<p>Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and Bruce Willis all star in Wes Anderson's period comedy 'Moonrise Kingdom'</p>

Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and Bruce Willis all star in Wes Anderson's period comedy 'Moonrise Kingdom'

Credit: Focus Features

Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray charm in Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom' trailer

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A period comedy about young love gets a trailer and looks promising

One of the ridiculous things about making lists of what you're most anticipating before the start of a calendar year is that you haven't really seen much yet. Chances are by the time a film's actual publicity campaign kicks in, I've seen more than you have, but even so, many of those "what's coming in 2012" pieces you see at the end of the year are speculation, betting on interesting combinations of things you recognize, hoping for the best.

When you talk about a film that looks good in the hypothetical, "Moonrise Kingdom" sounds like someone sat in a room with someone else and said, "How can we get Drew to pay attention?"

"Well, we could cast it with people like Bill Murray and Bruce Willis and Edward Norton and Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman."

"Nice.  Good.  He loves those actors."

"Exactly.  And we should get the script to be a collaboration, try to appeal to two different points of interest for him.  Take someone like Roman Coppola, whose movie 'CQ' is one of those underseen, under-appreciated gems that Drew totally loves, and have him collaborate with someone whose taste would make an interesting match…"

"Wes Anderson?"

"Oh.  Slam Dunk.  Ticket sold.  Drew's in."

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<p>The new HBO series 'Girls' by Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow will be showcased as part of this year's SXSW Film&nbsp;Festival in Austin, TX.</p>

The new HBO series 'Girls' by Lena Dunham and Judd Apatow will be showcased as part of this year's SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX.

Credit: HBO

SXSW announces 'Cabin In The Woods' for opening night

Plus Lena Dunham live in person with Judd Apatow and 'Girls'

This is exciting.

SXSW has announced their opening night film for this year, and it's a doozy.  I'm allowed to say that I've seen it already, and that anyone who is in the audience for the Joss Whedon/Drew Goddard horror experiment "Cabin In The Woods" that night is in for a treat.

And I mean it when I call it an experiment.  This is one of the year's wildest rides, and I can't wait to be able to talk about it when the festival finally arrives.

Add to that the idea that Judd Apatow's coming with Lena Dunham, and that seems like the perfect combination to describe the identity that SXSW has carved out for itself, as a place where Hollywood and indie co-mingle quite comfortably.

Here's the information that SXSW sent over this morning:

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<p>Jack Nicholson gave one of his very best performances as Jake Gittes, an LA private eye in trouble right up to his nose in the classic film 'Chinatown,' finally arriving on Blu-ray in April.</p>

Jack Nicholson gave one of his very best performances as Jake Gittes, an LA private eye in trouble right up to his nose in the classic film 'Chinatown,' finally arriving on Blu-ray in April.

Credit: Paramount Home Video

'Chinatown' Blu-ray will feature commentary by Robert Towne and David Fincher

Plus more filmmakers discuss their love for the film in other special features

"Chinatown" is one of those movies that changes every time I return to it, each time giving it some space after I see it.  It is a slippery classic that represents a gorgeous collision between the studio hypergloss of the '40s and the New Truth cinema of the '70s, a European's heartfelt struggle to understand the city where his chosen medium thrived and took root.  I adore "Chinatown," both as a script that refuses to compromise in the way it unveils its sad, damaged heart and as a perfectly-pitched tribute to the LA noir fiction I love so much.  It's impeccably performed, beautifully photographed, and about as good an example of what happens when everything clicks just right on a movie as I can name.

And it is finally, finally, finally coming to Blu-ray.

Like Universal, Paramount is celebrating it's 100th year this year, and I think releasing one of the finest films the studio has ever made on the finest home video format that's been made so far is a pretty nice way of celebrating the year.  And if the only thing the disc contained was a perfectly restored high-definition print, I'd be all about that.  I would happily pick one up.

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<p>Elizabeth Banks makes a striking Effie in 'The Hunger Games,' and it sounds like she's still not aware of the impending tidal wave of attention the film will bring her.</p>

Elizabeth Banks makes a striking Effie in 'The Hunger Games,' and it sounds like she's still not aware of the impending tidal wave of attention the film will bring her.

Credit: Lionsgate

Watch: Elizabeth Banks braces herself for the 'Hunger Games' onslaught

It's almost charming how much she's in denial about impending stardom

I've interviewed Elizabeth Banks a handful of times now, and she comes across during a press day the same way she comes across in her work:  down to earth, not fussy at all, and always just sort of slightly kidding about things.

I'll have my full interview with her about the new film 'Man On A Ledge' soon, but for now, we wanted to share a short piece of the conversation when I brought up the impending onslaught of publicity and attention for "The Hunger Games."

I just talked to Woody Harrelson about the film as well, and he seemed well aware of what sort of expectation there is for the movie.  Banks, though, seems like she's got her head down, focused on this year's "30 Rock" and doing publicity for "Ledge" and basically anything that keeps her from thinking about the insane spotlight that she's about to step into with this series.

I get it.  It's one thing when you make a movie in a vacuum and you release it and people suddenly fall in love with it and there's a big fan base that grows from the movie.  But this sort of big fat pop culture phenomenon that you're adapting is something very different, and it comes with a totally different type of attention.  Fans of the "Hunger Games" series have very strong opinions about the casting, and while some of the choices may have been controversial, it seems like fans have taken to the idea of Banks playing Effie Trinket in a big way.

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<p>Sam Worthington wants another shot at making a great 'Titans' film, and he's convinced that 'Wrath' will make up for 'Clash'</p>

Sam Worthington wants another shot at making a great 'Titans' film, and he's convinced that 'Wrath' will make up for 'Clash'

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

Watch: Sam Worthington throws himself on his sword over 'Clash Of The Titans'

And are we really going to have to wait until 2016 for more 'Avatar'?

Each time I sit down with Sam Worthington, I am struck by just how resolutely unpolished he is, and how refreshing that can be.

No matter how many press junkets and interviews he does, I get the feeling no one is sanding any rough edges off of Sam Worthington any time soon.  He doesn't have that filter that is so carefully trained into most movie stars, and he doesn't seem terribly political in terms of what he will or won't say.

As a result, I've always enjoyed talking to him.  If you do get a reaction out of him, it's genuine.  If you want to talk '80s metal bands with him, you'll get him to talk all afternoon, and you'll see what passion looks like.  But he'll be equally frank and critical if you want to talk about his own movies.

For example, as we sat down last week to discuss his new film "Man On A Ledge," I wanted to ask him about returning to play a character in a sequel, something he just did for the first time, and something that he's going to do soon (relatively speaking, considering the "Avatar" sequels aren't going to arrive until at least 2016) when he returns to Pandora for James Cameron.

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<p>The skyline of Coruscant may look beautiful, but in the proposed series 'Star Wars:&nbsp;Underworld,' we're going to see the seedy underside of this planet-sized city if George Lucas has anything to say about it.</p>

The skyline of Coruscant may look beautiful, but in the proposed series 'Star Wars: Underworld,' we're going to see the seedy underside of this planet-sized city if George Lucas has anything to say about it.

Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Lucas talks 'Red Tails' trilogy and McCallum drops 'Star Wars: Underworld' title

All sorts of Lucas news breaks straight from the source

Wait, wait, wait… so "Red Tails" is a trilogy?

That's what George Lucas said during a fairly freewheeling interview on "The Daily Show" this week.  He's been making the rounds doing publicity for "Red Tails," which is a surreal thing to say as a longtime Lucas fan.  How many years has he been talking about this story, and how long has he been trying to get it made?  And now, finally, here it is.

Rick McCallum has also been doing interviews to support the film as well, and he dropped an interesting bit of information about the long-rumored live-action "Star Wars" television show… a title.

What's really interesting is how the title plays into what I'd already learned about the show, and every time they say anything official about the show, it sounds like they're making the series that I initially heard described.  And if that's true, it sounds like it could be a really interesting different take on the world of "Star Wars," one that's not like any of the films that have been made so far.

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<p>I just want to know if Natalie Portman's coming back or not, darn it</p>

I just want to know if Natalie Portman's coming back or not, darn it

Credit: Marvel Studios

'Thor 2' hires writer of 'Saving Private Ryan' to prep the film for 2013

What does this mean for the Marvel sequel?

Robert Rodat, eh?

He is, of course, best known for his screenplay for "Saving Private Ryan," which was fairly heavily doctored by several other heavy hitters brought on once Spielberg was officially making the film.  That's the way it works, though.  No matter who did what, if you're the guy with the name on the movie, you're the one who gets the bounce.

The thing is, Rodat's a good writer, and that's true of his other work as well.  I quite like "Tall Tale," a fantasy picture that deals with some of the legendary characters of the American west, and I greatly admire "Fly Away Home," a strong family film starring Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin.  Rodat's done strong drafts of a number of films over the years, and he's a guy who works very well with directors, especially when they're about to start production on something and the clock is ticking.  That is one of the most important skills in modern screenwriting, and one he's going to put to use if he's going to get them ready for Alan Taylor to start production later this year on the sequel to "Thor."

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<p>It was the moments like this that led Toshi to conclusively state to his mother at the end of the movie, 'I figured it out, and the Muppets are really real, not like fake real.'&nbsp; Indeed.</p>

It was the moments like this that led Toshi to conclusively state to his mother at the end of the movie, 'I figured it out, and the Muppets are really real, not like fake real.'  Indeed.

Credit: Disney

Film Nerd 2.0: We wrap up 2011 with 'The Muppet Movie' and pick the slate for 2012

One look back and one look ahead as we kick off a new year

Welcome back to Film Nerd 2.0.

As we move forward with this column, one thing is important to remember.  In the end, these are my kids.  Not a social experiment.  Not a reflection of me.  Not an accessory for the column.  But actual kids who only get one actual shot at childhood, and whose emotional lives are my responsibility.  I consider the sharing of movies to be one of the primary things that we share as social creatures, and that's not a small thing.  Movies travel across culture and geography and time to communicate essential truths and absurdities and experience and invention and hopes and fears.  They are invaluable, and as media becomes more and more portable and flexible in the daily lives of people, including my kids as they get older, why not be careful about the road map you provide these people?

Many of my DVDs have been removed from their cases and placed in 300-disc books, and one of Toshi's favorite things to do is page through those books and look at the various images and titles and ask questions about them.  I try to answer his questions honestly but there are a lot of films he asks about that I can't even summarize to him without it raising questions I can't answer yet.  He is aware that I write about the movies we watch together, and after the reaction to his Muppets interview at the school he attends, I think he understands that it is not something everyone does, and that it's special.

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<p>Katee Sackhoff, seen here with her castmates at the eighth season premiere of '24,' is going to bring her passionate SF&nbsp;fanbase with her to the new 'Riddick' movie</p>

Katee Sackhoff, seen here with her castmates at the eighth season premiere of '24,' is going to bring her passionate SF fanbase with her to the new 'Riddick' movie

Credit: AP Photo/Charles Sykes

'Galactica' star Katee Sackhoff joins 'Riddick' cast as new villain rumored

Sounds like David Twohy's about to get this one off the ground and back into space

I don't care if you judge me for it or not:  I am dying to see another Riddick movie.

The original "Pitch Black" was one of those great little B-movie genre surprises, and when Harry and I first saw it, there was still some uncertainty on the part of USA Films about what to do with it.  We programmed the film at the very first Butt-Numb-A-Thon as our "middle of the night wake everyone up" movie, and it was a great screening.  Vin Diesel even ended up flying to Texas just to do a meet-and-greet at 3:30 in the morning.

When Universal made the much-bigger-budget sequel, it seemed to be the kickoff to a larger franchise, building out a SF world in which Riddick was more than just a scary dude, but a lynchpin for an epic adventure.  I have a huge affection for the work of writer/director David Twohy anyway.  I think he's a guy who speaks B-movie fluently, and while some might see that as an insult, I don't.  I think there's something about the high-concept genre movie that can be especially exciting when done right, and Twohy strikes me as a guy who genuinely wants to entertain, and who doesn't have a single film snob bone in his body.  While "The Chronicles Of Riddick" did not succeed wildly at the box-office, I thought it was wild, wicked fun, and had a great "what's next?" ending.

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<p>John Hillerman, Madeline Kahn, Cybill Shepherd,&nbsp;Burt Reynolds, and Eilieen Brennan would like to remind you all not to drink and drive.</p>

John Hillerman, Madeline Kahn, Cybill Shepherd, Burt Reynolds, and Eilieen Brennan would like to remind you all not to drink and drive.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Peter Bogdanovich screens new cut of 'At Long Last Love' and tells story behind it

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We were there for what turned out to be a night of many surprises

When I was much younger and starting to actively get interested in film, there were a few key books that helped ignite that interest and validate it.  First, there was a copy of the Pauline Kael book "For Keeps," a sampler from her other published books of film criticism, that I must have read cover to cover a good four or five times.  Her book taught me to dig deeper into a movie, and to be able to articulate why I love something even when no one else does.

The Danny Peary "Cult Movies" books also were important to me because they suggested that the world of film outside of the mainstream might actually be more interesting or rewarding.  Peary's descriptions of these films have stayed with me so vividly that even this last year, when I finally checked one more title off the list, it was his book that was forefront in my mind as I sat down to watch.

There was another book that made an equally large impression on me, but for different reasons.  In 1978, Harry Medved, Randy Dreyfuss, and Michael Medved wrote "The Fifty Worst Films Of All Time (And How They Got That Way)," and what I didn't know at the time was that Harry Medved was 17 when he wrote it, while Dreyfuss was 19.  Makes sense, because the book is written with an insistent attitude that seemed very persuasive to nine-year-old me, but that I have found more grating each time I've gone back to it over the years.

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