<p>E.T. took some time out of his busy schedule to hang out with Toshi and Allen at Universal's 'E.T.' press day.</p>

E.T. took some time out of his busy schedule to hang out with Toshi and Allen at Universal's 'E.T.' press day.

Credit: Universal Home Video

Watch: Film Nerd 2.0 revs up for a big October with two special 'E.T.' videos

Universal finds a great way to promote the upcoming Blu-ray of Speilberg's classic

Toshi saw "E.T." when he was too young to process it.

I wasn't the one who showed it to him.  It was while he was away in Argentina with his mom for six months.  There were only six movies at the house where they were staying, and "E.T." dubbed into Spanish was one of them.  And during that six months, while he was going nuts from lack of things to watch, "E.T." became a mainstay.  My wife says it must have been played at least 20 times, but this summer, when we were talking about the film, I realized that he remembers none of it.

Allen also felt like he had a handle on the film, and when I asked him what he knew about the movie, he told me, "That's the movie about the guy who is from outer space and he poops candy."  I feel like that's not entirely accurate.

The Blu-ray showed up here at the house between my trips to Toronto and Austin, and both of the boys were eager to see the movie again.  We haven't done that yet, but it's on the agenda for October.  In the meantime, while I was gone on my second trip, Universal invited us to participate in a special "E.T." press day, and I talked to my wife about her taking the boys since I wouldn't be back in time.

Read Full Post
<p>Stills and one-sheets can only hint at the gorgeous palette of 'Holy Motors,' the new film by Leos Carax</p>

Stills and one-sheets can only hint at the gorgeous palette of 'Holy Motors,' the new film by Leos Carax

Credit: Indomina Group

Exclusive: The US poster for the year's best movie 'Holy Motors'

Neon and neoprene sell the burnished dream of Leos Carax

While I was at Fantastic Fest last week, "Holy Motors" screened five or six times, and they kept adding screenings later in the schedule.  It was wildly impressive to see how many people fell in love with the film.  It's not an easy movie.  It's not a movie that will ever play on 3000 screens at one time.  But it's a gorgeous movie, a big beautiful drunken dream of a movie, and I love that people are responding to it.

The movie's going to be opening in the US soon, in limited release, and when the film's publicists asked if I wanted to be the first one to present the poster to you, I jumped.  Selling a movie like "Holy Motors" is a real test, because it doesn't offer anything like a conventional plot, and it's not particularly star-heavy.  Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue both appear in it, and Minogue is great in it.  The film belongs to Dennis Levant and Edith Scob, and it's the most amazing duet of the year, a dance between these two great actors.  Scob is part of France's film history, and I can't think of a better way to wrap up an iconic career of performances than in a film about the power of icons and performance.

Read Full Post
<p>Christopher Lee and Roger Moore prepare to face off near the end of the ninth James Bond film, 'The Man With The Golden Gun'</p>

Christopher Lee and Roger Moore prepare to face off near the end of the ninth James Bond film, 'The Man With The Golden Gun'

Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Video/MGM/UA

James Bond Declassified: File #9 - Moore is less in the silly 'Man With The Golden Gun'

HitFix
C+
Readers
n/a
Christopher Lee gives it his best, but the series is starting to sag

JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
FILE #9: "The Man With The Golden Gun"

This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.

Directed by Guy Hamilton
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz
Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman

CHARACTERS / CAST

James Bond / Roger Moore
Scaramanga / Christopher Lee
Mary Goodnight / Britt Ekland
Andrea Anders / Maud Adams
Nick Nack / Herve Villechaize
Hai Fat / Richard Loo
Hip / Soon-Tek Oh
Chew Mee / Francoise Therry
J. W. Pepper / Clifton James
Rodney / Marc Lawrence
Lazar / Marne Maitland
M / Bernard Lee
Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell
Q / Desmond Llewelyn

CREDITS SEQUENCE

This is one seriously weird Bond film.

There's something almost "Prisoner"-esque about the film's opening sequence.  I like how in the book, Scaramanga's third nipple is mentioned in passing as part of a briefing dossier, but in the film, they immediately zoom in on his chest in extreme close-up with a dramatic music sting, as if this is important plot information that we're going to need later.

Read Full Post
<p>Like many kids of the '70s, I grew up with the Ingalls family in my house every week and harbored a shameless crush on Half-Pint.&nbsp; Whoever stars in the new film will have some imposing shoes to fill.</p>

Like many kids of the '70s, I grew up with the Ingalls family in my house every week and harbored a shameless crush on Half-Pint.  Whoever stars in the new film will have some imposing shoes to fill.

Credit: NBC/Universal

David Gordon Green set to build a new 'Little House On The Prairie'

With Scott Rudin producing, this should be a class act

Somewhere today, the Hughes Brothers are very, very sad.

As unlikely as it sounds, they once claimed that a big-screen version of "Little House On The Prairie" was one of the projects they most wanted to make.  They grew up watching the show, and they felt a real love for the material.

As equally unlikely as it sounds, the director of "Your Highness," "Pineapple Express," and "George Washington" is now the man who will bring the Laura Ingalls Wilder books to the big-screen, with a script by Abi Morgan, best known for the Fassbender-f**king-everything-that-moves drama "Shame."

I think it's a no-brainer for some studio to develop this material again.  After all, the books by Wilder were the inspiration for the TV series that ran from 1974-1983, but I would hardly call the show a faithful adaptation.  The books are an industry unto themselves, and the eight books published while Wilder was alive were just the starting point.  There were at least four books published posthumously based on her writing, and a number of other series that built off of what she wrote, eventually chronicling something like five generations of her family, from their time in Scotland to the age of her daughter living in San Francisco.  Her personal papers have been combed through repeatedly by scholars and writers, and there's plenty of material for the filmmakers to use when they sit down to decide what story they're telling.

Read Full Post
<p>Matt Reeves, seen here with Chloe Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee on the set of 'Let Me In,' is finalizing his deal to direct the sequel 'Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes'</p>

Matt Reeves, seen here with Chloe Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee on the set of 'Let Me In,' is finalizing his deal to direct the sequel 'Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes'

Credit: Summit Entertainment

'Cloverfield' director Matt Reeves reportedly set for 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes'

This could be a win-win for both filmmaker and studio

This is about as good a choice as anyone could have hoped for, and I am completely and utterly excited about "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes" now.

Matt Reeves is one of those filmmakers who is going to have a long and interesting career, a smart guy who makes smart choices, and signing on to replace Rupert Wyatt for the second film in the newly-rebooted "Apes" franchise is a very smart choice.  The first film was plagued by bad buzz pretty much all the way up to the moment it was actually released, and then it turned out to be so much smarter and more interesting than expected.  Andy Serkis is already set to return to star again as Caesar, the ape whose evolution kicked off an uprising at the end of the first film, and the script for the sequel was written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who co-wrote the first one, with newer revisions being handled by the uber-smart Scott Burns, whose work with Soderbergh has been so compelling so far.

Read Full Post
<p>Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, and Chris Hemsworth prepare to rain some pain on some North Korean bad guys in the 'Red Dawn' remake</p>

Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, and Chris Hemsworth prepare to rain some pain on some North Korean bad guys in the 'Red Dawn' remake

Credit: FilmDistrict

Review: Chris Hemsworth can't save the shabby 'Red Dawn' remake from frustrating action scenes

HitFix
D+
Readers
n/a
Even '80s nostalgia can't salvage this one

"I miss 'Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare.'"
"Your life is 'Call Of Duty' now. And it sucks."

The original "Red Dawn" was released in 1984, and as much as any film of that decade, it is a product of its times.  I was 14 that year, and like most school-aged kids, I had been completely and utterly indoctrinated to be terrified of the Russians.  "Red Dawn" played expertly on that fear, and it helped that John Milius, the film's co-writer and director, is a glorious war-monger, a man who loves the way conflict defines a person.  The movie featured a cast of some of the best-known young actors in the '80s, including Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey, and even if you were able to avoid the film's politics, it worked as an action film.  There was something about the film's invasion scenario that struck a very deep chord with young viewers at the time, and for many of them, it remains a nostalgic favorite.

Read Full Post
<p>Andrew Garfield will once again star for director Marc Webb in the sequel to 'The Amazing Spider-Man'</p>

Andrew Garfield will once again star for director Marc Webb in the sequel to 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield officially signed for 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

With Emma Stone also in talks, could a Green Goblin announcement be far behind?

If you were a fan of "The Amazing Spider-Man," then you're probably pretty excited about the official news today that Marc Webb is now officially onboard to return for "The Amazing Spider-Man" sequel, along with Andrew Garfield.

The press release sent out this morning by Columbia Pictures also confirmed that Andrew Garfield will return as Peter Parker and Spider-Man and Emma Stone is in talks right now to come back as Gwen Stacy.  I don't think anyone should be particularly shocked by any of this news.  The first movie did very well, so of course they're bringing back as many of the creative elements as they can.

James Vanderbilt wrote the first draft of the script, with revisions by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner, and so far, we have no concrete information about what they'll be doing in the film.  If they announce the Green Goblin as the villain for this one, then it's pretty much a sure bet we can start preparing our farewells for Stone. 

Read Full Post
<p>Kathryn Newton stars as a teenage girl who finds herself at the center of some unexplainable events in 'Paranormal Activity 4'</p>

Kathryn Newton stars as a teenage girl who finds herself at the center of some unexplainable events in 'Paranormal Activity 4'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: 'Paranormal Activity 4' treads water instead of pushing forward

HitFix
C+
Readers
A-
The series stumbles for the first time, but they can still correct their course

I think the "Paranormal Activity" series is fun.  Not great.  Not important.  Not a redefining series of genre films.  But fun.  2007's "Paranormal Activity" did not pick up a distributor right away, and it didn't hit theaters until September 2009, with Paramount treating it almost as an experiment.  It caught fire and it quickly became evident that the studio was going to want a follow-up.  Oren Peli, who wrote and directed the original, stepped into a more supervisory position, and as he started branching out with projects like "The River" and the still-unreleased "Area 51," he helped other people build out the mythology that he started.

Tod Williams directed the sequel, and Michael R. Perry and Christopher Landon and Tom Pabst all contributed to the script.  It expanded the world a bit and started to try to make sense of what happened to Katie (Katie Featherston) and Michah (Micah Sloat) in the first film.  It carefully built the big set pieces so it leaned on the exact same sort of scares that the first film did, but with a baby right there in the middle of things.  The film ended with an upsetting cliffhanger of sorts with Katie making off with young Hunter (William Juan Pietro), and part three went back in time to the '80s to show Katie and her sister Kristi as kids, bringing in co-directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman to work with with Christopher Landon, who returned as the sole writer this time. I think the last fifteen minutes or so of "Paranormal Activity 3" is the scariest sustained sequence in any of the movies, and I thought it set up a really interesting broader canvass for the films.  When I saw that Joost and Schulman were coming back to direct the fourth film, I thought the movie was in great hands, and I was excited to see what they came up with.

Read Full Post
<p>This one's just for you, ladies.</p>

This one's just for you, ladies.

Credit: HitFix

Joseph Gordon-Levitt talks about make-up and young co-stars in 'Looper'

Becoming young Bruce Willis seems like it was a tremendous challenge

I am 100% convinced that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is going to be one of the biggest working movie stars of his generation.

He may not be there quite yet, but he's been acting since a very young age, and by now, it's clear that he's got charisma in spades and that he makes really great choices as an actor.  That's both onscreen and offscreen, as it doesn't matter if you're giving the best performance in the world if it's in a movie that no one ends up seeing.  He's certainly bet on some very small films like "Hesher" and "Mysterious Skin" and, of course, "Brick," but he's also been able to work in films that made much larger commercial splashes like "Inception" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra" and, of course, "The Dark Knight Rises."

It feels to me like "Looper" lands right in the middle between those two extremes.  It's a studio release, but it's a film that feels intensely personal.  It's a science-fiction film with some really remarkable moments of effects flourishes, but only in very specific moments and in service to the stories.  It's a huge film in terms of ideas, but it's also very small-scale in terms of how many characters are involved.  Much of the success (or failure, I suppose, depending on how you react to it) of the film is due to the confident and controlled lead performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Read Full Post
<p>Eli Roth, Ariel Levy, and Andrea Osvart struggle to survive a Chilean earthquake in 'Aftershock'</p>

Eli Roth, Ariel Levy, and Andrea Osvart struggle to survive a Chilean earthquake in 'Aftershock'

Credit: Dimension Films

Review: Nicolas Lopez puts Eli Roth through hell in earthquake gore comedy 'Aftershock'

HitFix
C+
Readers
n/a
Gory comedy is an interesting collision of style and taste

I have no doubt that when Dimension kicks into overdrive to sell you "Aftershock" sometime in 2013, you're going to see Eli Roth's name used a whole lot.  I understand it, too.  Roth has been enormously good at turning his name into a brand, something that a certain group of young filmmakers have developed as an important skill set in the 21st century.  After all, he's served as "Eli Roth presents" on several films, and he's part of the new Vegas venture, The Goretorium, which is a year-round horror-themed experience.  The last feature film that Eli directed was in 2004, though, so when you see critics and marketing that will fall over themselves to heap both the flaws and the merits of "Aftershock" at his feet, that's because the branding worked, not because he's genuinely the key architect of this particular movie.

This is very much a collaboration, though, between Eli and Nicolas Lopez, a Chilean filmmaker who has had a fascinating career of ups and downs so far.  His first film in 2004, "Promedio Rojo," is a rowdy teenage sex comedy, brash and funny and raw, and it got him some international attention.  That led to the production of "Santos," his second film, which is a big sprawling glorious mess of a film, a narrative that ran away from him, filled with all sorts of big imagination.  It was much too expensive for the sort of specialty niche film that it was, and it set him back a bit.  It consumed four full years of his life, and I think it's not the film he set out to make.  

Read Full Post