<p>Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard confer on the set of their new film, 'The Cabin In The Woods'</p>

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard confer on the set of their new film, 'The Cabin In The Woods'

Credit: Lionsgate

Interview: Drew Goddard on 'Cabin' and Spielberg's 'Robopocalypse'

The director talks about collaborating with Joss Whedon and Steven Spielberg

Part of me just wants to run this as a straight transcript and only identify both interviewer and subject by first name, because it would be completely confusing and awesome.  That's just me being glad to meet another Drew, though, because there aren't that many of us.

My first chat with Drew Goddard, director of this week's "Cabin In The Woods," took place in Austin when we did the live-cast chat with him and Joss Whedon together.  Then at the start of this week, he called for a follow-up conversation.  The last few days, reviews have really started rolling in, and while you've got some people taking pretty hardline positions against the film (Rex Reed's review is almost comically inaccurate, suggesting Rex dozed his way through, inventing connective tissue that says a lot about the Freudian dreamscape between his ears), for the most part, people seem to be engaged by the crazy puzzle-box deathtrap that Goddard built.  I'm certainly a fan.  I asked how he's feeling about the response so far.

"The only sad part is that I realize it's never going to be this good again in my career," he laughed. "I couldn't have asked for better reactions.  It's beyond my wildest dreams."

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson will presumably return for 'Catching Fire,' which now needs to find a director and fast</p>

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson will presumably return for 'Catching Fire,' which now needs to find a director and fast

Credit: Lionsgate

Can 'Hunger Games' survive as Gary Ross officially jumps from sequel?

What does this mean for the newly-minted franchise?

Last week, I drove to Santa Monica to sit for interviews that may or may not be used on the DVD/Blu-ray release of "The Hunger Games," and part of the interview dealt with the contributions that Gary Ross made to the film.

One of the things that people overlook when talking about Ross leaving the film is that he didn't just direct it.  Billy Ray was the first screenwriter on the film, and then Suzanne Collins sat down with Ross and the two of them did the final passes together.  Ross has his fingerprints all over that first film, and in addition to helping decide what sort of choices they had to make in adapting it from page to screen, he also put together the cast.  As much as anyone, he's got to be credited with helping Jennifer Lawrence define her interpretation of Katniss Everdeen, which seems to be the one thing even the film's strongest detractors agree works in this first film.

Now there's the official word that Gary Ross is off of "Catching Fire," and so the first topic of conversation becomes "Who do you hire to direct it?"  More than that, though, I think there's an important question here for filmmakers who might get into the franchise business with Lionsgate/Summit in the future.  Based on the way they've handled business on the "Twilight" series and the decision they've made to move forward without Ross on this series, why would anyone ever expect to direct more than one film in a  successful franchise for them again?

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<p>That little girl sure does look like she's floating, but she couldn't be... could she?</p>

That little girl sure does look like she's floating, but she couldn't be... could she?

Credit: Quirk Books

Source Material: 'Miss Peregrine' feels like perfect home for Tim Burton

Jane Goldman seems like a really smart choice to adapt this one

With the way Hollywood churns through material these days, we thought it was worth taking a look at the various sources they're pulling from and discussing what they might make from these books, games, TV shows, or whatever else they use.  For today's column, we're looking forward to 2013, when Tim Burton may be directing Jane Goldman's adaptation of "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children."

PREMISE

This book by Ransom Riggs falls under the preposterously broad umbrella of "young adult fiction," but trying to shoehorn this into the same genre as "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games" seems ridiculous.  This book was built around some real photos that Riggs collected over the years, a narrative that built upon these images, and which plays as a sort of melancholy fantasy about a young man who is launched into a creepy investigation upon the death of his beloved and eccentric grandfather.

When Jacob goes to the Welsh island where his grandfather once lived, trying to figure out how much of what he was told by the old man was invention and how much was true, he comes across the remains of an old house that apparently was an orphanage of sorts before a bomb destroyed it in WWII.

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<p>Lily Tomlin made a great season even better when she showed up as Tammy Powers on this year's 'Eastbound and Down'</p>

Lily Tomlin made a great season even better when she showed up as Tammy Powers on this year's 'Eastbound and Down'

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Eastbound & Down' wraps up season three with triumph and tragedy

Can Kenny Powers be redeemed, and should he be?

After the events of the last few weeks, I'm wrestling with the knowledge that "Eastbound and Down" may well be finished forever next Sunday night.

If you haven't seen the show this season, then this post probably isn't for you.  There's no way to talk about what's happened and what might happen on Sunday without spoiling things, and this has been a season full of major moments.  What's strange is how completely it felt like they wrapped things up in the penultimate episode this past week.  It was such a triumphant note to reach for Kenny Powers that I feel like they're setting him up, and for the first time in the series, I actually am invested in seeing Kenny succeed.  He's never going to be a great person, but at this moment in the series, he's as close as he's ever going to get, and I wish there was a pause button I could hit to keep him from screwing it up.

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<p>Cung Le puts a bad guy on an all-foot diet in 'Dragon Eyes,' one of the films playing this year's ActionFest</p>

Cung Le puts a bad guy on an all-foot diet in 'Dragon Eyes,' one of the films playing this year's ActionFest

Credit: ActionFest 2012

ActionFest 2012 finalizes its line-up and guests

We might not be there in person, but we'll be there in spirit

Every year, there are choices I make about what I do or don't attend, about which trips I do or don't take, and it is inevitable that every year, I have regrets that are part  of that process.  Unfortunately, this year, it appears that ActionFest is going to end up as a regret for me, because when it happens in Asheville, North Carolina, over the upcoming weekend, I'll be here in Los Angeles instead.

I was at the first ActionFest, but I haven't been able to make it back since, and that's a real shame.  They're working to establish this festival's identity, and each year, I get the feeling that it's coming into focus a little more.  Festival director Colin Geddes, the maniac behind Toronto's Midnight Madness selections every year, has been working hard to turn ActionFest into a genuine destination, packed with guests and with a line-up of films that should leave Asheville audiences bruised and bloodied in the best possible way.

I know I'm going to be sending my parents, who live in Asheville, a list of movies they should try and catch while they're playing, and I hope the festival does well this year so that I can attend it again next year.  If you're anywhere near Asheville, let me recommend that you give it a try, because it seems like they've really gone over the top to try to put something special together this year.

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<p>The moustache Hanks was rocking in 'Road To Perdition' is probably the closest he's come to how he'll look when he plays Walt Disney</p>

The moustache Hanks was rocking in 'Road To Perdition' is probably the closest he's come to how he'll look when he plays Walt Disney

Credit: Dreamworks

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson team for real-life backstory to 'Mary Poppins'

Hanks is set to play Walt Disney in the story behind one of his best films

I love "Mary Poppins."

Later this year, we're going to be tackling the film as part of Film Nerd 2.0, and I look forward to sharing it with the kids for the first time.  When they're a little older, I'll introduce them to the books by P.L. Travers, which I think are wonderful in their own right, although very different.

Presumably at some point after that, I'll share the film "Saving Mr. Banks" with them and we can talk about the way the two Mary Poppins that they'll know, from the films and the books, are very different characters in important ways, and how it's a case of Hollywood making the film they wanted to make, despite the author's wishes.  I would not want the P.L Travers approved "Mary Poppins" if it meant I couldn't also have the Julie Andrews version.

I say that as someone who was raised with that film as part of their vocabulary, though, and I would imagine I might have felt different if I was the author.  The film "Saving Mr. Banks" is set to tell the story of how Walt Disney personally spent 14 years trying to get Travers to give him the rights so he could make the film, and according to Variety, both Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are onboard as Disney and Travers.

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<p>Tony Stark's looking for a few new bad guys to smack around in 'Iron Man 3,' and it sounds like Ben Kingsley is going to be one of them.</p>

Tony Stark's looking for a few new bad guys to smack around in 'Iron Man 3,' and it sounds like Ben Kingsley is going to be one of them.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Ben Kingsley set to menace Robert Downey Jr in 'Iron Man 3'

Which bad guy will the Oscar-winner play?

Shane Black begins shooting on "Iron Man 3" next month.

Really, that's the thing that excites me most.  I am such a fan of "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" that even if you told me Shane Black and Robert Downey Jr. were collaborating on a film called "Drew McWeeny Is A Big Fat Jerk," I'd still be excited.

Since the film is in the final stages of prep, it makes sense that we're going to start hearing casting decisions in the weeks ahead, and today's news, via Variety, is that Ben Kingsley is in final talks now to play a villain in the film.

No word on if this is "the" villain in the film, but I would imagine Kingsley isn't going to sign on to stand around in the background.  Latino Review broke the story in March, and since then, I've heard the same rumors that other people are reporting about this film loosely building off of the Extremis storyline that ran in the comics, but if this is "adapted" the way the other Marvel movies have been, you'll recognize elements but in a radically refigured way.

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<p>Angelina Jolie will give new life to the iconic villain from 'Sleeping Beauty' when she stars in 'Maleficent.'&nbsp; And, yes, fellas... she's keeping the horns.</p>

Angelina Jolie will give new life to the iconic villain from 'Sleeping Beauty' when she stars in 'Maleficent.'  And, yes, fellas... she's keeping the horns.

Credit: Walt Disney Company

Angelina Jolie set to play evil queen 'Maleficent' in March 2014

Are audiences ready for a 'Wicked' take on the 'Sleeping Beauty' story?

So the main message I get from Disney's announcement today about the March 14, 2014 release date of "Maleficent" is that they really, really, really, really want this to be as big as "Alice In Wonderland."

After all, they mention the film no less than three times in one paragraph, and that's because many of the key creative people on this film were involved with that film.  I'm sure Disney would love for this to earn them another billion dollars, like "Alice" did, and claiming a release date this far out seems to be a clear indicator that they expect this one to be a monster.

There's a big difference between Angelina Jolie working with a first-time director making the jump from production design and Tim Burton collaborating with Johnny Depp, though, and I'm still not sold on the idea that the general public is rabid about getting tons of new fairy tale movies.  "Mirror Mirror" hardly set the world on fire, and two years is a long time to expect a trend like this to sustain heat.

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<p>And the winner for 'Best Newly Minted Movie Star Who Is So In-Demand That It Takes Two Studios To Schedule Her These Days' is...</p>

And the winner for 'Best Newly Minted Movie Star Who Is So In-Demand That It Takes Two Studios To Schedule Her These Days' is...

Credit: Lionsgate

Jennifer Lawrence gets start dates for 'Hunger Games' and 'X-Men' sequels

Two studios go to-to-toe and then... co-operate?

If I were a betting man, I'd bet that Gary Ross does end up making the second film in the "Hunger Games" series.

Whoever ends up directing the film, it's going to have to shoot this fall, and that means the heat is on for Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of "Slumdog Millionaire," to get the script in shape.  If Ross does return, he and Suzanne Collins are going to take a crack at it again as well, and that's going to take a little time.  They've got to be working at a gallop right now.

And now that the schedule is set for "Catching Fire," Fox is able to claim a January start date for a sequel to "X-Men: First Class," once again directed by Mathew Vaughn.  And just like that, Jennifer Lawrence is sort of officially a movie star.

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<p>Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet are back in theaters in 'Titanic,' and this time, it's in 3D</p>

Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet are back in theaters in 'Titanic,' and this time, it's in 3D

Credit: Paramount/20th Century Fox

The Weekend Watch: 'Titanic' sets sail again and 'Zoo' comes home

A new column helps you cut through the clutter and make the most of your weekend

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

There are certainly new movies to see this weekend.  I'm not sure I'd really recommend "American Reunion," but I have a feeling you know already if it's something you'd enjoy or not.  It is, in every way, an "American Pie" film.  I did not make it to an early screening of Whit Stillman's "Damsels In Distress," but I'll be catching up with it ASAP.  I've also got "We Have A Pope" here in the house, and I'll be seeing that this weekend at some point.  Morgan Spurlock's "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope," a documentary about geek culture and what draws people to San Diego in record numbers every year now, also opens in limited release, and it's worth seeing.  For my money, though, these are the three films in theaters this weekend most worth your attention:

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