<p>It's not officially an episode of 'Marvel's Agents Of S.H.i.E.L.D.' until Agent Ward kicks someone in the face.</p>

It's not officially an episode of 'Marvel's Agents Of S.H.i.E.L.D.' until Agent Ward kicks someone in the face.

Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

'Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' starts to come into focus in its second week

Plus what larger connections to the Marvel Universe happened this week?

Last week, Alan Sepinwall wrote about the premiere episode of Marvel's first foray into weekly television, but tonight, he passes the torch to me. I'm going to be writing the recaps for the series each week here on HitFix, and I'm curious to see if this becomes can't-miss television for me the way previous Whedon shows have been.

The pilot episode probably had more expectations placed on it than any other TV show in recent memory, at least from the fans who you would expect to be the target audience. I'm not sure exactly what anyone else expected from a Marvel TV show, but looking at the first episode, it's about what I thought it would be. The stories have to be smaller scale than the things we've seen in the movies so far, and it's a procedural, so they need to try to create self-contained plots that drive the show while they parcel out bits and pieces of information for the larger mythology.

I liked the gadgetry in the first episode, and I think the cast is solid. Brett Dalton's got the sort of character to play that is going to be hard to make interesting, only because someone has to be the straight man while everyone else gets to be quirky or eccentric. I'm curious to see how they fill in the backstory for Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), and I already enjoy the chemistry for Fitz/Simmons (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge).

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<p>I'm not sure how they expect this to cross over to an older audience, but then again, maybe that's not the point.</p>

I'm not sure how they expect this to cross over to an older audience, but then again, maybe that's not the point.

Credit: Millarworld

Fox signs on to develop Mark Millar's 'Kindergarten Heroes' as a family-friendly franchise

Carter Blanchard has been tapped to write it

"Family friendly" and "Mark Millar" are not normally used in the same sentence.

Even so, it appears that 20th Century Fox is planning to give it a shot with "Kindergarten Heroes," a new movie that Carter Blanchard just signed on to write with Simon Kinberg producing. The book does not appear to actually exist yet, and the only artwork I could find for it online is what looks like the front of a book, but I can't find any listing anywhere that would indicate that you actually buy that book.

Selling unpublished material before it hits the stand is nothing new for Millar. I thought it was very interesting when I was on the set of "Kick-Ass" and some of the issues existed only as rough artwork and some story notes. Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman's script actually fed back into the way Millar was thinking, and that cross-traffic is one of the things that made that so much fun for all involved.

As a producer, Kinberg is a busy man these days. He's one of the guys in the mix for the new wave of "Star Wars" films that will kick off with "Episode VII," presumably arriving in theaters in December of 2015. He just produced "Elysium," and he's right there in the midst of things for "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" as well.

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<p>Kenny Powers just wasn't made for this life.</p>

Kenny Powers just wasn't made for this life.

Credit: HBO

Danny McBride's committed performance anchors an excellent 'Eastbound & Down' season premiere

Now where do they go from here?

I honestly never expected to see Kenny Powers again.

The end of the third season was such a decisive conclusion, giving him the happy ending that he needed instead of the one he wanted, that I figured we were done with him as a character. After all, heading into that season, Jody Hill and Danny McBride and David Gordon Green all seemed relatively sure that they were done with him, and if they felt like they were finished, who were we to argue?

The very end of that final episode, though, threw so many big ideas at us so quickly that it went from feeling like the finish of something to feeling like a giant challenge. Once your lead character fakes his own death to walk away from his dream life in professional sports, can he really just go home and live a happy domestic life?

Yeah, right.

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<p>Oh, boy. If this is your idea of a happy ending, you might want to skip the third film in the 'Bridget Jones' trilogy.</p>

Oh, boy. If this is your idea of a happy ending, you might want to skip the third film in the 'Bridget Jones' trilogy.

Credit: Working Title Films

First excerpt from new 'Bridget Jones' novel surprises fans with tragic reveal

This should make a film adaptation troublesome

If the first major creative choice in your latest entry in a franchise irritates and alienates every fan of that property, maybe you might want to rethink things.

Consider this a warning: if you read any further, there's a good chance you're going to have the new book about Bridget Jones totally ruined for yourself, as well as elements of "Dumb and Dumber To," last night's "Breaking Bad," and other things as well. It may be too late, since most of the headlines I've seen today have almost gleefully given it away, but I'd rather give you the choice about whether or not you want to know right now. It seems like more and more often now, the assumption is that you have no right whatsoever to expect that you will remain unspoiled after the split-second something airs, and it seems like even before that now, we're just going to have accept that we have no control over how we digest a narrative.

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<p>If nothing else, Cruella has the best theme song of any Disney villain ever.</p>

If nothing else, Cruella has the best theme song of any Disney villain ever.

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Disney continues their push for live-action versions of animated classics with 'Cruella'

How many of their films do you think they'll do this way?

Considering how long they've been a studio and how strong a brand they've created in the global marketplace, Walt Disney Studios seems to constantly be reinventing themselves. Right now, they are in the middle of what seems to be a major shift in terms of identity, turning into a sort of brand-management superstore.

After all, they've got Pixar, Marvel, and "Star Wars" all under the broader Disney logo these days, and I hear there's another mega-brand that they're possibly going to purchase soon. Disney's production slate no longer offers up original material. Instead, you're going to see those brands and nothing else. Even when Pixar makes a non-sequel, it's all about the "Pixar" brand, and that's what Disney is selling over any of their individual titles.

Now it looks like we're seeing another emerging trend at the studio, live-action remakes of their fairy tale classics. "Maleficent" revealed some footage at this year's D23 Expo, and it's amazing how carefully they've worked to recreate the exact look of the "Sleeping Beauty" world and how much every member of the cast looks like the animated versions of the characters. The studio is also making "Cinderella" right now, with Kenneth Branagh directing what he promises will be a very faithful rendition of the story as Disney told it.

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<p>By far, this was one of the most emotional films I've watched with the boys so far, and not in the ways I expected.</p>

By far, this was one of the most emotional films I've watched with the boys so far, and not in the ways I expected.

Credit: Warner Bros

Film Nerd 2.0 turns a corner during an emotional viewing of 'Where The Wild Things Are'

This one hurt

When I was at the Toronto Film Festival recently, I had a chance to talk to Spike Jonze about his new film "Her" and several other subjects. In particular, I told him a story about sharing "Where The Wild Things Are" with my sons and how it represented a major turning point in the emotional life of my family. He seemed struck by what I said, and I told him that I was planning to write about the experience for my ongoing Film Nerd 2.0 column.

The truth is, I've been struggling to figure out how to write this one for a while now, ever since the screening, and it's been difficult to find the right way in. Even considering how personal much of this column has been, this one has been hard for me to grapple with because, unlike many of these columns, this one isn't all warm and fuzzy. I am well aware that I spend more time talking about my kids in print than some people might like. I have gotten e-mails and comments and direct messages from many people asking me to either scale it back or stop altogether. "I just want to read movie reviews," one guy e-mailed me, "and I don't give a shit what your kids think."

Fair enough.

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<p>Michael, Trevor, and Franklin are the leads in 'Grand Theft Auto V' and you end up playing all three of them over the course of the game.</p>

Michael, Trevor, and Franklin are the leads in 'Grand Theft Auto V' and you end up playing all three of them over the course of the game.

Credit: Rockstar Games

Fifteen memorable moments from one week of playing 'Grand Theft Auto V'

I can't begin to review the whole game yet, but I've definitely got some first thoughts

LOS SANTOS - It seems strange to realize that "Grand Theft Auto V" may well be the final game I buy for the Playstation 3.

Shortly after "Grand Theft Auto III" was released, I was at the apartment shared by my friends Josh and Kevin, and they had the game on. I'd heard the title a few times, but I didn't own it, and I hadn't played it. Once I watched Kevin play for about ten minutes, I left their place, went directly to a store, and bought the game and a Playstation 2. I played it incessantly for a while, and when I finally set it aside, I felt like I'd gotten everything out of the mayhem and the free-roaming lunacy that I could get. It was depraved, it was ridiculous, it was damn near impossible to finish as a game, and I loved every bit of it. The game seemed like the sort of thing that the authorities were going to catch wind of and shut down as soon as possible, and that made it even more fun.

Morality in gaming is a funny thing. When I played "Mass Effect 2" and "Mass Effect 3," I found that I couldn't make the renegade choices, no matter what. The way the narrative worked and the way I played Shepard, I felt it necessary to try to be as moral and as compassionate as possible. It seemed like the only way to navigate the political landscape of the games and come through it with my crew intact. The same was true of "Skyrim" when I played that for a few months. I never even considered playing it as anything but a hero. Even when I digressed to finish missions involving the Thieves Guild or whatever, I found myself overcompensating to make sure I was as far on the side of right as possible.

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<p>Hugh Jackman, seen here in 'The Fountain,' is no stranger to eclectic science-fiction films.</p>

Hugh Jackman, seen here in 'The Fountain,' is no stranger to eclectic science-fiction films.

Credit: Warner Bros

Hugh Jackman latest addition to Neill Blomkamp's robot police comedy 'Chappie'

Sharlto Copley's the lead, so what's Jackman playing?

Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium" was met by a far more mixed response than his break-through film "District 9," but that doesn't change my enthusiasm for whatever he's working on. This is one of the few people working right now who has a taste for science-fiction and who is able to get original work produced. In the case of his next film, we're talking about "Chappie," which Blomkamp has described as a "comedy," about a robot policeman who is held hostage by a couple of punks.

Sharlto Copley, who is Blomkamp's go-to guy, will be playing the robot police officer, and the two things were cast a while ago, with Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er from Die Antwoord both onboard.

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<p>Robin Wright gives, quite literally, the performance of her lifetime in Ari Folman's new film 'The Congress'</p>

Robin Wright gives, quite literally, the performance of her lifetime in Ari Folman's new film 'The Congress'

Credit: Drafthouse Films

Review: Robin Wright shakes loose reality in 'The Congress'

A stunning adult mediation on identity in the digital age

Ariel Folman's "Waltz With Bashir" was a strong use of animation to express something personal, a worldview that tried to paint an emotional picture of what it's like to have gone through something harrowing, tied to both your religious and national identity, something that skews your perception for the rest of your life. I was quite taken with the film when it came out, and I have seen it a few times since on Blu-ray, and find it quite beautiful and sad.

One of several films to premiere at Cannes this summer before playing Fantastic Fest in Austin this month, "The Congress" is something else entirely. Loosely working from a novel by Stanislaw Lem, whose work was also the basis of "Solaris," Folman has made the movie that Andrew Niccol was desperately straining to make with "SimOne." The result is a beautiful, eccentric science-fiction story about the liquid nature of identity in the digital age and what it is that defines performance in the first place. Robin Wright stars as a savagely fictionalized version of herself, facing the end of her career in the form of industry-wide indifference thanks to years of meltdowns, rejected offers, and questionable creative decisions. Her agent, played by Harvey Keitel, comes to her with what is described as "the last offer you'll ever get," delivered by the unflinchingly blunt Danny Huston as a studio head who remembers the promise of the young Buttercup and who is angry at the reality of who Wright has become.

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<p>Yep. That's a Beast.</p>

Yep. That's a Beast.

Credit: Pathe Films

A one-sheet reveals Vincent Cassel and Lea Seydoux in new 'Beauty and the Beast'

Things are getting hairy for the French stars in February

Whoa. I didn't even realize Christophe Gans was working on this one.

"Beauty and the Beast" is one of those irresistible targets for filmmakers, and I would think for French filmmakers, there is a whole different level of expectation attached to anyone who tackles the material. After all, "La Belle et la Bete," the 1946 film by Jean Cocteau, is one of the classic texts of French cinema, and one of the great fantasy films of all time. Jean Marais gave one of the great film performances as the Beast, and the design of the Beast is both memorable and striking.

Over the years, we've seen many takes on the story, and in America, the one that is most defining was made by Disney in 1991. That was more than just a hit for them. If you didn't see the film during that initial theatrical run, you might not understand just what a phenomenon it was. People reacted like they were at a live performance, and it made perfect sense that the film ended up nominated for Best Picture that year. It's still one of the biggest cultural hits they've ever had, and it continues to be an enormously popular catalog title for them.

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