<p>Judy Greer wins for 'Most Gleefully Playful Interview' for 2013 for me, I think.</p>

Judy Greer wins for 'Most Gleefully Playful Interview' for 2013 for me, I think.

Credit: HitFix

Judy Greer quotes 'Archer' and confesses her fear of teenage girls in 'Carrie'

Watch how happy this interview makes me

When you discuss "movie stars," the real definition has to do with both commercial bankability and overall appeal, and it's a term that can be abused wildly. I also think it's too restrictive, because there are tons of actors who may not be the name that you put on a poster or the name that gets something financed, but audiences who love them love them wildly because, film after film and show after show, they make choices that stand out, or they take ordinary dialogue and spin it in just the right way, or because we just plain like to see what they do.

That's Judy Greer all over. From her breakthrough role as Fern in "Jawbreaker" to memorable smaller appearances in "Three Kings" and "What Planet Are You From" and "What Women Want" to bigger appearances in "13 Going On 30" and "Adaptation" and "The Village," she built a reputation as someone who could take even a thankless role as "the best friend" and turn it into something that stands out. I've been a fan for so long now that it seems crazy to me that even as recently as 2008, in "27 Dresses," she was still considered something of a discovery for many viewers. It was her work in "The Descendants" that seems to have kicked open some bigger doors for her, and I'm always rooting for filmmakers to give her something great to do.

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<p>I wish SAG had passed a rule demanding that Scatman Crothers be in every film ever during his lifetime, because he was pretty much the best.</p>

I wish SAG had passed a rule demanding that Scatman Crothers be in every film ever during his lifetime, because he was pretty much the best.

Credit: Warner Bros

Review: Stephen King's 'Shining' sequel sees Danny Torrence burning bright as adult

An excellent structure makes this one of King's tighest stories in years

"His daddy had been a scary man, and how that little boy had loved him."

- Stephen King, "Doctor Sleep"

There is something deeply broken at the heart of "Doctor Sleep," Stephen King's sequel to one of his single greatest works, "The Shining." In the early part of King's publishing career, there was a sort of white-hot intensity to it all, like he had to get it out of his head, onto the page, into the minds of his readers.

When I just recently spoke with Kimberly Peirce about her new adaptation of "Carrie," we talked about the voice of that book and the insistent, urgent nature of it. King seemed like these voices were pouring out of him, and when you read "The Shining" today, it is amazing how white-hot passionate it is. There are few books to ever deal more effectively with the way anger and addiction can rot away a marriage, and even without the involvement of the supernatural, "The Shining" would be a powerfully disturbing read.

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<p>I&nbsp;hope 'Encyclopedia Brown' spends most of his upcoming film just quoting the works of Irvine Walsh</p>

I hope 'Encyclopedia Brown' spends most of his upcoming film just quoting the works of Irvine Walsh

Credit: Phase 4 Films

Will Warner's 'Encyclopedia Brown' deal with school shootings and bullies?

The writer/director of 'The Dirties' is writing it now, so it's a fair question

I just recently reviewed "The Dirties," a film by Matthew Johnson, and I thought it was a smart and even-handed look at how easy it is, even in today's more aware environment, for the seriously broken and the deeply angry to plan and execute an attack on others. We love to tell ourselves that after 9/11 and Columbine and every other breach of our public safety in the last fifteen to twenty years that we have changed and we are safer and we are being more careful now. Nonsense, of course, and "The Dirties" was very good about showing the way people play into these breakdowns and the way bullying culture is allowed and even enabled.

To call him an unconventional choice to write "Encyclopedia Brown" is an understatement. I'm not actually sure what name recognition value there is in "Encyclopedia Brown" these days. My third grader reads a similar series assigned by his school called the "Jigsaw Jones" mysteries. Makes sense. Kids still do jigsaw puzzles, so the idea of a puzzle being something you have to piece together is a reference they'll get. An "encyclopedia," though, is pretty much an unknown idea to them. While I enjoyed the Donald Sobol books when I was young, I never really had any illusions about them being great stories or particularly character-driven.

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<p>I&nbsp;don't care what anyone says... Danny McBride's 'Nymphomaniac' poster is the best one.</p>

I don't care what anyone says... Danny McBride's 'Nymphomaniac' poster is the best one.

Credit: HBO

Review: Kenny faces temptation in this week's 'Eastbound & Down'

Are they setting Kenny up for some real pain later this season?

"Okay, I can't take you seriously right now because you're dancing with a robot."

The third episode of what is rapidly evolving into my favorite season of "Eastbound and Down" deals primarily with the relationship between Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) and his wife April (Katy Mixon). From the opening scene in the parking lot after last week's triumphant "Sports Sesh" appearance to the final moments with Kenny and April laying in the early morning sun in a hotel room, everything this week examines why these two people are together and why it works.

One of the things I love most about "Eastbound" is the way they pick the still for each week's opening title, and this week's was a complete winner. Katy Mixon's smile and her brilliantly dismissive "See you later, pumpkin!" in the midst of Steve Little's insane hand-shattering meltdown pretty much sums up right away how much deranged fun this season has been so far.

And if there's not a gallery of every one of those title card images, there should be. Get on that, Internet.

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<p>Regrettably, it seems Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, and Hugh Jackman will have to sex you up in regular 24 FPS 3D for next summer's 'X-Men:&nbsp;Days Of Future Past.'</p>

Regrettably, it seems Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, and Hugh Jackman will have to sex you up in regular 24 FPS 3D for next summer's 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past.'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Sources say 'X-Men' will not appear in a 48 FPS 'Days Of Future Past'

It would be a huge moment for HFR if it happened

Despite Ain't It Cool's two sources saying that "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" is set to be released in the relatively new 48 FPS "HFR" process, multiple sources close to the production emphatically refuted those claims this morning. No one was willing to offer us any official comment at this time, but it was quite telling that one person I reached out to had not yet heard the story and another, when I explained it, seemed unsure what HFR was. Even the studio seemed a little surprised and confused by the story overall when contacted about it, hardly the slick denial that they normally have ready when they're not yet prepared to announce something.

To be clear, 20th Century Fox is not planning to release "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" in the HFR process.

If it were true, it would be big news. Right now, Peter Jackson is still the only major studio filmmaker who has been willing to shoot and release something in the format, and the response to last year's "Hobbit" release had me wondering if they were even going to bother putting out the other two films in the trilogy that way.

After all, it's one thing to release your movie in 2D and 3D. The post-production pipeline has been somewhat set up to accommodate those two choices. But 48 FPS is a whole new animal, and a far more aggressive aesthetic decision. I think there's absolutely room for HFR to be a part of big-budget blockbuster filmmaking, and it really does transform the experience completely. I'm personally happy that Dolby Atmos seems to be something the entire industry is starting to embrace, and much more emphatically than with HFR, because it's just as important that we continue to push the sound experience forward.

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<p>Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with the least likely suspect, but she turns out to be exactly what he needs in the new Spike Jonze film 'Her'</p>

Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with the least likely suspect, but she turns out to be exactly what he needs in the new Spike Jonze film 'Her'

Credit: Warner Bros

Review: Phoenix and Johansson make magic in 'Her'

HitFix
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An unconventional romance packs a hefty human punch

One of the reasons Spike Jonze remains so interesting as a filmmaker is because each individual piece of art he creates seems to exist in its own world, and only when you set it all next to each other and consider the full range of what he creates do you get a full picture of just how emotionally rich and complicated his body of work really is. I'm almost glad I hadn't seen all of "Her" yet when we spoke at this year's Toronto Film Festival, because I think I might have been too emotional to fully articulate my reaction at that point.

Jonze can certainly indulge his goofball side with very silly things, but he has also made movies that contain devastating endings, broken-hearted masterworks that clobber the audience with a bracingly direct quality. I would argue that "Being John Malkovich" could be on a short list of the very saddest endings of all time. I remember being horrified by it the first time I saw it and wondering why more people weren't just battered by the suggestion of Cusack's fate, of the hell his daily life would be living silently trapped behind someone else's eyes. "Adaptation" was one of the most complicated and difficult emotional reactions I've ever had to a movie, and it took me a long time to work my way up a second viewing. And then "Where The Wild Things Are"… well, we've said enough about that.

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<p>Moore's all smiles when she's talking about the role, but she is stripped down and intense as the mother of the title character in 'Carrie'</p>

Moore's all smiles when she's talking about the role, but she is stripped down and intense as the mother of the title character in 'Carrie'

Credit: HitFix

Julianne Moore on how she avoided making the horrifying mother in 'Carrie' a cartoon

A frank conversation about how she approached playing such an iconic role

Julianne Moore has made a career out of playing both enormous strength and agonizing fragility. She has a great range, and the role of Margaret White, mother to the damaged and destructive Carrie White, seems like it might test both extremes in that personality.

At the press day for "Carrie" last weekend, I was more than happy to sit down with Moore to discuss how she approached the role. There are so many challenges that are inherent to the material, and so few ways to get it exactly right. For example, Margaret is a religious fanatic, a hardcore fundamentalist whose own worldview is a big part of the reason Carrie is so ill-equipped to deal with the world at large. She is obviously damaged, and so while her beliefs may look extreme or even insane, you can't just make her a "bad guy." It's not that easy, and especially when the role has been played once before by the great Piper Laurie in a way that is positively iconic.

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<p>Channing Tatum's worth big money around the world now, so does that make him the perfect guy to help sell a gay themed rom-com?</p>

Channing Tatum's worth big money around the world now, so does that make him the perfect guy to help sell a gay themed rom-com?

Credit: AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau

Can Lee Daniels and Paul Feig make big gay rom-coms and superhero films?

Would Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer make it possible?

Rupert Everett had his breakthrough moment, commercially speaking, when he co-starred in "My Best Friend's Wedding" and stole every single scene he was in. It's a familiar story… someone has a big moment in a supporting role in a comedy and suddenly studios start developing material specifically for them to see if they can carry films on their own. Right now, Melissa McCarthy's having her moment like that, thanks to "Bridesmaids," and so far, thanks to the box-office of "Identity Thief" and "The Heat," it seems like it's working.

For Everett, the summer of 1997 was the moment when it all seemed possible, and one of the biggest projects that was developed for him was what Sony and Everett excitedly described as "a gay James Bond movie." He'd been working before that, and anyone who saw "Another Country" or "Dellamorte Dellamore" already knew what he was capable of, but "My Best Friend's Wedding" was a monster hit, and because Everett played a gay character in the film, that became the hook in trying to find him a big movie to do by himself. I'm not sure who worked on it with him, but at one point at least, Everett was writing it for himself.

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<p>This is just one of the many sequences in '12 Years A Slave' that left me worn out from sheer terror.</p>

This is just one of the many sequences in '12 Years A Slave' that left me worn out from sheer terror.

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Review: '12 Years A Slave' offers an emotionally raw and harrowing experience

HitFix
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Readers
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If this isn't the very definition of horror, then what is?

When people complain that there are no great horror films coming out this October, they are wrong, because "12 Years A Slave" is flat-out terrifying, a beautifully-made, deeply-felt look at what it would feel like to wake up one morning in chains, your old identity simply wiped away, a life of bondage and servitude ahead, reinforced with brutal, nightmarish physical punishment.

Chewitel Ejiofor has been consistently great over the years, but this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime roles that an actor can't ever fully prepare to play. The opportunity presents itself, and it's either sink or swim. You have to throw yourself into it completely just to see what will happen, and Ejiofor shines here, finding every single grace note inherent to the story of Solomon Northup.

Director Steve McQueen has been revving up to this movie his entire career, and the work he does in this film is transcendent. To put it in a blunt sports metaphor, he doesn't just hit the home run, he tore the cover off the ball and set it on fire. There is a depth of emotion here that is harrowing at times, and yet McQueen exhibits such remarkable control, such a clean, focused sense of what story he's telling, that it becomes far more than the angry "CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED?" that it could have been.

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<p>Chloe Moretz cleans up well, but she was more than willing to get dirty and damaged to play the lead character in 'Carrie'</p>

Chloe Moretz cleans up well, but she was more than willing to get dirty and damaged to play the lead character in 'Carrie'

Credit: HitFix

Chloe Moretz on why she has more in common with 'Carrie' than you'd guess

She may not be the most obvious choice, but she feels an affinity for the character

Since the moment they announced that Chloe Moretz was set to star in Kimberly Peirce's "Carrie," I've been wondering about the casting. Moretz is a very talented and intuitive young actor, and I certainly don't think you cast people only to play themselves in films. But I do believe you cast to someone's strengths, and Moretz is so self-confident, so at home in her own skin, that she seems like strange casting for a character who is the very definition of bully-bait.

There's a protracted series of scenes in "Kick-Ass 2" where Mindy, aka Hit-Girl, has to contend with mean girls, a threat her father never taught her to handle. The way she finally handles them seems entirely within character, and she refuses to allow herself to be pushed by someone she sees as weaker than her. That seems like what we've come to expect from Moretz and the characters she plays.

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