<p>Evangeline Lilly gets wild to play a Wood-elf in 'The Hobbit:&nbsp;The Desolation Of Smaug'</p>

Evangeline Lilly gets wild to play a Wood-elf in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug'

Credit: HitFix

Evangeline Lilly on becoming a 'wild' Elf for her trip to Middle-Earth in 'The Hobbit'

If you don't swoon when she speaks Elvish, then I don't even know

Evangeline Lilly should have been huge coming out of "Lost." I'm still trying to wrap my head around how Hollywood dropped the ball with this one. From the start of the show to the bitter end, Lilly was one of the people whose work kept me coming back week after week.

Her character is sure to be polarizing among Tolkien fanatics. Tauriel seems to me to fit well into the world that Peter Jackson has spent five movies now building onscreen, and I like that she represents a wilder, darker sort of elf than we've seen in the films so far. We discussed that and the physicality of the role she's playing, and what became evident is that she is having the time of her life.

And why not? She's playing a strong character who ends up front and center for a big chunk of this film. What I'm curious to see is how fans react to a character who was invented completely by the filmmakers. This something that hasn't really happened before with these films. On "Lord Of The Rings," Jackson had to make hard decisions about what material did or didn't make it into the final films, and he had to cut whole characters and plot lines. Even so, he ended up with something like a ten hour final film when all is said and done. This time around, he's gone the opposite way, expanding instead of condensing, and there's quite a bit of time and attention paid to the way Tauriel fits uneasily into her place in things as part of the kingdom of the Wood-elves.

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<p>Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak and Bradley Whitford seemed ready to engage on the topic of how accurate 'Saving Mr. Banks' is</p>

Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak and Bradley Whitford seemed ready to engage on the topic of how accurate 'Saving Mr. Banks' is

Credit: HitFix

Jason Schwartzman, BJ Novak and Bradley Whitford talk truth and myth in 'Saving Mr. Banks'

Disney would like the way they handled it

People sometimes assume that the only way we can sit down to do interviews with people is if we publish glowing praise of them, but that's ridiculous. Some of the best conversations are when there's some push and pull going on.

I had already published my review of "Saving Mr. Banks" before I attended the press day, and I wrote in that piece about my questions about some of the choices made in the way the film portrayed the relationship between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers. When I went into each of the interviews, I wanted to discuss that with the cast, since they're playing real people and they've had access to materials that we haven't.

For example, in the closing moments of "Saving Mr. Banks," as the credits play, you'll hear actual excerpts of the recordings that were made of all of the story meetings that were held with Travers during her time in Los Angeles, and speaking just as a writer who has been through my fair share of brutal notes sessions, just that excerpt made me break into a sweat.

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<p>Look out, Tom, there's something right behind you!</p>

Look out, Tom, there's something right behind you!

Credit: Warner Bros

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt try to save the world again and again in 'Edge Of Tomorrow' trailer

This alien invasion spin on 'Groundhog Day' looks massive

One thing's for sure: if they ever make another adaptation of "Starship Troopers," there is no way they can make excuses for not using the jump suits that Robert Heinlein wrote about in that book.

Doug Liman's trippy new film "Edge Of Tomorrow" looks like "Groundhog Day" with a body count, and one thing I will always love about Tom Cruise is that he does not sneer at genre. He has built a career out of working with giant directors on giant mainstream films, and if he wanted, he could easily avoid ever having to deal CGI aliens or greenscreen stunts or any of that. He could do Oscar-bait drama every year forever and make the studios perfectly happy.

Cruise loves this stuff, though. He loves the physicality of this kind of storytelling, where action is as important as anything else, and he seems to genuinely enjoy world-building. If "Edge Of Tomorrow" works, it will work because we buy into the stakes and because there is a compelling sense of urgency as Cruise finds himself repeating the same day over and over, each time learning something new, putting all of these journeys together until he can find a way to defeat the alien menace that threatens the Earth.

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<p>If Will Smith and Martin Lawrence make a 'Bad Boys' sequel in the forest but Michael Bay's not involved, does it make a sound?</p>

If Will Smith and Martin Lawrence make a 'Bad Boys' sequel in the forest but Michael Bay's not involved, does it make a sound?

Credit: Sony Pictures

Is 'Bad Boys 3' a sign of what's ahead for Sony under Mike De Luca's leadership?

If so, let's hope this is only part of the story

When I first started writing about movies online, we were smack-dab in the middle of the first era of Mike De Luca. At that point, he was the enfant terrible of New Line Pictures, the guy who helped transform them from a sort of low-grade exploitation house into the studio that ended up winning Best Picture with "Return Of The King." De Luca was the risk-taker, the guy who championed films like "Boogie Nights," and along with Richard Brener and Stokely Chafin, he built New Line into something bigger and better than just "the house that Freddy built."

De Luca was young, though, and he embraced a certain kind of lifestyle that led to bad press, fair or unfair. He became a liability for the company, and he eventually left under a dark cloud. It has taken him years to build himself back up, and he's done it by working hard and completely rebuilding his image in the industry. When he was just promoted to co-president of production for Sony Pictures, it was a major, major moment for him, a redemption fulfilled, and it happens at a moment where the industry could use a guy with the same sort of edgy sensibilities that made him such a superstar in the first place.

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<p>Clark Gregg and J. August Richards both play important roles in the final episode of 'Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' for 2013</p>

Clark Gregg and J. August Richards both play important roles in the final episode of 'Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' for 2013

Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' reaches a major mythology turning point in last episode for 2013

After this one, you should know if you're in or out for the series

In our last recap, I talked about my mounting frustration with "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.", and part of my problem was the fact that it feels like they've been stuck in neutral so far. While they've certainly spent time setting up various story threads, it's all felt fairly low-stakes so far, and even the episodes I've enjoyed haven't really felt like they were compelling me to watch.

This week, the last new episode of 2013, seems to be the moment where everything they've done so far comes together, and by the end of the episode, they've essentially promised to answer the show's big questions in the very near future. Based on a quick scan of Twitter, many fans finally felt vindicated by tonight's episode, and it certainly felt like a major turning point for the series. Is it too little too late, or is this what they've been building towards the entire time?

When started working on reviewing this show this year, it was with the second week it aired, and I stated at that point that it felt like there were three big ongoing storylines for the year. In order, they were: (1) Who or what created the Centipede? (2) How did Agent Coulson really return from the dead? (3) Is Skye who she claims to be?

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<p>I'll bet Bryan Cranston wishes he was in a nice safe underground bunker cooking some meth right about now, eh?</p>

I'll bet Bryan Cranston wishes he was in a nice safe underground bunker cooking some meth right about now, eh?

Credit: Warner Bros

Bryan Cranston leads the fight as the 'Godzilla' trailer comes stomping online

Sometimes, quiet really is the best strategy

It's all about the tease.

I have no doubt that when the new "Godzilla," directed by Gareth Edwards, arrives in theaters in May of 2014 that Godzilla will be seen onscreen extensively in some big giant crazy action sequences. None at all. When I had a long conversation one afternoon with Thomas Tull of Legendary Pictures way back at the start of this process, part of the attraction for him was getting Godzilla back onscreen and actually treating him like a character.

But for now, this first official trailer for the film is pure tease, and smartly handled. In particular, I love the way it starts. What I want most from this film is some sense of the awe we would feel if giant monsters suddenly woke up and started roaming the Earth, and it feels like they may have nailed that. Edwards wasn't the immediate choice to helm this film if you're just going by box-office accomplishments, but anyone who saw "Monsters" knows that he's very good at finding quiet moments even amidst chaos and mayhem.

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<p>It's already been a Frontline documentary, but now 'League Of Denial' may be on its way to the bigscreen as a dramatic feature as well.</p>

It's already been a Frontline documentary, but now 'League Of Denial' may be on its way to the bigscreen as a dramatic feature as well.

Credit: PBS/Frontline

Parkes/McDonald Productions takes up traumatic brain injury with 'League Of Denial'

Important nonfiction book has already inspired a doc

One of the most upsetting moments in Lucy Walker's new documentary "The Crash Reel" features Kevin Pearce, a world-class snowboarder who was waylaid on his way to the Olympics by a traumatic brain injury, talking to his parents about how he plans to return to snowboarding. This is on the heels of two full years of therapy that have obviously not restored him to anything like peak condition. Pearce seems completely set on going back to competition, and nothing his parents say seems to be eating to him. He's simply incapable of accepting the idea that his brain damage is permanent.

The subject of just how we've approached the health of players involved in full-contact sports is currently undergoing a culture-wide re-examination, and while sports fans might have to cope with some uncomfortable changes to the games that they love, it sounds like those changes have to happen.

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<p>Tom Cruise will once again fracture jaws and solve problems as Jack Reacher in 'Never Let Go' for writer/director Chris McQuarrie</p>

Tom Cruise will once again fracture jaws and solve problems as Jack Reacher in 'Never Let Go' for writer/director Chris McQuarrie

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise will return as Jack Reacher for Chris McQuarrie's 'Never Go Back'

How are Reacher fans feeling this time around?

There were few people more skeptical out the casting of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher than I was. I wrote about it several times during the production of the film, but when the film finally came out, I found myself won over by Christopher McQuarrie's excellent script and smart, sleek direction. It is a really good old-school action movie, and while Cruise isn't the Jack Reacher I see when I read the books, he's got an intensity that makes up for the physicality.

So when I read that Cruise and McQuarrie, who are currently gearing up for "Mission: Impossible 5," are now set to develop a sequel to "Jack Reacher," I am actually excited by the news. I'm a little baffled by the choice of book, though, and this time, my issue has nothing to do with Cruise and whether or not he's the same size as Reacher.

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<p>Channing Tatum looks like a badass Mr. Tumnus in the first trailer for 'Jupiter Ascending,' the new action film from Andy and Lana Wachowski.</p>

Channing Tatum looks like a badass Mr. Tumnus in the first trailer for 'Jupiter Ascending,' the new action film from Andy and Lana Wachowski.

Credit: Warner Bros

The Wachowskis break out the eye candy in gorgeous first 'Jupiter Ascending' trailer

The makers of the 'Matrix' trilogy are back in their comfort zone

People are so focused on the barrage of sequels and reboots coming in 2015 that it feels like they're overlooking some films that they're going to see sooner. One of the movies that I'm personally flipping out about is "Jupiter Ascending," the new science-fiction action film from Andy and Lana Wachowski.

While I'm a fan of all their films so far, I'm well aware of just how fanboys view them after "Speed Racer" and "Cloud Atlas." It's a shame, since there was a point where "a new sci-fi action movie from the guys who made 'The Matrix'" would have broken the Internet with the release of a new trailer.

I've been doing my best to stay quiet about everything I know about this film. I can say this, though… they're still not really showing you everything that's going on in the film, and they're not really telling you some of the coolest things about these characters. Channing Tatum's character Caine is, as we hear in the trailer, a hunter, but it's more than just training. He is genetically designed to be a hunter, and as such, he's got more than just human DNA bouncing around inside him. His ears, which you just glimpse a bit in the trailer, are the first clue that he's not exactly what he appears to be, and he's not the only modified character. I would love to see what Stinger looks like and who's playing him, but I don't think we even get a glimpse of him here.

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<p>James McAvoy will no doubt be an important puzzle piece for Simon Kinberg as he tries to build a larger 'X-Men' movie universe</p>

James McAvoy will no doubt be an important puzzle piece for Simon Kinberg as he tries to build a larger 'X-Men' movie universe

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Some thoughts on Simon Kinberg, 'X-Men,' 'Fantastic Four,' and world-building

As every studio rushes to build a mega-franchise, we examine the urge

Simon Kinberg has quickly become one of Fox's greatest assets, and it looks like they're about to double-down on him for the foreseeable future.

Earlier today, I recorded a short video piece about Kinberg's new deal to help expand both the "X-Men" and "Fantastic Four" worlds on film, and I'm sure he's got some big ideas about what to do with both of those properties. He's also hard at work on his "Star Wars" spin-off film, whichever one it is, as well as the TV show "Star Wars: Rebels." He's joined that club where he is pretty much booked every day of the year, and on giant movies that are absolutely going to be made. It's pretty rarefied air, and he seems to be handling it well. When I spoke to him last, at an event for "Elysium," he talked a little bit about how great it had been participating in the "Star Wars" process and spending time with Lawrence Kasdan, who has to be considered one of the old school masters of this sort of thing.

This raises a larger question, though, about the sudden move everyone's making to this model that's worked so well for one company. I feel like I may not have made the point I was trying to the other day, or at least I didn't make it clear with what I wrote. When I wrote about the way Warner is approaching their DC comic movies right now, I wasn't trying to say that I know the way they HAVE to fix things. Far from it. Ultimately, all that matters is that each studio look at what they have and find the best way to make it. That's all any of them can hope to do. There are hundreds of ways to screw up any potential adaptation, and only a very few ways it really works.

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