<p>Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is still new to the chair, but he's going to be tested mightily in next summer's 'Star Trek Into Darkness'</p>

Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is still new to the chair, but he's going to be tested mightily in next summer's 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Credit: Paramount/Bad Robot

Full length 'Star Trek Into Darkness' trailer arrives online

The new cast prepares for their second time at the helm of the Enterprise

Based on the box-office figures for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," I think it's safe to say quite a few of you went to see the film in various formats this weekend.  If you did, then chances are you saw either the theatrical trailer for "Star Trek Into Darkness" or the nine-minute IMAX 3D presentation of the film's first nine minutes.

Right now, I feel bad for longtime "Trek" fans who don't enjoy the JJ Abrams films.  There is no worse feeling for a film fan than disliking something that you are very, very excited about.  I've been out with friends for various screenings over the years, and the conversations that happen after sitting through a crushing disappointment are most often a way of trying to grapple with what went wrong.  For many audiences, the 2009 "Star Trek" was a big, fun, surprisingly well-cast film that they enjoyed and probably haven't thought much about since.  There are the hardcore fans who just love seeing new "Trek" onscreen and who enjoyed the switch-up with the new cast, sure, and there are also kids who were introduced to "Star Trek" by that film and who are now nascent fans for the franchise as a whole.

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<p>There are few people who I&nbsp;enjoy talking to more than Ian McKellen, and few actors I&nbsp;enjoy watching more.</p>

There are few people who I enjoy talking to more than Ian McKellen, and few actors I enjoy watching more.

Credit: HitFix

Ian McKellen says the one-two punch of Gandalf and Magneto was 'timing'

Also learn which version of Gandalf the actor prefers playing

Ian McKellen probably never expected the odd turn that his career has taken over the last fifteen years, but he seems to have embraced it with grace and gusto.

I'm sure if you'd told him before all of this that he would end up beloved by an audience of fantasy-loving comic-book-reading genre fans all over the world, he would have dismissed the idea as silly.  Even when he appeared in "Gods and Monsters," the sensational James Whale biopic by Bill Condon, he probably never expected the particular way that his audience would expand.

Now here we are, sitting down with him to discuss his return to Middle Earth, and I love that he sees a distinct difference between playing Gandalf the White and Gandalf the Grey.  Like McKellen, I prefer Gandalf the Grey, and one of the nicest things about "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is getting my favorite version of my favorite wizard back in action.  He brings such warmth and humor to the part that it was sad to see him changed into more of an action hero on the final film.

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<p>Get ready to have your face punched in by the giant robots of 'Pacific Rim'</p>

Get ready to have your face punched in by the giant robots of 'Pacific Rim'

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

First 'Pacific Rim' trailer promises monsters and mayhem on an epic scale

Guillermo Del Toro's dream project finally gives you a sneak peek

One of the things that has rekindled my love of the anticipatory period before a film is released is having kids in the house who go absolutely bananas at every new glimpse they get of the things they are interested in the most. My boys are giant monster fanatics, and they adore robots of all types, so from the very first moment I described "Pacific Rim" to them as "a movie about a war between giant robots and giant monsters," they have been positively rabid to see anything from it.

This is one of those movies that seems like it should already exist. It is hard to believe there has never been a real big-budget treatment of this sort of material.  True, it would have been difficult to pull off with any degree of photo-realism before now, but it still seems surprising that it has taken this long for Hollywood to realize that there will most likely be an audience for two hours of robots that do kung-fu laying a beating on giant monsters that breathe fire.  Actually, there's a wide range of things that both the Jaegers (the official name for the giant robots) and the Kaiju (the official name for the monsters) are capable of, and we'll see quite a few examples of both in the film.

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<p>Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis co-star in &quot;GI&nbsp;Joe:&nbsp;Retaliation'</p>

Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis co-star in "GI Joe: Retaliation'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

New 'GI Joe: Retaliation' trailer destroys London and resurrects Channing Tatum

Paramount's been fine-tuning this one, and the new trailer seems confident

The new trailer for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" is full of CGI mayhem, ninjas on mountaintops, and Bruce Willis, The Rock, and Channing Tatum all ladling on the macho.  It looks like every 13-year-old kid's dream version of an action movie, ridiculous but impossible not to watch.

One of the things that impresses me about the ninja mountain battle footage you see here is that I was on the set where they shot those scenes, and it couldn't have been any more fake.  The stuff here looks great, and I think Jon Chu could turn out to be an inspired choice for this one.  I know it's been a difficult film in terms of production set-backs, second-guessing, and release date shuffle, but in the end, all that matters is whether or not the film is any fun, and it looks like it is.

There's a part of me that always feels bad saying something looks like fun when it's got the sort of wholesale destruction that this film appears to have.  If they really destroy London the way they show it here, then it's starting to look like Hollywood has some anger issues about London that they're working out, between this and the "Star Trek Into Darkness" poster.

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<p>Andy Serkis is one of those guys who always seems thrilled to discuss the work he's doing, which makes sense because it's amazing.</p>

Andy Serkis is one of those guys who always seems thrilled to discuss the work he's doing, which makes sense because it's amazing.

Credit: HitFix

Andy Serkis on slipping back into Gollum's digital skin for 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'

Plus we talk about his new career as a director

Andy Serkis is one of those guys whose influence on the industry is just starting to be fully understood, and I have a feeling we've got a lot of great work from him still to come.

Part of what will make Serkis so significant in any future conversations about performance capture is timing.  He happened to be the guy who had the right skill set at the right moment, just as the technology started to come of age.  But part of it is because he has embraced this moment with a joy and with a sense of invention and adventure, and it seems like other actors are having that experience, too, but that Serkis really is the pioneer.

It's great that he returned to Gollum because it serves as a very stark comparison between the state-of-the-art at opposite ends of a decade, and while you may not see a major leap forward from year to year, if you lay "The Two Towers" Gollum and the "Hobbit" Gollum side-by-side, it's a night and day experience.  More and more of the subtle work that Serkis does is making its way into these characters now, and what was one inspiration is now direct manipulation.

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<p>Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx play an unlikely pair of bounty hunters on a personal mission in Quentin Tarantino's blisteringly funny and righteously angry 'Django Unchained'</p>

Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx play an unlikely pair of bounty hunters on a personal mission in Quentin Tarantino's blisteringly funny and righteously angry 'Django Unchained'

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: 'Django Unchained' sets rowdy and bloody fire to America's painful history

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Tarantino pays homage to a new genre and comes up aces again

I think it's safe to say at this point that Quentin Tarantino's work speaks directly to the sensibilities that shaped me as a film fan, and when I see people dismiss his work as mere pastiche, it is infuriating.  Tarantino is a thoroughly modern film artist, and his way of working is not something that would automatically work for everyone.  But when he throws his various influences into a blender and creates one of his hyper-potent cinematic cocktails, the result is more than just those bits and pieces shuffled into a new order.  His films speak directly to the way iconography works as a shared language for film fans, and he plays both to and against expectation in his work in ways that reveal him as one of the most sharp-witted pranksters working today.

"Django Unchained" is "Blazing Saddles" with a body count, a positively incendiary entertainment about America's greatest shame, the personal and social toll of slavery, and like Tarantino's last film, "Inglourious Basterds," this is a case of history being remixed in a way that makes more emotional sense to Tarantino as a storyteller.  I don't know what instigated this switch in direction for him, but I love it.  The emotional rush that hit at the end of "Basterds" was remarkable, this compelling feeling that we were getting to see something that we needed to see, no matter if it was 100% factual or not.  It was emotionally correct, and that's all that mattered.

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<p>Martin Freeman's busier than he's ever been these days and the audience is richer for it.</p>

Martin Freeman's busier than he's ever been these days and the audience is richer for it.

Credit: HitFix

Martin Freeman talks about how Andy Serkis set the tone for 'The Hobbit'

We discuss carrying the weight of the trilogy with the man who would be Bilbo

I guess it's just a matter of time until they announce John Krasinski as the lead in "Episode VII," right? 

I mean, seeing Jim from "The Office" wielding a lightsaber is just as unlikely as Martin Freeman being the lead in "The Hobbit."  And yet, here we are, and I did indeed sit down with Freeman to talk about stepping into the familiar feet of Bilbo Baggins for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," the first in the three films that will tell the story of the dearly beloved book.

Freeman first came to popularity with his work as Tim in the original UK version of "The Office," and the same qualities that made him perfect for that role have served him well in other roles, like Arthur Dent in "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy," John Watson on Stephen Moffat's outstanding "Sherlock," and of course, the completely out-of-water Mr. Baggins, far from his Shire, doing his best to survive an adventure.

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<p>Anyone else get the feeling Johnny Depp and the horse are going to steal the show?</p>

Anyone else get the feeling Johnny Depp and the horse are going to steal the show?

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp go big with a new 'Lone Ranger' trailer

Can they make lightning strike again with a new franchise?

One of the reasons I really like "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" is because the film's existence is such a cheerful, celebratory end zone dance by Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp, two men who were in desperate need of at least a solid triple at the box-office.

It's hard to remember at this point a time in which Johnny Depp was thought to be box-office poison.  It's true, though.  He had a long and fascinating string of good choices that did nothing to help make him a movie star.  They made him a better actor, and I think his natural talent has mainly to do with the way he would approach his roles.  He made big decisions, risky decisions about voices and make-up and physical traits.  In "Cry-Baby," "Edward Scissorhands," "Benny and Joon," "Ed Wood," "Dead Man," "Fear And Loathing," and more, he did really good work.  The films just weren't hits, though, and it was starting to look like he'd used up his 23 chances.  Tim Burton seemed to be the one collaborator who he could turn to for even a glancing chance at commercial relevance.  I don't think that is the goal of someone's career, but it is a requirement if you're going to keep getting the opportunity to star in interesting and exciting films.

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<p>I&nbsp;have to say, I'm not really sure about the all-fire version of the costume they designed for Superman in Zack Snyder's 'Man Of Steel'</p>

I have to say, I'm not really sure about the all-fire version of the costume they designed for Superman in Zack Snyder's 'Man Of Steel'

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

New 'Man Of Steel' trailer reveals a sadder but stronger Superman

Could Zack Snyder successfully redefine the character?

Wow.

That is, of course, the exact word that Warner Bros. wants to hear in response to their new trailer for "Man Of Steel," and while I guess I thought we'd be seeing more action, what with Zack Snyder describing the trailer as "crazy" a few weeks ago.

What we see here instead explains a lot about the approach that the film is taking, and it uses much of the footage we saw at last year's Comic-Con, but with new footage as well.  There's an early beat where we see Clark fleeing from a classroom, upset, and Ma Kent (Diane Lane) has to talk him down, asking him to focus on her voice like it's an island.  Is this where he first gets his super-hearing and he is suddenly overwhelmed by voices around the world?  We also see that he is haunted by an early incident in his life where he saves a bus full of kids from drowning, and that he seems to be running from who he is.

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<p>'Would you believe we built that room for a Hulk?'</p>

'Would you believe we built that room for a Hulk?'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

A day at Bad Robot gives us a better look at 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Plus we share a crazy theory about the secrets JJ Abrams is hiding in plain sight

The Bad Robot offices occupy a large building in Santa Monica that you would never notice just driving by.  I missed it the first time around the block, and had to circle back before I was able to hand off my car to the waiting valet.  I was afraid I'd missed the start of today's "Star Trek Into Darkness" event, but ended up making it in just enough time to get my green wristband, join my group, and start the tour of the building, designed to give us a look inside one of next year's most anticipated sequels.

To be clear, there was one point in the day where we saw something we had to promise not to disclose.  I wouldn't say it radically changed anything I'm going to share with you, but instead simply served to amp up my own enthusiasm because it was really, really, yes, I'm going to say it three whole times, REALLY cool.

If you're curious about the identity of the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Paramount took care of that earlier today, and they're not lying to you.  They released an image of Zachary Quinto as Spock, Cumberbatch in the cell that held Loki and Silva, and Chris Pine as Captain James T. Motherscratchin' Kirk, and in the caption, they named him as "John Harrison."

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