<p>Zoe Saldana prepares to kill another of the people who hurt her family in 'Colombiana,' a new action film in theaters today</p>

Zoe Saldana prepares to kill another of the people who hurt her family in 'Colombiana,' a new action film in theaters today

Credit: Tri-Star Pictures

Review: 'Colombiana' gives Zoe Saldana room to play but fumbles its finish

HitFix
C+
Readers
n/a
A stronger script could have made this something special

Although I rarely go nuts for the individual movies, taken as a whole, I am a fan of the Luc Besson factory of action filmmaking.  That's what you have to call it at this point, too.  It's a factory.  They crank these things out without pause, and there is a certain degree of slick that they all aspire to that I find to be one of my favorite flavors of modern action.  It's all very Euro and trashy but with a high degree of gloss, and every now and then they throw in a movie star you don't expect like Liam Neeson in "Taken."

In particular, I'm fascinated by the way Besson is drawn to this one particular female archetype over and over, the broken little girl who grows up with vengeance in her heart, and his latest film, "Colombiana," is a solid example of that.  The film is undercooked as a script, but Zoe Saldana commits to it with such ferocity that she makes it feel like everything matters, even when the script doesn't lay out a case for what that is.  The hilariously-named Olivier Megaton may be the director here, but Besson's fingerprints are all over the movie, and I think it's safe to call him the auteur behind this chaos.

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<p>Zoe Saldana is flush with success these days and kicking ass for Luc Besson in the new film 'Colombiana'</p>

Zoe Saldana is flush with success these days and kicking ass for Luc Besson in the new film 'Colombiana'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: 'Colombiana' star Zoe Saldana talks action iconography and 'Avatar 2'

We talk about working with Cameron and Besson and what's next

Zoe Saldana, like Andy Serkis, stands on the cutting edge of what is considered "performance" right now, and, also like Andy Serkis, she is one of the people I would point to when I make the argument that performance capture is not a special effect, but an extension of the actor in a way previously impossible.

I sat down with her once before, at the press day for "The Losers," and that was a fun interview.  This time, I walked into the room with a couple of guests, one of whom is a big, big fan of her work.  It was one of the mornings I spend with the boys each week while mom's out working, and so they accompanied me to the Four Seasons so we could record this chat.  I'd just seen "Colombiana" the day before, and the only person scheduled to be interviewed here in LA was Saldana.  Toshi, who had a minor religious experience when he saw "Star Trek" in the theater, was insanely excited at the idea of meeting Uhura, but when I told him that she also played Naytiri in "Avatar," he couldn't wrap his head around it.  He was four when the film played theaters, and he was overwhelmed by it.  To him, the Na'vi were real, and Naytiri was simply a beautiful strange blue alien woman.  And now that he's met her face-to-face, blushing from head to toe the entire time he talked to her, he hasn't stopped talking about it in the 36 hours since.  I think it's safe to say she just made a lifelong fan of the boy.

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<p>Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo star in the new black and white silent comedy 'The Artist,' and there's a trailer now for the film</p>

Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo star in the new black and white silent comedy 'The Artist,' and there's a trailer now for the film

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Watch: The first trailer for the black and white silent comedy 'The Artist' arrives

Why do trailers want to ruin films?

I feel bad about offering this up for you without checking it out myself, but I'm seeing the film next week, and I don't want to spoil a frame of it for myself.

Then again, I'm already sold on this one.  Jean Dujardin is an actor I truly admire and enjoy, and I love the "OSS 117" comedies he made with this director, Michel Hazanavicius.  When I heard they were making a silent black-and-white film together, I was intrigued right away.  The only reason I didn't see this at Cannes this summer was because of an unfortunate bus schedule.  I've been doing my best to be patient since that point, and it's killing me.  I'm very pleased it's going to be at Toronto, and I'll have a review for you from that festival.

In the meantime, though, if you want to take a look and just get an idea if this is something you're interested in or not, you can check out the trailer over at iTunes, where it is an exclusive premiere.  Or you might not, because the people I know who have seen the film say that trailer almost ruins the entire movie.

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<p>Robert Downey Jr. joined Disney chairman Rich Ross at the D23 Expo in Anaheim last weekend, and we discuss the almost alarming message that seemed to underline the event in this week's podcast</p>

Robert Downey Jr. joined Disney chairman Rich Ross at the D23 Expo in Anaheim last weekend, and we discuss the almost alarming message that seemed to underline the event in this week's podcast

Credit: Walt Disney Company

The Motion/Captured Podcast: D23, The Death Of Story, and a fistful of home video reviews

We've got a rundown of this week's new films for you, as well

Scott Swan is in rare form this week, folks.

The more I hear feedback on the podcast, the more I want to push these to be casual conversations between two lifelong film nerd friends, with just the slightest hint of professional format.  That seems to be what you like, if you like anything at all about the show.  Scott and I could seriously just sit and gab about nothing at all for hours, so if I give us a few topics and a little bit of direction, it magically turns from "two guys sitting in my office" to "podcast," and this week was a really nice example of how much we can get out of just a bare bones outline.

For example, this week's round of Movie God is a big one, but that's because the game itself is designed to encourage digression.  If you play it and you don't end up having a sprawling aimless conversation about movies and filmmakers, you might be doing it wrong.  Scott makes some big choices this week, and I will happily forward all hate mail to him when you guys finish listening.

We cover a pretty wide range of topics this week, and we brought back the DVD reviews this week, but we're doing them differently.  Instead of just running down a list of what's coming out, which you can find in about a hundred different places online, we're going to go through a stack each time, and I'll publish a picture of the stack here so that you can easily see if you're interested in the DVD reviews or not.

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<p>Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton face off in 'Warrior,' the thrilling new drama that arrives in theaters next month</p>

Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton face off in 'Warrior,' the thrilling new drama that arrives in theaters next month

Credit: Lionsgate

Review: 'Warrior' gives Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton compelling reasons to fight

HitFix
A+
Readers
A-
Film also features one of Nick Nolte's best performances

THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN UPDATED

Sports movies are hard to make fresh in any significant way, due in large part to the simple formula that most of them follow.  You ultimately come down to one of two endings for your protagonist or protagonists.  Either they win and it's a great victory, or they lose, and it's bittersweet.  Both endings have been played out numerous times, and in almost any sport you can name.  So why do filmmakers continue to return to this genre?

The answer, I believe, is the same reason people watch real sports knowing there are only a few possible outcomes.  There is something within us, some key piece of what makes us social animals, that makes it important to us to invest in this sort of event.  We want to see someone win.  We want to see someone lose.  We want to root for our favorites and hiss at our opponents.  We love the narrative, the combat, the emotional rush that comes when we hand ourselves over to the contest.  And in good sports films, the contest is really just a metaphor for some grander struggle in the lives of the characters we watch.  And in the case of Gavin O'Connor's film "Warrior," he's attempted something I can't honestly remember seeing before in a sports film, and he's pulled it off in spectacular fashion, creating one of the year's most rousing pieces of emotional entertainment as a result.

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<p>Guillermo Del Toro most likely said something filthy here.&nbsp; Not because Katie Holmes is laughing, but because it's Guillermo Del Toro.</p>

Guillermo Del Toro most likely said something filthy here.  Not because Katie Holmes is laughing, but because it's Guillermo Del Toro.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Katie Holmes, Guillermo Del Toro, Bailee Madison discuss 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark'

Meet the cast and producer/writer of this weekend's freaky new film

Okay… here's a clear sign that I've reached a point of pure overload:  I have no recollection of doing these interviews.

At first, I thought our editor was crazy when he sent me an e-mail today asking me if I was ready to publish the interviews I did for "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark," and I wrote him back to say that I wasn't the one who did them.  He insisted that I was and sent me the videos and, sure enough, even though these appear to have been one-camera interviews, it's definitely me asking the questions.

I clearly remember seeing the film at the Los Angeles Film Festival this summer, and I liked it quite a bit.  Watching the interviews now, I am struck by a few things.  First, Bailee Madison can't possibly the age they claim she is.  I'm going to guess she's 38 years old and just a bit on the short side.  Don't believe me?  Check out how incredibly self-possessed she is in the interview that's embedded below:

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<p>Ameena Matthews, seen here, is one of the main characters in the powerful new documentary 'The interrupters'</p>

Ameena Matthews, seen here, is one of the main characters in the powerful new documentary 'The interrupters'

Credit: The Cinema Guild

Review: Documentary 'The Interrupters' offers harrowing, uplifting look at urban violence

HitFix
A
Readers
A+
New film from acclaimed documentarian is one of year's strongest

"Hoop Dreams" is one of the great populist documentaries of all time, a movie that worked as absorbing narrative and important social commentary, and while I like the subsequent films that Steve James has made, "Stevie" and "Reel Paradise" are much more genial, low-key, personable films. 

The thing that made "Hoop Dreams" so hard to shake was the way it refused to play out according to the narrative rules that are ingrained in each and every one of us by the time we're adult moviegoers.  Real life, captured with all of its difficult contradictions intact, is a shock to the system when we recognize it on a movie screen.  We're used to the various filters of bullshit that are part of film storytelling, and one of the hardest things for any filmmaker to do, even when they're shooting a documentary, is to set all of those filters aside and find something honest and real and somehow capture it without killing it.  If "Hoop Dreams" remained the high watermark for Steve James, that would be a tremendous legacy all by itself.  Thankfully, "The Interrupters" is solid proof that James really is a gifted documentarian who can hit hard when he's got the right story to tell, and it's an important look at people doing selfless, challenging work that puts them in harm's way every single day.

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<p>Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, and Emily Mortimer all star in the ensemble comedy 'Our Idiot Brother'</p>

Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, and Emily Mortimer all star in the ensemble comedy 'Our Idiot Brother'

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: Paul Rudd headlines the painful and funny 'Our Idiot Brother'

HitFix
B-
Readers
B-
Strong cast makes the most of a difficult script

"Our Idiot Brother" is a film that wrestles with tone, sometimes unsuccessfully, and it often goes broad at moments that might work better if played more honestly, but it has a great cast that seems willing to play ugly.  That may surprise audiences who are there to see a more overt comedy, but it also makes "Our Idiot Brother" something more than has been advertised, something with more ambition, and it is obvious that director Jesse Peretz is interested in more than cheap laughs.

Expectation can be a difficult thing to manage with a movie, especially when advertising promises you something other than the film you end up seeing in a theater.  In a post-Apatow world, you sell "Our Idiot Brother" as a wacky film about Paul Rudd driving his sisters crazy, and on a very surface level, that is what this film is.  But the script by David Schisgall and Evgenia Peretz is aiming at something more difficult than that, and there are some very tough observations about the way we deal with our families as both children and adults here, and it feels like the cast is struggling at times to figure out exactly how real they're supposed to play this.

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Watch: Paul Rudd talks about Albert Brooks and... 'Conan'?

Watch: Paul Rudd talks about Albert Brooks and... 'Conan'?

An interview with the star gets seriously silly

Paul Rudd is a hardcore comedy nerd.  When you talk film with him, it's obvious that he's got a huge hunger for new comedy, and a huge respect for classic comedy.  I've known him long enough now that it's become obvious that Rudd is one of those people you reach out to when you want to know what's going on in comedy around the world.

When Judd Apatow cast Albert Brooks as Rudd's dad for the currently-shooting "This Is Forty," I e-mailed Rudd just to freak out a little bit.  If you're a comedy fan, there are few people held in esteem as high as Brooks, both as a filmmaker and a performer.  I love that Rudd name-checks "Lost In America" in our interview, and I look forward to finding a time when I can ask him for tons of Brooks stories above and beyond the great one he told during this interview.

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<p>Lovely and funny, Elizabeth Banks seems to appear in about 500 movies a year, including this Friday's 'Our Idiot Brother'</p>

Lovely and funny, Elizabeth Banks seems to appear in about 500 movies a year, including this Friday's 'Our Idiot Brother'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Emily Mortimer and Elizabeth Banks chat about 'Our Idiot Brother'

Two lovely ladies discuss one funny movie in these video interviews

Spending a Saturday afternoon with Rachel Nichols, Rose McGowan, Emily Mortimer, and Elizabeth Banks is hardly coal mining.  There are indeed days where I find it hard to believe that what I do is defined as a "job."  A few weeks ago, they had junkets for both "Conan The Barbarian" and "Our Idiot Brother" on the same day, which made for a very interesting series of conversations on two radically different movies.

Elizabeth Banks, for example, is someone who has been carving out a very strange and unorthodox career for herself, avoiding the sorts of easy crappy romantic comedies that so many actresses end up trapped in.  She's been working for the past decade without interruption, and it was in "Wet Hot American Summer" that she made her first strong impression.  It's fitting that her co-star in that film was Paul Rudd, because both of them got a huge bounce from that movie, proving that they had strong comic chops.  For Banks, there were a number of small roles in big movies like Raimi's "Spider-Man" series and "Catch Me If You Can" while also playing big roles in small movies like "The Baxter." 

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