<p>Brie Larson gives a stellar, shattering performance in 'Short Term 12,' which opens later this year after several festival appearances.</p>

Brie Larson gives a stellar, shattering performance in 'Short Term 12,' which opens later this year after several festival appearances.

Credit: Cinedigm

Brie Larson shines in the trailer for the sensational 'Short Term 12'

Who is John Gallagher Jr. and why isn't he in everything?

There is a very special film coming out this year that I'll be telling you more about soon, but today, the first trailer for "Short Term 12" is available.

Some recent conversation (some constructive, some not) about the ratings system of reviews here on the site that I've had reveal that people have very different ideas about what ratings actually mean. If I give a film an "A+," that automatically means it makes my top ten list at the end of the year, right? Because that rating means I think it's perfect, right?

I'm giving "Short Term 12" the same rating I'm giving other films this year that couldn't be more different, but in doing so, I'm not comparing those films. The rating is me saying how well I think they execute the film they're trying to make. I could give a film a B+ and not like it at all. Like is one small part of my overall rating of a movie. Instead, I'm more curious to see how well someone pulls off the things they try to do, both stylistically and in terms of narrative, and me giving something an A+ is me saying that I feel like they made the best version of that movie, like they hit the target dead center.

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<p>Nathan Fillion took some time at the 'Monsters University' press day to talk to us about the possibility of a return to the 'Firefly' universe with 'Avengers' director Joss Whedon</p>

Nathan Fillion took some time at the 'Monsters University' press day to talk to us about the possibility of a return to the 'Firefly' universe with 'Avengers' director Joss Whedon

Credit: HitFix

Nathan Fillion dismisses the idea of more 'Serenity' as 'an impossibility'

But he's also mighty diplomatic in the way he says it

When they were shooting "Serenity" at Universal Studios, I got a chance to visit the set and take a walk through the main ship, which had been built to give them a chance to do a full continuous shot from the front of the ship to the back without cutting away or cheating, and I must admit… it's one of the most impressive sets I've seen built. Functional, but completely immersive. It was the ship. I'm so used to seeing things in pieces and in sections that to just step inside something real like that was sort of dizzying.

I'm not rabid about the continuation of the adventures of Mal Reynolds and his crew, but if they made another one, I'd sure see it. I enjoyed the comic series that followed the show, and I think it's a cool world that they had just started to explore.

When I sat down with Nathan Fillion, it was as part of the press day for "Monsters University," and I'll have my interview with him about that film coming a little closer to release. For now, I wanted to run the final question I asked him about whether anything's changed now that Joss Whedon finally has a billion-dollar-monster under his belt, with another one already in the works.

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<p>It's almost impossible to fully convey all the ways in which 'This Is The End' works, so why not just enjoy some terrified silly faces?</p>

It's almost impossible to fully convey all the ways in which 'This Is The End' works, so why not just enjoy some terrified silly faces?

Credit: Sony Pictures

Review: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's 'This Is The End' digs deep for smart laughs

HitFix
A-
Readers
A
Far more than just an inside joke, this is one heartfelt comedy apocalypse

There are few things more important to me than my friendships. In general, I consider myself a friendly person, and there are many people that I deal with who I would say I've got a pleasant but casual relationship with, and a few special people who I consider genuine pick-up-the-phone-anytime friends. They are hard-won, and even if I don't get a chance to see all of them as often as I'd like, they are important to me.

One of the reasons I take those relationships so seriously is because I know how rare they are, and I know how uncommon new ones can be. The worst feeling for me is when things shift, when one friendship starts to crowd out another. It's happened in my life, and it's never something calculated or intentional. It's just evolution, the way things happen, and it can hurt when it happens. "Frances Ha," the latest film by Noah Baumbach, mines that material in a very smart way, and with a very different voice, so does "This Is The End."

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have a storytelling voice that I like enormously. Both "Superbad" and "Pineapple Express" are movies I enjoy top to bottom, and watching them navigate the offers and opportunities that have come to them, and even the projects that I think are less successful are choices that make perfect sense, and I think their approach is always recognizably theirs. That is not easy to do working inside the system, and it feels to me like they've been working their way up to "This Is The End," a summation of everything they've done so far.

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<p>After this summer, we want Henry Cavill beating all hell out of Guillermo Del Toro's giant monsters. Is that too much to ask?</p>

After this summer, we want Henry Cavill beating all hell out of Guillermo Del Toro's giant monsters. Is that too much to ask?

Credit: DC Comics

Ten things we'd love to see from 'Superman' comics in future films

The brutal, the personal, and the just plain weird

Superman has a long and, frankly, completely barking insane history.

One of the amazing things about a character like Superman is that because of his longevity, you can read through his publishing history and trace the various ebbs and flows of the comic industry. You can see how storytelling developed, and you can see how DC managed their key players because no matter what, Superman is always involved.

"Man Of Steel" is just a few weeks away now, and it is officially time to start getting very, very excited. Right now, fans are still speculating about what sort of riffs the new film will play on the long-established conventions of the character and the world around him. Will we see Lex Luthor in the new film? Is he a reporter for the Daily Planet? How do they handle Krypton's fate? Why does General Zod want him and how much does Superman know about his true identity as Kal-El?

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<p>I get the Isla Fisher casting as Daphne, but I'm sorry... Woody Harrelson is completely wrong as Velma.</p>

I get the Isla Fisher casting as Daphne, but I'm sorry... Woody Harrelson is completely wrong as Velma.

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Review: 'Now You See Me' is a bad magic trick but a decent caper

HitFix
C+
Readers
C
An all-star cast almost pulls it off

When you show a character onscreen doing something that is supposed to be genuine magic, the use of special effects and camera trickery is perfectly acceptable and even understood as a given. When you're showing a character onscreen who is performing stage magic, something meant to be an illusion performed for a live crowd, I find it far more problematic when I don't believe what I'm looking at. "Now You See Me" is energetic, well-cast, and very, very narratively busy, but it fails the most basic test for me: the magic is a bust, so nothing else matters.

I'm sure having David Copperfield consult and build things for you is a great anecdote for the press day, and they get the trappings of stage magic right, especially as it pertains to Las Vegas. But there's not a moment in this movie where it doesn't feel like a movie, like everything is heightened and slightly ridiculous and impossible, and for that reason, I find myself less able to engage with the genial caper film that uses magic more as set dressing than anything else.

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<p>They may be leaning on Will Smith's name to sell the film, but Jaden Smith is easily the lead character in 'After Earth'</p>

They may be leaning on Will Smith's name to sell the film, but Jaden Smith is easily the lead character in 'After Earth'

Credit: Sony Pictures

Review: Will and Jaden Smith explore father-son dynamics against a science-fiction adventure backdrop in 'After Earth'

HitFix
B-
Readers
B+
Will M. Night Shyamalan ever get a fair shake again?

"After Earth" is, all things considered, a fairly small-scale story, and the conscious decision to create such a large world and then focus on two characters almost exclusively feels at first like a mistake. Ultimately, though, the film reveals that its true intent is to create a boy's adventure movie that externalizes the basic stresses and fears of parenthood, and its modest goals turn out to be an asset. This may not be the biggest bang for the buck this summer, but it's lovely to see something that is sincere, thematically focused, and that ultimately works in a way I didn't expect.

M. Night Shyamalan has entered the phase of his career where there is a certain amount of baggage that prevents a percentage of the audience (and the film press) from even remotely approaching a new film by him with an open mind. It's been fascinating to watch the fall from newly-annointed genius in 1999 to openly-reviled punchline in 2013. While he courted a certain amount of that with his Newsweek cover story and his self-commissioned immolation-in-book-form "The Man Who Hears Voices" and his ludicrous "documentary" about the making of "The Village," it is still discouraging to watch people spend weeks warming up for a new film of his by practicing their snark and trotting out their complaints about his prior work. At this point, Sony barely even acknowledged him in the marketing for this film, a clear indication that they were aware of the issue, and even so, I see people piling on already, and I'm baffled.

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<p>Will Smith seemed entertained to hear that there is a generation that considers his son the biggest movie star in the family when we sat down to talk about 'After Earth'</p>

Will Smith seemed entertained to hear that there is a generation that considers his son the biggest movie star in the family when we sat down to talk about 'After Earth'

Credit: HitFix

Will Smith plays the proud dad talking about Jaden Smith's work in 'After Earth'

What did I say to make the movie star laugh so hard?

Will Smith may finally be human.

For well over a decade, he has been the Bulletproof Movie Star, the one guy who maintained a real degree of stardom even in an age where they're starting to prove that movie stars aren't really what drives this industry anymore. These days, for the first time, it feels like he's working a little harder to sell each film because he realizes it's not enough anymore to just show up.

Smith, though, is in that same class of guy as Tom Cruise, guys who have avoided the curse of movie stardom by making strong choices and working with great collaborators, and even when I don't like the films he makes, he impresses me because of the way he manages things. Do I wish he'd starred in "Django Unchained"? Sort of. I loved Jamie Foxx in the film in the end, but there would be something wonderful about watching Smith subvert his own image in a film like that.

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<p>Elton John</p>

Elton John

Credit: Eltonjohn.com

Which unlikely choice could end up playing Sir Elton John in a biopic?

And will he wear his Bane mouthgear if he does get the part?

Mad Max. Bane. Bronson. And… Sir Elton John?

That could happen. "Rocketman" is being developed right now by director Michael Gracey and executive producer Elton John, and it's being described as "a biographical musical fantasy that weaves together the life of Sir Elton John and his music."

Bernie Taupin is a key supporting role, and John Reid is also evidently key to the story, but obviously, the main draw here is going to be seeing someone try to bring to life the flamboyant contradictions of Elton John's performing persona. After witnessing what Michael Douglas did with the role of Liberace, I can imagine a number of actors lining up o try o get a chance to play Elton.

Right now, the project is out to Tom Hardy. That doesn't mean they've made him a formal offer yet, or even that he's interested, but it's an intriguing possibility. What I find most compelling about it is that Hardy seems like a guy who embodies a certain form of physical machismo, but who challenges that appearance at every turn. I like that. I think guys like Hardy will help to shatter traditional notions of what a "leading man" is or isn't allowed to do on film, and every little bit of that helps.

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Alexander Skarsgard and Brit Marling would make the most Aryan babies in the history of the world.
Alexander Skarsgard and Brit Marling would make the most Aryan babies in the history of the world.
Credit: HitFix

Brit Marling and her collaborators on 'The East' talk about charisma and cults

An unconventional interview situation yields solid results

This was a strange one.

Not because of the cast of "The East," keep in mind, but simply because of my own scheduling snafu over the weekend. I flew to El Paso, TX, so I could attend a press event for "After Earth," and I was set to fly back to LA on a Friday night. Unfortunately, my flight, the last flight out of El Paso got cancelled, and so when the press day for "The East" took place on Saturday, I was still in Texas.

The only compromise we could find, thanks the way we had the rest of Team HitFix scheduled, was to have one of Fox Searchlight's publicists read my questions for the cast, so technically, this may be my interview, but I wasn't there.

It's a shame, too. I'd like to meet Brit Marling and talk to her about the work she's been doing for the last couple of years. I'm intrigued by the subjects she's drawn to as a writer and by the choices she makes as a performer, and "The East" certainly fits, thematically speaking, with "Sound Of My Voice."

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<p>'Direct the next movie, Sam.' 'I can't. Really. I've got so much stuff to do that I...' 'I&nbsp;SAID&nbsp;DIRECT&nbsp;THE&nbsp;NEXT MOVIE, SAM!&nbsp;DO&nbsp;IT!&nbsp;DO&nbsp;IT!&nbsp;DO&nbsp;IT!' '... I&nbsp;think I'll direct the next movie.'</p>

'Direct the next movie, Sam.' 'I can't. Really. I've got so much stuff to do that I...' 'I SAID DIRECT THE NEXT MOVIE, SAM! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!' '... I think I'll direct the next movie.'

Credit: Sony Pictures

Sam Mendes may return to direct 'Bond 24' after all

Did Cannes cost another director the gig?

 This doesn't surprise me at all.

I saw The Wrap's Jeff Sneider recently at a screening of "Star Trek Into Darkness," and as we were waiting to head into the auditorium, we were talking about the tenuous nature of James Bond director rumors.

Team EON is legendarily specific about what they do and how they approach the process of collaboration, and one of the things that has been interesting to watch over the course of the Daniel Craig era has been the evolution of their thinking about who to hire to direct the films. The Bond series has been steered by some workhorses, some modestly respectable industry journeymen, and some guys promoted from other departments on the series who were as close to a Home Team as possible. Until recently, though, they didn't reach out to the A-list with any sort of serious intent.

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