<p>Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are both flying high after this weekend's massive opening numbers for Alfonso Cuaron's 'Gravity'</p>

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are both flying high after this weekend's massive opening numbers for Alfonso Cuaron's 'Gravity'

Credit: Warner Bros.

3 on 3: Is 'Gravity' a game changer in Hollywood?

And what's next for Cuaron now that he's pulled off the impossible?
Sitting in my office at the new HitFix headquarters in Los Angeles, I can hear everyone chatting about "Gravity" as they discuss what they did over the weekend. This is one of those things that I've missed not being in an office environment since 1999, that Monday morning sense of what really landed with people and how they're reacting to whatever the biggest moments of pop culture are.
 
It makes perfect sense, then, that this afternoon's "3 On 3" would be about "Gravity" and what impact it might have on the industry and on Cuaron's career. Kris Tapley, Greg Ellwood, and Guy Lodge kicked around some thoughts on the film's awards prospects in the last "3 On 3," and today we're looking at some of the other questions that linger after the genuinely huge box-office weekend they had.
 
I don't often write about box-office, because I think the coverage of it is one of the reasons that conversations about films often feel like arguments over sports teams these days, but in this case, I'm curious to see if Cuaron is given real freedom after this, and even more importantly, if this opens any doors for other filmmakers. We each answered three questions, and you can see our answers below before heading to the comments sections, where I would love for you to share your own answers as well.
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<p>April (Katy Mixon)&nbsp;tries to keep things normal when Kenny (Danny&nbsp;McBride) begins to once again chase fame and fortune.</p>

April (Katy Mixon) tries to keep things normal when Kenny (Danny McBride) begins to once again chase fame and fortune.

Credit: HBO

Kenny Powers bounces back in the dazzling second episode of this year's 'Eastbound & Down'

Wait... did Kenny Powers actually get tears out of me this week?

At the end of the first episode of the new season of "Eastbound & Down," I was left unsure what to expect from the rest of the season, and I liked the feeling. Often, a season premiere sets up certain expectations and then we just watch whatever it is play out for the rest of the episodes. Here, I had no idea where they were headed. I feel like I have a slightly better handle on it at the end of episode two, but only in broad thematic terms. How they're going to actually get there is still a mystery to me, and I feel like they are already doing such amazing things that anywhere they go is fine by me.

Kenny Powers has never been a hero. He's the lead character of the series, certainly, but his egocentric worldview has always been something to be observed, not emulated. Until this year, I've never been particularly emotional about Kenny or what he's been going through. The end of the second episode, directed by Jody Hill, left me in tears, though, and for the first time, I am genuinely rooting for Kenny to get what he wants, and the stakes have never felt higher.

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<p>Tom Hanks finds himself at the mercy of some truly desperate men in the based-on-a-true-story 'Captain Phillips'</p>

Tom Hanks finds himself at the mercy of some truly desperate men in the based-on-a-true-story 'Captain Phillips'

Credit: Sony Pictures

Review: Tom Hanks grounds the emotional and upsetting 'Captain Phillips'

HitFix
A-
Readers
B+
Paul Greengrass tells another terrifically tense true-life story

There may be no filmmaker currently working in mainstream Hollywood who crafts dramatic narrative features that feel more like documentaries than traditional movies than Paul Greengrass. The way his best work plays makes the audience feel like observers of reality, and aside from one small but mystifying misstep, "Captain Phillips" represents a great example of what he does so well.

Based on the true story of a hijacking that took place off the coast of Somalia a few years ago, "Captain Phillips" stars Tom Hanks as Richard Phillips, and it's confident, subtle work from him. His performance captures perfectly the dawning horror of the situation, and there are certain sequences here that I would place among the finest things he's done on film so far. I love that Hanks is settling into this older stage of his career by making really interesting choices, using his still-hefty star clout to help make films that are provocative and adult and in some cases commercially difficult. Without a Hanks, there is no "Cloud Atlas," and it's hard to overstate how important it is for a movie like that to land a star who is both Oscar-vetted and box-office friendly.

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<p>Ben Stiller is the star, director, and primary creative voice on the new film version of James Thurber's 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty'</p>

Ben Stiller is the star, director, and primary creative voice on the new film version of James Thurber's 'The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: Ben Stiller offers up a mild 'Secret Life of Walter Mitty'

HitFix
B-
Readers
n/a
Is this really what a quarter-century of active development leads to?

It seems particularly fitting that there is a "Benjamin Button" joke in Ben Stiller's film version of James Thurber's "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty," since "Mitty" is the only film I can think of that's been in active development longer than "Button," at least since I moved to Los Angeles in 1990. Both were based on short stories, both offered intriguing challenges to a long line of filmmakers, and both seem to have gone through all sorts of various versions before finally ending up in front of the camera.

The greatest challenge facing any writer trying to turn Thurber's three page story into a feature film is that there's no real plot to it, and Steve Conrad's final on-screen credit is screenplay by and screen story by, which seems fair. What Conrad carried over from the story is Walter Mitty's tendency to get lost in fantasy as he views the world around him, and his deeply-seated desire to live a life of adventure, but he's had to create everything else. In the film, Mitty works in the negative department of "Life" magazine, and he has a particularly close relationship with photojournalist Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn), and in the midst of getting the news that the magazine is closing down, Mitty is informed that a particular photo of O'Connell's is going to be the magazine's final cover. Unfortunately, that single image appears to have never been sent to the magazine, and Walter has to figure out how to track down this globe-trotting figure of mystery to retrieve the negative in an effort to keep himself from being fired by the guy who was brought in to handle the transition, played by Adam Scott.

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<p>Yep. That's what it always looks like inside Mark Millar's head. ALWAYS.</p>

Yep. That's what it always looks like inside Mark Millar's head. ALWAYS.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Mark Millar seems excited by the Joe and Matthew Carnahan adaptation of 'Nemesis'

This one's going to play rough

Obviously the author of the source material is going to have some very strongly held opinions about their own work, but even so, Mark Millar appears to have popped a vein when it comes to what Joe and Matthew Carnahan are up to with the film adaptation of "Nemesis."

Millar is not shy about serving as his own hype man, and while it has certainly earned him more than a bit of animosity over time, I think it's one of the skill sets that authors in the 21st century need to get better at, and Millar's ahead of the game. It seems like every year, there is exponentially more media competing for your attention, and if you want to cut through all that, you can't be shy about singing your own praises or talking about what you're working on.

In Millar's case, he has so many things in development that he seems almost like a non-stop cheerleader for the various filmmakers who are adapting his work these days. But in the case of "Nemesis," he's gone above and beyond. He seems to be positively swooning over the script they've adapted, and he is setting a very high bar for them when they actually do make the film.

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<p>Chris Pine's been targeted for stardom by Paramount, and 'Jack Ryan:&nbsp;Shadow Recruit' is going to be a test of his ability to shoulder an entire franchise himself.</p>

Chris Pine's been targeted for stardom by Paramount, and 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' is going to be a test of his ability to shoulder an entire franchise himself.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' trailer answers some questions, raises others

This definitely isn't a mild-mannered analyst this time around

So you take a pinch of Jason Bourne, you add the brash physical side of the Abrams Captain Kirk, and you set it against Kenneth Branagh directing himself as the bad guy so there is no one there to stop him from going over the top, and the result is Paramount's last best hope at rebooting the Jack Ryan franchise.

My favorite thing about this trailer is Kevin Costner front and center as the guy who brings Jack Ryan into the world of international espionage, and it seems like the biggest difference between the script I read and the final version of the film. It's a smart move, too, because Costner carries an authority that you need for this kind of movie. I really like Chris Pine, but I still think it's a gamble to basically hang every functioning Paramount franchise on the same actor. Just because I like the way he plays Captain Kirk, that doesn't automatically mean he's right for everything else.

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<p>Reese Witherspoon may play a very different kind of princess for Disney in 'Happily Ever After'</p>

Reese Witherspoon may play a very different kind of princess for Disney in 'Happily Ever After'

Credit: MGM

Reese Witherspoon is set to live 'Happily Ever After' in post-modern fairy tale for Disney

What's the creator of 'Don't Trust The B----' going to do with princesses?

On Monday, when I wrote about Disney's decision to develop a film called "Cruella," I talked about how they seem to be making a new push to turn all of their fairy-tale animated films into live-action movies. "Maleficent" and "Cinderella" both seem to be fairly straight takes on the characters and the fairy-tale worlds where they take place.

One of their biggest recent live-action releases was "Enchanted," a post-modern take on the world of their fairy tale stories, and one could argue that "Tangled" also played with the tropes of those films in some very knowing ways. It's interesting that Disney is willing to make movies where they play it straight and movies where they intentionally subvert the genre as well.

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<p>Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck make for two fairly bland scumbags in 'Runner Runner'</p>

Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck make for two fairly bland scumbags in 'Runner Runner'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck battle it out in mild-mannered 'Runner Runner'

HitFix
C
Readers
n/a
Will fans of 'Rounders' be satisfied with this one?

I liked Brad Furman's last film as a director, "The Lincoln Lawyer." It wasn't a genre defining masterwork, but it displayed real control and confidence, and it struck me as the work of soon who had a real knack for connecting with his cast.

Likewise, I am fond of "Rounders," a film co-written by Brian Koppelman and David Levien that has grown in esteem since it was first release in 1998. The film predated the pop culture obsession with poker, and it had a great ensemble cast that included Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich, John Turturro, and Martin Landau.

When I first read that "Runner Runner" takes place in the world of online gambling, I thought it sounded like a perfect venue for Koppleman and Levien to explore, and I walked into the screening fingers crossed. So far, Justin Timberlake has not really won me over on film. I think he exhibited a bit of promise in his early roles like "Alpha Dog" or "Black Snake Moan," but I'm not sure he's actually ever lived up to that promise. He's fine in "The Social Network," but he's far from the best thing about the movie. I thought he was just flat-out strange in "Bad Teacher," but I'm not sure how much of that is what was written and how much of it was what he brought to the role. As a lead, I thought he was flat in both the horrible "In Time" and the deeply mediocre "Trouble With The Curve," and when you've got filmmakers like David Fincher and Clint Eastwood directing someone and still not getting any real signs of life out of him, maybe the problem isn't the directors.

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<p>I'm curious to see if they stick with a traditional version of her costume for film or if they try something way more real-world.</p>

I'm curious to see if they stick with a traditional version of her costume for film or if they try something way more real-world.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Samuel L. Jackson confirms that Elizabeth Olsen is set to play Scarlet Witch in 'Avengers' sequel

He's unsure if she's working for or against the heroes, though

See, this is why you don't tell Sam Jackson anything.

In a short conversation with the Wall Street Journal, Jackson confirmed a casting rumor that has been persistent for the last few months. He was talking about "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," and said, "I know we're shooting in London, that James Spader is Ultron and going to be the bad guy, and that we added Ms. Elizabeth Olsen, but I don't know what she's doing."

He doesn't specifically say that she is playing The Scarlet Witch, but that's the role she's been circling for a while now. Olsen and Jackson are both in the Spike Lee remake of "Oldboy" that comes out at the end of November, and she's been in the mix for this part basically since Whedon first mentioned that Wanda Maximoff would be part of the "Avengers" sequel.

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<p>'I'm telling you, it's the exact same uniform I wore in 'No Way Out.' Seriously. Sean Young was all up in this.' - the conversation I am totally sure they're having</p>

'I'm telling you, it's the exact same uniform I wore in 'No Way Out.' Seriously. Sean Young was all up in this.' - the conversation I am totally sure they're having

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Paramount finally released the first 'Jack Ryan' poster with Chris Pine today

Tell me again why the character is worth rebooting?

This entire film baffles me.

When "The Hunt For Red October" was published, what turned that book from a small press specialty fetish item into an international blockbuster was the dense wall of technospeak that Tom Clancy threw at readers.

I've always loved the way Clancy's story unfolded in real life. He couldn't get anyone to see past the curtain of detail that made it feel like he lived and breathed military technology, and so he ended up publishing the book through The Naval Institute Press. Ronald Reagan was the one who mentioned it during a press conference, immediately sending it onto reading lists around the world, and it launched Clancy's career in a major way as a result, eventually spawning a movie franchise. It was like when JFK admitted that he was a fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. It was the ultimate dream of what an endorsement can do, and the entire industry that was built around Clancy wouldn't have happened if Reagan had not read the book.

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