<p>This really is just the tip of the iceberg.</p>

This really is just the tip of the iceberg.

Credit: Walt Disney Company

What to watch for now that Disney owns Lucasfilm

Anything's possible in a world where this deal actually came together

Disney now owns the Muppets, Marvel, and Lucasfilm.  In breaking news, they are currently in negotiation with my parents to buy the rest of my childhood for an undisclosed six-figure sum.

And we don't get the first new "Star Wars" film until 2015, eh?  Guess I'm going to have to start exercising and eating right after all.

First, I think it's a safe bet that all of your poring over your "Star Wars" expanded universe novels to figure out if he's doing the Thrawn movies or the New Jedi Order series can relax.  They won't be adapting books.  They mentioned today that Lucas has written treatments for three new films, and there is no way he's going to let those films say "based on a story by Timothy Zahn".  Those stories exist, fans are able to enjoy them now, and simply translating them to the screen is a losing proposition on all sides.  The general public has no investment in those books, and for filmmakers who become involved with the series moving forward, there's no up side to simply adapting someone else's "Star Wars" story when there is almost limitless room to invent new stories that take place in that universe and even in that continuity.

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<p>Cute much?</p>

Cute much?

Credit: Walt Disney Feature Animation

Review: 'Wreck-It Ralph' is a winning new animated delight from Disney

HitFix
B+
Readers
A-
Gamers young and old should find themselves pumping quarters into this one

What is a Disney movie these days?

I know what an animated Disney film was, brand-wise, when I was a kid.  And when Disney reinvented themselves in the post-"Black Cauldron" world as a musical fairy tale factory, that was also a brand that was easy to identify.

But today, Walt Disney Feature Animation has perhaps the most tenuous grasp on identity that I've ever seen from them.  Part of that has to do with all the competition that exists today from Blue Sky Studios and Sony Animation and DreamWorks Animation… basically a bunch of companies that have gotten very good at making movies that play to the audience that was at one point the sole domain of Disney.  Then, of course, there's the in-house issue of Pixar Animation, a powerhouse team of storytellers who have arguably out-Disney'd Disney for the past fifteen years.  It's hard to be the top dog when you no longer are the first pick for animators looking for work, and these days, filmmakers who want to work in animation are probably looking to Pixar the signpost for what it is they want to do.

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<p>Hugh Jackman sported a familiar haircut today during the online chat about next summer's 'The Wolverine'</p>

Hugh Jackman sported a familiar haircut today during the online chat about next summer's 'The Wolverine'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Five things we learned from today's 'Wolverine' online chat with Hugh Jackman

Sounds like they're pushing the character to a dark place, which could be great news

Film companies continue to push for new ways to reach out to audiences as they figure out when it's okay to start hyping a film.  Summer 2013 movies are already starting to stake their claims and premiere imagery and set visit glimpses and posters.  20th Century Fox has a pretty big stake in "The Wolverine" working, and one of the first big moments for them came last week when Empire magazine revealed some of what James Mangold told them for their upcoming story.  We wrote about that piece, which included a new image of Wolverine with his bone claws extended, last week, and it seemed like one more promising detail in what is shaping up as a very promising entry in the long-running "X-Men" franchise.

Today, James Mangold and Hugh Jackman spoke directly to fans around the world who tuned in for a live online chat that YouTube streamed from Sydney.  It sounds like more and more journalists are arriving in Sydney today for further press events in the days ahead, and according to Mangold and Jackman, they're only a few weeks away from wrapping the film.  I'm guessing there's got to be a trailer soon at this rate.  They've described the film, and now it's time to let people know what it's going to look like in motion, what that world is that they're talking about.  When Mangold references both "The Bicentennial Man" and "The Outlaw Josey Wales" as thematic touchstones, it's probably safe to assume this isn't just going to be another standard-issue superhero movie.

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<p>Amazingly, this is not a special effect.</p>

Amazingly, this is not a special effect.

Credit: Fox Home Video

Cary Elwes looks back at 'The Princess Bride' at 25

We also discuss 'From Earth To The Moon,' 'Saw,' and his charity work

I recently learned that I was the only person living in my house, out of six of us, who had seen "The Princess Bride."

I found this revelation to be completely inconceivable.

The only reason it came up was because I was sent the 25th anniversary edition of the film on Blu-ray to prepare for a conversation with Cary Elwes.  It's not like I needed the reminder of the film, since it's been one of those movies I've seen dozens of times since release, and each time, I am struck anew by just what a miracle it is.  It doesn't really feel like any other movie, and while I've spoken to both screenwriter William Goldman (who adapted it from his tremendous novel) and director Rob Reiner about it in the past, I'll take any opportunity to chat about it with people who worked on it.

When I spoke to Elwes, it was by phone, and he was in an airport sitting under what sounded like the loudest speaker in human history, with a long garbled announcement blaring every three or four minutes.  He seemed chagrined by the situation, but absolutely unflappable in how pleased he was to be talking about "The Princess Bride."  The sheer hideousness of the situation only made Elwes seem more likable.

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<p>There may not be many light moments in his new film 'Flight,' but Denzel Washington seems to be all smiles when discussing his work in the film.</p>

There may not be many light moments in his new film 'Flight,' but Denzel Washington seems to be all smiles when discussing his work in the film.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Denzel Washington discusses hitting rock bottom in 'Flight'

The actor talks about playing a character who is a complete mess

Denzel Washington has been working for so long now that he's sort of an institution, one of those performers who is both movie star and actor.  I think there is a clear distinction between those two things, and there are movie stars who never really push themselves out of their comfort zones, just as there are great actors who don't possess whatever that particular charisma is that makes someone iconic.  Washington is capable of disappearing into a character, but he's also one of those guys who financiers love because he's been such a reliable box-office sensation over the years.

"Flight," the new film by Robert Zemeckis, calls on both sides of Denzel's personality.  It's the story of a guy who is capable of exceptional things who is also a high-functioning alcoholic and drug abuser, and his character is a hard person to like.  Denzel's charisma helps with that, and he manages to show you how this guy is able to coast on charm even as he burns his life down.  If he wasn't such a movie star, I'm not sure you'd have any sympathy for him, but if he wasn't such a good actor, I don't think that slow crumble of addiction would feel as authentic and unapologetic as it does.  It's the sort of work that reminds you just how good someone can be.

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<p>Doona Bae and Jim Sturgess couldn't disguise their chemistry during our interview about their work in 'Cloud Atlas'</p>

Doona Bae and Jim Sturgess couldn't disguise their chemistry during our interview about their work in 'Cloud Atlas'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Our 'Cloud Atlas' interviews conclude with Bae, Sturgess, Whishaw and D'arcy

We wrap up our cast conversations by talking to the four corners of the film's love stories

"Cloud Atlas," ultimately, is a love story.  Or more accurately, it's three love stories told over the span of hundreds and hundreds of years.  The overarching couple whose story drives the entire film is played in various forms by Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, but they certainly aren't the only thing about the film that is affecting.

Jim Sturgess is taking some serious heat right now for the prosthetic make-up he wears in one of the film's shorelines, where he appears as Chang, the agent tasked with liberating both the mind and the body of Sonmi 451, a service clone in Neo Seoul played by Doona Bae.  Their story is perhaps my favorite thing about the movie, and I wanted to talk to them about creating the very delicate rapport their characters share in the film as well as her reaction to seeing him in his make-up for the first time.

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<p>I have to assume Ben Whishaw's Q will return as well in whatever new adventures John Logan is preparing to write for James Bond.</p>

I have to assume Ben Whishaw's Q will return as well in whatever new adventures John Logan is preparing to write for James Bond.

Credit: Sony/MGM/EON

James Bond will return in two new adventures written by John Logan

Sounds like good news for the superspy

It feels like things are coming up Bond right now, and the news that John Logan has signed on to write two back-to-back Bond films that tell one complete story is incredibly exciting.

When you see "Skyfall," you'll see how carefully they have set up the James Bond series moving forward and how several elements that were previously missing in the series have now been dropped in.  One thing I liked a lot about "Casino Royale" and "Quantum Of Solace" as a double-feature was the idea that they were both about a shadowy enemy organization that Bond was going to start dismantling piece by piece.  That story thread appears to have been dropped almost completely in "Skyfall," and that is one of the few things about the film that saddens me.  With the work that "Skyfall" does to set all of Bond's support system in place, though, it makes me wonder if they're planning to get back to it.

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<p>I&nbsp;don't even know where to begin.</p>

I don't even know where to begin.

Credit: Drafthouse Films

Exclusive - Drafthouse Films begins their Oscar hunt for 'Miami Connection'

We have a peek at the ad they're using to help chase down a Best Original Song award

Before you laugh, I want you to consider how long Drafthouse Films has even existed.

The company was formed to get the Chris Morris dark comedy 'Four Lions" into theaters, and since then, they've picked up less than 20 films.  They're still defining their identity, but even so, last year, they were able to help steer the Belgian film "Bullhead" to a Best Foreign Language Picture nomination at the Oscars.  They are a fledgling company, and it's not like "Bullhead" was an easy sell from an established artist with a big permanent fanbase.  It was a debut film, and it was about the seedy underworld of steroid trading and treatment in the cattle industry.  Not the sort of thing that seems at first description like an awards contender.

With "Miami Connection," Drafthouse Films is rescuing a long-lost musical action inspirational family drama with kung-fu in it, and they're preparing to unleash this forgotten masterpiece on audiences.  If you're interested in demanding a local screening for yourself, you can do so through Tugg, and then you can also check to see if they've got the film scheduled to roll out in your area on the film's official website.

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<p>Could we finally be seeing the promise of King Conan fulfilled?</p>

Could we finally be seeing the promise of King Conan fulfilled?

Credit: Universal Home Video

Universal and Schwarzenegger are back in the 'Conan' business

Does this mean we'll finally see King Conan on his throne?

I want to meet Chris Morgan.

Perfect world, we could sit down over the refreshment of our choice and we could talk about Conan.  Specifically, we could talk about "Conan The Barbarian," the 1982 film that Universal released, directed by John Milius and written by Milius and Oliver Stone.  That film was one of the things that made Arnold Schwarzenegger a viable movie star.  Before that, he was known for a few quirky appearances in film like "Stay Hungry," his charismatic appearance in "Pumping Iron," and his bodybuilding triumphs.  But "Conan The Barbarian" changed things for him, and its reputation has grown over time.

I've loved the film since opening weekend, and I love running into a hardcore fan of the film.  You know you've found a kindred soul when you can ask, "What is good in life?" and someone answers without hesitation, "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."  And based on the story that Deadline reported earlier this afternoon, Chris Morgan may be one of those people.

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<p>The bone claws are back in a new image from James Mangold's 'The Wolverine'</p>

The bone claws are back in a new image from James Mangold's 'The Wolverine'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

James Mangold makes some surprising claims about the 'Wolverine' timeline

Plus a new image shows off those bone claws

It's been a strange day in the "X-Men" movie universe.

Obviously, fandom is freaking out over Matthew Vaughn leaving "X-Men: Days Of Future Past," and I plan to take a deeper look at the post-Rothman world of Fox superhero movies in the days ahead.  For now, though, I'm fascinated by a comment that Empire ran today as part of their exclusive visit to the set of "The Wolverine," James Mangold's take on the mutant that has been played since 2000 by Hugh Jackman.

At this point, I would not be shocked to learn that people are confused by the timelines and continuities of the "X-Men" series.  After all, there's the trilogy of films based on the Bryan Singer take on the characters, there's the "Wolverine" solo film, and there's last year's "X-Men: First Class," which appeared to overtly contradict several things in the already established movies.  I'm not sure I quite understand how they're supposed to connect on a story level if we're meant to accept that they all take place in one movie universe.

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