"Up in the Air" and "An Education" Receive Critics' Choice Seal! 

"Up in the Air" and "An Education" have earned the Critics' Choice seal. This Critics' Choice distinction is given to new movies receiving a high Critics' Choice Ratings score in the weekly voting by the Broadcast Film Critics Association to which I'm a proud member!

"Up in the Air," from director Jason Reitman ("Juno") and starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga, wowed audiences at the recently-held Toronto International Film Festival. The film is being touted as an Oscar contender! "Up in the Air" received a 99 rating from the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Meanwhile "An Education" from director Lone Scherfig and writer Nick Hornby based on a memoir by Lynn Barber, received a rating of 94 from the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

The film is a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London and actress Carey Mulligan is receiving much praise for her Oscar-worthy performance!

Congratulations to the filmmakers of "Up in the Air" and "An Education."

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C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce" Set for Big-Screen Adaptation 

Beloved Pictures has secured the film rights to C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce." This is from the bestselling author who gave us "The Chronicles of Narnia" series.

The first two books under the "Narnia" banner, "The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe," and "Prince Caspian"), were translated brilliantly on the big screen by Disney and Walden Media. Lewis was also the focus of the Academy Award-nominated film, "Shadowlands," starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.

"The Great Divorce" is an adventure tale about one man's journey from the post-apocalyptic world of Grey Town to the outskirts of heaven.

Beloved has hired director David L. Cunningham ("To End All Wars," "Seeker: The Dark is Rising") to helm.

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Oprah is Asking "Will You Be My Black Friend?" 

Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Films has partnered with Lionsgate for a big screen adaptation of the November 2008 GQ Magazine article “Will You Be My Black Friend?”

The article, by senior correspondent Devin Friedman, a self-confessed white boy, details his attempt to make friends with African-Americans.

The story's preface says, "Sure, we may elect a black president this month. And yeah, Oprah has all kinds of white ladies in her audience. But in real life, it seems the older you get, the less chance you have of being friends with someone who is not in your racial demographic. Can a nice white boy make some black friends if he puts his mind to it? Devin Friedman posts an ad on Craigslist to find out."

Read Friedman's article by clicking here.

The film version is being set as a star vehicle for Chris Rock. I'm not quite sure what Rock is going to play, but I hope Harpo and company don't change the race of the main storyteller. The reason why “Will You Be My Black Friend?” worked is because of the racial differences between the characters, and how everyone found out that friendship knows no color.

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Michael Mann to Direct Biopic of Photographer Robert Capa 

Director Michael Mann ("Public Enemies") teamed up with Columbia Pictures to tell the story of war photographer Robert Capa. They will focus on Capa's two-year romance with Gerda Taro during the Spanish Civil War.

Columbia has acquired the film rights to "Waiting for Robert Capa" by novelist Susana Fortes. The studio has set Jez Butterworth to write the script. Mann will produce and direct. Butterworth worked with his brother, John Henry, for the script for “Fair Game” from director Doug Liman starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. The brothers also worked on a James Brown biopic script.

Variety tells us, "The story begins in Paris in 1935, where Capa, a refugee from Fascist Hungary, met Taro, a refugee from Nazi Germany, met with the intention to become photographers. The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War one year later began Capa’s emergence as the most renowned war photographer ever, and established Taro as the first frontline female battle photographer. She was killed in the battle of Brunete in 1937."

Mann has been waiting for the opportunity to make a film about Capa and was later inspired by Fortes' novel. This film sounds Oscar-ready! Sweeping romance told during a gripping war!

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"Zombieland" Invades Box-Office! See the Complete Top 10 List! 

Sony had a terrific box-office weekend! Both of the studio's films claimed the top 2 spots! At No. 1 is "Zombieland" featuring Woody Harrelson. The horror comedy led the pack of new films with a $25 million opening.

Budgeted at just $24 million, Sony has recouped its capital with "Zombieland," so the rest is just bloody gravy.

The No. 2 film is Sony's animated family tale "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs." The film fell from its top spot to hold the No. 2 position with $16.7 million. So far, the movie raised its domestic total to $82.4 million after three weekends.

Sure, Sony is having a great weekend but overall Hollywood revenues came in at $113.4 million, down 4 percent from the same weekend last year.

Taking the No. 3 spot is not a new film but a re-release! Disney/Pixar's double-feature reissue of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" in 3-D sold $12.5 million worth of box-office tickets. This re-release sets the stage for the opening of "Toy Story 3" in 3-D next year.

Other new releases were the Warner Bros. comedy "The Invention of Lying" which opened soft at No. 4 with $7.4 million, and Fox Searchlight's "Whip It" featuring the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore and starring "Juno's" Ellen Page. The roller derby extravaganza debuted at No. 6 with a lackluster $4.85 million opening.

But the happy story of the weekend belongs to Michael Moore and his excellent documentary, "Capitalism: A Love Story." Playing in just 962 theaters, the film tied for sixth-place with $4.85 million raising its total to $5.3 million.

Here's a cool comparison: "Capitalism" played in 962 theaters, while "Zombieland" in 3,036 and about 1,700 cinemas for "Invention of Lying," "Whip It," and the "Toy Story" reissues. Not bad for a documentary eh?

Another happy box-office story is Focus Features' "A Serious Man" from the Coen brothers. Joel and Ethan Coen's dramedy had a big opening with $251,510 in just six theaters! The per cinema average? $41,918 compared to an $8,235 average for "Zombieland."

Here's the estimated Top 10 Box Office films for the weekend of Oct. 2nd:

1. "Zombieland," $25 million.

2. "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," $16.7 million.

3. "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" in 3-D, $12.5 million.

4. "The Invention of Lying," $7.4 million.

5. "Surrogates," $7.3 million.

6 (tie). "Capitalism: A Love Story," $4.85 million.

6 (tie). "Whip It," $4.85 million.

8. "Fame," $4.8 million.

9. "The Informant!", $3.8 million.

10. "Love Happens," $2.8 million.

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