The Charming Potato and 'Kingsman 2' seem to be a match made in Heaven
Credit: Lionsgate

The Charming Potato and 'Kingsman 2' seem to be a match made in Heaven

Matthew Vaughn keeps making this more interesting

The Charming Potato is joining the cast of Kingsman: The Golden Circle!

I remember the moment Channing Tatum clicked for me. It certainly wasn’t on first exposure. Sometimes I see an actor and immediately like what they’re doing, and when I saw A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, it was with some early hype about both the director, Dito Montiel, and this amazing new young star, Channing Tatum. Didn’t work for me at all. He was fine in the Step Up films, but that’s because the dancing was front and center. Films like Dear John or Stop-Loss did nothing to change my opinion of Tatum, and in a few cases, like G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra or The Eagle, I thought his presence actually damaged the overall movie.

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The first trailer for 'Doctor Strange' takes us inside the Sanctum Sanctorum
Credit: Marvel Studios

The first trailer for 'Doctor Strange' takes us inside the Sanctum Sanctorum

Can Steve Ditko fans start rejoicing?

My first conversation with Kevin Feige about Marvel heroes and bigscreen adaptations was almost 16 years ago now. And in the time that conversation has continued, he has always been very clear that his own favorite character, the one he most wanted to see become a movie, was one they would have to build to gradually.

Well, that wait is finally over. Earlier today, Donna posted the first poster for Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange, which seems to continue a certain back-to-the-camera Cumberbatch trend. Still, it was a cool look at the visual style of the film, and it was enough to keep us on the hook all day waiting for the premiere of the trailer tonight.

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Review: Mike Flanagan's 'Hush' is slasher fare served up lean and mean
Credit: Netflix
B

Review: Mike Flanagan's 'Hush' is slasher fare served up lean and mean

Sometimes it's enough just to get the basic moves right

An isolated house in the middle of the woods. A young woman on her own. A man with a mask and a knife.

Taken individually, none of those things are particularly fresh to the horror genre, but taken together under the firm directorial hand of Mike Flanagan, they add up, making Hush a worthwhile sit for horror fans of all stripes. Flanagan is a talented filmmaker who has yet to have his breakout moment. His movie Oculus played the Toronto Film Festival, and I liked it when I saw it. Overall, it got solid reviews. Last year, I saw an early screening of Before I Wake, which was supposed to come out months ago. It got delayed, and I can understand why. It’s not really a horror film, and figuring out how to sell the movie for what it really is might be difficult. I like it as well, though, and I thought it reinforced that Flanagan is coming at things in his own way.

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Review: Jon Favreau's 'Jungle Book' is a rich and rewarding family fable
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures
A-

Review: Jon Favreau's 'Jungle Book' is a rich and rewarding family fable

Eye-popping effects and simple human charm make a winning combination

Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book has been adapted to film numerous times over the years. The 1942 live-action film, which you can see via Hulu Plus if you have it, remains beautiful and mysterious even now, while the 1967 Disney animated version is one of their most iconic films. Years ago, when I was still new to Los Angeles, there was a stretch of about 18 months where my writing partner and I shared an apartment with a married couple named Dave and Laura. Laura was a preposterously sweet woman, and she had a keen affection for Disney animation. In particular, she loved Mowgli and his gangly, lanky frame, all elbows and angles. About halfway through last night’s press screening of the new Jon Favreau version, I couldn’t help but laugh, thinking about how much Laura’s going to love Neel Sethi, who stars as Mowgli, because he looks like he was plucked right off of some animator's drawing board.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about Disney’s new push to turn all of their animated films into live-action movies. It’s another way of strip-mining their own library, and the results have been wildly uneven so far. Cinderella, for example, struck me as a solid retelling of the original story, but there was nothing about Kenneth Branagh’s film that felt like live-action was essential or that illuminated the earlier Disney version of the story. It was fine, which is way more than I can say about the disturbingly ugly Alice In Wonderland that Tim Burton directed. Walking into The Jungle Book, I was worried that it would either be paint-by-numbers or that it would be a big empty style exercise, and instead, I walked away from it with one word running through my head repeatedly…

Magic.

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This behind-the-scenes glimpse at 'Kong: Skull Island' is an intriguing tease
Credit: Warner Bros/MTV

This behind-the-scenes glimpse at 'Kong: Skull Island' is an intriguing tease

No giant monkey yet, but this does raise some interesting questions about the film

Rounding out the Warner Bros. trio of sneak peeks during the MTV Movie Awards tonight was a behind-the-scenes featurette from the set of Kong: Skull Island, which Warner plans to release next spring, and it’s by far the most we’ve learned yet about the film.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts is directing the film, which is a key part of yet another Warner ongoing tentpole franchise, although a little sneakier than either Suicide Squad or Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. By now, it’s clear that Legendary Entertainment would like to eventually figure out how to get King Kong and Godzilla into the same film. Thomas Tull said as much to me years ago, when he was still developing Godzilla in the first place. He’s a huge fan of giant monster movies, and those two are the undisputed icons of the genre. It is the same impulse that led to pairing Batman and Superman, when you get down to it. But they’re not really making these films as a series. Godzilla is off doing its own thing over in that franchise, and it’ll be interesting to see which other Toho creatures actually make it to the screen in the Godzilla sequel. In the meantime, Vogt-Roberts is making his stand-alone film, and now we know for sure that it’s set during the Vietnam era.

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The new 'Fantastic Beasts' trailer teases more of Rowling's growing world
Credit: Warner Bros.

The new 'Fantastic Beasts' trailer teases more of Rowling's growing world

Warner's next big gamble feels like a very safe bet

By turning tonight’s MTV Movie Awards into a sneak peek at all things Warner Bros., the studio’s invited everyone to weigh in on the biggest items they’ve got coming for the rest of the year, and while Suicide Squad is definitely important to them, it’s not as important as Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

I greatly admire JK Rowling as a writer, and not just for her work on Harry Potter. I think her Robert Galbraith novels have been terrific entertainment, and I really liked The Casual Vacancy, which I thought demonstrated a savage wit that has always been quietly present in her work but rarely unleashed to its full potential. Rowling is a ferociously smart writer from a business viewpoint, and this new venture into the “Wizarding World,” which seems to have become the catch-all description for the universe she’s building, is a very clever way of extending things without damaging any of the integrity of what she’s already done.

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Harley Quinn continues to dominate in new 'Suicide Squad' trailer
Credit: Warner Bros.

Harley Quinn continues to dominate in new 'Suicide Squad' trailer

Warner's playing it all right with these ads, but will the film deliver?

Unsurprisingly, much of the reporting around the Warner/DC situation continues to be driven by herd mentality and inaccurate.

For example, how many sites reprinted the story that the Suicide Squad reshoots were all about adding jokes to the movie because they used every joke in the movie in the last trailer? Sorry, but that’s just nonsense. There were some big reshoots, but it wasn’t just to add jokes, and they certainly didn’t use every single joke in the film in the last trailer. The reason everyone picks that up and runs with it is because they like how nice and neat it sounds. Reshoots. Add jokes. Fix movie. Never mind that people went crazy about my (accurate) reportage about how divisive early reactions were to Batman v Superman. People didn’t want to hear that story, so they attacked me and they attacked my reporting, determined to simply shout it down.

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Director Mike Flanagan believes 'Hush' is scarier when you see it at home
Credit: HitFix

Director Mike Flanagan believes 'Hush' is scarier when you see it at home

One of horror's rising stars discusses his latest lean and mean thriller

One of the things I’m hearing from you guys is that you’re concerned about the amount of video versus the amount of writing that appears here at HitFix these days, and I wanted to quickly address that concern. I am, first and foremost, a writer. The purest expression of what I do comes when it’s just me speaking directly to you guys via the written word. We work in a new media landscape, though, and video is an important part of not only keeping the site going, but building it, which is always our goal.

When we decided to stop attending junkets and doing those five minute sound bite videos, we started pushing to invite guests to our studios instead so we could sit down for a longer conversation. The results have been better across the board, and it’s because a longer conversation is always going to be a better way to get to know someone and a better showcase for their thoughts about the work they’ve done. And honestly, I feel like a video interview is better than a print one because of things like body language and nuances in tone. It's better to present the person as they are, instead of imposing an editorial voice on them.

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Exclusive: BOOM! Studios announces a 'Kong Of Skull Island' mini-series
Credit: Warner Home Video

Exclusive: BOOM! Studios announces a 'Kong Of Skull Island' mini-series

Here's your first look at the cover of the first issue

BOOM! Studios is at the Emerald City Comicon today to announce a new comic called Kong of Skull Island, which will serve as a prequel to the classic film.

At first, I thought we were looking at an adaptation or a tie-in to the new film from Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong: Skull Island, but this BOOM! Studios comic is a totally different thing. James Asmus (All-New Inhumans) is the writer for the limited series, while Carlos Magno is going to be the artist. The first issue will have a number of alternate covers from guys like Eric Powell, Ryan Sook, Paul Pope, Nick Robles, and Felipe Massafera, whose art you can see below.

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The new teaser poster for 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' drops a very big hint
Credit: 20th Century Fox/MARV Films

The new teaser poster for 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' drops a very big hint

If he is, I'll bet Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman have a good explanation

Forget about Jon Snow; I want to know if Harry Hart is alive.

The primary challenge that Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman faced when trying to crack a sequel to their monster hit Kingsman: The Secret Service was what to do about Colin Firth. One of the true pleasures of the first film is seeing Firth burst through the walls of the box that people have put him in as an actor with so much fervor he was like the Kool-Aid Man. He was delightfully violent, and talking to him at Comic-Con the year before it came out, it was clear he was almost giddy about what he got to do in the movie.

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