Welcome to the Morning Read.

I'd like to start this morning by welcoming Alan Sepinwall to the HitFix team.  We are slowly but surely cultivating a great crew of people to write about entertainment culture of all sorts, and adding a guy as sharp and widely read as Alan can only be a good thing.  I hope you guys check out his blog and his reportage for the site in the days ahead, and that you agree with us that he's a great fit for the site.

If I disappear completely and only make occasional public appearances dressed head-to-toe in cowboy gear, you can blame "Red Dead Redemption," the open-world Western game from the same people who created the "Grand Theft Auto" games.  The more I read about this game, the more I'm convinced this is going to be one of those immersive gaming worlds that I'm able to play for months.  If I ever manage to get my 70-year-old father to try a videogame, this would be the one that did it.

Douglas Trumball spent some time this weekend at the Turner Classic Movies festival in Hollywood talking about his work on the new Terrence Malick films, among other things.  After reading this and the rumors of a recent Austin screening, I think it sounds like we're in for something special with "The Tree Of Life," even among the ranks of the other Malick films.  Brad Pitt may get people into the theater, but it's Malick that will make the experience a one of a kind.

I am growing weary of the fact that all we have these days are remakes and franchises and the same things over and over, but even so, I think Patrick Goldstein's take on the James Bond franchise is ignorant.  When the series rebooted with the casting of Daniel Craig, it was the best thing to happen to James Bond onscreen since... well, since Sean Connery first played the role, in my opinion.  And even if you weren't in love with "Quantum Of Solace," no one who lived through "Octopussy" or "Moonraker" can argue that the Marc Forster film was anywhere near the worst thing in the series.  I thought it was actually a really cool building block in a larger James Bond story that seemed to be building towards a new version of SMERSH or SPECTRE or whatever they were going to call the organization behind the death of Vesper in "Casino Royale."  It seemed to me like they were finally embracing the idea of a real continuity and building stories over multiple films with real implications for Bond as a character.  And now is when they finally stop churning them out like an assembly line?  Goldstein, you're as wrong as wrong can be.

When I ran the story last week about Rutger Hauer signing on to play the title role in "Hobo With A Shotgun," several of you voiced some reservations about seeing the faux trailer turned into a real full-length film.  I might agree, except I think Jason Eisener is the real deal, a guy who will make a real film and not just one joke beat to death for 90 minutes.  There's a production blog up and running for the movie now, and a great first sneak-peek video that actually includes a look at Hauer as the Hobo:

 

 

I'm not the biggest fan of what Gizmodo did last week with their "leak" about the new iPhone, but at the same time, this concerns me greatly.  There are few things that upset me more than when the law oversteps its authority or ignores the way things are supposed to work in their zeal to satisfy a powerful party who feels they've been wronged.  In this case, you've got Apple angry, and understandably so, but handling things this way with a journalist who is clearly protected under the law is just plain poor form.  There are certainly legal and ethical issues to consider here, but breaking more laws to go after Gizmodo isn't solving anything for anyone.  Buying a story and trading in stolen property is criminal, no doubt, but if Apple hopes to win this case, both in courts and in public, they can't become bigger bullies about it... they have to let the system handle it the right way.

Roger Ebert just published his screenplay for "Who Killed Bambi?", which was meant to be a Russ Meyer film starring the Sex Pistols.  Keep in mind as you read it, this is the same man who found '80s slasher movies to be pornographic and who wants you to know that games can never be art, no matter what.

Look! "Jonah Hex" footage!

 

 

Okay, now we've seen it.  Now what?

I don't get ChatRoulette.  I've never used it and, based on all the dong it promises, I doubt that will change anytime soon.  And I really don't get how it's supposed to turn into a moneymaker for the Russian dude who created it, although he's got some ideas.

An interesting take on homophobia, "Cemetary Junction," and the work of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.  I'm not sure I buy that they're homophobic, but I'd say there's some strong points made in the piece, and it's one of those things that the filmmakers may not even be aware of.  In the meantime, Gervais and Merchant have a new sitcom on English television called "Life's Too Short" that deals with the life of Warwick Davis.  Color me intrigued.  I hung out with Davis on the set of "Prince Caspian" for a while, and he's a great storyteller, a wickedly funny guy, and an industry veteran.  There's real potential in this one...

 


Warwick Davis does Guerrilla Marketing
Uploaded by DontPanicOnline. - Classic TV and last night's shows, online.

 

... and I love the French version of "Hi-Ho" in that video.

More good words from Ted Hope on the nature of indie filmmaking.

Have you seen this viral ad for a "Lotsa Huggin' Bear" for "Toy Story 3"?

 

 

If I didn't know better, I'd believe that really was a TV commercial from the '80s.  Well-played.

I don't agree with Marshall Fine's take on comic-book culture, but I do think it's important that the companies who are making these movies tread carefully.  There will always be room for good movies in the genre, but just like with 3D, the rush to just on a trend could easily burn out the audience if there are too many bad examples of something.  I hope that we see more experimentation in the future, things like this just-discovered trailer for a Jodorowsky/Moebius collaboration on "The Incal":

 

 

I remember reading that comic while it was being published, and the first time I saw footage from "The Fifth Element," it seemed to me that Luc Besson must have been a fan.  I had no idea Jodorowsky and Moebius had tried to get an animated version of the film made after their failed collaboration on "Dune" back in the '70s.

Anyway... time to finish some other pieces before I leave town tomorrow morning for a quick overnight trip to Austin.  Talk to you soon.

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

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You can e-mail me at drew@hitfix.com or follow me on Twitter, where I'm DrewAtHitFix.