<p>Kick-Ass, Hit Girl, Red Mist, and Big Daddy are all featured on the new final one-sheet for Matthew Vaughn's film version of Mark Millar's 'Kick-Ass'</p>

Kick-Ass, Hit Girl, Red Mist, and Big Daddy are all featured on the new final one-sheet for Matthew Vaughn's film version of Mark Millar's 'Kick-Ass'

Credit: Lionsgate/MARV

Premiere: The final theatrical one-sheet for 'Kick-Ass' sticks the landing

Striking design for a spectacular movie

I am flat-out impressed by the way they brought the entire campaign together in a catchy, colorful, comic-inspired one-sheet that is both simple and evocative.

"Kick-Ass" is, in many ways, a challenge for a marketing team.  You can't really sell it to the typical comic crowd, because it's not a kid-friendly film. And although the comic has been a hit during its run, it isn't at the same sort of cultural awareness as even a d-lister from the major companies like "Ghost Rider" or "The Punisher."  These are new characters, a new property, and you're basically selling it without any giant movie stars to help out.

Sure, there's Nic Cage, but you can't sell it as his movie, because it's not.  And Mark Strong may be a guy that savvy moviegoers are starting to recognize, but he doesn't sell tickets.  And even if you're a fan of "Superbad," there's no proof that audiences are clamoring to line up for the next Chris Mintz-Plasse film yet.

Nope.  You've got concept on your side, and that's about it.  "What if you could really dress up as a superhero and go fight crime?  What would that be like?"

Oh, and of course, it helps that the film is totally f'ing awesome.

Over the last few months, we've seen a slew of character-based posters for the film, including a great idea where several of the early teaser posters all linked together into one image of the main characters standing over the city, looking down at it.  Now, thanks to Lionsgate, HitFix is pleased to premiere the final one-sheet, and I think they did a great job of creating something that would stop me in a theater lobby to check it out.  You've got to cut through the barrage of white noise somehow, and I think this is a really clever way to do it:

Read Full Post
<p>Mark Strong appears set to take on the role of Sinestro, a pivotal player in the 'Green Lantern' universe.</p>

Mark Strong appears set to take on the role of Sinestro, a pivotal player in the 'Green Lantern' universe.

Credit: Warner/DC

Mea Culpa: Mark Strong in negotiations for Sinestro

One of the best character guys working gets pivotal role in 'Green Lantern' series

Well, if I have to be wrong, at least it's over an actor as great as Mark Strong.

When I ran our report the other day on "Green Lantern," it seems that I had one major detail wrong.  Everything I wrote about the script and the story and which characters you can expect to see in Martin Campbell's "Green Lantern" was right, but my source had told me that Mark Strong, an early candidate for the role, was going to be booked for "John Carter Of Mars" and that had knocked him out of consideration.

Well, turns out, that's exactly wrong.

Martin Campbell confirmed today for Rick Marshall of MTV that Mark Strong is currently negotiating to take the role of Sinestro, which will turn out to be one of the most important parts of the "Green Lantern" franchise if this first film works. For those not familiar, Sinestro is a member of the Green Lantern corps on Oa, the Green Lantern homeworld, and when Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is first recruited from Earth, Sinestro is a mentor to him, helping him learn to handle the awesome power of the Green Lantern ring.

Fans of the comic know that Sinestro's love of that power slowly but surely corrupted him, and eventually, Sinestro became the main villain of the series, a tremendous ongoing foil for not just Jordan but every Green Lantern on every world.  If you want a taste of what's in store for Sinestro if the franchise moves forward, you could check out the excellent "Gren Lantern" animated film that was released by Warner/DC last year, which parallels some of the main story beats you'll see in the live-action treatment of the material.

Read Full Post
<p>Yeah... this is what you have to look forward to when 'John Carter Of Mars' hits theaters... so doesn't 2012 suddenly seem like a long way off?</p>

Yeah... this is what you have to look forward to when 'John Carter Of Mars' hits theaters... so doesn't 2012 suddenly seem like a long way off?

Credit: Julie Bell/Boris Vallejo

'John Carter Of Mars' is shooting, and all is right with the world

Is it possible we're finally going to see the Burroughs hero done right?

Ninety-three years.

Is that a record for how long something's been in development?  Because Hollywood's been trying to figure out how to make a "John Carter Of Mars" movie for damn near a century now, and today, principal photography on Andrew Stanton's feature film began in London, according to a press release sent out by Walt Disney Studios.  Which means that sometime in 2012, we're going to finally see the amazing world created by Edgar Rice Burroughs brought to life, and that news makes me dance and sing.

Literally.  I'm scaring the kids.

If you're not familiar with the property, it's going to sound a little familiar on the surface after the omnipresence of "Avatar" for the last month.  It's the story of a Civil War-era soldier on Earth who finds himself transported to the surface of Mars, where he finds a complex and chaotic civilization known to its inhabitants as Barsoom, eventually winning the love of Dejah Thoris, a princess, and becoming a hero in a planetary conflict.  It's rip-roaring pulp material in the best sense of the term, high adventure and alien monsters and scantily-clad women with both red and green skin.  Burroughs was one of the guys who created the template that filmmakers and storytellers have been telling for decades now, and one of the things that has made the production of a film version trickier as time has passed has been the way elements of it have been borrowed and re-borrowed by other films.  I have no doubt that some people will see "John Carter Of Mars" as a reaction to "Avatar" when it's released, but I also have no doubt that the impression will last all of about five seconds into whatever Andrew Stanton has planned for us.

Read Full Post
<p>Go ahead... you tell him you think 'Avatar' was ripped off from those Russian novels.&nbsp; I'm allergic to kitty-cats, especially ten-foot-tall ones that might shoot me.</p>

Go ahead... you tell him you think 'Avatar' was ripped off from those Russian novels.  I'm allergic to kitty-cats, especially ten-foot-tall ones that might shoot me.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

TMR: Big rumor Friday with talk on 'Avatar' theft, 'Jurassic Park IV,' and a "Fright Night' remake

Plus where to see 'The Snake' right now and the weirdest 'Rambo' remake ever

Welcome to The Morning Read.

The sun's coming up and I've spent all night preparing for Sundance next week.  I put together my schedule, I watched one of three movies playing this year's fest that I have here in the house, and I sent out about 40 e-mails regarding things I need or want to do while I'm in Park City.  Right now, I feel more prepared for the festival than I've ever felt for any festival before actually showing up on site, but at the expense of sleeping at all, and I still have a Morning Read to put together.  Good thing I bookmark things as I spot them, so I don't have to spend the whole morning trawling.  There's already plenty worth talking about, and I can finally clear out some of the bookmarks I've set this week.

For the first time, I'm a little uncomfortable with one of the charges of theft leveled against James Cameron regarding "Avatar."  For the most part, people are getting upset over very broad stroke myth and hero story beats, but with this latest news about a ten-part Russian series set on a planet called Pandora, it's a little close.  The authors don't seem concerned, but I can see why people who know those books might question how this happened.  And in the meantime, the film shows no sign of stopping its juggernaut assualt on the worldwide box-office record.  Amazing.

Read Full Post
<p>Diego Luna, Maribel Verdu, and Gael Garcia Bernal all star in Alfonso Cuaron's profoundly charming 'Y Tu Mama Tambien'</p>

Diego Luna, Maribel Verdu, and Gael Garcia Bernal all star in Alfonso Cuaron's profoundly charming 'Y Tu Mama Tambien'

Credit: MGM Home Entertainment

Motion/Captured Must-See: 'Y Tu Mama Tambien'

There's a reason this film made Alfonso Cuaron's career

Welcome to The Motion/Captured Must-See Project.

It would have been very easy for Alfonso Cuaron to get steamrolled by Hollywood.  His movie "A Little Princess" is charming and beautiful, and it was embraced by critics when released, but even with a re-release and a redesign of the ad campaign, Warner never quite figured out how to get people to actually see it.  His second big Hollywood experience, "Great Expectations," was a classic example of a promising filmmaker getting totally Foxed.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Cuaron went back to Mexico and made the film that turned him into a major filmmaker worldwide, and he did it on his terms.  He told a story about class, about sex, and about friendship that resonated with audiences everywhere, and in the process, he launched both Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal as international stars.  Even now, nine years later, "Y Tu Mama Tambien" is bracing and bold and unforgettable, and its earned a place on this list as an enduring and essential piece of world cinema.

Co-written with Cuaron's brother Carlos, the screenplay for "Y Tu Mama Tambien" is both loose and lively and rich with an almost novelistic attention to detail.  The film deals with the friendship between Tenoch (Luna) and Julio (Bernal), teenage friends who are fairly typical boys.  They both have girlfriends who they would have sex with fifteen times a day if permitted, and in the hours they aren't actually having it, they're talking about it.  When their girlfriends go away to Italy on vacation, the boys find themselves desperate for distraction.  Tenoch is from a wealthy family, and his friendship with Julio is a bit of a class breach.  That's part of what makes it work.  Tenoch has disdain for the people around him and the world of money, and the film offers up some very wry, very pointed commentary on the distance between the haves and the have-nots in Mexican culture, and the way the two worlds rub right up against each other at all times.  Cuaron seems perfectly happy to digress when he's interested in a minor character or a detail, and he lets the film follow those digressions in unexpected and fascinating ways.

Read Full Post
<p>The Hughes Brothers share a moment on the New Mexico set of their film 'The Book Of Eli,' opening in theaters this weekend.</p>

The Hughes Brothers share a moment on the New Mexico set of their film 'The Book Of Eli,' opening in theaters this weekend.

Credit: Warner Bros/Alcon

The M/C Interview: Albert and Allen Hughes discuss 'The Book Of Eli'

The twin directors discuss dream projects, commercial work, and making Denzel a badass

Albert and Allen Hughes have had one of the strangest mainstream careers of any directors who ever landed with the sort of hype that was part of the release of "Menace II Society."  Their subsequent films like "Dead Presidents," "American Pimp," and even "From Hell" all have admirers, but they've never really had the same sort of imperative heat that they did the first time around.

I've spoken with them a few times over the years, and I've always found them to be entertaining, outspoken, and unexpected in all sorts of ways, and when I was asked if I wanted to speak with them on the eve of the release of their latest film, I was happy to do so.  The interviews took place by phone last weekend, and to avoid my transcriber blowing her own brains out, I was offered each of the guys individually.  With twin brothers, that's a pretty big help.

First up was Albert, and the first call from him disconnected almost immediately.  He called right back, and we picked up right away:

Albert Hughes:  Sorry about that. Our hotel phone went out.

Drew McWeeny:  Hey, how are you, sir?

AH:  All right.  Doing good.

DM:  It has been a while, I believe, since we’ve spoken.

AH:  When was the last time we spoke?

DM:  God, I think it was pre-From Hell?

Read Full Post
<p>Denzel Washington plays a mysterious wanderer in a post-Apocalyptic world in 'The Book&nbsp;Of Eli,' a new action film about faith from the Hughes Brothers.</p>

Denzel Washington plays a mysterious wanderer in a post-Apocalyptic world in 'The Book Of Eli,' a new action film about faith from the Hughes Brothers.

Credit: Warner Bros/Alcon

The M/C Review: 'The Book Of Eli' marks a welcome return for the Hughes Brothers

Denzel and Oldman bring sparks to a familiar tale

There's another movie coming out this month that I'll review a little later that I'm going to slam for the powerful lack of originality and the perfunctory way in which it borrows from any number of much better movies.  But just because something is familiar doesn't automatically make it bad, and "The Book Of Eli" is a film that certainly treads some familiar road, but in doing so, still manages to deliver enough entertainment that I feel good about recommending it to audiences.

Telling a story of a lone hero in a post-Apocalyptic landscape can be done for the arthouse crowd (this winter's "The Road" is probably the most high-minded example of the genre) or for the exploitation crowd (see every single movie in the '80s that ripped off George Miller's "The Road Warrior"), and "The Book Of Eli" manages to land somewhere between the two.  The film seems to have something on its mind at the start, and it ends on a wry note that suggests a more nimble wit than the genre is used to, but along the way, things fall into a routine pattern as Eli (Denzel Washington) and Carnegie (Gary Oldman) find themselves at odds over a single copy of a single book.

Gary Whitta's script does not play the identity of the book as a giant secret, as I feared it might.  Hell, even the billboards give it away at this point.  There are some big reveals built in, but they don't tie in directly to the idea that Eli possesses the last Bible in existence.  That's handed to the audience fairly early.  Instead, the big stuff is all character-oriented, so it doesn't feel like it's supposed to be a lightning-bolt to the forehead moment.  There are some very evident influences on the film that range from Japanese movies like "Yojimbo" and "Zatoichi" to Sergio Leone, films which obviously exist on a continuum anyway. 

Read Full Post
<p>Will Jackie Earle Haley appear as Sinestro in 'Green Lantern,' and if so, how far will the character go in the first film?</p>

Will Jackie Earle Haley appear as Sinestro in 'Green Lantern,' and if so, how far will the character go in the first film?

Credit: DC Comics

Is Sinestro in 'Green Lantern' after all?

And if so, which hot character actor is playing the part?

Everyone's up in arms about "Spider-Man" this week, and I can understand why.  It's huge news.  But it's certainly not the only superhero film that's gearing up to shoot, and "Green Lantern" is actually closer to a start date, with major casting news breaking in the last week.  Obviously, Ryan Reynolds was tapped last year after a very close horse race to play Hal Jordan, whose attempt to help a dying alien at a crash site ends up turning him into an intergalactic superhero.

Then last week, there was an announcement about Blake Lively, who signed on to play Carol Ferris, and then Peter Saarsgard signed on to play Hector Hammond, a dangerous telepath whose contact with an alien force turns him into a major threat against the security of Earth.

One of our commenters posted a simple question:  "Why isn't Sinestro in this movie?"

Well... who said he isn't?

I've been making some calls yesterday and today, and what I'm hearing actually confirms some earlier rumors online from October of 2009, when Harry Knowles first ran the word that Jackie Earle Haley was the man who had been tapped to play Sinestro.  That rumor was debunked by Frosty at Collider in a face-to-face encounter with Haley, who said he had not screen-tested for the part.

Here's the thing, though... the "Green Lantern" project is overstuffed with characters from the history of the series, with a script that almost reads like a Wikipedia page.  One gets the feeling that they're worried about setting up the entire series in this first film.  Yes... Hector Hammond is one of the two main villains in the movie.  And Sarsgaard is a good choice for the part, in my opinion.  There's something disdainful and removed about him, and I think it will serve him perfectly in this part.  And Legion plays a significant role in the film as well as another major villain, although I'm not sure how they're going to handle him onscreen.

Read Full Post
<p>Saoirse Ronan stars as Susie Salmon, the murdered girl at the heart of 'The Lovely Bones,' which opens wide on Friday.</p>

Saoirse Ronan stars as Susie Salmon, the murdered girl at the heart of 'The Lovely Bones,' which opens wide on Friday.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Watch: Saoirse Ronan discusses her role in 'The Lovely Bones'

Plus the rest of the cast talks about her work as Susie Salmon

Harry Knowles used to laugh at me and call me the Human EMP because I have the innate ability to render any complex piece of electronics inoperable by merely touching it.  I think it's my superpower.  What a crappy, crappy superpower for someone who works with a computer all day.

This week, as I went to prep an interview I did with the lovely and charming Saoirse Ronan, I found that an entire folder on my portable recorder had been corrupted, and every file in it had just become a buzzing, clicking sound.  One of those files was indeed the chat I had with Ronan, and I'm not sure how I managed to do it.

Paramount asked if I would like to post a new featurette about Ronan instead, and I agreed.  I'm bummed, though.  When we spoke, it was just a few days after we met for the first time at that Peter Jackson cocktail reception, and I was struck by what a precarious blend of innocence and wisdom she projects.  She's not a Hollywood kid, and she doesn't sound jaded at all by the experiences she's had, so there's a part of her that is still very much in awe of the process and the people she works with.  But at the same time, when she starts talking about her craft, she seems like an old soul, someone far more capable than her age would suggest.

When we talked, she was particularly taken by Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci, who both offered her strong personas to bounce off of, and I get the feelng she'll be in this business for the long haul.  Looking at actors like that and taking her cues from them should help her build a career to be proud of, and I'm hoping the next time she releases a film, I'm able to not only record an interview with her but actually publish it as well.

Read Full Post
<p>Shhhh... don't tell DC&nbsp;the premise of the new Mark Millar comic series 'Nemesis'</p>

Shhhh... don't tell DC the premise of the new Mark Millar comic series 'Nemesis'

Credit: Marvel/Icon

TMR: Millar's 'Nemesis' heats up and Reitman says yes to 'Ghostbusters 3'

Plus will Lionsgate end up with the 'Terminator' franchise?

Welcome to The Morning Read.

I'm going to be out of the house all morning tomorrow, so I've got a lot of work to do between now and then to make sure there's plenty to read for you guys here on the blog.  And since there's a ton of news breaking all over the place today, this morning's Read is already overstuffed with things worth discussion.

For example, there's Mark Millar's upcoming project "Nemesis," which appears to be a bidding war just waiting to happen.  The high-concept premise sounds like it'll catch fire on the heels of "Kick-Ass," telling the story of a billionaire who also happens to be a nightmarish supervillain who loves to pick one cop per year to torment and taunt before finally killing him.  Basically, he's Batman and the Joker in one body, and in the upcoming series, he finally picks an American cop, who turns out to be the best opponent he's ever had.  "Wanted" was also a pretty major world-wide hit, so Millar is about as hot as a comic creator can be in Hollywood.  The only thing that would make "Nemesis" even more attractive to studios would be if a major director was onboard to direct the film.

Oh, what's that?  Sam Raimi suddenly has an opening on his dance card?  Verrrrrrry interesting.  I know that Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. are excited about having Raimi make "World Of Warcraft" his top priority, but I'd love to see a pissed-off Raimi making a superhero film that was designed to fly in the face of Marvel and Sony's next "Spider-Man" as well.  It would be a delicious way to spend summer 2012.  In the meantime, if you want to have the supercop in "Nemesis" named after you, they'll be auctioning off that honor in the next few days, so keep your eyes open.

Read Full Post