<p>I'd go so far as to say that without Kendrick, there is no 'Pitch Perfect' sequel</p>

I'd go so far as to say that without Kendrick, there is no 'Pitch Perfect' sequel

Credit: Universal Pictures

Elizabeth Banks set to direct Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson in 'Pitch Perfect 2'

Universal's got to consider this a top priority

"Pitch Perfect" was one of those surprises that movie studios thrive on, a small film that Universal no doubt expected would be a modest hit. It blew up into a genuine sensation, though, propelled in large part by its preposterously catch soundtrack and the unstoppable nature of Anna Kendrick's cover of "Cups."

If you run a Google search for that term, "Anna Kendrick Cups," you get 12,800,000 results. I didn't even realize that the actual name of the song is "When I'm Gone." It's just become ubiquitous under the easier name. The film also helped break Rebel Wilson internationally, and one of the things that served as punctuation in the film was the cutaways to Elizabeth Banks as one of the judges in the singing competition. Banks was a producer on the film, and she was the one who brought the project to Universal in the first place.

It looks like Banks is taking full creative control of the inevitable sequel to the film now, according to a report today. In addition to appearing in the sequel and co-producing it again, Banks will direct the sequel, and it appears they'll have both Kendrick and Wilson back as well.

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<p>Under NATO's new guidelines, we'd still be waiting for our first look at 'Jupiter Ascending'</p>

Under NATO's new guidelines, we'd still be waiting for our first look at 'Jupiter Ascending'

Credit: Warner Bros.

Theater owners establish new guidelines for trailers and posters for upcoming movies

Does this really address the problems it should address?

If you're going to establish new rules about the content of movie trailers, can we start with some sort of agreement about not including any shots from the last 45 minutes of the film?

The National Association Of Theater Owners has had rules in place about the content and length of movie trailers for quite a while, allowing a few exceptions per year. One of those rules held the running time of a trailer to under 2:30, but it appears they've decided that trailers are too long in general now, and they're reducing the maximum running time by thirty full seconds.

What I find most interesting is the idea that they're setting a new rule about how early you can start advertising a film. Right now, it is not uncommon to see teaser trailers a full year ahead of a movie's release, especially if you're talking about giant summer blockbusters. The new rule would establish that no trailer can be released more than five months before a film's release date, while marketing materials like posters and standees would be held to a mere four months before a film's arrival in theaters.

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<p>Gareth Evans took some time out from making the most badass films being made right now to talk to us about making those uber-badass movies during the Sundance Film Festival.</p>

Gareth Evans took some time out from making the most badass films being made right now to talk to us about making those uber-badass movies during the Sundance Film Festival.

Credit: HitFix

Director Gareth Evans discusses breaking bones and blowing minds with 'The Raid 2'

Watch me as I realize Evans pulled off the impossible for real in his film

PARK CITY - Even before planning for the Sundance Film Festival began at HitFix headquarters in LA, I had challenged director Gareth Evans and the cast of his new film "The Raid 2: Berendal" to a snowball fight in Park City.

After all, for the cast, this is their first time traveling together to a place with snow. Co fight master and co-star Yayan Ruhian had never seen snow in his life when he arrived, and according to Evans, Ruhian's first reaction was to grab two big handfuls of snow and just smash them to his face. His second reaction was to immediately regret his first reaction.

The damnedest thing happened, though. There was no real snow at Sundance this year. The weather's been cold and clear and dry, and so when we finally got to the day where I was scheduled to talk to the cast and the crew of "The Raid 2," we decided to shoot the chats inside the Yarrow Hotel, one of the two hotels that serve as part of the nerve center of Sundance.

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<p>Could Motoko Kusanagi finally be on her way to the big-screen, and if so, who in the heck is going to play her?</p>

Could Motoko Kusanagi finally be on her way to the big-screen, and if so, who in the heck is going to play her?

Credit: Production IG

Rupert Sanders reportedly set for 'Ghost In The Shell' movie at Dreamworks

Will this Spielberg pet project finally get off the ground?

I remember the first wave of Hollywood's flirtation with anime, and it was obvious at the time that none of the films that they talked about making were actually going to get made. They would have all been prohibitively expensive and even more prohibitively bizarre, a combination that never ends well for studios.

For a while, Guillermo Del Toro was positively manic about getting "Domu" made as a movie, and I'll admit… I would have loved to have seen that, but I acknowledge that as a commercial proposition, that is insane. "Akira" has gone through the development mill for years with any number of different directors attached, and I've read several radically different scripts for that potential project over that time. James Cameron came very close to making "Battle Angel Alita" instead of "Avatar," and there was a period of time where he transformed an entire floor of the Lightstorm building, allowing his artists to work in the environment from the movie, with the rich people's paradise overhead and the garbage-strewn Earth below.

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<p>Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion share a few laughs as we talk about their outrageous horror-comedy 'Cooties'</p>

Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion share a few laughs as we talk about their outrageous horror-comedy 'Cooties'

Credit: HitFix

Directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion talk about giving 'Cooties' to Sundance

We talk about possible sequels, balancing laughs and scares, and more

One of the hardest tickets to get at this year's Sundance Film Festival was for the midnight premiere of "Cooties," a film by Jonathan Millott and Cary Murnion, but thanks to a miracle from a publicist on the film, I managed to get into the Egyptian, and I had a pretty darn good time in the process.

We featured an interview here the other day with Elijah Wood and his two partners in Spectrevision, his production company that is focused on genre movies that defy easy description, and that credo is on full display in both "Cooties" and "A Girl Who Walks Home Alone At Night," which they also produced. "Cooties" is one of those films that is doing several different things at once, and it's not easy to bring those together in a way that feels like one coherent voice.

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<p>This picture makes me unreasonably happy.</p>

This picture makes me unreasonably happy.

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

'Fast and Furious' director Justin Lin buys 'Battered Bastards of Baseball' remake rights

Todd Field negotiating now to write and direct the story he lived

Justin Lin has bought himself an enormous amount of room to try new things for his next few films as both director and producer. He took the "Fast and Furious" series from being an agreeable little batch of B-movies to the souped-up lunatic musclehead epics that they've become, and he turned them into international sensations in the process.

Part of the "secret" of what Lin did so well with that series was the way he cast it as a sort of multi-ethnic Avengers, with lots of people who would never typically play the hero in Hollywood films suddenly front and center. There is an inclusiveness to these movies that is really appealing, and yet it never feels like a political stunt. He just put together a fun ensemble that happened to include more than the standard white faces.

What I find most interesting about the announcement that Justin Lin will be working to turn "The Battered Bastards Of Baseball" into a narrative feature is that Lin bought the rights himself for his production company, Perfect Storm, and managed to shut out Columbia, Fox, and Dreamworks, who were all also chasing the rights.

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<p>Remember when this kicked off a brand-new trilogy of 'Terminator' films? It didn't?&nbsp;Hmmmmmm...</p>

Remember when this kicked off a brand-new trilogy of 'Terminator' films? It didn't? Hmmmmmm...

Credit: Warner Bros.

'American Hustle' producer backs out of 'Terminator' reboot

Have no fear, though, Paramount's still pushing forward with it

Pretty much any time the name "Megan Ellison" comes up around film nerds right now, you'll see the same giddy reaction. She has only been involved in the world of film financing for a few years now, but she's had an amazing string of credits so far, and she's helped make films that would otherwise not exist.

We need more people like Ellison in the world of film finance. One of the reasons I am a big fan of Thomas Tull and Legendary Pictures is because he makes decisions that no one else would. "Pacific Rim" exists only because Tull shared the same lunatic dream as Travis Beacham and Guillermo Del Toro, and thank god for that. Ellison has proven that she will take chances on artists she believes in, even if something doesn't make "business" sense on paper. "Zero Dark Thirty," "American Hustle," "Killing Them Softly," "The Master"... that's an intriguing list that speaks to her interests as a filmmaker.

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<p>Philippe Petit pretty much lived out my worst nightmare, and he did it VOLUNTARILY. Insane.</p>

Philippe Petit pretty much lived out my worst nightmare, and he did it VOLUNTARILY. Insane.

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Report: Joseph Gordon-Levitt will star in Zemeckis version of 'Man On Wire'

Look out, Cuaron... Bobby Z wants his crown as king of the FX film back

We all know that studios chase success.

The problem is that they often chase it in the wrong ways. Instead of truly digging into an audience's reaction and looking at ways to help serve a certain desire the audience has, they frequently just imitate on a surface level. I'd like to think that the conversations that have no doubt resulted from the phenomenal success of "Gravity" would lead to something along the lines of the proposed film version of "To Reach The Clouds" by Robert Zemeckis, with a script by Zemeckis and Christopher Browne.

Philippe Petit was the focus of the riveting documentary "Man On Wire," and the thought of what Zemeckis could do with 3D cameras during Petit's attempt to walk between the two World Trade Center towers a full 1350 feet off the ground is pretty exciting. I don't have many phobias that are genuinely a problem for me, but heights is the one that gets me. When I am in a very high place, even if I know I'm safely protected behind glass, I get vertigo so extreme that I want to fall down. Always have. And if Robert Zemeckis does what I know he's capable of doing with the Petit story, I fully expect I will collapse out of a theater seat.

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<p>Matt Walsh plays a man who feels victimized by his local government in 'Hits,' the first film written and directed by comedian David Cross.</p>

Matt Walsh plays a man who feels victimized by his local government in 'Hits,' the first film written and directed by comedian David Cross.

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Review: David Cross makes a disappointing directorial debut with 'Hits'

HitFix
C
Readers
n/a
Easy targets don't provide nearly enough laughs or outrage

PARK CITY - David Cross has never seemed to me like someone who is completely comfortable with his own role in pop culture.

There are a number of things Cross should be proud of, with "Mr. Show" holding a deserved spot at the epicenter of '90s alternative comedy in Los Angeles. One of the reasons that show was so endlessly great was because Cross and his creative partner Bob Odenkirk both knew tons of wildly funny people who they could call on to come and play when they had their show. When Cross and Odenkirk made the "Mr. Show" movie, "Run Ronnie Run," it was not an easy or satisfying experience for either one of them, and while I think there are things to like about it, they never quite managed to figure out how to make a film feel as free and inventive as the show did from week to week. I think they were both frustrated by choices that were made that they couldn't really challenge or change since they weren't the directors, and Odenkirk made the jump to directing films for himself a while ago. It certainly wasn't a foregone conclusion that Cross would also end up directing, but it's a natural progression.

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<p>Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan eat their way across Italy in the aptly-titled 'The Trip To Italy'</p>

Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan eat their way across Italy in the aptly-titled 'The Trip To Italy'

Credit: IFC Films

Review: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon return in the low-key sequel 'The Trip To Italy'

HitFix
B
Readers
n/a
While this may not dig deep, it certainly has pleasures to offer

PARK CITY - When I saw "The Trip," I saw the feature film version, not the six-episode television series, and I thought it was an enjoyable lark. It's not the most profound or the most enjoyable film from Michael Winterbottom's filmography, but it might be the easiest to share with other people.

After all, it's basically just Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan trading riffs on food, love, and Michael Caine for a few hours. One of the things I found most fascinating when I saw it again was how Coogan and Brydon are playing fictionalized versions of themselves, so you can't call the film a documentary, no matter how much it feels like one at times. One of the stylistic touches that I appreciate is that they aren't trying to pretend it's a documentary. It allows Winterbottom to shoot very intimate moments without having to justify why a camera would be there or why Coogan and Brydon would allow certain things to be shot. It's a subtle approach, but a careful distinction, especially in this one as we see that Brydon's not quite the amiable family man he appeared to be in the first one and that Coogan doesn't quite fit the role of perpetual cad that he's been associated with so often.

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