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Good Morning Hollywood, August 23: ‘Social’ Insecurity

Harry Potter sneaks out and Facebook clams up


In this morning’s roundup of movie news ‘n’ notes from around the web, Harry Potter sneaks out and Facebook clams up.

We know that Facebook doesn’t like “The Social Network,” aka “the Facebook movie.” (The New York Times had a story over the weekend, and Sharon Waxman had her own take in WaxWord.) The Facebook policy of ignoring the movie may be misguided unless the film’s a flop, but you can certainly understand them having qualms about a project based on a book whose author, Ben Mezrich, has admitted he relies on “dramatic narrative” and “legitimate speculation” and yes, fictionalized scenes. (Back when the book came out, CNNMoney.com broke down the author’s dubious m.o.)

Jesse EisenbergMeanwhile, “The Social Network” is suddenly stirring up heavy Oscar buzz, mostly because of a review on the Film Comment website by critic Scott Foundas, who seemingly got to see the film early because he’s on the selection committee for the New York Film Festival, where the film will be the opening-night attraction. Anne Thompson examines the ethics of that early review (“not cool”), and points out that it’s really dangerous to be seen as an Oscar front-runner this early in the season. (Thompson on Hollywood)    

Speaking of Oscar front-runners, Scott Feinberg predicts the Academy Awards before the fall festivals kick off, which he admits is a foolish thing to do. (“Many amendments” to come, he promises.) Of his ten picks for Best Picture frontrunners, only the last three – “Inception,” “The Kids Are All Right” and “Toy Story 3” – have opened yet, and of the other seven only “Another Year” has been screened much. In other words, these are shots in the dark, more or less. His top contenders, in order, are David O. Russell’s “The Fighter,” Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours,” David Fincher’s “The Social Network” and Ed Zwick’s “Love and Other Drugs”; also on the list are “The King’s Speech” and “True Grit.” We’ll see how many are left standing when the dust clears after Venice, Toronto and Telluride. (ScottFeinberg.com)

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I,” the first of two films made from the final Harry Potter book, had a test screening Saturday night in Chicago. (That’s where most of the Potter movies have tested.) Naturally, news and reviews were immediately posted. One by “Edward” at the Leaky Cauldron is typical: very detailed, and very full of spoilers. If you haven’t read the book and plan on seeing the movie, you might want to skip it. (TheLeakyCauldron.org)

Some people have said that “The Expendables” hearkens back to the action films of the 1980s, and say that’s a good thing. Shane Danielsen agrees with the comparison, but thinks that’s very bad: where he fits ‘80s films like “Top Gun” and “Die Hard” into a category he calls “Reaganite cinema,” he says this one is “Tea Party cinema: manichean in its worldview, pissed off in a directionless, agitated way, and eager for immediate and definitive solutions.” And he’s really uncomfortable with films that “conjure a believable yet simpler world, one in which discussion is for pinheads, and artillery speaks louder than words.” (The Independent)

All you need to know about Time Out London’s “50 essential comic-book movies,” a list put together with the help of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” director Edgar Wright, can be found in movie number 50: “Howard the Duck,” the colossally wrong 1986 adaptation of what was once a fairly sharp and satiric comic. In other words, these guys are looking to have fun with the list. Which means that alongside “Ghost World” and “The Dark Knight” and “Persepolis” and “Barbarella” are “The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak” and a Filipino action comedy called “James Batman.” You won’t be able to guess what Number One is, but it was a troubled production and Wright said it “rescued the genre.” (Time Out London)