<p>One of these is a space beast, and one of these is a CG dog.</p>

One of these is a space beast, and one of these is a CG dog.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: Vin Diesel takes 'Riddick' back to his simple, brutal roots

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Did you like 'Pitch Black'? Well, I've got good news for you.

One of the words I use frequently when describing things, particularly things I like, is "pulp," and this summer, when I was at the San Diego Comic-Con, I found myself in a conversation with a reader who wasn't sure what I meant by that. It was a reminder that just because I love something or use something as a reference, it's not automatically something that everyone in my audience is going to understand or connect to, and I can't just leave it like that. The point of using a specific term like that is to give you some context for something, and truth be told, "pulp" is something that really doesn't occupy much of a space in modern pop culture. When I use that term to describe some pumped-up slice of 21st-century whiz bang, it's sort of like listening to your granddad describe a "Super Mario Bros." game by making references to Jack Benny's radio show.

My love of pulp developed gradually, as I followed the things I love back through their cultural evolution to the place where they began. Growing up as a film fan who was shaped in some part by "Star Wars" and "Raiders Of The Lost Ark," it seemed inevitable that eventually I would find my way back to what was a huge, significant movement in pop fiction for a good chunk of the start of the 20th century. From the moment I first read one of the original "Doc Savage" stories, I was hooked. What I adore about pulp is the simplicity of it and the way it's all about wringing variations out of a formula. Bad guys and good guys are painted in big broad strokes, essentially unchanging in their natures, and the conflicts they find themselves in are defined by very simple-to-understand stakes. If you've read one "Doc Savage" story, you could argue that you've read every "Doc Savage" story, but the pleasure comes in seeing what is done within that familiar framework each time.

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<p>I will miss Mel Gibson's take on Max, but George Miller is the essential ingredient as far as I'm concerned.</p>

I will miss Mel Gibson's take on Max, but George Miller is the essential ingredient as far as I'm concerned.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Reshoots mean George Miller's new 'Mad Max' is delayed again

George Miller is one of those filmmakers we should trust by now, right?

So I know I was on vacation, but I wasn't cut off from civilization. I was looking at Twitter occasionally, reading a few e-mails at the end of the night. As a result, I'm still catching up on stuff that evidently was discussing, and I felt like one story in particular deserved a second look, because I'm not sure why it seems to have been almost completely shrugged off.

Isn't anyone else curious what's taking so much time with "Fury Road"?

Maybe it's just me. I've been hearing talk about this film for a decade now, and when it comes to George Miller, there are few film fans who are more passionate about him. I think Miller is all-time-pantheon good at what he does, and I think it's a shame he hasn't been treated with a little more reverence. He should be. He is a straight-up kinetic genius, a whiz when it comes to cranking up the tension in a sequence. There is a chase that takes place in "Babe: Pig In The City" that is every bit as thrilling and sincere as the big chase near the end of "Mad Max 2," aka "The Road Warrior," and only Miller could treat both of those scenes they way he did. Only he would stage them and shoot them the way he does. There's no one else who has the same eye that Miller has. I don't understand the magic trick in "Lorenzo's Oil," where he makes it feel just as urgent to have someone read something in a book as it is to break past Lord Humungous and his horde.

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<p>Winona Ryder and Michael Cera are just two of the people who made appearances on this season of 'Drunk History'</p>

Winona Ryder and Michael Cera are just two of the people who made appearances on this season of 'Drunk History'

Credit: Comedy Central

If you're not watching Comedy Central's 'Drunk History,' you're doing it wrong

Derek Waters seems to have created a perfect comedy series

Normally I leave the TV coverage to the more-than-capable care of Dan Fienberg, Alan Sepinwall, and Liane Starr, but today I feel obligated to make special mention of a show that I think has been crushing it, week in and week out.

After all, isn't that the point of having a platform like this? When I see "Drunk History" on Comedy Central getting better week after week, I want to make sure people are tuning in so I can get more episodes in the future. I was familiar with the short films that Derek Waters created for the website "Funny or Die," and I think it's a fiendishly simple premise for a recurrent comedy piece. The idea, if you haven't seen the show, is exactly what it sounds like. Waters asks funny people to explain a historical incident while they are busy getting as drunk as they can possibly be.

At the same time, we see a recreation by actors in costume, and when they speak, they are perfectly in-synch with the storyteller, complete with drunken hesitation, belching, vomiting and more. And watching actors play that dialogue, perfectly timed, I think it's incredibly funny, a beautiful next level to a joke that is already funny.

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<p>He must be a director. Look at his beard.</p>

He must be a director. Look at his beard.

Credit: Comedy Central

Jon Stewart will bring 'Rosewater' footage to Toronto Film Festival's market

Buyers are about to get their first peek at the 'Daily Show' anchor's debut feature

Early tomorrow afternoon, I'll be on a plane on my way to Toronto for Toronto International Film Festival, the fifth time since joining HitFix. One of the things I love most about this job is being able to attend festivals I've been hearing about and reading about for years, and one of the festivals I love most is the one that happens in the first part of September each year.

Sundance is all about the weather. South By Southwest is all about the crowds. Cannes is all about the mystique. Fantastic Fest is all about the social side of being a film fan. And then there's Toronto… and honestly, for me, Toronto is the one that is all about the movies. So many movies. Hundreds more than anyone could even begin to see in the nine days that the festival runs.

It's easy for me to forget that Toronto also has an international film market that is part of the festival. At Cannes, the commerce is right up front, and you can't visit the festival without taking at least one stroll around the insane carnival atmosphere of the marketplace. I have never even considered attending the one at Toronto, but I may see just how far my press badge will let me go in trying to catch a glimpse when Jon Stewart shows footage to international buyers for the first time.

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<p>Yes, Zac, we are talking to you.</p>

Yes, Zac, we are talking to you.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Rogen and Efron make a strong impression in first filthy funny trailer for 'Neighbors'

This one's pulling no punches even in the first first peek

It wasn't that long ago that I drove to an unassuming street just off the 10 freeway in Los Angeles and followed the directions to the two houses being used for what was still at that point being called "Townies."

By this point, I feel comfortable on a set that's run by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, or Nicholas Stoller, and when you throw all three of them into the mix, you've got my attention. I ended up talking to Stoller, Goldberg, and Rogen, as well as screenwriters Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O'Brien, and it was apparent that they all had one clear goal in mind: make a stunningly dirty and wildly funny film.

If you're unfamiliar with the film, it deals with Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), a young couple who have just gone through two of the most stressful experiences that you can face in normal daily life. They just had a baby, and they just bought a house. Piling those one on top of the other means that they're stretched about as thin as they can be, and then within days of them closing the deal on their house, they get new neighbors, and it turns out to be a fraternity, run by Teddy (Zac Efron), Scoonie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Pete (Dave Franco).

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<p>'The Wind Rises' seems at first glance to be a departure for Miyazaki in terms of subject matter.</p>

'The Wind Rises' seems at first glance to be a departure for Miyazaki in terms of subject matter.

Credit: Studio Ghibli

Miyazaki is said to be announcing his retirement at a press conference next week

Will 'The Wind Rises' be the last feature from this gentle genius?

Miyazaki-san is going out on his own terms, when he chooses to, and he seems like he's been building to this decision for a while now.

There were rumors before about him wrapping up his film career, but each time, the rumors were dispelled when he eventually went back to work, and in the last few years, he's managed to keep his voice and his spirit intact in his films, something that not every filmmaker can manage. I came to his work mid-career, when "Princess Mononoke" was announced for US release and Neil Gaiman was hired to write the adaptation script for the English dub. I was at Ain't It Cool and I was given the chance to meet Hayao Miyazaki to discuss that film and his earlier work… none of which I'd seen by that point. I ended up going to UCLA because they were showing a marathon of his films, and I saw "Kiki's Deliver Service," "Castle In The Sky," "Nausicaa In TheValley of Wind," "Porco Rosso," "My Neigbor Totoro," and "The Castle Of Cagliostro," and immediately, I was head over heels, smitten with what I'd seen. The interview we did was one of my favorites of my entire career so far, and he ended up drawing a very happy Totoro for me, something I still treasure.

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<p>Kurt Russell's set to play a major role in 'Fast and Furious 7,' which is about to start shooting for a Summer 2014 release date.</p>

Kurt Russell's set to play a major role in 'Fast and Furious 7,' which is about to start shooting for a Summer 2014 release date.

Credit: Miramax

Snake Plissken, Jack Burton, Elvis and Stuntman Mike are all set to join 'Fast and Furious 7'

Excellent addition to the ever-expanding cast

At this point, I think the "Fast and Furious" franchise has become the coolest job for an action star in town. Sly Stallone can try his very best to convince us that the new "Expendables" won't suck as much as the first two, but no matter how many movie stars they add, those films remain nigh unwatchable, while it feels like each new "Fast and Furious" gets better at what they do.

I'm excited to see what James Wan does with the series for several reasons now. First, I think Wan has reached a new level of sophistication and polish as a filmmaker, and while he's done a great job with horror, it's good to see him trying something else completely. I think it's important for good filmmakers to be able to work in any genre they want to work in, but Hollywood doesn't always feel the same, and it's easy for someone to get stuck doing something just because they've done it well in the past.

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<p>This may well be the greatest example of a film that demands the largest screen you can find if you're going to appreciate the film's real power.</p>

This may well be the greatest example of a film that demands the largest screen you can find if you're going to appreciate the film's real power.

Credit: Columbia PIctures

Big Question: What well-known movie have you never seen?

We've all got gaps in our film knowledge, and today, filmmakers fess up on theirs

As you read this, I am just wrapping a week-long globe-trotting vacation with my family. Toshi and Allen and I are having lunch with Bigfoot somewhere in the Pacific Northwest right now.

While we enjoy that, I'd like to share the last of five special vacation articles, where I've reached out to a wide array of people I know to answer a different question every day. I sent out the fire questions as part of one big e-mail last week, and I asked people to send me as many of the five responses as they felt like. Some people did one, some people did a few, and several people answered all five.

I would love to hear your responses to these questions as well. When I get back to Los Angeles next weekend, I'm excited to dig in and read all the answers you guys leave, and I hope you enjoyed this week's articles in the meantime.

FRIDAY
We all have movies we haven't seen for one reason or another. Can you tell me one film that you haven't seen but that you want to see, and why haven't you seen it yet?

JUDD APATOW (writer, "Girls")
"City Of God." Jonah Hill tells me to see it very time I see him. I will get to it. I know it will blow my mind. I fear it's greatness.

Jonah is completely right. "City Of God" is exceptional, and you are correct to fear its greatness.

JASON FLEMYNG (actor, "The Quatermass Experiment")
I think it's called "The Cove." It's the film about the dolphin slaughters, and I just can't face it. The film I wish I HADN'T SEEN was "Amour" and back in the day "The Accused." I couldn't drive the car after seeing them. They both killed me, and I got a parking ticket.

PAUL MALMONT (novelist, "The Astounding, The Amazing and The Unknown")
I’m a huge fan of this director. I’ve seen almost all of his movies. Yet somehow I’ve managed to miss the one movie that put him on  the map and I have a feeling I’ll probably never see it. As a film fan, this is embarrassing, but I’ll stand up and admit it:  My name is Paul Malmont and I’ve never seen David Lynch’s "Eraserhead".

I like that there are certain films by my favorite filmmakers that I haven't gotten to yet. I would hate to think that the only thing I had to look forward to as a film fan were new movies. I think it's important to save some great films to savor from time to time, and I don't think the goal of any film fan should be to just run down a checklist. There are films that I might not be in the right mood for until years after I buy them, but it's great to have those films on-hand for when the moment finally strikes.

GERRY DUGGAN (writer, "Nova")
That film used to be "Lawrence Of Arabia" for me, but I waited to see it in 70MM at the Arclight. I knew enough not to try and enjoy it on a small screen. I'm glad I waited.

This is great, and I do my best to take people to see "Lawrence" every time in plays 70MM here in Los Angeles. I feel like it's one of the great examples of a film that works best in a theater, and I've never had someone tell me after seeing it that they felt like it was a waste of their three hours.

PAUL SCHEER (actor, "The League")
"Mad Max." I don't know why I've never seen it but I never seem to be in the mood for it. I know it's supposed to be good and people love it. But I've never seen any of the "Mad Max" films and I guess I should but I never do.

Wait… so you haven't seen "The Road Warrior"? I may have to stage an intervention if that's true, Paul.

ALBERT PYUN (director, "Radioactive Dreams")
I haven't seen "AntiChrist" because I am as yet too impressionable.

PAUL DINI (creator, "Tower Prep")
"To Kill A Mockingbird." I somehow have it in my head I have to read the book first, but every time I pick up the book, I think, "Why bother? Sooner or later I'll see the movie."

Wow. I'm surprised by this one, but I shouldn't be. After all, it's one of those films that can easily look like it's just going to be homework, all message, but it's not that at all. I think people are surprised when they do see it to find that it's thrilling and scary and funny in places and brutally sad at times. If you ever want to change that, Paul, I will drive a copy to your house.

DAVID HAYTER (actor, "The Castle Of Cagliostro")
I try to see everything I can, though I need to have a Fellini festival in my house sometime.  I have never seen "The Grapes Of Wrath," though it was playing on TV in Austin, as I was getting dressed to go to the film festival, and the writing was amazing.  (And funny...?  Wow.  One word -- "Dustbowl".)  I have to admit that I have never been able to get through "Double Indemnity," though I have tried twice.  (Which I believe is referred to as "Quadruple Indemnity".)  

I have also managed to miss a full one and a half of the TRANSFORMERS movies, but so far, my life does not seemed to have suffered for it.

You may survive the lack of "Transformers" movies in your life, David. I love your reaction to "Grapes," though, and it's something that is often true when we finally see a classic film that we've only heard about. They tend to be far more than whatever their reputation is, and that liveliness, that surprise that we feel when a classic turns out to be rowdy or weird or hard-to-define, is part of what I have always loved about working my way back through the history of film.

SCOTT DERRICKSON (director, "Beware The Night")
"Stagecoach." I love Westerns and have seen most classics in the genre, but not this one. It's certainly a movie I am supposed to see, but that makes watching it a kind of homework. I'll often watch silent films or European films or independent films out of moviegoer discipline… but I can't do that with a Western. I can only watch a Western because I feel like watching a Western, and I've just never really felt like watching "Stagecoach."  Maybe it's because the title is really boring.

I am curious how you react if you finally do end up seeing it. There are so many movies that have been built on top of the bones of "Stagecoach" that I feel like you'll recognize it. To some degree, there are movies that we ingest as film fans whether we realize it or not, and by the time we finally do see them, we've already processed much of what makes them great because we've seen it diffused out through hundreds of other films.

DEREK HAAS (novelist, "The Silver Bear")
I haven't seen "Sorcerer," and I'm dying to see it. The Friedkin movie with Roy Scheider. I have no idea why I haven't seen other than I always forget the name of it when I'm thinking about downloading a movie. The name doesn't match the film so it never come to me. I had to look it up just now to answer this question.

You're in luck, Derek. Friedkin finally got the rights to the film back and he's working right now to restore it and get it ready for a major theatrical re-release followed by what I hope will be a spectacular Blu-ray. It's amazing, and the idea that you'll get to see it in theaters for the first time should have you very excited.

KEITH CALDER (producer, "All The Boys Love Mandy Lane")
I still haven't seen the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." I wasn't allowed to watch R-rated films as a kid, and I'm only now catching up to the 70s and 80s horror classics. I keep avoiding "Texas Chainsaw" because I want to see it with an audience of people who also haven't seen the film. I just haven't figured out the right way to set that up yet.

Oooooh. I want to be there when you see it because I want to talk to you immediately afterwards. I think "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is not just a great horror film, but a great film. When I look at that movie, I am baffled about how Hooper never quite put it together like that again, but he certainly wouldn't be the only filmmaker who has one great moment that shines brighter than the rest of their work.

GEOFF LATULIPPE (writer/director, "Untitled Paramount comedy")
I've only ever seen about 15 minutes of "Reservoir Dogs." I don't know why I've never rectified that. Otherwise, I can't think of anything "classic" that I want to see that I never have.

I actually just alerted the WGAw and all the studios to this fact, Geoff, and we'll be needing you to go ahead and pack up and move out of LA now, please.

BETH SCHACTER (writer/director, "Normal Adolescent Behavior")
I can't see "United 93." I mean, I know I have to and I love Paul Greengrass but I can't sit through it. I saw it from the ground, I'm not sure I can see it from the sky.

On the other side is "Marley & Me." I've seen it, but only in pieces. I can't sit down and forget that its a movie. No way. I mean... no way.

I don't have any problem with people who know that they can't see a movie because of something in the film. "United 93" caused me to have an intense visceral reaction when I saw it, and I think I was one of the calmest people in the theater. And with "Marley & Me," if you love dogs at all, that film is damn close to being a war crime.

JENSEN KARP (owner, Gallery1988, JASH, Tyson/Givens Marketing)
"Midnight Cowboy." It was my dad's favorite movie, and you just grow up assuming you'll hate anything your parents love. I just kept pushing it further and further as I grew up and now with him passed, I just never want to close that chapter I guess? Just to have something to get to from his checklist is nice, but I'm sure I'll see it one day.

Man, I would love to talk to your dad to ask him why "Midnight Cowboy" is his favorite movie. That's a pretty unusual choice, and while I can imagine it would hit someone hard at the time it was released, for it to stay his favorite film over the last 40 years, it must have been something very particular that he responded to.

SCOTT FRANK (screenwriter, "Get Shorty")
It's a long and embarrassing list, but one that sticks out is "Fight Club."  Never saw it. I have no idea why not. I keep telling myself that I want to see it the right way, on the big screen. But how? When?

I will let you know if I see any revival screening of it happening in LA at any point, Scott, as long as I can come with you so we can talk afterwards. In fact, that's the one thing I feel about most of this list. I hope you all get to see all of these films, and I'd really like to be there when you do.

TRAVIS STEVENS (producer, "The Aggression Scale")
"Repulsion."  I have no idea.  Maybe it's the title?

Ooooh. Another tough one. There is nothing easy about "Repulsion," and I get the feeling that no matter when you see it in your life as a film fan, it packs a brutal punch.

DAVID PRIOR (DVD producer, "Panic Room")
"The Sound of Music." I didn't see it young, I was generally never a big fan of musicals (with a few notable and well-loved exceptions), and it easily slipped by the wayside as years went on. I must own three different editions of it on DVD.  All in the shrink wrap. I will get to it one day....

This is another one of those films that I feel like you'll recognize from start to finish when you do finally sit down to watch that. "Sound Of Music" got totally and completely absorbed by pop culture, and I'm willing to bet you've seen hundreds of references to it over the years in films you have seen.

DOUG TENNAPEL (writer/artist, "Tommysaurus Rex")
I haven’t seen "Paranormal Activity 2," simply because I don’t enjoy being terrified. The first movie did such a number on me that I didn’t want to subject myself to the superior horror work that I experienced on the first movie. That’s right. It does it’s job so well that I want to see it but can’t.

I know many people who can't watch horror films because they have responses that go way beyond "I liked it" or "I didn't like it." I love to be terrified, but that was something I learned over time. The first few times I saw horror films, I almost couldn't process what I was watching. Learning how and why those movies hit me that hard is part of what made me who I am now, and I love anything that makes me feel that way again. If you don't, I certainly can't fault you for that.

LUCKY MCKEE (director, "The Woods")
I just checked the big one off of my list a couple months ago. "Lawrence Of Arabia." I was waiting to get the opportunity to see it in a theater, but I ended up giving out and watching it on my set up at home. It's a fairly good film if you've never seen it. Heh.

GREG LONGSTREET (publicist)
A ton!!!  I do love movies, but I’m not that guy who just sees it all.  I admire those who can just absorb all that cinema.  For me, it’s all about what draws me in – if my interest is piqued then I’m.  I’ve never seen "The Maltese Falcon," but I’m sure there will come a time where I’ll say “why not” and sit down to finally watch it.  That’s if "Die Hard" isn’t on… BUT IT’S ALWAYS ON!!!!

It's been a great week, and everyone who participated, both in the articles and in the comments sections, I thank you deeply. I do not often get a chance to disconnect from my job or from the day-to-day cycle, and so these articles represent that rare moment I can step away, and I couldn't have done it without the help of all of you.

What I hope this does, more than anything, is spur you to share your own secret shame, those titles you've never quite worked your way around to seeing. I have a huge list of titles that qualify for this, including several films by Kurosawa and Berman's "Fanny & Alexander," and I love that I have so many good films and great experiences to look forward to in the years ahead. I still feel like out of the literally millions of you who read our site every month, we only ever hear from a small percentage of you, and I would love to change that.

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<p>Simon Pegg and Nick Frost join us this week, along with Edgar Wright, to discuss 'The World's End'</p>

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost join us this week, along with Edgar Wright, to discuss 'The World's End'

Credit: Focus Features

Edgar Wright joins the podcast to talk 'World's End' with Nick Frost and Simon Pegg

Also Colin Geddes looks back at 25 years of Midnight Madness

So maybe we can plan on doing these quarterly?

Actually, there is good news on the podcasting front. One of the benefits of HitFix having moved into office space is that it feels like we can turn things around much faster. We can react when stories are breaking. And, for the first time, I'm not the one cutting the podcast together, because our awesome editorial team is there to take the raw material and hand me back a finished podcast to publish.

It also gives us a place to record, and we can start inviting guests to join us in the studio. Just that one fact alone makes it feel like we're starting a brand-new era. I'm going to gather some interviews at Toronto while I'm up there for the festival, and when I get back, we'll be doing the first of what I hope will be a far more regular podcast. We'll have a number for you guys to call in, we'll have a schedule for when we record and when we post, and a pipeline to guarantee that me getting distracted doesn't derail the entire thing.

For example, today's podcast was recorded last Tuesday night. That's why we discuss Elmore Leonard's passing as a fresh thing. I tried to block out time to put it together all week even as I was finishing up last week's work and preparing all the work that will be published during my vacation this coming week.

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<p>If it's possible for movies to change the world, I&nbsp;think you could make a strong case that 'It's A Wonderful Life' has done a pretty job of it in the 70 or so years since its release.</p>

If it's possible for movies to change the world, I think you could make a strong case that 'It's A Wonderful Life' has done a pretty job of it in the 70 or so years since its release.

Credit: Public domain

Big Question: Can movies change the world for the better?

People love to blame movies for the world's ills, so is the opposite true as well?

As you read this, I am in the final days of a week-long globe-trotting vacation with my family. Toshi and Allen and I will be hang-gliding off George Washington's nose all day.

While we enjoy that, I'd like to share the fourth of five special vacation articles, where I've reached out to a wide array of people I know to answer a different question every day. I sent out the fire questions as part of one big e-mail last week, and I asked people to send me as many of the five responses as they felt like. Some people did one, some people did a few, and several people answered all five.

I would love to hear your responses to these questions as well. When I get back to Los Angeles next weekend, I'm excited to dig in and read all the answers you guys leave, and I hope you end up enjoying this week's articles in the meantime.

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