<p>Annette Bening, Josh Hutcherson, Mia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo make a most unusual family in 'The Kids Are All Right,' one of the most buzzed-about films at this year's Sundance Film Festival.</p>

Annette Bening, Josh Hutcherson, Mia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo make a most unusual family in 'The Kids Are All Right,' one of the most buzzed-about films at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

Credit: Focus Features

The M/C Review: 'The Kids Are Alright' offers up a fantastic look at the modern family

A great cast, a gifted director, and a wonderful script all add up to a great surprise

Lisa Cholodenko has a strong voice as a filmmaker, and I've been waiting for her to make the movie that would break her through to the mainstream success she deserves.  "High Art" was a strong, sad little film that featured a career best performance from Ally Sheedy, and "Laurel Canyon" captured a certain type of malaise that sets in here in Los Angeles in a very knowing way.  Still, both of those films were easily marginalized for one reason or another, and her last film, "Cavedweller," seems to have dropped onto DVD with little attention after a small festival run.

Thankfully, instead of following a career path I've seen play out so many times in the past, where early promise adds up to frustration and obscurity, Cholodenko showed up at Sundance this year with a new film, maybe the most personal she's ever made, and the real miracle of it is how she's finally made something this accessible by reaching into her own life.  "The Kids Are All Right" is an incredibly clear-eyed look at who we are right now, and how the definition of "family" is changing, featuring a great cast, a wise and witty screenplay, and pitch-perfect direction.  If there is any justice in the movie universe, this will not only make some real money for Focus Features, but it will also establish Cholodenko as a filmmaker who studios want to support.

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<p>Julie Andrews, seen here giving voice to her character in 'Despicable Me,' sat down to discuss the new animated comedy with HitFix.</p>

Julie Andrews, seen here giving voice to her character in 'Despicable Me,' sat down to discuss the new animated comedy with HitFix.

Credit: Universal Pictures/Illumination

Watch: Julie Andrews chats about 'Despicable Me,' 'Mary Poppins,' and more

Want to see an interviewer react like he just saw a double rainbow?

Julie Andrews is sunshine and rainbows and kittens and magic.  And anyone who says different is a godless robot.

When they asked me to participate in the press day for "Despicable Me," I was amazed to see Andrews on the list of possible interviews, and I asked if there was any way they could put me in the room with "Mary F**king Poppins."  I was being flip about it, but when they approved the interview and I actually got to the press day and realized who I was about to talk to, I got a wicked case of the jitters.

After all, there are movie stars, and then there are the icons we imprint on as children, and those people always remain incredibly impressive to us as we get older.  I've met a lot of Hollywood talent, both in front of the camera and behind, and there are very few people who have ever made me as nervous as this interview did.  When I walked in the room, whatever I intended to ask her disappeared completely from my head, and it turned into an episode of "The Chris Farley Show."

I have no idea what we discussed.  It literally passed as a blur.  When I walked out of the room, the fine folks from Universal were laughing at how big my smile was during the interview.  I'm not going to watch this until I publish it because if I'm beaming as much as I think I am, my first inclination would be to censor the footage permanently.

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<p>In this tense moment from 'Predators,' Adrien Brody faces down... er, wait a minute... that's Gru, voiced by Steve Carell in the new animated comedy 'Despicable Me'</p>

In this tense moment from 'Predators,' Adrien Brody faces down... er, wait a minute... that's Gru, voiced by Steve Carell in the new animated comedy 'Despicable Me'

Credit: Universal/Illumination

Watch: Steve Carell discusses 'Despicable Me' and 'Schmucks'

Where exactly did that accent come from, anyway?

I've been interviewing Steve Carell now for years. 

Not continuously, of course, but I've talked to him a good half-dozen times or so since the I met him on the set of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," and in that time, I've always found him to be a focused, impressive performer who is exactly who he appears to be.  He's got a wry wit, he seems like a real student of world comedy, and he makes strong choices in his work.

It's always good to sit down to talk to him, and on this particular morning at the Four Seasons, I had a few things I wanted to discuss with him.  I was there for the "Despicable Me" junket, but I'd also just seen an early screening of "Dinner For Schmucks," and both of them were still fresh in my mind and worth conversation.  I set up two different interviews with him for the same day, and what you'll see here is the first one.  We did this on video.  The second one was set up as a phoner, and Carell seemed greatly amused when we spoke the second time that I had driven all the way home just so we could talk again.

He seems to me to be very pleased with both of these films, and when an actor actually likes the film they're promoting, the conversation can be so much easier.  In this case, Carell couldn't have been more charming or approachable, and I hope that comes across in both of the interviews.  I'll run the print conversation later in the week, but for now, enjoy this one.

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<p>Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington are the co-directors of the new documentary 'Restrepo'</p>

Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington are the co-directors of the new documentary 'Restrepo'

Credit: National Geographic Films

Watch: 'Restrepo' directors discuss their approach to shooting war

Documentary team discusses filming under fire and more

There are not many filmmakers I sit down with who intimidate me, but Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger spent a year embedded with an active combat unit in one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan while I was writing reviews of "Star Trek 5," so, yes... these guys intimidate me.

The result of their effort is "Restrepo," a harrowing piece of experiential cinema that puts you in the midst of that combat unit for that full year, experiencing all the boredom, confusion, and terror that the men of that unit felt, if only a small degree of it.  It's an interesting piece of journalism, and it works overtime to maintain an air of being apolitical.  Of course, these days, if you try to make something with absolutely no politics involved, especially about a subject as super-charged as this, people will always inject their own politics into it.  This is a film that people will inevitably see through whatever prism they choose, and I'm sure you could argue that it supports the war just as easily as you could argue that it undermines it.  I walked away from the interview fairly sure where Hetherington and Junger stood on the issue, but to their credit, it was only after our conversation, and not after seeing the film.

I sat down with Hetherington and Junger at the National Geographic offices in Culver City, where we spent a few minutes discussing their film, their process, and their collaboration.  This was a one-camera set-up, so you'll hear me but not see me.

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<p>Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Dom Cobb, the head of a dream-invading team of thieves in Christopher Nolan's new film 'Inception'</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Dom Cobb, the head of a dream-invading team of thieves in Christopher Nolan's new film 'Inception'

Credit: Warner Bros./Legendary

The M/C Review: 'Inception' bends brains, breaks hearts with equal ease

An amazing cast rises to the challenge of their demanding director

I'm going to do this without spoiling the movie for you, because I think this is one of those films you should experience as free of fore-knowledge as possible.

Christopher Nolan has been making the same basic film since the beginning of his career, and one of the things that makes his filmography compelling is the way he circles the central idea in his work.

"Inception," like his earlier work, deals with a broken man, determined to fix his mistakes but only making things worse in the process.  That could easily describe "Memento" or "The Prestige" or "The Dark Knight" or even his one remake, "Insomnia."  Yet even with him returning to this idea, worrying at it, exploring different ways it can play out, he doesn't feel like he's stuck or marking time.  I'd argue the opposite is true:  by refining this idea over time and over different films and in different ways, Nolan is becoming merciless in his ability to engage both intellectually and emotionally.  As a result, "Inception" flattened me, and even now, more than a week after my first viewing of it, I find myself turning over images and ideas from the film almost constantly.

Shrouded in secrecy during production, the film isn't really built as a narrative shell game with mind-blowing twists and turns so much as it is a logical and orderly descent into a trippy but airtight exploration of the way we frequently chase illusory versions of the people in our lives while ignoring the real flesh-and-blood imperfections that we don't want to acknowledge.  Taken as a simple exploration of a marriage that has imploded, "Inception" is harrowing and brutal, and all the SF trappings layered in on top of that only serve to make that stark emotional truth palatable in some way.

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<p>There are lots of little clues to the nature of Zack Snyder's 'Sucker Punch' hidden in this early title treatment for the film.</p>

There are lots of little clues to the nature of Zack Snyder's 'Sucker Punch' hidden in this early title treatment for the film.

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

Zack Snyder seems unsure about 'Sucker Punch' 3D conversion

Could this be the start of the turning of the tide?

This is where things start to get interesting.

I really like Zack and Deb Snyder.  There's something great about a married couple that is also a creative partnership that works this well together, and every time I've ever spoken with them about their various projects, they've struck me as really no-nonsense, hard-working people who love what they do.

They also speak their minds whenever they're in front of reporters, so it shouldn't be a surprise that they went off-book in a recent red-carpet interview with MTV about their next film, "Sucker Punch."  For most of this year, Warner Bros. has been talking about giving the film the post-conversion treatment so they could release it in 3D, and it's been a general assumption that it was going to happen.  After all, Warner Bros. seems dedicated to the post-conversion process since it paid off for them in spades with "Clash Of The Titans," which was rendered almost impossible to look at by the process.

This week, I saw "The Last Airbender" in 3D, another post-conversion, and although it wasn't the same sort of eyesore that "Clash" was, it still managed to be utterly pointless and obviously not organic to the film.  And don't even get me started on "Alice In Wonderland," which I thought might as well have been called "ViewMaster: The Movie."   The thing is, I was a fan of the concept of post-conversion several years ago when I saw the first few tests that Lightstorm produced, and I had serious faith that the studios would start working to post-convert older catalog titles, taking their time with them to get them right, even as they started filming their new product in 3D so it was native.  I guess it never occurred to me that you would film a new movie 2D, even though these insane high-end 3D cameras exist now, then do this post-process on the new films.

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<p>Mel Gibson may have made the &quot;Mad Max&quot;&nbsp;role famous, but Thomas Hardy is stepping up as the star of not one but two new sequels from director George Miller.</p>

Mel Gibson may have made the "Mad Max" role famous, but Thomas Hardy is stepping up as the star of not one but two new sequels from director George Miller.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Confirmed: We're getting two 'Mad Max' movies instead of one

What is George Miller up to right now?

As recently as March 2009, George Miller seemed resigned to the idea that he was never going to get the chance to make a "Mad Max" sequel in live-action, and he seemed like he was moving on to the notion of making an anime-inspired CGI "Mad Max" movie.  I understand his frustration, since I've been feeling it as a fan for years now.  I still ache to get my hands on the original pre 9/11 script for "Fury Road," which supposedly wasn't even in conventional screenplay format, but was instead a bound set of storyboards, a visual roadmap for the proposed film.

So it's hard for me to believe that right now, somewhere in the world, George Miller is standing on a set making a "Mad Max" film in live-action.  It is truly a wonderful world we live in.

And now, making it even more wonderful, Todd Brown of Twitch broke the rumor this morning that Miller is not making one film, but actually two back-to-back for a giant "Mad Max" epic.  There's been a fair amount of discussion back and forth online all day about whether this rumor will pan out or not, but HitFix can now confirm that, according to sources, Miller is indeed making two films at the same time.

Certainly makes sense of the statment Thomas Hardy made at the "Inception" junket when he mentioned that he was going to be shooting for an entire year.  That's a huge commitment for a cast to make, and I know when I spoke to Teresa Palmer at the press day for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," she was genuinely distraught that her schedule on "I Am Number Four" had forced her to drop out of the film.  As an Australian, she grew up on the films, and she's known Miller for a while, having almost starred in his "Justice League" film at one point.

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<p>Matthew Vaughn directs Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz on the set of 'Kick-Ass,' which arrives on DVD&nbsp;and Blu-ray on August 3.</p>

Matthew Vaughn directs Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz on the set of 'Kick-Ass,' which arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on August 3.

Credit: Lionsgate/MARV

Watch: Exclusive new behind-the-scenes clip from 'Kick-Ass' Blu-ray

See how they prepared Kick-Ass to get his ass kicked

Wow... it seems like it took years and years from the first time I read the script for "Kick-Ass" to the moment it landed in theaters, and yet it seems like it's been about eleven minutes since it opened, and now we're already gearing up for DVD and Blu-ray, since the film is released on home video on August 3rd.

One of the things I'm most interested in seeing when the Blu-ray is released is a documentary that won't be appearing on the standard DVD edition, called "A New Kind Of Superhero: The Making Of Kick-Ass."  We've got an exclusive clip for you today from that documentary, dealing with the way they approached the idea of fight choreography for Aaron Johnson's character.  This is just a taste, though, so if you like what you see, you'll end up having to check out the whole thing on the final release of the disc.

If Blu-ray is ever going to catch up to DVD in terms of overall market share, then they need to create content that is both exclusive to the format and that offers real value.  I see some ridiculous "special features" sometimes that I can't imagine anyone ever using, but this is something that would tip me towards buying the Blu-ray rather than the DVD if I was debating the choice.

I love the way Lionsgate Blu-rays look for the most part, and I think with "Kick-Ass," they've got a movie that should really push the visual quality as hard as possible.  Matthew Vaughn shot in such bright primary colors, and the film's got such an aggressive action style, so I'm hoping the Blu-ray lives up to that .

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<p>Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee star in &quot;Let Me In,&quot;&nbsp;the new American version of the Swedish vampire film.</p>

Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee star in "Let Me In," the new American version of the Swedish vampire film.

Credit: Overture Films

Watch: 'Let Me In' offers up a first chilly look at Chloe Moretz in the lead

As fans get their first look at the American version, many fears are calmed

Earlier this week, there was a screening for "Let Me In" at a mysterious, undisclosed location in Southern California.  I did not attend, but several people I know did, and the word back from all of them was the same.

They loved it.

Color me pleasantly shocked here.  Even when I spoke to Matt Reeves about the film at SXSW this year, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I was one of the people who spent a lot of time and energy talking about "Let The Right One In" when I saw it at Fantastic Fest '08, and I love the way the film has built in reputation over time.  I figured that it was going to have a long fuse on it, and sure enough, it seems like one of those movies that home video is slowly but surely growing from an obscure foreign title to a genuine genre classic.

Even though I think it's sort of ridiculous to make a new version of the book this close to the release of the Swedish film, that seems to be the new business model.  And if they've got to do it, at least Matt Reeves seems to have a real affinity for the material.  In our conversation, it was obvious that he's as big a fan of the novel as the Swedish film, so he's drawing from both in making his version.  And until this trailer came out, how closely he might be taking cues from the film was still a question mark.

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<p>Andrew Garfield, seen here in 'Boy A,' has been cast as Peter Parker in the new 'Spider-Man' due in theaters in 2012.</p>

Andrew Garfield, seen here in 'Boy A,' has been cast as Peter Parker in the new 'Spider-Man' due in theaters in 2012.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Breaking: Sony Pictures announces Andrew Garfield for 'Spider-Man'

Who is Garfield, and does this mean Spider-Man loves lasagna?

Andrew Garfield, the young English actor who appeared in "The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus," the "Red Riding" trilogy, and the upcoming Mark Romanek film "Never Let Me Go," has been cast as Peter Parker for the upcoming "Spider-Man" reboot, according to a press release by Sony Pictures.

"Boy A" was actually where I saw him the first time, and right away, he seemed like a young actor worth paying attention to, someone with a very raw and honest approach.  His work in the "Red Riding" trilogy is mature and difficult, and he was absolutely up to the task.  And working with Terry Gilliam on the troubled "Parnassus" was a great move.  Even though all the press on that film was about Heath Ledger's untimely demise, onscreen, it was Garfield who served as the emotional core of the movie, and he was great in it.

He's older than I would have expected based on the casting speculation surrounding this film.  Most of the final candidates are genuine teenagers, while Garfield is 27 right now.  Originally, the Jamie Vanderbilt script for this film had Peter Parker as a high school student, and the assumption was that Sony would cast young so that they could do several films over the course of high school and college, a la the Brian Bendis take in "Ultimate Spider-Man."  What we're hearing now though is that Parker starts the series as a college student, and that makes more sense with this casting.

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