<p>Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz star as Big Daddy and Hit Girl in the new film 'Kick-Ass,' and appeared on the panel at Wondercon this weekend, moderated by HitFix Film Editor Drew McWeeny</p>

Nicolas Cage and Chloe Moretz star as Big Daddy and Hit Girl in the new film 'Kick-Ass,' and appeared on the panel at Wondercon this weekend, moderated by HitFix Film Editor Drew McWeeny

Credit: Lionsgate

Watch: Drew McWeeny moderates the 'Kick-Ass' panel at Wondercon

Almost an hour with the creators and cast of the spring's rowdiest movie

As I mentioned in the Morning Read yesterday, Saturday was a long and strange day, culminating in the event I'm going to share with you thanks to a new YouTube friend, .

It was a genuine pleasure to moderate a panel with these people.  I think they've made a great movie and that entire room full of Wondercon attendees seemed pumped to see what the cast had to say.  Jane Goldman, the co-writer of the film, was there along with John Romita Jr., and the cast was well-represented.  Clark Duke, Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloe Moretz, and Christoper Mintz-Plasse all turned up to discuss their work in the film, and earlier in the day, I sat with them for interviews you'll see very soon.

Toys210 is the name of the guy who shot the panel at Wondercon.  Or at least that's the name of his YouTube account. He broke it into five separate videos, and when I found it last night, Greg encouraged me to post the entire thing here for you.

It was really flattering to be asked to moderate a panel like this one, and it's rare that I can enthusiastically endorse a film like this when moderating a panel that's promotional in nature.  This is a gifted group of people, and they handle my questions well, then bear with the ups and downs of a Q&A with the audience..

 Here's part one, which features my introductions and the start of the conversation:

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<p>If I even tried to describe what's happening in this image in vague, general terms, you would be so offended you would stop reading my blog.&nbsp; Suffice it to say, 'A Serbian Film' likes its metaphors big and bold.</p>

If I even tried to describe what's happening in this image in vague, general terms, you would be so offended you would stop reading my blog.  Suffice it to say, 'A Serbian Film' likes its metaphors big and bold.

Credit: Contra Film

On The Circuit: 'A Serbian Film' represents the absolute darkest heart of cinema

Shocking, profane, deeply disturbing, but amazingly made and truly significant

If you were anywhere within earshot of me during SXSW, then you already have some idea of just how enthusiastic I was about a screening that happened early in the festival, a screening that may turn out to be one of my few chances to see this audacious debut on the bigscreen.

However, it's precisely because the film hit me so hard that I found myself unable to quite put it all into words during the festival.  It's taken me until now to get my head around it completely so I could somehow write a review that wouldn't just be ranting and raving.  So what is "A Serbian Film"?  Hmmmm...

"This is a new genre, Milos!"

-- Vukmir Vukmir, "A Serbian Film"

On one level, "A Serbian Film" is the movie that Brian De Palma and Dario Argento teamed up to make in 1987, and it works as a dark, inhuman thriller in which a family man's tainted past catches up with him and threatens the happy life he's built for himself.  It is the story of one generation's crimes becoming a younger generation's punishments.  But even before any of that, it is a hysterical cry for help, a cultural declaration of surrender that I found emotionally devastating.

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<p>You know why Tony Stark is smiling?&nbsp; Because 'Iron Man 2' is going to crush the competition when it kicks off the summer in just a few weeks.</p>

You know why Tony Stark is smiling?  Because 'Iron Man 2' is going to crush the competition when it kicks off the summer in just a few weeks.

Credit: Paramount Pictures/Marvel Studios

TMR: Tony Stark touches down in a brand-new clip from 'Iron Man 2'

And Peter Sollett signs on to direct Marvel's 'The Runaways'

Welcome to The Morning Read.

Friday and Saturday blended into one hellaciously long day for me.  I worked on Friday, did some stuff with the family, and then Friday night spent about five or six hours working with my co-screenwriter Scott Swan for a while on a new project.  Once we wrapped up work, he drove me to the Van Nuys FlyAway so I could catch a ride to LAX, where I took a one-hour flight north to San Francisco.  I spent the morning doing interviews with the "Kick-Ass" cast and spent a few hours preparing for a panel on the film that I moderated at Wondercon.  As soon as that was done, I handed off my videotapes to Greg Ellwood, caught a cab to the airport, and flew home so I could hang out with the boys while my wife and her sister went out for some birthday celebrations.  I played Easter Bunny and hid eggs all over the house and the backyard, and then finally crashed, after being awake for about 40 straight hours.

So, yeah, unsurprisingly, I'm sick now.  Whoo-hoo!

Still, well worth the trip, and it was heaps of fun, all things considered.  I've got a ton of work to do this week, including the release of my very first HitFix podcast, and I figure the best way to get the week off on the right foot is to put together a Morning Read, especially considering what a strange grab-bag of links I've got cluttering my bookmark menu.  There have been hundreds of thousands of words already written about the iPad in just the last few days, and for those of you who went out and bought one, you should learn some tips on how to play with your new toy.  I'm probably still quite a while from owning one.  I'm still just starting to enjoy my iTouch.  But once they've perfected the thing and gotten a few generations into it, I'm looking forward to satisfying my own gadget nerd itch.

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<p>Ray Harryhausen's Medusa is one of the most iconic creations from his long and iconic career, and a highlight of 1981's 'Clash Of The Titans,' out now on BluRay.</p>

Ray Harryhausen's Medusa is one of the most iconic creations from his long and iconic career, and a highlight of 1981's 'Clash Of The Titans,' out now on BluRay.

Credit: Warner Home Video

Film Nerd 2.0 'Clash Of The Titans' shows its age in its BluRay debut

How does a stop-motion epic play to kids in the digital age?

One of the cardinal rules I follow in my house when it comes to exposing Toshi or Allen to new media is that I never tell them what they're going to watch or what they have to watch.  Never.

Instead, I give them choices.  And let's be honest... I stack the deck.  I filter out things I find objectionable so they're never even in the pool of options that are presented to Toshi to choose from.  That's just basic parental common sense.  And the options I present them with are all things they could enjoy or that they've already asked about.  That's a big part of the dialogue I have with Toshi in my office these days.

He's begun to browse.

"Daddy."  Only these days, that two syllable hailing signal is more a sound, a siren full of want that is about eight syllables longer, whined at full volume.  "Daaaaaaaaddeeeeeeeeee."  It means, "I am about to ask you for something and I'm letting you know in advance that if I don't get it, I'm going to make sure you hear about it."

"Daaaaaaadddeeeeeeeeeee."

"Yes, Toshi?"

"What's this purple movie?"

"Bring it to me."

"I like this one.  I think it's maybe my favorite, so I think I should watch it with you."

"This one?"

"Yeah."

"This is 'Beetlejuice.'"

"Yeah.  'Beetlejuice.'  That's the one I like."

"I don't think so, pal."

"I really like it when we can watch 'Beetlejuice.' Really, Daddy.  Tonight, okay, Daddy?  Deal?"  He knows that if I say, "Deal" back to him, that's binding in a court of law, and he's always fishing for it as a result.  "Deal, Daddy?"

"I don't think so."

"But Daaaaaaaaaddeeeeeeeeeeeeee..."

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<p>Please tell me there's going to be snowboarding when 'xXx 3D' comes out in 2012 from Paramount starring Vin Diesel... please...</p>

Please tell me there's going to be snowboarding when 'xXx 3D' comes out in 2012 from Paramount starring Vin Diesel... please...

Credit: Sony/Revolution Studios

The Morning Read: Vin Diesel takes 'xXx' to Paramount and 3D

Plus an exclusive clip from 'The Good Heart' with Brian Cox, on VOD today

Welcome to The Morning Read.

I'm confused by Paramount's decision to purchase the "xXx" franchise from Revolution Studios/Sony, who made the first two films.  I remember when I was working at Revolution and they were releasing the first film, they had such ambitious plans for how to extend the franchise, either with Vin Diesel onboard to star in the films or without.  Having that sort of flexibility built into a franchise from the start is what I was talking about with "X-Men" and "Mission: Impossible" the other day.  Obviously, the first film was sold on Vin Diesel, who everyone was gambling was a movie star.  It wasn't just the "xXx" films, either.  The first "Fast and the Furious" was part of that, along with "The Chronicles of Riddick."  Then we went through a phase where Diesel was absolutely NOT a movie star, and they were making faster and furiouser movies without him in them, and they made a "xXx" movie starring Ice Cube and that baby-faced scowl of his.  And then "For Fast For Furious" or whatever it was called starred Disel again and suddenly everyone realized that maybe Vin Diesel IS a movie star, and so now here we are.

Putting 3D in the hands of Rob Cohen and Vin Diesel sounds like, quite frankly, a B-movie hoot.  Whatever else "xXx 3D" will be, it will be big and loud and aggressively 3D.  It will be about as subtle as "2 Girls 1 Cup."  It will be pure sensation, and it will most likely make a metric ton of cash.  And because they're shooting the film that way, from the start, with Cohen specifically building his set pieces for the process, I'm in.  I'll happily see the first 3D screening of that, and the more ridiculous the better.  Joe Roth controls this particular piece of the Revolution fire sale.  I know there are other projects controlled by Todd Garner, and other projects that went to other producers, and I fully expect to see a trickledown of Revolution stuff that gets redeveloped elsewhere, with this being a prime example.  Paramount seems to be heavily investing in films that will actually shoot using 3D from the start, like the greenlit-by-a-peniscopter-test "Jackass 3D," which I fully expect will win Best Picture 2010.  From me, anyway.

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<p>Sebastian Stan, pictured here in the 'Lost Boys' as witches movie 'The Covenant,' has signed on to play Bucky Barnes, the WWII&nbsp;sidekick to 'Captain America' who eventually became The Winter Soldier in the comics.</p>

Sebastian Stan, pictured here in the 'Lost Boys' as witches movie 'The Covenant,' has signed on to play Bucky Barnes, the WWII sidekick to 'Captain America' who eventually became The Winter Soldier in the comics.

Credit: Screen Gems/Marvel

Chris Evans as 'Captain America' is joined by Sebastian Stan as Bucky

Does a contract for multiple films mean we may see The Winter Soldier?

If they had left Bucky completely out of the upcoming Marvel movie "The First Avenger: Captain America," I would not have been remotely surprised.

After all, Chris Nolan made the decision to completely ignore Robin in his modern take on Batman, convinced that there's no way to do it without people snickering, and sidestepping the issue altogether certainly hasn't hurt the way people view the Batman movies.

So if they had made this film without ever once referencing Bucky, it would have been one of those major creative adjustments that I would have understood.  Wouldn't necessarily be the choice I would make, but I would understand it.  It's hard to sell the idea of the underage sidekick for a superhero.  There's just too much pop culture that's made fun of the idea so mercilessly.

So hats off to Marvel for casting Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, who was too young to join the Army but old enough to suit up and fight alongside Captain America, and whose fate at the hands of the Red Skull marked a major turning point for many comic readers.  In recent years, new narrative choices have expanded the role of Bucky in the Marvel Universe, and word is Stan's signed for as many as six movies.

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<p>Want to know what you can expect from Motion/Captured in April?&nbsp; Well, here's a hint... there will lots and lots and lots of firepower, new and old alike.</p>

Want to know what you can expect from Motion/Captured in April?  Well, here's a hint... there will lots and lots and lots of firepower, new and old alike.

Credit: Warner Home Video/Lionsgate/Paramount/Chuck Norris

As April gets started, let's take a quick blog inventory

Some new ideas, some old ideas, and some revisions of the way things work

I'm listening.  Really.

One of the things that has become clear to me over the last few months is that what you want from this blog and what I want from this blog are, by and large, the same things, and in order for me to be able to give you more of what you want, I need to figure out smarter ways of sharing things with you.

It's important to take inventory of what you're doing, because it's possible to get so caught up in the day to day flow of things that you are letting your blog run you rather than you running your blog.  I got called out the other day for running a story about "Twilight," and you guys are right... that's not something I'm interested in.  I was a little amazed at how Stephenie Meyer is milking her franchise in a way that Rowling seems to be resisting so far, and that's why I ran it, but you don't come here for "Twilight" news.  At least I hope not, because if you do, you have taken a very, very wrong turn somewhere.

Original content seems to be an increasingly rare beast online, and it's the stuff that you guys seem to respond to the most.  When you can read the same story on forty sites in a day, that story has no real value.  But when you can only read something here, then it gives you a reason to visit this site instead of those forty others.  Seems like common sense, but in a competitive market, it's easy to lose sight of that idea.

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<p>Leonardo Di Caprio may play Travis McGee for Oliver Stone in an adaptation of 'The Deep Blue Good-by'</p>

Leonardo Di Caprio may play Travis McGee for Oliver Stone in an adaptation of 'The Deep Blue Good-by'

Credit: AP Photo

Will Oliver Stone direct Leonardo Di Caprio as Travis McGee?

John D. McDonald series still in development at 20th Century Fox

John D. McDonald was one of the finest popular novelists of the English language.  Period.  The man should be taught to anyone who wants to write, and his work should still be sold in grocery stores and airports.  Compulsively readable, entertaining yet profound, his Travis McGee series was 21 books without a single weak entry, a rarity in publishing, and enormously successful in their day.  If the books were relaunched with a major publicity push (they're completely out of print at the moment), they could be just as successful now, especially in a pop culture primed by Carl Hiaasen and Stephen King, just to name two of the many authors who owe McDonald major stylistic debts.

Evidently one of the reasons that the book series is out of print right now is because 20th Century Fox wants to reintroduce Travis McGee on their timetable, focused on a Travis McGee movie that they're developing for Leonardo Di Caprio to star in, produced by DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions and Jennifer Davisson-Killoran and Peter Chernin.  Now rumor has Oliver Stone in early talks to direct the film, scripted by Dana Stevens and Kario Salem, and based on the first book in the series, The Deep Blue Good-by.  The film would star Leonardo Di Caprio as McGee, and if things went well, would hopefully kick off a franchise for the actor, one of the few working movie stars today without a franchise in his hip pocket.

In July of last year, there was a big story in the Los Angeles Times about how Amy Robinson ("After Hours" and "Baby, It's You") was the primary producer still pushing the rock up the hill, but her name doesn't appear at all in the scoop that broke today at Deadline Hollywood.  Makes me wonder if the studio muscled her off, or if it's just an oversight in the story.  Keep in mind that Deadline is also reporting that Di Caprio is discussing the idea of starring in Clint Eastwood's J. Edger Hoover movie for Warner Bros., and that seems like something that would shoot sooner rather than later.  Stone's wrapping up work right now on "Wall Street:  Money Never Sleeps" for Fox, and the film may debut at this summer's Cannes film festival.  That would be the first time at the festival for Stone, and it would mark a major return to pop culture center stage for the filmmaker, who's been a bit adrift lately.

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<p>Perseus (Sam Worthington)&nbsp;faces Medusa on his quest to find a way to stop the Kraken in the new remake of 'Clash Of The Titans,' in theaters Friday.</p>

Perseus (Sam Worthington) faces Medusa on his quest to find a way to stop the Kraken in the new remake of 'Clash Of The Titans,' in theaters Friday.

Credit: Warner Bros.

The M/C Review: 'Clash Of The Titans' feels oddly earthbound

Lots of star power and special effects cannot disguise an empty story

The original "Clash Of The Titans" was released in 1981, and even in that era, it was already a curio, a throwback to an earlier age of special effects and storytelling.  Released at the moment where motion-controlled cameras and optical printing were the state of the art, "Clash" was an unabashed stop-motion showcase for the talents of Ray Harryhausen.  Even so, it certainly took some cues from the reigning box-office champ at the time, "Star Wars," in the form of the distinctly R2-D2-esque mechanical owl Bubo.  One of the reasons the film felt dated the moment it was released was because of that uneasy mix of current cultural touchstones and defiantly old-fashioned style.

The new remake of "Clash Of The Titans" has an equally split sense of identity, and suffers from not having a clear sense of what it's trying to do, or how it wants to do it.  Much of the advertising for the film focuses on one thing and one thing only:  see the film in 3D.  Considering what a key part of the campaign that is, the 3D post-production conversion process used on "Clash" is an unwatchable mess, ugly and strange and difficult to sit through.  Nothing in the film feels organic, and there's no part of the film that feels like it makes proper use of the format.  This is the polar opposite of "Avatar," which was designed in 3D, shot in 3D, and which did all of its FX work with 3D in mind.  If that film, carefully developed and produced over a half-decade, was the game-changer, as James Cameron claimed, then "Clash Of The Titans," rushed through post in four months to exploit the craze, has the potential to be the game-ender.

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<p>If you want to see the entire Wondercon exclusive 'Kick&nbsp;Ass' poster and learn details on Saturday's panel about the film, HitFix has that for you.</p>

If you want to see the entire Wondercon exclusive 'Kick Ass' poster and learn details on Saturday's panel about the film, HitFix has that for you.

Credit: Lionsgate

EXCLUSIVE: A sneak peak at the Wondercon 'Kick Ass' poster

And you could get it signed by Nic Cage this weekend

This weekend is going to be a good one for San Francisco area geeks as Wondercon is rolling into town, and each year, it seems like it's becoming a more and more important event for studios looking to promote their spring events.

For example, Lionsgate has "Kick Ass" coming out in just a few weeks now, and to promote the film, there's going to be a panel with the cast and several key creative members of the crew.  Here's the description of the panel that Wondercon has posted:

4:30-5:30 The Kick-Ass Cast Can't See Through Walls But They Can Kick Your Ass!— Join the cast and creators of the new superhero action flick Kick-Ass to learn what it takes to be a superhero!  You don't need special powers to seriously kick ass! This highly anticipated film's panel will talk about the making of the film, which opens on April 15.  Learn how to pick a superhero name and what your costume should look like with screenwriter Jane Goldman, comic book creators Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. and the stars! Esplanade Ballroom

What they don't mention there is that I'll be moderating the panel, and that you'll also have an opportunity to get an exclusive Big Daddy poster signed by Nic Cage if you attend the convention.  It's a very cool, very stylized poster, and we've got the exclusive premiere of the image here for you today.  This is not a one-sheet for the film, but is instead almost a propaganda-styled image that is tied directly to the character that Nic Cage is playing in the film:

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