Variety drops two reviewers, goes freelance *

Two of the Hollywood trade Variety's most prominent writers, chief film critic Todd McCarthy and chief theater critic David Rooney, have been cut as cost-saving measures. "It’s economic reality,” publisher Neil Stiles told Michael Cieply at the New York Times. Variety reviews will all be by freelancers going forward, Stiles said.

* Anne Thompson: McCarthy "is the paper’s biggest star and the main reason readers all over the world read the august trade. His reviews post first, and are the best read thing in the paper, bar none." The former Variety editor and columnist continues: "Without them, Variety is doomed....Variety is running out of cash. As one vet journalist tweeted me today: 'this feels like end of the world as we know it. I can’t even comprehend.'” Columnist and occasional reviewer Brian Lowry will be staying, according to the L.A. Times.

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Mel Gibson and Joe Eszterhas exchange words over Maccabee script *

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