<p>Diablo Cody</p>

Diablo Cody

Credit: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

Diablo Cody will make her directorial debut with 'Lamb of God'

Religious comedy on the fast track

Considering her obvious talent and unique vision, it's not surprising that Oscar winning screenwriter Diablo Cody is putting the keyboard to the side and heading into the director's chair.  Today, Mandate Pictures announced it was reuniting with Cody to finance her latest endeavor, "Lamb of God," which will mark her directorial debut.

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<p>Madonna at the Berlin Film Festival in 2008.</p>

Madonna at the Berlin Film Festival in 2008.

Credit: AP Photo

Madonna's 'W.E' playing awards season game with December release

Latest directorial features Abbie Cornish and James D'Arcy

Does Madonna fear anything?  She certainly doesn't fear critics.  The legendary pop icon received mostly negative notices for her directorial debut, "Filth and Wisdom," but similar to her up and down acting career she's not letting critics dictate her cinematic choices.  Madonna's latest directorial effort, "W.E," was acquired by The Weinstein Company earlier this spring and now the studio has announced a release date smack dab in the middle of awards season, Dec. 9.

Featuring an ensemble cast including Abbie Cornish, James D'Arcy, Oscar Isaac and Andrea Riseborough, "W.E" is based on an original screenplay by Madonna and longtime collaborator Alek Keshishian ("Madonna: Truth or Dare").  According to a release from TWC, "W.E" looks at the fabled romance between American Wallis Simpson (Riseborough) and Britain’s King Edward VIII (D'Arcy), who famously gave up the throne to marry the woman he loved.  More than six decades later, the fabled love story enthralls a young woman named Wally Winthrop (Cornish), who thinks she sees in their devotion a stark contrast to her own unhappy marriage – and an example to follow as she searches for the meaning of true love. Considering the differing opinions on Simpson and Edward's love affair on both sides of the pond (and apparent in TWC's Oscar winning "The King's Speech") it's unclear how realistic the former King's love affair and abdication will be handled.

Harvey Weinstein, who is probably one of a few people you could name on one hand to have mastered all aspects of the Oscar game, would not date "W.E" in Dec. unless he saw how the end of year spotlight could help the film at the box office. 

“Madonna beautifully interweaves past and present in 'W.E.'  It’s a very smart film, and a stunning feature directorial debut,”Weinstein noted in the release. “I’m incredibly excited about this movie and I wanted to give it a prominent release date.”

It's also noteworthy that Darren Aronofsky's regular producing partner, Scott Franklin, came on board as an executive producer.  Franklin only has quality projects on his resume.  Something to consider before you assume the Material Girl's involvement means it won't work.

It will be a busy second half of the year for Madonna by all accounts.  Besides "W.E," she's expected to release a new album sometime this fall.

"W.E" opens in limited release in NY and LA on Dec. 9.

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Watch: Steven Spielberg evokes 'Black Beauty' and the front lines in 'War Horse' teaser

Watch: Steven Spielberg evokes 'Black Beauty' and the front lines in 'War Horse' teaser

First look at 2012 Oscar contender

Just in time to remind moviegoers that quality films are just around the corner, DreamWorks Studios released the first teaser trailer for Steven Spielberg's "War Horse."

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<p>One of the few iconic images from &quot;Green Lantern.&quot; Unfortunately, the movie didn't have enough of them on Earth.</p>

One of the few iconic images from "Green Lantern." Unfortunately, the movie didn't have enough of them on Earth.

Credit: Warner Bros.

'Green Lantern's' future: Salvaging a franchise

With WB still considering a sequel some suggestions

In most industry circles the huge second weekend drop as well as critical and audience reaction to "Green Lantern" would seem to be clear signs the Emerald Crusader won't return for a second go around.  However, sources confirm to HitFix that a sequel is still in the works.  That's pretty amazing considering the weak global box office so far and a domestic cume expected to top out at approximately $135 million.  Especially when you're carrying a reported $200 million plus price tag and that's not even counting marketing costs.  And sure, licensing helps ease the burden, but it can't cover everything. As a toy and licensing property, "Green Lantern" isn't in the billion dollar league of "Cars."

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<p>Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel talk &quot;Bad Teacher&quot;</p>

Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel talk "Bad Teacher"

Watch: 'Bad Teacher's' Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel pitch '127 Hours'

Plus: Lucy Punch and 'The Office's' Phyllis Smith

Note to anyone looking to sit down and get some serious answers from Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel:  it's not going to happen.

The "Bad Teacher" duo, who play romantic interests for the title character played by Cameron Diaz, took some time to discuss their new comedy, but diving into character motivation was the last thing on their agenda.  Strangely, Timberlake was the most rowdy of the two giving reenacting a very funny pitch for "127 Hours" he'd heard from Judd Apatow which makes the video interview worth watching alone. 

The always busy Segel ("The Muppets," "How I Met Your Mother"), on the other hand, was more than happy to act as "straight" man for the pair.  Plus, he knows the talking points better than anyone (or can recite them with a nice wink at least).

And did I mention the poster display behind the duo collapsed in the middle of the interview?  A memorable five minutes to say the least.

Another fun sit down was with two of the supporting ladies in "Bad Teacher," Lucy Punch (soon to star in FX's "Powers") and "The Office's" Phyllis Smith (who does her best to steal the movie out from under everyone).  You can watch that interview below.

For Drew McWeeny's review of "Bad Teacher" click here.

"Bad Teacher" opens nationwide on Friday.

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<p>Kermit the Frog in the foreground and some blurry Muppets with Jason Segel and Amy Adams in the background in a scene from &quot;The Muppets.&quot;</p>

Kermit the Frog in the foreground and some blurry Muppets with Jason Segel and Amy Adams in the background in a scene from "The Muppets."

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

15 things we learned on the set of 'The Muppets'

'Does Miss Poogy sound like a man to you?'

 GLENDALE, CA - Visiting the set of "The Muppets" was a once in a lifetime experience.  The chance to see some of your favorite childhood characters such as Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy come alive in front of your eyes isn't something you experience in Hollywood every day.  Your chances are probably higher of running into Brad Pitt or Will Smith on a red carpet.  This is one of the reasons moviegoers and many in the industry are excited about the prospects for Disney's potential Thanksgiving holiday blockbuster.

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<p>Juno Temple in the new poster for &quot;Dirty Girl.&quot;</p>

Juno Temple in the new poster for "Dirty Girl."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Exclusive: Juno Temple lowers her shades in new 'Dirty Girl' poster

'Dark Knight Rises' star making noise in 2011

Once again, a new decade has brought a wave of impressive new acting talent to moviegoers and the media's attention.  Chris Hemsworth already has "Thor" under his belt with the increasingly hyped "Cabin in the Woods" already in the can. Taylor Kitsch will make it or break it with next year's double take of "John Carter" and "Battleship." Mia Wasikowska was relatively unknown before the success of "Alice in Wonderland," "The Kids Are All Right" and "Jane Eyre" and now she's recognized all over the world.  Rooney Mara used roles in last year's "A Nightmare On Elm Street" and "The Social Network" to help her land "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." And before 2012 is done, Juno Temple  will have gone from that little, mean girl in "Atonement" to an adult actress to seriously watch out for.

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<p>Ryan Gosling at the LA&nbsp;premiere of his other big fall movie, &quot;Drive.&quot;</p>

Ryan Gosling at the LA premiere of his other big fall movie, "Drive."

Credit: AP Photo/Katy Winn

George Clooney and Ryan Gosling's 'The Ides of March' heading to Venice

If you play Venice you are in the game

Ryan Gosling is heading to another major film festival this year.  The "Blue Valentine" star has made Sundance and Cannes frequent stops over the past 18 months and now it appears he'll be heading to another annual cinefile event in Venice.  It hasn't been officially announced, but according to reports, the cat is out of the bag and George Clooney's "The Ides of March" will be the opening night at the 2011 Venice Film Festival.  The festival begins on Aug. 31.

"March" is based on Beau Willimon's play "Farragut North" and finds Clooney  playing a governor looking to find a more presidential office in a scenario loosely based on the campaign of Howard Dean.  Gosling plays his press spokesman and Paul Giamatti is a rival campaign manager.

It's unclear how good Gosling is in "March," but he certainly merits awards consideration as well for his subtly strong performance in Nicolas Wending Refin's "Drive" which played at Cannes and opens nationwide on Sept. 16.

Venice is almost a second home for Clooney. He won a slew of awards for "Good Night, and Good Luck." at the festival in 2005 and premiered "Michael Clayton" in 2007, "Burn After Reading" in 2008 and "The Men Who Stare At Goats" in 2009.  Oh yeah, and "Intolerable Cruelty" in 2003.  Clooney also stars in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," another expected awards season player, which may debut at the Venice, Toronto, Telluride or New York Film Festival. 

Obviously, both men have a busy fall ahead of them.

Darren Aronofsky, who won the festival's Golden Lion in 2008 for "The Wrestler," has already been tapped as the head of this year's jury.

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<p>Cameron Diaz discusses &quot;Bad Teacher&quot;</p>

Cameron Diaz discusses "Bad Teacher"

Watch: Cameron Diaz explains how hard it is to find a Sugar Daddy in 'Bad Teacher'

Can Diaz benefit from the success of 'Bridesmaids' ?

One of the common questions you hear after moviegoers see the trailer for "Bad Teacher" is "Why is this beautiful woman a school teacher?"  Well, the main answer becomes pretty apparent in the first 20 minutes of the the film, but as I discovered while interviewing Diaz a few weeks ago there is an even bigger one that's so obvious it's gone over most peoples heads.  Frankly, the economy has ruined the market for gold diggers like Diaz's character Elizabeth.  There just aren't enough Sugar Daddies around anymore to meet demand.

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<p>Jason Segel, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy in a scene from &quot;The Muppets.&quot;</p>

Jason Segel, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy in a scene from "The Muppets."

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Set Visit: Jason Segel and 'The Muppets' get ready to take on the 21st Century

The 'HIMYM' star reveals all and insists he's 20% creepy

GLENDALE, CA - Disney's new movie "The Muppets" features two-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, a new Muppet named Walter and a slew of your favorite Jim Henson creations, but the picture is really the Jason Segel show.  Even if you hadn't heard the "How I Met Your Mother" star wax during interviews about his love of The Muppets, the final scene in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (which he wrote and starred in), you knew there was a connection between Segel and the Muppets.  That love turned into an original screenplay, co-written with Nicholas Stoller, that could make the beloved franchise a family favorite once more.

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