<p>This pretty much sums up why I&nbsp;love video games.</p>

This pretty much sums up why I love video games.

Credit: Ubisoft

Ubisoft dazzles with a ten-minute 'Far Cry 3' launch trailer

There's a lot of hype here, but it looks like it may live up to it

It blows me away when I see some of the work being done in videogames today.  I spend very little time writing about games here on the site, and part of the reason for that is that when I play a game, it is (A) far too infrequently for my tastes and (B) the way I choose to escape from that analytical mode that I'm in while watching pretty much any film or TV show these days.  I love games.  I love the way they've evolved over the years.  And while I have strong opinions about the games I play, that has not been something I've consistently voiced over the years.

Right now, what intrigues me is the way the marketing of games is getting very sophisticated.  The campaign for "Halo 4" was impressive, with that one live-action commercial that was produced by David Fincher, and I really dug the "Grand Theft Auto V" trailer that was recently released.  But when it comes to really pulling out all the stops, I'm going to have to give it up for Ubisoft's new ten-minute sneak peek at the highly-anticipated "Far Cry 3."

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<p>Rob Corddry, Keegan Michael Key, and Leslie Bibb all grapple with the supernatural in 'Hell Baby'</p>

Rob Corddry, Keegan Michael Key, and Leslie Bibb all grapple with the supernatural in 'Hell Baby'

Credit: Darko Entertainment

Sundance 2013 Midnight Line-up Including Demon Babies, Video Game Heroes, 'S-VHS' and more

Our first look at the announcement for the Sundance midnight selection seems promising

It does not seem possible that the next Sundance Film Festival is just over a month away now.

I mean, we're still waiting on screening dates for some of the Christmas movies, and now we're already poring over the Sundance announcements so we can figure out who's seeing what when Team HitFix descends on Park City once again for the start of the fest on January 17, 2013.

I know that I'm on midnights duty, as always, and in festival after festival, some of my favorite experiences come from the midnight line-ups.  It was at Sundance two years ago that I witnessed that amazing meltdown during a screening of Lucky McKee's "The Woman," and last year, I had my socks knocked off by "V/H/S," the anthology horror film.

Looking at the titles announced today, the first thing that jumps out is the follow-up to that anthology, and I had to laugh when I saw that they've titled it "S-VHS."  There will come a point when no one is alive who understands those two titles or remembers what they refer to, but for those of us who lived through the video revolution, that's immediately funny.  I'm excited to see the filmmakers behind "The Raid" involved in this one, and Eduardo Sanchez, who can be described as a pioneer of the found-footage genre, is also joining the roster.  Throw in Jason Eisener, the sociopath behind "Hobo With A Shotgun," and it sounds like it's going to be another huge kick.

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<p>I can see why you'd want someone very serious to handle this film.</p>

I can see why you'd want someone very serious to handle this film.

Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

James Gunn skirts faux controversy as 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' closes in on cast

Comments from two years ago suddenly ignite some online indignation

Hey, guys, I don't want to speak out of turn, but I have a sneaking suspicion that James Gunn, who is writing and directing "Guardians Of The Galaxy" for Marvel, likes really, really dirty jokes.

I can't prove it, but it's just one of those feelings I get.  Maybe it's because I've seen his Troma movies.  Or because I've watched his "PG Porn" shorts or because I saw "Super," his deranged little riff on the superhero film, or because he is pretty much a non-stop blast of filthy and funny on Twitter.  If you've seen "Slither," then I think you've got the basic idea, which is that there is no line James Gunn is unafraid to cross for no other reason that It amuses him.

The first thing I heard today about "Guardians" was that they're about to start screen-testing guys for the lead, and it's a cool short list of guys who could all bring something different to the part.  I like Joel Edgerton a lot, but don't know Jack Huston at all.  I haven't watched "Boardwalk Empire" yet, and if he's in something else I've seen, I don't recognize the name.  Jim Sturgess was really good in "Cloud Atlas," and I'll have my full review of Eddie Redmayne in "Les Miserables" soon.  The name that mosts interests me on this list is Lee Pace, who was really good in "Twilght: Breaking Dawn, Part 2."  Yes, I know I just put the phrase "really good" in the same sentence as the title of that film, but Pace shows up and it's like he's just stepped in from another much more fun version of the franchise.  He could be a great unexpected choice for Peter Quill, who is half-human, half-alien, and the leader of the Guardians.

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<p>Oh, Rinko...</p>

Oh, Rinko...

Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP Photo

Guillermo Del Toro's giant-monsters-and-robots movie 'Pacific Rim' kicks off viral campaign

The first hints of the huge world the director is building are revealed

Looks like Warner Bros. decided it's time to start telling the general public that "Pacific Rim" is on the way, and not a moment too soon.

I'm as sold as sold gets when it comes to this giant summer movie directed by Guillermo Del Toro.  If you want backstory, go check out my write-up from this summer's Comic-Con presentation for the film.  I'm looking forward to sharing my impressions from a set visit I did as well, but for now, it's time for Warner to kick off what looks like a dense set of viral marketing materials that are all landing today in different places.

I think Wired has a pretty great one, and if you want to know what makes Del Toro's approach to this material special, I think a close-up examination of a blueprint for one of the film's Jaegers is a good place to start.  I love that all of the Jaegers have names, that they're not just generic robots.  These things have character, each one driven by a team of neurally-linked pilots who are put through hell during the combat we'll see in the film.  The film imagines how the world might respond if giant monsters started to pour forth out of some hole in the middle of the ocean, and the response the film suggests is the Jaegers, giant robots that each country contributes to a sort of general world defense organization called the Pan Pacific Defense Corps

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<p>I have that exact chessboard.</p>

I have that exact chessboard.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Bryan Singer confirms McKellen and Stewart returning for 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past'

Project shaping up as the ultimate 'X-Men' film so far

Well, imagine that.

Ever since they announced that the newest film in Fox's X-Men series would be called "Days Of Future Past," fans have been waiting to see how one of the most popular and enduring storylines from the comic would be adapted, and how it might unite the first three films in the series with "X-Men: First Class," and now Bryan Singer has revealed some casting news that is very exciting.

Earlier this morning, Singer posted the following to his Twitter account:

"I'd like to officially welcome back James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender & Nicholas Hoult to #XMEN for #DaysOfFuturePast"

Great.  Fassbender and Lawrence are on fire right now career-wise, so I'm glad they've worked out deals to make sure they play Magneto and Mystique again.  I think they were both vital parts of making "X-Men: First Class" work in the first place, and they are important parts of the story moving forward.

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<p>Can you believe this is still the only image we've seen from 'Star Trek Into Darkness'?</p>

Can you believe this is still the only image we've seen from 'Star Trek Into Darkness'?

Credit: Paramount Pictures

An official synopsis for 'Star Trek Into Darkness' offers more hints about the villain

And yet we still know almost nothing for sure

It is amazing to me that we are this close to the release of "Star Trek Into Darkness" and no one has been able to confirm the identity of the bad guy in the film so far.

There was a period of time where everyone was absolutely sure that Khan was going to be the villain again, and even when I got JJ Abrams to state on the record that he was not going to be the bad guy, people insisted that they were sure.  Benedict Cumberbatch, best known right now for his outstanding work in the BBC's "Sherlock," was eventually cast as the film's antagonist, which would seem like very strange casting for Khan.

We're about to start finally getting concrete information about the film, and I am eager to see the nine-minute opening sequence that will be screening in front of "The Hobbit" at every IMAX screening when the film opens next month.  I would imagine that opening will clearly establish the tone of the new film and give us some idea of where things are going to head in terms of story.

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<p>Joseph Gordon-Levitt is set to step in as Batman for 'Justice League,' according to sources close to the production.</p>

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is set to step in as Batman for 'Justice League,' according to sources close to the production.

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

Exclusive: Is Joseph Gordon-Levitt already set to play Batman in 'Justice League'?

Warner Bros. appears to be firming up their plans for the future of the character

It's starting to look like Warner Bros may hold Christopher Nolan in the highest possible regard, but that in the end, they own their characters and they will decide what they're going to do with them.

After all, we heard much talk this summer about how the Batman franchise was ending, at least as far as the current version is concerned, and I believe that Nolan was serious when he said that was the last story he had to tell about the character.  But Nolan is working with Warner Bros. on the "Man Of Steel" relaunch this summer, and as we reported earlier today, director Zack Snyder is starting to hint at the idea that his film is part of a larger continuity.

Certainly, the ending of "The Dark Knight Rises" hints at a possible future for the franchise, and there has been much speculation about whether or not they'll work to connect the end of that film to the larger world of DC properties that Warner is so desperate to create.  Over the last couple of weeks, that speculation seems to have turned into conversation, and that conversation seems to be solidifying into a plan.

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<p>I love the single tease we've had so far of this new Superman in action, but there are huge expectations pinned to the performance of 'Man Of Steel'</p>

I love the single tease we've had so far of this new Superman in action, but there are huge expectations pinned to the performance of 'Man Of Steel'

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

Zack Snyder confirms 'Man Of Steel' as one step towards 'Justice League'

Now let's hope it's going to be Warner's best foot forward

If I had to pick one movie in 2013 that I hope works, it would be Zack Snyder's "Man Of Steel."

I think it is beyond comprehension that Warner has taken this long to get Superman back on track.  He is not just DC's single most important and iconic superhero character, he is also the single most iconic superhero owned by anyone.  Superman is, for many people, the definition of what a superhero is in pop culture, known pretty much everywhere.  And while almost everyone has some idea of what Superman is, it seems like it has been insanely difficult for the studio to figure out exactly which version of the character they want to see onscreen.

There has been a ton of speculation about how Warner Bros would start to build their way towards "Justice League," and most of the scrutiny is now focused on whether or not we'll see our first steps towards that with "Man Of Steel" next summer.  One of the questions involved has to do with tone.  You look at how Marvel handled their build-up to "The Avengers," and the most important thing they did was set a certain tone that meant you would be able to accept it when Tony Stark and Bruce Banner and Thor and Steve Rogers all ended up in a frame together, no matter how different their individual stories. 

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<p>Jessica Chastain does a tremendous job as a CIA analyst at the heart of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in 'Zero Dark Thirty'</p>

Jessica Chastain does a tremendous job as a CIA analyst at the heart of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Review: Jessica Chastain anchors the stark, uncompromising 'Zero Dark Thirty'

HitFix
A
Readers
B+
Kathryn Bigelow bests her Oscar-winning 'Hurt Locker' with her new film

I think two directors this year are following up the movies where they won Best Picture with films that I think are clearly superior to the films they won the awards for.  This is one of the reasons I think this entire season is so strange.  Politics are so clearly part of the process of what gets picked and what gets ignored that if you try to apply the filter of "deserves" or "fair" to the films you watch, you'll go crazy.  In a perfect world, it shouldn't matter what film Kathryn Bigelow made last, or what awards it won.  But because "The Hurt Locker" was the little film that could, and it did, the scrutiny this time around is on a whole new level.  Of course, she's also collaborating again with Mark Boal, the screenwriter of "The Hurt Locker," and this is also a military themed film, so they're basically setting themselves up for the comparison.

I would love for the Kathryn Bigelow who directed "The Loveless" and "Near Dark" to sit down and watch "Zero Dark Thirty," because the huge dissonance between the voices of those works would make her head explode, "Scanners"-style.  She started her career as a filmmaker whose work existed in an entirely artificial movie universe, and with "Zero Dark Thirty," it feels like she has finally reached a place where she has stripped all artifice from her approach, and she's made a film that is pure procedural, the "Zodiac" approach to the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.  I can't tell you for sure that the film has anything to do with the unvarnished truth, but I can tell you that this feels accurate.  It has an integrity to it that is bracing and adult, and it manages to deliver a major visceral experience without ever once bending to Hollywood convention.  This is a film that knows exactly what it's doing, and does it without compromise.

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<p>Anthony Hopkins and Scarlett Johansson co-star in the disastrous 'Hitchcock,' set during the making of 'Psycho'</p>

Anthony Hopkins and Scarlett Johansson co-star in the disastrous 'Hitchcock,' set during the making of 'Psycho'

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review: 'Hitchcock' fails on almost every level as drama and biography

HitFix
D
Readers
C+
Only someone who hates the filmmaker would endorse this mess

Just as Fox made it easy for people to mainline James Bond movies in the lead-up to the release of "Skyfall" by putting out that beautiful Bond 50 box set, Universal has made it easy for people to take a crash course in Alfred Hitchcock by releasing their retrospective box of his films on Blu-ray.  Unfortunately, the Bond 50 box set put "Skyfall" in a perfect context to be enjoyed, but comparing even the least of Hitchcock's films to Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock" isn't going to do this new film any favors.

If you'd asked me for my reaction to "Hitchcock" as I walked out of the theater, it would have been mildly negative, but the more I've thought about it, the less I like it.  Gervasi was the director of the wonderful documentary "Anvil: The Story Of Anvil," and as a screenwriter, he's responsible for Spielberg's "The Terminal" and a small indie called "Henry's Crime," which I didn't see.  I liked "Anvil" so much that I've been curious to see what he could do as a director with a great script.  And now, the wait continues.

I've read Stephen Rebello's book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of 'Psycho,' and it's a well-written, well-researched look at the director and the production of one of his most famous films, but Rebello's book doesn't really feel like a story that demands to be told as a film.  It wasn't the most demanding process in Hitchcock's career, nor is it a film that reveals Hitchcock's own inner life to the degree that, say, "Vertigo" does.  So why tell this story as a film?  And if you are going to tell it, why lie about so much of what actually occurred if you can't even come up with a compelling drama with your falsehoods?

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