<p>Ricky Gervais, pictured here as David Brent in 'The Office,' is set to destroy audiences later this year in 'The Invention Of Lying,' which he co-wrote and co-directed</p>

Ricky Gervais, pictured here as David Brent in 'The Office,' is set to destroy audiences later this year in 'The Invention Of Lying,' which he co-wrote and co-directed

Credit: BBC

The Vacation Read: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson, Glen David Gold and Paul Malmont

More special guests discuss their summer movie memories

What's this?  How did this browser window end up open on my computer?  I should close this, seeing as how I'm vacationing.  But here... let me put a few of these e-mails in this window for safe-keeping.  Since I'm closing the window out and not working at all.

Ahem.

I cast a wide net with this question, and again... part of the fun is just how diverse the interpretations of the question have been.  I queried a pair of my favorite working novelists and got very different answers back from them.

First up is the great Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats The Devil, a summer movie in book form if I've ever read one.  Here's what he had to say:

Glen David Gold (author of the novels Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside) says:

Monsieur Hulot's Holiday. Like smoking a cigarette, hearing Kind of Blue, reading The Stranger, there are experiences that are so much like kissing a French girl (without, you know, the actual kissing part) that to forego them is unacceptable. M. Hulot is a French comedy from the early '50s, made after the first shivers of economic recovery from the War, and before Truffaut, Godard et al dynamited the screen, and it probably has more in common with pre-war Pagnol and Buster Keaton than its successors. It's almost silent, it's almost plotless, beautiful, nostalgic, and above all, it's jazz. I mean, if you've seen it, you know what I mean already and you're not only nodding your head, you're thanking me for having put my finger on the very slippery notion of why this film is so incredibly endearing.

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<p>J.J. Abrams</p>

J.J. Abrams

Credit: Gregory Bull/AP

The Vacation Read: David Hayter, Harry Knowles, Simon Pegg and JJ Abrams

Motion/Captured asks special guests about summer movie memories

I'm not working.

Seriously.  If my wife asks, you didn't see me.  I wasn't here.

Instead, I wanted to use the mornings this week to ask a couple of friends a deceptively simple question.  "What is your favorite summer movie?"

Some people wrote back for clarification.  Some people shot back an answer immediately.

I like the answers so far and the various reads on the question.

Simon Pegg broke the landspeed record in responding.  POW:

Star Trek ... Duh! ;-)

I see.  Well, I know a four year old in my house who would agree.  Who spends all day playing "Star Trek," with mostly unwitting playmates like my mother-in-law and my one-year-old, who have no idea what's going on.  It's pretty much the greatest live theater I've ever witnessed, riveting, and HOURS LONG AT A TIME.  Longer than the Robert Wise director's cut.

But I digress.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Jorma Taccone and his wife Mari Heller at the premiere of 'Land Of The Lost'</p>

Jorma Taccone and his wife Mari Heller at the premiere of 'Land Of The Lost'

Credit: AP Photo/Reed Saxon

The Motion/Captured Interview: Jorma Taccone On 'Land Of The Lost'

An interesting chat with the man behind the monkey

When I participated in the press day for "Land Of The Lost," I felt comfortable chatting with Will Ferrell and Danny McBride, having interviewed both of them previously.  But Lonely Island's Jorma Taccone was a question mark for me, and I wasn't sure what to expect.  So of course, it turned out to be the longest and, in many ways, best of the three conversations.  Check it out for yourself:

JORMA TACCONE:  Hey, brother.

MOTION/CAPTURED:  Hey, how're you doing, man?

Hey, good.  How are you?

I am very well, thanks.

Excellent.

Gotta say, I was really taken aback by the film last night.

In a good way or a supremely bad way?

A good way.

Oh, good.  That's great.

I thought it was a lot more twisted than how Universal's been selling it.

Yeah, yeah.  Absolutely.  And you can't blame them obviously for trying to sell it the other way, but...

[more after the jump]

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<p>Danny McBride was alarmed when the dinosaur confessed a secret desire to work as a proctologist</p>

Danny McBride was alarmed when the dinosaur confessed a secret desire to work as a proctologist

Credit: AP Photo/Reed Saxon

The Motion/Captured Interview: Danny McBride On 'Land Of The Lost'

The comedy sensation talks about his bonds with Chaka and 'Your Highess'

There are few conversations I look forward to as much as I do those few and far between excuses that come up to talk to Danny McBride.  I just plain like that I work in an industry that figured him out.

The idea of him co-starring in an adaptation of a Sid & Marty Krofft scifi kid's show with Will Ferrell and one of the Lonely Island guys is just plain strange.  Sounds like they're just going to trash the show.  But... they don't.  This movie seems to happen in the real world of the show.  But it's these guys, unleashed in it.  And today, we've got Danny talking about his work in the film.

DANNY MCBRIDE: Dreeewwwwwww.

MOTION/CAPTURED: What's up, brother?

How're you doing, buddy?

Very, very well. Thanks.

I'm missing you here. I don't know why I'm on a phone with you.

[more after the jump]

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<p>The full-size 'Avatar' power armor on display outside the Ubisoft theater at E3</p>

The full-size 'Avatar' power armor on display outside the Ubisoft theater at E3

Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

E3: First glimpse at Ubisoft's 'Avatar' opens door to James Cameron's Pandora

Game tie-in demo offers first 3D glimpse of the ecosystem Cameron's created

It was right around the time I took flight on the back of a giant bird-lizard thing, a proud Na'vi warrior at one with my environment, the lush 3D world completely immersing me in this crazy ecosystem that James Cameron and company have spent the last few years creating, that I decided that I will officially tolerate no more naysaying on "Avatar."

You.  Are.  Not.  Ready.

And here's why.  In simple language.  Because James Cameron is trying harder.  Harder than he's ever tried before.  Harder than anyone else is trying now.  He's just reaching further, and I'm wired to applaud that, and to root for him to do what he's trying to do... expand the language of film itself, to add new tools to the toolbox as we're making these tpes of movies in the future.  The ambition of what he's building, the full-world realization of this longtime dream of his... it's sort of overwhelming when you first take it in.  I understand why it took him a long time to get his head around how to make it real.  You can write that a film takes place on a planet where there are floating mountains going by.  But to convincingly create a planet where there are floating mountains, where you make that idea seem a natural part of the natural order... that's huge.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Will Ferrell, Anna Friel and Danny McBride act reeeeeal hard at some off-camera special effects in the totally lunatic 'Land Of The Lost'</p>

Will Ferrell, Anna Friel and Danny McBride act reeeeeal hard at some off-camera special effects in the totally lunatic 'Land Of The Lost'

Credit: (AP Photo/Universal)

The Motion/Captured Interview: Will Ferrell On 'Land Of The Lost'

Plus the truth about 'Anchorman 2'

I got my chance to chat with Will at the tail end of a very long press day.  I had missed him on-set, and even this conversation got cut short.  It's a shame, and I hope at some point in the near future, I can find some time to chat with Will for real.  In the meantime, here's a very quick but engaging conversation with the star of this Friday's new release, "Land Of The Lost."

WILL FERRELL:  Hello, Drew.

MOTION/CAPTURED:  Hey Will, how are you?

Good. How are you?

Excellent. It has been a while.

Yes.

I'm sorry I missed you when I came to the set, but I think that day everybody was busy with the effects and some of the big stuff.

I think that somehow turned into a crazy day or something, yeah.

But, I saw it last night and I gotta say it's not at all what I expected and it actually exceeded it in a lot of ways.

Well, that's good.  Yeah.

I thought you guys made a very straight "Land of the Lost" adaptation that fans of that show could be happy with, and then it's like you made the Mad magazine parody at the same time.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Spectacular aerial dogfight footage and heady science-fiction collide in Mamoru Oshii's 'The Sky Crawlers'</p>

Spectacular aerial dogfight footage and heady science-fiction collide in Mamoru Oshii's 'The Sky Crawlers'

Credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

My BluRay Shelf: 'The Sky Crawlers'

The director of 'Ghost In The Shell' takes to the skies in this trippy sci-fi war movie

Even though I one time appeared onstage with Roger Ebert at a film festival because he regarded me as an "anime expert," I would say that my love of the form is a cautious one.  I love select works, and it's not always the sacred canon that I'm crazy about.  When it comes to the work of Mamoru Oshii, I respect it all, but "Ghost In The Shell" and its sequel both impress me more on a technical level than on an emotional one.  I know people who are quite smitten with both films, and I can see what it is that they're responding to.  It just doesn't ring my bell the same way.  I'm far more partial to "Jin-Ro," which he wrote, and which I think is fairly amazing.  And if you've seen "Avalon," his film from 2001, you know he's ambitious. 

I didn't have any particular expectations when I was sent "The Sky Crawlers" on BluRay for review, but I was pleased to see it show up.  I'm a total BluRay junkie right now, and I find that's the first stuff to make its way into the player when I have a choice these days.  And the idea of a BluRay of a new Oshii film?  Verrrry appealing.

Technically, the disc is a knockout, and the animation is both impressively rendered, but it's also reproduced with a vivid intensity that is the reason I own a BluRay player.  There are still plenty of great DVD transfers produced all the time... I just reviewed "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" earlier today, which is a knockout... but there is something about a BluRay transfer that is fully calibrated and cranked that is like nothing else I've owned yet in my long and varied history as the owner of three major formats before BluRay.  I've always been the guy who gets into home video in as heavy a way as possible, moving from VHS to laserdisc to DVD, really buying like mad.  And each generation, there are titles that wow.  I just find that with BluRay, it seems like it's more titles, and even more obscure titles.  I am routinely wowed, which seems like it's almost unfair.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Anyone else get the feeling Sacha Baron Cohen may never leave his new character Bruno behind when he's done with this film?</p>

Anyone else get the feeling Sacha Baron Cohen may never leave his new character Bruno behind when he's done with this film?

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

TMR: The Sacha Baron Cohen Method and memories of Marilyn

Plus The Art of the Title tackles 'Freaked' and do movie posters define you?

Welcome to The Morning Read.

Like I said, I'm out the door and on my way to E3 today, so I'm going to try to get this done and still not shortchange you guys at all.

First, I'd just like to say that this trips me out.

There's an incredible piece over at The Art Of The Title about the opening credit design for Alex Winter's "Freaked," and that may sound like an odd subject for one of the best pieces I've read in a while about any aspect of film production, but it shouldn't be a surprise at this point.  That website is so good so often on such a diverse group of subjects that it better be in your bookmarks.

One thing that comforts me is that we are constantly discovering new life on this planet, and a great deal of it is just plain weird.

I really like this piece from The New York Times about how filmmakers have chosen to portray the near omnipresence of technology in our lives, and specifically the way communications have changed the nature of our relationships.  I think there's a lot still to be said on the subject and filmmakers are just scratching the surface.  It's interesting to see how that portrayal has evolved.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Robert Mitchum, though older and even occasionally tired, could still kick the ever-lovin' sin out every man in the room in 'The Friends Of Eddie Coyle'</p>

Robert Mitchum, though older and even occasionally tired, could still kick the ever-lovin' sin out every man in the room in 'The Friends Of Eddie Coyle'

Credit: Paramount Pictures/The Criterion Collection

My DVD Shelf: Criterion's 'The Friends Of Eddie Coyle'

Robert Mitchum stars in a long-unavailable 1970's crime movie classic

Selling out is never as easy as you're led to believe.

Seriously.  If you decided right now, as you're sitting there reading this review on this website, that you were going to sell out all of your ideals and totally roll over on everything that's important to you and you were willing to trade it all in for easy cash and decadence... who the hell would you offer to sell out to?

Eddie Coyle (Robert Mitchum in another in a long line of amazing, nuanced, seemingly effortless performances) is a mid-level scumbag.  He's not a killer.  He's not a bad guy.  He's not someone the police typically would hassle for doing his thing.  But he's a bit of a screw-up, and he's facing some time for being in the wrong place at the wrong time on the wrong job.  He finds himself pressed to roll over on people, and the really sad and painful thing about the film is the way Eddie gets played, the way no matter what he does, the screws keep getting tighter.  And tighter. 

Mitchum captures perfectly that sinking feeling, that no matter what Eddie does, it's not going to change what's happening.  He knows the fix is in.  The ship has sailed.  He's going down, no matter what, unless there's a miracle, and in the experience of Eddie Coyle, miracles seem real hard to come by.

[more after the jump]

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<p>Mark Reeb and Nathan Harlan have an uncomfortable conversation, both physically and emotionally, in 'The Overbrook Brothers'</p>

Mark Reeb and Nathan Harlan have an uncomfortable conversation, both physically and emotionally, in 'The Overbrook Brothers'

Credit: Sixth Street Films

SXSW Review: 'The Overbrook Brothers'

Dark family comedy proves to be impressive introduction for cast and creator

One of the hardest things for a truly independent filmmaker at a festival is competing with the high-profile titles.  I try to balance what I watch when I'm in a festival environment, known and unknown, and sometimes it really pays off.  I like taking a chance on something you've never heard of starring no one you know written and directed by a name that's totally unfamiliar to you.  And I like when I'm rewarded for it.

John Bryant's "The Overbrook Brothers," from a screenplay co-written by Jason Foxworth, is one of those lovely surprises, a strong, consistent, occasionally ugly comed about sibling rivalry taken to a punishing extreme, adoption, identity, and maturity.  It's of the current school of the uncomfortable, comedy that is about a sort of unbearable reality.  Mark Reeb and Nathan Harlan play Todd and Jason, brothers who have been locked in a sort of hyper-exaggerated Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner rivalry that reduces both of them to six-year-olds every time they're together. 

Jason wants to get married to Shelly, played by Laurel Whitsett, and he's kept her completely separate from his family.  When a holiday brings them together, it's obvious that he's totally freaking out about it, and once it happens, it's obvious why he's totally freaking out.  Todd should not be allowed near decent folk.  He's Hannibal Lecter, emotionally.  He just pokes Jason in the soft spots as soon as he sees him.  And he's got a huge piece of information that he's just dying to lay on Jason this year, a bombshell that he uses as a weapon in a breathtakingly cruel moment:  Jason is adopted.

[more after the jump]

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