<p>The new trailer for Laika's 'The Boxtrolls' offers a peek at just how gorgeous the art of stop-motion animation really is.</p>

The new trailer for Laika's 'The Boxtrolls' offers a peek at just how gorgeous the art of stop-motion animation really is.

Credit: Focus Features

'The Boxtrolls' trailer is an ode to the magic of stop-motion animation

The studio that made 'Corlaine' and 'ParaNorman' is keeping the art form alive

At this point, I've visited enough sets that there is a sameness to it that has managed to rob the experience of some of its magic. Not all, but some. Sure, I can appreciate amazing craftsmanship and I love watching actors work, especially when something wonderful is happening between them, but there's no real mystery to it at this point.

On the other hand, when I visited the London sets for "The Corpse Bride" and got to spend a few days wandering around the amazing sets they built for the film, it was remarkable. Looking at the way they built everything by hand, looking at the amazing builds they did for the characters, I felt like I was looking at real magic. Watching these things come to life, one frame at a time, I learned once again to believe that there is a miracle that happens in animation. The same was true when I went up to Seattle to visit Laika Studios when they were working on "Coraline." Every single item, every single costume, every single thing that appeared in every single frame, all of it made right there in-house, all of it extraordinary.

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<p>Forest Whitaker plays the patriarch of a broken family in the new Kasi Lemmons adaptation of the Langston Hughes classic 'Black Nativity'</p>

Forest Whitaker plays the patriarch of a broken family in the new Kasi Lemmons adaptation of the Langston Hughes classic 'Black Nativity'

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review: 'Black Nativity' turns a traditional pageant into a holiday family drama

HitFix
B-
Readers
n/a
As adaptations go, this one's a complete reinvention

Langston Hughes is a modern giant, a significant artist who worked as a poet and a playwright and whose work was an important part of this country's understanding of the black experience. One of his most enduring creations was "The Black Nativity," a re-imagined musical take on the traditional Nativity pageant, complete with music and dance, and it is still being performed all over the world today. Adapting it to film would seem like a strange proposition, but writer/director Kasi Lemmons approached it as an opportunity, not a challenge, and the result is an earnest, heartfelt family drama that is overwrought at times, deeply felt at others, but which certainly feels like one of the more unique things I've seen in a theater this year.

Watching no trailers for something can create the most interesting reactions in a theater. While I was aware of the basic background of the Langston Hughes production, I didn't realize Lemmons had built an entirely new story around it, or that she had made a full-blown musical. The moment the main character, Langston (Jacob Latimore), begins to sing about his experience as a young black man growing up without a father in Baltimore, I realized this wasn't going to be what I expected. Instead, Lemmons built a story that she sets the Nativity into as a sort of central point, an event that brings her characters to an epiphany. Her film is much more about the way people either do or don't live the message of the Nativity in their own lives and their own communities.

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<p>Quentin Tarantino, seen here in Miike's 'Sukiyaki Western Django,' may be saddling up again for a return to the Old West since it sounds like he's almost done writing his new script.</p>

Quentin Tarantino, seen here in Miike's 'Sukiyaki Western Django,' may be saddling up again for a return to the Old West since it sounds like he's almost done writing his new script.

Credit: First Look International

Quentin Tarantino says his new script is a Western and it's almost finished

But which Western, and when will he shoot it?

One thing was very clear when watching "Django Unchained" last year: Quentin Tarantino was delighted to finally be making a Western.

I don't blame him. The conditions when making a film in the genre can be difficult. I know that John Carpenter has told me several times that the whole reason he's never made a real Western is because of how much he hates horses. You're outside, you're typically on a location, and it's not easy work. Tarantino took to it, though, so much so that it looks like he might be giving it another try.

Tonight, Tarantino was a guest on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," and a friend of mine went to the taping to see what happened. He Tweeted from NBC's studios about a comment that Tarantino made, and it's news even if it's still somewhat vague news. He said the director was sipping moonshine during the interview and that he revealed that he is almost done writing his next film. He also revealed that it's a Western.

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<p>The ladies of 'Spring Breakers' know full well that you're going to want to rent their film, but if you watch it with your family expecting a wacky comedy, you're in for a pretty big surprise.</p>

The ladies of 'Spring Breakers' know full well that you're going to want to rent their film, but if you watch it with your family expecting a wacky comedy, you're in for a pretty big surprise.

Credit: A23/Anapurna

13 recent movies you should never ever watch with your family

We warn you of some potential family gathering minefields in theaters and on home video

The holidays are almost here, and for many people, that means happy family gatherings with warm conversation and time well-spent together. For an equal number of people, that means finding something to watch so no one has to really talk to each other, and the best way to deflect things via movies is to find something everyone enjoys.

The worst way to do it is to throw on "Irreversible" and belly laugh all the way through.

I'm not saying you'd do that. Not you. You're a decent person, not Max Cady from "Cape Fear," and you would never intentionally make everyone in the family uncomfortable. You would never pick a film that would freak out your parents or your siblings or your kids or your spouse. You would never put something on that would stop conversation cold, replacing it with dense walls of silent judgment directed at you, just because you thought it was funny to freak everyone out.

Right?

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<p>Ming Na-Wen is front and center in this week's episode, but is 'Repairs' the character showcase it should have been?</p>

Ming Na-Wen is front and center in this week's episode, but is 'Repairs' the character showcase it should have been?

Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

Agent May's past plays a big part in this week's creepy new 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Is the reveal worth all of the build-up?

We're nine episodes into the season now. At this point, there's really no point in saying things like "Wait for it to find its voice" or "they're still figuring it out." Sure, things can continue to change, but this is "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.", and it's time to stop grading on a curve. Besides, this episode is written by Maurissa Tancharoen & Jed Whedon, the creators of the series, so this is a chance for them to demonstrate what the show they think they're making really is.

Heading into the episode, my first question is whether or not they're really going to give us Agent May's full backstory and the explanation of her nickname "The Cavalry" already. If so, then I think it's clear the paradigm in serialized television has changed and become more season oriented than ever before, with set-ups and pay-offs coming closer together, presumably to avoid pulling a "Red John" or a "Lost" or a whatever you want to call the sort of home-stretch fumble that's making "How I Met Your Mother" such a chore as it tries to wrap things up.

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<p>'Hello, it's the super. Could you let me in?&nbsp;I've come to make sure your remake is bland and largely ineffective.'</p>

'Hello, it's the super. Could you let me in? I've come to make sure your remake is bland and largely ineffective.'

Credit: Film District

Review: Josh Brolin comes out swinging but Spike Lee's 'Oldboy' can't land a punch

HitFix
C-
Readers
n/a
The very definition of an unnecessary remake

A man is kidnapped and forced to spend 20 years in isolation, in captivity, controlled but not harmed. He is finally allowed to escape and then he is given a single question to answer: who kidnapped him, and why?

It's an almost irresistible set-up for a film, and when Chan-wook Park adapted it as the middle part of his "Vengeance" trilogy, it was a perfect match of filmmaker and material. There is a fury to the film that is still somewhat terrifying when you see it, and Park delivers each new twist to the narrative like he's holding a knife that's already buried deep between two ribs, like he is enjoying each twist, knowing exactly what damage he's doing. While much of Spike Lee's best work is driven by a simmering anger, it's a very different kind, and his new version of "Oldboy" feels like someone stranded by material rather than someone liberated by it.

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<p>At least know we know why Magneto's not popular with the Dallas police department.</p>

At least know we know why Magneto's not popular with the Dallas police department.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

50 years later, the truth is out: Magneto was the man behind the magic bullet

Or was he? New 'Days Of Future Past' hints arrive online

One of the things that is always interesting when a film changes directors or writers or any key member of a creative team is seeing how much of the original plan for the film stays intact. Back when Matthew Vaughn was set to make the sequel to his own "X-Men: First Class," he seemed more than happy to reveal certain details and ideas about how he'd approach the film.

In particular, he talked about opening the movie with the assassination of JFK, then revealing how Magneto would be revealed to be the killer, driven by a fury that Kennedy took credit for the Cuban Missile Crisis solution, pretending mutants had no part in it at all. Our interview about his plans was pretty widely quoted at the time, and when he left the film, I assumed they pretty much scuttled Vaughn's plans completely.

After all, he wasn't planning to do "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" at the time. That idea came after he departed the film, and we've heard now that the new film is set in 1973, which would seem to leave the JFK thing out completely.

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<p>This is pretty much exactly how I feel every time I remember there's an 'Anchorman 2' coming out in less than a month.</p>

This is pretty much exactly how I feel every time I remember there's an 'Anchorman 2' coming out in less than a month.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Adam McKay and over a million feet of film in the editing room for 'Anchorman 2'

The director talks about building the highly-anticipated sequel

Much has been written about the way Adam McKay and Will Ferrell work together, and I recently put up a piece about spending time on the Sea World set where they shot an early sequence for the film. In that article, I described the way that they build scenes, the way their ad-libs flow on a set, the way McKay and Ferrell seem to share two halves of one brain.

The one down side, if you can call it that, to the way their process works is that they end up with miles of film to choose from when building each and every scene in the movie. That's no exaggeration, either. While the process is digital now, they shot the equivalent of 1.25 million feet of film, and when they did the first assembly cut of the movie, where they put in every scene just to see it all together, the film came in at four and a half hours.

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<p>By the time all of this is done, I'm sure I'll have met every single person in this image, and at least two of them will probably drop a building on me.</p>

By the time all of this is done, I'm sure I'll have met every single person in this image, and at least two of them will probably drop a building on me.

Credit: Marvel Studios

How a universe full of superheroes totally ruined my life

A first-hand account by one man whose luck is an absolute marvel

This is not a typical piece you'd read here at Motion/Captured, but when it was smuggled out of a mental health facility in the UK and then sent to me, I thought it was important to share. I wasn't sure what I was reading at first, but once I understood, it seemed urgent that I help this man get his story out to the world.

Besides... I always wondered how this worked.

- Drew McWeeny

You have to listen to me. You have to help me.

They say I'm crazy.

It's not just inaccurate; it's rude. I'm not crazy. Or if I am crazy, I'm crazy because I've earned that right. You have no idea how strange my life has been. You have no idea the things I've seen. I've watched the world go crazy, little by little, and I think my reaction has been exceedingly sane, all things considered. If I tell you my story, you have to tell me what you think. You tell me what you would do if you saw and did and heard all of the things I have.

Has it really only been a little over a decade? Can the whole world change in just that amount of time?

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<p>You and me both, sister.</p>

You and me both, sister.

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Brace yourself, because 'Alice In Wonderland 2' is no longer just a threat

Everyone involved is better than this, but that's not stopping them

It's strange knowing that someone already got me a birthday present for the year 2016, and it's even stranger knowing that it's going to be horrible.

"Alice In Wonderland" earned over a billion dollars worldwide, and since Congress passed the famous 2005 Mandatory Sequel Act, that means Disney is legally obligated to make a follow-up. Mia Wasikowska returns as Alice and Johnny Depp will once again play Johnny Depp In A Crazy Hat, with James Bobin taking over as director for Tim Burton.

First question: will they demonstrate the utter lack of imagination necessary to actually call the film "Alice In Wonderland 2" or will they call it "Through The Looking Glass"?

Second question: thanks to the weird choices made with the script for the first film, wasn't that technically "Alice In Wonderland 2" already?

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