<p>I'm having trouble picturing this as the basis for a new mega-franchise, but I guess that's why I'm not JJ&nbsp;Abrams</p>

I'm having trouble picturing this as the basis for a new mega-franchise, but I guess that's why I'm not JJ Abrams

Credit: Hasbro

JJ Abrams and 'Zombieland' writers team up for 'Micronauts' movie

Now what the heck are they supposed to do?

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that Hasbro wants to keep making new movies based on their toy and game products.  After all, "Transformers 3" looks to be one of the highest-grossing films of the year, and they've had pretty good luck so far in their relationship with Hollywood.

The "Micronauts" property has passed through many hands over the years.  I remember having a conversation with Gale Anne Hurd's company about the material years ago when they were looking for a writer, and the thing that struck me as we looked through the materials they offered us was that this is even less of a fully-realized concept or world than something like "Transformers," and whoever does finally turn this into a film is going to have an uphill battle to figure out what story they're telling.

I guess it's a good thing they've got JJ Abrams producing and Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese onboard as screenwriters.

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Tintin and Snowy get ready for adventure on the new one-sheet for 'The Adventures Of Tintin'
Tintin and Snowy get ready for adventure on the new one-sheet for 'The Adventures Of Tintin'
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Exclusive: New 'Tintin' poster puts Tintin and Snowy at the heart of adventure

Not many other faces on the new poster, but it's looking good

Now that people are starting to review "The Adventures Of Tintin," and the word seems to be largely positive, it's going to be even harder for American film fans to wait for Christmas.

I understand why "Tintin" is coming out everywhere else first.  The character is iconic in Europe in a way that it just isn't here in America.  Even so, I think a two month gap is going to be almost sadistic once people start talking about how well Spielberg and Jackson and an army of WETA animators have managed to bring Herge's creation to life.

Today, we've got the new one-sheet for the movie, and it looks like Paramount's finally got Tintin's face front and center.  People have been talking ever since the first bit of footage or the first few stills that it seems like the advertising has cleverly hidden the faces and the mouths of the characters because of the uncanny valley issue.  Here, we've got the intrepid reporter looking right into the camera, and it's fascinating how his design seems to honor Herge's intention while still playing much closer to "real."

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<p>Will they use 'Twilight Zone' creator Rod Serling's image in some way in the new 'Twilight Zone' movie?&nbsp; I sort of hope they do.</p>

Will they use 'Twilight Zone' creator Rod Serling's image in some way in the new 'Twilight Zone' movie?  I sort of hope they do.

Credit: CBS/Image

'Let Me In' director Matt Reeves steps into 'The Twilight Zone'

Rod Serling's greatest creation is heading back to the bigscreen

There are little movie trivia facts that I love to trot out in certain conversations just because I love the reactions from people when they hear them.  For example, whenever 1983's "Twilight Zone: The Movie" comes up, I love to point out that the original plan wasn't to make an anthology film.  Instead, they considered telling one story and simply branding it with the name "Twilight Zone" to kick off a series of films. 

The script they were going to use for the film was "Miracle Mile."  Yes, the same "Miracle Mile" that eventually got made with Anthony Edwards as the lead.  That was very nearly the first "Twilight Zone" movie, and I wonder what would have happened if that had been the approach.

It sounds like the new Warner Bros. feature is returning to the concept of one film, one story, and they've been developing a script by Jason Rothenberg for a while now, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, and Michael Ireland producing for their company Appian Way.  We've heard a lot of speculation about who would direct the film, but it appears they've finally made their choice, and I think it's a pretty great decision.

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<p>Leonardo DiCaprio is the star of two movies that are now scheduled to go head-to-head on Christmas Day 2012.</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio is the star of two movies that are now scheduled to go head-to-head on Christmas Day 2012.

Credit: AP Photo/Phil Klein

Leonardo DiCaprio vs Leonardo DiCaprio in a battle of release dates

'Gatsby' and 'Django' will go head to head now on Christmas 2012

One of the strangest scheduling moments on the film calendar this year happens in December, where we get not one but two new films from director Steven Spielberg in the space of a week.  Considering he hasn't had a new film in theaters in the last three years, that seems like a strange traffic jam to end up on the books.

Still, "The Adventures Of Tintin" and "War Horse" are very different movies, and I don't see much cross-over in audiences.  I think one is aimed at families and young viewers and its an adventure movie, and the other definitely skews older, a sprawling emotion war story.  They play to different strengths that Spielberg has as a director, and I think there's room for both of them to be successful without cannibalizing each other.

Next Christmas, though, an even more bizarre head-to-head match-up is on the books, and I can't imagine it actually plays out the way it looks on paper right now, because one of the studios involved will have to blink and figure out a new date.  We can't really be getting two new Leonardo DiCaprio movies on the same day, can we?

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<p>Don't be jealous, Yoda... all you need is six weeks with the 'Darh Sidious Buns Of Steel' videos and you, too, could be tight like Maul.</p>

Don't be jealous, Yoda... all you need is six weeks with the 'Darh Sidious Buns Of Steel' videos and you, too, could be tight like Maul.

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm Ltd.

'Phantom Menace' 3D release gets a new poster with no Anakin

The first trailer won't be in theaters for a few weeks but the one-sheet's here now

It is appropriate timing here in the McWeeny house for a "Phantom Menace 3D" poster to show up.  After all, we're exactly halfway into our six-part "Star Wars" series on Film Nerd 2.0, and the film we just watched on Monday was, indeed, the controversial 1999 film that brought "Star Wars" back to the bigscreen.

So it was that today when the boys got home from school and I showed them both the poster, there was much rejoicing.  These kids simply accept that 3D is part of the theatrical experience today, so much so that when a film comes out that is not in 3D, they think something's wrong.  I'm shocked at how closely Toshi pays attention to the fine print in the movie trailers and the TV spots that he watches.  He's been seeing 3D movies as part of his movie diet since he first started going to the movie theater.  I remember taking him to a press screening of "The Ant Bully" where we got seated next to the film's executive producer, Tom Hanks, who seemed quietly delighted when Toshi ripped off his glasses and hurled them about six rows away three minutes into the film.

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<p>Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and Kermit the Frog appear to be getting the big-screen treatment they deserve in 'The Muppets' this holiday season.</p>

Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and Kermit the Frog appear to be getting the big-screen treatment they deserve in 'The Muppets' this holiday season.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

New 'Muppets' trailer is both inspirational and celebrational

It looks like the new film really is a perfect summation of their enduring appeal

Did I really just hear a bunch of chickens sing Cee-Lo's "F**k You"?

God bless The Muppets.

I haven't posted every one of the many parody trailers for this film because, while I admire the effort by Disney, I'm more interested in the film they're really releasing.  And now that we've got the new and much longer trailer for "The Muppets," there's a point that the preview raises that explains some of the thinking behind those parody trailers.

"You're not famous anymore."  Hard thing to believe for anyone who was raised in a Jim Henson world, but it's somewhat true these days.  While "Sesame Street" is still a powerhouse brand, the Muppets themselves have been on simmer for a while now.  Over the last few years, ever since I was on set for the "Dracula" musical segment at the end of "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," I've been having an ongoing conversation with Jason Segel about the Muppets.  He's a huge fan, and making a new movie involving the classic Muppets has been a dream of his.

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<p>Julianne Hough is just one of the many reasons to enjoy Craig Brewer's new remake of the '80s dance film 'Footloose'</p>

Julianne Hough is just one of the many reasons to enjoy Craig Brewer's new remake of the '80s dance film 'Footloose'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: Craig Brewer finds the beat for appealing remake of 'Footloose'

HitFix
B
Readers
n/a
Great chemistry is the secret to a successful update of the '80s fave

Much of 1980s pop culture bounced off of me.  There were many giant hits that I simply wasn't interested in, and "Footloose" was one of those.  I saw it.  I was aware of it.  The soundtrack was omnipresent.  But it wasn't really my cup of tea.  It was only later, looking at it in the context of Herbert Ross's career, that I considered the film and really appreciated what it is.  The film works as a story of teenage rebellion and it works as a dance-based musical for the age in which it was made.  Ross was the right choice for that picture based on his history with musical films, and his "Turning Point" is one of the classic dance movies of all time.

Hiring Craig Brewer to helm the remake of the film was inspired, and it pays off as a choice in the way he's approached the material.  Brewer's script is reverential to Dean Pitchford's script for the original, but it also manages to have its own voice.  The film opens with a sequence that immediately recalls the title sequence from the original film, close-ups of dancing feet, a great way to kick off with energy and charm and letting the audience know that it's going to get something familiar but with a new edge to it.

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<p>Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton go head-to-head with a familiar monster in the new prequel, 'The Thing'</p>

Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton go head-to-head with a familiar monster in the new prequel, 'The Thing'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: Irritating prequel to 'The Thing' gets the big choices wrong

HitFix
C+
Readers
C
If all you want is a slick 'Alien' ripoff, you might be happy

For those of us who were avid filmgoers in 1982, the last few years have been very strange.  First they made a sequel to "TRON" that cost several hundred million dollars, which is just plain strange considering the way the first film fizzled at the box-office.  They recently announced plans for a return to the world of "Blade Runner," another movie that just didn't work at the box-office, and now we've got this weekend's release of a prequel to John Carpenter's "The Thing," another choice that makes no logical business sense.

I love Carpenter's film.  I loved it when I saw it in 1982.  As time has passed, I've grown more and more impressed by what Carpenter accomplished, and I've also come to view it as a bit of a miracle.  It is one of the bleakest films I've ever seen, completely pessimistic.  It features some of the most disturbingly surreal imagery in any horror film, but it is also a model of restraint.  I love that time has been kind to Carpenter's movie, and I love the way it's grown in time just like "Blade Runner" has, slowly but surely pushing the film's overall reputation from "bomb" to "overlooked gem." 

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<p>I checked, and there are no staple scars in Adewale Akinnuoye-Agabaje's head, so I still have no idea how he kept his hat on in 'Oz'</p>

I checked, and there are no staple scars in Adewale Akinnuoye-Agabaje's head, so I still have no idea how he kept his hat on in 'Oz'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje talks 'Oz,' 'Lost,' and fighting 'The Thing'

The TV star talks about playing the reality in a horror film

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is one of those actors who makes an immediate impression when you see him onscreen, whether it was on the HBO series "Oz," where he played the rightly-feared Adebisi, or on "Lost," where he was Mr. Eko, one of the many intriguing loose ends that the show dangled over the years.

When we sat down to talk last week, though, it was regarding his role as Jameson in the new prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 horror film, "The Thing."  He's paired with Joel Edgerton in the film, two Americans who fly in late in the game, and he's got some pretty key moments involving the monster.  We talked about how to sell the reality of something as outrageous as this.

I find him intriguing because of how he's conventionally used in films and how much that goes against who he seems to be in real life.  He speaks several languages, he's well-traveled, and he seems like a guy who can hold forth on any number of subjects.  On film, he's frequently cast as "the scary guy," which is a shame.  It uses just one little part of who he is, and even in this brief conversation, it was obvious that he's got more to offer.

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<p>Ben Stiller and Matthew Broderick co-star in the new caper comedy 'Tower Heist'</p>

Ben Stiller and Matthew Broderick co-star in the new caper comedy 'Tower Heist'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Universal backs off 'Tower Heist' VOD test when theater owners protest

What does this mean for the future of the theatrical window?

What a difference a week makes.

It was last Wednesday that we published a story about the VOD test that Universal Studios was planning with "Tower Heist," the new Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller comedy directed by Brett Ratner.  In that piece, I wrote "What I'm really curious about is what backlash there might be from theater owners."

Looks like the backlash was immediate and effective.

Universal has now cancelled their VOD test entirely because theater owners threatened to not play the film at all.  Universal says they are going to continue to look at new ways to play with what they're calling the "premium home video on demand," or PVOD, and that they still plan on conducting an experiment into the idea soon.

NATO, the National Association of Theater Owners, responded to the announcement with a public statement of their own, saying "NATO recognizes that studios need to find new models and opportunities in the home market, and looks forward to distributors and exhibitors working together for their mutual benefit."

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