Welcome to The Morning Read.

Time to wrap the week up, and it's been a strange one.  They all are these days, though, aren't they?

No matter what, they're making a "Smurfs" movie, and it's from the director of "Scooby-Doo" and "Home Alone 3," so you can count on it being of the highest possible quality.  Especially when it features Hank Azaria looking like this.  No, really.  That's a good idea.  I'm sure of it.

It's frustrating for studio publicists these days, because it seems like the game for movie sites is to run every piece of information they get the second they get it, no matter what.  I've never been of that mind, personally, and in the overall balance of things, I've kept waaaaaay more secrets over the years than I've revealed.  I don't think the role of a film reporter is to ruin everything they can simply to prove they can do it.  Then again, I also don't think scoops are the main reason to do this.  I've certainly run my share over the years, and there are times I've made certain filmmakers crazy, but I try to strike a balance.  There are certainly sites out there who have the attitude that everything is fair game and they don't owe anything to any filmmaker, and that's their choice.  I think in the end, I'm engaged in an ongoing dialogue with both the readership of this blog and the people I'm writing about, and it would be slightly suicidal for me to intentionally and repeatedly burn either end of that equation. 

The most mercenary scoop site online right now is Latino Review, and I'm not using that word in any way other than descriptive.  They genuinely don't care.  Earlier this week, they ran a spy photo of a major villain from "Thor."  Not the major villain, but certainly a key part of a major sequence of the film, and what they shot was a piece of a costume.  It's a character that's going to be pulled off with a combination of techniques, and what they ran was a good indicator of just how close some of this movie's designs are going to be to things from the full history of the Marvel incarnation of the character.  Whether it's The Warriors Three or certain weapons or sets, the filmmakers seem to be using key art from the entire history of Thor as reference.  Although it's obvious from their response that Paramount is upset about the spy photo, they should count the general reaction to the image as a win. 

The same is true of the unfortunate leak of the "secret ending" to "Iron Man 2."  That ran on several sites in the form of photos and complete descriptions, and there's evidently a video version of it as well, bootlegged somehow even though none of the screenings of the film I've been to have that footage attached.  Those sites seemed genuinely surprised that Marvel and Paramount might have some problem with them running the bootlegged image.  Legally, I think there's a fine line between running stills from the bootlegged footage and running a spy photo that was not taken by Paramount.  Spy photos may drive the studio batty, but they're not stolen.  Something that was shot off of a movie screen is piracy, and it's hard to pretend innocence to that.  The punchline to all of this, of course, is Paramount releasing their own first official photo of Chris Hemsworth as the character Thor today.

I think Warner was getting jealous of all the attention focused on the summer of 2011, and they decided to steal back some of the attention for themselves by confirming the date for whatever Christopher Nolan ends up calling his next Batman movie.  To celebrate that announcement, you should read this.  Marvel can't have that, though, so the conversation shifts back to the idea of Tommy Lee Jones possibly appearing in "Captain America."  And to make sure Fox stays in the conversation, the rumor mysteriously breaks today that Matthew Vaughn may or may not be involved in "X-Men: First Class."  All of this, keep in mind, since six o'clock this morning.  And the internets... they are a-buzz.  After all, it's a superhero world, and we're all just taking notes.

Want some proof?

 

 

RT @brianwcollins: Look, it's the new downloadable character for Mass Effect 2!

Another big rumor this week has been about the possibility of a JJ Abrams film that is allegedly inspired by the early work of Steven Spielberg, a story first broken by The Vulture.  And here's one of those cases where I've busted someone over and over on early secrets.  I was the bad guy on the early drafts of a "Superman" project he worked on, I inadvertently revealed a ton of secrets about "Cloverfield" the week before the teaser trailer was snuck onto screens, and I published the first details about how his "Star Trek" series was going to work.  I haven't made some orchestrated push to reveal his secrets specifically... I just find that the stuff he works on is (A) always shrouded in secrecy and (B) almost impossible not to discuss for people working on it.  It's a terrible combination.  In this case, I'm almost working overtime NOT to accidentally spoil some of the big surprises he has in store for this new film, and it's killing me.  I would rather talk to him about the thing after he has a chance to let it happen than ruin the fun of it for him, the studio, and the audience, just to prove I can.  We'll hear some early details early enough, and at that point, we'll run some fun things about what he's up to.  Until then, we'll do our best not to be the bad guy.  Just remember, though... when you do hear the film's title... it certainly seems to tie neatly into the early work of Spielberg.  The very early work.  Ahem.

I changed my mind.  I don't want the mechanical legs for my birthday.  I want this, instead.

And after everything I've written this week, feel free to call me a hypocrite if you want, but this makes me laugh...

 

 

... and I have a feeling it's supposed to.  I mean, Richard Dreyfuss in the Matt Hooper costume?  Please.

Kim Masters wrote a fascinating piece about the current condition of the David O. Russell comedy "Nailed," and what it might take to finish the movie.  I would hope it happens.  I like this guy's work, and the idea of a film sitting on a shelf out there because of one (admittedly important) scene is just heartbreaking.

This is sort of great.

I haven't had the nerve to watch "The Human Centipede," which opens in select theaters and on VOD today.  And now, thankfully, I don't have to.

I've heard this may be a contender for Best Picture at the Oscars this year:

 

 

Looks amazing.

Wait... this confuses me.

Reality's getting weirder and weirder, as this video proves...

 

 

... and technology allows us all new views of the craziest things...

 

 

... and when you can take video footage with a cell phone that looks like this...

 

Nokia N8 sample video from Nokia Conversations on Vimeo.

 

... it really is like being a science-fiction movie.

It must be nice to be rich and have movie-oriented OCD.

And while I'm clearing out some bookmarks, I've got one last video to share with you today...

 

 

... and on that note, have a great weekend.

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.