Natalie Portman is a ballerina in the dramatic thriller "Black Swan"

Natalie Portman in Darren Aronofsky's "The Black Swan."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Watch: Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis embrace and battle the 'Black Swan'

Darren Aronofsky's latest ready to make its mark on awards season

One of the most intriguing titles in development over the past few years has been Darren Aranofsky's follow up to "The Wrestler," the thriller that dances around a supernatural theme, "Black Swan."

Set in the competitive world of the New York City Ballet, "Swan" finds Natalie Portman playing an up and coming prima ballerina who is suffocating under the pressure and demands of  the company's artistic director (Vincent Cassell) after she is chosen as the lead in a new production of "Swan Lake."  Things turn curious and dark when a rival appears in the form of Mila Kunis as Portman's character begins to have a psychological breakdown.  Oh, and there is one other stunning transformational element, but let's save that for the end of the trailer.

Read Full Post
Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim in "Scott Pilgrim vs the World"

Michael Cera and Universal gave it their all to convince moviegoers to see "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World," but it appears the battle has been lost.

Credit: Universal Pictures

What went wrong with 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' and why it should scare moviefans

Is Michael Cera now box office poison?

For critics and moviegoers who constantly wonder why Hollywood studios continue to return to sequels and formulaic product instead of more original ideas, all you need to do is look at this weekend's box office results for ample evidence why. 

Certainly a new product, Sylvester Stallone's "The Expendables" uses a popular "the gang's all here" marketing mentality by featuring some of the most beloved and well known actions stars of the past 30 years to hook male ticket buyers.  While they are barely in the movie, the campaign used numerous shots of one scene featuring Stallone, Bruce Willis and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to reinforce this fact.  The result? Stallone's biggest opening ever, $35 million.

Read Full Post
Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfield in the first image from the Coen Bros TRUE GRIT

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfield in the first image from the Coen Bros "True Grit."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

First Look: Jeff Bridges and his eyepatch in the Coen Bros.' remake of 'True Grit'

Potential Oscar contender a serious return for the Coens

One of the more anticipated films of the holiday season is the Coens Bros. remake of the classic Western "True Grit."  The 1969 Henry Hathaway flick supplied John Wayne with his one and only Best Actor Oscar and tells the story of a U.S. Marshall who helps a stubborn young lady track down her father's murderer.  The new version features recent Academy Award winner Bridges in the Wayne role, but also includes Matt Damon and reunites the Coens with their "No Country for Old Men" star Josh Brolin.

Read Full Post
James Franco in Danny Boyle's 127 HOURS

James Franco in Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire" follow up, "127 Hours."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Oscar Watch: Danny Boyle's '127 Hours' makes London Searchlight friendly

Plus: The new poster for Ben Affleck and Jon Hamm's 'The Town'

The openings and galas for the major fall film festivals have been coming fast and furious over the past two weeks and the London Film Festival just landed a major coup over their more prestigious rivals.  Already hosting the European premiere of Fox Searchlight's "Never Let Me Go" for opening night, the LIFF revealed it will close with the world premiere of another Searchlight title, Danny Boyle's "127 Hours."

Read Full Post
Guy Pearce and James Frecheville in ANIMAL KINGDOM

Newcomer James Frecheville and Guy Pearce in David Michod's "Animal Kingdom."

Credit: Sony Classics

Will Guy Pearce allow crime to run wild in the 'Animal Kingdom'?

Watch five intriguing clips from the late summer indie thriller

There is an intriguing new release arriving in theaters this month and it's not "The Expendables" or "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World."  The winner of the Grand Jury World Dramatic Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, "Animal Kingdom" is an intense thriller set amongst a criminal family in Melbourne, Australia.  Featuring impressive performances from Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton and Jacki Weaver, it is also noteworthy for being the directorial debut from former film film journalist David Michod.

It's rare that an international film like "Kingdom" makes its debut at Sundance which is traditionally seen as more of a launch pad for American films), but when speaking to HitFix last week, Michod seemed unfazed by the picture's success so far.  That may be because he's been working on the project for a good portion of his life and has had a good deal of time to make sure it turned out pitch perfect.

Read Full Post
Christina Aguilera in "Burlesque."

Christina Aguilera in "Burlesque."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Christina Aguilera and Cher's 'Burlesque' appears anything but Awards-worthy

Watch the new trailer for the new musical

There have been many conflicting reports about the seemingly bizarre concoction that is "Burlesque."  Featuring a cast campier than anything John Waters could imagine including Cher, Stanley Tucci, Christina Aguilera (in her big screen debut), Cam Gigandent, Kristen Bell, Alan Cumming, Peter Gallagher and Julianne Hough, the musical has had buzz ranging from "amazing" to "a mess."  For Aguilera in particular, anything closer to the former is absolutely necessary (the less said about "Bionic" the better).

The directorial debut of Hollywood lifer Steven Antin, "Burlesque" centers on Ali (Aguilera), a young singer who comes to LA with dreams of becoming a star only to find her big break on the stage of a neo-burlesque club. But does she really have the passion and talent to make it in this tough town?  And can Cher and Tucci save the club from being bought out by a real estate mogul all within the span of two hours? And who will Ali fall for: said rich real estate mogul or the overly attractive bartender (Gigandent)? (Something tells me you really don't want any more plot details).

Read Full Post
Bruce Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of Town

The album art for Bruce Springsteen's 1978 album "Darkness on the Edge of Town."

Bruce Springsteen highlights Toronto Film Fest 2010 documentary selections

New works from Errol Morris and Werner Herzog - in 3-D - too

The Toronto International Film Festival announced a bold selection of documentaries for next month's festival this morning.  Beginning with "The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town," which centers on the making of Bruce Springsteen's 1978 landmark album, and Werner Herzog's 3-D doc "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," this year's selections are both buzzworthy and commercially intriguing. 

Other intriguing docs to be screened at the festival include Alex Gibny's "Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer," Charles Ferguson's "No End In Sight" and Errol Morris' "Tabloid."  To check out a rundown of the first wave of narrative screenings, click here.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs Sept. 9-19.  Look for continuing coverage of TIFF on HitFix up and through the kick off to fall movie season.

Read Full Post
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers in "Scott Pilgrim vs The World."

Credit: Universal Pictures

Six reasons why 'Scott Pilgrim' may save your summer

Watch new clips and find out if Brandon Routh is ready for that comeback

The media always complains that Hollywood throws too many sequels and dumb comedies down moviegoers throats, but after a horribly shaky start in May, the offerings for the summer movie season have started to turn around.  From Chris Nolan's blockbuster "Inception" to indie word of mouth hit "The Kids Are All Right," unconventional and quality offerings are getting much deserved attention.  Another entry into the late summer mix in that vein is the incredibly entertaining "Scott Pilgrim vs the World."

Arguably the best video game movie based on a graphic novel inspired by video games movie ever (and that's a compliment), the genre-twisting romantic adventure is sure to melt the hearts and wallets of numerous ticket buyers once it opens Aug 13.  While Director Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead") has pulled off some stunning and inventive visual sequences in the picture, but with some new clips now available online, this pundit has decided to chronicle six unexpected reasons why "Scott Pilgrim" could save your next visit to the multiplex.

Read Full Post
Uma Thurman in Kill Bill

So much for the hopes of a "Kill Bill" ride ever appearing in Fantasyland.

Credit: Miramax

It's official: Miramax no longer in Disney hands

Ron Tutor and Colony Capital now own the prestigious library

Be afraid independent Hollywood producers and filmmakers.  Miramax is now in Tutor's hands.  The Walt Disney Company announced late tonight that Filmyard Holdings LLC has acquired the prestigious library for approximately $660 million.

Read Full Post
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn during the premiere episode of "Project Runway" season 8.

Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn during the premiere episode of "Project Runway" season 8.

Credit: Lifetime

10 reasons we're excited about the return of 'Project Runway'

We believe Nina Garcia can actually say something positive about a winner, do you?

Almost every American has that one "Mad Men," "True Blood," "American Idol," "Glee" or "30 Rock" in their life.  The show that now matter how much they watch TV, they are addicted to and will stop everything to catch it (or will at least DVR it).  For this busy movie industry pundit, there are very few shows that make that list, but "Project Runway" is one of them.

Ever since Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors turned fashion designing into one of the most realistic and legitimate creative contests on television, this writer has been glued to the tube.  The show certainly lost something when the Weinstein Company, the producers of the ratings hit, moved it from Bravo to Lifetime two seasons ago, but its slowly begun to find its grove again.  In fact, there are a number of big changes in store  including a longer overall program, the dismissal of the "Models of the Runway" after-show and other intriguing surprises.

For the third season, the talented and hilarious Liane Bonin, who knows quite about about fashion from her day job, will once again be recapping "Runway" on HitFix.  And in case you miss an episode, her recaps are sometimes more entertaining than the show itself.

In the meantime, here are the top ten reasons why this fan, in particular, is excited about the return of "Project Runway."

Read Full Post