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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s not messing about. Just doin’ the news. We begin tonight with one of many new images from The Adventures of Tintin. For one of those motion capture, lost in the shadow of the uncanny valley movies, this looks pretty slick. Finally we get to see Andy Serkis act in a movie. Or not.

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Culture Warrior

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Source Code…and, for that matter, Avatar. Recently in Hollywood, the physiological capabilities of our heroic protagonists have owed a great deal to modern medicine and technology, specifically from the military. Whether it be the unique opportunity provided for the paraplegic Jake Sully in Avatar, the incredible and unwanted responsibility of the nearly-dead Colter Stevens in Source Code, or the intravenous hyper-bulking of Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, Hollywood has given us a spate of unlikely protagonists connected specifically by the fact that their initial disabilities provide for them a unique opportunity to become exceptionally enabled.

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Recently Fox News had a chat with director James Cameron about his upcoming sequels to his biggest-blockbuster-ever, blue-aliens-in-the-rainforest movie Avatar. Strangely enough, they framed the interview around the idea of economic growth for America (which is especially weird given the anti-industry, anti-imperialist message of the first film), but they also managed to get some quotes about his filming plans and how he’s approaching the writing process for the next two films.

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As we all know, making stale jokes that have already been made by everyone else is the key to comedy. That’s why Carlos Mencia was so popular. Spinning that same theory into box office cash (albeit not huge piles of it) Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer plan on hitting audiences again with a spoof on Avatar called The Biggest Movie of All Time 3D. Cutting. Edge. Instead of taking the easy, cynical view, perhaps it would be more advantageous to hope for the best here. After all, Friedberg and Seltzer have produced their fair share of movies by now, and even though they’ve fallen into a formula that works for them, maybe they’ve learned enough along the way to craft something that works for a broader comedy audience. Perhaps they’ll populate the movie with long-form humor as well as cultural references and easy jokes. Mayhaps they’ll use their expertise to go in a startling direction just as audiences thought they had them pegged. Peradventure this movie would be their coming out party as two of the most adventurous filmmakers of our modern time. See? That’s how it’s done. Feel free to leave your best Avatar jokes in the comment section. [Coming Soon]

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Boiling Point

News came over the last couple of days that former visionary director/current enviro-geek James Cameron was going to, instead of directing a new film (wouldn’t want to accidentally make two in a decade), spend millions of dollars and millions of seconds painstakingly bringing 1997s short film Titanic back to the screens, this time in three dimensions. In case you weren’t alive between 1997 and 1999, where Titanic stayed in theaters for a full year, the story has something to do with a boat, a gem, and freezing to death. I’m sure that if you’re reading this site you’ve either seen Titanic or know enough about it to know that you didn’t want to watch it. I have seen it and have no desire to see it again. It’s not a bad film, but it is long as hell and a bit on the melodramatic side. Aside from being responsible for turning Leonardo DiCaprio into a household name and making all my ex-girlfriends put posters of him on their walls, what could be wrong with Titanic coming back to the big screen? Simply put, Titanic 3D is everything wrong with Hollywood in a tight 194 minute package.

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James Cameron is always on the brink of revolution. Really, the dude needs to take a breather. At this year’s CinemaCon, the tech-centric director couldn’t shut up about 3D, faster frame rates and improved camera systems while everyone around him was salivating for a detail or two on his plans for the Avatar sequels. Forget that — there are shutter speeds to be discussed! We’re all about Peter Jackson hyping The Hobbit shooting 48 fps on RED digital 3D and legendary effects guru Douglas Trumbull heading back to directing with a tech-first approach, but at some point, isn’t the equipment standing in the way of great storytelling? We’ll give the benefit of the doubt to these three men, but whether any of their advancements are really “the future of movies,” won’t be known for a few years. Unfortunately, just because you’re brilliant and you say something is awesome…doesn’t mean it’s awesome. Here’s a look back at some of the other “game-changing” inventions that were supposed to change the way we watch movies, but never really picked up steam.

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Culture Warrior

This editorial contains spoilers for Source Code and Moon. If you haven’t seen the movies yet, go check it out first before diving in. When I watched Duncan Jones’s sophomore effort Source Code, I couldn’t help but think about how much it resembles, nearly beat for beat in its structure, his first film Moon. This is not necessarily a criticism of Source Code or Jones, as repeated thematic occupations and narrative revisitation can be the sign of the auteur, and I’ve enjoyed both his films. But the films are, admittedly, structurally identical in several ways. Both involve a lone protagonist who discovers something unexpected about their identity that changes their relationship to their given tasks (Sam Bell realizing he is a clone in Moon, Captain Colter Stevens’s “near-death” state in Source Code), and combat some form of repression against a bureaucratic organizational body (a private corporation in Moon, military scientists in Source Code) while being assisted by an empathetic, benevolent subordinate of that organization (GERTY the robot in Moon, Vera Famiga’s Captain Goodwin in Source Code). But it is rather appropriate that both of Jones’s films be so structurally similar, for the major themes connecting them, and the narratives by which those themes are exercised, are enveloped in the topic of the repetitive structures of everyday life.

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For a company with the motto “Don’t be evil,” it’s a bit ironic that Google is enabling TyRuben Ellingson to create weapons of mass destruction. Ellingson — the lead vehicle designer for James Cameron’s Avatar, whose credits also range from Battle: Los Angeles to Hellboy and Blade: Trinity — was singing the praises of Google Sketchup Tuesday night. While speaking at his undergraduate alma mater — St. Cloud State University — he praised Google’s free 3-D modeling software as an easy-to-use tool for creating conceptual designs, including the deadly powersuits used by humans to rain devastation upon the unfortunate Na’vi. Aside from ease-of-use, Ellingson noted the program is free which means that even you can start drawing things meant to kill other things in wonderful, violent ways. So, as countless people are out there using SketchUp to create detailed virtual cities, you’ve got Hollywood artists using it to create equally detailed city-vaporizing toys. Is anyone else fighting back the urge to burst into “The Circle of Life“ right now?

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Boiling Point

Most of the time I try not to revisit past boiling points. Once I get it out of my system, I like to pretend I’ve cast out the anger. This, however, is not true. The anger never subsides. No. It grows. Grows and grows and boils over again and again. Still, to keep things fresh, I try to point my anger in new directions. But sometimes thinks deserve a second chance. With that said, I’d like to take a second to just remind everyone that putting a big name on top of a movie is complete and utter horseshit.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as WaitingForGodard and FincherFan1984 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the alleged story crisis in Hollywood. James Cameron thinks it exists, and the presence of a half dozen board game-based movies supports his theory, but are the studios really at a loss for words when it comes to infusing their spectacles with good stories?

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The Reject Report

It’s not necessarily a high one with Little Fockers (read our review), a film with deservedly little recommendation coming from critics, topping the box office charts. With less than a 15% drop from its first weekend, it was able to snake its way over True Grit, which did anything but bow out its second go at a weekend take. Both films led the charge on the final weekend of 2010/first weekend of 2011.

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This Week in Blu-ray

Re-releases are a tough business, I tell you. And this week is full of them. Be they the re-lighting of the old flame that still burns from Chaplin’s last trip as the Little Tramp or James Cameron’s twice released (this year) mega-event movie Avatar, This Week in Blu-ray is full of stuff that we’ve seen before, in various capacities. That doesn’t mean that some of these titles aren’t worth buying, as you might expect. A few of these titles will be welcomed additions to your collection. They may also have you cursing the names of faceless Fox executives who duped you into buying Avatar the first time around. Or Blu-ray column writers who recommended it, despite the obvious lack of special features… Actually, lets not focus on that last part. Why don’t we just move on to this week’s selection of high definition wonders.

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Join us each week as Rob Hunter takes a look at new DVD releases and gives his highly unqualified opinion as to which titles are worth BUYing, which are better off as RENTals, and which should be AVOIDed at all costs. And remember, these listings and category placements are meant as informational conversation starters only. But you can still tell Hunter how wrong he is in the comment section below. This week sees two titles worth buying, and they’re both Criterion releases. Also out and worthy of your time or dismissal are A Christmas Carol, RoboGeisha, Best Worst Movie, The Kids Are All Right, an even longer cut of Avatar, and more.

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There’s something mysteriously positive about the idea of shooting sequels back-to-back. It makes it seem as though the filmmakers have a definitive plan that will come together as a singular vision instead of a third film slammed into production by the machine despite almost no resemblance to the characters we fell in love with in prior installments. It seems that way, but it doesn’t always work that way. For each Lord of the Rings there’s a Pirates of the Caribbean. Now, James Cameron is tossing his ship out into the ocean to join those crews that went before him – promising that Avatar 2: Organically Electric Boogaloo and Avatar 3 will be shot together and released one year apart.

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James Cameron

James Cameron has never been the kind of director to jump directly back on the bandwagon. After The Terminator in 1984, he went into outer space with Aliens (1986), then under water in The Abyss (1989) before coming back to make Terminator 2 in 1991. And after he hit big with Titanic, he refused to give the world the sequel it has always needed, leaving that task to The Asylum. So it’s a bit of a surprise to see Cameron talking loosely about immersing himself in the world of Avatar so soon — to the tune of the long-gestating novelization and not one, but two sequels. Then again, none of his previous films earned $2.73 billion at the box office. All of this talk comes from several interviews that Cameron has conducted in the lead up to the theatrical re-release of Avatar scheduled for August 27th. More on that after the jump.

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Hollywood turned in its assignments early this week with releases on Wednesday and Thursday. Now Fat Guy Kevin Carr hands out his grades for the latest installment of The Twilight Saga and the big screen adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

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Squeeeeee! Kevin and Neil run around the Magical Studio in the Sky without their shirts on, desperately trying to shape-shift into a werewolf so they too can be worthy of sickly-looking Bella Swan’s fickle infatuation… yet they still have a better time than they did when they saw The Last Airbender.

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Alice in Wonderland is joining the club by grossing over $1 billion. Which highest grosser is your favorite?

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This morning, Fox announced its 2010-2011 primetime schedule, adding to the onslaught of television news this week as networks release their upfronts. Making a good first impression for Fox was Terra Nova, a show that looks like an extension of Avatar.

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Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Tolerate 3D.

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