Disney's 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' brings on the writer of 'Orphan'
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Disney's 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' brings on the writer of 'Orphan'

This is the studio's second at-bat with the classic Bradbury tale

Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes" is not just one of his finest works, it's one of the best books I've ever read, and at this point in my life, that includes thousands of titles. What makes "Wicked" so great isn't just the story, although it's got a great plot, and it's not just the language, although Bradbury ladles it on like a master. It is the way "Wicked" captures not only the feeling in the air as Halloween approaches, but the way he observes and dissects human behavior so carefully and completely.

Here's a paragraph from the book that just makes me swoon.

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More 'Terminator: Genisys' images and details pile on the awkward for Paramount
Credit: Paramount Pictures

More 'Terminator: Genisys' images and details pile on the awkward for Paramount

It's like they're trying to sabotage the film

Working as a studio publicist is not an easy gig. There are plenty of times when you are asked to be an advocate for a product that you know just doesn't work, and when there are hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, the pressure to keep your smile fixed firmly in place is overwhelming.

Right now, it must look like Gotham City the day after the Joker dropped Smilex on everyone, because I can't imagine anyone at Paramount or at Skydance, the David Ellison-led production partner on the film, is feeling good about the reaction to this first big blast of publicity. They managed to set it up so that "Entertainment Weekly" would spend a few days rolling out images, probably imagining a wave of goodwill that would carry them right into Halloween weekend.

Nope.

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Seth Rogen may play Steve Wozniak in the Boyle/Sorkin Steve Jobs movie
Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Seth Rogen may play Steve Wozniak in the Boyle/Sorkin Steve Jobs movie

It also sounds like they're about to start casting for the female lead

While some people had nice things to say about Ashton Kutcher's work as Steve Jobs in "Jobs," I thought it was a terrible fit between actor and material, and the film itself was so poorly made that I had a hard time taking any of it seriously. I did like Josh Gad's approach to playing Steve Wozniak, though, and I think that's just a testament to Gad's innate likability onscreen.

Part of my problem with that film is the way it seems to treat product launches as the biggest moments in Jobs' life, and while I certainly understand that he masterfully cultivated the nearly-religious fervor that people have for Apple technology, it just felt tone-deaf they way they handled it in that film. Normally, I'd ask why someone's bothering to make another movie about Jobs so soon after that one was in theaters, but I'm pretty sure I know the answer.

After all, Danny Boyle directing a script by Aaron Sorkin, based on the Walter Isaacson book, is a totally different proposition.

So far, we know that Christian Bale is the first choice to play Jobs. They are not done with his deal, according to Borys Kit, so while it looks very likely he's playing the part, it's not guaranteed yet. Today's news is that Seth Rogen is being considered for the part of Steve Wozniak, and the idea of Seth Rogen digging into a plate full of Aaron Sorkin dialogue is positively irresistible. That's especially true with Wozniak, who is a fascinating guy in his own right, justifiably beloved by people in the tech world.

In addition, Kit says Boyle will be reading with actors about the female lead part, and that Jessica Chastain is on that short list of people who will be part of that, but that's a long way from being able to say that she's in the film.

In general, it sounds like they haven't pinned anyone down completely, but the process is underway, and I'm just looking forward to seeing what Boyle does with a Sorkin script. It's a really interesting combination of voices, and I'm counting on them to figure out exactly why we need another movie about Steve Jobs, his life, and his work. If anyone can, they can.

In the meantime, you can see Christian Bale in "Exodus: Gods and Kings", and you can see Seth Rogen in "The Interview," both hitting theaters this Christmas.

New 'Terminator: Genisys' details unveiled to less-than-stellar reactions
Credit: Lionsgate Home Video

New 'Terminator: Genisys' details unveiled to less-than-stellar reactions

How hard is it to make a Terminator sequel? Very, very hard, evidently.

It is genuinely surprising to see "Terminator: Genisys" on the cover of this week's "Entertainment Weekly." After all, this represents the third attempt to start a new trilogy of "Terminator" films, and the last fumble was made by Warner Bros, whose parent company owns and publishes "Entertainment Weekly," while the new film is being released by Paramount, a competitor.

Then again, looking at the pictures they used on the cover, maybe "Entertainment Weekly" knew exactly what they were doing, because they are profoundly unflattering shots of the cast, including a grinning Terminator, a weird decision since everyone else has on their "this movie is really serious" faces. And the article inside has set off a massive recoil from fandom, which certainly wasn't how Paramount was hoping to kick off their next nine months of promoting the film before its release.

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Final 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' trailer sends Katniss to war and burns the Capitol
Credit: Lionsgate

Final 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' trailer sends Katniss to war and burns the Capitol

It's pretty clear they're not just making the same film a third time

Say whatever you like about the first two films in the "Hunger Games" series, but it is clear from the final trailer for "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" that they are not just making the same film again this time.

It is true that the first two movies are very similar, and being built around the Games themselves, there's a sort of rigid handcuffed shape to the two movies. You have a pretty good idea how the second one's going to play after you see the first one.

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Everything you need to know about the Marvel 'Avengers' fan event
Credit: Marvel Studios

Everything you need to know about the Marvel 'Avengers' fan event

Are they really going to end the world?

So now that we're at the other end of the day and a full slate of editorial pieces about what to expect from the movies announced today as part of the Marvel Phase Three plans, I'd like to offer up a few thoughts about today's stories.

First, I am not surprised to hear that "Thor: Ragnarok" was officially announced as the title of the new film. It was an even more apparent choice than "Captain America: Civil War." The last film ended with an apparently-dead Odin and with Loki sitting on the throne of Asgard. That seems like a really bad idea, and at the end of "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," I'm guessing Thor is going to have to go deal with whatever it is that Loki's been up to, since Kevin Feige confirmed today that "Ragnarok" is going to pick up mere moments after "Age of Ultron" ends.

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We live-blog all the details of Marvel's special Hollywood event
Credit: Marvel Studios

We live-blog all the details of Marvel's special Hollywood event

What secrets will they spill and which will they keep?

HOLLYWOOD - The El Capitan Theater is packed with press and fans alike for a special Marvel media event. No one's exactly sure why we've been called here this morning, but there's been plenty of speculation. Will they announce Doctor Strange officially? Will they confirm the title of "Captain America 3"? Are we going to see more footage from "Age Of Ultron"?

Whatever the case, I'm here to live-blog it for you as long as the El Capitan's wifi holds out, and we'll be digging deeper into this morning's announcements as the day progresses.

If you've never been to the El Capitan in Hollywood, it's Disney's flagship theater, ornate, restored to resemble a classic movie palace, complete with live organist. He's been playing since we started arriving at 10:00 this morning, and he's still cooking along now with not just Disney music but all sorts of classic movie themes. He knows how to play the nerd crowd, getting a big reaction for the theme from "Empire," among other highlights.

At 11:05, they're still trying to fill in seats with the fans who are outside and weren't able to get in. Marvel's packed the house, so I hope whatever they're doing today is the sort of thing that will play well with the crowd. It can't just be title treatments and a cast announcement, right? If they're putting this much effort into getting us all into the theater, then hopefully they're going to show us something fun. It would be a kick to see a real "Ant-Man" trailer, for example, or some footage from the movie, which is a little more than halfway through production at this point.

Finally, about ten minutes late, the organist launches into "Hooray For Hollywood," which is the signature closer for him during the regular pre-show entertainment here at the El Cap. The organ sinks into the stage, and it's time to get things going.

Curtains up, which is a production unto itself at this theater, and Kevin Feige takes center-stage. First up is the "Age of Ultron" trailer on the bigscreen. Looks and sounds amazing, of course, and then Feige comes out to discuss the film some more and to introduce Joss Whedon in the crowd, saying this is the wrap-up to Phase Two.

Feige talks about the box-office success of the first ten films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, taking particular pride in the way "Guardians Of The Galaxy" landed. Day 50 of photography on "Ant-Man" is underway today.

"But we didn't bring you here to tell you things that you already know..."

Today is about Phase Three. First up, "Captain America: Serpent Society," on May 6, 2016.

Then we get the title card for "Doctor Strange," which Feige has been talking about as long as he's been at Marvel Studios. The Russos are here, as is Scott Derrickson. Jon Spaihts is at work on the script right now, telling the story of the "arrogant surgeon who is in a car crash that ruins his hands, leading him on a journey that eventually brings him to the Ancient One, allowing him to tap into the supernatural, which involves everything from quantum mechanics to string theory, all of which you can manipulate with your hands and your thoughts."

That's November 4, 2016. Then on May 5, 2017, James Gunn will be back in theaters with the entire cast of "Guardians Of The Galaxy 2." They are moving it up from the July date they originally announced. That leaves open the July 28, 2017 date, and now they've moved another film onto that date. That's right... it's "Thor: Ragnarok." Feige confirmed that Loki will be returning, and that this is a major piece of the puzzle for the Phase Three films. This is going to be important to not just his story, but the rest of the Marvel Universe as well, picking up directly after the events of "Age Of Ultron."

November 3, 2017 is finally going to see the release of "Black Panther," which means Marvel isn't content letting DC go first on anything. Kevin gave a very subtle confirmation that the glimpse we got of Andy Serkis in the "Ultron" trailer is indeed Hugo Klaw.

He's skipping May 4, 2018 at first, going to July 6, 2018, when "Captain Marvel" gets her own movie, and it will be Carol Danvers. He refers to her as one of the most powerful characters in the entire Marvel universe. How to set her up properly, though?

November 2, 2018 is the 20th film Marvel will release, and "The Inhumans" will open the floodgates for new characters, according to Feige. He talked about what a huge opportunity "The Inhumans" presents.

Meanwhile, there is still that May 4, 2018 date, which he calls the culmination of everything that has come before. "Legend tells us one thing, history another. Every now and then, we find something that belongs to both." This is it. This is the moment that all of the legwork they've done so far comes toether, and the trailer they cut, using clips from everything we've seen so far, is a very effective way of summing up how far they've gone to lay this groundwork. The final shot of Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet on his hand, along with the title "Avengers: Infinity War," with part one in May 2018 and part two in May 2019 is indeed the biggest throw-down they could make today.

Finally, there was a full scene from "Age Of Ultron," a different one from what will premiere during "Agents of SHIELD" tonight.

"Earth's mightiest heroes... and they pulled us apart like cotton candy." It's a short, tense conversation between Tony and Steve... and sure enough, the seeds of dissent in that clip lead to the reveal that the "Serpent Society" title  was a fake. The film will indeed be called "Civil War."

Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans came out to introduce Chadwick Boseman, who is officially set to play Black Panther, and he talked about feeling blessed to join the team.

Considering how big the game plan is, he's going to be busy for a long time.

That concludes the presentation part of the morning. There's a Q&A for the press that's going to be starting now, but we'll cover that in a separate piece. We wanted to share the main event with you as it unfolded, and there were plenty of big surprises that were part of the reveal. I am thrilled with the Boseman casting. I think he's a star on the rise, and it's a great get for Marvel.

Downey and Ruffalo spill the secrets of Iron Man and Hulk in 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Downey and Ruffalo spill the secrets of Iron Man and Hulk in 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron'

Brace yourself for the best Ruffalo quote of all time

One of the first things we saw as we stepped out of our bus on the Shepperton Studios lot outside of London was a golf cart carrying Captain America.

Suffice it to say, spending a day with The Avengers is very strange.

While I've attended set visits for many of the films that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I did not visit the set of "The Avengers." I've met each of the individual members of the team, many of them in costume as these characters, but there's something different about being on a set with all of them at once.

Between now and the May release of "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," the mega-sequel to one of the biggest films of all time, we'll have a number of reports from the set, where I joined a large group of journalists to not only watch a key scene from the film being shot, but also to interview pretty much every major member of the cast.

At this point, Robert Downey Jr. has become a familiar face, and I've had many conversations with him about his work as Tony Stark. The latest began with another reporter asking Downey about his reaction to Joss Whedon's script for the sequel.

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Benedict Cumberbatch has reportedly been cast as Sorcerer Supreme 'Doctor Strange'
Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Benedict Cumberbatch has reportedly been cast as Sorcerer Supreme 'Doctor Strange'

Now that they've found the Sorcerer Supreme, who's next?

Sometimes it's funny the way these things work out. When the casting rumors began for "Doctor Strange," one of the very first names attached to the role was Benedict Cumberbatch. During this year's San Diego Comic-Con, I was convinced that the real reason Cumberbatch was in San Diego had nothing to do with the "Penguins of Madagascar" film, and that Marvel was going to bring him out and introduce him as the Sorcerer Supreme.

At that time, though, Marvel was evidently deep in conversations with Joaquin Phoenix. I still have trouble seeing him in the role, and knowing how reluctant he is to repeat himself from film to film, the idea of locking him into a six-film contract to play one character seemed like lunacy to me.

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Review: McConaughey gives heart to Nolan's ambitious and amazing 'Interstellar'
Credit: Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros

Review: McConaughey gives heart to Nolan's ambitious and amazing 'Interstellar'

HitFix
B+
Readers
n/a
Narrative issues keep this one from connecting completely, but it is impressive

The single greatest moment in human history, that particular kernel of time in which all of our best nature triumphed over all of our worst, was when we first set foot on the moon. The idea that we started as basic tool users at some point in our past, looked up into the sky, pointed at that thing overhead and said, "We are going there," is completely insane, and yet, we did that.

One of the primary themes of Christopher Nolan's highly-anticipated new film "Interstellar" is that we are in danger as a species when we lose our drive to explore. The film is set in a future where we have had to give our full attention to survival, when the idea of space travel is off the table completely. And while that seems extreme, considering the way the world felt when I was a kid living two hours from Cape Canaveral in Florida to the way it feels now, space travel has become something that is either about to be a novelty for the rich (maybe) or something that we do begrudgingly, and with as little financial involvement as possible. It's disturbing, frankly, and I would rather see the courage of every single person who puts on a uniform to fight for our country harnessed in service of exploration and making our species better than used to continue to fight over the diminishing resources of the rock we are currently anchored to.

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