<p>Callan McAuliffe and Madeline Carroll star in the wonderful new Rob Reiner comedy 'Flipped'</p>

Callan McAuliffe and Madeline Carroll star in the wonderful new Rob Reiner comedy 'Flipped'

Credit: Warner Bros.

The M/C Review: 'Flipped' a 'pleasant and welcome return to form for Rob Reiner'

Coming of age tale not as similar to 'Stand By Me' as you'd think

Rob Reiner's new film "Flipped" is a beautiful piece of work, simple and sincere and wise, featuring a great ensemble cast ranging from their early teens to their seventies.  It's great to see Reiner make a film that is every inch as warm and human and enjoyable as the films he made his name with in the early part of his career.  It may be based on a novel, but Reiner wrote the adaptation himself, and his voice as a filmmaker has rarely been this crystal-clear.

Reiner and his co-screenwriter Andrew Scheinman retained the unusual structure of the book by Wendelin Van Draanen, and the result is unconventional enough that the trailers for the film never even tried to explain it.  "Flipped" is the story of Bryce Loski (Callan McAuliffe) and Juli Baker (Madeline Carroll), two kids who meet when the Loskis move into the house across the street from the Bakers.  When they first move in, we see the memory from the perspective of Bryce, complete with voice-over narration.  Ten minutes or so into the film, we jump back to the beginning, and this time we see everything from Juli's perspective, complete with voice-over.

The entire film is divided like that, and at first, it just seems like a clever way of setting up some tension in a story of first love.  Bryce thinks the little girl across the street is weird, while she looks at him and sees her first kiss hiding in there somewhere.  The easy version of this film would just be concerned with getting them to that kiss.  Not "Flipped," though.  Reiner's far more concerned with those two kids, and the role community plays in the way character evolves.

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Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes Fight

Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes Fight

Credit: Paramount

Report: Stephen Sommers to return to helm 'GI Joe' sequel

Half the battle or not, did we really want to know?

It has been a few months of sleepless nights, cold sweats and  stress induced skin rashes, but we can all rest easy now: It's being reported that Stephen Sommers will return to direct the sequel to "G.I. Joe." Whew!

After conflicting reports from the post production period of "Rise of Cobra" about Sommers being locked out of the editing room, The Wrap is reporting that all conflict has been resolved, the studio likes the draft of the script that "Zombieland" scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick turned in, and all is right with the world. As an added cherry to this sundae of news, Channing Tatum is reportedly returning to reprise his role as "Duke." OK, setting snark to "off."

As a youngster, this writer realized early on that although the G.I. Joe cartoons were lots of fun, they were also slipping through a loophole in the laws that prohibited excessive commercials being shown to children. By producing a show featuring their toys, Hasbro had managed to get half hour commercials  for their products on the air. It's a tribute to the writers and animators at DIC and other producers of the cartoon series that so many of us grew to love those characters and consider them our own.

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Robert Duvall in "Get Low"

Robert Duvall in "Get Low"

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Watch: Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek "Get Low"

In which a 'phenomenal' mule is discussed and Drew is scolded for not having visited Argentina

One of the advantages of living in a major metropolitan area is the availability of smaller art-house theaters where you can catch movies that don't make it to the multiplexes. It's debatable if they're worth putting up with the pollution and traffic, but I digress.

Often astounding is the star power that these indie pics can wield. How can a movie have names like these two as well as Bill Murray and Lucas Black and yet we never hear about it? It's rarely due to the quality of the film and usually due to money, politics and perceived trends in "the market" as to whether or not these films see the light of day. 

These things are not news, I'm sure, but I'm reminded of them when I hear of movies such as "Get Low," which are just so charming on their surface as to make you shake your head and make a "tisk-tisk"  noise with your mouth over the unfairness of it all.

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<p>Rob Reiner discusses a scene with his young cast on the set of his new comedy 'Flipped'</p>

Rob Reiner discusses a scene with his young cast on the set of his new comedy 'Flipped'

Credit: Warner Bros.

The M/C Interview: Rob Reiner talks 'Flipped,' 'Princess Bride,' 'Misery' and more

A candid talk about young filmmakers, the state of the movie business and more

Every now and then, you ask for an interview and things come together just right.

I saw Rob Reiner's new film "Flipped" a few months ago, and I was charmed by it immediately.  At that point, I started asking Warner Bros. to put me together with Reiner for a long-form interview like the one I conducted last year with Terry Gilliam at Comic-Con.

That may sound like an easy request, but these days, it's really not.  You're typically given ten or fifteen minutes, and since they're typically interested in talking about the new movie or TV show or book or whatever, and since you've got publicists hovering nearby to suggest that you keep the conversation somewhat on-topic, you rarely get a chance to just relax and discuss the full body of someone's work.

In this case, I couldn't imagine doing this interview with the typical restrictions in place.  I've met Reiner once or twice in passing over the years, but I've never really been able to talk to him at length.  I'm not sure how many more opportunities I'll ever have to do this sort of comprehensive interview with him, especially timed to a film I like as much as "Flipped."

So when I got the call, I dropped everything I had planned for last Friday and I got up early so I could drive out to Reiner's Malibu home by 10:30.  I met his wife and sister-in-law on their way out the door, then sat down with Mr. Reiner, the sound of the surf breaking on the shore a few yards away like a constant drumbeat during our entire conversation:

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<p>Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg share an explosive moment in the new comedy 'The Other Guys'</p>

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg share an explosive moment in the new comedy 'The Other Guys'

Credit: Sony Pictures

The M/C Review: Will Ferrell's 'The Other Guys' the comic opposite of 'Cop Out'

Comedy includes another great summer of 2010 turn for Michael Keaton

One day, I hope the Smithsonian has an exhibit that features the brain of Adam McKay in a jar, because I truly think his grey matter is a national treasure.

He has a relatively short filmography as a director, and each of his four feature films seems to me to be a further exploration of certain types of characters and conversations.  "Anchorman," "Talladega Nights," "Step Brothers," and now "The Other Guys"... McKay is drawn to characters living these outsized lives, turned to their very own radios.  He's explored the psyche of the wildly successful jackass in his first two films, and with "Step Brothers," he examined the permanently arrested jackass.  One would expect, then that "The Other Guys" is just a new variation on the same thing, giving the jackass a gun this time.  But since one of the first things the movie does is take away one character's gun, even that isn't quite what you're going to get.  Just when you think he's going to zig, McKay just made a major zag.

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Katie Holmes in 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark"

Katie Holmes in 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark"

Credit: Miramax

Guillermo Del Toro's 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark' teaser makes a horrifying debut

Will Troy Nixey be next year's breakout director?

Almost half a year ago, from Horrorfest 2009, Drew proclaimed that Troy Nixey, a comic book artist with only a single short film under his belt, would be next years breakout director. There is really no way to tell if he's right from this creepy, but extremely brief teaser trailer.

But honestly, who am I kidding? It's a Guillermo Del Toro project, and he's definitely earned my trust over the years.

Based on a 1973 made for Television creature feature, "Don't Be Afraid Of the Dark," is a project that Del Toro has been developing for a while, producing and also co-writing the script. The story revolves around a family (Guy Pierce, Katie Holmes and Bailee Madison) that moves into an old house already inhabited by diminutive nasties with a penchant for childrens teeth. Yikes.

Del Toro and Nixey screened some footage at Comic-Con which managed to make a very large room full of people jump simultaneously. Some of said footage is included in this teaser, and Guillermo himself was very excited about it when he spoke to us.

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<p>Jay Roach, Paul&nbsp;Rudd, and Steve Carell on the set of &quot;Dinner For Schmucks&quot;</p>

Jay Roach, Paul Rudd, and Steve Carell on the set of "Dinner For Schmucks"

Credit: Paramount/Dreamworks

The M/C Interview: Jay Roach on directing Carell and Rudd in 'Schmucks'

The comedy director talks test screenings, Blake Edwards, and SNL

Jay Roach has been making movies for almost exactly as long as I've been writing about them online.  The first "Austin Powers" was one of the movies I wrote about in the early days of Ain't It Cool News, and the first test screening of that film is still one of my favorite test screenings I've ever been to.

When I saw "Dinner For Schmucks" a few weeks ago, I was one of the first to do so, and they put me on the phone with Jay Roach the next day.  Our conversation started as an interview about his film, but since this is the first time we've spoken after 13 years of me writing about his work, at some point he started asking me questions.  It's a loose free-roaming chat, and it was nice to finally talk to him.  I hope I speak to him again for the "Saturday Night At The Movies" column, but for now, this was a great first encounter:

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<p>Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg look like they're in love in this tender moment from the new comedy 'The Other Guys'</p>

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg look like they're in love in this tender moment from the new comedy 'The Other Guys'

Credit: Sony Pictures

The M/C Interview: Will Ferrell on 'The Other Guys' and 'Anchorman 2: The Musical' ?

Plus are you ready for the vocal stylings of 'Pimps Don't Cry'?
Someone will eventually make a subtle adult comedy with Will Ferrell playing a character who will closely resemble the real Will Ferrell, and when that happens, that filmmaker will be acclaimed for his amazing vision.  It's just a matter of time.  He's almost always funny in person, but in a smart, quiet way that is totally unlike his screen persona.  He's got a wry verbal wit that can be easily overlooked by people more familiar with the outrageous comic performances he's perfected over the years.
When we sat down to discuss his new film, "The Other Guys," it was still a week before the Comic-Con panel for "Megamind" that I moderated.  It was the first time seeing Will in a while, and although it was a quick conversation, it was a fun one:
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<p>Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell star in 'The Other Guys,' one of the films that will be covered here on the Motion/Captured blog while I'm away on vacation next week.</p>

Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell star in 'The Other Guys,' one of the films that will be covered here on the Motion/Captured blog while I'm away on vacation next week.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Who is Alex Dorn and why is he posting on my blog?

A new arrival just as a vacation kicks off means explanations are in order

I'm going to take a vacation.

It's strange to even type that, because vacations are illusory in my world.  I find it hard to switch off the machinery of my daily life in a way that would genuinely mark something as a real vacation.  The last times I think I pulled that off were in Hawaii with my wife before Toshi was born and then right after he was born.  Those two times, I think, were my most successful vacations, and I look forward to taking a full week with my kids and my wife to enjoy some downtime before they leave on an extended trip to Argentina and I kick off trips to Toronto, Fantastic Fest, and the fall movie season.

Since we launched HitFix and my own Motion/Captured blog back in December of '08, I've watched the readership grow, and the site itself has slowly but surely added new faces and voices to the mix.  It's been an exciting process so far, building out Team HitFix, and when we take a trip en masse to an event like Sundance or Comic-Con, it's a nice reminder of how strong a team that can be.

We've just added one more new name to that roster, and I want to introduce him to you before I leave on vacation, because you're going to start seeing his name here on the blog, as well as other places on the site.  He's not completely new to the site... he's been doing most of our video editing for a while now, and he's definitely someone we all feel comfortable welcoming to the team.

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<p>Marion Cotillard and Leonardo Di Caprio co-star in 'Inception,' Chris Nolan's surreal dream thriller that is sending audiences scrambling for multiple viewings.</p>

Marion Cotillard and Leonardo Di Caprio co-star in 'Inception,' Chris Nolan's surreal dream thriller that is sending audiences scrambling for multiple viewings.

Credit: Warner/Legendary

'Inception': The Spoiler-Heavy Revisit, Part One

Want to understand it all? HitFix has your in-depth guide

In the rush to either canonize or crucify Christopher Nolan in the last few weeks, most people have carefully avoided major spoilers.  To be fair, even the film's harshest critics have been vague in terms of spoiler-heavy conversation.

Now it's out.  Now you've had a way to see it.  You've had time to see it.  You've got a chance now to be part of the conversation, and that's exactly what I want.  I want you to engage.  The film wants you to engage.  That's part of the point of the piece.  And since this is such a dense text, we'll break this into a few pieces today and tomorrow, and with each piece, divide it into sections that represent separate movements.

This isn't a review in the same way my last piece was.  We're starting here from the given that I really like and respect the film, and I was definitely affected by it.  In talking about it, I'm going to use the character names.  We're not talking film craft here, except as it affects storytelling.  This is a conversation about the very nature of the story that's being told.  At dinner recently, there were several of us talking, and we were split on "there's a set way to read the film" and "it's all meant to keep you speculating," and even that split suggests what a great dense text Nolan has put together, and how rich the conversation about it can be.

But it was a rare case of me not really being able to quantify or explain the impact it had on me.  Almost everyone I talked to about the film thought I didn't like it because of the tone or the body language of whatever I told them.  I was still chewing on it, and I realized I would need to see it a second time.  I picked a 10:45 show near my house.  Three minute drive.  When I bought my ticket, there were still 650 tickets available, according to the girl I asked, "Is it busy?"  I went to the very top right of the auditorium, where there was a single seat, with no attached seats, close enough to the exit that I could use the light there to see, and no one would be bothered behind me if I took some notes.

Keep in mind... my "Twilight: Eclipse" review got 174,370 comments (approx.), so please... don't let that film spark more conversation than "Inception."  Please.  I'll be crushed if people are more willing to argue with me about the sexual politics in a series about a high school girl in love with a vampire than they are the meaning and the narrative gamesmanship of Nolan's latest.

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