<p>Look, no matter what you think of the movie, that's Mickey Rourke as Marv.&nbsp; I&nbsp;mean... it's Mickey Freakin' Pope Of Greenwich Village-Post Surgery-Freaky Deaky Rouke as Marv.&nbsp; In a real movie.</p>

Look, no matter what you think of the movie, that's Mickey Rourke as Marv.  I mean... it's Mickey Freakin' Pope Of Greenwich Village-Post Surgery-Freaky Deaky Rouke as Marv.  In a real movie.

Credit: Dimension Films

Oscar-winning writer William Monahan signs to polish 'Sin City 2' for Rodriguez and Miller

Sounds like the studio's serious about making this one

I was in the room when Robert Rodriguez made his most recent public update on the status of "Sin City 2," and he sounded fairly sure that they had the money and were ready to go, with some script work still to be done.

Now it looks like the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "The Departed" is going to be the guy putting the final coat of paint on the script before it goes in front of the camera.  The idea that William Monahan is going to be the last guy in on "Sin City 2" is fairly exciting, and I wish Robert had made this announcement at Comic-Con, where it could have done the film some good, given it some heat.  This is newsworthy, and if they're spending this kind of money, they're serious about making the movie.

It was bizarre at Comic-Con, where Robert Rodriguez was in the big anchor spot in the middle of the afternoon on Thursday.  Traditionally, Comic-Con programs something major for that time so people start piling into the room two or even three panels earlier just to guarantee their seats.  If there was a "Dark Knight Rises" panel, for example, and they scheduled it for 4:00, you'd better believe people would claim seats for whatever was at 10:00 AM, even if it was a remake of "Ernest Goes To Camp" starring Dustin Diamond.  It's just good programming.  So there was Robert in that spot with a mysterious panel.  All anyone knew ahead of time was that he was going to announce a new company called Quick Draw Productions.

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<p>Yeah, she shoots out of the screen, so what?</p>

Yeah, she shoots out of the screen, so what?

BOO! Anton Yelchin and crew discuss 3D on the set of 'Fright Night'

A year ago... everyone liked 3D

In it's hundred year history, cinematic language has been developed and expressed within the confines of a 2D square or a rectangle. You could argue that computer animated films were the gateway for filmmakers to start thinking of their material in three dimensional space, because that is the toolset of 3D modeling programs. They place objects inside a space and then decide how to shoot it.

This thinking is now able to jump to movies as filmmakers are able to play with depth and blocking, much like a theater director and create scenes in three dimensional space. In an odd way cinema is coming full circle from it's inception when a movie was no more than a stage play filmed from the front from start to finish.

It's been close to a year since I had the opportunity to visit the set of the remake of "Fright Night" when it was shooting in the Hard Rock Hotel in New Mexico. At the time, the fact that they were shooting in 3D was somewhat of a rarity for a medium-to-small budget horror film and there hadn't been enough 3D movies out there for people to start lining up in the various camps pro and con.

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<p>I&nbsp;can only assume that the cinematographer of 'The Caller' truly hated Rachelle Lafevre.&nbsp; Nothing else makes sense.</p>

I can only assume that the cinematographer of 'The Caller' truly hated Rachelle Lafevre.  Nothing else makes sense.

Credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Review: Can Rachelle Lefevre and Stephen Moyer survive 'The Caller'?

HitFix
F
Readers
D+
One of the year's worst films is this witless 'thriller' with no thrills

Leave it to August to bring the truly witless films out of hiding.  I feel like this month is the equivalent of a landfill where distributors try to bury the evidence of their worst crimes, hoping no one will notice.  Well, I sat through every single minute of "The Caller," and I hope to prevent any of you from suffering through the same misfortune, so this is one corpse I'm going to dig up and dissect.

Rachelle Lefevre and Stephen Moyer in the same film is a bit of an SEO dream come true thanks to the rabid fan bases for both "Twilight" and "True Blood," but I'm fairly sure fans of both series will feel let down by this ridiculous, poorly-made, flat-out ugly little attempt at a horror film, full of preposterous twists that build to an ending that is positively tone-deaf.  Director Matthew Parkhill seems perfectly suited for a career in any industry except filmmaking, and there's not a single beat of this film that I would describe as "competent" or "well-executed."  That's almost impressive.  You've got to be a special kind of terrible filmmaker to turn in something this leaden and artificial.  Sure, there's plenty of blame to share with screenwriter Sergio Casci, whose previous work includes nothing you've ever heard of, but it is in the execution that this film fails completely.

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<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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