<p>George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg in Martin Brest's heartbreaking gem 'Going In Style'</p>

George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg in Martin Brest's heartbreaking gem 'Going In Style'

Credit: Warner Home Video

Motion/Captured Must-See: 'Going In Style'

We had respect for Martin Brest before 'Gigli,' and here's the best reason why

There's really no difference between this film and, say, "Wild Hogs" when you look at them on paper.  Three friends shake off complacency by doing something totally unlike them, and they get in trouble, face some danger, and learn valuable life lessons.  That description would generally describe a whole ton of movies, but it's the details, the flavor, the rhythms of the films... that's what defines which take on that basic formula works best.  And I'd argue that there are few finer variations on the form than this heartfelt, small-scale miracle starring three actors in their twilight years, but burning at full wattage.

George Burns came roaring to life at the box-office in the '70s, and Hollywood wasn't quite sure what to do with him when it happened.  First there was "The Sunshine Boys," which made huge bank and won Burns his Oscar.  Then there was "Oh God," which was another giant cultural hit.  And when "Going In Style" came out in 1979, it should have been the perfect triumphant third hit in a row.  But... it wasn't.  It wasn't a disaster or anything, but it wasn't really a hit.  It was only later when the film went into a sort of perpetual half-life cable rotation that I met other people who really appreciated it.  Here's where I learned that I love Art Carney.  I didn't watch "The Honeymooners" as a kid.  I knew of it, of course, mainly through references in cartoons or on clips shows about television history, but it wasn't a show I actively watched.  It just didn't have any appeal for me.  So for me... Carney started here.  This was the movie where I just totally fell for him, where I realized how much I love his particular comic sensibility.  And Lee Strasberg is perfection as the mild-mannered third wheel in this group of friends, gentle and wide-eyed and always reacting even when it's not his moment.  Strasberg was a famous acting teacher, and here's a case of a guy who absolutely could practice what he preached.  His work is beautiful, simple, honest.

It's a sitcom premise, basically.  It's very high concept.  And yet, in its execution, it seemed to promise that Martin Brest was a filmmaker of wit and sensitivity.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Roxane Mesquida and Anais Reboux in the harrowing French drama 'Fat Girl'</p>

Roxane Mesquida and Anais Reboux in the harrowing French drama 'Fat Girl'

Credit: The Criterion Collection/Cowboy Pictures

Motion/Captured Must-See: 'Fat Girl'

In which I confess my love for films where French teenagers have it rough

Ah, yes.  So now we talk about sex.

When you endeavor to talk about the full world of film, one topic that's going to come up is sex.  Inevitably.  As long as people have been using cameras to film other people, sex has been part of the deal.  Obviously, there's a huge subculture that consists of real people having real sex on film.  And obviously filmmakers have been wrestling with the drama of sex, the emotion of it, since the very start.  And one of the ideas that seems to always get filmmakers worked up (all meanings intended) is including graphic real sexuality in "real" dramatic films.

Which brings us to Catherine Breillat.

She's that little girl who figured out that if she lifts her dress over her head at the party, all the adults will laugh and clap.  She's grown up smart, good with actors, and with a real eye for composition... but at heart, she's still that same little girl, loving the attention.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Your first look at the Snipe, a major character in Disney/Pixar's 'Up!', exclusive to HitFix</p>

Your first look at the Snipe, a major character in Disney/Pixar's 'Up!', exclusive to HitFix

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar

The Morning Read (3.10.09) EXCLUSIVE! New image from Disney/Pixar's 'Up!'

Plus I visit 'Sherlock' in London, cool 'Tintin' details, and a pointless 'Fantastic Four' reboot

Howdy, kids.  Ahhhh, it's a good morning when you've somehow managed to piss your wife off so much she won't even speak to you, and yet she is on a different continent.  That's just how talented I am.

If you're relatively new to HitFix, joining us after seeing me on G4 or following a link over from Ain't It Cool, take a moment to look around.  And even if you've been reading us for a while now, there are new features going live all the time.  For example, you can now e-mail/Send to a Friend any story, event or blog post.  Event Reminders are NOW working.  You can now set reminders for 15 min, 4 hours, 8 hours and the day before an event.  And on a member's E-Alerts page, you can now add the "Breaking News" option to your alerts.  On the appropriate stories, we can send out an E-mail blast to our users as soon as something goes live, in addition to the daily news blast we already send out.  So check all of that out while you're here.

Hey, how about that new image from "Up!" that we premiered today, eh?  That's the first official image Disney's released to feature not only Dug the Dog and his handy-dandy talking dog collar, but also The Snipe, a mysterious bird which is one of the things that kicks the whole movie off in the first place.  Thanks to Disney for sending that one over.

Did you see that some joker calling himself "Moriarty" published the first part of a story about his set visit to "Sherlock Holmes" in London?  It's worth reading, I guess, if you like weirdos with fake names giving you all your movie news and rumors.

And, man, Harry went review crazy.  I think that's the most reviews I've seen from him in one day in, like, forever.  He wrote about "Adventureland," "Moon," "American Prince," and the "Watchmen" ephemera of both "Tales of the Black Freighter" and "Under the Hood".  That's a whole lotta Grande Rojo all at once.

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<p>Olivia Munn, who licked disappointingly few things while taping today's episode of 'Attack of the Show'</p>

Olivia Munn, who licked disappointingly few things while taping today's episode of 'Attack of the Show'

Credit: G4

Today, 'Watchmen,' and 'Attack Of The Show'

HitFix's Drew McWeeny goes on G4's attack of the show to talk 'Watchmen'

Well, if you'd like to see the appearance, you can.  It's ready to embed, and it's below for your viewing pleasure.  I can only ever watch about 11 seconds of myself on camera before I get up and run shrieking from the room, so I can't really discuss the appearance itself.  I'll say that the experience of doing this sort of thing remains just plain weird.  I like all the folks at G4.  Good group, and they've had me on frequently over the years to discuss things.  They even had me on to make the official announcement when I left Ain't It Cool to come work here at HitFix.  When they call, if I'm available, I work it out.  I like to help them if I can.

Honestly, when they called to ask if I wanted to come in to talk about "Watchmen," that's all I needed to hear.  Sure.  Happy to do it.  It was only when they sent over a fact sheet that I realized what I'd committed to.  I didn't realize David Poland was going to be on the show with me.  There was a moment where I reeeeeeeeeally debated not going.

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<p>Anne Hathaway at the Independent Spirit Awards, nominated for 'Rachel Getting Married,' available today from SPHE on DVD and BluRay</p>

Anne Hathaway at the Independent Spirit Awards, nominated for 'Rachel Getting Married,' available today from SPHE on DVD and BluRay

Credit: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

On The Shelf (3.9.09) 'Pinocchio' BluRay, 'Milk,' and 'Rachel Getting Married'

Plus Sweden's great 'Let The Right One In' and more 'South Park' season sets

This week's got some huge titles.  HUGE titles.  Let's try to prioritize, getting the heavy hitters, the featured events, out of the way up front, then moving on to the less obvious but also worthy things being released.  And I'm going to throw on another in the titles from the last item we'll discuss today as I write the column.  It'll give me something to discuss when we actually get to that last big thing.

There is no title today that is more exciting to me both as an audience and as a film geek than Walt Disney's "Pinocchio" on BluRay.  It's been on DVD before, and I'm sure this new edition will be great on DVD if that's what you're buying.  But after seeing the amazing work they did on the "Sleeping Beauty" BluRay, I think Disney's classic animation release series is, once again, the gold standard in home video right now.  This is how you treat a classic.  This is how you take advantage of new technology to re-introduce these historic animated movies to new viewers.  It's preservation.  It's not reinvention... it's just putting the films in the best light possible given where we are technically.  I have not watched "Pinocchio" yet, but it's a priority, and given the level of excitement Toshi has when he sees the "Nokio" billboards, I'm guessing I'll be seeing a lot of this film in the next month.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Stanley Kubrick, laughing uproariously at one of the many wacky pranks he was famous for pulling on his sets</p>

Stanley Kubrick, laughing uproariously at one of the many wacky pranks he was famous for pulling on his sets

The Morning Read (3.09.09) Free screenings and geek dads

Plus Kubrick remembered on a very slow Monday morning

I'll be honest... it's looking pretty bleak out there this morning.  I'm not sure how much of a Morning Read it's going to be if there's nothing to read.  We'll see...

If I wasn't going to be on a plane on my way to Austin on Thursday, I'd totally want to see a free screening of "The Hangover."  If you go, e-mail me and tell me how it was.  That trailer is sort of hilarious, and that photo with Zach and the baby... pure win.

Or maybe if you're in LA, you'd rather get an early look at "Mystery Team," the Sundance hit from Derrick Comedy.  I've reviewed the film, and I highly recommend you attend the screening of the film on Tuesday night.  It's a great theater, and I have a feeling this is going to be a film that blows up when audiences finally get a look at it.  Here's your chance to be on the front end of that conversation.  And in the meantime, you should watch the interview with most of Derrick Comedy (Donald Glover was off "working" at his "job") over at The Comic's Comic.  In no small part because producer Meggie McFadden is so adorable it'll light up your Monday morning.  Seriously.  She's a pixie, that one.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Jerry Lewis takes a swim in 'The Errand Boy'</p>

Jerry Lewis takes a swim in 'The Errand Boy'

Credit: Paramount Home Video

Motion/Captured Must-See: 'The Errand Boy'

Jerry Lewis proves that silly can be art

Three films in, and Jerry Lewis was just warming up for his masterpiece, "The Nutty Professor."  He had taken control of his comic persona with "The Bellboy," a great comedy, and then followed up with the ambitious "The Ladies Man," both of which we'll probably discuss at some point in this column, but with "The Errand Boy," Jerry Lewis wrestled with his identity as a movie star in a very public way, turning his own insecurities and ambitions into material for a string of surreal sight gags that demonstrate his innate mastery with the camera.

Because say what you will about the character he plays, the moron/innocent with the whiny nasal voice and the crazy spastic walk... Jerry Lewis as a filmmaker was a wicked-smart visual stylist, inventive and clever and always able to frame a joke in a way that milks it to maximum effect.  Jerry Lewis the director dwarfs Jerry Lewis the actor in my mind, and to such magnitude that I think of them quite distinctly.  There are always bits I like with Jerry and bits I don't, places where I think he pushes the dumb envelope to the shredding point, and places where I think he plays a childlike innocent spirit just right.  But as a director... every single time, I think he knows what he's doing.  I don't think he makes a bad move.

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<p>Steve Martin as Rigby Reardon in Carl Reiner's 'Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid'</p>

Steve Martin as Rigby Reardon in Carl Reiner's 'Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid'

Credit: Universal Home Video

Motion/Captured Must-See: 'Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid'

Carl Reiner and Steve Martin pay loving homage to film noir

Carl Reiner and Steve Martin had a run of films just as strong as the great Gene Wilder/Mel Brooks trilogy of the '70s, and I'm always fascinated by these collaborations that burn super bright and then just end. 

Reiner and Martin's first film, "The Jerk," put them on the map, and it was a fairly big hit considering it couldn't have cost much money at all.  And despite Reiner's history in the business at that point... the guy was a TV legend, basically... there was something almost experimental about what he was doing with Martin.  Reiner saw Martin's stand-up comedy and it sparked something in him.  He came back at Martin with film ideas and directorial style that didn't just capture Martin's sense of humor... it completed it.  It gave Martin the perfect world to play.  It's like Tim Burton directing a Pee Wee Herman movie... it just makes everything work.  Martin's comic persona is a reaction to '70s pop culture, a mockery of everything sincere in show business.

Wilder and Brooks set a very high bar for parody with "Young Frankenstein," and part of what makes that film so incredible is the attention to detail.  The production design on the lab where the monster is built.  The black and white.  The way Gene Hackman looks as the blind man.  There are so many ways they get it right, and the space is so specific, such a dead-on reproduction of the Universal movies and their entire aesthetic, that every ridiculous thing that happens feels surreal, twice as funny.  The more sincere the satire, the better the end result, I think. 

And so when I look at "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" as satire, I'm impressed with the quiet cool that Reiner brings to it.  He's making a noir movie.  He's making every noir movie.  And this was 1982, before the home video explosion, before the idea of the film geek went mainstream.  Reiner and Martin come by this nerd cred honestly.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law in an exclusive new image from 'Sherlock Holmes' you can see in full on Moviefone</p>

Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law in an exclusive new image from 'Sherlock Holmes' you can see in full on Moviefone

Credit: Warner Bros.

The Afternoon Read (3.06.09) Buzzkill On Boyle and trailers galore

Plus David Foster Wallace and Horton Foote remembered

Let us never speak of Wednesday or Thursday again.

Of course fate would conspire to keep me away from the computer on two days where tons of stuff is happening online, including trailer debuts and all sorts of news.  I guess that means this afternoon's read is going to be a huge one, and we're also going to have to throw in a special Weekend read just to catch up completely.  Sound good?

By the end of the weekend, I expect most of you who want to see "Watchmen" will have seen it, and I'm going to be on G4's "Attack Of The Show" to talk about the film, as a counter to David Poland, who is somewhat less enthusiastic about the film than I am.  I've had a fairly contentious relationship with David over the years, and we've never done any media appearance together.  Should be interesting.  If you don't have G4, or if you believe your TV is trying to kill you so you never turn it on, I will have the appearance here on the Morning Read on Tuesday for you to watch.

TED talks are always worthwhile, and they cover any number of subjects that are of interest to people in all walks of life.  There's a great one up now for fans of FX, and for anyone curious about the process used to create the Oscar-winning character work in "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button."

Over at Empire, they've got a short piece detailing more details on Terrence Malick's "Tree Of Life," and what appear to be three different cuts of the film, or three distinct versions that will have different purposes theatrically.  I had a lovely surprise this week when a draft of this showed up in my mailbox, and I've got some time bookmarked this weekend to read the script.  I'll have my thoughts on all of these rumors, and some thoughts about what Malick seems to be making, early next week, in a HitFix exclusive.

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<p>Dr. Manhattan appears over the Thames at the London premiere of 'Watchmen'</p>

Dr. Manhattan appears over the Thames at the London premiere of 'Watchmen'

Credit: Jo Hale for Paramount Pictures

On The Screen (3.05.09) Michel Gondry goes to 'Tokyo!'

Plus, hey, did you know they made a movie out of 'Watchmen'?

Well, here we go.

As I sit down to write this, people on the East Coast are waiting in line to get into this morning's first screenings of "Watchmen."  Maybe.  That's what people hope anyway.  And on the West Coast, I would imagine the people who saw the midnight shows are just about ready to sort out what the hell they just watched.

But it's here.  For better, for worse, no matter what happens at the box-office over the weekend and next week, someone rolled the dice on a movie version of "Watchmen."  That is so f'ing insane.  I am living in a cartoon world when something like that is allowed to happen.

We've written about the film quite a bit here on the site.  I have one more piece that's going up over the weekend.  It's a long-form interview with Zack Snyder, and it's really nice.  We had about a half-hour to chat, and I caught him in a very different mood than I've seen before.  I think a lot of what he had to say on the eve of this blatantly experimental epic is worth reading, even if you don't end up liking the film.

[more after the jump]

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