Vincent Cassel set to battle Matt Damon as Paul Greengrass returns to 'Bourne'
Credit: Fox Searchlight

Vincent Cassel set to battle Matt Damon as Paul Greengrass returns to 'Bourne'

This is one of next summer's most exciting prospects

One of the things that distinguishes the Jason Bourne films from the much lighter tone of the James Bond movies is the way the Bourne films seem grounded in the politics of the real world, something the Bond films studiously avoid.

After all, it's more fun to watch a movie about a super-spy fighting a bald evil genius with a volcano lair and an army of henchmen than it is to watch an indictment of the modern surveillance state. But "fun" isn't necessarily what Paul Greengrass has been chasing in the "Bourne" films he's made, and with the newest addition to the series starting to pick up steam, I couldn't be happier. With Greengrass onboard to direct again, I think it's safe to say the film is good hands. Greengrass is co-writing it with Christopher Rouse, and little by little, they are putting together one hell of a cast.

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What happens when you put three different Hannibal Lecters in one scene?
Credit: NBC/Universal/DEG

What happens when you put three different Hannibal Lecters in one scene?

Michael Mann, Brett Ratner, and Bryan Fuller all took their shot at the same material

Thomas Harris has gotten more mileage out of his various novels about Hannibal Lecter than I'll wager he ever expected, and like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did with Sherlock Holmes, I'm guessing Harris has a complicated relationship with his most iconic and memorable creation.

I was introduced to Lecter in Michael Mann's "Manhunter," and I immediately went out and found the Thomas Harris novel "Red Dragon" and read that, and it was clear to me immediately that Harris had found the perfect way to examine and comment on the way our pop culture is fascinated by human monsters. The movie wasn't a hit, but one of the advantages to working in a movie theater as a teenager was that I got to see things on the bigscreen for free as many times as I could sneak in during their run. I saw "Manhunter" four or five times, and then watched chunks of it while working. I saw the ending at least two dozen times. Minimum.

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Did Michael Winterbottom find the best possible Roger Ebert for his new biopic?
Credit: HBO/Roger Ebert/FX

Did Michael Winterbottom find the best possible Roger Ebert for his new biopic?

This sounds like one of next year's most interesting casts

It is clear that since his passing, Roger Ebert has been revered, and I certainly agree with that as an overall sentiment. But I spent enough time with Roger to see a glimpse or two of that rowdy playful side that was an equally important part of his personality. He was, after all, the screenwriter of "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls," and he was famous for his friendship with Russ Meyer.

For those of you who were born in an era where you can simply download any extreme perversion you want in HD at any time, day or night, with your phone, you may not fully appreciate or understand what was special about the work that Meyer did as a director. He was a man with a very particular appetite, and it is distinctly possible he gave an entire generation of young men a rabid breast fetish.

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Before Caitlyn: Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander as a transgender couple in 'Danish Girl'
Credit: Focus Features

Before Caitlyn: Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander as a transgender couple in 'Danish Girl'

Eddie Redmayne's bound to be back in the Oscar race for this one

Tom Hooper's "The Danish Girl" may the most Oscar-baity Oscar-bait ever to bait the Oscar.

Then again, it might also be good. It's certainly a captivating story, the true-life tale of Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener, and director Tom Hooper's got himself a hell of a cast with Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander playing the couple who found themselves grappling with a relationship that helped break new ground for people around the world who felt that they were born wearing the wrong skin.

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A personal remembrance of the influential career of the great Wes Craven
Credit: The Weinstein Company/Dimension Films

A personal remembrance of the influential career of the great Wes Craven

We reflect on the overall impact of one of the genre's giants

When it comes to Wes Craven, I hardly know where to start to memorialize him. This one hurts. While I would not say we were close in any way, we were friendly, and I'd spent enough time with him that when we would run into each other, he always seemed to light up. I'm sure that was something that he did with many people. Everyone I know who knew him has stories about his incredibly kindness. I remember one afternoon in particular spent at his home talking to him about possible projects, and honestly, it didn't matter to me if we ended up getting a film set up or not. It was just the chance to sit and talk about horror with him that was the thrill.

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Brit Marling's got a gun on this exclusive 'The Keeping Room' poster
Credit: Drafthouse Films

Brit Marling's got a gun on this exclusive 'The Keeping Room' poster

The gender-busting Western riff hits theater next month

Could we be seeing a quiet resurgence of the Western?

During the Comic-Con presentation for "The Hateful Eight," Quentin Tarantino talked about being a Western director, and said that he doesn't feel like he's earned the right to call himself that until and unless he makes a third Western. The idea that we could see three Westerns inside of a decade, much less from one filmmaker, feels sort of groundbreaking considering how many times the genre has been pronounced dead over the years.

What's really exciting is seeing that there are big studio Westerns being made as well as small indie Westerns, and once again, as in the heyday of the genre, any numbers of stories are being told. The Western is the American mythic form, a type of storytelling that allows us to tell big moral stories against this remarkable backdrop. And it sounds like "The Keeping Room" is about as stark and brutal as the era itself:

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Why am I not as excited about 'Star Wars' now as I was in 1999?
Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Why am I not as excited about 'Star Wars' now as I was in 1999?

Dear god... am I dead inside? Or is something else at work here?

One of the memories that I treasure most from 1998 came when I was driving from LA to Palo Alto with my friend Pete. I had a copy of "The Beginning" with me, the script by George Lucas, and he had a CD player loaded up with the soundtracks for the first three films. I read the script aloud while he drove, and by the time we got to his family's house for Thanksgiving, we were both convinced that we were going to get an amazing gift in movie theaters in May of 1999.

History has proven the two of us to be a wee bit overenthusiastic. While I am not a rabid prequel-hater the way many people are (watching the films with my kids radically changed my opinions on them and their place in the overall saga), I think there is something magical about the original three that only becomes more clear with time and distance. It's not as simple as saying "practical effects!" over and over the way some fans seem to think it is, and if you want to really appreciate just how barely the original films worked, you just need to read the amazing behind-the-scenes books that J.W. Rinzler wrote about each of them. I just recently finished reading the Kindle versions of each, completely with audio and video clips a-plenty, and they are astonishing. More than anything, they reminded me of all the ways the "Star Wars" films originally inspired my love of the craft of filmmaking, and fantastic filmmaking in particular.

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Hawkeye debuts new duds and a little friend for 'Captain America: Civil War'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Hawkeye debuts new duds and a little friend for 'Captain America: Civil War'

I now have a new item for my 2016 wish list

Okay, damn it… Hawkeye better shoot an arrow that's got Ant-Man riding along at some point in "Captain America: Civil War," or I'm suing someone for getting my hopes up.

In a very low-res image that he posted via Twitter this morning, Jeremy Renner revealed his new Hawkeye outfit, and the publicity still reveals a new friendship in the Marvel universe that could pay some hilarious on-screen dividends. I mean, just being able to write that opening sentence makes me so happy on a basic fundamental lifelong fan level that it's almost silly. We live in a world where we've gotten far enough down the road with these movies and these characters that we can have these kinds of crossovers and it's not the entire point of the movie… it's just a fun part of the overall story they're telling.

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'The Martian' and Rooster Teeth part of dazzling Fantastic Fest 2015 line-up
Credit: 20th Century Fox

'The Martian' and Rooster Teeth part of dazzling Fantastic Fest 2015 line-up

The 11th edition of the festival promises to be as rowdy as ever

It is time for me to make my peace with the fact that I will not be at Fantastic Fest this year. Last year's fest was one of my favorites ever, fitting for a tenth anniversary, and I would love to go this year. It's just not in the cards, though.

It guts me, too. The event continues to grow and change and evolve, and it features one of the greatest programming teams in the business right now. There are films playing at the festival that I'll see in Toronto, and I'm sure I'll catch up with others, but that's not the point. Fantastic Fest is an experience, and an amazing one.

If you want to go, you still can. "DAYTIME ONLY Badges, FAN Badges, and 2ND HALF Badges for Fantastic Fest 2015 are available for purchase here," today's press release urged. If you can go for the second half, you'll get repeat screenings of most of the films, and you'll have a chance to hear from people what they're loving the most.

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Hollywood loses its mind as Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence co-write a movie
Credit: Amy Schumer/Twitter

Hollywood loses its mind as Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence co-write a movie

I may go start a line outside the theater today

None more excited.

That is how I feel about the news that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer are co-writing a screenplay right now. We already knew that the two of them were friends and had vacationed together, with some amazing jet ski photos having made the rounds thanks to Schumer. But when Lawrence revealed to the New York Times that the two of them are already 100 pages into a collaboration, it was genuinely exciting. Keep in mind, there's no studio involved, and there's no word on where or when they want to make it, but I would imagine this is going to be one of the easiest greenlights for any studio to give ever.

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