Welcome to The Morning Read.

Friday already.  Which means next week is Comic-Con.  Which means it's time for me to hide under my bed and weep, just to get it out of my system, because the mere thought of dealing with the crowds next week gives me a case of the screaming heebie-jeebies.  I guess it's technically called demophobia, and I know sometimes people think I'm kidding, particularly since my job requires me to go sit in the middle of a crowd of people in the dark several times a week, but seriously... when I find myself in the midst of several thousand people, some part of me goes absolutely foaming rabid in blind animal fear, and it takes every other part of me to keep from having a minor breakdown.  That's Comic-Con, for four straight days.

But at least there's "Avatar" footage and Terry Gilliam, right?

RT @michaelianblack:  Forty years ago we landed on the moon.  This year Bruno landed on Eminem.  We're doomed.

Speaking of, any of you guys readers of Boston.com's The Big Picture?  If not, it's the single best photo blog out there, and you absolutely should be familiar with it.  Especially when they do something like their tribute to the moon landing on the 40th anniversary.

I love that RiffTrax has caught on and given Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy a second wind on their riffing-on-bad-movies career.  And now you can see them in theaters coast-to-coast, doing a live RiffTrax for "Plan Nine From Outer Space."  Perfect fodder to test this sort of model for how this might work in the future for them, and I hope August 20th is a huge success for them.

Have you heard of "Star Wars: Uncut"?  It's like the ultimate group effort to swede a movie, in 15-second-chunks, and I would imagine when the end result is all cut together, the result will open a doorway in time and space for anyone who watches it.

You know what's fun?  Scaring the crap out of austistic kids with a fake UFO story.  Oh, wait, no... that's not "fun," that's "insane and cruel."  Mixed my words up there a little bit.

[more after the jump]

Yes, please.

One of the films I'm most interested in seeing right now is "The Wild And Wonderful Whites Of West Virginia."  Director Julien Nitzberg sat down with Richard Metzger (whose new blog "Dangerous Minds" is a bookmark you should add), and the interview, embedded below, just confirms for me that this movie needs to be seen by me RIGHT NOW:

 

DANGEROUS MINDS 003: metzger/nitzberg from Richard Metzger on Vimeo.

 

God, that sounds great.

David Edelstein's got a really lovely review up now for "Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince," and in it, he both channels David Foster Wallace (love the footnotes) and touches on something regarding Emma Watson that I hadn't considered but that actually makes sense.  He talks about being disappointed that Emma has grown into a lovely, confident young woman, since the Hermione of the books was always a bit of an outsider.  I'm not sure I agree 100%, but it's a great example of just how tricky the art of adaptation can be, since we develop such keen relationships with our most beloved fictional characters and anything that goes against the image we have in our head threatens to undermine or even destroy that relationship.

And while we're in the "Harry Potter" neighborhood, that reminds me that my good friend Craig Titley is up in Vancouver this week on the set of his new film, "Percy Jackson And The Even-Longer-Than-Harry-Potter's-Titles-Title," which he wrote for director Chris Columbus.  The teaser trailer for the film went live this week, and I'm not surprised to see that President's Day date on there.  I think "Clash Of The Titans" is set for March at this point, and Fox is determined to get "Percy Jackson" in theaters first.  I know people love to give Columbus shit about his Potter films, but without him, the franchise everyone loves today might have looked verrrrrrry different.  It's hard to deny what a strong Hogwart's vibe that glimpse of Mount Olympus gives off, but that's fine... Greek mythology gives them a strong and different world to play with in the final film, and I'm curious to see how it comes together.

Craziest casting rumors of the week, without any competition.

I don't blame Google for getting testy about the entire idea that they are "stealing" content.  Seems like a reasonable solution, but what kind of lunatic would want to prevent Google from indexing their work?

RT @jerslater:  Suddenly the entire recession is worth it.

Do you like "The Mighty Boosh"?  Do you like zombies?  Don't you wish there was a way you could get "The Mighty Boosh" and zombies together somehow?  Well...

It's not really that unusual to try to use the internet to round up extras for a zombie film.  When "Shaun Of The Dead" was in production, Edgar Wright asked us to help him gather extras via Ain't It Cool, and some of our talkbackers ended up featured not only in that film, but in "Hot Fuzz" as well, so you might consider attending that Noel Fielding event.  In the meantime, if you'd like to see what's up with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on their new film, "Paul," you should go check out the official "What Is Paul?" website, where you can see production blogs including this latest one:

 

 

There's a ton of great stuff on that site, so take your time and poke around.

Never seen this photo before.  Love it.  And if that doesn't quite scratch your classic "Star Wars" itch, this story might help.

You know what?  I hope this is true.  And I hope they announce it at Comic-Con, since Tennant's going to be there.  The other two choices are interesting, too, though, and I'm curious what you think... so make sure to vote in our Weekend Poll today:  Who should play young Bilbo in "The Hobbit"?

Funniest part of this not-as-creepy-as-it-could-have-been Maxim gallery on "The Girls Of Harry Potter"?  The photo of young Maggie Smith juxtaposed with the image of her today.  Maxim, if you expect anyone to abuse themselves to your photo gallery, don't thrown in a roadblock like that.  Why not just cut to a picture of a nude Richard Griffiths at that point?

Judd Apatow's "Funny People" is coming verrrrrrrry soon now, and Apatow interviews Adam Sandler here:

 

 

I'll have a review up for that film soon, and I'm looking forward to the post-release conversations, once people see what the movie really is.  In the meantime, here's Eric Bana talking about how he preps for any movie he does:

 

 

It always freaks me out when Bana uses his real accent, just because I'm not used to it.

I'm trying to get a handle on what, in particular, Brian Lowry is so bent out of shape about in his Comic-Con article.  I think any event where you see something with a lot of fans of that thing is going to be a better pumped-up viewing atmosphere than, say, seeing it at a mall in Des Moines.  Sure.  There is an excitement to being present for something where you're the first to see it.  Absolutely.  But this piece is all over the place, complaining about playing to the base (no duh... the studios did, after all, take over something called Comic-Con) and that you can't reeeeeeally pay attention to anything you hear next week.  Well, sorry, Brian, but nonsense.  This is no different than going to a festival, in my opinion.  My job next week, as with anyone online, is to go see the presentations, give my opinion on the materials that premiere, and do some interviews.  And I'm absolutely going to be able to judge the material fairly, no matter where or how I see it.  I think you overstate the pleasures of dealing with Hall H.  It's a fairly lousy place to see something, although I'm hoping James "The Perfectionist Projectionist" Cameron has done something about that in anticipation of the "Avatar" panel.

And I was juuuuuuuuuuust about to break down and buy a KindleNope.  No thanks.  I'll stick to books for now.

And I'll leave you today with a widely-circulated video tribute to "In A Lonely Place" that went up a few days ago.  Kim Morgan wrote the text and Matt Zoller Seitz put the video together.  It's a great combination of two of my favorite film brains, and the result pays fitting homage to a film that deserves the fervent love that video expresses.

 

 

The Morning Read appears here every day, Monday through Friday.  Except when it doesn't.

Can't get enough of Motion/Captured? Don't miss a post with daily HitFix Blog Alerts. Sign up now.

Don't miss out. Add Motion/Captured to your iGoogle, My Yahoo or My MSN experience by clicking here.

Not part of the HitFix Nation yet? Take 90 seconds and sign up today.