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3 items from 2009

When is a Performance Too Painfully Real to Watch?

3 September 2009 10:02 AM, PDT | Cinematical | See recent Cinematical news »

There are times when watching an actor or actress onscreen is absolutely painful, and not because their performance is bad. Sometimes it's just obvious that they're drawing on their personal lives to bring that character to life, and in this tabloid day and age, it's often too easy to know exactly what's making them go all Method on us.

Take Robin Wright Penn. In State of Play, she plays Anne Collins, wife of Ben Affleck's suave senator. Their marriage is falling apart in full view of the public and the paparazzi, and Mrs. Collins obligingly plays the loyal stoic during press conferences. It's impossible not to see art imitating life a little bit, and it's especially difficult given that Penn seems to throb with emotional turmoil in every scene. It's an incredible thing to watch and wonder about, though I'm not sure it's for the right reasons.

Did Penn »

- Elisabeth Rappe

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'State of Play'

22 April 2009 9:00 PM, PDT | CinemaSpy | See recent CinemaSpy news »

Thrillers bristling with political and/or espionage intrigue have been a popular choice of filmmakers for years. But they're tough to do well, chiefly because one has to find ways to prevent a savvy and cynical moviegoing audience from guessing what's going on in the plot, without simultaneously losing that same audience to an overly complex narrative. Following in the footsteps of such antecedents as All the President's Men, Three Days of the Condor and The Interpreter, State of Play manages, for the most part successfully, to reel in its audience and hold onto them for all of its 132 minutes.

Based upon the BBC miniseries of the same name, State of Play's central plot is much the same as the UK version, merely "Americanized." The story begins when a petty thief is gunned down in an alley and a Congressman's (Ben Affleck) assistant "falls" in front of a subway—two seemingly unrelated deaths. »

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Slideshow: 32-Image Gallery For ‘State of Play’ With Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck

31 March 2009 8:18 AM, PDT | | See recent news »

Chicago – This 32-image slideshow contains the press images for Universal’s “State of Play,” starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, Jason Bateman, Jeff Daniels and Helen Mirren. Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Tony Gilroy and Billy Ray and directed by Kevin Macdonald, the film opens on Friday, April 17th, 2009.

Synopsis: “Oscar® winner Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast in a blistering thriller about a rising congressman and an investigative journalist embroiled in a case of seemingly unrelated, brutal murders. Crowe plays D.C. reporter Cal McCaffrey, whose street smarts lead him to untangle a mystery of murder and collusion among some of the nation’s most promising political and corporate figures in State of Play, from acclaimed director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland).

Handsome, unflappable U.S. Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) is the future of his political party: an honorable appointee who »

- (Adam Fendelman)

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