NATION'S LARGEST MALL TAKES OVER ITS MULTIPLEX

The nation's largest shopping mall, Mall of America in Bloomington MN, is taking over the operation of its 14-screen megaplex from AMC, upgrading its auditoriums to stadium seating with a number of "love seats," installing 3D digital projectors and new sound systems, and will serve real butter on its popcorn, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported today (Wednesday). The theater, which is currently closed for the remodel and which plans to open on Friday, also plans to make several of its auditoriums "VIP/adults only," and allow patrons to purchase wine and liquor. By taking over the theater's operation, mall spokesman Dan Jasper told the newspaper, "It gives us the freedom to do some special things, like bringing in more independent films and doing movie marathons." The theater said that it does not plan to increase the cost of tickets.

MORE MOVIES FOR IPODS

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a new line of iPods Tuesday, many of which boast larger solid-state drives that are capable of storing and displaying hours of video. By tipping them on their sides, the larger screens (on the much-thinner players) can also display films in wide-screen format. Analysts were surprised that Jobs did not reveal one of his famous "one last thing" products at the end of his presentation. Several observed that he continued to look disturbingly thin, although Jobs himself stood before a screen that flashed Mark Twain's famous quote: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated," a reference to a Bloomberg obit about Jobs that was accidentally released in June.

PRO LAPTOP BOASTS 18.4-INCH SCREEN

Movie professionals who take their work home with them now have available to them what Sony is calling, "a new class of portable," a laptop with an ultra-high resolution 18.4-inch screen. In a news release, Sony said that its new Vaio AW series "offers screen technologies never seen on a laptop." It also boasts the first 128GB solid state Flash memory for fast access as well as a 500 GB hard drive.

BRITAIN LAUNCHES MOVIE AWARDS SEASON

A British movie awards ceremony got a jump on all the others Tuesday night when the National Movie Awards, whose winners are decided by popular vote, gave top prizes to Mamma Mia! for best musical; The Dark Knight for best Superhero movie; Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for best action/adventure film; Juno for best comedy; and Wall-E for best family film. Awards were also given to Johnny Depp for best actor (Sweeny Todd) and Meryl Streep for best actress (Mamma Mia!) The glittery awards show, which aired on ITV1, drew dismal ratings, however, averaging just 2.8 million viewers.

FROST-NIXON TO OPEN LONDON FILM FESTIVAL

The London Film Festival announced today (Wednesday) that Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon will open the festival on October 15. It will close on October 30 with a screening of Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire. The festival will also present a screening of the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace on the same night as its world premiere, October 29. It said that it plans to screen a record 189 features and 108 shorts.

Brian B.