<p>Disney's Magic Kingdom in&nbsp;Orlando, seen here at night, is the location for the proposed fantasy film 'Magic Kingdom,' which Jon Favreau may direct.</p>

Disney's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, seen here at night, is the location for the proposed fantasy film 'Magic Kingdom,' which Jon Favreau may direct.

Credit: Walt Disney World Enterprises

Jon Favreau's going to 'The Magic Kingdom' and Tim Herlihy's playing with 'Pixels'

Is 'things coming to life' really a new subgenre of movie?

One of the things that sidetracked me yesterday was some time spent with the always-engaging Jon Favreau, and in that entire time, the wily filmmaker never once mentioned his involvement in "The Magic Kingdom," which is being described as a "Night At The Museum" style adventure set in…. well, you get the idea.  It's the ultimate idea in corporate synergy, and since anything in the park can theoretically appear in the film, it opens Disney up to using anything they want from any of their classics.

What he did mention, though, was the general idea that there's a specific game you have to play as a filmmaker these days if you want to work at a certain level and make movies with certain kinds of movie stars and work with certain kinds of effects.  He talked about his reaction when he first heard the idea for "Pirates Of The Caribbean," the same reaction that so many people had.  "Has it really come to this?"  It was when he first heard that Johnny Depp had been cast that he started to believe that the film could be something more than a cheap cash grab.

I guess "Magic Kingdom" was inevitable.  The success of the "A Night At The Museum" films is  undeniable, no matter what I think of them as films, and it seems like there's an entire subgenre of fantasy films that has sprung up in the past few years, the "things coming to life" movies.  To be fair, I don't think "A  Night At The Museum" is where it began.  "Jumanji" was an obvious early example of the idea, and the sequel to that film was "Zathura," directed by none other than Jon Favreau.

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<p>Who won the contest to win a Blu-ray of epic epicness? </p>

Who won the contest to win a Blu-ray of epic epicness?

Credit: USHE

Let's enjoy the 'Scott Pilgrim' Blu-ray contest winners

Boy, I wish these bands were real

So hopefully I haven't screwed anyone who was waiting to see if they won before they bought their own copy of the Blu-ray for "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World."  It took me a while to do this one because I had about 1100 entries to read.

I'll have one final bit of Scott Pilgrim-related material for you this week when I publish an interview I did with Edgar Wright.  I can't believe this journey with this film has finally come to a close, and now all that anticipation and all that work is this wee thing I can put on my shelf.  Since I started writing about films, this cycle has become more noticeable to me, and while it seems like it takes forever from when we first hear about films to when we actually see them, it's actually a blink of an eye, and the whole thing ends up as this artifact.  That, more than anything, is why I don't want to see physical media eliminated.  I love these physical reminders of the entire process, and I'd hate to see them go.

For now, here are five people who also get to expand their physical media libraries by at least one title, and their winning entries:

Brian Zitzelman


BAND NAME:  Hey, You, In The Bushes
ALBUM NAME:  I'm Not A Stalker, I Just Love You

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<p>Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) listens to his brother Dicky (Christian Bale) during an important fight in the new David O. Russell film 'The Fighter'</p>

Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) listens to his brother Dicky (Christian Bale) during an important fight in the new David O. Russell film 'The Fighter'

Credit: Paramount PIctures

Review: Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg make 'The Fighter' emotional, inspirational

David O. Russell gets sentimental for the first time and lands some big punches

"They're going to make a movie about me, you know."

We were about ten minutes into our drive from my hotel out to the location for the film "The Invention Of Lying," and I was talking to the driver, a local Teamster who had been sent to pick me up.  One of the things I learned early on when traveling to film sets is that drivers often have the best stories about what's going on, and they're almost always willing to chat.  In this case, the driver was telling me about the town of Lowell where I was staying, and as he told me about the city, he started telling me a bit about his brother, a local legend who had been a professional fighter.  I asked him about his background working on movies, and he said he was just doing it for the first time.  I asked what he did instead of driving.  "I did a little bit of fighting as well."  I asked him some more questions about his boxing history, and that's when he finally broke down and told me they were making a film about him.   "About me and my brother."

And now, finally, that film is done, and my driver that morning, who introduced himself as Micky Ward, has been immortalized by Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and David O. Russell.

It's safe to say that I am a David O. Russell fan.  I've been onboard since the beginning.  Well, okay, since "Spanking The Monkey," but I remember the impact of that one in the theater, the way it announced Russell as a guy who can navigate some really tricky tightropes of tone.  When "Flirting With Disaster" came out in 1996, I went nuts for it.  It felt like Russell made a comedy that absolutely summed up that moment, but that wasn't "about" the 1990s in an overt way.  I'm a firm believer that 1999 was the best year I wrote about while working at Ain't It Cool, and one of the films I loved most that year was "Three Kings."

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<p>Channing Tatum may be joining the cast of '21 Jump Street' this spring.</p>

Channing Tatum may be joining the cast of '21 Jump Street' this spring.

Credit: AP Photo

Channing Tatum may join Jonah Hill for '21 Jump Street'

Comedy update of old show getting closer to production

"21 Jump Street" was a very silly show.

Oh, I know they had their share of "very special" episodes, but the whole thing about undercover cops working the high school beat was ridiculous, and '80s TV in general was just plain crazy for the most part.

The first time Jonah Hill mentioned to me that he was going to work on a new movie version of the show, I thought he was crazy.  But then he explained his take a bit, and then they hired Michael Bacall, the screenwriter for "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World," and then Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who co-directed the very funny and better-than-it-should-be "Cloudy With The Chance of Meatballs," were hired to direct the film, and then I actually read a draft of the script, and, well…

… I think "21 Jump Street" might be sort of awesome.

Deadline is reporting tonight that Channing Tatum is in negotiations to be Jonah Hill's partner in the film.  That means Hill will be playing Schmidt, and Tatum will play Jenko.  In the opening of the draft I read, the two of them are working undercover together and get called out by the drug dealers they're trying to bust for being too young.  They're miserable because of how youthful they look, and it screws up their work.  Finally, their boss gives them one last chance, assigning them to the team working out of 21 Jump Street.

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<p>Lee Eun-yi (Jeon Do-yeon) is an unsuspecting temptation for the master of the house in the harrowing Korean drama 'The Housemaid'</p>

Lee Eun-yi (Jeon Do-yeon) is an unsuspecting temptation for the master of the house in the harrowing Korean drama 'The Housemaid'

Credit: IFC Films

AFI Fest: 'Housemaid' and 'Bedeviled' reinforce image of Korean films as brutal and beautiful

Two very different films about what happens when you cross a Korean

If there is any one thing that international cinema has taught me, it is this:  do not piss off a Korean.

Obviously, the new Korean cinema has contributed many things to film, and there's certainly not just one type of movie that they make, but there's no arguing that the revenge film seems to have become a specialty for the industry.  One of the best films I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival this year was "I Saw The Devil," a meticulously built story of one secret agent determined to pay back a serial killer for what he did to the agent's fiancee.  It's a brutal ride, but there's an emotional charge that comes from watching someone right a wrong on film.  At their most primal, these are movies that empower the viewer because we watch characters act out the complex emotions that many of us are forced to swallow in our daily lives.

"The Housemaid" is a remake of a '60s film, and I'm glad I haven't seen the original because it meant that the new one played as a fresh experience for me.  Both Toronto and Fantastic Fest booked the film so that the original and the remake played as double-headers, but I never managed to work it into my schedule at either fest as a back-to-back.  I would imagine that's a brutal experience to sit through, because just one version of the story nearly exhausted me.  I didn't expect this from the director of "The President's Last Bang," either.  And while I know many of you might immediately key in on the word "brutal" and treat that as a reason to avoid the film, I think there's enormous merit in a film that can cast a cold light on the darker aspects of how we behave with one another.

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<p>&nbsp;Digital plastic surgery is almost as creepy as real plastic surgery</p>

 Digital plastic surgery is almost as creepy as real plastic surgery

Credit: Disney

Watch: Third 'Tron: Legacy' trailer reveals more details of the Disney sequel

Will this be the first worthwhile live action 3D movie?

Disney released a third trailer today which incorporates a lot of the footage we have already seen in the Daft Punk "video" montage and some other clips that already been floating around. But there were other details that caught my eye. I'll explain.
 
Part of the reason that 3D animated films (including "Avatar") have been more successful than live action 3D films is that the animators modeling the characters and landscapes are thinking in 3D space, the software they use forces them to, and the fact that the films are finally being shown in 3D is more of a logical afterthought of the process than an end to the means.

Traditional live action filmmakers however, have over one hundred years of tradition and teaching that tells them to think of the screen as a "canvas", AKA, a flat plane. They compose their visual information in those terms and may be inadvertently trapping themselves in that plane, as opposed to thinking of their new canvas as a cube instead of a rectangle.
 
If you'll notice, almost every shot in this trailer has lines that lead the eye into the distance or set up barriers that give a sense of depth. Even watching it in 2D, it's apparent that they are thinking in 3D. Fitting and perhaps ironic that such a CGI centric movie like 'Tron: Legacy' may become the example of how to shoot live action in 3D.
 

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<p>You'll be much more impressed with Rachel McAdams in 'Morning Glory' than Harrison Ford's character is in this early scene from the film which opens Wednesday everywhere.</p>

You'll be much more impressed with Rachel McAdams in 'Morning Glory' than Harrison Ford's character is in this early scene from the film which opens Wednesday everywhere.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford make it look easy in breezy 'Morning Glory'

The director of 'Notting Hill' and the writer of 'Devil Wears Prada' strike gold together

When people talk about good physical comedy, what they're typically talking about is big stuff that goes way over the top, like Jim Carrey in "The Mask."  And certainly, that's impressive.  It's impressive to look back at Buster Keaton and the way he would hurl himself through his films.  I respect people who can go big and who can tie themselves in knots, but I don't think that's the only thing that matters in physical comedy.  I think that really strong physical performers can simply add small flourishes to a character, physical quirks and mannerisms, that are genuinely funny and endearing, and that's not easy.  The subtle work is often the hardest, and if that's the case, then we should probably start talking seriously about Rachel McAdams as a physical comedian of some import, because the work she does in the new comedy "Morning Glory" is genuinely impressive.

Roger Michell is a strong filmmaker who is capable of making glossy but honest fluff, something that should not be undervalued as a skill.  His "Notting Hill" is one of the few Julia Roberts vehicles that I wholeheartedly adore.  "Changing Lanes" is a solid exercise, and both "Enduring Love" and "The Mother" are underrated.  With "Morning Glory," he's working in mainstream mode again, and at heart, this is just "The Devil Wears Prada" in the world of morning television.  After all, Aline Brosh McKenna, who wrote the scripts for "Prada" and "27 Dresses," is the screenwriter here, and she's not shaking up the formula at all.  Her main character, Becky Fuller (McAdams), is a girl with a dream, and that dream is the "Today" show.  She works as a producer of a local Jersey morning show, and when she's suddenly cut loose from that job, she manages to talk her way into the position as the executive producer of the fourth place network morning show. 

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<p>Thomson and Thompson, played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, keep an eye on Silk, a thief played by Toby Jones in 'The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret of The Unicorn.&quot;</p>

Thomson and Thompson, played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, keep an eye on Silk, a thief played by Toby Jones in 'The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret of The Unicorn."

Credit: Amblin/Wingnut

The Morning Read: More 'Tintin' images reveal Pegg and Frost as the Thompson Twins

Plus Batman hits the road, there's a Caine-off, and Jill Clayburgh remembered

Welcome to The Morning Read.

Some days, it's a struggle to find enough material to put together a satisfying Morning Read.  Some days, it's a struggle to fit it all into one column.  This is one of those days, and it's an uncommonly good batch of material out there to sift through.

For example, there are more of those Empire "Tintin" images online, and I've gotta say, there's a desert one that I find amazing, a perfect Tintin image.  And I like the way the Thompsons look so far.  They're sort of spot on, and with Nick Frost and Simon Pegg performing the roles together, I can't wait to see them in motion.

And have you seen the Entertainment Weekly images from "The Muppets" with Jason Segel, introducing Walter, the new Muppet who will co-star with Segal in the film due out next Christmas?  Awesome.  Instantly charming.  And my favorite part of the picture is knowing that Segel is probably out of his mind with joy in that photo.  He's such a Jim Henson super-geek, and that photo is just one icon after another crammed into every corner of the frame with Segel right there in the middle.  That goes beyond dream come true.  I hope the film lives up to its potential and restores the Muppets to their rightful place in pop culture.  I know we can never bring Jim Henson back, but I'm sure he wanted these characters to have a larger life beyond him.  They are so rich, with such great relationships established over time, and done right, this could be a really special moment next year.

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<p>Denzel Washington has a hero moment in Tony Scott's new action-drama 'Unstoppable'</p>

Denzel Washington has a hero moment in Tony Scott's new action-drama 'Unstoppable'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: Chris Pine and Denzel Washington are 'Unstoppable' despite Tony Scott's best efforts

Frustrating visual style mars an otherwise excellent action film

It started slowly, almost subtle, taking its time, building slowly, and only exploded during the second half of the film, building much more quickly, so intense that I almost had to get up and run, finally reaching a devastating finale that left me weak.

Unfortunately, I'm not talking about the movie itself, but the headache that Tony Scott's ridiculous shooting style gave me.  And I'm not exaggerating.

Let's talk about what works in "Unstoppable" first, which is pretty much everything else.  This is one of those films that sounds ridiculous in concept, but which works incredibly well as an exercise in Everything Going Wrong.  How does a giant freight train loaded with toxic chemical end up racing out of control through heavily populated areas?  Well, "Unstoppable" finds a way to make the set up credible, even inevitable, and by the time, things are really rolling, you're invested.  Mark Bomback is an interesting screenwriter, a guy who just booked one of the best gigs in town last week when he was hired to rewrite "Shadow Divers."  It's a big story, with a lot of moving pieces, and the way Bomback built this script for "Unstoppable" would indicate he's the exact right guy for that job.

There are really three main characters in the film, all of them playing a key role in what unfolds.  Frank (Denzel Washington) is a veteran railroader, a guy who has 28 years under his belt and who's staring down the barrel of forced early retirement now.  Will (Chris Pine) is an engineer on the other end of the timeline, one of the young guys being brought in for lower wages to help drive out older employees.  And Connie (Rosario Dawson) is a dispatcher who watches these little bumps and mistakes erupt into this full-blown disaster, working tirelessly to figure out how to stop it from the very first moment she hears what's going on.  They are given able support by a cast including Ethan Suplee and T.J. Miller as the guys responsible for the train getting away in the first place, Kevin Dunn as Dawson's direct superior, Kevin Corrigan as a safety inspector, and Jessy Schram as Pine's estranged wife.

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<p>The real mission's Saturn rockets sit unused at the Johnson Space Center, but the conspiracy theories about it fuel the new film 'Apollo 18'</p>

The real mission's Saturn rockets sit unused at the Johnson Space Center, but the conspiracy theories about it fuel the new film 'Apollo 18'

Credit: NASA

Timur Bekmambetov proves 'Apollo 18' happened after all

Weinsteins sign on for new found-footage thriller produced by 'Wanted' director

I understand why conspiracy theories are so important to the overall psychic health of so many people.  There are times when it feels like we live in a terrifying, random, cruel, uncaring world, and if you can figure out some hidden pattern, some deeply covered secret that explains why bad things happen to you or why bad things happen to the world in general, then maybe that's what people need in order to keep waking up in the morning.

There are, of course, any number of conspiracy theories that involve our space program, not the least of which is the notion that the moon landing was faked.  I've always preferred the sheer lunacy of the school of thought that one of the Apollo missions that was scrapped for financial reason, actually happened and that it was on that mission that man made contact with aliens.  The theory is actually called the "Apollo 20" theory, but the first mission that would have happened that didn't was Apollo 18.

Sounds like Timur Bekmambetov likes that theory as well, because he's the producer of a low-profile movie that just got unveiled at AFM.  The movie, written by Brian Miller and directed by Trevor Caewood, is now set for a March 4, 2011 release by The Weinstein Company.  The film is already shooting, and whatever the footage was that Bekmambetov showed to the Weinsteins is what closed the deal.  Supposedly, the footage was from the actual Apollo 18 mission.  This is evidently a smaller-scale production, a la the "Paranormal Activity" series, and if you read the comments below the actual article over at Deadline, it sounds like the film got shopped around as a script before they went and shot some footage.  That's exactly what AFM is for, taking these projects into the marketplace and getting them financed or released, and it looks like this year's marketplace just made Bekmambetov even busier.

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