<p>Seriously... it's like the Cannes Festival wants to reward us with traffic this morning.&nbsp; Pattinson and Stewart in the same festival?&nbsp; It's like Christmas.</p>

Seriously... it's like the Cannes Festival wants to reward us with traffic this morning.  Pattinson and Stewart in the same festival?  It's like Christmas.

Credit: Alfama Films

3D, Kidman, Cotillard and more in closer look at the first wave of titles for Cannes Fest

It's time to start getting excited... but about what, exactly?

The press conference to announce the first batch of titles that will play this year's Cannes Film Festival began around 2:30 AM PST, but the line-up more than made up for the half-hour delay from the promised start time.

Thierry Fremaux, director of the festival, took the stage to announce the first 50 or so titles, and it's an exciting event on paper.  The potential here is almost intoxicating, even without some of the much-speculated-about titles.  I'm going to be at the festival for the second time this year, and I have a feeling I'm going to do much better this year in terms of how much I see and how I prioritize the films I'm going to attend.

For example, I am fairly sure I'll be seeing the 1984 film "Once Upon A Time In America," and I'm dying to see if the 269-minute cut of the film finally resolves the issues that keep it from being one of my favorite Sergio Leone films.  And I'm going to see the restoration of Roman Polanski's "Tess," just as sure as I'm going to see the Laurent Bouzereau documentary "Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir."

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<p>Mark Ruffalo puts on his best Brando to get a laugh out of co-star Scarlett Johansson during an interview about their new film 'The Avengers'</p>

Mark Ruffalo puts on his best Brando to get a laugh out of co-star Scarlett Johansson during an interview about their new film 'The Avengers'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: 'Avengers' stars Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson share a laugh

The Hulk and the Black Widow go head to head to discuss their new film

In 1994, I had my first play produced as part of a one-act theater festival here in Los Angeles at the Met Theater.  The festival was cast by Risa Bramon Garcia, who was one of the biggest casting agents in the business at the time, and one of the other plays that was produced as part of the festival was "Betrayal By Everyone," by Kenneth Lonergan.  That was eventually expanded into "This Is Our Youth," and the play put both Lonergan and Mark Ruffalo on the map.

During the festival, I made time to see the play that Ruffalo was in several times, and he earned a nickname among the people working on the fest:  Baby Brando.  There was a crazy intensity to his work that had people talking about him, and it didn't surprise me at all to see him continue to work with Lonergan in the years that followed.

When we sat down to talk about his work in "The Avengers" the other day, he was paired with the lovely Scarlett Johansson, and when I brought up the Act One festival, he was excited to talk about that time.  The nickname, though, was news to him, and Johansson took visible pleasure in being able to use that as ammunition in the teasing that seems to be a constant between the cast members of this film.  He did a Brando impression for her even as she started busting his chops about his work in the "thea-tah," and by the time we rolled tape, they were both laughing and kidding around.

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<p>That's the same look I had on my face the first time I rode Disney's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride attraction.</p>

That's the same look I had on my face the first time I rode Disney's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride attraction.

Credit: Walt Disney

Disney develops new film based on 'Mr Toad's Wild Ride'

Anyone want to lay bets on whether the film ends in Hell or not?

On Allen's fourth birthday in March, we took him to Disneyland.  This was his third trip, and we're still adding new rides each time we go, figuring out what he and Toshi like the most,  and there are rides we still haven't been on.  This past time was their first experience with Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and it was a big hit with them.

They don't know the film "Wind In The Willows" at all, though, and I've noticed that as a big part of the Disneyland experience for kids.  They don't actually know many of the films that inspired the various attractions, but they enjoy the rides anyway.  As my friend who joined us at the park pointed out, it's surprising they haven't taken Mr. Toad's Wild Ride out or changed it, since the ride quite literally ends with you going to Hell.

When Disney says that they're planning to develop a film based on the ride, though, I must admit I'm a little confused.  Does that mean they're going to do a new adaptation of "Wind In The Willows" using these same character designs?  Or are they going to throw out the story completely, take these characters, and build something totally different?  That's kind of a weird idea, considering the ride was adapted from a film that was adapted from a book.  It's like Disney is playing a pop culture game of telephone, and getting further from the original idea each time out.

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<p>Michael Fassbender's David 8 could be one of the breakout characters of this summer's 'Prometheus'</p>

Michael Fassbender's David 8 could be one of the breakout characters of this summer's 'Prometheus'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Fassbender's David 8 android introduced in new 'Prometheus' viral ad

20th Century Fox continues to try new ways to sell 'Alien' not-a-prequel

Did you have a chance to read Guy Lodge's thoughts on spoilerphobia today?

I have a friend who pretty much knows everything about "Prometheus."  He didn't actually work on it, but he was in a position to sort of see everything.  As a result, he's been dying to tell me everything for months now.  If the film comes up, I can see the actual physical effort it takes for him to not tell me every single detail that he knows, and even with him being as well-behaved as humanly possible, I've probably heard more than I should have.

Even so, I don't feel like the film is ruined for me.  When you go see a Ridley Scott film, I'd argue that the most important thing is the visual delivery of the ideas.  He has a painter's eye, and until you actually see a Ridley Scott film, I don't believe it can be "spoiled," per se.

Fox has been very, very careful about how they've sold this film, and there are a few things they've guarded, even while hiding them in plain sight.  I think they're having real fun in terms of what words they use when discussing the film, whether it's Damon Lindelof or Ridley Scott or the cast, and they've said more than people think they've said. 

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<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

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

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

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.

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

Mmmmmmm... popcorn.

Credit: Wikipedia

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

Excuse me while I indulge in a little self-promotion

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.

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<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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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<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

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

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:

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<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

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

Joss Whedon takes a perfect opportunity for a victory lap

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.

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