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Film intelligence: Appetite for destruction

Every week there are dozens of film news stories. Every week, we read them all and bring you the five most important ones in the single most important blog post you’ll ever read (today [at this moment]). This week: THE HUNGER GAMES opens, the truth closes in on a playwright, and someone tries to kickstart a campaign to buy Kickstarter.

1. Hungry Hearts

Fathers, lock up your daughters: THE HUNGER GAMES opens in theaters this weekend and that’s pretty much the only way you’re going to keep them away from it. Gary Ross’ film, which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, will easily be 2012′s biggest movie event to date. By Wednesday afternoon, the feverishly anticipated adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ young adult novel about a dystopia and its beloved televised bloodsport, had already pre-sold $15 million in advance tickets, en route to what some box office analysts predict could be a massive $140 million opening weekend (somewhere on Mars, John Carter is quietly sobbing). Not that it matters — the fans would turn out regardless — but critics have been largely positive about the film as well, which currently boasts a 90% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (somewhere on Mars, John Carter just sobbed a little bit louder). [The Washington Post]

2. “Live from New York, it’s the Tribeca Film Festival!”

The 2012 Tribeca Film Festival begins next month, but you don’t need to book a flight to New York City to enjoy Downtown Manhattan’s premiere cinematic event. The fest announced this week that they will make three titles from Tribeca 2012 available nationwide on video on demand throughout this year’s festival, which runs April 18th to the 29th, and add a fourth title to the mix on April 26th. That late addition is BOOKER’S PLACE: A MISSISSIPPI STORY, a documentary about the civil rights movement from CITY ISLAND director Raymond De Felitta; the other options include THE GIANT MECHANICAL MAN, a “comedic romance” about an unemployed woman (Jenna Fischer) who connects with a street performer (Chris Messina); and SLEEPLESS NIGHT, a French action thriller about a cop trapped in a Parisian nightclub with a bunch of gangsters who have kidnapped his son. It’s great, but you don’t have to take my word for it — just listen to the incredibly smart critic quoted on the film’s poster. [TribecaFilm.com]

3. I Lie the Truth

This week’s episode of the popular public radio series and podcast This American Life is entitled “Retraction,” and in it, host Ira Glass details at length how a recent TAL episode, the most popular in the series’ history, was compromised by inaccurate reporting on the part of its subject, Mike Daisey. To make a very long series of very long stories short(ish): Daisey tours the country with a theatrical monologue called The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs about the cruel working conditions at Chinese factories. It purports to be based on the author and speaker’s recent trip to China; in reality, many of the personal anecdotes from Daisey’s story were taken from other journalists’ accounts; when Glass and his staff tried to fact-check Daisey’s story, he misled them in an effort to hide his deception. Confronted with the truth, Daisey apologized, but only for passing off the creative license of theater as journalism, saying that “in a theatrical context” there is a “different language for what the truth means.” Though this story isn’t about a film — at least not yet — but it does speak to the never-ending argument about the responsibility fictional portraits of real people and events have to the truth. When THE KING’S SPEECH fudges some of the facts of its subject’s life in the interest of drama, is that okay? What about when Mike Daisey does the same thing on stage? It’s a sometimes agonizing, sometimes ecstatically entertaining debate. [Entertainment Weekly]

4. “This muvi sux, let me txt, lol roflmao”


When I see someone texting or checking their email on their cell phone during a movie, I get absolutely livid. Apparently, I’m in the minority. A new poll from The Hollywood Reporter found that more than half of 18-to-34-year-olds (and I’m still in the upper reaches of the demographic, thank you very much) believe social media adds to the experience of watching a movie. “Nearly half,” THR adds, “would be interested in going to theaters that allowed texting and web surfing.” Maybe that’s the solution: texting-friendly theaters or screenings for the depraved, horrible people who are so addicted to the Internet that they can’t look away for 90 minutes, and smartphone-free theaters or screenings for the good, decent people of society. (Note: I might be overreacting slightly.) [The Hollywood Reporter]

5. A Kickstarter For Kickstarter

Kickstarter has become a hugely valuable resource for cash-strapped indie filmmakers. Essentially, directors use the site to crowdsource their projects in exchange for gifts to their backers like posters or DVDs. Every week, there are dozens of interesting and worthwhile projects to fund — right now if you’re feeling generous, I recommend you help Bill and Turner Ross clear the music rights for their beautiful new film TCHOUPITOULAS — but a comedian made some headlines this week when he launched arguably the biggest Kickstarter campaign of all time: a Kickstarter to buy Kickstarter. Eric Moneypenny of the L.A. sketch group The Midnight Show, started a Kickstarter project looking to raise $19 million, the amount Moneypenny estimated he’d need to buy the $18.6 million dollar site. The hilariously meta campaign has since vanished from Kickstarter. What a shame. Maybe I should start a Kickstarter to fund Moneypenny’s efforts to restart his efforts to fund his efforts to buy Kickstarter? [Digital Trends]