<p>The teaser poster for 'Cowboys and Aliens' is online now, and the teaser trailer is due on Wednesday.</p>

The teaser poster for 'Cowboys and Aliens' is online now, and the teaser trailer is due on Wednesday.

Credit: Universal Pictures

The 'Cowboys and Aliens' poster is up, and we have your first sneak at the new trailer

How do Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford look in one of next summer's biggest movies?

As I mentioned on Friday, I had a good excuse for being unable to finish a Morning Read last Wednesday.  I went to Santa Monica to visit Jon Favreau at the editing suites where he's hard at work on his next film, "Cowboys & Aliens."

At that point, we were shown the new one-sheet for the film, which makes its premiere online today, and we were also shown the trailer for the movie, which you'll get a chance to see on Wednesday, and which is also being sent out this weekend with every single print of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I," so you'll get to see it theatrically as well.

We also saw the first forty minutes or so of the film, but discussion of that is going to have to wait a bit.

What I can say today is that Universal has a really big commercial movie on their hands here, and Favreau's about to prove that the "Iron Man" films weren't just hits because of an appetite for superhero movies.  The trailer manages to condense the film's arresting first forty minutes into an easy to digest form, and then also throws in some surprising imagery for what is a teaser.  The film has some big secrets to protect, and yet the teaser is already hinting at some of them.  The thing that the trailer sells loud and clear is the chemistry between Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig, the film's two leads, something that comes through in the film's opening act.

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<p>Adam Kubert is just one of the artists who has sent Wolverine to Japan over the years, and now Darren Aronofsky is set to do the same in his new film 'The Wolverine'</p>

Adam Kubert is just one of the artists who has sent Wolverine to Japan over the years, and now Darren Aronofsky is set to do the same in his new film 'The Wolverine'

Credit: Marvel Comics

Darren Aronofsky confirms a new title for 'Wolverine 2'

The director asserts this is a new approach to the character

Earlier today, I sat down at the W Hotel in Hollywood to talk with Darren Aronofsky and Natalie Portman about their new film, "Black Swan," and we'll have those conversations here for you in the week before the film opens.

For now, though, there's one tidbit worth passing along from our conversation.  When Aronofsky was settling in for the interview, I mentioned to him that I had run into Matty Libatique the other night, and Aronofsky smiled.  "I saw that."  He offered up one correction to the information that we've run on the film so far, though, and as far as I can tell, this is the first time I've heard this.

The film that he's directing is officially called "The Wolverine," and there won't be a number attached to it.  In our interview, he referred to the movie as a "one-off," and he emphasized that the film isn't a sequel in any conventional sense.

It's an interesting move, and it certainly separates this from Gavin Hood's movie, and from the larger "X-Men" franchise in general.  Between this film and Matthew Vaughn's "X-Men: First Class," it sounds like any rules we've got in mind about these films and what to expect based on the first four films in the franchise are out the window.

Frankly, I like that.  Comics have always made room for different artists and writers to take these icons and bend and twist them and try different things with them, so why shouldn't the films be the same way?

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<p>An image of the end of the world as realized in the Strause Brothers film 'Skyline'</p>

An image of the end of the world as realized in the Strause Brothers film 'Skyline'

Credit: Universal/Rogue

Review: 'Skyline' doesn't work as a story, but offers interesting glimpse at indie future

Does Hydraulx make the jump from FX house to production company?

What is the modern B-movie?

I ask because I don't think it means what it used to mean.  There was a time when B-movies were the programmers, the lower-budget lower-expectations, and the subject matter was usually more lurid so that it could appeal to an audience without the benefit of big movie stars.  The '70s blockbuster explosion was led by movies that were essentially bigger-budget B-movies.  When you look at some of the giant movies of the era, they were films that would have been relegated to drive-ins if they'd been produced in slightly different manner.  "It's the story of a giant shark that eats a bunch of people near a summer resort."  "It's the story of a space farmer and a space pirate who team up with a space wizard to rescue a space princess."  These are B-movies that became something else by virtue of how they were executed, and these days, it seems like most of the films that studios treat as giant tentpole movies are cut from that same cloth.

So what is a real B-movie today?  Is it something like the dreck that The Asylum pumps out, no-budget versions of big-budget movies rushed into video stores to piggyback on a studio's marketing campaign?  Is it the sort of fare that Magnet/Magnolia release using their multi-platform strategies?  To be a true B-movie, shouldn't we be considering studio releases only?  Because if that's true, you can discount the entire direct-to-video market.   And if that's true, then something like "Skyline" would probably be the perfect model of what a B-movie is these days, and the film's problems are just as interesting as the things it gets right.

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<p>Matthew Libatique will be joining Darren Aronofsky for 'Wolverine 2' when it shoots next year.</p>

Matthew Libatique will be joining Darren Aronofsky for 'Wolverine 2' when it shoots next year.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

The Morning Read: Matthew Libatique will join Aronofsky for 'Wolverine 2'

Plus a fantastic Roger Ebert interview with John D. McDonald

Welcome to The Morning Read.

First, let me apologize for dropping Wednesday's column.  I blame Jon Favreau, and I'll explain why on Monday.  On an entirely-related note, I was at the AFI Fest closing night screening of "Black Swan" last night, and at the after-party at the Roosevelt, I ran into Matty Libatique, the cinematographer of "Black Swan," "Iron Man," "The Fountain," and the upcoming "Cowboys and Aliens".  We've met a few times now, and he's one of my favorite guys in the business.  He's so inventive, and so expressive, and such a key collaborator on the films he's shot.  There is one moment in "Black Swan" that I can't describe without ruining the film for you, but it's a combination of performance and photography and an effect and the score, and it just tears me up.  Both times I've seen it, I hold my breath watching it. 

When I realized he was standing next to me at the bar, I said hello and we talked about that shot and the film in general for a moment.  We also talked about the gorgeous  Western fantasy work he's done for "Cowboys and Aliens," and the pleasures of shooting a face as great as Harrison Ford's.  I love that he can shoot big commercial fare like "Iron Man" and "Cowboys And Aliens" and really give the films a rich, vibrant sheen that makes movie stars look legitimately superhuman, but he can also shoot films like "Black Swan" or "Requiem For A Dream," pure emulsion emotion.  As he turned to another friend in line, he confirmed that he'll be joining Darren Aronofsky for "Wolverine 2," so there's one more reason for me to look forward to that movie.  We spoke a little more about "Cowboys" and an early action set piece in the movie, and then parted ways.  This weekend, I'll be speaking to both Aronofsky and Natalie Portman about the film, and we'll have those interviews for you soon.

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<p>This ain't a desk job</p>

This ain't a desk job

Credit: Sony Pictures

Watch: New 'Battle: Los Angeles' trailer, Michelle Rodriguez interview

Actress talks about playing an Air Force tech sergeant in alien invasion movie

A stark and somber trailer for next years alien invasion epic "Battle: Los Angeles" premiered in theaters before "Skyline" and has now been made available online. I'm going to join in chorus of others around the web that are singing it's praises, it looks amazing.

A mix between "War of the Worlds" and "Saving Private Ryan" with a touch of "Full Metal Jacket" the trailer uses slow motion shots of military action without any environmental sound, only a somber electronic score that builds but is cut short of its crescendo at the end, leaving you wanting more, as a teaser trailer should. Barely any aliens, but plenty of mayhem and closeups of the soldiers in the field.

One of the soldiers we see is Michelle Rodriguez, who plays an Air Force tech sergeant. We shot this interview in July at Comic Con, but due to it's brevity, my bad camerawork, (or unwillingness to bust some heads around me!)  and the lack of context for what she's talking about, we never used it. Now that we can see what world her character is in, I figured I'd throw it in for fun.

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<p>Ben Barnes and Skander Keynes are reunited in 'The Chronicles Of Narnia:&nbsp;The Voyage&nbsp;Of The Dawn Treader'</p>

Ben Barnes and Skander Keynes are reunited in 'The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader'

Credit: Walden Media

Watch: The kids head back to Narnia in this 'Dawn Treader' clip

New and old cast alike set sail in the third film in the franchise

The moment that has to work in any Narnia movie is the moment where the kids move from one world to the other.

After all, that's the thing that hooks you in the first place when you read the story for the first time.  If you start with The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the first time someone walks towards the back of the wardrobe and finds, instead of the back panel, a winter forest.  It's a magic image, primal and evocative.  It's an inviting fantasy moment, and one of the masterstrokes of the entire career of C.S. Lewis.

With this new trip back to Narnia, Michael Apted steps in as director.  The franchise has shifted studios, too, with Walden now releasing the film through Fox.  I keep forgetting there's actually a new Narnia movie out this Christmas, and that it stars my two favorite kids from the previous movies, now getting older and taking center stage.

In this clip, Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) are about to make their return to the magical land where they are royalty, and the clip gives you a sense of how Apted's style is going to adapt to the already-established look and feel of this particular franchise.

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<p>Rami Malek and Joseph Mazzello are just two of the stars of HBO's sprawling 'The Pacific,' new to DVD and Blu-ray as we celebrate Veteran's Day.</p>

Rami Malek and Joseph Mazzello are just two of the stars of HBO's sprawling 'The Pacific,' new to DVD and Blu-ray as we celebrate Veteran's Day.

Credit: HBO

A Veteran's Day look at HBO's 'The Pacific' on Blu-ray

The follow-up to 'Band Of Brothers' is a powerful tribute to the sacrifice of soldiers

It seems like today would be an appropriate time to take a look at the amazing Blu-ray edition of the HBO series "The Pacific," which was released last week.  A follow-up but not a direct sequel to the amazing 2001 series "Band Of Brothers," it's another 10-hour trip through a particular theater of engagement for WWII, following multiple characters based on real soldiers and their memoirs.

I didn't watch the series as it was airing, so for me, "The Pacific" was a three-day event, and although I would still say I preferred "Band Of Brothers," I found myself once again impressed by this scale of storytelling and by the way these true stories are spun into virtual history.  These are amazing shows, and on a day like today, what something like "The Pacific" can do for an audience is personalize the unbelievable effort expended by each and every soldier who fought in WWII, and to drive home just how high the cost is when we send people to war.  I love that Tom Hanks has taken his appetite for history and turned it into these high-gloss HBO series like "From Earth To The Moon."  These are some of the most significant things he's been involved in, and I think they deserve special attention when talking about his career.

My father is a veteran, having served in Vietnam, and one of the things I've always tried to respect is that his time in the service is not something he wants to discuss in any detail.  During the '80s, when Vietnam suddenly became a major part of the cinematic landscape, we went to see several of those films together, and even then, we never dug not my father's specific memories too deeply. 

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<p>Thalia Al Ghul has been one of the most important female characters in the Batman universe, so will she appear in the new Christopher Nolan film 'The Dark Knight Rises'</p>

Thalia Al Ghul has been one of the most important female characters in the Batman universe, so will she appear in the new Christopher Nolan film 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Credit: DC Comics

Chris Nolan has his eye on Weisz, Portman, Knightley for 'Dark Knight Rises'

But who will the actresses play?

At this point, can we just run the same list of names for every project and call it the "exclusive wish list" and have that count as good reporting?

Word is that Christopher Nolan is about to start meeting actresses for two major roles in the new "Batman" film, one a villain and one a romantic interest.  The list as it stands now is Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts, Blake Lively, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, and Keira Knightley.  Or, to put it another way, the same basic group of talented A-list names that are considered for pretty much every big-budget movie with a female lead of a certain age.

Obvious speculation jumped immediately to Catwoman as the villain, but there's a problem with that.  Nolan and Goyer have both said that the villains for this film would not be villains we've already seen in previous Batman films.  Here's where this becomes a game… does Nolan mean that this villain hasn't appeared in any Batman film ever, or just not in one of his movies?  Because one way, it could be Catwoman they're hiring, but put the other way, there's not a chance it's her.

So who would it be if not Catwoman?  And do we really buy that Nolan's just going to add a "romantic interest" to the film?  That doesn't really seem to fit the character as Nolan's written so far, unless that romance came directly out of the thematic demands of the movie. 

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<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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