Watch New Trailer for "Mission Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" Right Here, Right Now! 
In this fourth installment of the popular franchise, Tom Cruise returns to his Ethan Hunt character with help from producer J.J. Abrams. Cruise is also getting a story credit along with Abrams. Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec wrote the screenplay for Brad Bird, making his first live-action feature. His last film as a director was the splendid 2007 Pixar flick, "Ratatouille."

Billed as "Mission Impossible -- Ghost Protocol," the film is intriguing to say the least. Hope it's better than the last one! We'll find out when MI:4 opens December 16 of this year!

For now, take a look at the trailer:



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"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" Movie Review! How Many Kisses Do Megatron and Optimus Prime, or Michael Bay Get? 


My expectations were low for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” The second film in the franchise, 2009’s “Revenge of the Fallen,” treated us to a barrage of noisy visual and aural effects that the third film should be better right? Wrong! The threequel is a soulless, joyless experience with a few eye-popping special effects.

From the underdeveloped script by Ehren Krueger (“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”) to the wobbly direction by Michael Bay to the overacting histrionics of Shia LaBeouf, “Dark of the Moon” is a disjointed mess that exists solely on the power of the “Transformers” brand. Read More...

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Finally, Female-Centric Pixar Film! Check Out "Brave" Trailer! 
"Brave" looks dazzling, and this new Pixar film is not a sequel nor based on anything. It's original, so I hope Pixar will redeem themselves after giving us the reheated, not-that-funny "Cars 2."

"Brave" comes out Summer of 2012, and a big credit goes to Pixar for finally giving us a film with a strong female heroine! This is Princess Merida's story. (See the film's official plot synopsis after the jump)



Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In “Brave,” a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts.

Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane).

Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Witch (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.

Visit the film's official site right here, and its Facebook page right here.

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Winners of the 2011 Palm Springs International ShortFest! 


The Palm Springs International ShortFest, billed as the largest short film festival in North America, has announced its Festival award winners! 331 short films were screened, but in the end, only 18 categories were awarded.

I love and totally support the Palm Springs International ShortFest, many winners move on to nab an Oscar! According to Festival Director, Darry Macdonald, "It’s been a remarkable year for ShortFest, with record attendance and a rapturous response to the programming by audiences, industry and filmmakers alike. The Film Market and industry programs were particulary active, adding hugely to the Festival’s success. I’m confident a number of major future filmmakers emerged here this year and will go on to enliven the feature film world."

And the winners of the 2011 Palm Springs International ShortFest are:

JURY AWARDS

BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD - $2,000 cash and Software Package courtesy of The Showbiz Café & Store; Ultimate Stock Footage Collection courtesy of FootageFilm; Post Production award courtesy of Greenhouse Studios; and Final Cut Pro courtesy of Apple. The winner of this award is eligible to submit their film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar consideration.

Bahiya & Mahmoud (Jordan/USA), Zaid Abu Hamdan

Aging couple Bahiya and Mahmoud have fallen into a reliable routine of bickering and making one another miserable until the morning that Mahmoud wakes and finds Bahiya gone.

PANAVISION GRAND JURY AWARD – Panavision Camera Package valued at $60,000.

UMOJA: No Men Allowed (Australia), Elizabeth Tadic

Fed up with being abused by the men in their village, a group of tribal Samburu women in Northern Kenya create their own successful community where no men are allowed. But will the jealous men they left behind leave them in peace?

FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD - $2,000 cash and Pipeline Filmmaker prize courtesy of Film Source LA, Smart Post Sound, Rushes and The Pipeline. Mitsuyo Miyazaki, Tsuyako (Japan/USA)

In Japan, 1952, Tsuyako tries to live the life that has been set out for her—husband, children, work at the factory and care for her family. Yet when her friend arrives from Tokyo, Tsuyako finds herself entranced by the dream of a different life.

JURY SPECIAL CITATION – The jury presented a special citation for Excellence in Filmic Storytelling to Nullarbor (Australia), co-director and writer Patrick Sarell and co-director Alistair Lockhart.

The Eyre Highway through Australia’s Nullarbor Plain has the longest stretch of straight road in the world—perfect for passing that slow motorist alongside you. When two cars meet in this desolate landscape, will it be the tortoise or the hare who wins the day?

AUDIENCE AWARDS

AUDIENCE FAVORITE LIVE ACTION SHORT

dik (Australia), Christopher Stollery

When a young boy draws a picture of what appears to be him rubbing his best friend’s ‘dik’, his parents are thrown into paroxysms of guilt and self doubt, accusing each other of all manner of sexual peccadilloes.

Runner-up – Tsuyako (Japan/USA), Mitsuyo Miyazaki

AUDIENCE FAVORITE DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Johnny & Lyman: A Life Together (USA), Paul Detwiler, Michael Chen

Having met on the beach in Santa Monica in 1945, Johnny and Lyman have been partners for more than 60 years. In 2008, they joined 18,000 other gay and lesbian couples in America in applying for a marriage license. This is their story.

Runner-up – The Unforgettable Hampton Family (USA), Julie Cohen

AUDIENCE FAVORITE ANIMATION SHORT

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (USA), William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg

A gorgeously rendered allegory about the curative effects of story, this animated tale concerns a man who has built his whole life around his love of books.

Runner-up – Danny & Annie (USA), Dave Isay, Tim Rauch

SHORTFEST ONLINE AUDIENCE AWARD

New this year, the Palm Springs International ShortFest debuted the ShortFest Online Film Festival. Ten films were chosen to represent the festival online to receive the ShortFest Online Audience Award. The film will be available to screen online for the next three months.

Stephany + Me (USA), Peter Shanel

Ben has no luck at love until he meets a woman in the most unexpected place – a massage parlor!

JURY CATEGORY AWARDS
All first place winners in these categories received a cash award of $2,000. First place winners in the Animation and Live Action categories become eligible for Academy Awards consideration. Second Place recipients received a $500 cash prize.

BEST Live Action short 15 MINUTES AND UNDER

First Place ($2,000) – Cat and Mice (Kattenkwaad) (Netherlands), Nova Van Dijk

A young thief, who steals local cats then returns them for reward money, suspects his brutish neighbor of kidnapping a local girl, but finds that appearances can be dangerously deceptive.

Second Place ($500) – Nowhere Elsewhere (Au Milieu de Nulle Part Ailleurs) (Canada), Annick Blanc

Jury Special Citation - Pass the Salt, Please (USA) for Best Onscreen Pairing

BEST Live Action short over 15 minutes:

First Place ($2,000) – The Hours' Home (A Casa das Horas) (Brazil), Heraldo Cavalcanti

While the employees of a phone sales company think they’ve hooked a sucker in the form of a lonely little old lady who’s interested in their sales pitch, they soon learn that she can work the phone even better than they do…

Second Place ($500) – The Shore (UK), Terry George

BEST AnimatION short:

First Place ($2,000) – The Lost Town of Switez (Poland/Canada), Kamil Polak

A spectacularly animated story about a traveler whose journey is diverted when his carriage driver falls asleep. An epic tale across wild lands and towns that glimmer like jewels, about a man who becomes a hero.

Second Place ($500) – Interregnum (Canada), Nick Fox-Gieg

Jury Special Citation - The Cord-Woman (La Femme Á Cordes) (France) for Best Sound Design

BEST Documentary short:

First Place ($2,000) – 75 Watts (Canada), John Cullen

A young man’s body betrays him on a daily basis, until he picks up the one thing that can calm his mind and enliven his spirit.

Second Place ($500) – Collaboration Horizontale (Ireland), Ciaran Cassidy

STUDENT CATEGORIES

All first place winners in these categories will receive a software package courtesy of The Showbiz Café & Store. All student filmmakers in Festival competition are eligible for these awards.

BEST STUDENT Live Action short 15 MINUTES AND UNDER

First Place - The Promised Land (Israel), Vanessa Knutsen

An Israeli woman gives shelter to an illegal Nigerian émigré and her son in this moving story about family and fealty.

Second Place – Kiss (Australia), Alex Murawski

BEST STUDENT Live Action short over 15 minutes:

First Place – Bekas (Sweden/Iraq), Karzan Kader

Winner in the Best Foreign Film category at the 2011 Student Academy Awards. Two brothers living on the streets in Kurdistan hatch a daring plan to get to American—which they are pretty sure lies just across the border.

Second Place – Negative (Israel), Yoav Hornung

BEST STUDENT ANIMATION:

First Place – The Birds Upstairs (USA), Christopher Cinq-Mars Jarvis

Exquisite animation exposes a couple’s despair when, after years of trying, they at last have a child who, to their dismay, doesn’t look anything like them. A beautifully disturbing examination of familial expectations.

Second Place – Heavy Heads (Denmark), Helena Frank

BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY short:

First Place – Goodbye Mandima (Kwa Heri Mandima) (Switzerland), Robert-Jan Lacombe

Robert-Jan Lacombe’s moving remembrance of the wrenching moment when his family boarded a plane and left behind the vivid world of the rural African village that shaped his childhood.

Second Place – Wajeh (Israel/Palestinian Territories), Murad Nassar

KODAK AWARD FOR BEST STUDENT CINEMATOGRAPHY

Taj Musco (cinematographer), Eh Jeung (South Korea)

The bond of two sisters gets in the way as that fine line between lust and love gets blurred.

The Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker went to Eh Jeung (South Korea), directed by Taj Musco. The recipient will receive Final Cut Pro courtesy of Apple. The Alexis Award is selected by the Festival’s programming team and was created in honor of Alexis Echavarria, a young filmmaker, whose talent as a budding filmmaker and gift for inspiring excellence among his fellow students were cut short suddenly in 2005 at age 16.

Bridging the Borders Award presented by Cinema Without Borders went to Bekas (Sweden/Iraq), directed by Karzan Kader. The winner will receive a HP professional mobile workstation, EliteBook 8760w; prize and promotional support provided by HP. Runner-up was The Promised Land (Israel), directed by Vanessa Knutsen. The winner will receive Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5.

Allison Anders (Director – Border Radio, Gas Food Lodging, Mi Vida Loca), Effie T. Brown (Producer - Real Women Have Curves, Rocket Science) and Kirsten Smith (Producer/Writer - Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, The House Bunny) served on the ShortFest jury.

Designated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an award-qualifying Festival and accredited by the International Short Film Conference, the Palm Springs International ShortFest and its Short Film Market, are the largest and most prominent short film showcase in North America. Over the course of its first 16 years, the Festival has presented 80 films that have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations. The Festival and its concurrent 3,000-film Film Market continues to serve as a scouting ground for new filmmaking talent and is well attended by those in the business of buying and selling short films.

The Palm Springs International ShortFest is supported by an ever-growing number of new and longtime sponsors with local, national and international prominence. The Title Sponsor is the City of Palm Springs with Presenting Sponsors The Desert Sun and Spencer’s. Major Sponsors include Persol, MAKE, Panavision, The BottomLine, Greenhouse Studios, KPSP Local 2, The Pipeline, Australian Consulate General in Los Angeles and Palm Springs Life. The official host hotel and media center is the Renaissance Palm Springs. More information is available online at www.psfilmfest.org or by calling (800) 898-7256.

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Stephenie Meyer's "The Host" Gets Release Date! 


Stephenie Meyer's "The Host" is getting a big-screen treatment with Saoirse Ronan ("Hanna," "Atonement") attached to star! Open Road Films has announced that it will distribute the adaptation in the U.S. on March 29, 2013.

Andrew Niccol ("Gattaca," "Lord of War") will direct from his own adapted screenplay. Shooting is set to begin February of 2012 in Louisiana and New Mexico.

Meyer, who gave us the super-successful "Twilight" series, said that she's "thrilled to be adding another fantastic partner to an already amazing group. Everyone involved has so much passion for the project. It really is a dream team."

"The Host" tells the story of Souls, an alien race set to take over earth and inhabit the bodies of humans.

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