<p>Albert (Jeremy Irvine) is distraught when his father sells his beloved horse Joey to Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston), kicking off an amazing journey in Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse'</p>

Albert (Jeremy Irvine) is distraught when his father sells his beloved horse Joey to Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston), kicking off an amazing journey in Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse'

Credit: Disney/Dreamworks

Review: Spielberg's 'War Horse' offers big emotional beats in a simple story

HitFix
B
Readers
B
Spielberg is the real star here as he expertly plays his audience once again

Steven Spielberg's films are events at this point, even when he tries to go low-key, simply by virtue of who he is and what he's done.

Even if I wanted to, I'm not sure I could ever shut myself off from Spielberg's films.  His voice as a filmmaker is a crucial part of the DNA that made me into the film fan that I am today.  Early viewings of "Jaws," "Duel," "Close Encounters," and "Raiders" hardwired me to his particular emotional vocabulary, and watching his evolution over the course of my life has been fascinating.  Even if you ignore his work as a producer, his contribution to film has been rich and varied, and he's managed to remain dead center in the mainstream for longer than almost any director I can name.

It's been three years since his last film, the decidedly mixed bag of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull," and six years since his last non-sequel, "Munich."  Now, we've got two very different new Spielberg films within a week of one another.  There's "The Adventures Of Tintin," which I reviewed earlier, and which I think is one of the most unfettered examples of his imagination as a filmmaker, breathless fun and invention.  He's also the director of "War Horse," a sprawling and intentionally old-fashioned adaptation of the novel by Michael Morpurgo, and his sensibilities are on display in a way that should prove pleasing to most viewers while driving his harshest critics up a wall.

Read Full Post
<p>Taking the dog for a walk evidently really sucked in the days of 'Wrath Of The Titans'</p>

Taking the dog for a walk evidently really sucked in the days of 'Wrath Of The Titans'

Credit: Warner/Legendary

Watch: 'Wrath Of The Titans' trailer promises giants and monsters a-plenty

HitFix
B-
Readers
B+
Sam Worthington's back, but can they deliver a better film this time?

Not long after the release of "Clash Of The Titans," I had occasion to speak to Thomas Tull, the CEO of Legendary Pictures.  He was one of the main reasons that the remake of "Clash" happened in the first place, as he holds the first film as one of his most cherished geek treasures.  He wanted to do something grand and amazing and really dig into the potential of the mythology of that world, and instead…

… well, if you saw "Clash Of The Titans," you know that didn't really work out.  And no one seemed more aware of the film's shortcomings than Tull.  Star Sam Worthington has been blunt about the film's problems as well in interviews, and so as they were gearing up for the sequel, it seemed that everyone had the same goal in mind:  they wanted to set things right.  Tull told me that he felt obligated to make a sequel just so they had another shot at making the film he had in mind the first time around, which seems to me as good a reason to make a sequel as any.

Read Full Post
<p>Brad Bird is, contrary to the evidence of this photo, more than just a floating head housing a very big brain. He's also the director of 'Mission:&nbsp;Impossible -&nbsp;Ghost Protocol,' which we sat down to discuss.</p>

Brad Bird is, contrary to the evidence of this photo, more than just a floating head housing a very big brain. He's also the director of 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol,' which we sat down to discuss.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Brad Bird talks about directing Tom Cruise in IMAX for 'M:I - Ghost Protocol'

'Incredibles' filmmaker makes an incredible live-action debut

As long as I've been in LA, I've been enjoying great conversations with Brad Bird.

When I worked at Dave's Video in the early '90s, Bird was one of our regular customers.  At that point, he was working on "The Simpsons," and he was already known by some film geeks for his incredible "Family Dog" episode of "Amazing Stories."  At that point, I remember long conversations about pulp classics, spy movies, his dream of making either "The Spirit" or a SF animated film called "Ray Gunn," and much more.  He was one of those customers of ours who really lived and breathed movies, who seemed to be interested in every genre and in every type of filmmaking.

It was little surprise, then, when I saw and loved a very early rough cut of "The Iron Giant," a movie that was a difficult political football at Warner Bros. 

Read Full Post
<p>Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem go head-to-head in 'Skyfall,' the new James Bond movie.</p>

Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem go head-to-head in 'Skyfall,' the new James Bond movie.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Will Daniel Craig really make eight James Bond films total?

That's what the producer of the franchise wants, anyway

Five more movies with Daniel Craig.

That's the dream of the producers of the James Bond franchise, anyway, as revealed in a recent Michael Wilson interview with The People, a London-based newspaper.  He's apparently very happy with the way "Skyfall" is coming together, and he's ready to start pinning down the star of the series for a truly epic eight total films as James Bond.

That means he'll do as many movies as the character as there were in the entire "Harry Potter" series.  As someone who was thrilled by "Casino Royale" and who loves certain things about "Casino Royale Part 1 and a Half," it's exciting to think about what sort of narrative opportunity there is if they're now aware that they've got five movies to play with.

Let me ask something of EON now, though.  If they're really going to do this, and Craig agrees, and they gear up for a mad dash through five films, which could take as long as eight to ten years to pull off, then please tell me that there will be some real continuity with real consequences for Bond.

Read Full Post
<p>Evanna Lynch and Mark Williams were a few of the 'Harry Potter' cast members who recently sat down to discuss the end of the series with us in Orlando.</p>

Evanna Lynch and Mark Williams were a few of the 'Harry Potter' cast members who recently sat down to discuss the end of the series with us in Orlando.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Mr. Weasley, Luna Lovegood, and Lucius Malfoy on the end of 'Potter'

A long day of fan-driven lunacy couldn't keep us from these conversations

Here at last are the final "Harry Potter" interviews I conducted during my recent trip to Orlando for the press day they held to celebrate the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" on Blu-ray.

If you didn't read my first few pieces, let me paint the picture of how these interviews were staged.  We were actually in the park, in the section of Universal's Islands Of Adventure that is known as "The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter," and it's a remarkable recreation of the world that Jo Rowling and her film collaborators have created over the past decade.  It is also wildly successful, so even on a regular day, the park is totally packed.  The weekend we were there was part of a major Harry Potter event, though, so it was busier than normal.

That means that every single spot where we were supposed to do interviews was also occupied by about 10,000 screaming Harry Potter fans.  I've never really done press in a fishbowl like that, and it's a disconcerting way to try to conduct what is already an exercise in forced and immediate intimacy.  Conversations aren't meant to be a spectator sport, but on this particular day, that's exactly what it felt like.

Read Full Post
<p>Noomi Rapace launches her attempted takeover of Hollywood with her role in 'Sherlock Holmes -&nbsp;A Game of Shadows,' which we sat down to discuss with her at a recent press day.</p>

Noomi Rapace launches her attempted takeover of Hollywood with her role in 'Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows,' which we sat down to discuss with her at a recent press day.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Noomi Rapace on 'Sherlock 2,' 'Prometheus,' and the new 'Dragon Tattoo'

Hollywood's latest foreign crush talks about adjusting

Noomi Rapace is at a turning point.

I don't consider it the end-all be-all goal of actors to work in giant Hollywood movies, but that's often how it is treated.  Think of the same basic cycle we see play out over and over again.  Someone plays an interesting role in an international release and then suddenly they're in every movie released by Hollywood for about a year, and then if they don't have a hit, they're gone again, back to the world of foreign-language movies.  It's treated like a major league/minor league situation, whether that's true or not, and it's brutal to watch some of these very accomplished actors get chewed up by the Hollywood machine.

"Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows" is the Hollywood debut of Rapace, who gained international attention playing Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish adaptations of the "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" series.  Her work in those films has earned her some staunch supporters, and even if I'm not among them, I was curious to see how she was used in the film.  She's also in "Prometheus," the Ridley Scott "Alien" sidequel that's coming out next summer, so one could say she's getting a fair shot and then some.

Read Full Post
<p>Guy Ritchie rocks a sweater as we discuss his work bringing London back to life in 'Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows'</p>

Guy Ritchie rocks a sweater as we discuss his work bringing London back to life in 'Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Guy Ritchie on the luxuries of a big-budget London for 'Sherlock Holmes 2'

A casual chat with the filmmaker about world-building

It's not often that I double-dip with interviews for one movie, but that's exactly what happened this past week with Guy Ritchie for his new film, "Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows."

Earlier in the week, I ran our podcast interview, which was about twenty solid minutes with the director talking about a number of different aspects of making the film, including working with Robert Downey Jr., a demanding collaborator by all accounts, and how they handled Moriarty.  But one of the things we didn't have a chance to talk about it is actually one of the things that interests me most in the film.

I think it's safe to say I've been preoccupied with London most of my life.  I fell in love with English pop culture young, and one of the great pleasures of my professional life has been the way I've been able to repeatedly visit London and tour various corners of it, including some of the soundstages and studios where many of my favorite films were made.

Read Full Post
<p>William Joyce is imagining a new relationship between Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and more in his multi-media project that kicks off in movie theaters next year with 'Rise Of The Guardians'</p>

William Joyce is imagining a new relationship between Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and more in his multi-media project that kicks off in movie theaters next year with 'Rise Of The Guardians'

Credit: Dreamworks Animation

We sit down with William Joyce for a first look at 'Rise Of The Guardians'

Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and the Sandman are coming next year

It's strange when you realize that the people who you flip out about meeting are rarely the ones you expect will make you have that reaction.  I've met people whose work has been important to me my whole life and handled it with relative grace and calm, and then I've also met a few people who rattled me face-to-face simply because I didn't understand quite how significant their work is to me.

William Joyce is one of those people.

I love reading to my kids, and the books that end up in the constant rotation, the ones that we come back to over and over again, are the ones where the art and the prose are both approached with care and with soul.  We've sampled books from dozens if not hundreds of authors, and there are certain guys who went right to the top of the permanent pile as soon as we read the books for the first time, and an uncommon number of those books were written and illustrated by William Joyce.

They are gorgeous, designed and painted with delicate wit and a lush sense of imagination, books like "Bently and Egg" and "Buddy" and "Santa Calls" and "The Leaf Men," and he's the creator of the "Rolie Polie Olie" books and TV show.  His work has been a key part of films like "Meet The Robinsons" and "Robots," and he's just published two new books as part of what sounds like the biggest overall property of his career.

Read Full Post
<p>Fee fi fo fum, I smell Nicholas Hoult starring in Bryan Singer's 'Jack The Giant Killer'</p>

Fee fi fo fum, I smell Nicholas Hoult starring in Bryan Singer's 'Jack The Giant Killer'

Credit: New Line/Legendary

Watch: First trailer for Bryan Singer's 'Jack The Giant Killer' is ambitious but uneven

Fingers crossed that this ends well, but the campaign's off to an odd start

I am dying to see how "Jack The Giant Killer" plays out next year, both as a movie and as a commercial release, because both things are important to the ongoing development of Bryan Singer as a filmmaker.

Creatively, I feel like Singer's one of the most successful guys working who doesn't really have what I can point at as a particular, recognizable voice, nor is there any special theme that runs through his work, aside from perhaps an odd preoccupation with Nazis.  And one could argue that his two biggest films were big because of a general interest in X-Men, not because of Singer.

He's also been one of those guys who has developed a number of fairly pricey films that haven't come to fruition, big movies like a "Logan's Run" remake or a "Battlestar Galactica" bigscreen reboot.  And his "Superman Returns" was a very very expensive almost, well-crafted but generally underwhelming.  He's in a position right now where he is still considered an A-list filmmaker, but it's about time he starts actually being that filmmaker.

Read Full Post
<p>Jared Harris doesn't even look remotely evil, which makes it surprising to see how good he is at it in 'Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows'</p>

Jared Harris doesn't even look remotely evil, which makes it surprising to see how good he is at it in 'Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Jared Harris on becoming Moriarty in 'Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows'

We talk about how to play evil without giving in to cliche

Sitting down to talk to Jared Harris about his work in the new film "Sherlock Holmes - A Game Of Shadows," I was excited not just because he's playing Professor Moriarty in the sequel to Guy Ritchie's first big hit adventure with the pulp detective, but also because of the full body of work that Harris has been putting together.

It must be hard as an actor when your father is not just a well-known person, but an undeniable legend.  There's no other way to describe Richard Harris, though, and a career like his casts a shadow over the entire English film community, not just the career of his son.

Despite that, Jared Harris has been very good over the course of his career at defining himself on terms totally removed from his father's identity.  He's been great on "Mad Men" the last few seasons, and he's always been a bit of a chameleon, vanishing into roles in a way his father never could.  I still remember being impressed by his run of films around '95, '96, when he was in "Smoke" and "Dead Man" and especially "I Shot Andy Warhol," and he seemed like such a great new presence.

Read Full Post