<p>Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint reprise their roles as Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1'</p>

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint reprise their roles as Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1'

Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1' begins the grand wrap-up for the series in style

Does the choice to break the last film in half hurt the storytelling?

This is a tricky one to review, because I am of split mind on the way it works as a movie.

The title should be the tip-off right away that this is not meant to stand on its own.  Each of the previous films in the series has been a stand-alone, with nary a number in sight.  True, if you buy the giant special collector's edition Blu-ray editions of the films that are being released by Warner Bros., there are big numbers on the side of each one, but that's not part of the title.  Never has been.  Now, for the last two films, we get "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2."  It's a choice based purely on function, inelegant, and the one genuine criticism that anyone could level at the movie opening in theaters everywhere on Friday is that its ending is based purely on function, although elegant in its way.

If my biggest complaint about a film is that I would have happily sat through the next two-and-a-half hours of story immediately, I'd say that's a good complaint, one that director David Yates should take as high praise.  There is little doubt that this series belongs to Yates at this point.  I've enjoyed the round robin of directors as the series progressed, and rewatching the films in the last few weeks, I am struck anew by just how lucky they got.  Chris Columbus set the tone and found the kids, and he had to do all the heavy lifting in setting up a visual palette for Hogwarts and the world of Harry Potter, and in his two films, I think he defined things so well that when Alfonso Cuaron came on for "Azkaban," he was able to play.  The only reason Cuaron's film is able to experiment is because Columbus had already so clearly established everything, so experimenting with those boundaries felt thrilling.  Mike Newell, who almost broke his film into two parts a la "Deathly Hallows," had perhaps the biggest job in any of the individual films, and his movie kicked off the narrative arc that really brings the second half of the series together.  Until "Goblet," the films are exciting, but the stakes aren't as brutal as they could be.  "Goblet" features the first key death in the war that has been building in each film since then, and "Deathly Hallows" brings that all from a simmer to a boil.

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Watch: Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell search for the ninth battalion in 'The Eagle'
Credit: Focus Features

Watch: Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell search for the ninth battalion in 'The Eagle'

Sword and sandals epic based on 1954 novel "The Eagle of the Ninth"

Witness the trailer of 'The Eagle,' a sword and sandals epic about a young roman soldier (Channing Tatum) who goes on a quest to find his father's eagle standard (A bronze figure carried on a post by a roman battalion) that was lost 20 years before when his Ninth battalion was slaughtered by the natives.

His journey takes him deep into ancient Britain, beyond Hadrian's wall. He travels in disguise with only one slave (Jamie Bell) to accompany him. The script is based on a 1954 novel by Rosemary Sutcliff, "The Eagle of the Ninth" and was remade once before by the BBC. The story could be considered a sequel of sorts to Neil Marshall's "Centurion," released earlier this year, which documents the famed disappearance of the Ninth Legion.

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Watch: 'Twilight' director's 'Red Riding Hood' teaser trailer
Credit: Warner Bros.

Watch: 'Twilight' director's 'Red Riding Hood' teaser trailer

Trailer reveals medieval mix of horror and fairy tale

Today we get a glimpse of "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke's return to the themes of teenaged longing and  sharp toothed supernatural predators in this teaser trailer for next year's teen-goth-horror-romance "Red Riding Hood."

The film stars Amanda Seyfried as a young maiden in a medieval village who falls for the orphaned son of a woodcutter (newcomer Shiloh Fernandez,) much to everyone's dismay as she is promised to another man. The village has the larger problem of werewolves on its hands, however. Could the suspect young gentleman be involved?

The script was written by David Johnson, and considering that his only other credit is last year's less than subtle sex-midget-posing-as-7-year-old "Orphan," we foresee more some bold writing ahead. The trailer is brief, but judging by the strong uses of color and intense camera work glimpsed, we may be in for a wild ride come March.

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The Morning Read:  Clooney and Soderbergh to team on 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'?
Credit: Time-Warner/MGM

The Morning Read: Clooney and Soderbergh to team on 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'?

Plus Zemeckis denies 'Oz' remake and Mulligan joins 'Gatsby'

Welcome to The Morning Read.

It feels like a logjam has recently been kicked loose, and we're finally seeing projects reach the screen that have been lingering in development for what seems to be a preposterous amount of time.  "Cowboys and Aliens" released its first trailer today, and that marks a moment that seemed like it would never happen.  Spielberg is finally making his "Tintin" movie after decades of being interested in doing so.  David Fincher made "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" after something like 500 other directors worked on it over the years.  There have been so many false starts on "The Green Hornet" that I still don't believe it's actually happening.  It's interesting to see which version of these long-gestating movies makes it to the screen, and who ends up spearheading the films.

Along those lines, George Clooney has been interested in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." since at least 1999.  He was reading drafts of the film back in the summer and fall of 2000, and was seriously interested in making the film with either Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez.  The property is obviously a major asset for Warner Bros.  It is the only other spy franchise co-created by Ian Fleming, and you can do almost anything with it depending on what tone you take with the material.  The Playlist and Hollywood Reporter have both been reporting on the way the film is starting to come together, and the teaming of Clooney with Steven Soderbergh and Scott Z. Burns as director and screenwriter is exciting, and the idea of making it a period piece so you can do this as a '60s film is absolutely perfect.  It's so perfect that I'm having a hard time believing Warner Bros. is hip enough to let them do it.  It's exciting to think of it, though, and for Clooney, this would be the end of a long process of flirting with Napoleon Solo.

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<p>Do you ever wake up in the morning with a baaaad feeling about things?</p>

Do you ever wake up in the morning with a baaaad feeling about things?

Credit: Universal Pictures

Watch: Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and some E.T. tech in 'Cowboys and Aliens' trailer

A first look at Jon Favreau's genre mash-up

Jon Favreau's 'Cowboys and Aliens' made a splash this year at Comic Con when the director managed to get star Harrison Ford onto the stage in Hall H for the first time ever. That coupled with some impressive preview footage left the crowd wowed and hungry for more. It was the perfect venue as 'Cowboys and Aliens' actually began as a comic and has all the elements that fanboys love, a mash-up of sci-fi and western elements mixed up without trace of irony.

If you missed that event fear not, as a lot of that Comic-Con footage has ended up in the teaser trailer that Universal released today on Yahoo along with a bevy of new images. The teaser begins with outlaw Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) waking up in the middle of the desert with no shoes and no memories, only a strange metal bracelet attached to his wrist. It becomes apparent that Favreau is making a western when we see standard cowboy movie elements such as a posse, a saloon and surly rich rancher (Harrison Ford) appear in sequence.  The "Aliens" part soon becomes apparent when the old western town starts getting strafed by alien ships. neato.

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Watch: Jason Statham teaches Ben Foster the ropes in 'The Mechanic' trailer
Credit: CBS Films

Watch: Jason Statham teaches Ben Foster the ropes in 'The Mechanic' trailer

Hit-man flick is a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson classic

CBS films acquired the Jason Statham explosion-fest back in August and the first trailer for the film was released last night. Explosions and ass-kicking abound in the trailers two and a half minutes. The movie marks a return to the scene for director Simon West ("Con Air," "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider") who's been spending time in TV land lately, most notably directing the pilot for "Human Target."

A remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson film of the same name, "The Mechanic" features Jason Statham teaching young Ben Foster the basics of how to be a hit-man as they both pursue Foster's father's (Donald Sutherland) killers. From the looks of it, this touching tale is less a "buddy" story between Statham and Foster and more of an all out kill-fest.

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<p>Paul Haggis joins us this week to discuss 'The Next Three Days,' and he's seen here on the set with star Russell Crowe</p>

Paul Haggis joins us this week to discuss 'The Next Three Days,' and he's seen here on the set with star Russell Crowe

Credit: Lionsgate

Listen: Paul Haggis discusses Russell Crowe and 'The Next Three Days' on this week's podcast

Plus Movie God with Scott Swan and a rundown on recent DVD and Blu-ray releases

It's actually very easy to find.  Just go to "Podcasts > Movies & TV > Drew McWeeny," and there it is... the Motion/Captured Podcast on iTunes finally.

And to celebrate, I had a collapse of the system I'd been using to produce the podcast up to this point.  A completely stupid convergence of events that left me with a raw audio file and no way to use the software I've been using to edit the thing.  Finally, I got everything set up again, and so here we are with the tenth MCP, and hopefully we can use this milestone as the end of the "experimental" phase of podcasting and we can get busy treating this as a regular feature here at the site.

It's fitting that this would be my first new post after the redesign, too.  What do you guys think of the new version of HitFix?  We plan to constantly evolve over the life of the site to better reflect what you, our readers, are telling us is important to you.  We don't ever want to get so comfortable that we just assume that we're finished developing.  That's why I'm pushing myself to learn a new skill set like podcasting after over a decade of being perfectly happy just working in print.

This is a very loose and silly episode overall, and I haven't forgotten my promise to dedicate a series of special podcasts to the big box sets coming out on Blu-ray this fall, including the "Alien Anthology," the "Back to the Future" series, and a look back at "Harry Potter" so far as we enter the home stretch.  I can produce one of these almost in real time once I've got everything set up properly, so there's no reason for me to hold back.

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<p>Ryan Reynolds stars as Hal Jordan in next summer's mega-budget superhero film 'Green Lantern'</p>

Ryan Reynolds stars as Hal Jordan in next summer's mega-budget superhero film 'Green Lantern'

Credit: Warner Bros.

'Green Lantern' trailer promises cosmic scale, comic Ryan Reynolds

Big FX and wild design makes Martin Campbell's DC hero a standout

It's a big week for trailers, and of course all of these trailers are hoping to make a splash with filmgoers who pile into theaters over the holidays.  I'm sure that if you go see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1," you are going to see the trailer for "Green Lantern."  Sure of it.  Every studio has the option of attaching a trailer to a print for their own movie, and this is the most important movie for Warner Bros. next summer.  It doesn't just have to work as a movie… it's also the first step in building out a very particular DC Universe on film.

Can DC play the same game as Marvel?  Can they play it as aggressively?  Can they get the general public to buy into what looks like a very big, very stylized comic book reality?

This is a very different thing than what Christopher Nolan's been doing with the Batman movies.  There's a broadness to the approach… and there has to be, frankly.  Ryan Reynolds has been looking for the right role, and as far as I can tell, this is it.  This looks like a big crowd-pleasing hero role, and he's got the charisma (and the physique) to fill the suit.

What sells it for me is the scale of it.  I've seen some truly terrifying "Green Lantern" scripts over the years, and to see this… a cosmic space opera, a "Star Wars" with superheroes… is something I genuinely never thought would happen.

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<p>Natalie Portman's Isabel is one of the main characters in the new fantasy-comedy 'Your Highness'</p>

Natalie Portman's Isabel is one of the main characters in the new fantasy-comedy 'Your Highness'

Credit: Universal

Watch 'Your Highness' trailer: Bad behavior, Danny McBride, Natalie Portman in a thong

'Pineapple Express' director offers up a crazy fantasy comedy

Okay, here's one of those moments where I have a totally selfish reaction to something, and I invite you to share in it, but I am also well-aware that I am a big giant weirdo.

How else can you explain my immediate obsession with the new trailer for "Your Highness"?  Right now, there is nothing I want more than my eventual Blu-ray copy of this film so I can watch and re-watch what looks like one of the craziest genre indulgences of all time.  David Gordon Green's career amazes me, and it has taken one of the least predictable paths possible.  If you look at early movies like "George Washington" and "All The Real Girls," it would be impossible to guess that he would eventually make a giant-budget fantasy epic with monsters and magic and wizard's weed and the dude who played "Bust-Ass" in the lead.

And yet here we are.

I love this trailer.  I immediately and absolutely love this trailer.  This looks like the ideal version of the film that Danny McBride and Green and James Franco and Zooey Deschanel and Justin Theroux all described to us while we were on set in Belfast last year.  That's really the process that happens with any film I visit… there's the ideal version of the film that everyone on-set describes, and then there's the version that eventually hits theaters, and it's not often that those two things are the same. 

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<p>Robert Parada illustrated the deluxe edition of 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,' which is being turned into a film by director Mike White</p>

Robert Parada illustrated the deluxe edition of 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,' which is being turned into a film by director Mike White

Credit: Quirk Classics

The Morning Read: Mike White signs on to direct 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies'

Plus more alien invasions on the way, ActionFest returns, and the TSA just makes things worse

Welcome to The Morning Read.

Another late start over here, but there's so much out there that's worth reading that I wanted to make sure I had a column for you, even if it's essentially the Bedtime Read at this point.  Make sure you check out our story on the scheduling change for Universal's "The Thing," which took up some of my morning.  And I had to get a couple of other things ready for the week ahead, which includes screenings of some of the biggest films of the fall.

The smoke has finally settled, and it looks like Mike White is going to be the director on "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," one of the top-priority projects for Lionsgate.  I confess… I'm still not sure this one's going to work.  I think it's a joke that gets old about the moment you first hear of it.  The title is the best thing about the book by Seth Grahame-Smith, and I'm curious to see if this turns into another "Snakes On A Plane," or if there's really an audience out there for a Jane Austen movie with dismemberments thrown in.

There was a very smart comment Jon Favreau made during our visit to the editing room of "Cowboys and Aliens," in which he talked about how he used the hook of the alien invasion to get a studio to let him make a real Western.  "I could have walked into most studios and pitched a film called '… and Aliens,' and I could have walked out with a deal.  But even with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig attached, I don't think I could have sold 'Cowboys' anywhere."  He's right, of course.  Right now, there are roughly 9,748,261 alien invasion films being prepped for release in the next three years, and another one has been added to the line-up, called "Year 12," and it now has a director.  Fredrik Bond is a commercial filmmaker who is attached to several films around town, and now he's set to direct this story of how humanity fights to reclaim the Earth over a decade after the beginning of an alien invasion.

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