Captain America EW cover
Credit: Entertainment Weekly

First Look: Chris Evans as 'Captain America: The First Avenger'

EW's cover sports the WW2 era hero looking battle ready

We finally get an "official" eyeful of Chris Evans in Cap's duds from "Captain America: The First Avenger" on this week's cover of Entertainment Weekly. A first look that may tell us a few things about the film itself.

The photo itself is stylized to look high contrast and grainy, adding to period feel of the costume, which seems to be made entirely of stitched leather and perhaps a super secret WWII version of kevlar. The bullet-marked shield looks to have been though a firefight, (or perhaps Dan Fienberg returned it all messed up?)

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<p>Believe it or not, this is a very serious moment for Kayvan Novak, Arsher Ali, Riz Ahmed, and Nigel Lindsay in 'Four Lions,' the blistering new comedy from director Chris Morris</p>

Believe it or not, this is a very serious moment for Kayvan Novak, Arsher Ali, Riz Ahmed, and Nigel Lindsay in 'Four Lions,' the blistering new comedy from director Chris Morris

Credit: Drafthouse Films

Listen: The MCP sits down with Chris Morris to discuss the incendiary 'Four Lions'

Plus special guest Devin Faraci talks about being a badass and plays some Movie God

This week, I took the MCP, also known as the Motion/Captured Podcast, on the road.  I drove over to Devin Faraci's palatial Silverlake estate, purchased with all the piles of money that Tim League drove up to Devin's house in a dump truck when convincing him to jump ship from CHUD so he could start his new site, Badass Digest.

After wandering around the grounds for a few hours trying to find the house, I was greeted by part of his security team in a Jeep.  It only took a half-hour for them to drive me to the place where Devin wanted to record.  I wanted him to be my guest this week because Chris Morris, the director of my favorite film at Sundance this year, is this week's featured interview on the show.  How is Devin related to the film "Four Lions"?  Well, Badass Digest is an offshoot of the Alamo Drafthouse, financially and spiritually, and the brand-new Drafthouse Films is the American distributor for the film.  This is their first film as a distributor, and Devin's involved in pretty much everything over there.  That means he's about to hit the road on a "Four Lions" tour to help spread the word on the movie.

I wanted to talk to him about his new site, his new role with the Drafthouse, and I wanted to play a round of Movie God with him as well.  Devin turned out to be a particularly cruel Old Testament Movie God, with no mercy at all, and it's a pretty great round of the game as a result.

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<p>By the time Marlon Brando's Colonel Kurtz shows up in 'Apocalypse Now,' it's already well past surreal, and in Blu-ray high-def, you can almost smell the sweat.</p>

By the time Marlon Brando's Colonel Kurtz shows up in 'Apocalypse Now,' it's already well past surreal, and in Blu-ray high-def, you can almost smell the sweat.

Credit: Lionsgate/Zoetrope

Contest Winners: 'Apocalypse Now' fans describe their other favorite war films

Oddly, Motion/Captured readers seem to be awesome film nerds

I like the idea of contests, but I'm terrible at administrating them.

See, I would be the first to admit that one of the benefits of being a DVD or Blu-ray reviewer is that you can end up getting some big titles for free, and that's great.  I still end up spending hundreds of dollars a month on titles that aren't sent to me, and when I talk about what was sent to the house, I don't intend to make you guys, the readers, feel bad.  If anything, I wish I had free copies for all of you, because I love to share film.

That's exactly why contests are great.  I get to share free copies with at least a few of you, and it seems fair that if I write a review for my copy, you should write a review for yours.

When I announced a contest that would let five of you win copies of the new "Apocalypse Now" Blu-ray, I had no idea how many of you would enter, or how good most of the entries would be.  You're an articulate, eclectic bunch, and there were a wide range of answers to the question I asked, which was, "What is your favorite war movie besides 'Apocalypse Now'?"

I'm going to run all five of the answers here today, and if you entered and you didn't win, it doesn't mean I didn't like your entry.  There were just so many of them that I had to make a choice and whittle it down.  I'll be running two more contests this evening, so if you didn't win here, please enter the other contests, and keep trying.

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<p>&nbsp;<span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: 'bookman old style', 'new york', times, serif; font-size: 16px; border-collapse: collapse; ">Nicolas Cage, seen here as Johnny Blaze in 'Ghost Rider,'</span></p>

 Nicolas Cage, seen here as Johnny Blaze in 'Ghost Rider,'

Credit: SPHE

The Morning Read: Nicolas Cage set to play two roles in 'Ghost Rider 2'

Plus 'Sanctum' gets a trailer and Aronofsky's got a thing for 'Machine Man'

Welcome to The Morning Read.

Man, it's been a long week.  And it's only Wednesday?

I'm not even sure I can pinpoint what's responsible.  Sure, there's been some big news today, like the "Avatar 2" and "Avatar 3" confirmation and the "Dark Knight Rises" news, and I've been running around doing things that you'll see soon, like TV interviews for "Tangled" and "Due Date" and "127 Hours," but that's every week.  Maybe now that the sun's coming out in LA, I'll shake it off.  I'd better.  There's a ton of stuff waiting to get written about here on my desk and hitting the screen in the weeks ahead.

If Nicolas Cage really is playing both Johnny Blaze and the demon Zarathos in the upcoming Neveldine/Taylor "Ghost Rider 2," it is going to be a completely lunatic experience.  The directors have been posting cryptic hints in their Twitter feed today, promising a "nic cage classic" from the dual performances.  I'd be willing to believe them.  When Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg told me about what Nic Cage had planned when he was going to be the villain in "The Green Hornet," including playing the entire film with a broad Jamaican accent, I was almost sad that it didn't happen.  There's nothing more interesting than the moments where directors let Cage off the leash and he is free to play.  He remains one of the most inventive, eccentric performers we've got, and it's genuine.  He makes big, wild choices, and that's the reason he's remained worth watching for nearly 30 years now.

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<p>Batman will return to the streets of Gotham City in Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight Rises'</p>

Batman will return to the streets of Gotham City in Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Credit: Warner/Legendary

'The Dark Knight Rises' in Gotham with no Riddler in sight

Christopher Nolan also promises no 3D for the final film in his Bat-trilogy

If you've spent any time in the last few months reading articles about Christopher Nolan's planned third Batman film, you probably felt confident that the villain in the new film would be the Riddler.

After all, site after site after site reported breathlessly that Joseph Gordon-Levitt had been offered the role of the Riddler on the "Inception" set.  And then when word came down recently that Tom Hardy was cast in the film, people began reporting how Hardy had beaten Levitt out for the role.  It was reported so confidently and so often that it would seem to be accepted fact... right?

Thing is, no one ever verified that notion, and one of the reasons I try not to run links to every little bit of info during the early days on some of these high-profile sequels is because so much speculation gets mixed into what little original reporting is out there, and eventually, you're playing an Internet-wide game of telephone, and the loser is accuracy.

This morning, Christopher Nolan had a short talk with Geoff Boucher at the LA Times, and two concrete facts were reported as a result of that conversation.  First, the film's got a title:  "The Dark Knight Rises."  Since that came from Nolan, I'd take that as official. 

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Neytiri and Jake
Credit: Fox

It's official: 'Avatar 2' & '3' are next for James Cameron

He leaves 'Cleopatra' to dance with who brung him

James Cameron made good on his repeated promises of sequels to the immensely popular and box-office busting 3D epic "Avatar" with a press release from Fox this morning stating that he has agreed to make "Avatar 2" and "3" his next films.

The news definitely disrupts plans for Sony Pictures who had been courting Cameron to head up a 3D "Cleopatra" with Angelina  Jolie. But it's hardly surprising news that he would pick Fox over Sony, as James Cameron's relationship with the studio dates back to "Aliens" in 1985, and includes "Titanic," winner of eleven academy awards.

New 3D cameras and motion capture technology were developed for "Avatar," and its huge success ushered in our current era of 3D films. His script was based on a story that he had been mulling over for more than ten years. In a recent interview with Drew McWeeny he related that he had enough material involving Pandora and its nearby planets for ten sequels.

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<p>Driver (Dwayne Johnson) does his best to escape Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) in the new action film 'Faster'</p>
<br />

Driver (Dwayne Johnson) does his best to escape Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) in the new action film 'Faster'


Credit: CBS Films

Set Visit: The Rock goes head to head with Billy Bob Thornton in 'Faster'

A short afternoon in Studio City leads to an examination of what a 'set visit' really is

The entire notion of the "set visit" has changed since I've started doing this, and that's never been clearer to me than it was in March, when I joined a handful of other writers on the set of the upcoming action movie "Faster," starring Dwayne Johnson, Maggie Grace, Billy Bob Thorton, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.

When I started writing for Ain't It Cool back in 1996 and 1997, there was no such thing as a formal set visit.  When I started actually writing about my time spent on various film sets, they weren't visits organized with the studio, but with the filmmakers, and they weren't big group activities with formal itineraries.  The best set visit pieces I've ever done are the ones where I spent enough time on a film for the filmmakers to forget I was there, where I got to become a fly on the wall and actually watch the process at work.  When I write one of these pieces, what I really hope to do is be your eyes and ears and allow you to experience what it's like when you're trying to pull off the logistical, monetary, technical, and artistic challenge that is filmmaking.

Instead, set visits these days have become stage managed to such an extent that what your'e getting as a reader is a junket experience, a completely manufactured theme park version of what really happens when you're making a movie.  It's the same as if you visited the MGM/Disney Tour in Florida or the Universal tour, and you drove by a soundstage and you caught a glimpse of something and a few of the stars came out and waved at you and did a little rehearsed patter.  You can't really say you saw them making the film, but that's what they want you to think.

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The cast of Megamind
Credit: Dreamworks Animation

Watch: Brad Pitt and Will Ferrell face off in 'Megamind'

Six clips give a good glimpse of the animation and the humor

It's hard to picture Will Ferrell's voice coming out of anything else than Will Ferrell. I'll admit I wasn't completely on board for the concept when I first heard of it. These five clips released this week from Paramount give a better taste of his voice talents than the snippets heard in the commercials. I'm warming up to the idea.

We're treated to extended scenes with Jonah Hill, who plays someone named 'Tighten,' who is trying to woo Roxanne in a hilarious send-up of the classic scene from "Superman." Hill is another offbeat choice for a superhero/villain voice, but one that just might work as well. Brad Pitt's Metro Man appears in two scenes, and his timing with Ferrell appears pretty on target.

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<p>John Carpenter, seen here on the set of his latest film 'The Ward,' is the subject of this week's special edition of the Motion/Captured Podcast.</p>

John Carpenter, seen here on the set of his latest film 'The Ward,' is the subject of this week's special edition of the Motion/Captured Podcast.

Credit: Echo Lake Productions/A Bigger Boat

Listen: A special podcast tribute to John Carpenter with guest Scott Weinberg

We're joined by the FEARNet Film Critic to discuss the career of one of horror's greats

One of the highlights for me of a very busy and emotionally demanding September was spending time at the Toronto International Film Festival and at Fantastic Fest with Scott Weinberg, Cinematical editor and FEARNet film critic.  Festivals are great because you end up seeing the same faces, people you don't see the rest of the year.  

Sundance, SXSW, Comic-Con, Toronto, Fantastic Fest… it's a circuit that takes me to Austin twice a year, to one of the biggest pop culture press events on the planet, and to two of the most important festivals that happen internationally, and it helps keep me connected to what's going on during the year in film.  It's also just plain nice to see those faces and have those conversations and spend that time with film-loving friends.

This year, Weinberg joined me for all of the Midnight Madness programming at the Ryerson Theater, and it was a blast.  Colin Geddes put together a really impressive series, and each night was a totally different energy depending on which film was playing.  For me, the evening that I anticipated the most was the premiere of John Carpenter's new film, "The Ward."  Since I first worked with John in 2005, I've been hoping to see him working on the bigscreen again, and it was a thrill to be in that audience, to be one of the first to see the film.

The night before, as Weinberg and I were writing reviews, we were talking about that anticipation, that weight that comes from having a career like his, and we realized that we should get that anticipation down on tape.  I set up the mic quickly, and what resulted is a loose, informal, hour-long trip through Carpenter's full career, from "Dark Star" to "Ghosts Of Mars."  We rank each of this theatrical features, each of us picking our favorite films along the way.

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<p>Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Isabelle Adjani, and a blind camel all star in the long-unavailable '80s comedy 'Ishtar,' finally coming to Blu-ray in January</p>

Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Isabelle Adjani, and a blind camel all star in the long-unavailable '80s comedy 'Ishtar,' finally coming to Blu-ray in January

Credit: SPHE

One Thing I Love Today: 'Ishtar' is coming to Blu-ray

Would would a simple press release get today's spotlight?

This is just plain odd, and it makes me very happy.

I got a press release this morning from SPHE, and I had to read it twice because I didn't believe it the first time.  I've been hearing for the past decade how "Ishtar" was never going to come out on DVD because of all the delicate negotiating it would require between the various principal players like Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, and Elaine May.

Anyone who's been reading this blog since it launched, or who was reading my work on Ain't It Cool, probably knows by now that I'm a fan of "Ishtar," and not in some winky ironic way, either.  I think it's a genuinely funny film that got unjustly slammed when it was released in 1987, and it's deserved a major rediscovery for some time now.  Last year, Mr. Beaks and I hosted an evening at the New Beverly where we double-featured this film with "Joe Vs. The Volcano," and seeing it with a crowd was great.

It's been hard to defend the film when it's been largely unavailable to the viewing public, and it's been hard to explain to people that there are reasons other than the quality of the film that have kept it off of DVD entirely.  How many high-profile film can you honestly say have never had a DVD release in the American market?  How many Warren Beatty films or Dustin Hoffman films have been completely shelved and sat out this format entirely?

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