<p>Breaking Bad</p>

Breaking Bad

Credit: AMC

'Breaking Bad' and 'Newsroom' head to Los Angeles Film Fest

'Killer Joe's' William Friedkin will serve as guest director of event

More details have been released about the upcoming L.A. Film Festival, highlighted by the inclusion of some of TV's heaviest hitters.

The June event's Artists in Conversation section will include an intimate "Breaking Bad" Q&A featuring actors Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn, along with with series creator Vince Gilligan on Saturday, June 16.

On June 22, the series premiere episode of HBO's "The Newsroom" will be followed by a Q&A with creator Aaron Sorkin, executive producer Alan Poul and director Greg Mottola. There will also be a series of panels called Women of Wonder – A Celebration of Women in Animation.

William Friedkin, who helmed "The Exorcist" and "The French Connection" will serve as the fest's guest director. His latest film,"Killer Joe," will be screened.

Meanwhile "Dark Shadows" composer Danny Elfman, noted chef Michael Voltaggio and singer Raphael Saadiq will act as Artists in Residence.

Among the films unspooling at the fest this year are Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike," Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love" and the acclaimed "Beasts of the Southern Wild." The fest runs June 14 - 24.

More information about the fest can be found here.

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<p>Ben Affleck and Bryan Cranston in a scene in the new thriller &quot;Argo.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Ben Affleck and Bryan Cranston in a scene in the new thriller "Argo." 

Credit: Warner Bros.

Watch: Ben Affleck and Bryan Cranston at the center of new 'Argo' trailer

Is the true story a true awards season player?

After Sundance bailed on providing any true awards season contenders besides John Hawkes in "The Surrogate" and an Indie Spirit Awards player in "Beasts of the Southern Wild," the focus has shifted to la croisette and the annual Festival de Cannes next week. And while there are many potential players in the mix it still feels like we'll be waiting for Venice, Telluride and Toronto to get a true sense of the early field.  So, almost on cue  (but more aptly timed to the release of "Dark Shadows" Friday), Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for Ben Affleck's "Argo."

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<p>The remarkable Quvenzhan&eacute; Wallis as Hushpuppy in Benh Zeitlin's &quot;Beast of the Southern Wild.&quot;</p>

The remarkable Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy in Benh Zeitlin's "Beast of the Southern Wild."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

'Beasts of the Southern Wild' teases its cinematic wonder in new preview

Critic's favorite coming to theaters this June

Alright art house moviegoers, breathe easy. You've made it through those annual few months between the Academy Awards and the summer season which is traditionally the dumping ground of bad indies.  With summer just around the corner you're about to enjoy a major uptick in quality flicks thanks to the usually reliable Sundance Film Festival product machine.

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<p>Channing Tatum relives his glory days in &quot;Magic Mike.&quot;&nbsp;The Steven Soderbergh film will have its world premiere at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival.</p>

Channing Tatum relives his glory days in "Magic Mike." The Steven Soderbergh film will have its world premiere at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival.

Credit: Warner Bros.

'Magic Mike' and 'People Like Us' will debut at 2012 LA Film Festival

Lots of Sundance alums will make their LA debut downtown

Los Angelenos are in for a treat.  Film Independent announced the line up for the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival and it's once again a mix of studio and pseudo-indie world premieres as well as buzzed about titles from Sundance and SXSW.  This inherently has made the LA Film Fest an awards season catch up for both industry media and development players.  And it doesn't hurt it comes right on the heels of Cannes to give some perspective for the awards season game in the months to come.

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Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games".
Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games".
Credit: Lionsgate

'Hunger Games' owns 'Breaking Dawn' with 8 MTV Movie Award nominations

Other big contenders include 'Bridesmaids', '21 Jump Street', 'Harry Potter'

Nominations for the 2012 MTV Movie Awards have been announced, with "The Hunger Games" and "Bridesmaids" tied for the most nominations with eight apiece.

Somewhat surprisingly, fan favorite "Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" didn't receive as many nods as in previous years, with only two nominations, in the Movie of the Year and Best Kiss categories (the latter for one of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's steamy on-screen liplocks). However, neither of the actors managed to score a nod in the Best Female/Best Male Performance categories, a first for both.

Of course, "The Hunger Games"' big showing at the nominations this year (stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth all received nods) can be accounted for by its "next-'Twilight'" pop culture status currently, with the film recently crossing the $600 million mark in worldwide box-office.

As a point of comparison, in 2011 B.H.G. ("Before Hunger Games") "Twilight: Eclipse" received five nods and won three awards including Best Movie - a category taken by the first three films in the sparkly-vamp franchise. This year, of course, "Breaking Dawn" will have an incredibly tough competitor in "The Hunger Games", which begs the question: will the "Twilight" franchise's streak in the top category be broken by Jennifer Lawrence and company this year?

In case you were wondering, there are indeed three other films in the running for Movie of the Year, namely "Bridesmaids", "The Help" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2". But let's face it: none of them stand a chance against the aforementioned 'tween favorites (unless, that is, "Harry Potter" manages to score an upset due to its being the final film in the boy wizard franchise).

Other top nominees this year include "21 Jump Street" (6 nods), "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" (6 nods), "The Help" (4 nods), Ryan Gosling-starrer "Drive" (3 nods), "Horrible Bosses" (3 nods) and "Project X" (3 nods), the shaky-cam teen party flick that became a surprise hit when it was released this past March.

In addition to the shakeup among the nominees themselves, this will also be the first year for several new categories at the Movie Awards, including Best Cast, Best On-Screen Transformation, Best Gut-Wrenching Performance, Best On-Screen Dirtbag and Best Music. In that last category, artists including LMFAO ("Party Rock Anthem", featured in "21 Jump Street"), Kid Cudi (the Steve Aoki remix of "Pursuit of Happiness", "Project X") and Chemical Brothers ("The Devil is in theDetails", "Hanna") received a tip of the hat.

As for artists slated to perform at the ceremony, chart-topping pop band fun. are slated to hit the stage this year, with other acts to be announced at a later date.

You can find a full list of the nominees below.

The 21st Annual MTV Movie Awards are slated to air Sunday, June 3. Fans can vote on the winners beginning tomorrow over at the show's official website.

Follow me on Twitter @HitFixChris

2012 MTV Movie Awards nominees:

Movie of the Year
» "Bridesmaids"
» "The Hunger Games"
» "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
» "The Help"
» "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1"

Best Male Performance
» Daniel Radcliffe, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
» Ryan Gosling, "Drive"
» Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "50/50"
» Josh Hutcherson, "The Hunger Games"
» Channing Tatum, "The Vow"

Best Female Performance
» Jennifer Lawrence, "The Hunger Games"
» Kristin Wiig, "Bridesmaids"
» Emma Stone, "Crazy, Stupid, Love"
» Emma Watson, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
» Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"

Best Comedic Performance
» Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids"
» Kristen Wiig, "Bridesmaids"
» Zach Galifianakis, "The Hangover Part II"
» Jonah Hill, "21 Jump Street"
» Oliver Cooper, "Project X"

Breakthrough Performance
» Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids"
» Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
» Liam Hemsworth, "The Hunger Games"
» Elle Fanning, "Super 8"
» Shailene Woodley, "The Descendants"

Best Cast
» "Bridesmaids"
» "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
» "The Hunger Games"
» "21 Jump Street"
» "The Help"

Best On-Screen Transformation
» Elizabeth Banks, "The Hunger Games"
» Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
» Johnny Depp, "21 Jump Street"
» Michelle Williams, "My Week With Marilyn"
» Colin Farrell, "Horrible Bosses"

Best Fight
» Daniel Radcliffe vs. Ralph Fiennes, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
» Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson vs. Alexander Ludwig, "The Hunger Games"
» Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill vs. Kid Gang, "21 Jump Street"
» Tom Hardy vs. Joel Edgerton, "Warrior"
» Tom Cruise vs. Michelle Nyqvist, "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"

Best Kiss
» Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, "Crazy, Stupid, Love"
» Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
» Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, "The Hunger Games"
» Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, "The Vow"
» Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1"

Best Gut-Wrenching Performance
» "Bridesmaids" (Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McClendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper)
» "The Help" (Bryce Dallas Howard)
» "21 Jump Street" (Jonah Hill and Rob Riggle)
» "Drive" (Ryan Gosling)
» "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" (Tom Cruise)

Best On-Screen Dirt Bag
» Bryce Dallas Howard, "The Help"
» Jon Hamm, "Bridesmaids"
» Jennifer Aniston, "Horrible Bosses"
» Colin Farrell, "Horrible Bosses"
» Oliver Cooper, "Project X"

Best Music
» "Party Rock Anthem," LMFAO ("21 Jump Street")
» "A Real Hero," College with Electric Youth ("Drive")
» "The Devil Is in the Details," Chemical Brothers ("Hanna")
» "Impossible," Figurine ("Like Crazy")
» "Pursuit of Happiness," Kid Cudi (Steve Aoki remix) ("Project X")



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<p>Will 'The Hunger Games' be the big winner this year at the MTV&nbsp;Movie Awards?</p>

Will 'The Hunger Games' be the big winner this year at the MTV Movie Awards?

Credit: Lionsgate

MTV Movie Awards adds new categories including 'Best On-Screen Dirt Bag'

'We Are Young' hitmakers Fun. added as first musical performer

Who's your favorite dirt bag?

The MTV Movie Awards, the cable channel's safely irreverent annual toast to the big screen, unveiled several new categories for this year's show, including Best On-Screen Transformation, Best Gut-Wrenching Performance and Best On-Screen Dirt Bag (as opposed to off-screen dirt bag?).

They join perennial favorites such as Movie of the Year, Best Fight and Best Kiss.

On the music side, Fun., the spritely rockers behind the smash hit "We Are Young" were the first of the show's performers to be revealed (and expect a guest appearance from Janelle Monae). The band will perform during a salute to the greatest party films of all time.

Because of its timing (the summer, as opposed to the end of the year), the MTV Movie Awards will allow the final "Harry Potter" film to compete with "The Hunger Games," and will also potentially honor such seemingly-distant films as "The Help."

“The Movie Awards will be a re-imagined celebration of the most popular films and performances from the past year,” said Stephen Friedman, President of MTV. “This year, we’ve overhauled categories and added a Breakthrough Performance award that will be chosen by some of the best directors in the world. We’re also making music a more central experience to the overall show creative, and are thrilled to announce fun. – a band that has already imprinted a new anthem on a generation – as our first musical moment.”

The complete
MTV Movie Awards categories:

Movie of the Year
Best Female Performance
Best Male Performance
Breakthrough Performance
Best Comedic Performance
Best Music*
Best On-Screen Transformation*
Best Gut-Wrenching Performance*
Best Kiss
Best Fight
Best Cast*
Best On-Screen Dirt Bag*

* = new category

The 21st Annual MTV Movie Awards will air live Sunday, June 3rd at 9 pm ET/PT.

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<p>Rich Ross celebrates The Muppets getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last month.</p>

Rich Ross celebrates The Muppets getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last month.

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Rich Ross aftermath: Does John Lasseter go in for the kill at Disney Studios?

Stacey Snider and Mary Parent also rumored for the gig

And as expected, the Rich Ross era is quickly over.

It's always callous in these situations to say "I told you so," but when Bob Iger first announced that Rich Ross would be taking over as Chairman of Walt Disney Studios two and a half years ago there was a collective eyebrow raised across Hollywood.  Ross had turned Disney Channel into a moneymaker for Disney and CEO Bob Iger saw him as "visionary" who could streamline the movie studios offerings while focusing more on cinematic brands that could have life across the entire corporation. It's a synergistic approach that all media companies try to achieve, but rarely succeed at (Fox and the old Viacom being the most successful).  Even with a changing entertainment landscape where more television and movie talent jump between the small and big screen, Ross did not have the background or skills to handle a job of this magnitude. And, the industry experienced this same scenario only a few years ago when Brad Grey put former FOX executive Gail Berman in charge of production at Paramount Pictures. That also lasted just about two years and was pretty much a colossal failure.

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'Sound of My Voice's' Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij admit they know the truth about Maggie

'Sound of My Voice's' Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij admit they know the truth about Maggie

Is the cult leader from the future or not?

Besides the buzz around "Bully," the art house scene has been pretty quiet since the long string of Oscar players died out at the beginning of March. That will all change next Friday when Zal Batmanglij's "Sound of My Voice" finally hits theaters.

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<p>Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in "Skyfall."

Credit: Sony Pictures

James Bond and Silva have an explosive moment on the set of 'Skyfall'

Chris Corbould says it's the best Bond script he's ever read

LONDON - On a rainy Tuesday afternoon, about 30 international journalists and 15 or so other visitors to the set of "Skyfall" sat on the famed 007 sound stages at Pinewood Studios in London in front of a large monitor.  We were about to see a massive "event" happen during a live scene being filmed for Sam Mendes' new James Bond flick.  Our earplugs were in place and we were ready to be wowed.

And we waited.

And we waited.

In fact, we all waited for a good 90 minutes.  Quietly, like a congregation in a cathedral paining for something exciting to happen.  Would it be worth it in the long run?

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<p>Daniel Craig on the set of Sam Mendes &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig on the set of Sam Mendes "Skyfall."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Daniel Craig says Javier Bardem is forcing him to 'raise his game' in 'Skyfall'

Plus: 007 raves about Roger Deakins' work so far

LONDON –  Can you believe it’s been almost four years since the last James Bond movie hit theaters? Marc Forster's "Quantum of Solace" was released way back in Nov. of 2008, but the delay of Daniel Craig's third installment as 007 had many Bond fans puzzled.  Especially after "Quantum" pulled in a sweet $586 million worldwide. The reason for the long break was the unexpected financial issues that plagued distributor MGM beginning in 2010.  Eventually, the studio emerged with new ownership last year and production on "Skyfall," the 23rd Bond film, finally began in Nov. of 2011.  Last week, the stars of the latest 007 adventure spoke to journalists from around the globe at Pinewood Studios outside of London.  And of course, that means Bond himself, Craig was on hand to try and reveal as little as possible about the film.

"Skyfall" is being directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") and features the return of Judi Dench as Bond's boss, M; Javier Bardem as the new villain Silva; Ralph Fiennes as new Mi6 agent Gareth Mallory; Ben Winshaw as Q; Albert Finney in a role that's still unclear; and Naomi Harris and Bérénice Marlohe as new Bond girls Eve and Sévérine, respectively. The story is expected to put M in severe danger and the title refers to a Scottish location, "Skyfall Lodge," which has a explosive role in the picture.

For Craig, who has kept busy with roles in films such as "Cowboys & Aliens" and David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," the delay in getting "Skyfall" up and running   provided unexpected benefits.

"When the MGM thing [happened], I mean, it really was a silver lining situation where for the first time in my experience we kind of had a lot of time to work on the script and I just was constantly in e-mail communication with Sam talking about [different] scenes."

Longtime 007 producer Barbara Broccoli, also on hand, chimes in, "It helped you.  It’s driving us crazy."

"In a way, I had to quietly just get on with it," Craig says. "I mean, we weren’t publicly allowed to sort of really say that we were doing anything, but we were kind of secretly meeting and sort of.  But we just came on with the job.  We were just sort of discussing it and discussing.  Sam kind of came in to the mix.  The script was getting into shape and it wasn’t sort of full bore until everything was given the green light.  We didn’t give up.  We actually just got on with the job and were very optimistic that it would happen ‘cause we kind of knew it would."

"Well, we were also hoping that we’d have a film on the anniversary year because the fans were certainly looking forward to it," Broccoli says. "And it seemed like it would have been very disappointing if we didn’t have one in this year.  So, it was very frustrating."

And yes movie fans, if you wonder why Hollywood lifers tell you to ignore publicist denials, now you know.  "Skyfall" was secretly being worked on and Mendes was always expected to direct (something EON and MGM denied for months). 

Having visited Craig on the Chilean and Austrian sets of "Solace," it's obvious our man Bond is much more enthusiastic about "Skyfall" than its shaggy scripted predecessor. Moreover, it's the talent both in front of and behind the camera that Mendes has brought on board and the filmmaker's passion for the franchise which gives Craig hope Bond 23 will be something special.

"Sam’s a huge Bond fan," Craig reveals. "I mean, when I sat down with him one of the first things we did is just went off. I re-read the books. He re-read the books.  We watched the movies. We talked about the Roger Moore movies, the Connery movies, the whole [series] and there’s a sort of tone that’s in all of those movies that you can’t try and recreate.  If you do that then it’s [dated] and neither Sam nor I want to make an older movie.  Roger Deakins is [shooting] this movie which is like just insane.  His stamp on this movie has set a new benchmark."

Visiting the massive 007 soundstage during our Pinewood visit, Deakins' gorgeous lighting was apparent on a massive London Underground station set.  The legendary cinematographer for films such as "True Grit," "No Country For Old Men" and "The Shawshank Redemption," among others, is making sure this is the most beautiful Bond adventure yet.

It wouldn't be a 007 film without a Bond girl or two and Craig is impressed with his new co-stars this time around.  He notes, "Both Bérénice and Naomie?  They’re playing two very different characters, but I have a really good interaction with both of them.  And they’re very beautiful and it’s just that they’ve got very, very strong storylines and they kind of…"

Craig stop for a moment, catching himself and then continues, "It’s like throwing great characters that make the story interesting [into the mix] and I just don’t want to give anything away."

He might not want to, but we can tell you that Eve (Harris) is an Mi6 field agent and Sévérine (Marlohe) is connected to 007's adversary Sylvia (and not in a good way).

Oscar winner and critical favorite Bardem has also brought a new energy to the franchise.  And Craig thinks their scenes have upped his own performances this time around.

"[When} you play football you play with the best people then your game improves and I kind of feel that with working with Javier," Craig says. "He’s one of the best in the business and I’ve had to raise my game to work with him and that’s just to kind of to be on set.  He’s funny, he’s committed, he’s doing just wonderful things with his part and knows what he’s doing.  I mean, he knows he’s making a Bond movie and what’s required of him.  We have one of the most interesting Bond villains I think we’ve had in a long, long time."

Mendes' background is in stage and screen dramas such as the aforementioned "Beauty," "Revolutionary Road" and "Road to Perdition," where he first worked with Craig. Some 007 fans might be concerned whether Mednes can deliver the sort of iconic action pieces required for "Skyfall." Or, possibly more worrisome, that the filmmaker will spend a bit too much time having Bond "discover his feelings."  Craig says you needn't worry.

"It’s not that wildly different.  I haven’t changed his character.  He’s not in drag," Craig jokes. "He’s not doing anything that’s going to be surprising anybody completely, but we’ve got these great characters and he’s interacting with them and there’s a huge great story.  That’s the basic bare bones of it and where it fits into my kind of microscope.  But I’m very proud of what we have at the moment."

"Skyfall" opens nationwide on Nov. 9.

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