<p>Mary Elizabeth Winstead</p>

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Credit: Katy Winn/AP

Watch: Ellen Wong and Mary Elizabeth Winstead love 'Scott Pilgrim'

And we return the sentiment in a major way

Oh, my.

Last night, I saw "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" for the third time.  I know, I know... it's almost ridiculous at this point, but I can't stop.  I feel like a 13-year-old "Twilight" fan.  I love this movie, and in particular, I love the two ladies in the life of Scott Pilgrim.

It really doesn't matter what your taste is in either boys or girls... someone in this movie is going to ring your bell.  It is an adorable cast, top to bottom, and the fact that they're all great in the fights, funny, cool, AND lovely... well, it's just too much to bear.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been working for a while now, but she's never really had that one breakthrough role that defined her for audiences.  Ramona Flowers is by far the best part she's had, but the very nature of who Ramona is might keep this from being the breakthrough for her.  Ramona is unknowable, careful to guard herself, and even at the end of the film, she remains the biggest enigma of the movie.

Ellen Wong is about to steal the hearts of boys of all ages, and for good reason.  She took the occasionally psycho Knives Chau of the book and gave her so much heart and soul that she became just as worthy of Scott's love and attention as Ramona, something that wasn't necessarily the case in the books.  I've seen some discussion of Knives as a stereotype, and a bit of humorless harumphing from people who feel that she offers a negative image of Asian girls.  That's just silly, though.  Knives is a sweet, innocent teen girl taking her first steps into defining her own identity, and Ellen nails the character, making her efforts understandable and even endearing.  "I didn't even KNOW there was good music until, like, two months ago!"  Oh, Knives.

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<p>Brandon Routh and Satya Bhabha play two of the Evil Exes in 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,' opening in theaters this Friday.</p>

Brandon Routh and Satya Bhabha play two of the Evil Exes in 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,' opening in theaters this Friday.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Watch: Evil-Exes Brandon Routh and Satya Bhabha on 'Scott Pilgrim'

They discuss playing bad and how to be spontaneous on such a precise film

Gentlemen, if you ever want to feel like a total blob of crap, the easiest way to accomplish that is by sitting across from Brandon Routh for a few moments.

Back when "Superman Returns" was about to come out, Legendary Pictures held a special screening of the film on the Warner Lot, and afterwards, guests had the chance to either pose for a photo with Routh or with Kevin Spacey.  My wife didn't have to think at all about the choice, dragging me into the line for Routh.  In the picture we ended up taking, my wife has a smile on her face I'm not sure I've ever seen directed at me.

And these days?  Routh's at least twice as ripped as he was when he played Superman.  I can only imagine what would happen if I unleashed her on him now.

Playing the Evil Exes in "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" has got to be one of the best gigs for any actor in 2010, and every single one of the cast members who played an Evil Ex appears to have had an amazing time doing so.  Routh is so good in the role that it almost feels like he's rebooting his career here, and for most audiences, this will be an introduction to stage veteran Satya Bhabha.

Sitting down to talk to the two of them, we jumped right in to discuss playing "bad guys" who aren't, strictly speaking, bad, as well as how they were able to be spontaneous on the set of a film as meticulously constructed as this one.

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<p>Michael Cera, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, and Kieran Culkin present an award onstage together at the 2010 MTV&nbsp;Movie Awards.</p>

Michael Cera, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, and Kieran Culkin present an award onstage together at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards.

Credit: Photo Group

Watch: Anna Kendrick, Kieran Culkin, and Aubrey Plaza discuss 'Scott Pilgrim'

Julie F**king Powers, Scott's kid sister, and the great Wallace Wells all at once? Bliss

Yes, it's finally "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" week here on HitFix, and we're going to be counting down the days until the release of Edgar Wright's bigscreen adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's six-part comic series with interviews with the cast and the filmmakers.

I wrote about my unconventional afternoon with Michael Cera just before I left on vacation, and in that piece, I talked about the set-up that Universal put together on two different soundstages for those of us also doing video interviews.  It was an impressive effort on their part, and no matter what happens with "Scott Pilgrim" when it opens this weekend (I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for $300 million by Monday... is that too optimistic?), no one can say Universal did anything less than bust ass for this film.

The first group I sat down to speak with during the press day was made up of Anna Kendrick (Scott Pilgrim's sister Stacy), Aubrey Plaza (the acerbic Julie Powers), and Kieran Culkin (the scene-stealing Wallace Wells), and it was a nice warm-up for the day. 

All three of these actors have plenty of room to shine in the film, and it was great to speak to them as a group.  It's obvious that the entire cast has become close during this process, and very protective of each other.  It's sweet to see them all as a group, like at the San Diego screening of the film, and to see how very, very happy they are with the final product.

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<p>Adam McKay is the ringleader of the deranged new comedy 'The Other Guys'</p>

Adam McKay is the ringleader of the deranged new comedy 'The Other Guys'

Credit: Sony Pictures

The M/C Interview: Adam McKay on 'The Other Guys'

Plus learn which film he feels should have won Mark Wahlberg an Oscar

They should set up a special scientific team to study Adam McKay's brain, because there is something gloriously, wildly wrong with it.

The last time I spoke to McKay was for "Anchorman," and since then, it's been interesting to watch his voice getting more and more clear with each film.  It was only after seeing "The Other Guys," though, that it all snapped into focus for me, and I was finally able to articulate to him during this interview exactly what it is that I think distinguishes his work from anyone else making movies right now.

Drew McWeeny:  Hey, how are you?

Adam McKay:  Good, how are you?

Drew:  Good.  Good to see you again.

Adam:   How are you, man?  You have one of the great names by the way.

Drew:  Oh, thank you.

Adam:  McWeeny, man.

Drew:  I've found that people don’t forget it.

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<p>Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, and Randy Couture are just a few of the names lending their macho firepower to the ensemble action movie 'The Expendables'</p>

Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, and Randy Couture are just a few of the names lending their macho firepower to the ensemble action movie 'The Expendables'

Credit: Lionsgate

The M/C Review: 'The Expendables' less than the sum of its mighty parts

Is it possible to be nostalgic for good ol' fashioned mayhem?

There are a few moments during its running time where "The Expendables" manages to become the movie it should be, where it feels effortlessly bloodthirsty and appropriately over-the-top.  There are moments of real red-meat action-movie glory, with bodies blown in half and entire buildings vanishing in white-hot explosions and one-liners that actually land a punch.

I've enjoyed this late-career resurgence by Sylvester Stallone.  Both "Rocky Balboa" and "Rambo" demonstrated a real understanding of his own iconography, and walking into "The Expendables," I hoped he was going to do the same for his whole cast, and that this would be a knowing celebration of the macho ensemble movie, a great big men-on-a-mission flick with a fat bag of mayhem to unleash on audiences conditioned by modern action films to expect special effects and shaky cams. 

And, like I said, there are moments where the film almost pulls it off, but not enough of those moments, and they are unfortunately wrapped in a big limp noodle of a movie, a largely impotent mess that wastes its cast to no memorable effect.  Taken as a whole, "The Expendables" is a disappointment, and a frustrating one at that.

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<p>Nothing beats a bunch of Harryhausen skeletons spoiling for a fight... nothing.</p>

Nothing beats a bunch of Harryhausen skeletons spoiling for a fight... nothing.

Credit: SPHE

Film Nerd 2.0: 'Jason And The Argonauts' on Blu-ray and Harryhausen at AMPAS

Harryhausen's greatest classic still plays as fresh as ever

One of the first things I had planned for my vacation was a trip to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wilshire.  I've been there before for screenings and premieres, but I never realized they have a gallery in the building on the fourth floor.  Some friends urged me to go, though, and thank god they did, because Toshi and Allen and I visited the Ray Harryhausen Exhibit, put together to celebrate his 90th birthday and his remarkable career.

God bless Sony for their Blu-ray releases of the Ray Harryhausen library, or at least as much as they own of it.  We've already incorporated earlier titles like "20 Million Miles To Earth," "It Came From Beneath The Sea," and "Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers" into our regular rotation here in the house, and "The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad" caused a riot the first time we watched it.  The last Harryhausen film we watched together was the 1981 version of "Clash Of The Titans," when Warner released it on Blu-ray, and again... instant love.

Through all of this, though, there's been one title I've been wanting to show them, and finally, SPHE has issued a gorgeous new high-definition transfer of "Jason and the Argonauts," one of the greatest works of film fantasy.  As soon as it showed up and Toshi saw the skeletons on the back cover, it was just a matter of time until we were going to screen it.

The films that Ray Harryhausen contributed to rarely used movie stars, and dramatically they could sometimes be stilted, awkwardly structured, or filled with stiff performances.  Unlike some films, those things never seem to derail his movies in the least.  In many ways, I think of "Jason and the Argonauts" as the quintessential Harryhausen film, and revisiting it with my sons, I love it more than ever.

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<p>Allison Janney and Michael Lerner star in the disturbing new Todd Solondz film 'Life During Wartime'</p>

Allison Janney and Michael Lerner star in the disturbing new Todd Solondz film 'Life During Wartime'

Credit: IFC Films

The M/C Interview: Todd Solondz discusses 'Life During Wartime'

The acclaimed director talks about following up his personal vision
I'm glad Todd Solondz is still making films, and that there is a place for him in the movie landscape.  Even if I don't love every one of his films, I think his voice is a significant one, and when everything comes together, his work can break your heart with the force of a punch from Bruce Lee.
 
"Life During Wartime," which I reviewed out of Toronto last year, is a sort of summation of his work, a quasi-sequel to both "Welcome To The Dollhouse" and "Happiness," and it seemed like the perfect time to finally chat with him, even if it was a brief conversation:
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Luke Wilson in 'Middle Men'

Luke Wilson in 'Middle Men'

Credit: Paramount

Watch: Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi and Gabriel Macht Talk Internet Porn and 'Middle Men'

Also James Caan and Luke Wilson Together Again

Sometimes junkets can drag on forever. The "talent" may take it's time or things simply take longer than expected. Not so with the Middle Men affair last Sunday. Two interviews, in and out, nobody gets hurt. A quick paced and lighthearted affair, much like the movie it was promoting.

Someone told me later that Luke Wilson wasn't feeling well, but the man hides it well. Besides a little cough here and there, and the way he glared knives at the publicity person's dog before we started the interview, I wouldn't have known the difference.

Cutting these later on I could tell that his energy level's a little low, but it was a pleasure to meet him. I'm a longtime fan. We talked about his character and what is was like to work with  James Caan again years after Mr. Caan was so kind as to appear with him in "Bottle Rocket." Their roles in this movie are similar to "Bottle rocket" and it really gave me a nagging sense of Deja-Vu throughout, until I realized that I was actually remembering them from that film.

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<p>Eva Mendes gives as good as she gets in her deranged supporting role in 'The Other Guys'</p>

Eva Mendes gives as good as she gets in her deranged supporting role in 'The Other Guys'

Credit: Sony Pictures

The M/C Interview: Eva Mendes gets freaky with 'The Other Guys'

Plus an out of the blue 'Kick-Ass' moment

I am frankly surprised there weren't snipers watching me closely during this interview.

I'm guessing Sony just never bothered to read my website, "Terrible Thoughts I've Had About Eva Mendes.com," and thank goodness for that.  Even so, she had a dog the size of a small horse by her side during the entire interview, and that's probably for the best.  She came across as funny and smart and, yes, insanely gorgeous, a welcome addition to the sausage party that was the rest of "The Other Guys" press day.

Drew:  It’s funny... I’ve heard a couple of people talking, and it seems like the response has been fantastic to the picture.  I’ve heard a couple of people say, "Oh, my God, I can’t believe Eva Mendes is that funny."

Eva:  Really?

Drew:  I’m a fan of "All About the Benjamins," though, so it’s not a surprise.  The first thing I saw you in was a comedy.

Eva:  Nice.  That was one of my first things ever.  That was like my first year acting basically.

Drew:  So this feels like, "Ah, good.  I knew that and there it is."

Eva:  Oh, that’s awesome.  I was crazy in "Benjamins."

Drew:  I thought not using the sort of comedy ensembles they’ve used in the past and branching out and using people who were really, funny but who aren’t known for it first opens this one up.  And whether it’s true or not, I’m starting the campaign online to say that there’s going to be a Best Original Song nomination for 'Pimps Don’t Cry.'

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Warrior from Tron: Legacy

Warrior from TRON: Legacy

Credit: Disney

Watch: Garrett Hedlund Talks 'Tron: Legacy,' Ducatis and Flying Machines

Disney also releases new action image from the film

We interrupt "Flipped week"  to bring you a "TRON: Legacy" bulletin.

Don't get me wrong, "Flipped" looks like it's going to be a great movie, but there is not a single film that I am more excited about this year than TRON: Legacy. I could easily say that my 10 thru 14 year old self has watched the original TRON on VHS tape close to 100 times and my much older, more mature self has watched it.. ooh a few times more than once on DVD.

I spoke to director Joseph Kosinski at Comic Con  (Article coming soon) and according to him the movie lived in his VCR as well, so all signs point to the project being in the right hands.

(Mr. Kosinski should be especially happy today as it was announced that Disney has picked up the film rights to "Oblivion" his Sci-Fi "Illustrated Novel" that he developed at Radical Press.)

 

A _fcksavedurl=http://images.hitfix.com/assets/483/TRONDISCPIC640.jpg

Disney released this new picture on the TRON Facebook page, depicting a double-disk'd gladiator either falling or suspended on a clear surface. (we see a bit of this sequence in the new trailer around minute 2:03, The orange highlights tell us this is a bad guy… maybe Clu himself?)

The design and the framing show the  filmmakers have a keen eye for  precise symmetry. Kosinski  brought in industrial designers and other techs to help with the production design. The director also studied architecture in school and the image shows an appreciation for angles if nothing else.

Also captured at the Con was the interview above with Garrett Hedlund, who plays Sam Flynn, the hero of the new chapter. Gregory Ellwood tries to get him to talk about the cool new weapons in the pic, but we mostly just get enthusiasm. Hey, we can't really ask for much more at this point

Tron Legacy” opens nationwide and in IMAX on Dec. 17.

 

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