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Tag: Politics (11-20 of 64)

Senate committee shuts down 'Zero Dark Thirty' probe

*This story has been updated to reflect Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s statement.

A day after the Academy Awards failed to recognize Zero Dark Thirty with any major awards — and nearly seven weeks after snubbing director Kathryn Bigelow altogether — the U.S. Senate closed its investigation into “inappropriate” meetings and conversations that Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal may have had with members of the CIA to research their movie, which tells the story of the secret American effort to track and kill Osama bin Laden. Reuters cited an anonymous congressional aide who said the Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), would not seek further action against the filmmakers, who came under fire in early 2012 when it was revealed they had close contact with several government agencies.

Zero Dark Thirty has been a lightning rod for controversy since even before it opened on Dec. 19. READ FULL STORY

'Zero Dark Thirty' banned -- unofficially -- in Pakistan

Zero Dark Thirty is set largely in Pakistan — but the citizens of that country largely aren’t able to see how their homeland is depicted in it, unless they can track down a pirated copy of the Oscar-nominated film.

EW has confirmed that Zero Dark Thirty has not been approved by Pakistan’s board of censors, and therefore has not been shown in any of the nation’s few movie theaters that play English-language films. But that’s not the whole story: according to the Associated Press, no distributor has even applied for permission to show Zero Dark Thirty in Pakistan. This means that while the movie hasn’t been officially censured by Pakistan’s government, it is unofficially unsanctioned there. DVDs of the film were being sold recently in the capital city of Islamabad — but the AP writes that rumors about a ban have driven at least two stores to stop carrying Zero Dark Thirty, while another has taken to selling it only under the counter.


Sundance 2013: Naomi Watts and Robin Wright are 'Two Mothers' with a sexy secret

“Qu’est-ce que c’est ‘cougar’?”

French director Anne Fontaine wasn’t familiar with the English term for mature women who prefer much younger men — nor was she aware of the Saturday Night Live sketch, “Motherlover” —  but with Two Mothers, she’s melting the snow at the Sundance Film Festival with a love story — “Not a sex story,” she says — about two Australian best friends who fall hard for each other’s teenage sons and form an unconventional quartet.

Close neighbors in an idyllic beach paradise, Lil (Naomi Watts) and Roz (Robin Wright) have been best pals since they were girls. They do everything together – making Roz’s husband (The Dark Knight’s Ben Mendelsohn) feel like an interloper in his own home  — and their sons are practically brothers. In the final summer before the boys head off to college, the unspeakable happens when Lil’s son Ian (Xavier Samuel) kisses Roz and she doesn’t stop him from going further. When her son, Tom (James Frecheville), catches them together, he feels compelled to act on his own hormones with Lil.

“I had never read anything like it,” says Watts. “And I loved how I went from a place of quickly judging them to almost instantly forgiving them, and more than that, willing it to happen and to continue. And the question comes up later, and the ‘Oh my God and we have to end this.’ But it’s too good, and that just felt very human to me.” READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2013: Robert Redford answers conservative critics

In the Day 1 press conference to open the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford struck back at a conservative Utah group that suggested last week that the state should reconsider its funding of Sundance because the festival’s liberal leanings did not reflect the state’s values. “Sometimes the narrowest mind barks the loudest, and we’ve over time come to ignore it,” said Redford, who also reminded Utahans of the $80 million the festival attracts each year to the local economy. “We’re also offering a wide spectrum of choices. It’s up to the audience to choose … So I would just say to these people — we either ignore them or remind them that it’s a free country and maybe they should look at the Constitution.” READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2013: No retreat, no surrender for Dick Cheney in new doc -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO


Four years removed from serving two terms as George W. Bush’s powerful and polarizing vice president, Dick Cheney is still capable of sending tremors through the Force, whether it’s the continuation of unprecedented post-9/11 security policies he helped put in place, or movie critics who describe Zero Dark Thirty as a thriller that Cheney would love. While in office, Cheney routinely batted away shrill liberal critics who callously vilified him as some all-powerful Sith Lord manipulating the levers of government from above, but in the new Sundance Film Festival documentary The World According to Dick Cheney, he’s taking questions on the most controversial aspects of his career. Documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler, who produced the 1993 inside look at Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, The War Room, sat down with the man Cutler believes is “the most significant non-presidential political figure in our nation’s history.”

But don’t expect any Robert McNamara Fog of War reversals. Cheney may have had a heart transplant last March, but he’s still undeniably Dick Cheney, and his stubborn defiance will likely infuriate his enemies and inspire his supporters. “This is definitely a film that people are going to bring their own political convictions to,” says Cutler. “I’m really not entering from a political point of view; I’m entering from a filmmaking point of view. He himself has said that his vice-presidency was the most consequential and controversial vice-presidency we’ve ever had, so my agenda, if you want to call it that, was to explore who this man is.”

Click below for exclusive footage from the doc’s opening moments. READ FULL STORY

Report: Senate investigating CIA contacts who talked to the makers of 'Zero Dark Thirty'


The movie still hasn’t opened in wide release, but controversy about Zero Dark Thirty continues to engulf Washington. Reuters reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee is now reviewing the intelligence personnel who served as the official contacts with film’s director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal. Specifically, the investigation will attempt to determine whether the CIA gave the filmmakers inappropriate access to material pertaining to the Bin Laden investigation. As Reuters notes, the specific nature of the Zero Dark Thirty controversy has transformed — or perhaps “metastasized” is a better word. The film was originally assailed by Republicans for its perceived pro-Obama administration stance, and has now managed to anger prominent Democrats for its portrayal of the apparent success of “enhanced interrogation” techniques. READ FULL STORY

Ben Affleck says he won't run for Senate

Ben Affleck may make political movies, but that doesn’t mean he’s making a play for the real political stage. The actor, who had been the center of rumors last week about possibly running for U.S. Senate, shut down the speculation on his Facebook page Monday.

Sen. Ben Affleck (D - MA)? 'One never knows,' says actor

If you were casting a young charismatic politician, you could do worse than Ben Affleck, who, by the way, played just that in the movie State of Play. But for Affleck, politics have always been more than just a a role to play. Back in 2004, he lent his celebrity and charm to John Kerry’s presidential bid, and the next year, some Virginia Democrats reportedly wanted Affleck to take on incumbent Republican senator George Allen. Though he obviously did not run then, he’s never closed the door on a future in politics, and his passion has been showcased in his multiple appearances on Real Time With Bill Maher.

Inevitably, all those questions and wishful rumors reemerged this week, with Affleck in Washington to speak to Congress about atrocities in the Congo. Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative in 2010, and he’s visited the war-torn country nine times to help alleviate the suffering. (He testified to Congress that approximately five million people have been killed there in the last 14 years.) While on the Hill, he reunited with Kerry, who just happens to be the frontrunner to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State… meaning his senate seat might be open very soon.

So how did the 40-year-old director of Argo and EW’s Entertainer of the Year respond to a question about the possibility of succeeding Kerry: “That’s not what I’m here to talk about,” he told Politico. READ FULL STORY

Senators accuse 'Zero Dark Thirty' of being 'grossly inaccurate and misleading' about torture

Art and politics, two worlds that generally don’t know all that much about each other, have come to an angry head-on collision in the continuing debate over the portrayal of torture in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. Most recently, three senior U.S. senators have called the film “grossly inaccurate and misleading” in a letter to Sony Pictures chairman and CEO Michael Lynton. In the missive, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is joined by her colleagues John McCain and Carl Levin in condemning the film’s depiction of the CIA’s “coercive interrogation techniques” as contributive to the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden, which they contend is “perpetuating the myth that torture is effective.” (The full text of the letter can be read here.) READ FULL STORY

Sen. McCain rejects torture scene in 'Zero Dark Thirty'

The movie Zero Dark Thirty suggests the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques led the U.S. to Osama bin Laden. Sen. John McCain watched the movie Monday night and says it left him sick — because it’s wrong.

McCain, who spent five and a half years enduring brutal treatment by his North Vietnamese captors during the Vietnam War, has insisted that the waterboarding of al-Qaida’s No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, did not provide information that led to the bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.

Yet the movie, a copy of which McCain said he received Monday, indicates that’s how the United States found the al-Qaida leader. The filmmakers fell for it hook, line and sinker, McCain, R-Ariz., said Tuesday.  READ FULL STORY

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