Archive for January, 2011

Flypaper

January 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film Reviews: A slick but instantly forgettable item with tepid theatrical prospects.

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NFL’s Collective Fumbling

January 30, 2011  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If one were to apply the language of football to the ad sales market, deploying the martially inflected argot sportswriters toss around like small bills—the bombs, the blitzes, the controlled bursts of aerial assault—it would be safe to say that this is the year the National Football League went thermonuclear.

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Seeing Triple Zuckerbergs (Including the Real One) on SNL [NetworkEffect]

January 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Good thing Mark Zuckerberg’s got that whole other career going, cause he can’t hold a straight face for a millisecond. What he can successfully do is go on “ Saturday Night Live ” and be a good sport, appearing alongside two men who have played and parodied him: “The Social Network” actor Jesse Eisenberg and SNL’s Andy Samberg. Here’s the clip from tonight’s show: Without Aaron Sorkin writing his dialogue, the real Zuckerberg is lacking in zingers. His review of “The Social Network”: “It was… interesting.” “That guy’s like my evil twin and that’s just Andy Samberg,” Zuckerberg tells SNL creator Lorne Michaels while being mock-sequestered backstage. “Those guys are such nerds… C’mon, I invented poking.” Meanwhile Eisenberg admits, for all the sticklers in the room (and one of them in particular), “I wasn’t really ‘doing’ Mark Zuckerberg; I was interpreting a fictional character in a movie script.” Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement .

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‘The King’s Speech’ tops DGA Awards

January 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: Tom Hooper wins feature film prize -- Tom Hooper has won the DGA Award for feature film direction for "The King's Speech."

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Oscilloscope nabs ‘Bellflower’

January 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: Pic to be released Stateside this summer -- Oscilloscope has nabbed rights in English-speaking territories to helmer Evan Glodell's directorial debut "Bellflower" with plans to release the pic Stateside this summer.

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Sound of My Voice

January 29, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film Reviews: Two documentary filmmakers infiltrate a mysterious cult in this taut, compelling low-budget feature.

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BlackBerries Hit With Nationwide E-mail Outage [Mobilized]

January 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

BlackBerry addicts across the country awoke on Saturday to find their devices having major issues when trying to get e-mail over non-corporate networks. The issue started being resolved by Noon ET, according to a spokesman for Verizon, though all carriers were affected by this issue, the spokesman said. (Verizon had a carrier-specific issue earlier in the week where some of its users were seeing delays in BlackBerry e-mail.) Saturday’s problem appears not to have affected those whose companies have their own BlackBerry servers, but did affect individual users that get e-mail via RIM’s Internet-based mail servers. Various Blackberry users reported the issues, including on BlackBerry’s support forums and various enthusiast sites . Reasearch In Motion representatives did not return e-mail seeking comment.

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Now This Is a Content Mill: Narrative Science Raises $6 Million for Human-Free Stories [MediaMemo]

January 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Demand Media and its peers pay lots of writers small sums in order to generate lots and lots of content, with the help of computers. But you can do it for even less if you eliminate the writers altogether. That’s the premise behind Narrative Science , a start-up that sells technology that “generates news stories, industry reports, headlines and more–at scale and without human authoring or editing.” And the pitch seems to be effective: It’s allowed the company to raise $6 million in a round led by Battery Ventures that closed this week. The Evanston, Ill.-based company, which started up last year, is led by former DoubleClick executive Stuart Frankel, with Kris Hammond and Larry Birnbaum, two Northwestern University computer science professors. Other investors include Frankel’s former boss David Rosenblatt , who stuck around Google for a bit after it bought the online ad company, and who now advises companies like Twitter, where he sits on the board . Frankel and Hammond worked on an earlier incarnation of the idea at Northwestern, where they helped produce Stats Monkey , a program that could automatically create passable sports stories based solely on game data. And StatSheet , a North Carolina start-up, wants to use the same premise to fuel a network of sports sites. But Narrative Science has ambitions bigger than box scores. The company wants to use structured data sets to produce a wide range of stories. Many of which you probably wouldn’t identify as stories (“narrative” is an intentionally broad term), and many of which you’ll never see anyway, because they’re behind a paywall of some sort. Think of financial reports, real estate write-ups , etc. I suppose some people might get queasy about the idea of robot writers, but I think it makes perfect sense.

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Broadway box office gets a chill

January 29, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Legit B.O.: 'Idiot,' 'Time' buck downward sales trend -- Broadway sales dropped as low as the temperatures in Week 35 (Jan. 17-23) -- except at "American Idiot," where Billie Joe Armstrong helped warm the box office.

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Unifrance re-ups De Clermont-Tonnere

January 29, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

International News: Producer to serve another two years as Unifrance prexy -- Antoine Clermont-Tonnerre was re-elected Friday as president of France's Unifrance, Europe's most powerful and often trend-setting pic export org.

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