<p>Russell Brand and Jonah Hill play a scene on the Las Vegas penthouse set of 'Get Him To The Greek,' the new summer comedy follow-up to 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall'</p>

Russell Brand and Jonah Hill play a scene on the Las Vegas penthouse set of 'Get Him To The Greek,' the new summer comedy follow-up to 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Set Visit: 'Get Him To The Greek' throws a Vegas party in Culver City

The stars of the summer's rowdiest studio comedy on the set of a party and a party of a set

Russell Brand has the perfect last name.

"Get Him To The Greek" is a perfect movie star vehicle in terms of conception and timing and opportunity, and there's a good chance it's going to do exactly what it's been designed to do and kick Russell into a different level of movie stardom.

There is a major difference between a movie star and an actor.  Sometimes, movie stars are great actors.  Sometimes they are not.  Doesn't really matter.  Movie stars are personalities that audiences will go see on the flimsiest possible excuse just to spend time with the personality.  Good movie star movies are built to give a movie star an excuse to do something, preferably with another movie star, that is fun to watch for a while and that fulfills whatever promise its premise makes.  "Get Him To The Greek" is the story of Aldous Snow (the same rock star character that Brand played in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall") and the American junior record executive Aaron Green (Jonah Hill not playing the same character he played in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall") who is assigned to bring Snow to America for a heavily-promoted concert appearance at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.

The joke is simple:  Aldous Snow is decadence incarnate, Pete Doherty-by-way-of-"Arthur.  And this isn't a guy who likes a few too many cocktails, either.  In "Marshall," the character was portrayed as sober, reformed, all of his energy chanelled into chasing girls instead of drugs and alcohol.  It's part of the public face he wears.  In "Greek," Snow is off the wagon, back on the prowl, abusing himself with abandon.  And that's what makes Aaron's just so difficult, and it's also what looks to be a major source of humor in this gleefully R-rated comedy, one of several that Universal is making right now.

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<p>I am almost entirely sure Ryan Reynolds is wearing actual clothing in this photo.&nbsp; Almost.</p>

I am almost entirely sure Ryan Reynolds is wearing actual clothing in this photo.  Almost.

Credit: AP Photo

The Morning Read: Green Lantern's costume set to be CGI

Plus a sneak peek at the new Riddick movie

Welcome to The Morning Read.

The superhero film continues to evolve.  It's hard to believe that the modern superhero movie is really only about twelve years old (I'd argue that "Blade" was the first in this latest cycle), and that we've already seen so many variations on the form played out by so many different studios using so many different characters.  Technology is part of what shifts from film to film, but so are the ideas about how we tell these stories.  As "Kick-Ass" hits theaters this week, it's obvious there's a lot of life in the genre, and I'm fascinated with the way DC is trying to get into the business that Marvel's in, building out a universe populated with many heroes instead of relegating each one to a separate movie world.

"The Green Lantern" is a big film for them in every way, and the report that /Film ran about the film over the weekend is provocative.  The notion of the uniform that Ryan Reynolds wears in the film being entirely CGI makes actual thematic sense.  The uniform that the members of the Green Lantern Corps wear is created by their ring, more of an energy construct than an actual cut-from-cloth suit.  Creating it the way they're planning to makes it feel otherworldly, and I'm excited now to see what it looks like in motion.  It's going to make set photos a lot less interesting, but the final result should be worth the wait.

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<p>Logan Lerman, star of 'Percy Jackson And The Olympians:&nbsp;The Lightning Thief,' is the front-runner now to star as Peter Parker in the new Sony Pictures reboot of 'Spider-Man'</p>

Logan Lerman, star of 'Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lightning Thief,' is the front-runner now to star as Peter Parker in the new Sony Pictures reboot of 'Spider-Man'

Credit: AP Photo/Pete Kramer

Exclusive: 'Percy Jackson' star Logan Lerman frontrunner to be the new 'Spider-Man'

Update: Sony Pictures denies. HitFix stand by source.

UPDATE (8/11/10) -- Sony Pictures has issued an official denial that Lerman is a contender for the role or that there is, at this point, a short list.  That denial was run at Deadline Hollywood by Michael Fleming, and the same source at Sony Corporate wrote to HitFix this evening, 30 hours after our initial attempts to contact them for comment.

Sony's track record on "Spider-Man" story denials is important to keep in mind, however.  When development on "Spider-Man 4" was put on hiatus in December of last year, IESB broke the story, and Sony denied it completely.  Even when internal memos that explained the hiatus to department heads on the film circulated among film journalists, Sony continued to say there was no interruption in progress on the film.  Immediately afterwards, Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire left the picture and the reboot was announced.

HitFix stands behind its initial source on this story, and will bring you further updates as they occur.

The initial story remains intact below.

The search for the new "Spider-Man" appears to be over. 

HitFix has exclusively learned that Logan Lerman is first choice for Sony Pictures and the clear frontrunner to replace Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker in the reboot of the blockbuster franchise.  A source close to the production tells HitFix Lerman is "almost 100% locked" but not in contract negotiations for the role yet.

Marc Webb ("500 Days of Summer") is directing the new untitled "Spider-Man" which is being written by James Vanderbilt ("Zodiac," "The Losers") and is meant to be a more teen-friendly incarnation, taking Peter Parker back to his early days of balancing girl trouble, homework, and crimefighting.  The new film is expected to begin production later this year for a July 3, 2012 release.

Maguire, co-star Kristen Dunst and director Sam Raimi were expected to continue their version of the wall-crawler's adventures until Raimi bowed out after creative differences with the studio earlier this
year.  At that time, Sony Pictures decided to re-cast the film and move in a new direction, and had already been developing a reboot script as a contingency plan.

Lerman beats out rumored contenders Anton Yelchin, Jesse Eisenberg, Patrick Fugit and Johnny Simmons.

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<p>Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell are mismatched cops in the new Adam McKay comedy 'The Other Guys'</p>

Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell are mismatched cops in the new Adam McKay comedy 'The Other Guys'

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Watch: Adam McKay and Will Ferrell reteam for 'The Other Guys'

How's the trailer for this star-studded late-summer comedy?

I'm a fan of the films that Adam McKay and Will Ferrell have made together so far.  "Anchorman," "Talladega Nights," and "Step Brothers" are all deranged, and they also all have something in common besides the creative teams that made them:  I didn't like the trailers at all.

I think what McKay does is context-based comedy.  A good example would be that dinner table sequence in "Talladega Nights" where Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) and his wife (Leslie Bibb) and his best friend Cal (John C. Reilly) sit around the dinner table with Ricky Bobby's family, and things break down into a lecture on good parenting and a display of hyperactive hostility and a debate on which Jesus is the right Jesus to pray to.  It's a ludicrous, magnificent scene, and it really only works if you see the full thing, start to finish, so you can see how it evolves.  There are great lines in the scene ("I"m gonna come at you like a spider monkey!"), but it's the context that really puts it all together.

I say this to preface the release today of the trailer for "The Other Guys," which is the new film that Adam McKay directed, and which stars Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell as a pair of mismatched detectives.  We've been seeing buddy cop comedies for decades now, as far back as "Freebie and the Bean" and as recently as this spring's "Cop Out."  It's certainly not a new idea, but it's one that can provide strong returns in the right hands.

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<p>George Lucas and his uneasy relationship with fandom is the subject of the new documentary 'The People Vs George Lucas'</p>

George Lucas and his uneasy relationship with fandom is the subject of the new documentary 'The People Vs George Lucas'

Credit: Exhibit A Pictures

Drew McWeeny Vs 'The People Vs George Lucas'

How many years will the fanboy community cry the same song?

When I was at Wondercon last week, someone at the Warner Bros. panel asked Sylvain White, the director of "The Losers," how he got into filmmaking.  I think they were asking more in terms of "What steps did you go through to get into the director's chair?", but he answered it a different way.  "When I was eight years old, I had a life-changing religious event in the movie theater," he said.  "My parents took me to see 'Star Wars.'"

How many people had that same life-changing religious event?  I know I did, and it seems like every filmmaker roughly my age can say the same thing.  The original "Star Wars" trilogy was a hugely important and beloved cultural event that lasted for six years, and during those six years, it was an amazing, intoxicating lovefest for the world and the characters created by George Lucas.

Fast forward to the past week, where "Mr. Plinkett" of Red Letter Media is the nerd du jour thanks to his just-released nine-part video review of the 2002 film "Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones."  His review last year of "The Phantom Menace" made him a cult figure in fandom, and he seems to be a perfect example of the corner of pop culture that gave rise to the documentary I saw at this year's SXSW festival, "The People Vs. George Lucas."  Directed by Alexandre O. Philippe, the title would imply that it's a sort of mock trial of George Lucas for the crimes he's committed against fandom.  It's more or less another slice-of-fandom film that makes a few arguments for Lucas as a hypocrite without really landing any serious points.  If anything, the sheer scope of the subculture that still exists around fandom refutes the idea that Lucas did something "wrong."  For all of the tears that have been spilled, "Star Wars" remains an incredibly healthy overall property in terms of enthusiasm around the world among all ages.  It's just that one part of that fandom, a very specific part, has managed to become the most vocal.

And frankly, I'm tired of it.

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<p>HitFix Film Editor Drew McWeeny finally joins the world of podcasting.</p>

HitFix Film Editor Drew McWeeny finally joins the world of podcasting.

Credit: HitFix

Listen: The Motion/Captured Podcast - Premiere Episode

HitFix Film Editor Drew McWeeny hosts his first podcast

Be gentle with me.

Our TV guru and overall resident sardonic wit Dan Fienberg has been podcasting for the last few months with his partner in crime and good friend Alan Sepinwall, and the result has been a genuinely engaging listen.  I'd been talking about doing this for a while, but talking about it and actually doing it are radically different things.

So this weekend, I took the plunge.  I downloaded Audacity, I invited over my good friend and longtime media collaborator Scott Swan, and I recorded and edited a podcast.  A two-hour long podcast.  And it was waaaaaaaaay too much.  We've cut it down by over half, and what you're going to hear (if you care) today is a rough model for what I'll be doing in the weeks ahead.

If you don't know Scott, he's been working with me since I was in high school.  As a writing team, we've been award-winning members of the WGAw since 1994, and we've worked on stage, on screen, and on television.  You can pick up both seasons of "Masters Of Horror" as well as the one season of "Fear Itself," all on DVD now.    You can also get Scott's horror film, "Maskhead," which he co-directed with Fred "August Underground" Vogel if you're braver than I am.  He's pretty much the oldest friend I have in the world, and I figured if I was going to have anyone on as a guest for this first one, it would be him.

I've included a brief rundown of what you'll hear and where it is in the show.

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<p>Nicolas Cage, looking pensive, answers questions at last weekend's Wondercon 2010 in San Francisco, CA.</p>

Nicolas Cage, looking pensive, answers questions at last weekend's Wondercon 2010 in San Francisco, CA.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Nicolas Cage discusses 'Kick-Ass,' 'Sorcerer's Apprentice,' 'Wicker Man' and more

Drew McWeeny spends ten minutes with the outrageous movie star

I've been looking forward to a second sit-down with Nicolas Cage since we met on the set of "Kick-Ass" in London.  He's a guy whose work I've been fond of since I saw "Valley Girl" theatrically.  It's been a thrill watching his filmography develop with pictures like "Peggy Sue Got Married" and "Raising Arizona" and "Vampire's Kiss" and "Wild At Heart" and "Birdy," just to name some of his early triumphs.  At some point, he shifted gears and became the Jerry Bruckheimer Action Guy with movies like "The Rock" and "Con Air," and he has certainly made movies both great and mystifying.

Right now, it seems to me that he's in a bit of a career resurgence as far as public opinion goes.  He's always been busy, but you'd be hard-pressed to find staunch defenders of "Next" or "Bangkok Dangerous" or "G-Force."  I can understand why he would do any of those... even "G-Force"... but that doesn't mean those are films I want to see or that I connect with when they're released.

WIth "Kick-Ass," he's done great work, funny and real and sad and strange all at once, and he makes one of the most frightening variations on Batman so far onscreen.

With "Bad Lieutanant: Port Of Call New Orleans," he's playing with that image of him as a lunatic, and it's a wry and knowing performance, a great collaboration with Werner Herzog.

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<p>How great would it be if Harrison Ford looked like this when he shows up in Jon Favreau's upcoming 'Cowboys and Aliens'?</p>

How great would it be if Harrison Ford looked like this when he shows up in Jon Favreau's upcoming 'Cowboys and Aliens'?

The Morning Read: Harrison Ford's going to play 'Cowboys and Aliens' with Jon Favreau

Plus five new short films from Ridley Scott's commercial division and Bill Condon circles 'Breaking Dawn'

Welcome to The Morning Read.

Lots of news breaking this morning.  None of it particularly earth-shaking, but some of it fun.

For example, I'm not sure if I'm excited for "Cowboys and Aliens" yet.  I mean, the film's been limping through development for about a decade now, and it's always seemed like the highest of high concepts in search of a compelling story and characters.  I like Jon Favreau as a filmmaker, so I'm curious, and Daniel Craig in a Western is also enough to get me interested.  Adding Harrison Ford to the cast, though?  That might be the thing that finally pushes me over.  It's been a long time since Harrison did anything that made me curious, but this is one of those moves I wouldn't have seen coming.  Nice work by Latino Review breaking the story, and nice work by Favreau getting Ford involved.

Meanwhile, it's looking more and more likely that Bill Condon, director of "Gods and Monsters" and "Kinsey" and "Dreamgirls," is about to sign on for the final two movies in "The Twilight Saga."  If it happens, the real winner is Summit Entertainment, who just classed up a very, very silly franchise just as they get it across the finish line.  I have made no secret of the fact that I think the "Twilight" series is garbage, but Condon makes sense as a director here.  Despite his Oscar-bait pedigree, the man earned his stripes in the horror world, and I know for a fact he's been interested in doing a gothic Vampire story for a while now... just not this one.  I'd wager this is all but a done deal at this point, and I hope these turn out to be the biggest movies out of the entire franchise, just so Condon can move on from a position of enormous strength and get some of his dream films made, like that Richard Pryor biopic or something else close to his heart.

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<p>Frodo's temptation is just one of the many storylines expertly woven together across the nine hours of Peter&nbsp;Jackson's 'The Lord&nbsp;Of The Rings' trilogy, now available on BluRay.</p>

Frodo's temptation is just one of the many storylines expertly woven together across the nine hours of Peter Jackson's 'The Lord Of The Rings' trilogy, now available on BluRay.

Credit: New Line Home Video

On The Shelf: 'The Lord Of The Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy' makes its Blu-ray debut

The theatrical editions of the popular series, all in one high-def box for the first time

After careful consideration, my overall opinion of this three-movie nine-disc set is that it represents a rush to make "The Lord Of The Rings" available on Blu-ray, but it does not offer a significant or compelling technical justification to upgrade for anyone who already owns these films, and it certainly isn't the last time we'll see this material presented for sale on this format.

Both "The Two Towers" and "Return Of The King" look pretty great in high-definition, but I'm mystified by how "Fellowship Of The Ring" has been given such a slapdash overall transfer.  I would argue that "Fellowship" is the lushest and most beautiful of the films, and yet it's the one that shows the most obvious signs of compression and digital manipulation.  It's frustrating, because there are certain titles that I want to use as the demo discs when showing off Blu-ray to friends who haven't made the jump to the format yet, and "Lord Of The Rings" should be a slam dunk.

Overall, I don't think the films look like they're a decade old already in the way that many FX films quickly start to show their age.  Because WETA worked so hard to combine practical and digital FX, and because there are so many techniques in play at any given moment in the film, the films still look fairly cutting-edge.  Beyond that, they will age well because the emphasis is always on story and character, and that's really the thing that Peter Jackson got right in bringing these epics to the screen.  He found the right cast, and he gave them plenty of room to inhabit this fantastic world he brought to life.

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<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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