Harrison Ford is offered the 'Blade Runner 2' job via public press release
Credit: Warner Bros

Harrison Ford is offered the 'Blade Runner 2' job via public press release

What a strange way for Alcon Entertainment to handle this

By far, the press released that was sent out today by Alcon Entertainment is one of the strangest I've ever seen.

"Warner Bros-based Alcon Entertainment… has an offer out to Harrison Ford to reprise his celebrated role of Rick Deckard in its Ridley Scott-directed sequel to 'Blade Runner."

There's more in the release about the script by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green and how excited the producers are and how important it is for Harrison to return to the role, but I'm still just trying to wrap my head around the idea of sending out an official statement to the press to celebrate the idea that you made an offer to an actor.

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Review: 'Party Girl' paints a bruised and beautiful portrait of a life in upheaval
Credit: Elzevir Films

Review: 'Party Girl' paints a bruised and beautiful portrait of a life in upheaval

HitFix
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Spare and unsentimental, this one hurts

CANNES -- Life is opportunity.

More than ever before, I believe that. I have to believe that. In just over a week, I turn 44, and I stand at the edge of some major upheavals in my life. It has taken me a longer time to reach this point than I would have liked, but I eventually realized that inertia is no way to live. I would rather confront the pain and the disappointment of sifting through the ashes of a marriage burnt to the ground than continue to simply drift along hoping for some miraculous change for the better. There is nothing more terrifying to me than change, and I feel like that's true for most of us. We accept the way things are and consign dreams of change to being just that… dreams. The courage it takes to affect real change is not something we come by easily, and fear of the unknown can be a powerful motivator to simply let life happen to us, as if we are incapable of control.

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<p>Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto will be back for &#39;Star Trek 3,&#39; so it&#39;s got that going for it.</p>

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto will be back for 'Star Trek 3,' so it's got that going for it.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

We look at Paramount's big gamble on Robert Orci and 'Star Trek 3'

This is going to be a major test for one of the most successful working screenwriters

When Paramount held the first screening for "Star Trek Into Darkness," Robert Orci was one of the people who showed up to introduce the film, and during the Q&A afterwards, it was immediately clear that Orci wanted to be the director of the next film in the series. He treated it as a joke, but it didn't matter. The desire on his part was palpable, and I'm not remotely shocked to see that he's now been confirmed as the director.

So what does this mean? What is an all-Orci "Star Trek" going to look like?

To be honest, I'm not sure anyone can answer that question yet. The series itself is at a very strange place. While very few people seemed to be satisfied with the last film, it did leave things in a great place for a sequel because the crew has finally been sent away from Earth on their "five-year-mission," meaning pretty much anything is on the table for where they can go and what they can do. And Orci inherits a tremendous ensemble cast. I'm willing to admit that the reason I went easy on "Into Darkness" the first time around is because I just plain enjoy watching these people together.

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Review: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' gives the franchise a new lease on life
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' gives the franchise a new lease on life

HitFix
B+
Readers
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Singer's in fine form as he returns to the series he helped create

Over the last month, I've re-watched every entry in the series that Fox has produced since "X-Men" in 2000 as my kids worked their way through the films for the first time. What I found most interesting about the revisit is how my reactions to the films as they were being released and my reactions to them now aren't really the same. Each film was on a specific point in the larger continuity of comic book related movies, and the only way to judge them was how they stacked up to everything else that was being done in the genre at that time. Now, though, looking back at them all is illuminating, especially since it feels like "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" is the end of everything up to this point and the beginning of whatever comes next.

One thing has been very clear since this series began: while they are drawing on comic continuity for suggestions, they have not been bound by any particular rules of adaptation. In fact, they have almost exclusively altered things. I don't think you can point at any particular run of the series and see a direct correlation between what's onscreen and what was on the page. Sure, "X2" and "X-Men: The Last Stand" nodded to the "Dark Phoenix" storyline, but barely. I would find it a little ridiculous to actually call those films an adaptation because of how loosely they line up to the motivations or the characterizations of the books.

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<p>Seriously... I look at this, and I am already smiling like a lunatic. &#39;Blazing Saddles&#39; forever.</p>

Seriously... I look at this, and I am already smiling like a lunatic. 'Blazing Saddles' forever.

Credit: Warner Bros Home Video

Mel Brooks discusses 'Blazing Saddles,' Brooksfilms, and the best screening ever

If you didn't already love Mel Brooks, this may change your mind

So the phone rings, and I answer it, and it's Mel Brooks.

That's an actual thing that happened. That's now something I can say. And even better, the 40 minute conversation that followed me answering the phone is one of my favorites in recent memory. How often do you get to talk to a comedy legend about one of the pinnacle moments of not only their career, but of film comedy in general?

I was told I'd have about 15 minutes originally. Time was tight. And if you get offered 15 minutes to talk to Mel Brooks about "Blazing Saddles," you take it, right? We ended up having a really fun back and forth about that film, about films he's produced, about his partnership with Gene Wilder, and about the ways Hollywood failed the great Richard Pryor. The only reason we wrapped it up is because we had to, and it would have been easy to talk to him for twice as long.

What I enjoyed most is that from the moment I picked up the phone, I felt like he was willing to play. I managed to get out, "Hello, Mr. Brooks. How are you this afternoon?" before he was off and running.

"Okay, Drew, you're on."

"Okay."

"You're on. You are on. Describe your network. Describe it."

"My online home is HitFix. It is a website where we cover film, television, music… it's a broad entertainment site."

"It's a website? Is it popular?"

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<p>In the weirdest choice they made for the new film, Godzilla now has a lovely baritone singing voice.</p>

In the weirdest choice they made for the new film, Godzilla now has a lovely baritone singing voice.

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

Review: Beautiful and badass, 'Godzilla' puts the awe back in awesome

HitFix
B+
Readers
n/a
That's the monster I've been waiting to see

I can't imagine sitting in a theater in 1954 in Japan and watching "Gojira" play for the first time. Ten years earlier, your country faces a nuclear nightmare, and for the first time in human history, the atom was used to wipe a city full of people off the planet in an instant. War reached its most horrifying manifestation, and it completely changed the world. But for Japan, it was not an abstract. It was a redefining moment, part of their identity from that moment, an actual scar they were going to have to live with. Looking at "Gojira" now, it feels like an attempt to come to terms with the hopelessness of that event in a way that people could watch together, a fantasy catharsis that the country needed.

The stark black-and-white images of a giant monster smashing and burning Tokyo must have felt terrifying. Godzilla is barely a character in that first film. He's a rampaging force of nature, and the solution they find to finally stop him is pretty much an equal horror, a worst-case-scenario sort of ending. They know that if they use it, they're turning Tokyo Bay into an aquatic graveyard. To kill Godzilla, they're going to have to kill everything, and that seems like an acceptable trade.

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<p>Oh, come on, Franco, you&#39;re just trying to freak us out now, aren&#39;t you?</p>

Oh, come on, Franco, you're just trying to freak us out now, aren't you?

Credit: Tribeca Films

Review: Gia Coppola's 'Palo Alto' is a sad and lovely look at teenage life

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Based on James Franco's book, this is a small but special film

It would be easy to think that the last name Coppola is a shortcut to becoming a filmmaker, but that would be dismissive, and honestly, sort of backwards. At this point, living up to that last name must be an intimidating prospect, but with her first film, Gia Coppola proves herself to be a deeply empathic filmmaker with a great sense of atmosphere. "Palo Alto," based on a collection of short stories by James Franco, is a lovely debut film, and a strong expression of just how it feels to be a teenager struggling to figure out your place in the world.

Forget about narrative. Forget about whether things add up in a typical A-B-C fashion. What makes "Palo Alto" special is the way it captures certain feelings, and it's not an easy thing. There were moments in the film where I found myself almost completely transported back to those long, weird, woozy nights where Teenage Drew made bad decisions and just plain didn't care. Something as simple as a party in a house where someone's parents are out of town becomes an excuse for Coppola to dig deep into the still-nascent souls of these aimless kids, and while she is very frank about showing how the currency of sex is such a casual thing for them on the surface, she's also very good at showing us the ways it actually impacts them in some permanent way.

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A new 'Ask Drew' gives the spotlight to underrated filmmakers and more
Credit: Indomina Releasing

A new 'Ask Drew' gives the spotlight to underrated filmmakers and more

Plus we get into the fate of the Motion/Captured Podcast

Three down, and as many more to go as you guys are willing to play along with, and so far, "Ask Drew" seems to be fun.

I'm looking forward to the week where I am asked a question that simply short circuits me on-camera and you guys get to see my impression of a chicken trying to speak Mandarin Chinese. I know it's going to happen. It's inevitable. But so far, so good. I've got such a fun video team to work with these days that this becomes a game when we shoot it. They've been great about curating the questions so far, coming up with a real mix of stuff.

I was a little surprised to see a question this week about one of my screenwriting projects, but that's certainly fair game. I could write a book about things not to do if you actually want to get your films made, and if my experiences can help anyone as they navigate a business that rarely makes rational sense, then I'm happy to share.

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<p>Leigh Whannell and Lin Shaye were a pretty great paranormal investigation team in &#39;Insidious&#39;</p>

Leigh Whannell and Lin Shaye were a pretty great paranormal investigation team in 'Insidious'

Credit: Film District

Leigh Whannell steps into the role of director for 'Insidious Chapter 3'

Here's hoping his character moves front and center for the film

If anyone has a natural claim on the director's seat of an "Insidious" sequel besides James Wan, it would be Leigh Whannell.

Sure enough, the news broke today via Wan's Twitter account that Whannell will indeed step behind the camera for "Insidious: Chapter Three," marking Whannell's directorial debut. He and Wan have been creative partners since the release of "Saw," and the last few years, Whannell has been on a hell of a roll in general.

This year, one of the highlights of SXSW for me was the film "The Mule," which Whannell co-wrote and co-starred in, and his co-writer on that one was Anghus Sampson, who also directed it and who appears in the "Insidious" films as Whannell's paranormal investigation partner. That film is a tremendously entertaining character piece about a worst-case scenario for a first-time drug mule, and it serves as proof to me that Whannell is capable of more than just one genre. Our industry is so aggressive about putting people in boxes that it felt like an important moment for Whannell and Sampson as filmmakers.

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<p>Coulson? Fitz? Simmons? May? It&#39;s getting hard to tell.</p>

Coulson? Fitz? Simmons? May? It's getting hard to tell.

Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

Agent Ward actually becomes a human being in the penultimate episode of 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

If the show had started this strong, imagine where they'd be now

Television is such a particular beast when it comes to storytelling, and one of the reasons that I love the modern television landscape is because of just how elastic definitions have become and just how far we've come in terms of how people both observe and break the traditional rules of the form.

When you factor in that "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." is, at heart, a fairly cynical proposition for a show, a sort of ongoing advertisement for already-omnipresent movie events, it seems like it would be silly to expect it to be anything but an uneven and uninteresting affair, and if you'd asked me five or six weeks into the season if it was worth the effort, I would have told you no.

At this point, though, they've done what only a show that knows it has a full run of 22 episodes to play with can do, which is slowly but surely figure out exactly what show it is they're making and, also slowly but surely, get better at actually making it. If the show had been as confident about what it's doing at the start of the season as it is now, people would probably be pretty darn excited about what's happening here in the home stretch. As it is, I'm just happy to see a creative team come together like this, no matter what the show.

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