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Emmys: Is 'The Colbert Report' poised to break 'The Daily Show's' decade-long variety series dominance?

This might be the year Stephen Colbert receives the torch

<p>Stephen Colbert</p>

Stephen Colbert

Credit: Comedy Central

Just as the Emmy voting period began last week, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" was all over the news, specifically for lopping off the second half of its show title. Stewart is taking the summer off to direct "Rosewater," his first feature-length film about Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari’s wrongful imprisonment in 2009. In his place strolled the cheery John Oliver, with a disarming grin and genuine gratitude that his boss would place the show in his hands for almost three months.

Even if these new, impossibly polite episodes aren’t technically in consideration for Emmys, the timing of the ensuing press blitz seems oddly convenient. After all, "The Daily Show" has won 10 Emmys in a row for Outstanding Variety Series, and they’re probably hoping for that to go up to a "Spinal Tap" 11 this year. But at the same time, Stephen Colbert has been up to his own Pavlovian trickery. The stage could be set, finally, for a change-up in the category.

Waiting for a heavyweight in the animated Oscar race

The last six winners have been first-half releases, but what about this year?

<p>A scene from &quot;Monsters University.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Monsters University."

Credit: Pixar Animation Studios

Yesterday's Variety story about "Despicable Me 2" receiving a standing ovation at its world premiere at the Annecy Animation Festival in France on Wednesday evening didn't seem especially noteworthy. At any film festival, a standing ovation is just as often a polite formality as it is an acknowledgement of exceptional achievement, and as reporter John Hopewell noted, the French-crafted film was always likely to be warmly received at a local fest.

Tell us what you thought of 'Man of Steel'

Snyder and Nolan's new vision of the last son of Krypton has arrived!

<p>&quot;Man of Steel&quot;</p>

"Man of Steel"

Credit: Warner Bros.

With midnight screenings underway, I think it's time to poll that masses. Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel," produced and written by the one-two punch that brought Batman back to the screen -- Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer -- has finally flown into theaters. I liked it quite a bit. Drew McWeeny was over the moon. "No one has ever staged superhero action like this," he said. "What a great film about fathers and sons," I said. The critical reception has been...typical, I guess. I don't disagree with some of the criticisms, just the intensity of them. But I guess I'm just a geek. Speaking of which, we've offered up elements from the Superman mythos that we'd like to see in subsequent installments and we've outlined key Superman arcs that would make a great primer. But now we're interested in hearing what you think, so let us know in the comments section and feel free to vote in the poll below.

Eddie Redmayne chases gold in Stephen Hawking biopic

Oscar winner James Marsh will direct 'Theory of Everything'

<p>Eddie Redmayne</p>

Eddie Redmayne

Credit: AP Photo

If you thought Tom Hardy being mooted to play Elton John was the week's unlikeliest Brit-related biopic story, think again. (Incidentally, the Elton John project, "Rocketman," found a US distributor today in FilmDistrict.) Eddie Redmayne is in line to play Stephen Hawking in "Theory of Everything," a biopic of the famed, ALS-afflicted theoretical physicist currently being developed by UK company Working Title.

Emmys: 10 'modern-day Susan Luccis' who have yet to win

Actors, actresses, hosts, writers and more hope to make it to the stage this year

Emmys: 10 'modern-day Susan Luccis' who have yet to win

Susan Lucci couldn’t catch a break. For 18 nonconsecutive years between 1978 and 1998, she was up for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the Daytime Emmys for her work on "All My Children" and lost. That’s a hell of a track record, accent on “hell.” Her losing streak ended with a win in 1999 (though losses in 2001 and 2002 twisted the knife), but her many, many strikeouts transformed her into the go-to talking point for anyone who hasn’t won a Primetime Emmy.

Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton go off the rails in first 'Snowpiercer' trailer

2031-set action pic is Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho's English-language debut

<p>Chris Evans in &quot;Snowpiercer.&quot;</p>

Chris Evans in "Snowpiercer."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

2013 is evidently the year for South Korean genre masters to spread their wings. Earlier this year, Park Chan-wook ("Oldboy," "Thirst") made his English-language debut with the wild Southern Gothic noir "Stoker," still one of my favorites of the year; somewhat less successfully, we also had Kim Jee-woon ("I Saw the Devil," "The Good, the Bad, the Weird") directing Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Last Stand." Now their compatriot and colleague Bong Joon-ho -- who last hit our screens in 2009 with the acclaimed thriller "Mother" -- is making the switch as well, with his post-apocalyptic action film "Snowpiercer."

First glimpse of Naomi Watts in teaser trailer for 'Diana'

Will the actress benefit from the Academy's fascination with the Royal Family?

<p>Naomi Watts in &quot;Diana.&quot;</p>

Naomi Watts in "Diana."

Credit: Entertainment One

"Diana," German director Oliver Hirschbiegel's biopic of the late Princess of Wales, is eagerly awaited in many quarters -- it's hard to underestimate the devotion the so-called People's Princess still inspires in millions across the globe, nearly 16 years after her death, and this is the first major feature film to take her as its principal subject. Two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts is filling the princess's chic shoes, and the wordless teaser trailer below promises a reasonable physical approximation.

Production begins on Michael Mann's cyber thriller

The film is scheduled for a 2014 release

<p>Michael Mann speaks at the hands and footprint ceremony for &quot;The&nbsp;Dark&nbsp;Knight Rises&quot; director (and now Legendary&nbsp;Pictures stablemate)&nbsp;Christopher Nolan in 2012.</p>

Michael Mann speaks at the hands and footprint ceremony for "The Dark Knight Rises" director (and now Legendary Pictures stablemate) Christopher Nolan in 2012.

Credit: AP Photo

I hate that this project doesn't have a title yet so I can give it a proper headline, but anyway, Legendary Pictures announced start of production today on Michael Mann's untitled latest feature. The director hasn't gone back to the feature film well since 2009's "Public Enemies," which was widely dismissed, but I was a fan. There was a detour into television (and some nasty brawls with David Milch, as I hear it) with HBO's short-lived "Luck," but he's getting back on the horse with a Morgan Davis Foehl-scripted cyber-theft thriller starring Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis.

Tell us what you thought of 'This is the End'

Seth Rogen and friends face the apocalypse today

<p>&quot;This is the End&quot;</p>

"This is the End"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Oh yeah, "This is the End" hits theaters today. Well, sneak previews in advance of tomorrow's official release. YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY GO SEE IT. Seriously, I laughed so hard in this movie that my face hurt. But lest you think it's brainless humor, the film is actually very smart about how it pitches its theme, while at the same time sending up Hollywood image and culture. There have been few times this year that I've had this good a time watching a movie. Here's Drew McWeeny's review. So with that endorsement, I'll be waiting here to hear back from you on what you thought. If you're way ahead of me, rifle off your take in the comments section and vote in our poll. The rest of you: GO!

International box office for 'After Earth' proves there's life after America

Shyamalan's latest tops the charts in UK and multiple other territories

<p>Cheer up, Big Willie.</p>

Cheer up, Big Willie.

Credit: Sony Pictures

When "After Earth" crashed and burned at the US box office last week -- the latest in a long line of commercial misfires for director M Night Shyamalan, though a comparatively rare one for star Will Smith -- many column inches were spent dissecting, explaining and, in some cases, frankly revelling in its failure. After it dropped a calamitous 61% in its second weekend Stateside, tumbling to seventh place and inching to a total gross of just $46 million, casual box office surveyors eagerly prepared to read the film's last rites.


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