<p>&quot;Wait... <em>how many</em> sequels did you say we're doing?!&quot;</p>

"Wait... how many sequels did you say we're doing?!"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Steven Charles Gould has been chosen to write four 'Avatar' novels for James Cameron

The ambitious plan would complement the upcoming trilogy of sequels

One of the very best movie adaptation novels that I've ever read was written by Orson Scott Card, based on James Cameron's "The Abyss." He wrote three chapters of backstory for the main characters of Bud, Lindsey, and Coffey, and Cameron liked them so much he gave them to the actors to use as their backstory for the film.

Since it was written before Cameron hit the wall on budget and time, the novel was adapted using the original ending, so when I sat down in the theater, I had a pretty good idea of where the story was going, and I was shocked when the ending appeared to be lopped off for no apparent reason. It was infuriating, and for a while, I had real problems with the movie simply for that reason. I still think it's the one time Cameron has ever really hurt himself with an edit, and once the original ending was finished and restored for a home video release, it definitely changed the way the entire final third of the film played.

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<p>It's hard to argue with Quentin Tarantino when he calls 'Taxi Driver' one of the greatest films of all time.</p>

It's hard to argue with Quentin Tarantino when he calls 'Taxi Driver' one of the greatest films of all time.

Credit: SPHE

Quentin Tarantino's new list of the 12 greatest movies raises some questions

Aren't lists supposed to be definitive and permanent?

One of the things that seems to be part of being a lifelong film nerd is the making of lists. Obviously, I publish a list each year of what I consider the best films I've seen during the preceding 12 months, but I've also published lists that have to do with specific genres or that deal with something like my favorite films in a decade or even of all time.

In an interview I did with Edgar Wright yesterday, he talked about how as a kid he kept lists of all sorts of things. Films he wanted to see, films he'd seen already. I did the same thing, and I've known many film geeks over the years who have had their own lists at the ready. Quentin Tarantino was a hardcore film fan before anyone knew his name as a filmmaker, and one of the things that was clear going to see his various film festivals in Austin or Los Angeles over the years is that he is a omnivorous film consumer. He'll watch anything, hoping for a gem or a discovery, and he's shown me many movies that I never would have otherwise seen, some of which have become favorites of mine now as well.

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<p>How many times do I have to tell Tom Cruise that just hiding part of his face isn't fooling anybody?</p>

How many times do I have to tell Tom Cruise that just hiding part of his face isn't fooling anybody?

Credit: Ubisoft

Ubisoft's 'Watch Dogs' already in development as movie before its PS4 debut

Could Ubisoft be the company to finally get game-to-movie adaptations right?

I can't wait to get my hands on a PS4. I'm dying to play many of the games I've seen teased for this fall, and just the other day, I started updating my GameFly queue to make sure I had PS4 titles on there as well.

I don't get to play games as much as I'd like. I'll frequently go three or four weeks at a time without putting a single game into the PS3, which is primarily a Blu-ray player in my house. Even so, I'm excited for "inFamous: Second Son" based on how much fun those first two games were, and "Killzone: Shadow Fall" will hopefully be a big jump forward from the three games Sony's released in that series so far.

There is no other title this fall, though, not even "Grand Theft Auto V," that has me as excited as "Watch Dogs." Ubisoft is a great developer in general, but there's something about the mechanics of this title that just plain does it for me. When they showed the very first gameplay video, I was hooked at that point. If you haven't see anything about the game yet, you play the character Aiden Pearce, a hacker who snaps when his family is taken from him by a violent crime. He decides to exact his own form of justice by taking over Chicago's ctOS, the operating system that runs pretty much every major function in the city. It allows Aiden to control everything, from cameras to mass transit to the traffic lights in the streets.

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<p>Lili Taylor and River Phoenix were heartbreaking in the lovely 'Dogfight,' but it's even more painful when we consider what else Phoenix might have accomplished.</p>

Lili Taylor and River Phoenix were heartbreaking in the lovely 'Dogfight,' but it's even more painful when we consider what else Phoenix might have accomplished.

Credit: Warner Bros.

What if River Phoenix had lived?

We examine a scenario we desperately wish was true

This week HitFix is revisiting some of the key turning points in recent entertainment history and considering what would have happened if history had turned a bit differently. What if...?

There's a question I've turned over in my head a thousand times, and while there are music fans who I'm sure have very strong feelings about the tragic deaths of artists whose work was cut short, as a film fan and as someone who got hooked on movies in the '70s, who came of age in the '80s, and who moved to Hollywood just as the '90s kicked off, there is one question that looms largest for me, one that I feel strongly about as my first pick. If we're trying to imagine a world we wish had happened, this is question number one for me…

What if River Phoenix had lived?

WHEN WAS IT?

The night of October 31, 1993 still seems unreal to me, especially the way the news spread that River Phoenix had collapsed on the sidewalk outside the Viper Room. Living in LA, that conjured such a specific image, and it seemed offensive to think of someone as gifted as Phoenix suddenly simply not being there anymore. As a fan of his work, I was excited by each new film, knowing full well that we were still just seeing the start of what he could do. He managed to be casually great in a series of films, and I felt like we were seeing the warm-up to a huge adult career. And then... suddenly... gone.

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<p>It's exciting to think that audiences will get a chance to see 'Escape From Tomorrow' after all.</p>

It's exciting to think that audiences will get a chance to see 'Escape From Tomorrow' after all.

Credit: Cinetic Media/PDA

The shot-at-Disney Sundance sensation 'Escape From Tomorrow' will be released theatrically

Will the re-edited film pack the same punch?

By far, the most welcome surprise this year in terms of news is the word today that "Escape From Tomorrow" will be getting a theatrical release in October.

I'm going to be reaching out to the filmmakers to talk to them about the lengthy process they've gone through since Sundance as they've worked to get this film released in some form, and I give huge credit to Cinetic Media for never giving up.

The story broke today courtesy of Steven Zeitchik at The LA Times, and it looks like it's going to be handled through PDA, which is the distribution arm of Cinetic, which was the company handling sales for the film when it showed up at Sundance this year. I was at the film's first public screening, and fifteen minutes into it, I was already convinced that the film would never play a movie theater in commercial release. It just didn't seem like there was any way Disney would ever allow it to happen.

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<p>I'd ask this guy, but I don't think he'd be able to answer.</p>

I'd ask this guy, but I don't think he'd be able to answer.

Credit: Bad Robot

Mysterious new trailer for 'The Stranger' from producer JJ Abrams appears online

Looks like another mystery box has been giftwrapped for us

Okay, I give up. What is "The Stranger"?

First, I'm not even sure it's right to be using that as a title. It is the name of the mysterious YouTube clip that went live today, but it's not necessarily the title of whatever is being advertised. If this is indeed an advertisement.

I congratulate Bad Robot on pulling this one off completely. No matter what gets uncovered about this project and when, they managed to pull off the reveal without any leaks at all, something that is not easy to do. This short piece, just over a minute long, is very odd. Images of a man washing up on a beach, his hands bound by rope. A low, gravely voice speaks in voice-over as we see the person struggle to their feet.

And then at the very end, the money shot, which is the unsettling image at the top of this story.

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<p>This is how fast everyone's going to have to work if they expect to make 'Star Wars Episode 7' in time for a December 2015 release.</p>

This is how fast everyone's going to have to work if they expect to make 'Star Wars Episode 7' in time for a December 2015 release.

Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Is a 'Star Wars' movie still a 'Star Wars' movie if it's released in December?

We may find out the answer to that question in 2015

I see Devin decided to print the rumor about the "Star Wars Episode VII" release date.

I tried to get Disney to comment on the possibility of a Christmas release date last week when word first started to leak, and of course, they've said nothing. I'm still trying to find someone to back up the reports, and I've had no luck doing so. I'll say this, though… it makes sense. That seven month difference changes the entire cycle of when things are revealed, and it also means that Disney will be able to do another D23 Expo before the film comes out, making that next D23 the one where they had better kick out the jams in terms of selling "Star Wars" as a Disney brand.

If Christmas 2015 (I specifically heard December 23 from one person, a date which falls on a Wednesday in 2015) is indeed the target release date, it gets the film away from Disney's other biggest film that year, "The Avengers: Age Of Ultron," which has been announced for May. It seemed odd that Disney would cannibalize their own mega-blockbuster with another mega-blockbuster aimed as ostensibly the exact same audience, and now it looks like they're poised to own both of the big holiday seasons with gigantic event movies.

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<p>'Well maybe I just don't feel like eating something THAT&nbsp;IS&nbsp;SMILING&nbsp;AT&nbsp;ME&nbsp;RIGHT&nbsp;NOW !'</p>

'Well maybe I just don't feel like eating something THAT IS SMILING AT ME RIGHT NOW !'

Credit: HitFix

Exclusive new 'Cloudy 2' poster features James Caan being chased by a BananaOstrich

Animated sequel looks delightfully silly

"This is James Caan's character Tim Lockwood being chased by our food animals known as the BananaOstrich."

Well, you just sold me a ticket, "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2."

The first "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs" was one of those lovely little animation surprises, where something came together beautifully. Phil Lord and Chris Miller took the lovely but simple book by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett and turned it into a very fast-paced and sincere bit of animated surreality, full of wonderful goofball gags and a very sweet and sunny disposition. The first film ended with a victory for Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) and Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) and 'Baby' Brent (Andy Samberg) and Mayor Shelbourne (Bruce Campbell) and Earl Devereaux (Mr. T) and his son Cal (Bobb'e J. Thompson), and it felt like it had done a great job of making all the characters feel like a community.

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<p>AJ&nbsp;Bowen and Sharni Vinson are right to be so excited about the impending release of their new film 'You're Next'</p>

AJ Bowen and Sharni Vinson are right to be so excited about the impending release of their new film 'You're Next'

Credit: HitFix

Stars AJ Bowen and Sharni Vinson talk about the long road to release for 'You're Next'

Plus Vinson talks about remaking the Aussie cult classic 'Patrick'

One weird part of my job is when I walk into a room to conduct what is meant to be a formal interview, but the person sitting across from me is someone I have an entirely informal relationship with. You can't live and work in Los Angeles for 23 years without making a number of friends in the industry, and it's even harder to avoid if you spend a good percentage of your year attending film festivals.

I first saw AJ Bowen in "The Signal," and in the years since, he's shown up in a number of films that i like, sometimes in main roles, sometimes showing up for one or two memorable moments. Several years ago, though, he and I started to see each other more frequently because of our mutual friend Aaron. Aaron's house is the place I stay any time I go to Austin for a festival, and AJ started coming to many of the same festivals and also staying with Aaron.

By far, the finest moment so far in our friendship came before either Fantastic Fest 2013 or this year's SXSW, when I texted AJ to ask if I was going to see him in Austin. He texted me back, "Already warming up the bed in the master bedroom," which made me laugh. It seemed less hilarious to my wife, who had trouble believing that "AJ" was a dude. Honestly, I'm not sure it helped when I convinced her that he was indeed a guy, because she found that suggestion even more upsetting.

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<p>If you ever get off a plane and this is the first thing you see, twist ending... you are probably dead.</p>

If you ever get off a plane and this is the first thing you see, twist ending... you are probably dead.

Credit: CBS

Director Joseph Kosinski jumps from 'Oblivion' to 'The Twilight Zone'

No word on what this means for a 'Tron' sequel or 'The Black Hole'

"The Twilight Zone" remains a potent title in terms of the immediate reaction it evokes from people, and while I'm glad the name hasn't been worn down to irrelevance, it does amaze me that they haven't done more with it in the last fifteen or twenty years. It seems like they should always be doing something with it, because more than anything else, it's a suggestion of a certain type of storytelling, and done well, these are stories people really love.

Obviously, they have tried to make "The Twilight Zone" work as a movie before. The anthology film from the early '80s might have successfully kicked off a series if not for the controversy around the real-life death of actor Vic Morrow during production. Even if the Landis and Spielberg stories didn't quite connect, chances are enough people would have dug the Dante freakshow and the George Miller exercise in pure tension that they would have been able to get four different filmmakers to sign up for a sequel. I can only imagine what it would have been like if Warner had been able to make a new "Twilight Zone" movie every two or three years, working with four interesting filmmakers every time.

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