<p>Can you believe Jackie Earle Haley, Dennis Quaid, and Daniel Stern were ever that young?</p>

Can you believe Jackie Earle Haley, Dennis Quaid, and Daniel Stern were ever that young?

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Peter Yates, director of 'Bullitt' and 'Breaking Away,' passes at 82

A look back at one of the unsung greats of action cinema

You know, there are times when you realize only at the moment of someone's passing just how much their work meant to you.

Such is the case as I sit here tonight, "Breaking Away" playing on Netflix Instant, thinking about the films of the truly great Peter Yates.  I would argue that even when he directed scripts that were not the equal of his considerable talents, he brought class and restraint and a lyrical visual style to everything he shot.  He was one of those directors who you can feel thinking from shot to shot, every cut part of the storytelling.  There's no fat on the work of Peter Yates.  And at his best?  In his very best films?  There are few who stood toe to toe with him.

His high points are, in my opinion, "Bullitt," "The Hot Rock," "The Friends Of Eddie Coyle," "The Dresser," and "Breaking Away."  And those films, each and every one, is distinguished by his voice, his eye, his enormous heart.  These days, action scenes are gigantic, noisy things, pitched at such a preposterous intensity because we've become numb from the barrage.  When Yates shot a set piece, like the justly-acclaimed car chase in "Bullitt," the reason it is so effective is because Yates puts you right there in the seat next to Steve McQueen.  More than that, he makes you understand the appeal and the sensual pleasure of driving a car that goddamn fast in the middle of a city, hauling ass for dear life. 

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<p>Trent Reznor, seen here with Atticus Ross, his collaborator for the 'Social Network' soundtrack, will also compose the score for David Fincher's 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'</p>

Trent Reznor, seen here with Atticus Ross, his collaborator for the 'Social Network' soundtrack, will also compose the score for David Fincher's 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'

Credit: Trent Reznor

Trent Reznor set to score Fincher's 'Dragon Tattoo'

Can you imagine what the Lisbeth Salander theme will sound like?

This is one of those stories where no one's going to act terribly surprised by the news, but it's nice to get it confirmed and official.

Trent Reznor will be scoring David Fincher's next film, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo."

That's one of those sentences that just plain makes sense.  I was surprised when they hired him for "The Social Network," but his score for that film is great, and a real confirmation of Reznor as someone who should be working on films.  If he knocked an unlikely fit like the story of a bunch of Harvard kids inventing Facebook out of the park, imagine what he's going to do with a story about criminal conspiracy and missing persons and old mysteries and murder and blackmail and rape and darkness.  Trent Reznor composing the Lisbeth Salander theme is one of the reasons to look forward to a movie theater this year.  I look at Lisbeth, and I imagine that she's always hearing something in her head that sounds like a Trent Reznor album anyway.  It's perfect.

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<p>Hey, wait a minute... something's not right here....</p>

Hey, wait a minute... something's not right here....

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'Apollo 18' game revealing new clues about SF conspiracy thriller

This year's first ARG campaign is off and running

Okay, let me just put on my tinfoil hat for this next one.

After all, if we're going to be discussing a government conspiracy to hide the existence of moon monsters, I want to be dressed properly.  And that does seem to be the underlying tension in "Apollo 18," the film that's set for release on April 22, 2011.

This is the movie that became an immediate hot ticket after it was set up at last year's AFM.  The film, currently being directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, deals with the secret space missions that took place after the public cancellation of the second half of the planned Apollo trips.  I'm not sure what form the film will finally take… I've heard people describe it as a found-footage movie, but I'm not sure that's right.

What I am sure of is that "Apollo 18" has already got a pretty healthy presence online, with a game that is gradually exposing bits and pieces of information.  It all started with a hidden section of the official site, where there are documents being posted that "prove" the conspiracy of silence surround the Apollo 18 mission.

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<p>Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie&nbsp;Mann) were enormously popular supporting characters in 'Knocked Up,' and it looks like they may get their own movie next summer</p>

Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) were enormously popular supporting characters in 'Knocked Up,' and it looks like they may get their own movie next summer

Credit: Universal

Judd Apatow says new movie is neither prequel nor sequel to 'Knocked Up'

Writer/director's fourth film goes in front of the camera in July

One of my favorite things about "Knocked Up" was the amazing chemistry between Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann as Pete and Debbie, the married couple who Katherine Heigl was living with.  For one thing, I could believe Mann and Heigl as sisters, and the way Pete and Debbie served as both a warning and a possibility for Seth Rogen's character.

We already knew that Judd Apatow was gearing up on his fourth film as a writer/director, and that he'd been working on the script for a while.  What we didn't know until now was that Pete and Debbie were going to be the main focus of this new film, and that Rudd and Mann would be returning to the characters.

I've seen people speculating about whether this would be a prequel or a sequel, but I figured the answer wouldn't be that easy.  After all, what do you call "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Get Him To The Greek"?  They're related, but is one really a sequel to the other?

I decided to ask Judd directly, and here's what he sent in reply:

"Thanks Drew.  It is neither.  It is just a story from Pete and Debbie's current life.

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<p>Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will cross lightsabers in high-definition for the first time when the 'Star Wars' trilogy arrives on Blu-ray in December</p>

Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader will cross lightsabers in high-definition for the first time when the 'Star Wars' trilogy arrives on Blu-ray in December

Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd/20th Century Fox

Fox makes it official at CES: 'Star Wars' on Blu-ray in September

So far, there are few details about what to expect from the three different sets

"Star Wars" is coming to Blu-ray in September.

That's pretty much it, right?  Beyond that, there are a million smaller conversations that are already raging all over the Internet about what versions of the films will appear on the discs, which of the three offered box sets to buy, whether or not the transfers improve on mistakes from earlier transfers, what sort of extra features and deleted scenes we'll see.  With the lack of detail so far, though, it's all just idle chatter.

Personally, I'm planning to spring for "Star Wars: The Complete Saga," a nine-film Blu-ray box set that will include all six films in the series and three discs of bonus material.  The reason I'll happily make that investment is that, until now, I've only ever purchased the Original Trilogy, and even then, I haven't upgraded each and every time the films have been available.  I don't have any of the prequels in the house right now, and with Toshi turning six in July, he'll be right around the perfect age to start watching the movies when the box set comes out.

That's going to be a series of Film Nerd 2.0 articles I can't wait to write.

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<p>Channing Tatum, seen here wearing an accelerator suit, is one of the many cast members who could return once they hire a new director for a 'GI&nbsp;Joe' sequel</p>

Channing Tatum, seen here wearing an accelerator suit, is one of the many cast members who could return once they hire a new director for a 'GI Joe' sequel

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Stephen Sommers not returning for 'G.I. Joe 2'

Somehow, the entertainment industry will soldier on

It's not going to be easy to replace Stephen Sommers on "G.I. Joe 2," or whatever they finally call the sequel.

Not because Sommers is some singular talent, but because "G.I. Joe" is one of those projects where tone is everything.  More than story, more than set pieces, tone is important.  The first film isn't a particularly smart film or a great story, but what it got right was tone.  There's an energy to it that is so relentlessly happy, so silly, that it carries the film right past its implausibilities.

Now The LA Times is reporting that Sommers won't be directing after all.  The thing is, I'm excited that Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are writing the sequel.  I liked their "Zombieland" script, and I thought their "Deadpool" script was a pretty balls-out take on the material.  Having them attached means that I'm actually interested in this sequel.

What matters now is finding someone who can have fun with this.  Someone who can do action with a light touch.  Someone who can handle an ensemble.

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<p>Robert Pattinson, seen here in 'Twilight:&nbsp;Eclipse,' is set to star in David Cronenberg's 'Cosmopolis' as soon as he wraps the last film in his blockbuster series</p>

Robert Pattinson, seen here in 'Twilight: Eclipse,' is set to star in David Cronenberg's 'Cosmopolis' as soon as he wraps the last film in his blockbuster series

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Robert Pattinson signs to join Cronenberg for DeLillo's 'Cosmopolis'

'Twilight' star joins already confirmed Cotillard and Giamatti in film

David Cronenberg and Don DeLillo.

Right away, those two names attached to a project guarantee my interest.  Cronenberg is one of my favorite directors, a brilliant man with a savage eye for human behavior, and DeLillo is an amazing author.  His books are black and painful and funny and horrifying, and each of them serves as a sort of snapshot of a time and place.

So when I read that Cronenberg is going to make DeLillo's Cosmopolis as a film, I'm very interested.  Then I read a little further and I see Paul Giamatti and Marion Cotillard are also attached, and that's cool.  Good cast, great actors, seem like they'd be a good fit with Cronenberg.  And who else is starring?

Oh, yeah… that's right.  Robert Pattinson, in his first big role after he wraps work on the last of the "Twilight" films.

It's a huge role for him, and it's an interesting moment for Cronenberg and DeLillo.  I may love these guys, but their cultural currency isn't what it could be.  Not a lot of teenagers out there are rabidly devouring "White Noise" or "Libra" these days or tracking down DVDs of "The Brood" and "Videodrome."  Robert Pattinson has a certain amount of cultural cache that automatically brings fresh eyes to something like this.

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<p>Edgar Wright has a rock star moment on the set of 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World'</p>

Edgar Wright has a rock star moment on the set of 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Interview: Edgar Wright's Interview Of Epic Epicness, Part One

Part one of a giant conversation with the director of one of our favorite films of 2010

This one's a little late.

Here's the thing… Edgar Wright is a bundle of energy that is almost unmatched in anyone I know, and an hour of Edgar talking is the equal of about six hours of anyone else talking.  This interview caused six different transcriptionists to kill themselves.  I became afraid to pass it along to a new one, because every time, they would say, "Oh, no, don't worry about it."  Next thing I hear? Dead.  Expired.  At their own hand.
I stuck with it, though, and now, finally, after all this time, I have an hour with Edgar Wright for no good reason other than I love his film and I thought this was a great conversation.  And it'll have to be two articles because there's no way to publish something this big as one article on this site.  It's a behemoth.

Actually, I'll get into "reasons" at the end of this piece.  First, though, all kidding aside, this is how interviews should work... real time to sit and chat without someone hovering nearby to cut you off after your third question.  I understand the realities of time constraints during press tours, but still... it makes a big difference, both as an interviewer and (hopefully) for you guys as readers.  With a few interviews here at HitFix, like Terry Gilliam or Rob Reiner or David Fincher, I feel like I got a chance to sit down and chat with someone I've always wanted to talk to but never had the chance before, and by the end of it, I felt like we'd formed a rapport that resulted in a genuine conversation and not just a promotional opportunity.  Yes, they're selling something, but the goal from my end is always to try to break through to even a few moments of something real.

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<p>Is it polite of me to tell the creepy old lady I don't want to play with her dollies with the glowing eyes?</p>

Is it polite of me to tell the creepy old lady I don't want to play with her dollies with the glowing eyes?

Credit: The Home

Eric Vespe and Aaron Morgan take 'The Home' to Dimension

Wait... internet dudes? Making a movie? That'll never work

I've watched Eric Vespe grow up as a film fan, and my second home in Austin is with my friend Aaron Morgan and his lovely wife, so suffice it to say I'm a wee bit on the excited side to be able to confirm that "The Home," co-written by Vespe and Morgan and set to be directed by Morgan, has been acquired by Dimension Films.

Makes sense.  After all, Elizabeth Avellan is one of their producers, and her relationship with Dimension Films has been a long and successful one as the producer of the films of her ex-husband, Robert Rodriguez.  Elizabeth has been working with Eric and Aaron to develop the film recently, joining some other producers like Elijah Wood and Voltage Pictures who have been on the film for a while now, and it looks like this combination of people is the right one.

"The Home" is drawn from personal experience for Morgan.  His family was in the nursing home business, and he grew up around them, so when he set out to craft a horror film set in a nursing home, he had more than enough material to use as inspiration.  Vespe, who you probably know better as Quint over at Ain't It Cool, has been working with Morgan for a while now.  The two of them made a short film together called "Blind," and they'd written another feature before this one.  That was based on a novel, though, and was larger in scale and harder to set up, so they intentionally set out to make something more contained that they could use as a calling card.

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<p>Godzilla is set to return to the big-screen, and Gareth Edwards is the man bringing him back to life</p>

Godzilla is set to return to the big-screen, and Gareth Edwards is the man bringing him back to life

Credit: Legendary Pictures

'Monsters' director Gareth Edwards signs on for 'Godzilla'

Micro-budget indie lands the director at the helm of a potential blockbuster

Gareth Edwards made quite a splash with his micro-budget giant monster movie, "Monsters," last year, and while it didn't make my end-of-the-year list, I have real admiration for what he accomplished, especially working on the budget he did.  He's a smart filmmaker with a really interesting visual imagination, and it seems like one of the most obvious couplings of filmmaker with material in recent memory to hear that Edwards has been hired by Warner and Legendary to direct their upcoming "Godzilla."

It's an exciting choice in a lot of ways.  If you see "Monsters," you'll see how clearly his focus is on character instead of spectacle, even in the moments where there are giant monsters onscreen.  His idea of a money shot is defined by the emotion it evokes, not on how "cool" it is, and that's one of the reasons "Monsters" may have confounded people expecting more conventional genre fare.

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