<p>Digital Olivia Wilde stars in 'Tron Evolution,' the video game that promises to put you into the world of the 1982 genre classic and the upcoming sequel.</p>

Digital Olivia Wilde stars in 'Tron Evolution,' the video game that promises to put you into the world of the 1982 genre classic and the upcoming sequel.

Credit: Walt Disney Company

The game trailer for 'Tron Evolution' just sold me a movie ticket

This taps the reason the first film worked in a very tangible way

I'm a first-generation "Tron" fan, and saying that, I will be the first one to admit that the thing I like the least about "Tron" is the movie itself.

When it came out in 1982, I was dizzy from the amazing summer that Hollywood had accidentally unleashed on a nascent film nerd like myself.  Today, I think most genre fans would agree that 1982 was a very special year full of very good movies in American theaters.  "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan."  "Conan The Barbarian."  "E.T."  "John Carpenter's The Thing."  "Blade Runner."  "The Road Warrior."  I was starting to feel spoiled by the end of that summer, by that glut of amazing films that absolutely cemented my love of the fantastic on film.

And right in the middle of all of that, Disney promised to change the world with "Tron."

I was already such a film nerd that I had my subscriptions to Fantastic Films and Cinefantastique and Starlog, and they'd been talking about what a revolution "Tron" was because it was going to be animated... BY COMPUTERS!  There was much talk of the fearsome Cray Supercomputer that was being used for the task, a beast that made HAL 9000 look like an iPod Nano.  This wasn't just a revolution... it was a shock considering Walt Disney was the studio behind the film, a studio that had been built on the type of animation done by HAND.  By REAL PEOPLE.  Not by computers.

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<p>Just one of the many moments that aim for 'cool' but land on 'ridiculous' in the strange misfire 'Jonah Hex,' opening the theaters today.</p>

Just one of the many moments that aim for 'cool' but land on 'ridiculous' in the strange misfire 'Jonah Hex,' opening the theaters today.

Credit: Warner Bros.

The M/C Review: 'Jonah Hex' is a total ambush

Weak performances and an awful script cripple this comic-book movie

How much can you really say about a film like "Jonah Hex"?

"Jonah Hex" is a total failure as a movie.  It seems to have all of the ingredients that would be in a good film... things like costumes and actors and sets and color and sound and scenes and dialogue... but every single one of those things lays there separately, never coming together into a coherent whole.  It is inert as a movie from the beginning to the end.  It features terrible performances, a script that doesn't manage even the most basic tasks of storytelling, and it is directed with a near-complete lack of understanding for how a scene works.  It is about 80 minutes long, and it feels like four hours.  It's a collection of random incident, and completely tone deaf.

And beyond that... what is there to say?

I visited the set for the filmI went to the press conference with the filmmakersI interviewed Josh Brolin.  I can tell that Brolin, at the very least, was sincere in his desire to make an unconventional and entertaining film, and that he really wanted to figure out how to make Hex into an iconic Western character.  For Jimmy Hayward, this was an important film because he was moving from animation into live-action, and based on the evidence of this, I'm not sure I believe he's got the skill set for live-action.  It's not enough just to stage a scene on a set and capture it on camera.  Hayward's movie never feels like it's alive.  There's no sense from moment to moment that what you're watching is all connected.  You can practically see the Teamsters standing around off-camera, waiting for the take to be over.  It's perfunctory.

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<p>Mickey Rourke, back in the young and pretty days, plays the mythic Motorcycle Boy in Francis Ford Coppola's 'Rumble Fish'</p>

Mickey Rourke, back in the young and pretty days, plays the mythic Motorcycle Boy in Francis Ford Coppola's 'Rumble Fish'

Credit: Universal Home Video

The Basics: 'Rumble Fish' shows a pop filmmaker at his most experimental

Our ongoing dialogue with William Goss on classic film continues

"The Motorcycle Boy Reigns."

With a few shots of a blasted urban hellscape and that graffiti on a few different walls and signs, the director immediately drops you into the world of "Rumble Fish." 

There's nothing real about it.  The dialogue in the first scene (between Lawrence Fishburne, Vincent Spano, Tom Waits, Nic Cage, Chris Penn, and Matt Dillon) is stylized and heightened and musical, supported by the percussive bells of Stewart Copeland's impressive score.  A challenge has been thrown down.  A threat has been made.  Rusty James has got to go meet someone in a vacant lot that night at midnight, and his friends are going with him.  And the mere mention of The Motorcycle Boy, the long-absent older brother of Rusty James, sets him off.  Right away, you're awash in the way "Rumble Fish" plans to tell you its story, and either you're in or you're out, but "Rumble Fish" doesn't care.  It's doing its own thing.  And that is what makes it one of my favorite of Francis Ford Coppola's films.

"The Outsiders" was a big deal when it was released in March of 1983, and it was treated like a big event.  The book had a reputation that earned the movie a lot of piggy-back attention.  It had to live up to the love that teenagers had developed for that book by that point.  And I think it did, absolutely.  I love "The Outsiders."  I think it's gorgeous and lush and it treats Hinton's novel like an American epic, like an essential teen story.  He cast that movie with a who's-who of young hot talent at the time, and when you look at the cast now, his batting average is awe-inspiring.  C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise, and Diane Lane are all main characters in this sprawling character piece, and they were all still early on in their careers. 

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<p>'Summer Lovin' is the moment where 'Grease' clicks and becomes one of the great movie musicals, where camp and sincerity and simple teenage longing all work together perfectly.</p>

'Summer Lovin' is the moment where 'Grease' clicks and becomes one of the great movie musicals, where camp and sincerity and simple teenage longing all work together perfectly.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The M/C Review: The 'Grease' Sing-A-Long is a ridiculous good time at the movies

It's good to see a classic in the theater instead of a remake

Every now and then, you reach a moment where you realize you've never written a single word about a movie that is simply part of the fabric of your filmgoing life.  "Grease" is a movie that's been a major part of the pop culture landscape since I was eight years old, and the release of this new sing-a-long edition of the film is a perfect opportunity to finally write about the movie and its place in the pantheon.

There are many things I love about "Grease."  I love the film's energy.  I love the movie-star charisma of John Travolta in the lead.  I love the "am I doing this right?" hesitancy of much of Olivia Newton-John's performance.  I love the fact that the film is so unapologetically filthy.  I love Randall Kleiser's super widescreen pop candy composition.  And, yes, like many people, I love the soundtrack.  I've heard it enough times that I have the entire thing internalized.  It's one of those pieces of pop culture ephemera that is simply hardwired into my brain at this point.

When I first saw the film, I was young enough that I didn't get how sexual the entire thing was.  I just responded to the broad strokes of the story between Danny (Travolta) and Sandy (Newton-John).  It's a simple love story, with such clear and simple obstacles set up for them to overcome, and that's what Paramount bought from Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.  That's what ran on Broadway.  It's similar, and some of the story beats are the same, but it's raunchier, rougher, nowhere near as polished as a love story.

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<p>A particularly stylized moment from 'Scott Pilgrim&nbsp;Vs. The World,' which has a new international trailer in release now.</p>

A particularly stylized moment from 'Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,' which has a new international trailer in release now.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Watch: New Narnia teaser and a 'Scott Pilgrim' international trailer

Plus see how you can attend a 'Scott Pilgrim' keg party tonight in LA

When I was on the set for "The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian," the producers were already talking about gearing up production on the third film in the series, and they were negotiating with filmmakers that that point to step in and direct, since Andrew Adamson had decided by that point that he wasn't going to jump into the third film on the franchise.

I loved the optimism, but as it turns out, they didn't jump right into "The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader," and for a while, it didn't look like it was going to happen at all.

Now, with Fox stepping in as the domestic distributor of the new film in the series, replacing Disney as Walden's primary partner, it appears that there will be a good deal of continuity between the films that already exist, although with a few small changes.  Both Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley are back as Edmund and Lucy Pensevie, and there are other characters returning, although with revisions.  In the last film, the sword-wielding mouse Reepicheep was voiced by Eddie Izzard, but this time around, Bill Nighy's bringing the little guy to life.

It's good to hear Liam Neeson as Aslan again.  At this point, he's one of the signature stylistic touches in the series.  This is a strange franchise, and I can't honestly say I love either of the films they're released so far, but I am intrigued at the oh-so-odd world they're building.

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<p>Bruce Willis, and specifically Bruce Willis as John McClane in the 'Die Hard' films, is one of the subjects being discussed in Vern's new book 'Yippee Ki-Yay, Moviegoer!'</p>

Bruce Willis, and specifically Bruce Willis as John McClane in the 'Die Hard' films, is one of the subjects being discussed in Vern's new book 'Yippee Ki-Yay, Moviegoer!'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Outlaw Vern is the best movie critic alive. Ever. Seriously.

His new book just underlines the ongoing greatness of his site

I think there are a lot of people who have written a lot of words about movies who are good at what they do.  I think many of them are working currently, and many of them have worked in the past.  But as far as critics whose work I will seek out and read for the sheer pleasure of reading, no matter what they're reviewing?

Outlaw Vern is the best of the best.

I spent many years publishing his articles at Ain't It Cool, and what many people don't realize is that I was familiar with Outlaw Vern well before he started publishing articles.  I have been a fan of the way he thinks about movies since 1995 or so, and I've been entertained by the way he expresses those ideas since the first time I encountered him.  I take genuine pleasure from reading about the way he approaches a film.  He is as good at teasing out subtext as any of the "great thinkers" on film, but he's also a man with a real appreciation for the tactile pleasures of filmmaking.  He's able to surrender himself completely to movies, and I've never caught him acting like he was above watching or reviewing something.  There is an open contempt for movies that many professional critics express in public, and even in private, Vern is as relentlessly in love with movies as he seems in his published work.

He finally broke through to a level of mainstream success and awareness with his first self-published book, Seagalogy: A Study Of The Ass-Kicking Films Of Steven Seagal, which was indeed a scholarly breakdown of the onscreen career of Steven Seagal.  It sounds like a joke, but it's not.  It's a great, entertaining, in-depth, intelligent piece of work that studies seriously the work of Steven Seagal.  It is one of the best books about movies written in recent memory.  It's so good because it is laser-focused.  Vern becomes the expert on these movies by virtue of seeing and seriously writing about each one.  In doing so, he establishes himself as the foremost published authority on the onscreen work of Steven Seagal.  His book is absolutely and precisely about that.  It's a great way for people to get their head around an introduction.

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<p>Luke Wilson stars in the story of the moment money collided with the internet for the first time in 'Middle Men,' coming in August from Paramount</p>

Luke Wilson stars in the story of the moment money collided with the internet for the first time in 'Middle Men,' coming in August from Paramount

Credit: Paramount Vantage

The first trailer for 'Middle Men' arrives with a lovely Hollywood evening

The trailer's online now, but what's the film all about?

Sitting in the warm early evening on top of the London Hotel in West Hollywood, eating a bacon-wrapped scallop the size of my head, chatting with George Gallo about "Midnight Run," a movie I love dearly, was one of those Hollywood moments that you have to just enjoy for the sheer absurdity of it.

Gallo was there to discuss "Middle Men," his film that Paramount Vantage will be releasing on August 6, and to show a group of journalists the trailer before talking to them about the movie and his hopes for it.  The cocktail reception/dinner was built around the screening of the trailer, which went online for everyone to see this morning, and my first reaction is that this sort of story has been told many times, and it always has a chance of working if they tell the details of the story well.  When you're doing a look at the rise-and-fall of something, the cautionary Icarus tale of what happens when you get super-rich super-fast and can suddenly do and have anything you want, there are only so many riffs you can play on that story.  What makes the good ones work is that they are specific.  Henry Hill's story is not terribly special, but the way Scorsese tells it, he makes that feel like the most amazing epic life of crime ever lived.  And you'll certainly find some of the DNA of "Goodfellas" in "Middle Men," along with pretty much everything else ever told in this genre.

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<p>Nicolas Cage looks set to return for a sequel to 'Ghost Rider' with the directors of the 'Crank' films at the helm.</p>

Nicolas Cage looks set to return for a sequel to 'Ghost Rider' with the directors of the 'Crank' films at the helm.

Credit: Sony Pictures

'Ghost Rider 2' gets closer to Cage and the guys from 'Crank'

After 'Jonah Hex,' are these guys a good call for more comic book mayhem?

Making a sequel to "Ghost Rider" was a priority to Nicolas Cage when he and I talked about the character and the first film on the set of "Kick-Ass," and he was genuinely excited when he described his idea for how to make a second movie that was going to be global in scale and give his character a new and bigger mission.

Making a sequel to "Ghost Rider" was a priority for Sony Pictures, who has the same sort of deal on the "Ghost Rider" property that they have on "Spider-Man" and that Fox has on its Marvel properties.  If they don't make a movie within a certain period of time, they're going to lose the rights completely, and Marvel will own the character again outright.

Making a sequel to "Ghost Rider" was not a priority, as best as I can tell, to audiences anywhere.

This is going to be an interesting moment, because I don't think it's impossible to make a good "Ghost Rider" film.  I get the reasoning behind taking another shot at it.  There's something freaky and iconic about the character, and if you look at that image next to this article, it's one of the most outrageous of the Marvel movies so far.  I don't think the first film made the character compelling at all, but visually, you can't argue with that.  It's Ghost Rider.  He's a dude on a motorcycle with a crazy flaming skull for a head.  And that's sort of awesome.

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<p>There's a new trailer for the Zack Snyder animated adventure, 'Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'hoole'</p>

There's a new trailer for the Zack Snyder animated adventure, 'Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'hoole'

Credit: Warner Bros.

Watch: New full-length 'Legend of the Guardians' trailer all animated action

More footage reveals the director's signature style and an epic canvass

When I look at "Horton Hears A Who" and then I look at "Jonah Hex," I don't see anything that unites the two films in terms of style or visual vocabulary or rhythm in the filmmaking.  I don't know who Jimmy Hayward is as a director because those two films have nothing in common.

When I look at this new trailer for "Legends Of The Guardian," I can tell you conclusively that you're looking at the work of Zack Snyder.  It's amazing how much of him is in this footage, and in an animated film.  He obviously is using every single stylistic tool he's developed, but in an environment that he controls completely here.  Animation is a perfect medium for Snyder, and here he's working with talking animals, but we're a million miles away from the worlds of Pixar or Disney.

Watching this footage, I'm not expecting anything to break out into song.  I don't think these owls are "cute," except in the way that owls are inherently "cute."  There's a great near-realism to the look of the characters, and the action beats in this footage don't feel like they've been softened for kids.

Animal Logic is the lead house on this stuff, and I love what they did on "Happy Feet," and between this and "Happy Feet 2," there's a whole lot of good-looking Animal Logic animation coming in the next 18 months or so.  And I like the way this is filled with strong voices that seem vaguely familiar instead of movie stars who stick out as movie stars.  We saw some of this same footage in the first trailer, but the way this one's cut makes a world of difference.

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<p>Josh Brolin appears as Jonah Hex in the big DC&nbsp;Comics adaptation that arrives in theaters this Friday.</p>

Josh Brolin appears as Jonah Hex in the big DC Comics adaptation that arrives in theaters this Friday.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Watch: Josh Brolin discusses the pleasure and pain of playing 'Jonah Hex'

He smiles more in this four minutes than in the entire movie

Saturday was a big day for Toshi on the publicity circuit with me.  He doesn't get to go to screenings every single day, and still thinks of it as a big deal when it happens.  Before he can join me, there's a vetting process that involves his mom, and she's not nearly as excited by Toshi's budding nerd-dom as I am.

Thankfully, the previews for "Despicable Me" and her own love for Steve Carrell convinced her to let him join me.  I'll have a review of that soon.  Because of the timing of the screening, there was no way for me to take him home before my scheduled interview, and besides... he was getting ready to leave for a 16 day vacation with his mom, and I wanted to spend some time with him before he went.  So we went to the Four Seasons, where we had lunch while waiting for my call-time for my interview.

When we walked into the room for the actual taping, Josh Brolin was already seated, having just gone through several of his interviews in a row, and he smiled when he saw Toshi walk in with me.  "Hi, there," said Brolin, "what's your name?"

Toshi is surprisingly forward in social situations, but not unappealingly so.  He just seems comfortable meeting people, and so he put out his hand for Brolin to shake and said, "Toshi."

"Well, that's a pretty great shirt you've got on.  What is that?"

"That's 'Transformers,'" Toshi said after double-checking to make sure.

"Did you know that the girl from 'Transformers' is in our movie?" Brolin asked him.


"Do you know the girl from 'Transformers'?" Brolin asked.

"Yeah.  She's pretty good," said Toshi, and with that belly laugh from Brolin as a response, I sent Toshi to take a seat, and the cameras rolled on the interview, with Brolin still smiling as we got started.

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