<p>J. August Richards plays a very different kind of bionic man as Deathlok on &#39;Marvel&#39;s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.&#39;</p>

J. August Richards plays a very different kind of bionic man as Deathlok on 'Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' reveals secrets and sets up 'Captain America' nicely

So where do we go from here?

So much for making it easy for new viewers to jump in.

At this point, "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." seems to be serialized in a major way, and if you haven't been watching from the start, things just aren't going to make as much sense to you. That's fine with me, but it seems like their plans for the show have changed fairly dramatically since it went on the air.

Then again, maybe this has always been the plan. After all, this week's episode lands at the perfect moment before "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," and next week's episode looks like it's going to take the ideas from that film and run with them in a parallel way. This is the sort of thing I was hoping for when this show was originally announced, and this is the first moment they're really having to juggle everything at the same moment.

Does it work?

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<p>I love that Kevin Costner looks like he&#39;s ready to go shoot a Western at a moment&#39;s notice.</p>

I love that Kevin Costner looks like he's ready to go shoot a Western at a moment's notice.

Credit: HitFix

Kevin Costner on authenticity in 'Draft Day' and picks Westerns for Film Nerd 2.0

Seriously, could we have a better guest programmer?

When I was preparing yesterday morning for the "Draft Day" press day, it hit me that in the seventeen years I've been doing this, I've never interviewed Kevin Costner before. I am a big fan of his work in front of the camera and behind it as well, and in particular, I think his affinity for Westerns is pretty great.

A four-minute interview is hardly the way to get to know someone, and I'm not sure Costner's the kind of guy who would ever want to sit down for an in-depth chat about his full filmography. I'd love to do that, but that wasn't what was on the table for Sunday. Instead, we talked a little bit about the authenticity of "Draft Day," the new Ivan Reitman film where Costner plays the general manager of the Cleveland Browns.

Before we started rolling, though, I explained the Film Nerd 2.0 column to him, and I asked if he'd be willing to suggest some Westerns for the boys at the end of the interview, and he told me he'd be happy to since I gave him some advance warning. So far, they've seen a grand total of three Westerns. I wrote about the experience they had with "The Cowboys" and "Rio Bravo" when my dad showed them to them on vacation. The other one they've seen was, appropriately enough, "Silverado," which we watched together after they saw "Raiders Of The Lost Ark." I figured Lawrence Kasdan made a good bridge for them, and Toshi in particular thought "Silverado" was awesome.

When we got to that moment, I thought Costner's answers were tremendous, and I give him all the props in the world for suggesting that "Dances With Wolves" is a pretty good Western. I tend to agree, and I certainly have that one set aside for a special event. It got me thinking, though, that I may try something different for this year's Film Nerd 2.0 Spring Break Film Festival and ask different filmmakers to offer up suggestions for the various themed evenings. We'll definitely be doing "How The West Was Won" this time around, and I want to thank Costner for playing along. He was every bit the thoughtful and down-to-earth guy you'd hope looking at the roles he's played for the last 30 years, and it was a real pleasure to finally chat with him, even if it was brief.

"Draft Day" is in theaters August 11, 2014.

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<p>When you&#39;re talking about America and how it&#39;s been defined on film, you have to include Rocky Balboa in that conversation.</p>

When you're talking about America and how it's been defined on film, you have to include Rocky Balboa in that conversation.

Credit: MGM/UA Home Video

We introduce the new show 'Ask Drew' and we need your help to make it work

Plus I answer a reader's question about movies about America

The video team here at HitFix constantly impresses me with not only the volume of work that they produce, but also the quality. We've gotten very lucky with the people we've hired, and they make any of our collaborations both easy and fun.

Last week, they approached me about a new ongoing feature that they wanted to do, and tomorrow, we're going to shoot the first episode of "Ask Drew," which is exactly what it sounds like. I am constantly asked questions via e-mail and Twitter and in our comments section, and I feel like I never fully answer all of them, something that makes me feel terrible. I am grateful for each and every reader of the work we do here at HitFix, and if I can answer something, I try to.

To that end, we are going to try something a little different here starting tomorrow. I want you to send me your questions about anything [Email: Video@HitFix.com]. Any topic. But they're not going to come directly to me. Instead, you'll send them to the video team. They'll pull the best questions, and then ask them to me as we shoot the video, with no prep and no warning. It's going to be unfiltered and off-the-cuff, and hopefully it'll give you a chance to let us know what you're most interested in.

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<p>Chances are hippogriffs like Buckbeak are going to be just one of the many magical creatures we&#39;ll meet in JK Rowling&#39;s upcoming &#39;Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them&#39; trilogy.</p>

Chances are hippogriffs like Buckbeak are going to be just one of the many magical creatures we'll meet in JK Rowling's upcoming 'Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them' trilogy.

Credit: Warner Bros

JK Rowling's 'Harry Potter' spinoff will be a full trilogy of movies for Warner

Is anyone surprised to hear this?

Well, of course it's going to be a trilogy.

The profile that The New York Times just ran on Warner's newest CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, was all about the way he's planning to keep Warner in the franchise business in the near future, and one of the things he mentioned was the new project that was announced last year, "Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them," an original project by JK Rowling that builds off the world she created for her "Harry Potter" books.

One thing I'll say immediately that makes me like Tsujihara is that he's pushing Warner to produce and release more films instead of less at a time where so many other studios are barely making films. And, sure, many of those films are going to be giant tentpole movies, but that's what allows them to take a chance on something like "Gravity." The "Fantastic Beasts" trilogy will focus on Newt Scamander, a "magizoologist," and it sounds like these are going to be big adventure films that aren't saddled with an overall mythology about someone being The Chosen One and having to fulfill some Grand Destiny. Set seventy years before the "Potter" books, this sounds like it's going to give Rowling a chance to flesh out her magical world in ways that should be an opportunity for all sorts of fun.

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<p>Sir Anthony Hopkins brought some very strong and unusual choices to his work as Methuselah in Darren Aronofsky&#39;s &#39;Noah&#39;</p>

Sir Anthony Hopkins brought some very strong and unusual choices to his work as Methuselah in Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah'

Credit: HitFix

Sir Anthony Hopkins on philosophy and shamanism in 'Noah'

The acting titan talks about the amazing location where he shot his scenes

Sir Anthony Hopkins is one of those people I look forward to speaking with at any press day where he appears because I know that whatever he gives you, it's not a rote answer he's given a thousand times, and that's something I value at this point.

I understand why actors fall into that, and there are certainly people who are very good at it, who can make it feel fresh each time, but it doesn't change the basic mechanism, which is that junkets turn you into a hamster on a treadmill, and it's very hard for someone to keep their focus for a full day of that, no matter who they are.

Hopkins, though, simply doesn't play the game. I get the sense that if you walk into the room with something you actually want to discuss, he's game. Talking to him about how he approached the role of Methuselah for Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" was interesting because of how clearly the character is drawn from a shamanic tradition.

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<p>&#39;Call Of Duty: Ghosts&#39; is the latest addition to our XBox One library here&nbsp; at Team HitFix.</p>

'Call Of Duty: Ghosts' is the latest addition to our XBox One library here  at Team HitFix.

Credit: Activision/Infinity Ward

Game Night: 'Call Of Duty Ghosts' joins the line-up for our third broadcast

We're still just starting to figure all of this out

Sometimes an entire week goes by and you barely even turn on the machine.

Last Friday night, we played a good deal of "Titanfall," and then after the mandatory 475 hour install, we got to play some "Dead Rising 3" as well. This week, a third title showed up from my GameFly account, and late last night, I got "Call Of Duty: Ghosts" fully installed, and then played the first two or three levels. So far, it feels a lot like a "Call Of Duty" game. I thought the addition of Riley-vision, where you can control your German Shepherd like it's a drone plane, was sort of wackadoo, but that's one of the things I like about gaming… crazy ideas appear in all sorts of games.

Other than last night, though, I haven't had time for anything this week. I haven't watched anything at home, and I haven't had any time for gaming. I was on the road until Wednesday, I was busy with my kids all weekend, and then once I got back to town, I've been writing non-stop to catch up.

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<p>Joe Manganiello&#39;s hair seems to have fully recovered from the trauma of &#39;Sabotage&#39;</p>

Joe Manganiello's hair seems to have fully recovered from the trauma of 'Sabotage'

Credit: HitFix

Joe Manganiello talks about standing up to icon Arnold in 'Sabotage'

When is this guy playing a superhero?

There are many reasons to learn how to pronounce Joe Manganiello's last name. First, it's a sign of respect, and Manganiello deserves that. Second, it's a simple courtesy that should be extended to anyone you're going to have a conversation with. And finally, Manganiello stands about eight-foot-three and could easily fold about 95% of us in half and shove us up our own butts without breaking a sweat, so perhaps we should try to avoid angering him.

There are a few scenes in "Sabotage," the gnarly new crime thriller from David Ayer, where Manganiello goes head-to-head to Arnold Schwarzenegger, and all I could think during those scenes is that you could clone Arnold, stack both of them on top of each other, and they still wouldn't be the same size as Manganiello. While that sounds like it would be a huge advantage, it's often not in Hollywood. Since the average height of a working movie star is four-feet-nine-inches, being a giant can make it hard to cast someone.

Thankfully, there are directors who are willing to take the chance, and as soon as someone figures out that Manganiello is basically a real-world superhero, he'll end up with some film franchise that launches him to the next level of stardom. After all, he's got a very centered charm, he has worked as a stunt performer which makes him even more credible as an action star, he's got a strong personality, and he's able to play dangerous at the drop of a hat. His work on "True Blood" gave him a chance to show off his range, and he's rumored to be in Terrence Malick's upcoming "Knight Of Cups," although no one is officially in a Malick movie until Malick finishes editing it.

We talked about how it was for him to go head-to-head to Arnold in "Sabotage," and he strikes me as a guy who takes full advantage of every opportunity he gets. His choices for how to play his character are interesting, both in terms of the external (his hair is something else) and the internal. He gives pretty good crazy, and when everyone's chewing scenery, it's hard to stand out. I hope this is the beginning of even more big roles for the guy, because anyone who can stand his ground against an icon like Arnold is ready to step up and become an icon in his own right.

"Sabotage" opens everywhere today.

PS - it's "Man-jen-ello."

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<p>Michael Pena plays the famed labor leader in Diego Luna&#39;s long-in-the-works &#39;Cesar Chavez&#39;</p>

Michael Pena plays the famed labor leader in Diego Luna's long-in-the-works 'Cesar Chavez'

Credit: Lionsgate

Review: Diego Luna's 'Cesar Chavez' is a noble but lifeless failure

As with many biopics, hero worship prevents any real drama from sneaking through

There is no doubt that when Diego Luna took the stage to introduce the world premiere of his film "Cesar Chavez" at this year's SXSW, he was honestly moved by the entire experience of getting the film made, and it is obviously important to him. It was an emotional introduction to a film that took him a long time to get made, and I would never begrudge him that genuine sense of accomplishment.

Unfortunately, "Cesar Chavez" has the same problems that plague many biopics, and it is a reminder of just how problematic the genre is as a whole. Just because someone did something that was important doesn't mean their life is suitable for a motion picture. Like many biopics, "Cesar Chavez" offers up a very specific point-of-view on the labor organizer and his accomplishments, and the respect that Luna has for his subject is clear in every moment of the film. The script by Keir Pearson is admirably restrained in many ways, but it is also almost completely devoid of anything that would give the film the feel of actual life. This is a movie full of wax figures, where even their flaws are perfect. Just to show that Chavez wasn't perfect, the film repeatedly returns to his troubled relationship with one of his sons, but it is resolved in such an on-the-nose way that even his problems seem more noble and beautiful than most people's successes.

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<p>Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in action movie mode, but to very different ends, in the new crime-thriller &#39;Sabotage&#39;</p>

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in action movie mode, but to very different ends, in the new crime-thriller 'Sabotage'

Credit: Open Road

Review: Schwarzenegger leads a rowdy ensemble in the crazy sleazy action film 'Sabotage'

The latest from director David Ayer is unabashedly mean and dirty

From the moment "Sabotage" begins, it's obvious that David Ayer has something nasty in mind, but it's only once you've settled in and spent some time with it that the truly sleazy heart of "Sabotage" becomes clear. This is a movie set in a world where everyone is a giant piece of garbage, and even the ostensible hero of the movie is a horrible person, corrupt and broken and incapable of recognizing justice, much less dispensing it.

Ayer took a Skip Woods action script and turned it into something more distasteful, and I mean that with all due affection. This feels like the '80s action films where established icons suddenly showed up in these genuinely dirty movies, graphic simply for the sake of being graphic. "10 To Midnight" and "Tightrope" are two films that immediately jumped to mind when I saw this, or Stallone's "Nighthawks" or "Cobra." In this, Schwarzenegger stars as John Wharton, a badass DEA officer who leads a badass DEA strike team. He's earned the nickname Breacher because of how many impossible places they've taken down, and he's managed to build himself this totally fearless and insane group of human weapons. When something happens to Breacher that tests his faith in the job he's given his life to, he proposes a payday to his crew, and they put together a plan to steal a pile of cartel cash during a raid.

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<p>Jennifer Connelly was as lovely and as intense as ever when we sat down to discuss her new film &#39;Noah&#39;</p>

Jennifer Connelly was as lovely and as intense as ever when we sat down to discuss her new film 'Noah'

Credit: HitFix

Jennifer Connelly talks about working in the remarkable world of 'Noah'

Plus we discuss the film's dense moral landscape

Here's how you know Darren Aronofsky is a lunatic.

In his new film, "Noah," Jennifer Connelly survives the end of the world and has to listen as thousands of people die outside, and then still has to face the possibility of more death and horror even after that, and she still gets off lighter than she did in her last collaboration with the director.

Connelly's career has been distinguished by her affinity for dark subject matter, and she's not one to run from trauma on film. It makes it strange as someone who enjoys her work. It's hard to "enjoy" watching her suffer in film after film, even if she does it quite well.

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