“The Guilt Trip” Interview with Dan Fogelman 

Dan Fogelman, the scriptwriter of the new comedy “The Guilt Trip,” based his script on his relationship with his own mother. The writer, who gave us last year’s funny “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” sat down with me for this interview where we talked about:

*** Why he chose to write “The Guilt Trip”
*** What made him want to air out his dirty laundry.
*** The character of Joyce played by Barbra Streisand
*** Did director Anne Fletcher help shape his vision?
*** Did Seth Rogen and Streisand capture his relationship with his mommy?

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Still King: "The Hobbit' Beats Streisand, Cruise at Box-Office 

Both Barbra Streisand and Tom Cruise have no powers over little Bilbo Baggins.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" remains on top as the No. 1 movie in America with $36.7 million. Sure, the Peter Jackson movie based on J.R.R. Tolkien's novel dropped a steep 57 percent, but still held the crown.

Meanwhile, low expectations for Tom Cruise's "Jack Reacher" yielded a modest $15.6 million opening. Based on Lee Child's "One Shot," the Paramount film needed a strong word of mouth to keep it rolling past the Holidays.

At No. 3 was Judd Apatow's "This is 40," a quasi-sequel to "Knocked Up." Starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, "This is 40" opened with $12 million.

The certifiable flop of the week is Paramount's "The Guilt Trip" starring Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand. The mother-son road trip film debuted at No. 6 with $5.4 million, yikes!

In limited release was Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar bait "Zero Dark Thirty" about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. In just five theaters, the movie opened with $410,000 averaging $82,000 per cinema.

We'll see if Bilbo can still claim the box-office crown when "Les Miserables" and "Django Unchained" open Christmas Day.

Here's the estimated Top 10 box-office films for weekend of Dec. 21:

1. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," $36.7 million ($91 million international).

2. "Jack Reacher," $15.6 million ($2.5 million international).

3. "This Is 40," $12 million.

4. "Rise of the Guardians," $5.9 million ($13.7 million international).

5. "Lincoln," $5.6 million.

6. "The Guilt Trip," $5.4 million.

7. "Monsters, Inc." in 3-D, $5 million.

8. "Skyfall," $4.7 million ($9 million international).

9. "Life of Pi," $3.8 million ($23.2 million international).

10. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2," $2.6 million ($6.6 million international).

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"Amour" Among Best Foreign Language Oscar Shortlist 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the nine movies that will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 85th Academy Awards. From seventy-one contenders to nine. But honestly? I'm rooting for Austria's "Amour" from director Michael Haneke. I love, love, love this movie!

The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:

Austria, "Amour," Michael Haneke, director;
Canada, "War Witch," Kim Nguyen, director;
Chile, "No," Pablo Larraín, director;
Denmark, "A Royal Affair," Nikolaj Arcel, director;
France, "The Intouchables," Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;
Iceland, "The Deep," Baltasar Kormákur, director;
Norway, "Kon-Tiki," Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;
Romania, "Beyond the Hills," Cristian Mungiu, director;
Switzerland, "Sister," Ursula Meier, director.

So what's next? Here's part of the Academy's press release:

Foreign Language Film nominations for 2012 are again being determined in two phases.

The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 71 eligible films between mid-October and December 17. The group's top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy's Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

The shortlist will be winnowed down to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles. They will spend Friday, January 4, through Sunday, January 6, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.

The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

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Why I Love "Les Miserables!" Watch My Review! 

"LES MISERABLES" Interviews (click on the names to see full interviews):


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"The Master," "Zero Dark Thirty" Top Austin Film Critics Awards 

Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" was named the Best Film of the Year by the Austin Film Critics Association, but Paul Thomas Anderson took the Best Director award for "The Master." Anderson's film also won Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix and Best Cinematography.

Here's the full list of winners. For all winners/nominees of other award-giving bodies, click here:

Top 10:
1. "Zero Dark Thirty"
2. "Argo"
3. "Moonrise Kingdom"
4. "Django Unchained"
5. "Cloud Atlas"
6. "Holy Motors"
7. "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
8. "The Master"
9. "Silver Linings Playbook"
10. "Looper"

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson, "The Master"

Best Actor
Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"

Best Actress
Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"

Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway, "Les Misérables"

Best Adapted Screenplay

Best Original Screenplay

Best Cinematography
"The Master"

Best Score
"Cloud Atlas"

Best Animated Film
"Wreck-It Ralph"

Best Foreign Language Film
"Holy Motors"

Best Documentary
"The Imposter"

Best First Film
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Best Austin Film

Breakthrough Artist Award
Quvenzhané Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Special Honorary Award
Matthew McConaughey, "Bernie," "Killer Joe," "Magic Mike" and "The Paperboy"

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