<p>When Sam Worthington said he wanted to pay tribute to 'Ride The Lightning' in the new fantasy action film 'Wrath Of The Titans,' director Jonathan Liebesman took him literally.</p>

When Sam Worthington said he wanted to pay tribute to 'Ride The Lightning' in the new fantasy action film 'Wrath Of The Titans,' director Jonathan Liebesman took him literally.

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

Watch: New 'Wrath Of The Titans' trailer puts the emphasis on monsters

No one can accuse this sequel of playing it conservative when it comes to scale

I wasn't a big fan of the remake of "Clash Of The Titans," but I do like the genre that it represents.  We need more giant monsters in our movies.  I'd argue we need more giant monsters in all movies, regardless of what they're about.  "The King's Speech" without monsters, for example, might have won Best Picture of 2010, but "The King's Speech" WITH giant monsters?  That would win Best Picture of All Time.  You see the difference?

Even though I didn't really care about anyone or anything in "Clash Of The Titans," they've pretty much guaranteed that I'm excited to see the sequel, "Wrath Of The Titans" because the new trailer that just arrived appears to be wall-to-wall giant monsters, and there ain't nothing wrong with that, philosophically speaking.

We talked to Sam Worthington about what he considers a big fat do-over, and how that gives him a chance to get this one right since he feels like he didn't get it right the first time.  The same was true inside Legendary, which is a shame because I know how much the original "Clash of The Titans" meant to the executives there.  This was not a case of cynically remaking something because of some spreadsheet, but rather a case of someone intensely trying to recapture a feeling they had when they saw something and falling short.

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<p>'YOU&nbsp;CAN'T&nbsp;EMBARGO&nbsp;THE&nbsp;ROCK!' Dwayne Johnson uses Twitter like a blunt instrument and seems to be winning social media in general these days.</p>

'YOU CAN'T EMBARGO THE ROCK!' Dwayne Johnson uses Twitter like a blunt instrument and seems to be winning social media in general these days.

Credit: Dwayne Johnson/Twitter

Dwayne Johnson reportedly in talks to play 'Hercules' for MGM and Ratner

Could this finally be the franchise fit the actor's looking for?

I'm going to post that new "Wrath Of The Titans" trailer in a few, but it's interesting that this would show up on the same day that Variety breaks the news that Dwayne Johnson is going to star in "Big Duh: The Motion Picture."  Wait… sorry… it's "Hercules."  That's what he's starring in. That's what he was genetically created to do, truth be told, so it's good that MGM and Brett Ratner are figuring his deal out.

That's a great break for Ratner, and I think he's going to probably be a good collaborator for Johnson, whose "Team Bring It" attitude travels from set to set with him.  I've seen him work on what must be four or five films in a row now, and he sets a certain energy that everyone else keys in on.  Dwayne Johnson is a major asset to a franchise if the franchise has any juice at all.  He is a big part of what went right with "Fast Five," and he's absolutely at the heart of the "G.I. Joe" reboot. 

Even "Journey 2" gets what little mileage it gets out of him, because he's always working when he's in a scene, always trying to find something to make it work.  He's as dedicated to the little stuff as he is to the big stunt work.  He's an old-fashioned movie star who understands his own image, and he's been very canny so far about how he's played with his iconography.

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<p>Merida (Kelly MacDonald) is determined to take control of her fate in the new animated film 'Brave'</p>

Merida (Kelly MacDonald) is determined to take control of her fate in the new animated film 'Brave'

Credit: Walt Disney Company/Pixar

Watch: Pixar releases 2 1/2 minutes of new fairy tale 'Brave' as new trailer

You can see their new lead character, Merida, take control of her own fate

Disney has now released a two-and-a-half minute trailer for this summer's "Brave," and it's basically a trimmed-down version of one of the movie's key moments which was shown to the press last year at the D23 Expo.

It's a smart moment to use for many reasons.  FIrst, it's a great example of visual storytelling, and in a few quick moments, we learn a lot about the characters, the situation that Merida (Kelly MacDonald) finds herself in, and how she and her parents are at odds over her future.

In addition, it's a lovely example of how quickly Pixar can sketch character.  I feel like even though this is just two-and-a-half minutes long, we get a sense of all three of the suitors who are trying to win Merida's hand in marriage, and we get some sense of the dynamics between all of them.

Finally, I love the animation itself.  In particular, there's a moment in this scene when Merida is about to fire the last of her three arrows, and the physics of that arrow are so accurate, so well-done, that it reminds me just how far Pixar is ahead of most of their competition.

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<p>One of the real-life Navy SEALs who star in 'Act Of Valor,'and snce I assume he owns that gun for real, he's a tremendous actor with a promising future on the bigscreen.&nbsp; Now please stop pointing that at me.</p>

One of the real-life Navy SEALs who star in 'Act Of Valor,'and snce I assume he owns that gun for real, he's a tremendous actor with a promising future on the bigscreen.  Now please stop pointing that at me.

Credit: Relativity Media

Review: 'Act Of Valor' combines real-life Navy SEALs and old-fashioned Z-movie nonsense

HitFix
C-
Readers
C+
Disturbing military pageant is improbable but oddly detailed in its mayhem

"Act of Valor" is a spectacular action epic that is built around a cast of people who could probably kill me.  So… A+.  See it twice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Okay, I hope the real-life Navy SEALs who star in "Act Of Valor" just check that opening paragraph, because truth be told, I think "Act Of Valor" is the action movie equivalent of those Christian-market movies like "Fireproof" that come out, make a "surprising" amount of money, and then vanish again.  Insufferably earnest, it is a stunt more than anything, one hell of a high-concept hook but not much of a movie. 

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<p>Go ahead... you tell this guy he can't have an Oscar on Sunday.&nbsp; I want to see that.</p>

Go ahead... you tell this guy he can't have an Oscar on Sunday.  I want to see that.

Credit: Drafthouse Films

One Thing I Love Today: Exclusive new Mondo poster for Belgian Oscar-nominee 'Bullhead'

A Polish-inspired piece of art for the powerful limited release impresses

I love movie posters.

I know that seems sort of obvious, but if going to the movies is my church (and I think it is), then great movie posters are a sort of article of faith for me, objects that connect me to that thing I love.  One of the reasons I wanted to work at a movie theater when I was a teenager was so that I could have access to the movie posters, and I amassed an absurdly large collection of them, taking home everything that interested me and wallpapering my bedroom to the point where there were posters on top of posters on top of posters, a visual assault of movie-related imagery that I loved waking up to every morning.

Watching the evolution of movie posters over the last 20 years has been sort of disheartening.  Movie advertising in general has become very slick and calculated, and it all looks generally the same.  You see trends where one trailer does something and 50 trailers do the exact same thing because it worked.  You see posters that look like they took an intern 30 minutes to create in Photoshop.  You see an indifference to the idea of movie posters as art, and they are disposable as a result.

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<p>Darren McGavin starred as Carl Kolchak in the original 'Night Stalker' TV&nbsp;series, and when I look at Darren McGavin, I can't help but think 'Johnny Depp'</p>

Darren McGavin starred as Carl Kolchak in the original 'Night Stalker' TV series, and when I look at Darren McGavin, I can't help but think 'Johnny Depp'

Credit: ABC TV/MGM

Johnny Depp and Edgar Wright set to bring Kolchak back for 'The Night Stalker'

Could this be a major monster-driven franchise for Disney?

"The Night Stalker" is one of those "duh" ideas in television history, an idea that is such a natural that it almost seems like an inevitability.  The story of Carl Kolchak, a newspaper reporter who finds himself involved in chasing down the supernatural, the show is a clear precursor of something like "The X-Files," and even thought the series never quite lived up to the promise of the original TV movie, it was one of those shows that got lodged in the consciousness of anyone who saw it when it aired.

Johnny Depp is, of course, starring in this summer's "Dark Shadows," which seems to be taking the somewhat groundbreaking tactic of releasing a giant-budget Tim Burton film without a single poster or trailer.  That's about as cult a cult show as has ever existed, and stepping into the role that Jonathan Frid made creepy is going to be a very interesting role for Depp.  After that, he's headed out west to play Tonto opposite "The Lone Ranger."  So while he's on this particular nostalgia kick, why not throw in Kolchak?

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<p>A whole movie of Daniel Craig beating on people like an ape on meth, with Roger Deakins shooting it.&nbsp; Pinch me, I must be dreaming.</p>

A whole movie of Daniel Craig beating on people like an ape on meth, with Roger Deakins shooting it.  Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

Credit: Sony/EON

First 'Skyfall' videoblog suggests Sam Mendes is a lifelong James Bond fan

Want a quick glimpse of Daniel Craig as 007?

If you haven't picked up on it yet, I'm a little bit excited about "Skyfall."

It's a year where there are some big and significant franchise films coming out, including "The Avengers" and "The Hobbit" and "The Dark Knight Rises," and of all of them, the one that I have to admit has me most worked up and flustered and desperate for information about is "Skyfall."

I like what the Daniel Craig years have brought to the James Bond series, and I think they can do anything right now.  They're not painted into any corners.  They haven't done anything in "Casino Royale" and "Quantum Of Solace" that prevents them from going pretty much anywhere with the storytelling at this point.  There's a lot of groundwork laid in those two films, but to what end?

I think the key here in terms of my excitement is Sam Mendes, who I think is a talented guy whose films don't necessarily fully reflect his skills.  The attitude he's been expressing since coming on-board here, combined with what I've heard about him as a Bond fan in general, has me thinking that the producers picked the right guy to handle the 50th anniversary James Bond movie, and that there's something special in the works for us this year.

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<p>Peter MacNicol and Burt Reynolds starred together in the terrible 1986 film 'Heat,' so what's got Jason Statham eager to make it again?</p>

Peter MacNicol and Burt Reynolds starred together in the terrible 1986 film 'Heat,' so what's got Jason Statham eager to make it again?

Credit: New Century Vista Films

Remake This! Why is Brian DePalma directing Jason Statham in 'Heat'?

One of William Goldman's weakest gets a second time at bat, but why?

I don't do a REMAKE THIS! column every week, although with the rate at which Hollywood churns through old material right now, I'm sure I could.

Instead, I try to reserve them for moments where they either stumble across the exact right piece of material or those moments where they make a decision that is so baffling it's worth closer examination.

For example, the other night, I was working in my office and I decided to put on the Burt Reynolds movie "Heat."  I did this for a few reasons.  First, it's been in my Netflix Instant queue for about three months, one of many movies I added in one of those late-night moments of "Hey, I recognize that and remember absolutely nothing about it even though I'm sure I've seen it."  That probably accounts for about 1/3 of what's in that queue at the moment.  But "Heat" in particular was on my mind because of the recent news that Brian DePalma is planning to remake it with Jason Statham playing the lead and William Goldman once again adapting his own novel.

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<p>Jules and Grayson begin their third-season journey in the most glamorous of locations on the season premiere of 'Cougar Town'</p>

Jules and Grayson begin their third-season journey in the most glamorous of locations on the season premiere of 'Cougar Town'

Credit: ABC

One Thing I Love Today: 'Cougar Town' deserves your attention

An old column returns and kicks off with a look at the underdog ABC comedy

I got a truly lovely e-mail from a reader recently, in response to the "To Kill A Mockingbird" piece I posted last week, and one thing it did was remind me that one of the best columns I ever started only to tank later was "One Thing I Love Today," a minimalist's version of The Morning Read.  And, yes, as someone pointed out on my James Bond article this morning, I have a terrific track record of starting things I never finish.  My problem isn't that I'm lazy… it's the opposite.  I try to do too many things, and that ends up biting me in the ass more often than not.  So I've been thinking about how to handle The Morning Read, which many of you have requested, and which won't be coming back.

I've got to confess that as much as I liked The Morning Read, it wasn't a traffic generator, and to do it well, it takes more time than the readership ever justified.  It sent a lot of traffic out, but it didn't always result in a lot of traffic for us.  And while it may sound craven to talk about traffic and page views and the like, I work in a digital media where readership is quantified, absolutely.

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<p>Sean Connery made his first appearance as 'Bond... James Bond' in the 1962 film adaptation of 'Dr. No'</p>

Sean Connery made his first appearance as 'Bond... James Bond' in the 1962 film adaptation of 'Dr. No'

Credit: MGM/UA

James Bond Declassified: File #1 - "Dr. No" kicks off our look back at the classic series

HitFix
B+
Readers
B
A look at the first film and the sixth book in one of the biggest spy series ever

JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
File #1:  "Dr. No"

This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.

Directed by Terence Young
Screenplay by Richard Maibaum & Johanna Harwood & Berkley Mather

CHARACTERS/CAST
James Bond / Sean Connery
Honeychile Ryder / Ursula Andress
Dr. Julius No / Joseph Wiseman
Felix Leiter / Jack Lord
M / Bernard Lee
Professor RJ Dent / Anthony Dawson
Miss Taro / Zena Marshall
Quarrel / John Kitzmuller
Sylvia Trench / Eunice Gayson
Miss Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell
Major Boothroyd / Peter Burton
Sister Lily / Yvonne Shima
Sister Rose / Michel Mok
Annabelle Chung / Marguerite LeWars
Superintendent Duff / William Foster-Davis
Mary Trueblood / Dolores Keator
Jones / Reggie Carter
Pleydell-Smith / Louis Blaazer
General Potter / Colonel Burton

CREDITS SEQUENCE

There's no pre-credits sequence sting on this one, so they hadn't had that particular a-ha moment yet.  Just titles, right away.  The "Three Blind Mice" segment of the credits, leading into the Three Blind Mice on the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, footage obviously shot on location, is one of the strangest transitions into a Bond film ever, but you can hardly blame them.  They didn't know what they were doing completely in the first film.  They were working hard to define the films right away, and the big booming theme music that starts the film is one of the signatures that was in place from the very beginning.  As adaptations go, it starts off fairly close to the book, and this works to start telling the story even before Terence Young gets his credit.

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