsters, Inc."
Willem Thijssen -- "The Aroma of Tea," "A Greek Tragedy"

Art directors
Kim Sinclair -- "Avatar," "Cast Away"
Dave Warren -- "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," "Bridget Jones's Diary"

Darcy Antonellis
John Lowry

Casting director
Laura Rosenthal -- "The Messenger," "I'm Not There"

Barry Ackroyd -- "The Hurt Locker," "United 93"
Christian Berger -- "The White Ribbon," "Cache"
Hagen Bogdanski -- "The Young Victoria," "The Lives of Others"
Shane Hurlbut -- "Terminator Salvation," "We Are Marshall"
Tom Hurwitz -- "Valentino The Last Emperor," "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib"
Dan Mindel -- "Star Trek," "Mission: Impossible III"
Tobias Schliessler -- "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3," "Hancock"
Stephen Windon -- "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," "House of Wax"
Robert Yeoman -- "Get Him to the Greek," "The Squid and the Whale"

Costume designers
Catherine Leterrier -- "Coco before Chanel," "Avenue Montaigne"
Janet Patterson -- "Bright Star," "The Piano"

Jacques Audiard -- "A Prophet," "The Beat That My Heart Skipped"
Juan Jose Campanella -- "The Secret in Their Eyes," "Son of the Bride"
Lee Daniels -- "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," "Shadowboxer"
Claudia Llosa -- "The Milk of Sorrow," "Madeinusa"
Lone Scherfig -- "An Education," "Italian for Beginners"
Adam Shankman -- "Bedtime Stories," "Hairspray"

Nancy Baker -- "Rehearsing a Dream," "Born into Brothels"
Rick Goldsmith -- "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon
Papers," "Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press"
Davis Guggenheim -- "It Might Get Loud," "An Inconvenient Truth"
Tia Lessin -- "Capitalism: A Love Story," "Trouble the Water"
Cara Mertes -- "The Betrayal," "My Country, My Country"
Frazer Pennebaker -- "Al Franken: God Spoke," "The War Room"
Julia Reichert -- "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant," "Seeing Red"
Morgan Spurlock -- "Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?," "Super Size Me"

Christopher W. Aronson
Jim Berk
Philippe Dauman
Sheila DeLoach
Donald Peter Granger
Nathan Kahane
Andrew Karpen
Ryan Kavanaugh
David Kosse
David Andrew Spitz
Emma Watts

Film editors
Robert Frazen -- "Synecdoche, New York," "Smart People"
Dana E. Glauberman -- "Up in the Air," "Thank You for Smoking"
Joe Klotz -- "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," "Grace Is Gone"
Bob Murawski -- "The Hurt Locker," "Spider-Man"
John Refoua -- "Avatar," "Reno 911!: Miami"

Live-action short films
Joachim Back -- "The New Tenants"
Gregg Helvey -- "Kavi," "The Knife Grinder's Tale"

Makeup artists and hairstylists
Kris Evans -- "X-Men The Last Stand," "Pirates of the Caribbean: The
Curse of the Black Pearl"
Jane Galli -- "Knight and Day," "3:10 to Yuma"
Mindy Hall -- "Star Trek," "World Trade Center"
Joel Harlow -- "Star Trek," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"
Jenny Shircore -- "The Young Victoria," "Elizabeth"

Christophe Beck -- "The Hangover," "Bring It On"
Bono -- "Gangs of New York," "In the Name of the Father"
T Bone Burnett -- "Crazy Heart," "Cold Mountain"
The Edge -- "Gangs of New York," "GoldenEye"
Brian Tyler -- "Fast & Furious," "Aliens vs. Predator Requiem"

Stephanie Allain -- "Black Snake Moan," "Hustle & Flow"
Gregory Jacobs -- "The Informant!," "The Good German"
Jon Landau -- "Avatar," "Titanic"
Marc Turtletaub -- "Away We Go," "Little Miss Sunshine"
Glenn Williamson -- "Sunshine Cleaning," "Hollywoodland"

Production designers

Kirk M. Pertruccelli -- "The Incredible Hulk," "The Patriot"
Edward S. Verreaux -- "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," "Jurassic Park III"

Public relations
Dwight Caines
Suzanne M. Cole
Tommy Gargotta
Sophie Gluck
Josh Greenstein
Pamela Levine
Wendy Lightbourn
Michele Robertson
Tony Sella

Set decorators
Maggie Gray -- "The Young Victoria," "Ella Enchanted"
Douglas A. Mowat -- "Role Models," "The Sixth Sense"
Caroline Smith -- "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Match Point"

Frank Eulner -- "Iron Man 2," "Hellboy"
Adam Jenkins -- "I Love You, Man," "Crash"
Tony Lamberti -- "Inglourious Basterds," "Sideways"
Dennis Leonard -- "Disney's A Christmas Carol," "The Polar Express"
Tom Myers -- "Up," "WALL-E"
Paul N.J. Ottosson -- "The Hurt Locker," "Spider-Man 3"
Resul Pookutty -- "Ghajini," "Slumdog Millionaire"
Gary A. Rizzo -- "How to Train Your Dragon," "The Dark Knight"
Michael Silvers -- "Up," "Ratatouille"
Gwendolyn Yates Whittle -- "Avatar," "The Simpsons Movie"

Visual effects
Matt Aitken -- "District 9," "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
Karen Ansel -- "Angels & Demons," "Men in Black II"
Richard Baneham -- "Avatar," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"
Eric Barba -- "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Zodiac"
Paul Debevec -- "Avatar," "King Kong"
Russell Earl -- "Star Trek," "Transformers"
Steve Galich -- "Date Night," "Transformers"
Andrew R. Jones -- "Avatar," "I, Robot"
Dan Kaufman -- "District 9," "Ocean's Thirteen"
Derek Spears -- "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," "Superman Returns"
Steve Sullivan -- "Avatar," "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith"
Michael J. Wassel -- "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," "The Bourne Identity"

Neill Blomkamp -- "District 9"
Mark Boal -- "The Hurt Locker," "In the Valley of Elah"
Geoffrey Fletcher -- "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
Nick Hornby -- "An Education," "Fever Pitch"
Alex Kurtzman -- "Star Trek," "Mission: Impossible III"
Tom McCarthy -- "Up," "The Visitor"
Roberto Orci -- "Star Trek," "Mission: Impossible III"
Terri Tatchell -- "District 9"


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2010 Los Angeles Film Festival Audience Award Winners 

Before screening the Closing Night film ("Despicable Me"), Film Independent has announced its 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival audience award winners. According to HollywoodNews.com:

The 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival screened over 200 feature films, shorts, and music videos, representing more than 40 countries. This year, the Festival received more than 4,700 submissions from filmmakers around the world. The final selections represent 28 World, North American, and U.S. premieres, which more than doubled from 2009. The number of films competing in the narrative and documentary competition categories also increased this year from 13 to 18, of which half are World premieres.

Here's the complete list of winners of the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival audience awards:

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature

Winner: Four Lions directed by Christopher Morris
Writers: Christopher Morris, Jesse Armstrong, and Sam Bain
Producers: Mark Herbert, Derrin Schlesinger
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak, and Adeel Akhtar
Film Description: (England) Never one to shy away from taboo subjects, celebrated British satirist Christopher Morris tackles modern jihadism in this comedy of terrors about four bumbling suicide bombers in training.

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature

Winner: Thunder Soul
Director: Mark Landsman
Producers: Keith Calder, Mark Landsman, Jessica Wu
Featuring: The Kashmere Stage Band, Conrad O. Johnson
Film Description: A high school band unlike any other, the Kashmere Stage Band was a worldwide sensation in the ‘70s. Thirty-five years later, the band reunites to pay tribute to the man who made it all possible.

Audience Award for Best International Feature

Winner: Presumed Guilty
Directors: Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith
Producers: Layda Negrete, Roberto Hernández, Martha Sosa, Yissel Ibarra
Film Description: (Mexico) In Mexico, where 92 percent of convictions are not based on any physical evidence, two lawyers use the documentary lens to expose an abominable justice system and free one innocent man.

Audience Award for Best Short Film

Winner: Dock Ellis & the LSD No-No
Director: James Blagden
Producers: Christopher Isenberg, Donnell Alexander, Neille Ilel
Description: Dock Ellis’ legendary LSD-fueled no-hitter is revisited by the man himself.

Audience Award for Best Music Video

Winner: This Too Shall Pass
Directors: James Frost, OK Go, Syyn Labs
Producer: Shirley Moyers
Music: OK Go

More information can be found at LAFilmFest.com

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"X-Men: First Class" Enlists Michael Fassbender as Magneto 

Michael Fassbender, who played the Canadian spy Archie Hicox in "Inglourious Basterds," has been cast to play baddie Magneto in "X-Men: First Class" to be directed by Matthew Vaughn ("Kick-Ass").

Fassbender will join James McAvoy, who is set to play Professor Xavier.

Here's the logline of the film:

"X-Men: First Class, following the classic Marvel mythology, charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga. Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men."

The film is set to go on production late summer and is set for release June 3, 2011.

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Watch "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" Movie Review 

Find out why I'm calling this film the best of the franchise so far, plus see interview snippets with Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner about the series' characters. (to read my full "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" movie review, click here)

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Weekend Movie Round-Up: "Knight and Day," "Grown Ups" Movie Reviews 

"Knight and Day" and "Grown Ups" are set to battle for box-office supremacy with "Toy Story 3." But from the looks of it, the Disney/Pixar threequel will take the crown.

"Knight and Day," which opened last Wednesday, comes with a great pedigree. Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, and director James Mangold, the guy who gave us "Walk the Line" and "3:10 to Yuma" among others.

How can you go wrong right? Well, "Knight and Day" is a fun, entertaining film, that's just a wee bit short on logic.

Here's the plot: Diaz is June Havens, who suddenly finds her daily routine interrupted by being entangled with a secret agent named Roy Miller played by Cruise. He has a latest mission that he instinctively feels he's not supposed to survive.

Soon, the couple find themselves in a globe-trotting adventure in an attempt to avoid capture by the feds. But the big caveat -- Cruise's secret agent is not who he says he is...or is he?

"Knight and Day" is one of those movies that makes its plot so unnecessary complicated as a cover for its brainless and illogical narrative. But much like this summer's "The A-Team," "Knight and Day" is thoroughly charming though its lacking in the brains department.

But thanks to Cruise, yes, Cruise, and his palpable chemistry with Diaz, "Knight and Day" is fluffy fun with lots of action scenes thrown in. Just check your brains out the door in order to enjoy this movie.

"Knight and Day" :25k

If "Knight and Day" is illogically entertaining, then "Grown Ups" is immaturely annoying. When I first heard about this movie's cast, I thought it was brilliant!

Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider, heck even Maya Rudolph, Steve Buscemi, Colin Quinn and Tim Meadows make appearances.

But wait, there's more! Maria Bello and Salma Hayek even show up.

You expect more from a powerhouse cast like that. But sadly, "Grown Ups" is immature and unfunny.

The plot? Five friends, Sandler, James, Rock, Spade, Schneider, reunite at the funeral of their high school basketball coach and decide to reminisce about the good old days while spending a wild 4th of July weekend together.

"Grown Ups" tries so hard to be this year's "The Hangover" but fails miserably. You see, "The Hangover" knew what it was -- a raunch-fest with a heart, a big heart -- while "Grown Ups" has an identity crisis. It so wants to be a raunch-fest but also courts the young kids (it's PG-13). It doesn't work, and never will work.

Co-written by Sandler himself and directed by Dennis Dugan, the guy who gave us the horrible "You Don't Mess with the Zohan," "Grown Ups" never quite matched the "awesomeness" of its great cast -- lots of funny people.

Saddled with a lazy script, lazy plotting and lazy direction, you will not want to spend your Independence Day weekend with this crew.

The one thing the movie did miraculously? David Spade is the funniest part of the movie and that's not saying much.

"Grown Ups" :15k

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