Inside Movies & DVD with Drew McWeeny

Watch: Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans assemble for 'Avengers' interview

What power reduces Captain America and Thor to tears of laughter?

<p>What is Chris Evans laughing at?&nbsp; I'll give you a hint... you wouldn't like him when he's angry.</p>

What is Chris Evans laughing at?  I'll give you a hint... you wouldn't like him when he's angry.

Credit: HitFix

A year from now, when you look at me and I'm 60 to 70 pounds lighter than I am right now, you can trace that decision back to the moment I was sitting across from Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans and felt like the most horrifying specimen of manhood of all time.

Look, I get it… these guys are paid to be superheroes.  But nothing will make you question the genetic lottery more than a full day spent talking to the actual physical embodiments of Thor and Captain America.  It would be easier to take if I could report back that they are terrible people, rude and abrasive and totally hung up on the whole movie star thing… only that wouldn't be true.  In actuality, everyone in the cast seems to be really centered and smart and grateful for what they're doing these days.

Hemsworth has come a long way in a few short years, and it's funny to look at him in "Cabin In The Woods," before he had any idea he was going to suit up as the God of Thunder, while Evans seems to have completely left behind any thoughts of the "Fantastic Four" films he was in, embodying a totally different personality as Steve Rogers.

One Thing I Love Today: Commander Future returns to Popcorn Fiction

Excuse me while I indulge in a little self-promotion

<p>Mmmmmmm... popcorn.</p>

Mmmmmmm... popcorn.

Credit: Wikipedia

I have had a deep attraction to pulp fiction for most of my life, and in some ways, I wish I'd been able to work in an earlier era, where an author could develop a character and there were dozens of places where you could publish an ongoing series.  I envy guys like Lester Dent and Robert E. Howard because there was a market for the kind of work they did, one that I would argue doesn't really exist in the same way today.

However, I've been exceptionally lucky in the last year or so, because I was able to connect with Derek Haas and Popcorn Fiction, and I've been offered a home for my own pulp hero, Commander Future.  This morning, we published the third story about his adventures as chronicled by Peter Underhill, and it's my favorite of the series so far.

More than that, though, I'm just honored to be part of the Popcorn Fiction family.  Haas has been picking stories every week for a few years now, and he's proven to have great taste and a broad definition of what belongs on the site.  A few weeks ago, Film School Rejects editor/writer Cole Abaius published a story on the site under his alternate identity, Scott Beggs, but Haas has included a wide range of voices on the site.  Guys like Rian Johnson, Charlie Huston, Mark Wheaton, Eric Heisserer, Patton Oswalt, Larry Doyle, and Eric Red have all published stories on the site, and Haas has started to develop a stable of regular authors who contribute to the site.  I'm particularly taken with the work that Les Bohem has contributed.  Just knowing that I've shared an outlet with Lawrence Block is enough to make me feel like this is a milestone, something I should cherish.

Does 'Iron Man 3' heading to China mean we'll see the Mandarin?

Disney starts to lay some long-term groundwork for the future

<p>Marvel's promising that they'll test Tony Stark on a deeply personal level in 'Iron Man 3,' and now it appears at least part of that will happen in China.</p>

Marvel's promising that they'll test Tony Stark on a deeply personal level in 'Iron Man 3,' and now it appears at least part of that will happen in China.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Dealing with China is one of the most difficult things for Hollywood to do at the moment.  It is a huge market, one that can add significant returns to a film's international box-office take, but in order to do so, there's a bit of a tap-dance that any film must do, and very few films ever get that official state-sanctioned release.

And while the first inclination of longtime "Iron Man" fans is going to be "Yay, they're using the Mandarin" because of the news that the upcoming "Iron Man 3" is not only going to shoot in China but actually be co-financed by the Chinese, I would think that's a dangerous assumption to make.  The Mandarin is a tough villain for the film series to introduce without flirting with the sort of "Yellow Peril" stereotypes that makes China nervous about Hollywood in the first place.

In general, Disney is busy laying down some groundwork for ongoing relationships with the Chinese film industry, and why not?  You're talking about a market that could conceivably add billions to a film's box-office if given a wide release there.  Billions.  With a b.  And in order to have access to that potential audience, involving the Chinese in the production of the film seems like a logical step.  You want to make sure that you're speaking to local tastes and interests and that you're creating something that is going to be allowed to play as widely as possible.

Alamo's 'Summer of '82' adds 11 titles and sets ticket sale dates

Are you ready to pay tribute to the greatest genre summer ever?

<p>I think it's safe to say that when you're talking about 1982, few images loom quite as large in pop culture as this one from 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High'</p>

I think it's safe to say that when you're talking about 1982, few images loom quite as large in pop culture as this one from 'Fast Times At Ridgemont High'

Credit: Universal Home Video

Alamo Drafthouse's "Summer Of '82" was already set to be a great programming series, so of course, they went and made it better.

Today, they're announcing an expanded line-up that covers more than just the summer's programming, turning this entire summer into a tribute to 1982's stellar line-up of film releases across every genre.  I'm excited that I'll be there for the kick-off of the series, since HitFix is presenting "Conan The Barbarian."  Now I just need to figure out how I'm going to justify moving to Austin for four months.

In addition to adding more films to the schedule, the Alamo has also announced how ticketing is going to work and they've created a special badge that covers the original eight films they programmed.

I've decided that we'll be reviewing the films they're showing in this series, because I've never reviewed a number of them.  These are films I consider formative to my own sensibilities, and I would love to write real reviews of them.  It's going to make for a fun way to break up what should be a wildly hectic summer.

The Weekend Watch: 'Cabin,' 'Melancholia,' and 'Streetcar' on Blu-ray

Our weekly round-up of what you might want to see at home or in theaters

<p>Kirsten Dunst stars in 'Melancholia,' a dreamy meditation on depression from director Lars Von Trier, new to Netflix Instant this week.</p>

Kirsten Dunst stars in 'Melancholia,' a dreamy meditation on depression from director Lars Von Trier, new to Netflix Instant this week.

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

You've got a lot of options for what to watch and how, and we want to help you plan your weekend with a new column where we'll highlight three things you can see in theaters, three things you'll find streaming, and three titles new to home video.  Appropriately enough, we call this The Weekend Watch.

IN THEATERS NOW

Talk about a logjam.  It almost seems unfair that after finally working out the bankruptcy issues that MGM faced and making it to theaters without the threatened 3D post-conversion, "Cabin In The Woods" now has to face at least nine other releases, some limited, some everywhere.  And that doesn't even take into account the 800 or so screens that are getting "The Raid: Redemption" this weekend for the first time.  We ran a review for "The Three Stooges" here, and Geoff Berkshire, who just joined us on Team HitFix, reviewed "Lockout" as well.  But here are three films worth some conversation this weekend:

Confirmed: New scene for 'Avengers' shot in LA after premiere

Joss Whedon takes a perfect opportunity for a victory lap

<p>You know why they look that happy?&nbsp;Because they know what all of you are about to see when 'The Avengers' opens worldwide</p>

You know why they look that happy? Because they know what all of you are about to see when 'The Avengers' opens worldwide

Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel's much-hyped and long-awaited "The Avengers" had its premiere in Hollywood on Wednesday night in front of an audience of industry professionals and junket press, and word of mouth on Twitter immediately afterwards was largely positive, encouraging to say the least.

I'll be sitting down with the cast and with Joss Whedon this weekend, and we'll have those interviews for you here at HitFix and on our Hulu channel as well very soon.  There's plenty to talk about, especially after what happened at today's press conference for the film.

Our newest correspondent, Geoff Berkshire, was at the press conference today, and he posted a piece about it that is a good read, although it may give away some of the film's pleasures if you read it.  I saw the film tonight, and the good news is that even if you've seen all the trailers and commercials, you reeeeeeally haven't seen anything yet.

One reason for that is because they're not done filming yet.

Review: 'The Three Stooges' is a sweet and silly tribute to the original trio

The Farrelly Brothers have heaped a lot of love on the slapstick team

HitFix
B
Readers
B+
<p>Will Sasso, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Sean Hayes bring Curly, Moe, and Larry back to life in the new comedy 'The Three Stooges'</p>

Will Sasso, Chris Diamantopoulos, and Sean Hayes bring Curly, Moe, and Larry back to life in the new comedy 'The Three Stooges'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

I'm not supposed to say anything nice about this film.

That's the message that has been sent loud and clear ever since the first trailer for the movie arrived online.  Based on the fervent hatred that has been poured onto the film, it seems that all online film writers are old-school Three Stooges aficionados, and the Stooges have evidently moved into that part of pop culture that is so revered, so sacred, that absolutely nothing new can be done with them at the risk of sacrilege.

I would certainly count myself among the Stooge faithful.  My college roommate and I had a Stooges poster hanging in our dorm room.  I've memorized many of their sorts through sheer osmosis over the years.  Whenever I'm lost in some out-of-the-way place, I refer to it as "Goslow" instead of "BFE" or any of the other popular alternatives as a nod to a terrible, terrible joke from one of their films.  I spent countless afternoons growing up watching their films on TV, and when SPHE started putting out collections of their short films, I eagerly purchased every single one.

Rodriguez and Miller return to 'Sin City' with 'A Dame to Kill For'

Film finally set to begin production in Austin this summer

<p>Will they recast Clive Owen's character but have him narrate in voice-over?&nbsp; That's one way to handle the challenges of 'A Dame To Kill&nbsp;For'</p>

Will they recast Clive Owen's character but have him narrate in voice-over?  That's one way to handle the challenges of 'A Dame To Kill For'

Credit: Dimension/Troublemaker

When Robert Rodriguez appeared at Comic-Con this summer, he made several major announcements, but did so to a room that had largely emptied out at the start of his presentation.  Part of that was the fact that Rodriguez did not reveal ahead of time what projects he might discuss, and the other part was that people simply don't believe half of the announcements he makes at this point.

In particular, I saw profound skepticism from people when I wrote up the panel and mentioned that Rodriguez said he was close to moving forward on a "Sin City" sequel.  In August, we ran the news that William Monahan was going to be doing the final rewrite on the film, and once again, there was widespread skepticism.

Well, looks like that last draft paid off, because "Sin City: A Dame To Kill For" is finally gearing up for production, with an announcement today from Rodriguez's new company, Quick Draw Productions, financial partner AR Films, and Dimension, who will distribute.  Even though today's press release says that "details of the film's story have been kept tightly under wraps," we did get some clues from Rodriguez at Comic-Con.

Cuaron's 'Gravity' may send Clooney and Bullock on cutting-edge adventure

Recent comments suggest this film is going to be a technical marvel

<p>Last time George Clooney went to space in 'Solaris,' things got a wee bit wackadoo, so here's hoping 'Gravity' is a very different sort of ride</p>

Last time George Clooney went to space in 'Solaris,' things got a wee bit wackadoo, so here's hoping 'Gravity' is a very different sort of ride

Credit: 20th Century Fox

All I need to know about "Gravity" to be excited about seeing it later this year is that it's the latest film from director Alfonso Cuaron.

However, based on details that emerged online today, my interest level has skyrocketed, and it sounds like something very special is in store for us when the film does finally arrive in theaters.  It also sounds like next year I should do my best to attend the 5D | FLUX conference at USC, where Chris deFaria spoke about "Gravity" and confirmed some of the things I've been hearing about the film since it began production last year.

The screenplay, by Alfonso Cuaron, Jonas Cuaron, and Rodrigo Garcia, deals with how a team tries to survive when a missile is fired at a satellite while they're all at the International Space Station, and the explosion creates a chain reaction of debris moving at 30,000 kph, threatening their ability to ever make their way back to Earth.  On the title page, the film is described as "a space suspense in 3D," and it sounds like technology was on their mind from the moment they started work on the film.

The Bigger Picture: Does Eszterhas versus Mel Gibson benefit anyone?

People love to look at car wrecks, but should they?

<p>Unfortunately, it looks like the real legacy of Mel Gibson's career is going to be courtroom appearances and accusations of raging anti-Semitism</p>

Unfortunately, it looks like the real legacy of Mel Gibson's career is going to be courtroom appearances and accusations of raging anti-Semitism

Credit: AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, Pool

When you write about entertainment all day every day, you tend to get caught up in minutiae, and it leads to editorial decisions I would call questionable.  When you're writing breathless headlines about Pez dispensers, you may be working too hard to find relevance in the irrelevant.  Getting hung up on the micro often prevents us from focusing on the macro, but I'd like to take the opportunity to take a step back from time to time to examine 'The Bigger Picture.'

Short version:  don't expect Warner Bros. to produce Mel Gibson's film about the Maccabees any time soon.

When Mel Gibson first announced his intentions to make a film telling the story of the Jewish rebel army that existed around 160 BC, it seemed like it fit well into the larger arc of his career and his fascination with doing films set in a historically violent era featuring the characters speaking in accurate-to-the-age-and-region languages, something that has been a big part of his directing career.  It also sounded like it was going to be a hugely controversial project for reasons that would be obvious to anyone aware of Gibson's ongoing tabloid troubles.

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