Houston Film Critics Hail "The Hurt Locker" as Best Picture! 

Yet more awards for Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker!" The Iraq-war drama scored high with the Houston Film Critics Society. Bigelow picked up the Best Director award and Barry Ackroyd for Best Cinematography.

The complete list of the winners of the Houston Film Critics Society Awards:

Best Picture: “The Hurt Locker”

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”

Best Actor: George Clooney, “Up in the Air”

Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, “An Education”

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”

Best Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, “Up in the Air”

Best Animated Film: “Up”

Best Cinematography: Barry Ackroyd, “The Hurt Locker”

Best Documentary: “The Cove”

Best Foreign Film: “Sin Nombre”

Best Original Score: Michael Giacchino, “Up”

Best Original Song: “Petey’s Song” by Jarvis Cocker, Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach,”The Fantastic Mr. Fox”

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Brittany Murphy Dies at 32 


It's confirmed! Brittany Murphy died Sunday morning. She was 32.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

The report cites multiple sources claiming that she went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

The Associated Press reported that the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a 911 call from the home of screenwriter Simon Monjack, Murphy's husband, on Sunday morning. Fire Department spokesman Devon Gale said the call was made at 8 a.m. and that one person was transported to a hospital.

Messages left for Murphy's manager, agent and publicist weren't immediately returned.

Murphy was best known for her roles in "Clueless," "8 Mile" and "Don't Say a Word."


And TMZ is updating this developing story. Follow their updates right here.

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"Avatar" Opens Worldwide with $232.2 Million Box Office Take 


James Cameron must be feeling a lot like the king of the world again. "Avatar" debuted at No. 1 with $73 million domestic, and $159.22 million overseas, for a grand total of $232.2 million worldwide!

Many insiders were saying that "Avatar's" box-office take could have been higher but bad winter storms in the east coast prevented some moviegoers to enjoy Cameron's masterpiece.

(Check out my review of "Avatar" here)

Produced at an earth-shattering budget of $400 million, distributor 20th Century Fox was happy with the film's weekend box-office take. The film, starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver, bumped previous weekend winner, "The Princess and the Frog," to No. 2.

The Walt Disney flick took in $12.2 million. "The Blind Side," featuring Golden Globe award nominee Sandra Bullock, came in at No. 3 with $10 million.

Buoyed by its Golden Globes nominations, Paramount's "Up in the Air" broke into the top 10 at No. 8 with $3.1 million. From director Jason Reitman and starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air" is one of my favorite films of 2009.

(Check out my review of "Up in the Air" plus my interviews with Reitman, Farmiga, and Kendrick right here)

"Up in the Air" opens nationwide Wednesday.

Another film shining in limited release is the musical "Nine." (Check out my movie review of "Nine" right here)

The Weinstein Co. flick opened big with $246,933 in just four theaters! That's roughly $61,733 per cinema.

1. "Avatar," $73 million.
2. "The Princess and the Frog," $12.2 million.
3. "The Blind Side," $10 million.
4. "Did You Hear About the Morgans?", $7 million.
5. "The Twilight Saga" New Moon," $4.4 million.
6. "Invictus," $4.2 million.
7. "Disney's a Christmas Carol," $3.4 million.
8. "Up in the Air," $3.1 million.
9. "Brothers," $2.6 million.
10. "Old Dogs," $2.3 million.

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Casting Call Alert: Coen Brothers Looking for Mattie Ross in "True Grit" 


As we mentioned before, the Coen brothers and Paramount are remaking "True Grit" based on Charles Portis novel. Now, they've launched their search for the young female lead, Mattie Ross, played by Kim Darby (pictured) in the original 1969 film that won John Wayne a Best Actor Oscar.

They're looking for a girl between the ages of 12 and 17. If you're interested, you can apply by self taping or by attending an open call in Arkansas, Mississippi, or Oklahoma in the coming weeks.

You can go to the "True Grit" casting call's official site right here.

And click here for a three-page scene from the script that you can use to practice.

This character will tag along two marshals -- to be played by Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon -- to hunt for the man who killed her father -- to be played by Josh Brolin.

Applicants, study the Mattie Ross character well, and good luck!

SOURCE: THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

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Check Out New "Shrek Forever After" Trailer 


So far, my favorite "Shrek" film is the second installment. Let's see if the fourth one will win us over. But the trailer looks cute, and makes me want to see the film when it opens May 21st.

Here's a short description from DreamWorks:

After challenging an evil dragon, rescuing a beautiful princess and saving your in-laws’ kingdom, what’s an ogre to do? Well, if you’re Shrek, you suddenly wind up a domesticated family man. Instead of scaring villagers away like he used to, a reluctant Shrek now agrees to autograph pitch forks. What’s happened to this ogre’s roar? Longing for the days when he felt like a “real ogre,” Shrek is duped into signing a pact with the smooth-talking dealmaker, Rumpelstiltskin. Shrek suddenly finds himself in a twisted, alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumpelstiltskin is king and Shrek and Fiona have never met. Now, it’s up to Shrek to undo all he’s done in the hopes of saving his friends, restoring his world and reclaiming his one True Love.


Mike Myers ("Shrek"), Cameron Diaz ("Fiona"), Eddie Murphy ("Donkey"), and Antonio Banderas ("Puss 'N Boots") are set to reprise their roles.

Here's the fun trailer for "Shrek Forever After":


Shrek Forever After

Trailer Park | MySpace Video


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