A new 'Ask Drew' tackles Marvel rumors and the mother of all Movie God questions
Credit: HitFix/Marvel Comics

A new 'Ask Drew' tackles Marvel rumors and the mother of all Movie God questions

Did I get this one wrong?

One of the things I'm loving more and more about HitFix these days is working with our video team on new programming. We've just started working on ideas for a new regular video feature that delights me, and I think we're still just barely getting started on all the good stuff we're going to do in the future.

So far, I love the way you guys have reacted to "Ask Drew," and when I refer to it as "the show that you write," I mean it. If you don't send questions, we have no show. You are great about sending in a wide array of questions, both personal and professional, about films both new and old, and the only thing I can say to you is that you should feel free to dig even deeper. I find it slightly terrifying when you ask something that I don't have an immediate answer for, but that's the point of the show. It shouldn't be easy. So often, we can go into an auto-pilot mode doing this job, and you guys do a great job of knocking me out of that way of thinking.

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What you can expect from Marvel Studios at their 2014 Comic-Con panel
Credit: AP Photo

What you can expect from Marvel Studios at their 2014 Comic-Con panel

At least a few Avengers should be there, but who will join them on the Hall H stage?

Looking at the official Marvel announcement of their inevitable 2014 Comic-Con panel, it's about as vague an announcement as possible. The "when" is Saturday, July 26, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. The "where" is Hall H. It's just the "what" that they left very, very loose.

Marvel's pretty much taken up permanent occupation of that spot, and why not? It's the last big movie panel of each year, and being in that position means that they have a chance to throw down something big and buzzworthy and basically dominate the conversation as all the movie coverage is wrapping up. It's a brilliant strategy, and I'm sure they've got some big things planned for this year.

But what?

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Director Matt Reeves on how Coppola's 'Godfather' advice shaped his new 'Apes'
Credit: HitFix

Director Matt Reeves on how Coppola's 'Godfather' advice shaped his new 'Apes'

Plus he talks about what Giacchino brought to the table this time

I sat down with Matt Reeves in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge to see which one of us could have our hair more disheveled by the amazing wind on Crissy Field. Enjoy the video.

The last time I saw Reeves, it was at Michael Giacchino's house, where I got to watch the two of them working on a scoring session for "Let Me In."

I don't bring that up simply to not-so-humblebrag, but to illustrate just how unusually open Reeves can be about the filmmaking process. Even after almost 16 years of writing about films online, I can count the number of scoring sessions I've been invited to attend on my fingers. It's one of the more private parts of the overall filmmaking experience, and it's also a pressure cooker, so many filmmakers simply can't open that up to reporters.

When "Let Me In" came to Comic-Con, I moderated the panel, and it was there that Reeves asked me to come by and watch some of the session. He and Giacchino have preposterous amount of fun when they're working together. For proof of this, just check out this Vimeo link. I think the reason they have that much fun together is because they speak in terms of very common geek reference points, and they are able to clearly figure out what they are trying to do emotionally with each beat.

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Review: Richard Linklater's unique masterpiece 'Boyhood' hits hard and cuts deep
Credit: IFC Films

Review: Richard Linklater's unique masterpiece 'Boyhood' hits hard and cuts deep

HitFix
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Readers
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I wasn't ready for what this one did to me

I am nine years old. I am lying in the back of the 1977 Plymouth van my parents are driving. It is the middle of the night, and we are leaving Dunedin on the first leg of our move to Texas. I am crying. My best friend Oli Watt, my next-door neighbor, said goodbye to me earlier in the day, and we've made promises to write and call on the phone, but I know that I am leaving behind the life that I've enjoyed up to that point and that whatever comes next, it will be different, and I am afraid, and I am sad, and I am sure that nothing will ever be this good again.

I am sixteen years old. I am lying in the back of the car driven by my nineteen year old girlfriend. It is the middle of the night, and while I'm supposed to be at school in the morning, I don't care at all. I am stoned and drunk and happy. My parents hate this girl that comes to pick me up in the middle of the night, who always knows where there's a party, who has way more sexual experience than me, and they've tried to stop me from seeing her, but I am desperate for what I see as necessary sensual memory, fodder for the writing that I want to make a career of, and I know that it's destroying the relationship I have with my parents who I adore for adopting me, but I have to do this, I have to live like this, and it is amazing and it is dizzying and I am sure that nothing will ever be this good again.

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Andy Serkis on bringing back Caesar for 'Apes' sequel and being performance capture's spokesman
Credit: HitFix

Andy Serkis on bringing back Caesar for 'Apes' sequel and being performance capture's spokesman

Performer insists that the process is ultimately just a tool

I wonder if Andy Serkis ever wishes he was "just" an actor.

Probably not. There are few people I encounter in this business who seem to be filled with the same sort of genuine joy as him right now, and all the time. For someone who hasn't spent a lot of time onscreen in a recognizable way, he certainly seems to be recognized everywhere he goes, and based on the way I've seen people react to him, he's beloved.

Deservedly so. First, he's a genuinely great actor, a guy who throws himself into a part completely. I've never seen Serkis give anything less than 100% to a role, and it seems like more and more, he's becoming a mentor to other performers who are making the jump from traditional live-action work to this remarkable hybrid that he has mastered.

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'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' kicks off our new format of video reviews
Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' kicks off our new format of video reviews

The amazing new Matt Reeves film seems like the perfect opportunity

One of the things that we're noticing here at HitFix is that there are a number of different ways you guys digest the information that we publish.

I am well aware that not everyone has the time to devote to a giant full-length review of a film, and I am certainly not the briefest of people when I have something I'm trying to say. That's especially true when I love a movie, and I want to go into depth or discuss why it landed on me a certain way. Film criticism is a very personal thing in a lot of ways, and yet some people are just looking for a general reaction. Good or bad? Worth my $10 or not?

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Gus Van Sant may sign his name to the American remake of 'Death Note'
Credit: Nippon Television

Gus Van Sant may sign his name to the American remake of 'Death Note'

Shane Black's got a 'Predator' to kill, evidently

"Death Note" would have been a very strange Shane Black movie.

That alone seems like a reason to have been excited about the possibility of seeing it, but in the grand scheme of things, it seems like a better fit for Shane Black to move on to a new "Predator" movie.

Besides, the notion of seeing Gus Van Sant direct a new take on this highly-acclaimed and very strange title is fairly provocative in a different way, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited to see what he does with it.

The original manga series was by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, and it tells the story of a high school student who finds a notebook that grants whoever owns it the ability to kill anyone simply by writing their name in the notebook. By using it, he draws the attention of the Shinigami, a disturbing race of inter-dimensional death gods.

The student, named Light in the original version, decides to use the notebook to kill bad people and create a perfect world, but that ends up bringing him to the attention of a detective who is determined to catch whoever is behind this wave of strange supernatural deaths. It's a simple set-up, but an incredibly complicated series that spans several years in the manga. There was an anime adaptation in 2006, and that was followed by a two hour film, then a number of other other specials, and then a series of live-action fins, including one directed by Hideo Nakata.

Warner Bros. initially hired Charley and Vlas Parlapanides to adapt the property, and their script wasn't bad. I thought the Shane Black drafts by Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry were also very close to getting it right, but Black evidently butted heads with the studio over what parts of the complicated mythology they were going to use in the film.

Van Sant has dabbled with the dark side in projects like his infamous "Psycho" remake, "To Die For," and "Paranoid Park," and his film "Restless" exhibited a very gentle approach to the supernatural. I think Van Sant is most interesting here because he's not a guy who you would automatically attach to this. Whatever his approach to the material is going to be, it won't be what we expect, and that automatically makes it interesting.

No word yet when they plan to make or release the film, but we'll keep you posted. In exchange, please don't write "HitFix" in any cursed notebooks. Thanks.

Weta's digital guru discusses 'Avatar' sequels and Snyder's 'Batman v Superman' plans
Credit: HitFix

Weta's digital guru discusses 'Avatar' sequels and Snyder's 'Batman v Superman' plans

This was James Cameron's plan all along, he says

The last time I spoke to Joe Letteri, it was hot on the heels of the release of James Cameron's "Avatar," and we covered a lot of ground.  It was a two-part interview, and I had a great time talking to him. He's a brilliant guy, and he's able to explain the landmark work he's been doing with the rest of the amazing team at Weta Digital in a way that feels like it's easy to grasp.

At the recent press day at Crissy Field in San Francisco for the new film "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, I talked to Letteri along with the equally-brilliant Dan Lemmon, and I could have spent hours talking to them about the progress they've made in terms of performance capture and simply making their digital creations fit seamlessly into a physical world.

It seemed particularly fitting that the view of the Golden Gate Bridge behind us looked like something that Weta Digital would have done as a matte painting. Gorgeous, wrapped in fog, as iconic as it gets.

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James Gunn says caring about 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' was terrifying for him
Credit: Marvel Studios

James Gunn says caring about 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' was terrifying for him

How this Troma graduate made the jump to this monster Marvel movie

LONDON -- If we're being perfectly honest, I feel guilty interviewing any director on any set.

Directors may not be doing manual labor like breaking rocks or carrying pianos all day, but especially on giant mega-budget studio movies, they are pretty much on call 24 hours a day for three years, and I feel bad about taking any of the limited energy they have to spend during their day. I remember going to the editing room near the end of production on "Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End," and Gore Verbinski looked at me like he had just gotten back from three tours in 'Nam. Disney wasn't even letting him drive anymore. He was that tired.

Maybe that's why James Gunn's intense level of energy on the set of "Guardians Of The Galaxy" felt sort of shocking. I've met Gunn several times over the years, and that's him. He's always got this really big energy about him, and he's wicked sharp, and I guess I expected the process to dull some of that just because that's how it works.

Nope.

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Zoe Saldana on her 'Guardians' killer character: 'She needs to be pretty'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Zoe Saldana on her 'Guardians' killer character: 'She needs to be pretty'

Are the Guardians really the 'Rolling Stones' of the Marvel movie universe?

LONDON - Standing in the costume department for Marvel's wild new science-fiction action-comedy adventure space opera whatever you want to call it, "Guardians Of The Galaxy," I was struck by just how singular the designs were for the wardrobe worn by Gamora, a dangerous new character played by Zoe Saldana.

There was a decidedly punk edge to the drawings, but they were also gorgeous, like something you'd see for a runway show. Saldana is stunning in person, ethereal and delicate and yet with this sort of lacerating edge that she seems perfectly capable of laying down verbally. You get the sense she chews on her words and really thinks about what she's saying to you during an interview. I don't think she takes it lightly, and part of what she considers is how her physical appearance is part of the brand she's built as an actress.

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