<p>Emma Bell, screams in the opening set piece of Final Destination 5</p>

Emma Bell, screams in the opening set piece of Final Destination 5

Set Visit: A bridge too far for 'Final Destination 5'

We visit the 'opening disaster' of the latest in the long running franchise

VANCOUVER, CANADA - It was an appropriately dreary and gray day to contemplate death in Canada. We'd arrived on the set of "Final Destination 5." in late November of last year and it was drizzling and cold. The Vancouver area is unerringly pretty and green, even in mid-winter. A combination of the forest landscape and a clutched cup of coffee for the van ride from the hotel served to only slightly ready my brain for what we were to see next.

We all know what a "Final Destination" film is. The original 1999 film begins with a poor teenaged soul foreseeing and avoiding a catastrophic accident. In the original, Devon Sawa sees his airplane blow up and himself and his friends engulfed in flames. In the second a new kid sees a massive traffic accident involving a logging truck; In the third a roller-coaster goes off the rails; the fourth, a fun day at the races turns all fiery and un-fun.

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<p>Harry Potter finally stands face to face with Lord Voldemort in a pivotal moment in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2'</p>

Harry Potter finally stands face to face with Lord Voldemort in a pivotal moment in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2'

Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: Final 'Harry Potter' film wraps up series with elegant, epic battle to the death

HitFix
A
Readers
B+
'Deathly Hallows Part 2' is visually striking and emotionally satisfying

Writing about "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" is going to have to be, by design, writing about the passage of time, the accumulation of experience, and the development of an opinion about not only what JK Rowling accomplished on the page, but what the producers of the series pulled off with the films.

I looked back at my published words about the series.  It's not complete, but I reviewed "Chamber Of Secrets," "Prisoner Of Azkaban," "Order Of The Phoenix," "Half-Blood Prince," and the first half of "Deathly Hallows."  There's another piece I found as well that was published the week that Rowling released the final book.  Quint and I had a long conversation about it on IM, and decided to just cut and paste it as an article that was, more than anything, a chance for the Talkbackers to discuss the book.

My feelings about Rowling as a writer evolved over time, as her work evolved, and my feelings about the books and my feelings about the movies were not always the same.  It's strange for me to look back at my predictions about how things would wrap up and see how right I am at times and how wrong I am at others.  As you move from review to review, you can sense that I am more and more impressed as they get closer and closer to pulling it off, and I think David Yates has been a key player in how this series worked.  I like that he directed the last four films.  That's half the series, and I think he's got a lot to be proud of. 

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<p>Are you ready for this, San Diego? &nbsp;Well?&nbsp; Are you?</p>

Are you ready for this, San Diego?  Well?  Are you?

Credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories

Exclusive: New 'Bellflower' poster features love, Medusa, and the end of the world

You'll be able to see Medusa at Comic-Con, but where?

I can't believe Comic-Con is right around the corner.  This year is racing by, and July has been a preposterously busy month overall.  A week from Wednesday, Team HitFix will be descending en masse on San Diego, ready to bring you coverage of every major event. 

To kick things off, we'll be hosting our opening night party for the second year in a row, and if you happen to be downstairs from the place we're throwing it at the Hotel Salomar, you're going to see one seriously bitchin' muscle car parked there, occasionally belching big bursts of fire.  That's Medusa, one of the stars of "Bellflower," my favorite discovery at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and the people behind the film are going to be rocking Comic-Con this year as well.

If you haven't read my review of the movie, take a look at it.  Or you could check out my interviews from Sundance with the cast and the creators.  I've got mad love for this twisted tale of two friends, flamethrowers, broken hearts, and the end of the world, and I am pleased that today, we're are able to bring you the new poster for the film as an exclusive debut.

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<p>Tintin and Snowy do some research in the upcoming 'The Adventures Of Tintin'</p>

Tintin and Snowy do some research in the upcoming 'The Adventures Of Tintin'

Credit: Paramount/Nickelodeon

New trailer for 'Adventures of Tintin' introduces characters, explains plot

Action, adventure, and international locales are emphasized in new ad

Uhhhh… if you still need convincing after this one, then you might as well just decide you're not seeing "The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn" at all, because this trailer has me positively giddy.

As I've said before, the entire twenty years I've lived in Los Angeles, I've been hearing rumors of a Steven Spielberg "Tintin" film.  This has been one of the big guiding passions for him, and for many American audiences, that probably seems puzzling since they don't know the character.

But over the years, he's found himself repeatedly frustrated by those attempts, and I think part of it has been trying to figure out a way to make the sort of film he wants to make, an athletic adventure film set in an international landscape like the one that Herge created in his books, while still maintaining the stylistic approach that drew him to the material in the first place.

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<p>Hmmm... I wonder how Denzel would look holding a hammer.</p>

Hmmm... I wonder how Denzel would look holding a hammer.

Credit: Tartan Home Video

Spike Lee signs to direct 'Oldboy' remake

Now who's he going to lock in that room for fifteen years?

When Harry programmed "Oldboy" at Butt-Numb-A-Thon, many of us in the room were excited because we already knew the work of Chan Wook Park, and it turned out to be an amazing step up for the filmmaker, a brutal and heartbroken story of revenge and punishment.  It was exciting watching the rest of the world embrace the film as well when it made its "official premiere" five months later at Cannes, and every good thing that's happened to Park as a filmmaker since then, he deserves.  But if you'd asked me in that room at the end of the first screening if "Oldboy" would end up being this thing that people in Hollywood were doggedly determined to remake, I would have guessed wrong.  It just seemed too dark, too built on pain.  There were moments that seemed Hollywood-friendly in terms of stylistic confidence, but the story just didn't seem like their cup of tea.

For the last few years, there have been repeated noises about who would be remaking the film and how, and the most high-profile team who worked to figure it out were Steven Spielberg as director with Will Smith talking about playing the lead.  That seemed impossible to me.  Will Smith is so aware of his image, so careful to protect it, that I just couldn't imagine him embracing the inherent darkness of the story, and Spielberg's sensibilities, even when revenge-minded as with "Munich," aren't a fit for this at all. More than that, though, there were legal rights issues that seemed to be the real stumbling block, and when the project collapsed, I thought that was the end of the matter.

Nope.  Not even close.

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<p>Hmmmm... who is that man lurking behind Sherlock's head, and why do I feel such a deep kinship with him?</p>

Hmmmm... who is that man lurking behind Sherlock's head, and why do I feel such a deep kinship with him?

Credit: Warner Bros.

Teaser posters for 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows' promise Moriarty mayhem

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are joined by new friends and enemies this time

Oh, my goodness… is that our first look at Moriarty?

It's going to be a week of big trailer debuts, evidently.  There will allegedly be a teaser for the artist formerly known as "John Carter Of Mars" at some point this week, and I'm curious to see if Disney kicks off their trailer campaign with more confidence than the confusing poster campaign.  There's also a new "Tintin" trailer landing this week, and I'm dying to get a better look at the world and the characters.

Obviously, these new trailers are coming out this week because they're all going to be attached to the front of "Harry Potter And The Box-Office Bonanza" this weekend, and I think one of the trailers you can absolutely count on seeing is the first one for "Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows," the sequel to Guy Ritchie's interpretation of the classic characters, and I'm really curious to see how Ritchie handles this one considering that in the time since he released his first film, the BBC series "Sherlock" premiered to rave reviews and has, for many people, become the definitive modern take on Arthur Conan Doyle's greatest creation.

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<p>Winnie The Pooh, Christopher Robin, and all the rest of our friends from the Hundred Acre Wood are back in Disney's new 'Winnie The Pooh'</p>

Winnie The Pooh, Christopher Robin, and all the rest of our friends from the Hundred Acre Wood are back in Disney's new 'Winnie The Pooh'

Credit: Walt Disney Feature Animation

Review: 'Winnie The Pooh' is familiar visit with some silly willy nilly ol' friends

HitFix
B
Readers
A-
Disney returns to one of their most beloved properties, but to what result?

One of the earliest memories I have of me inside a movie theater involves "Winnie The Pooh and Tigger Too," the 1974 short subject that I saw with my folks in front of "The Island At The Top Of The World."  I was already familiar with the characters from books my parents had in the house, and watching them come to life onscreen was magical.  A few years later, all of the "Pooh" short subjects were put together as a feature film called "The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh," and even though that was the same year I discovered "Star Wars" and some slightly more adult thrills in the theater, there is no denying the impact that Disney's handling of the A.A. Milne characters had on me.

Even compared to other films on the Disney continuum, the "Pooh" films have always been more gentle, more quiet, more deliberately paced.  They are an accurate representation of the mood and character of Milne's work, which is wonderful precisely because of how gentle it is.  The biggest drama in the world of the Hundred Acre Wood is based on misunderstandings or misreadings, and never because of villains or threats or anything upsetting.  Ultimately, these are the games played by a young boy with his stuffed animals, and they are meant to skew young.  This is one of the safest brands in family entertainment, and it's been a while since Disney gave these characters to their A-team of animators and gave a "Pooh" film a proper theatrical release, and considering the major legal battles they've waged to maintain control of the characters, it's about time they gave it another try.

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<p>Paramount and DreamWorks Animation have had a successful relationship that includes films like 'How To Train Your Dragon,' but that may be in peril now.</p>

Paramount and DreamWorks Animation have had a successful relationship that includes films like 'How To Train Your Dragon,' but that may be in peril now.

Credit: Paramount/DreamWorks Animation

Paramount announces animation division amid DreamWorks departure rumors

History suggests this is what we call 'a very bad idea'

Why in the world would Paramount want to start their own animation division?

I've always had a deep love for animation as an art form, and when I moved to Los Angeles, many of the people I met and became friends with worked in animation.  Very quickly, I learned that it can be one of the most punishing forms of filmmaking to work in.  That was the era of the giant Disney mega-blockbusters like "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King," and every studio in town lost their minds trying to figure out how to get a piece of what they saw as a very easy pie.

Let's go ask Fox how they feel about that animation studio they built in Arizona for Don Bluth these days.  Let's ask them if that was a good investment.

Or maybe we can go ask Alan Horn if he feels like Warner Feature Animation was a good investment.  Sure, we got "The Iron Giant" out of that deal, but we had to basically shame the studio into giving that a theatrical release because of how badly they got burned on "The Quest For Camelot."

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<p>Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Jason Bateman star in the new comedy 'Horrible Bosses,' a mean comedy that's not nearly mean enough</p>

Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Jason Bateman star in the new comedy 'Horrible Bosses,' a mean comedy that's not nearly mean enough

Credit: Warner Bros/New Line

Review: 'Horrible Bosses' plays too nice for its own good

HitFix
C+
Readers
C
Cast works hard, but the script and uneven pace lets them down

It's been nice to go see comedies in the theater this summer that were obviously made with little regard for rating, or more accurately, that were comfortable accepting an R from the MPAA.  It was a given for "The Hangover Part II," but getting four or five R-rated big studio comedies in one movie season?  Fairly rare.

The latest of them is Seth Gordon's "Horrible Bosses," and while I think the cast is game and Gordon seems to get the spirit of the thing right, it doesn't work as a script, and this is one of those cases where the mix is tipped heavily in the wrong direction.  I laughed, but even as I laughed, I was frustrated by the potential that feels unfulfilled.  The screenplay by Michael Markowitz and John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein has a promising set-up, some funny early moments, and then it makes a series of choices that keep undercutting the things that work.  It's an amiable mess, but a mess nonetheless.

The film kicks off with a really dark and nasty sense of humor, and the way each of the horrible bosses is introduced is very effective.  Nick Hendricks (Jason Bateman) works for the truly awful Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), who is the sort of smug, blatantly amoral piece of garbage that Spacey made his career with.  Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) works for the charming and beloved Jack Pellitt (Donald Sutherland), whose son is the disturbingly vile Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell).  And poor Dale Arbus (Charlie Day) is employed by the aggressively forward Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston). 

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<p>I think it would be amazing if Tom Lennon and Ben Garant, seen here in 'Reno 911: The Movie' with Kerri Kenney, dressed like this in pitch meetings.</p>

I think it would be amazing if Tom Lennon and Ben Garant, seen here in 'Reno 911: The Movie' with Kerri Kenney, dressed like this in pitch meetings.

Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Review: Tom Lennon and Ben Garant tell all about 'Writing Movies For Fun And Profit'

The writers of 'Night At The Museum' write a great screenwriting for studios guide

I am of decidedly mixed mind about the film work of Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant.

Let's start with the obvious:  these are very funny guys.  I find it a little disconcerting to realize that "The State" is almost 20 years old at this point, but when I signed up for Netflix Instant and watched several episodes again, I was struck by how conventionally funny the show is, how classically constructed most of the sketches were, and how even the most absurd moments were clever and not just thrown away.  Even at that point, Garant and Lennon were thinking like writers, so when they moved into feature work, it wasn't much of a surprise.  Their Comedy Central show "Reno 911" is a great example of their sensibilities at work, character comedy with plenty of room for improvisation, and the show was often ridiculously funny.  As both performers and writers, they were consistently impressive.

So why don't I like the movies they write?

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