<p>Keanu appears to, once again, be the One in the upcoming action epic '47 Ronin'</p>

Keanu appears to, once again, be the One in the upcoming action epic '47 Ronin'

Credit: Universal Pictures

First '47 Ronin' trailer promises gorgeous scenery, Keanu swordfights and CGI beasts

I think it's safe to say this is not a traditional approach to the story

When I moderated Universal's Comic-Con panel this year, we covered two films. "Kick-Ass 2" and "Riddick" were perfect fits for that crowd, and I can tell you that we didn't have a spare minute up on that stage. Just giving those two films their time was frantic, so there wasn't room for Universal to bring and showcase anything else in that hour.

If there was any other film I would have been interested in having up there, it would have been "47 Ronin." This is, by most published accounts so far, a deeply troubled movie. This was supposed to be in theaters in November of 2012, but instead, that's right around the time Universal took the film away from director Carl Erik Rinsch. Some people are reporting the film's budget as high as $225 million, with Universal officially stating it's $175 million, which is still GIGANTIC.

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<p>Aubrey Plaza is front and center for 'The To-Do List,' a new film by writer/director Maggie Carey.</p>

Aubrey Plaza is front and center for 'The To-Do List,' a new film by writer/director Maggie Carey.

Credit: CBS Films

Exclusive debut of Dave Berns artist's poster for Aubrey Plaza's 'To-Do List'

Maggie Carey's movie gets a special variant one-sheet

This is one of the first years we've had a partner for our annual preview night of Comic-Con HitFix party, and it was CBS Films on behalf of "The To-Do List," the new comedy written and directed by Maggie Carey, starring Aubrey Plaza in what one might argue is the first real test of her as a stand-alone lead in a film.

I'm fascinated by Plaza. I think she's got one of the few truly original comic personas in film right now. I'm not sure I think she's found the right overall showcase so far, but she's great on "Parks and Recreation," she's the secret weapon in "Safety Not Guaranteed," and she gives the most "are you f**king with me?" inscrutable interviews possible these days. She's given herself permission with her comedy character to really screw around with people, and she seems to be enjoying that license these days.

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<p>Caesar's back and he's leading a revolution this time in 'Dawn Of The Planet&nbsp;Of The Apes,' one of the films discussed in our final wrap-up from the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con.</p>

Caesar's back and he's leading a revolution this time in 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes,' one of the films discussed in our final wrap-up from the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Lego,' 'Warcraft,' 'Apes' and Tom Cruise round out our Comic-Con 2013 coverage

Plus we recount the single most serious and awesome moment of the Con

SAN DIEGO - There's no way to give everything that happens in San Diego during Comic-Con the full print attention that it deserves, and that's because from the moment you arrive in town on Wednesday, everything's a blur. One day at Comic-Con can pack in as many things as I normally do in a month's worth of work in Los Angeles, and so we publish what we can publish as fast as possible, and almost always end up with some spare odds and ends that we don't know quite what to do with. To that end, I'd like to share some impressions from the rest of the Con.

WARCRAFT

Chris Hardwick was everywhere this year, evidently, I'm pretty sure that the real purpose of Nerdist Industries is to create clones of Hardwick to handle moderating duties everywhere for everything. The geek world's Ryan Seacrest is unstoppable now, and he plays along with the theatricality of a lot of these presentations. For example, during the Warner/Legendary panel on Saturday morning, Chris stopped at one point to take a phone call from Thomas Tull. He said he had to take it "because Thomas owns me."

He pretended that Tull had just ordered them to reveal something that was not on the original schedule, and it turned out to be a very short proof of concept thing for a movie based on Blizzard's enormously popular "Warcraft" franchise.

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<p>Sandra Bullock's a long way from her comfort zone in Alfonso Cuaron's thrilling story of survival in space, 'Gravity,' part of this year's Comic-Con presentation from&nbsp;Warner Bros.</p>

Sandra Bullock's a long way from her comfort zone in Alfonso Cuaron's thrilling story of survival in space, 'Gravity,' part of this year's Comic-Con presentation from Warner Bros.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Cuaron and Bullock show off 'Gravity' footage: Watch the 2 minute clip

The Oscar-winner's first trip to Hall H is a success

SAN DIEGO - Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" seems like an odd fit with Comic-Con. Sure it's set in outer space, but it's not another "Guardians Of The Galaxy." There's no bad guys, no Joseph Campbell structure, no outrageous genre-bending twists. It's a hard science survival story, something closer to "127 Hours" than "Star Wars." Still, Warner Bros. couldn't have made this thing cheaply, and if they're going to turn this movie into a hit this year, they've got to sell it to everyone.

[Watch a portion of the footage Cuaron screened at Comic-Con in the embed at the top of this post.]

Cuaron hasn't made a feature film since "Children Of Men," and that seems absolutely cruel when you think about how strong his filmography was, how much life and raw talent was apparent in his work. "Gravity" has been a long time coming, a four year process for the filmmaker, and when he showed up at Comic-Con to share some footage, he seemed worn out but pleased.

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<p>Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Marsan, Martin&nbsp;Campbell, and Simon Pegg all star in Edgar Wright's emotionally raw and very funny 'The World's End'</p>

Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Marsan, Martin Campbell, and Simon Pegg all star in Edgar Wright's emotionally raw and very funny 'The World's End'

Credit: Focus Features

Review: Pegg and Frost score big laughs and raw emotions in Wright's 'World's End'

HitFix
B+
Readers
A-
An interesting examination of a generation's addiction to nostalgia

Has it really been nine years since "Shaun Of The Dead"?

In some ways, it feels like that just happened, but when I consider how much ground Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have covered in those nine years, it's sort of amazing. After all, when "Shaun" went into production, they were best known for a small cult English television show, and they were working completely independently, off the radar. That film's release was a gamble for Focus/Rogue, at least in part because of just how very English the humor is, and it paid off for them. "Hot Fuzz" in 2007 was equally local in its sensibility, and it also showed that Pegg and Frost weren't interested in just playing the same characters in different situations.

One of the hardest things about the position that Wright finds himself in now is the simple difference between surprising people with a small movie and then delivering on a decade's worth of expectations, and I suspect that no matter what, "The World's End" will frustrate some viewers. It's not a movie designed to simply punch the pleasure button and comfort fans by repeating what they've done before. In fact, it may be a direct refutation of that idea, by design, and in some ways, it feels like it's going to be a bitter pill for some people to swallow.

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<p>Ryan Gosling gets his hands plenty dirty in Nicolas Winding Refn's meandering 'Only God Forgives'</p>

Ryan Gosling gets his hands plenty dirty in Nicolas Winding Refn's meandering 'Only God Forgives'

Credit: RADIUS - TWC

Review: Refn's 'Only God Forgives' strands a bored Ryan Gosling in a beautiful bloody mess

HitFix
C
Readers
n/a
Refn may be partially colorblind, but he obviously likes red

Why do I have the feeling that "Drive" is going to turn out to be the rare semi-commercial hiccup in the larger filmography of Nicolas Winding Refn?

Refn's identity as a filmmaker has been coming into gradual focus for the past seventeen years, but when you read pretty much anything written about his new film, "Only God Forgives," it seems to exist only in contrast to "Drive" and nothing else in Refn's entire career. The truth is that from "Pusher" on, Refn is a guy who is driven by some very particular and identifiable fetishes, a guy who has alway seemed to have a strong aesthetic voice but a marked disinterest in narrative. He paints with violence, and he does not seem particularly interested in over-explanation or in traditional ideas of character. "Drive" struck a nerve with many audiences, people who may not have seen any of the "Pusher" films or "Bleeder" or "Valhalla Rising" or "Bronson," people who have no sense of the almost relentless nature of the brutality of those films. "Only God Forgives" fits neatly into a list of the things he's made. "Drive" is the anomaly, not the standard by which to judge the rest of his work.

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<p>Vin Diesel told us all about his next franchise, 'Stevie Wonder:&nbsp;Alien Hunter,' when we spoke at this year's Comic-Con.</p>

Vin Diesel told us all about his next franchise, 'Stevie Wonder: Alien Hunter,' when we spoke at this year's Comic-Con.

Credit: HitFix

Vin Diesel describes how fan feedback led him to never give up on 'Riddick'

'Fast and Furious' star talks about what it feels like to share footage in Hall H

SAN DIEGO - Vin Diesel is one of those people who has cultivated a larger-than-life reputation for himself, either intentionally or accidentally, and as a result, I genuinely didn't know what to expect from our encounter during the San Diego Comic-Con this year.

Several weeks ago, Universal approached me about moderating their panel at Comic-Con, and they told me that they'd be bringing two films. "Kick-Ass 2" is a natural fit for Comic-Con, of course, but they faced some special challenges dealing with the language and the brutal nature of some of the violence in the film, since you always have to assume that there are going to be kids in Hall H when you make your presentation. And while I've been covering "Kick-Ass 2" for a while now, including my visit to the set in London, I have to confess that it was the other title they mentioned that made me smile the most, if only because I know what a long uphill battle it's been for David Twohy and Vin Diesel to make "Riddick."

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<p>John Gallagher Jr. and Brie Larson are both amazing in Destin Cretton's shattering 'Short Term 12'</p>

John Gallagher Jr. and Brie Larson are both amazing in Destin Cretton's shattering 'Short Term 12'

Credit: Cinedigm

We've got a new poster for the remarkable 'Short Term 12'

We're prepared to beg if it'll get you to check out one of the year's best films

We've got plenty more Comic-Con coverage today coming your way, as well as a review of one of this summer's biggest geek events, but before we get into any of that, I want to direct your attention to one of the best movies of 2013 for a few minutes.

"Short Term 12" was a film I almost skipped at this year's SXSW festival because when I glanced at the title on the schedule, I assumed it was a shorts program. No offense to anyone who makes short films, because I certainly think it's a valid form and an important training ground for people who want to make features, but when I'm at a festival, there is rarely time for me to cover shorts. It's just a matter of how to spend my time. It wasn't until the SXSW jury gave "Short Term 12" an award for its performances that I realized it was a feature, and when I read the description of it, I realized it sounded like something that I might like.

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<p>There were few things as emotionally genuine at this year's Comic-Con as the rapport between Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen on the 'X-Men:&nbsp;Days Of Future Past' panel</p>

There were few things as emotionally genuine at this year's Comic-Con as the rapport between Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen on the 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' panel

Credit: Eric Charbonneau/Invision/AP Images

Fox's mammoth 'X-Men' panel unites old and new casts for a great Hall H moment

'Days Of Future Past' makes a strong showing with Singer's return

SAN DIEGO - By far, the worst kept secret at this year's Comic-Con was the planned "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" panel, but I will give 20th Century Fox this much. While everyone was sure the film would be part of the panel, I don't think anyone knew quite how far Fox planned to take things, or how much of an emotional charge it would pack.

The "X-Men" films in general hold an odd space in the evolution of the genre. They are absolutely pivotal in terms of pushing the entire idea of superhero movies forward. The first film was a game of Russian Roulette as far as Fox was concerned. Even after they greenlit the movie and watched dailies as they came in, they panicked and cut the budget and forced the filmmakers to adapt on the fly. The studio made choices out of fear regarding costumes, marketing and even casting. They held their breath when they released "X-Men," sure they were about to get clobbered…

… and then people liked it. It wasn't massive, but it was a hit. And it was a big enough hit that they moved forward with a second film. And again, just as soon as they started into production, they started losing their nerve, and it turned into another corporate game of chicken with filmmakers pushing hard to do something cool and execs pushing hard to make sure it wasn't all too damn "comic book." It was a fascinating era, and as much as fans are sure they know the story of how the first three "X-Men" film got made and what the decisions behind those films were, they don't. Not really. There were battles about everything. There is a reason you still haven't seen the Sentinels in the movies, and that reason left the studio not too long ago. A comic book with decades of history was held hostage by any number of outside influences, and the results are movies that genuinely try to capture the spirit of a world, and they succeed in ways, and they fail in ways, and they are all covered in development battle scars that define the movies.

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<p>Lee Pace, Benicio Del Toro, Dave Bautista, James Gunn, Djimon Hounsou, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker,&nbsp;Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana all showed up for the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' panel</p>

Lee Pace, Benicio Del Toro, Dave Bautista, James Gunn, Djimon Hounsou, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana all showed up for the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' panel

Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel's strangest film so far, 'Guardians Of The Galaxy,' makes a strong Hall H debut

This looks like one hell of a gamble, but a thrilling one

SAN DIEGO - I was here for the first-time presentations that Marvel made for both "Thor" and "Captain America," and I thought they were both very confident panels that did a good job of conveying (A) the casting and (B) the general tone of each of the movies. They were good. Solid. Did the trick.

Today's presentation for "Guardians Of The Galaxy" was easily better than both of those combined. I am going out on a limb here, but I think this looks like one of the most genuinely fun things Marvel has ever made. I find something about the entire notion of Marvel just suddenly doing space fantasy ballsy and weird in the first place, but this particular property, done this particular way, by this particular filmmaker? That's just insane. It's an insane proposition on paper. I have no doubt there are execs at other studios just waiting to see this one stumble, and I also have no doubt those same people are going to be dumbfounded when they see what it actually is.

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