The family living in the real 'Conjuring' house sues Warner Bros
Credit: Warner Bros./New Line

The family living in the real 'Conjuring' house sues Warner Bros

They're not happy about the tourists, and why would they be?

Last night, I put on "Blair Witch 2: Book Of Shadows" for the first time since its release because I know several horror fans who genuinely like the movie and feel like it was misunderstood or overlooked when it came out. While I'm not sure I liked it any more this time than I did when it first opened, one of the things I think is very smart about the film is the way it plays with the confusion about what's real and what's not that was absolutely in the air when the first film was released.

At this point, it's hard to imagine a world where people are actually confused about a found-footage/mockumentary film, but in 1999, thanks in large part to the Wild West feel of the early Internet, people really weren't sure what "The Blair Witch Project" was, and that became a huge playful part of the sales pitch. in the sequel, it's clear that the small town of Birkitsville is less than thrilled about the confusion and the sudden influx of tourists, and while it might seem hard to believe someone would be upset about anything that would drive business to their town, it can be maddening when you have to keep explaining what is or isn't true to people.

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Film Nerd 2.0 triumphantly screens 'Shaun Of The Dead' for Halloween... almost
Credit: Universal Home Video

Film Nerd 2.0 triumphantly screens 'Shaun Of The Dead' for Halloween... almost

Toshi and Allen make an attempt at Edgar Wright's zom-rom-com classic

"I want to watch 'Shaun Of The Dead.'"

Toshi's an ambitious kid at this point in many ways, and he had his argument all lined up. To be fair, it wasn't his idea. I was looking for something from my horror collection that they wanted to see, and so we were going through these books, looking for something that was the right kind of scary for them. I've got some Val Lewton I want to show them, but Toshi was giving me all sorts of specific requests.

Meanwhile, Allen was getting stressed out. I told him we could completely opt out of the horror movie if he wanted to, but he told me he wasn't scared because Toshi wasn't scared. There's a huge amount of hero worship going on with Allen these days. He wants to be his older brother so much it hurts, and Toshi really doesn't know what to do with that impulse. It's enormously sweet, but it can be absolutely maddening. Allen's at that age where truth is a completely liquid idea, so anytime Toshi has an accomplishment to share with me, Allen has to make sure he's got a story that trumps it.

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Writer/director Paul King returns to charm again with 'Paddington' sequel
Credit: The Weinstein Company

Writer/director Paul King returns to charm again with 'Paddington' sequel

Nice move, David Heyman

Paul King is a remarkable talent.

His work on "The Mighty Boosh" is a delightful kind of madness, and his first film "Bunny & The Bull" was fiercely inventive. It's one thing to do small and dark and culty, but making the jump to something that plays to a much broader audience isn't always possible. I love Michel Gondry, but I'm not sure I believe he's ever going to harness his whimsical side into something that connects on that giant mainstream level. He doesn't have to, of course, but I do think it's harder than people think to make a film that speaks to all audiences.

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Michael Mann's 'Enzo Ferrari' lands at Paramount and wins a crazy development race
Credit: Universal

Michael Mann's 'Enzo Ferrari' lands at Paramount and wins a crazy development race

What makes this story the one that Hollywood won't let go?

Will Michael Mann succeed where David Cronenberg and so many others have merely crashed and burned previously?

We'll find out if he manages to cross the finish line (I'll stop now, I swear) with "Enzo Ferrari," a film that Michael Mann has been trying to make for almost twenty years now. There was a point where David Cronenberg spent several years trying to make a film called "Red Cars," which would have dealt with the life of Enzo Ferrari dung the 1961 racing season, and it was primarily meant to be told from the perspective of Phil Hill, a driver working for the millionaire and struggling to hold up against the demands of winning a championship.  

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Applegate, Kunis, and K-Bell team to be 'Bad Moms' for 'Hangover' creators
Credit: Universal/Dreamworks

Applegate, Kunis, and K-Bell team to be 'Bad Moms' for 'Hangover' creators

What took them so long?

Good idea, Hollywood.

"Bad Moms" began life as a film with Leslie Mann set to star and Judd Apatow producing, but that's changed now. Instead, writer/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore of "The Hangover" have managed to move the film from Paramount to STX Entertainment, and they've got Christina Applegate, Kristen Bell, and Mila Kunis all set to star.

That's as strong a trio of comic performers as any male-driven movie you can point at in development right now. One of the best set visits I've ever been on was for "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." Yes, part of that is because the film was shooting in Hawaii at the Turtle Bay Resort, and we stayed at the resort for the week I was there watching them work. That helped. But part of it was also because it was a group of people who all seemed determined to prove just how smart and funny they were while telling a story they genuinely cared about, which is an energy that is positively electric when you're around it.

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Edgar Wright, Johnny Depp, Neil Gaiman, and Bret McKenzie? Bring it on!
Credit: HarperCollins/Skottie Young

Edgar Wright, Johnny Depp, Neil Gaiman, and Bret McKenzie? Bring it on!

What heady concoction is this, and how soon can we see it?

There is a profound importance placed on reading in my house.

As a habit, there are very few that are more important to cultivate. I encourage both of the boys to read at their own comfort level for pleasure, but more importantly, we read together every single night we go to sleep in the same house. Right now, we're working our way through the first few books in the "Myth Adventures" series by Robert Aspirin, and it's great fun making them laugh by doing silly voices and really making a meal of all the very silly dialogue. The same was true when we read our way through the "Harry Potter" books. There are few pleasures quite as sublime as doing a terrible Scottish accent to read all the Hagrid parts of the books and listening to your little boys laugh till they cry.

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Beyonce wins cosplay just like she wins everything else
Credit: Jeff Dye/Twitter

Beyonce wins cosplay just like she wins everything else

Is anyone surprised?

We've heard a lot in the few years about FOMO, an Internet phenomenon that results from looking at social media and believing that everyone out there is having more fun than you are. It means "Fear Of Missing Out," and I feel pangs of it like anyone else.

It's particularly potent when the event in question took place within visual distance of your house, as was the case for me this morning when I saw pictures from the party thrown last night on the Warner Bros. lot, which I can see from my living room window. I didn't expect an invite, of course. I don't know Ciara, and it was her 30th birthday party where all this mayhem took place.

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All 55 of Bill Murray's films ranked by a completely obsessed Murrayologist
Credit: Touchstone Pictures

All 55 of Bill Murray's films ranked by a completely obsessed Murrayologist

No more arguing; this is the final list for everyone ever.

Let's get one thing straight before we begin. Bill Murray is the King.

There are better actors. There are people who have better filmographies. There are even funnier people, although not many.

But Bill Murray is, all things, considered, the King. I've dedicated much of the last 45 years working this out scientifically, and I am prepared to finally share the findings with you, free of charge, right here at HitFix. Ostensibly, we're doing this because of this weekend's release of "Rock The Kasbah," but that's just an excuse. The truth is that it's important that we rank all 55 of Bill Murray's film performances, with a special focus on the top 25.

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Review: Can the final 'Paranormal Activity' wrap the series up with some dignity?
Credit: Paramount Pictures
C+

Review: Can the final 'Paranormal Activity' wrap the series up with some dignity?

If so, it's already ahead of most horror sequels and long-running series

Who knew you could get this much mileage out of a ghost named Toby?

Nine years ago this week, Oren Peli started production on "Paranormal Activity," which was made for $27, a box of Band-Aids, and three plates of ham sandwiches. Truly independent in every way, the film premiered a year later at ScreamFest, and then… didn't come out for two more years. While "Paranormal Activity" is a remarkable success story, it's also not an instant one. Peli had to struggle to get his film from that first screening to a major theatrical release, and there were plenty of fine-tuning that had to be done to get it there. "Paranormal" has many godfathers, and by the time the film came out in 2009, it had been through many hands. The result, though, has been one of the biggest horror franchises in recent memory, and it laid the foundation for Jason Blum's entire horror empire.

Not many horror franchises get to go out on their own terms. Hell, not many horror franchises should even exist. It's almost counter-intuitive. Great horror films, like great comedies, rely in part on shock, a primal and completely involuntary reflex reaction, and the more times you go back to the well, the more you risk killing all chance of the thing working. I can barely express how much I hate watching them slowly strangle all the joy out of a character or a premise over the course of six or seven or eight films. Some series have managed to do it in two or three films. It's all dependent on how clever and inventive the people following up the original are, whether it's the same filmmakers or different ones. How many truly great horror sequels are there? Check out our massive HitFix Horror Poll of 100 different horror professionals and see how many sequels made their list of the 100 greatest horror films of all time.

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Vin Diesel's had plenty of franchises, so why has only one of them worked?
Credit: Lionsgate

Vin Diesel's had plenty of franchises, so why has only one of them worked?

And, no, Groot does not count.

I like Vin Diesel. He is an enormously likable person when you meet him face-to-face, and much of what makes him so charismatic in person is communicated clearly through his on-screen presence in the 34 films he's made since he wrote and directed and starred in his short film "Multi-Facial" back in 1995.

That short film eventually got him a lot of attention in Hollywood, but by far, the best reaction was the one that Steven Spielberg had. He was preparing to shoot his film "Saving Private Ryan," and he had screenwriter Frank Darabont create and incorporate a new character named Private Caparzo specifically so he could cast Diesel in the film and work with him. A year later, Brad Bird was the first to make use of Vin's most unusual pipes as the voice of the title character in "The Iron Giant," something James Gunn did to such effective purpose in last year's "Guardians Of The Galaxy" as well.

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