Yes, it's true. I somehow managed to wrangle Scott Swan over to the house one last time for a final 2012 podcast.
This has been a terrible year for the podcast, frankly, and Scott and I are both aware of it. I am tired of being a guy who is full of good intentions but who is also unable to follow through with those intentions. It does me no good to want to publish something unless I actually prepare and publish that thing. As the HitFix audience continues to grow, something that we here at the site are all intensely proud of, I've got to master my ability to juggle tasks. There are times I'm good at it, and times I fail completely, and I am genuinely torn up about that.
In particular, I feel a sense of obligation to sort things out regarding the podcast. The feedback Scott and I have gotten over the years from you guys has been incredibly kind and it feels like there's a community of you out there who have listened to them all and who have encouraged us constantly, and because of that, Scott and I are working out a way to maintain a regular schedule. He keeps crazy hours these days, as do I, and we're both also dealing with the demands of family… and none of that matters, ultimately, to an audience who wants content at a reliable time each week.
We also dig deep on 'Star Wars,' 'The Hobbit,' and Christmas controversies
Yes, it's true. I somehow managed to wrangle Scott Swan over to the house one last time for a final 2012 podcast.
We spend a few minutes with one of the most striking character actors working today
Walton Goggins would be beloved if the only thing he'd ever done was his work on "The Shield." That was such a remarkable character, developed so carefully over the course of the series, that it set the bar very high for other roles for Goggins for the future.
Thankfully, the filmmakers who have worked with him since the end of that show seem to understand what a gift he can be to a production. He found another great role in a series in the form of "Justified," and this holiday season, he's in the new films from both Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino. Considering how long he's been working as an actor (his first credit was in 1990), it feels like things have finally come up roses for a guy whose work more than justifies the attention.
In our interview, we talked about the way his role in "Django Unchained" evolved over the course of the shoot, and I can't say I'm remotely surprised to hear that Tarantino flipped for him. Part of what makes Goggins so striking is the way he looks so dangerous, but when he speaks, there is a sly intelligence that you might not imagine at first. When he plays a character who is supposed to be a threat, it doesn't feel like acting. It feels like he's a genuine threat, someone you wouldn't want to cross.
25 of next year's most interesting films promise an eclectic 2013 in theaters
I've still got two more wrap-up pieces for 2012 to come, but first, we thought we'd take a look ahead at 2013, which promises to be a huge year for movies.
We've tried to put together a wide array of the types of films that people are looking forward to. You'll see some familiar faces here as we anticipate the returns of "Star Trek," "Iron Man," and "Thor," and you'll see prestige pieces as well as potential blockbusters.
The thing about anticipation is that I'm not sure it means what it used to. These days, movies arrive pre-digested thanks to all the information and clips and special glimpses and four-minute clip reels and IMAX previews and whatever other way studios have started to use to reach out to audiences. At one point, there were something like 25 minutes of clips from "The Hobbit" floating around out there, all officially released by the studio, and that's for a film that is as pre-sold as pre-sold gets. And I get it… studios are at the point where they are trying anything and everything to get people to actually show up to the theaters.
The writer/director takes a frank look at the dynamics of his new movie
On the eve of the recent TV press day for "This Is 40," Judd Apatow sent out a plea to any journalists that happened to check his Twitter feed.
"Tomorrow is the This Is 40 press junket. Hey journalists - be the one who asks unique, thought provoking questions no one else asks. Please."
As it happened, I was the last person into the room on the day of the interviews. That was the same day Paramount held their "Star Trek" press day, so there was a whole lot of running around and scrambling to make my times for everything. When I sat down across from Judd, I asked him if everyone had taken up his challenge, and he sighed. "Nope. Same four questions all day. 'What's it like to see Paul Rudd make out with your wife?' 'How fun is it directing your kids?' Pressure's on, Drew. Let's see what you've got."
One of 2013's broadest comedies kicks off its campaign
I have a feeling 2013 is going to be a very good year for Jim Carrey fans.
I may not love everything Carrey's ever done, but I remain convinced that he is one of the wildest, most exciting talents working in film right now. When he connects with a project, the results are intoxicating, and if everything I've seen and read turns out to be correct, both "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" and "Kick-Ass 2" are going to turn out to be great examples of what he can do with the right script.
Don Scardino, the director of this film, started as an actor in the '60s, eventually jumping behind the camera for some of the same soaps he acted on, and over the years, he's worked on shows like "The Days and Nights Of Molly Dodd," "Homicide: Life On The Street," "Sports Night," "The West Wing," "Law & Order," and "30 Rock," now ending up at the helm of what looks like one of the highest-profile studio comedies of next year. After all, you've got Steve Carrell, Alan Arkin, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, and Carrey, all sending up the extremes of Vegas magic.
Will Lee Child's fans accept a radical revamp of the pulp hero?
When you're doing interviews for "Jack Reacher" and Jack Reacher isn't part of those interviews, it's a little weird.
In this case, though, Tom Cruise is the one playing Jack Reacher, and Tom Cruise does the press Tom Cruise chooses to do. That's David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon, not a whole parade of junket press on a Sunday in New York.
Instead, we sit down with David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike, both charming professionals who play key roles in the film, and we sit down with writer/director Christopher McQuarrie, who is responsible for adapting one of the biggest names in current publishing and trying to turn it into a viable film franchise, and those conversations are what I'm going to share with you today.
To be honest, though, I think sitting down with McQuarrie was more than worth attending the press day. He's charted a very difficult path as a working screenwriter in the years since "The Usual Suspects" came out, and this is probably not where he expected to end up. It's certainly not what I would have predicted for him even five years ago, but it seems like he's in the middle of a career reinvention, and Tom Cruise appears to be a key part of that puzzle for him.
As red-band as a red-band trailer gets just in time for the end of days
Well, there should be little doubt in your mind by the end of the special red-band preview of "This Is The End" as to whether or not you'll be seeing it.
I spoke about this with Seth Rogen briefly the other night at the "This Is 40" premiere, and it sounds like he and his creative partner Evan Goldberg are very happy with where they are on the film. They're either just finishing the score or still working on it, and they're set for their summer release. I visited the set earlier this year, and I'll just say that this is one of the most aggressively insane premises I've seen in a while, and the footage they showed us plus the work we saw live has me convinced they're making a one of a kind oddity.
The film takes place during the end of the world, and part of the mystery of the film deals with the nature of that incident. Is it a Biblical Apocalypse? A Mayan prophecy? An asteroid? Monsters from space? Lovecraftian beasties?
Will Warner's pricey Jazz Age gamble pay off?
"The Great Gatsby" may well be the most artificial-looking film I've ever seen, even in this condensed two minute form.
That's not a criticism, necessarily, because it looks like that's exactly what Baz Luhrmann intended. They've had a difficult post-production process on this one, but part of that has been creating this incredibly stylized world that Luhrmann has chosen as the setting for his take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's most famous book. Luhrmann has never been the sort of guy to shy away from a heightened reality. That's why I loved his take on "Romeo + Juliet" and "Moulin Rouge." Those movies are patently fake, impressionistic from start to finish, and it looks like he's doing that again, but on a much larger scale than ever before.
The real challenge of "Gatsby" is that the book is all about inner landscapes and the feel of a time and place, and previous film versions that have focused just on the story have felt empty because they haven't found a way to create a visual language that manages to somehow suggest the gorgeous, emotional prose that is so much a part of the appeal of Fitzgerald's novel.
Plus Mann gets emotional talking about working with her daughters
I think it's pretty safe to say that no one writes for Leslie Mann the way Judd Apatow does, and it's been fascinating to see the evolution of that from "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" until "This Is 40."
The thing I love in the characters she plays in his films is the way she mixes this remarkable frankness with an intense vulnerability. She's great all the way through "Knocked Up," but the moment where I fell for the character completely came about 2/3 of the way through. I'm going to bet most fans of that film think of the same moment first when they think of Debbie, that great scene when she is trying to get into a club and Craig Robinson plays the bouncer that has to explain why he can't let her in.
It's amazing, profane and well-observed, and what starts as a joke gets very real, then completely surreal, all in the space of about two minutes. Her rant manages to do it all, and the reaction from Robinson is solid gold.
From Leos Carax to Judd Apatow, our ten favorite films of the year
It's that time of year, and we will indeed have plenty of lists for you here on HitFix. Greg Ellwood ran his ten favorite films of 2012 yesterday, we're working on a collective "worst of" list, and I've got at least three end of the year articles coming in the days ahead. For now, though, it's time for the big one, the main list, the top ten.
I love that our amazing video team (Michiel Thomas and James Jhun don't get nearly enough credit for all the outstanding work they do for us each and every day, and at this time of the year in particular, they are working around the clock to get everything ready) puts these together as video pieces for us. It's a great way to take one last fond look at the ten films that defined 2012 for me, the movies that most directly spoke to my experience, my tastes.
There are films on this list that I have had heated arguments about this year, movies that have polarized viewers in some cases. As always, the rules for an appearance on this list are simple: it has to be a new movie that I saw in 2012. Some of these were festival films, some of them had massive wide releases, and all of them made an impression on me. If they haven't played your area yet, please don't get upset about it and yell at me. Just consider it a heads up, something to keep an eye out for in the near future.