<p>Saoirse Ronan gives a strong and confident performance in 'How I Live Now'</p>

Saoirse Ronan gives a strong and confident performance in 'How I Live Now'

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Review: Saoirse Ronan shines in dreamy and deeply felt 'How I Live Now'

HitFix
B+
Readers
B-
Kevin Macdonald gets this adaptation right

"Young-adult literature" did not technically exist when I was a young reader, so it's kind of amazing to see just how huge a piece of the publishing pie the broad genre has become. I've been trying to decide what I think the definition of a young adult novel is, and I think the best version of it has to do with fiction that captures that moment where someone is wrestling with their identity and defining their place in the world. It often seems to be concerned with someone learning a sense of personal responsibility, and while the general trappings of the genre can be ridiculous and exaggerated, like zombies and vampires and werewolves, there is something genuine that they seem to address when they're done well.

Meg Rosoff's "How I Live Now" was well reviewed and won several awards, and while it was a success, no one would ever look at this and think that it's going to become the next "Twilight" or "Hunger Games." Wisely, instead of trying to shoehorn Rosoff's small and delicate book into the wrong shape, the script by Jeremy Brock, Tony Grisoni, and Penelope Skinner is a modestly-scaled story, and Kevin Macdonald has made a movie that feels like a largely internal journey, a window into the heart of Daisy (Saoirse Ronan), an angry girl who is on the verge of becoming an angry woman before she is sent for a summer to a relative's farm. It's often melodramatic to call something "life-changing," but that's very true in this case, and it's handled with genuine grace and subtlety.

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<p>We voted on our ten favorite Marvel movies, and there's not a single duck from outer space on the list.</p>

We voted on our ten favorite Marvel movies, and there's not a single duck from outer space on the list.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Ranking The 10 Best Marvel Movies So Far

From 'Spider-Man' to 'Blade,' see where your favorites showed up

Making lists is one of those things that unites film fans, and it seems to be an almost reflexive action. "What's that? 'Thor: The Dark World' is coming out? Hmmm… seems like we should rank all the Marvel movies so far."

For the purposes of this particular gallery, the HitFix staff voted on every Marvel title since "Blade" was released, and as always, I was surprised by the final result. It's interesting when we get people like Guy Lodge voting in these because he will flat out tell us that he's not a fanboy, and yet that makes his votes more urgent because he's looking at them as a film fan first.

There were some titles that I was not surprised to see here as well. It does not surprise me to see that the sequels to both "Spider-Man" and "X-Men" still place so high on the list. Those films were both made near the start of this superhero cycle, and there was such an amazing energy about them, about what these filmmakers were starting to recognize as the potential of these movies and these characters. It still shines through when you watch the movies, and that sense of invention is what makes the best of these movies so exciting.

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<p>Wolverine's got a real problem with lead in next summer's 'X-Men:&nbsp;Days Of Future Past'</p>

Wolverine's got a real problem with lead in next summer's 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Hugh Jackman and James Mangold sign on for another bloody 'Wolverine' adventure

We examine what this news means to the franchise

At this point, someone might want to check to see if Hugh Jackman still knows for sure that he's not really Wolverine.

Chris Eggertsen and I decided to discuss today's surprising news about James Mangold and Hugh Jackman both working together on a new "Wolverine" sequel, and I think it's a solid look at some of the biggest ramifications of the news. In the meantime, if you loved the movie, there's going to be even more of it when it arrives on home video.

If you're enjoying our new emphasis on video (or if you're not), I'd love to hear some feedback from you about it. We'll be doing more and more as we settle into HitFix Headquarters in the heart of Hollywood.

"The Wolverine" will be on Blu-ray and DVD on December 3, 2013.

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<p>Elizabeth Henstridge gets her chance to shine on this week's dramatic episode of 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'</p>

Elizabeth Henstridge gets her chance to shine on this week's dramatic episode of 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

The 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' confront death in the most dramatic episode yet

Can the show get away with happy endings every week?

Death must be a part of this show, even more than any of the other Whedonverse shows. If you are willing to work in this world, and if you are willing to put yourself on the line, then we must see that death can happen, and that's just part of it. For that to work, though, there can't be a cheat code that will always save every cast member. If you're not willing to destroy the status quo, then none of it matters.

Having said that, tonight's episode of "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." is the first time I've felt any emotional connection to the show, and it seems like it establishes some key things about these characters in a more direct way than we've seen so far.

For example, I was getting tired of the "Fitz carrying a torch for Skye" thing after just a few weeks of it. It feels like very familiar ground, and I don't just want to see earlier Whedon characters renamed and plugged into this show. Xander's crush on Buffy was fine for a while, but that show learned quickly that he couldn't just pine away for her forever. It's a dead end for a character.

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<p>Cobie Smulders seems more than ready to sign up for as many Marvel movies as possible.</p>

Cobie Smulders seems more than ready to sign up for as many Marvel movies as possible.

Credit: HitFix

Cobie Smulders says you always say yes when superheroes come calling

Maria Hill will be back in several new Marvel movies, and Smulders seems thrilled

I'm curious to see how filmmakers cast Cobie Smulders in the future. She's had an interesting decade with "How I Met Your Mother" launching her to prominence. A mere ten years ago, she was one of the young stars of ABC's flash-in-a-pan series "Veritas: The Quest," but once she was part of the break-out ensemble comedy that's wrapping things up with a controversial final season right now, it seems like she would suddenly start getting bigger roles.

Oddly, that's not how it has played out. I like "The Slammin' Salmon," and I think she's funny in it, but that's the biggest film role she played before "The Avengers," where she made her first appearance as Maria Hill. "Delivery Man" is still a smaller supporting role, but it's a step in the right direction. Next year, she's starring in a David Wain comedy along with some folks like Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Michael Shannon, Ed Helms, and Christopher Meloni. In addition, she's the voice of Wonder Woman for "The LEGO Movie," and she'll be back as Hill for the S.H.I.E.L.D.-centric "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

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<p>Marisa Tomei, seen here in last year's 'Parental Guidance,' will star in Pantelion's new film 'La Vida Robot'</p>

Marisa Tomei, seen here in last year's 'Parental Guidance,' will star in Pantelion's new film 'La Vida Robot'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Marisa Tomei joins George Lopez in based-on-a-true-story drama 'La Vida Robot'

This drama aims squarely at the always-increasing Latin American film audience

Living in a house that would be defined demographically as Latin-American has given me a very different perspective on what gets made, how things get released, and how specific groups are targeted in the campaigns for some movies and not for others.

Hollywood certainly seems aware that there is a huge audience out there that is both Hispanic and buying movie tickets, and so they're working overtime to figure out how to reach out to them. Look at the trailer for Paramount's latest entry in the "Paranormal Activity" franchise. They are well aware that a huge portion of the audience for horror films, driving those opening weekends, are young Latin males, and the same is true of superhero films.

One of the biggest box office stories of the year, relative to the size of the fin, is the success of "Instructions Not Included," a small Mexican film that was written and directed by Eugenio Derbez, who also starred in the film. It managed to open in fifth place over the Labor Day weekend with over $10 million, and I guarantee something like that gets the money guys at the studios worked up.

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<p>It is refreshing to see someone who is just as excited about the role they're playing as fans are about the film itself, and Chris Pratt can't disguise how he feels about 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'</p>

It is refreshing to see someone who is just as excited about the role they're playing as fans are about the film itself, and Chris Pratt can't disguise how he feels about 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'

Credit: HitFix

Chris Pratt struggles to keep the secrets of 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' secret

And we know exactly how he feels

There are oh-so-many things I wish I could say about "Guardians Of The Galaxy" already, and pretty much none of them that I am at liberty to actually share.

That's a little bit infuriating. One of the best friends that any film can have is word of mouth, and while I understand completely that Marvel doesn't want to share certain information at the wrong time with people, and that they wisely want to focus more on the movies people can see now than on the movies that are almost a year away, it's still hard not to share a certain informed enthusiasm when something warrants it, and I feel like "Guardians Of The Galaxy" does.

Or it could, anyway. Obviously anything can happen, and there have been countless films that have looked good on the set and that have had strong early footage and that simply haven't come together properly. In this case, writer/director James Gunn is telling what I think it's safe to call the single strangest Marvel movie so far, and he's got to create this entire corner of the universe and make it all work in terms of tone.

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<p>Don't you do it, Kenny. Don't you dare make April cry. Kenny, I'm warning you. I... oh, damn it, Kenny!&nbsp;See what you did?!?!</p>

Don't you do it, Kenny. Don't you dare make April cry. Kenny, I'm warning you. I... oh, damn it, Kenny! See what you did?!?!

Credit: HBO

Review: Kenny Powers burns it all down in this week's electrifying 'Eastbound'

Why can't Kenny let himself be happy?

"Move. Get out of the way. Worst goddamn Fix My Marriage Party ever."

Can you think of any other TV show that has ever gone the places that this one is going this season? At this point, describing "Eastbound & Down" as a comedy is doing a disservice to the show and to the work that Jody Hill, Danny McBride, and David Gordon Green are doing from week to week.

There are two episodes left this season, and I can't imagine how they're going to wrap it all up, and more importantly, I don't want to imagine it. I am not speculating. I'm not searching for spoilers. I just want to sit back and watch it play out and enjoy, because at this point, I know these guys have it. I know they've hit a groove and they're playing out some amazing material and they're pushing these characters to a very real breaking point. You can tell when a creative team is in a groove, when they're just crushing it from moment to moment, and the energy around this season is genuinely impressive.

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<p>One could argue that 'Thor' was the moment where Agent Coulson really came into his own as a character and became the pivot point for 'The Avengers'</p>

One could argue that 'Thor' was the moment where Agent Coulson really came into his own as a character and became the pivot point for 'The Avengers'

Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel sets 'Thor 2' crossover for 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' in mid-November

Jonathan Frakes is set to tie the show to the newest Marvel Universe movie

Well, of course they are.

Entertainment Weekly broke the news that Jonathan Frakes will be directing an upcoming episode of "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." that will directly connect to the events at the end of "Thor: The Dark World."

That's all you need to know if you don't want to be spoiled at all for the upcoming movie or for the TV series, or both. You can stop reading and just know that Marvel and Disney and ABC have made one of the most profoundly obvious decisions in the history of corporate synergy. They are going to use their TV show that exists because of their big hit movies to lay some expository pipe between one of those big hit movies and the rest of those big hit movies, and the show will promote the movie while the tie-in promotes the show and the new movie promotes not one but two or even three new movies and where does the commercial stop and where does the movie begin at this point can you even tell me?

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<p>Reggie (Owen Wilson) and Jake (Woody Harrelson)&nbsp;head back in time in the odd family comedy 'Free Birds'</p>

Reggie (Owen Wilson) and Jake (Woody Harrelson) head back in time in the odd family comedy 'Free Birds'

Credit: Relativity Media

Review: Wilson and Harrelson can't make uneven animated comedy 'Free Birds' fly

HitFix
C-
Readers
n/a
Silly time travel comedy really doesn't work

If you didn't read my "About Time" review earlier this week, it serves as a sort of unintentional preamble to this review, since by one of those weird quirks of film development and release, they're both time travel movies.

Richard Curtis uses the idea of time travel to explore the idea of what the heart wants. It's that simple. If you could do it, how would you build yourself the perfect life? It is a device that allows him to write about everything, really. He explores a lot of ideas in his film, and in some very personal ways.

"Free Birds," on the other hand, asks a big silly question: what if turkeys could change the first Thanksgiving so turkey never makes it on the national menu?

But… wait… is that a silly question? The film opens in a turkey farm, and it makes explicit in the first few moments that these turkeys are being fattened up for eventual slaughter. Reggie (Owen Wilson) is the one turkey who can see through to the code of the Matrix. He knows what's coming. And as a result of his near-constant state of panic, he's ostracized, an outsider.

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