<p>This pre-production art was our first look at the main character in 'Brave,' and now there's a teaser poster for next summer's Pixar fairy tale.</p>

This pre-production art was our first look at the main character in 'Brave,' and now there's a teaser poster for next summer's Pixar fairy tale.

Credit: Disney/Pixar

New 'Brave' teaser poster sets a strong tone for Pixar's next

How can one studio release both this and the 'John Carter' teaser poster?

When I wrote my piece last week about how mystifyingly bad the teaser poster for "John Carter" is, for some reason, it seemed to particularly upset George "Formerly Of Latino Review" Roush.  He called me out about it on Twitter, and then wrote his own piece in which he savagely mocked me while completely missing the point of what I wrote.

I hadn't seen the new "Brave" poster when he brought it to my attention last night on Twitter, once again bringing up my reaction to "John Carter," and the fact that he would even compare the two points out just how much he missed the boat on what I said last week.  The problem with the "John Carter" poster is that it says nothing about the film.  At all.  And even a teaser poster has an obligation to tease.  Give me something.  Mood.  Setting.  A look or a feel that suggests what I might be getting from your film.  You have to assume with every single piece of marketing released for a film that someone who will see that trailer or poster or TV spot has no idea what your movie is, and that might be your only opportunity to make an impression on them.  By that standard, "John Carter" is as complete a failure as I've seen from a teaser poster.

But "Brave"?  Well, this is how you do it.

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<p>Considering he's 74 this year, Warren&nbsp;Beatty looks like he's still ready to step in front of the camera immediately, and we're excited to see what he's up to.</p>

Considering he's 74 this year, Warren Beatty looks like he's still ready to step in front of the camera immediately, and we're excited to see what he's up to.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Will Warren Beatty's Howard Hughes film return him to pop culture relevance?

As fans of his work, we look at the filmmaker's return and what it means

The idea that Warren Beatty is writing, producing, starring in, and directing a film again makes me very happy.

And the idea that it's finally going to be his Howard Hughes movie?  Well, color me ecstatic, because this one's been simmering for a while.

I'm not sure what place Warren Beatty holds in our pop culture at this point, if any.  I think his place in film history is secure, no doubt about it.  He's proven himself to be a gifted and smart collaborator many times over, and as we get closer to the release of his Howard Hughes film, we'll probably do a special series here at the blog to look back at Beatty's career and make the case for why he is one of the greats of his generation.

But in terms of modern current pop culture?  If you were to ask 100 people under the age of 30 about Warren Beatty, what comes to mind for them?  How well do they know his work, if at all?  "Dick Tracy" was his last hit of any significance, and that was 21 years ago.  His last film, "Town and Country," was an epic bomb, one of the most expensive money-losers ever made when you consider budget to return, and even that was a decade ago.  How many teenagers today even remember that "Love Affair" or "Bulworth" or "Bugsy" came out?  That's all that they could even have been aware of in their lifetime.

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<p>&nbsp;Eddie Izzard and Owen Wilson</p>

 Eddie Izzard and Owen Wilson

Watch: Owen Wilson and Eddie Izzard get animated to discuss 'Cars 2'

Well, actually, they're exhausted... so what's the opposite of animated?

Just before we started rolling on this interview, I asked Eddie Izzard how things were going, and how he and Owen Wilson were enjoying their press day for "Cars 2." 

He fixed me with a bleary gaze and, with surprising bluntness, replied, "We are both dead behind the eyes today."

Now, I certainly don't think things were as bad as that, but it's good to remember that there is a toll that these things can take on you when you're grinding out about 100 interviews a day for three days in a row sitting outside in the beginning heat of an LA summer.  No matter how pampered you are by the studio that's hosting the event, when those interview lights are all directed at you all day long and you're doing your best to not look like they're sucking your very essence out of you, it can be real work.

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<p>Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, and Phyllis Smith co-star in Jake Kasdan's 'Bad Teacher'</p>

Jason Segel, Cameron Diaz, and Phyllis Smith co-star in Jake Kasdan's 'Bad Teacher'

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Review: 'Bad Teacher' delivers raunchy, pop cartoon fun

HitFix
B-
Readers
B
A game cast and an unapologetic premise make for a funny adult ride

Jake Kasdan's "Bad Teacher" does not always connect with every joke, and there's one character in particular that seems to have been abandoned by the screenwriters midstream, but when the film works, it contains some wicked belly laughs, and I'll give Cameron Diaz credit for this:  she seems delighted to play a total asshole.

And why not?  There's something liberating about playing someone who is absolutely unrepentantly awful.  Elizabeth Halsey is not a reluctant educator who wakes up to her gifts over the course of the film.  She's not someone who loves kids but is afraid to show it.  She's not a good person who is misunderstood.  She's selfish and a little bit stupid and completely superficial, and she sees her teaching job as, at best, an inconvenience, and at worst, a form of torture.  She does not love her students… in fact, she can barely stomach them.  She has one goal in life after being dumped by the man of her financial dreams:  get a tit job so she can hook a big fish.  She figures that's all she's missing, and she's willing to do a year of penance in public high school to get there.

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<p>Larry the Cable Guy and Emily Mortimer</p>

Larry the Cable Guy and Emily Mortimer

Watch: Larry the Cable Guy and Emily Mortimer laugh it up for 'Cars 2'

The unlikeliest romantic duo in movies this year sits down to discuss their new film

Who would have guessed that the most fun I'd have at the "Cars 2" press day would be with Larry The Cable Guy?

I'm no snob.  I don't spend my time sneering at Larry or at his audience.  I am perfectly happy accepting that not all entertainment is manufactured for me, and that not every audience is going to want the same things I want.  I think some critics find it necessary to dismiss anything they don't personally enjoy, but that's silly.  Nobody is the ideal audience for everything.

When I was getting settled in, just before the cameras rolled, I asked Larry if he would ever make the same sort of professional switch that Dwayne Johnson did when he stopped going by "The Rock" and just became "Dwayne Johnson" on a full-time basis, and Larry responded with a quick and confident, "Nope."

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<p>&nbsp;This man has a lot of toys.</p>

 This man has a lot of toys.

John Lasseter on 'Cars 2,' story, and the future of shorts at Pixar

The studio exec/director with motor oil in his veins

John Lasseter's name has been synonymous with "Pixar" since it's inception. Although he directed the first three Pixar films "Toy Story," "A bugs life" and "Toy Story 2," "Cars 2" marks his return to directing a feature at Pixar since the original "Cars" released in 2006.

Lasseter sat down with us during a press day the company held in March after we had screened about half an hour of footage of the film and seen a presentation on the set design and lighting. The man loves to talk about his work and his company and his characters. I found it comical that he uses the term "I" and "we" somewhat interchangeably when talking about Pixar, given who he is this is completely understandable and expected. It was obvious that he holds the "Cars" characters very dear to his heart. The man is enthusiastic. Did I mention he likes to talk?

Read the interview after the jump

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<p>Nice to see his flippers are still firmly fixed in the 60's...</p>

Nice to see his flippers are still firmly fixed in the 60's...

Credit: Disney

Watch: First official trailer for 'The Muppets' premieres

There are some things Gen X is not cynical about

In a recent interview with HitFix for "Bad Teacher" Jason Segel refused to reveal his "marketing strategy to to take over the world with Muppets." But the release of the first official, non-parody trailer for "The Muppets" shows that there is some kind of master plan for the marketing of the everyone's favorite Marionette/Puppets.

The funny thing is, after the sharp, surprising, and hilarious parody trailers, this first official one is a little bit of a letdown. It's just a trailer. Some funny jokes in it, but pretty light on story, so it really doesn't give us any more information than: It's a movie, and all the Muppets are in it.

Starting with the romantic comedy parody "Green With Envy" and Ending with the Ryan Reynolds' voiced Green Lantern spoof, the sting or parody Muppet trailers have been great. To a certain degree I wish they'd kept making those with their own jokes so that I don't get any more spoilers, but I nitpick.

Watch the trailer after the jump

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<p>Tow Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) takes center stage in 'Cars 2' along with Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer)</p>

Tow Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) takes center stage in 'Cars 2' along with Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer)

Credit: Pixar/Disney

Review: 'Cars 2' skews young, adds action, embraces the absurd

HitFix
B
Readers
A-
Pixar seems determined to totally revamp the franchise with this second film

At some point, you just have to let things go.

That's the decision I made after a scene in "Cars 2" where they're discussing the need for alternative fuels since they are starting to run low on fossil fuels.  Someone is explaining about how there are only so many dead dinosaurs and now they're running out of oil and they have to find new ways to power cars, and Mater, listening to this, turns to someone and says, "The dinosaurs did what, now?"

They have dinosaurs in the world of "Cars"?  Really?  If I start thinking about the implications of that, my head will explode.  Instead, I just surrendered myself to the notion that logic is not the strong suit of this particular franchise, and it helped me enjoy the film more.  Pixar is one of the strongest studios in town when it comes to story and character, and I think they've been very good at worldbuilding in general.  The bottom line with these movies is that John Lasseter, the grand poobah of all things Pixar, loves cars.  And because of that, they make movies about a world of cars.  And that's really all the logic that matters.

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<p>Michael O'Donoghue was one of the most lacerating wits to ever work as a writer for 'Saturday Night Live,' and it is a shame his film career never quite took off.</p>

Michael O'Donoghue was one of the most lacerating wits to ever work as a writer for 'Saturday Night Live,' and it is a shame his film career never quite took off.

Credit: NBC/Broadway Video

Saturday Night At The Movies: What exactly was 'Arrive Alive,' and what happened?

Our first look at a draft of the scuttled Willem Dafoe comedy offers some answers

Last week, we talked about Eddie Murphy's career and the way it has served to disappoint fans of his early work with almost surgical precision.  In that piece, I didn't even include a story that depressed me more than almost anything else I've ever heard about Eddie.

Around the time "The Goods" was coming out, the lovely Tamar over at Paramount asked me and a few other writers if we wanted to have lunch with Neal Brennan, who directed the film.  Brennan was the co-creator of "Chapelle's Show," and he's a guy who has been working in LA comedy for years.  As we talked, the conversation touched on any number of topics, and at one point, Brennan told us about an evening where Eddie Murphy came to Chapelle's house.  Over the course of that long night hanging out, Eddie, Dave Chapelle, and Brennan all started pitching ideas for sketches, eventually realizing that they had enough material to put together a sketch comedy movie.  Eddie was energized by the material they were bouncing back and forth, according to Brennan, and by the time he left, they had all agreed that they were going to find a place to make the film together.  That turned out to be the last contact Brennan had with him, which is terribly sad.  Can you imagine a sketch comedy film with a fire-in-his-belly Murphy going head to head with Chapelle, determined to prove something?  It could have been glorious.

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<p>In one of the stunts that almost cost him his life, Vic Armstrong doubles for Indiana Jones in 'Last Crusade'</p>

In one of the stunts that almost cost him his life, Vic Armstrong doubles for Indiana Jones in 'Last Crusade'

Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

The Motion/Captured Podcast with guest Vic Armstrong, stunt double to Indy, Bond, and Superman

A great conversation that goes from 'You Only Live Twice' to 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

It's been a while.

Matters were complicated because the last podcast I recorded got eaten by my computer, something I had to tell Scott after the fact.  It's a shame, too. That was just before Cannes, and it was a really solid podcast overall.  We had the director of "Trollhunter" on as a guest, and we played a great round of Movie God, and it was just a fun, spirited conversation that got totally vaporized somewhere on my hard drive.

It was my fault, no doubt.  I am just competent enough with the software I use to edit the podcast to be dangerous.  I don't really know what I'm doing, but I like to pretend that I do.  This week, I was very careful, and I am pleased with the end result.

Part of that is because I finally got Scott Swan back over to the house to record, something that isn't always easy to do.  His schedule and my schedule are increasingly hard to synch up.  But more than that, I'm glad I was able to record this week because the interview I've got for you is one of my favorites since I joined HitFix.

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