Earlier we reported that Sam Mendes or Adam Shankman may direct Robert Downey Jr. in a sort of prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" called "Oz, the Great and Powerful." The Joe Roth-produced, Mitchell Kapner-scripted origin film detailing the backstory of the titular Wizard resides at Disney.

Unlike a lot of recent prequels, "Oz" won't be dealing with the origin of a villain in an attempt to explain or humanize the character (see the "Star Wars" prequels, "The Scorpion King," and "Hannibal Rising" for examples). For one, the Wizard comes from meager beginnings, a former resident of Kansas just like Dorothy Gale. What's more, he's not exactly a villainous figure.

What he is is a potentially compelling story for the big screen. Fans would like to see where the Wizard comes from, in the same way they'd like to see the origin tales for these other well-known franchises. Read More...

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April Fools' Day can be pretty fun, so long as nobody gets hurt. And as long as nobody is left with an empty wallet for the mere non-luxury of a "gotcha!" Twist endings can have such an effect, particularly if the whole film you've just paid to see is completely negated by a frustrating reveal at the end claiming that what we just watched didn't happen. Personally, when I go to the movies, I don't want the joke to be on me. So, I've compiled this list of five flicks that pulled the wool over our eyes.

And yes, you should definitely beware of SPOILERS. Read More...

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Though the box office gross for "Hot Tub Time Machine" was eclipsed by "How To Train Your Dragon," I hope enough of you saw the movie to participate in a discussion of the ending. Don't worry, for those of you who haven't yet had a chance to see it, I won't spoil any details until after the jump. If you had written off "Hot Tub" as just another time travel comedy, I encourage you to check it out and come back here with your thoughts.

I wonder if some people avoided "Hot Tub" because it seemed less focused on the time travel/sci-fi elements than it was on the gross-out comedy elements. The science of time travel isn't fully explored in the movie, but the very broad moral issues and hypotheticals are addressed, mostly for comic effect (one gag in particular involving a squirrel humorously addresses the "butterfly effect"). The ending raises one of the issues I've had with certain time travel stories ever since "Back to the Future," a movie that "Hot Tub" references a whole heck of a lot. You've been warned... spoilers ahead! Read More...

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Still riding on the success of "Juno," for which she won a screenwriting Oscar, Diablo Cody is reuniting with that film's producers for a new film she's written titled "Young Adult." According to THR's Risky Biz Blog, the comedy does not involve young adults but rather a thirtysomething author of the YA literary genre. Recently divorced, the character returns to the town she grew up in and links back up with "the one who got away," despite the fact he's now a husband and a father.

The "Juno" reunion for this homewrecker story consists of Cody, Mandate Pictures (and its head, Nathan Kahane) and producers John Malkovich, Lianne Halfon, Russell Smith and Mason Novick. The last of these re-teaming collaborators also worked with the writer on the disappointing "Jennifer's Body" and is attached as a producer on her upcoming (or least set-up) projects "Girly Style," "Breathers: A Zombie's Lament" and the YA series adaptation "Sweet Valley High." Read More...

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My love of movies will always be associated with weekends at my dad's house. And not just because each visit included one or two trips to the multiplex and upwards of ten VHS rentals. It was also when I'd watch "At the Movies," the review show hosted by Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, which has now been canceled after nearly 30 years (it will continue with new episodes for the next five months before going away forever).

Most of my experience with the show was when it was titled "Siskel & Ebert & the Movies." Long before I ever read film reviews, this was my first exposure to film criticism. More importantly though, it was my introduction to the general concept of talking about movies with a friend, an enemy, or something in between, as the duo appeared to be. The fact that I now write about movies for MTV Movies Blog and other outlets is definitely related to those early viewings. Read More...

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Can Tom Hanks do for modern punk fans what he did for mothers and daughters? After successfully adapting the ABBA-based musical "Mamma Mia!" into a global blockbuster ($610 million worldwide gross, mostly from outside the U.S.), Hanks may produce a film version of "American Idiot," the new stage show based on Green Day's same-titled concept album. According to Deadline.com, Hanks' and Gary Goetzman's The Playtone Company are in talks to buy the rights to the musical, which debuted in Berkeley last fall and opens on Broadway April 20.

Consisting of 23 Green Day songs and little additional dialogue, the stage version of "American Idiot" was written by the band's front man, Billie Joe Armstrong, and Tony-winning director Michael Mayer ("Spring Awakening"). It features the same plot as the album, telling the stories of three friends from a suburban town who wind up with diverging destinies. One joins the army, one moves to the big city and one stays put in suburbia. Read More...

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Today is the 100th birthday of Japanese master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. He died back in 1998, but his films carry on his legacy in many ways. First, obviously, there are the literal titles that continue to be watched and studied religiously (13 of them are being aired on Turner Classic Movies today). Second, there are the upcoming remakes of "Seven Samurai," "High and Low," "Rashomon" and "Ikiru" in development. And third, there are those films directly inspired by Kurosawa's films.

Kurosawa himself had many influences, and a number of his films were loose remakes or direct adaptations of everything from Westerns to Dostoyevsky to films noir to Shakespeare. So it's unlikely he'd be upset about the idea that his work has gone on to influence some of today's most notable filmmakers. He might even be enjoying some of the following blockbuster movies, all owing much to his work, from beyond the grave: Read More...

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The real "Bourne" franchise may have stalled, but we continue hearing about new franchise possibilities involving a female version of the amnesiac spy. The latest is Bold Films' "Blank Slate," an action thriller that Heat Vision reports is based around the idea of a female convict implanted with the memories and fighting abilities of a fallen CIA agent. The script is from Douglas Cook and David Weisberg, who penned one of my favorite action movies of all time (in spite of how ridiculous it is), "The Rock."

In addition to the obvious "Bourne Identity" comparison, the plot synopsis also reminds me of "Face/Off," "The Eye," "La Femme Nikita" and the 1996 Ray Liotta movie "Unforgettable," in which a detective takes an experimental drug that allows him to acquire memories of other people in order to track down his wife's murderer. Not to put down the originality of "Blank Slate," which I think could be a very awesome mix of all these films and be yet another stupid-fun action movie. Bring in John Woo or Luc Besson or a director of equal talent and it'll at least be a guilty pleasure. Read More...

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Now that you've become a fan of Christoph Waltz through his Oscar-winning performance as Hans Landa in "Inglourious Basterds," can the Austrian actor woo you to Europe for more? The 30-year vet has done a lot of film and TV work, mostly in Germany and the UK. Despite his sudden success in America, he's likely to stay situated in London and Berlin rather than move out to Hollywood to cash in on his winnings.

Yes, he'll co-star in two high-profile Hollywood productions, "The Green Lantern" and "Water for Elephants," as a villain in both. But Waltz also appears to be using this new found fame as an opportunity to make his feature directorial debut with a German-language romantic comedy he's written titled "Auf und Davon" ("Up and Away"). This won't be his first effort behind the camera, as he wrote and directed a 2000 German TV movie, but it will be his first big screen gig in this capacity. Read More...

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Following up last year's "Bright Star," Abbie Cornish is moving forward with yet another period piece. This one's a little more modern however, and it's being directed by none other than Madonna. According to Variety, the young actress will star in "W.E.," a film about the scandalous 1936 marriage of Wallis Simpson, an American socialite, to King Edward VIII, who had to give up his crown as a result.

Last month, when we first reported on Madonna's film, "Up in the Air" Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga was reportedly interested in the part. Even she wasn't quite old enough to play Simpson, who was 40 at the time of her wedding to Edward. Yet the 27-year-old Cornish seems even less appropriate for the role. Honestly, I'm still unclear why Madonna wouldn't play Simpson, despite being a little on the older side. Supposedly she's as passionate about this project as she was about "Evita," and she starred in that. Read More...

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