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FROM MTV MOVIES: Like a bomb indestructibly attached to an anxious pizza delivery boy's chest, "30 Minutes or Less" hasn't been able to shake MTV News off itself.

From the early news updates (Jesse Eisenberg as that unfortunate pie-slinger, "Zombieland" helmer Ruben Fleischer in the director's chair) to the exclusive first look at the Michigan set to an MTV Sneak Peek Week public screening of the action-comedy and beyond, we've been all over this movie. And now that it's finally hit theaters, we're not letting go quite yet. So slip on our "30 Minutes" cheat sheet for everything you need to know before heading to the multiplex this weekend.

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FROM MTV MOVIES: "It feels kind of scary saying this because that means it's only downhill, but it's been the best year of my life," Emma Stone told MTV News late last year as we honored her as the actress we were most thankful for in 2010.

The past eight months, however, have hardly been downhill, and Stone might soon have to rework her conception of a superlative year. The year 2011 has seen Stone, among other things, nominated for her first Golden Globe, film her lead role in "The Amazing Spider-Man" and win advance plaudits for a dramatic, yet at times comedic, turn in "The Help," which hit theaters Wednesday (August 10).

In a summer filled with wizards and robots and all manner of nasty alien invaders, some critics are pointing to "The Help" as perhaps the finest drama of the season, highlighting not only Stone's performance, but that of Viola Davis, who could well be part of the upcoming awards-season hubbub. Other reviewers, though, haven't been as kind, citing a jumbled story structure and an overall maudlin tone that distracts from the weighty themes of the film. Read on for those critiques and more:

The Story
"What the film lacks is a strong point of view. The story is all over the place on that front, bouncing from one perspective to another. ... Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) has just graduated from college in Mississippi in the 1960s and returned home. The town is divided, Black and White, and nowhere is this more evident than in Skeeter's social circle, young women married as soon as possible, raising children — or, more accurately, having their children raised by the Black women who work for them. ... Skeeter wants to be a serious writer, and a New York editor (Mary Steenburgen) needs something to judge her on. So Skeeter, having gotten a job at the local newspaper writing a housecleaning column, asks Clark for help with tips. But what she really wants is to know how the 'help' is treated, about the world from their perspective, for a book." — Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic

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FROM MTV NEWS: The NFL lockout might be over, but life for the Pittsburgh Steelers was certainly not back to usual on Saturday, when Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight Rises" swooped into Heinz Field and recast the team as the Gotham Rogues.

Clad in familiar black-and-gold uniforms, the Steelers-turned-Rogues included Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Willie Colon, Troy Polamalu and Heath Miller, according to multiple local reports. Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher returned to the sideline to play the Rogues' coach. Cowher and crew were joined by more than 10,000 extras, bussed in to film a fictional game between the Rogues and the Rapid City Monuments.

The shoot itself dives into some spoilery territory, so if you'd like to remain blissfully unaware of the goings-on in Gotham during "Dark Knight Rises," in which Batman faces off against Bane, turn back now!

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Machete don't text, but apparently he's cool with space travel.

At Robert Rodriguez's San Diego Comic-Con panel last week, the filmmaker floated an idea that after he makes "Machete Kills," a follow-up to last year's witty grindhouse flick, he'd go ahead and make "Machete Kills Again," a film that would take place in effing outer space!

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FROM MTV MOVIES: What's going to go down at San Diego Comic-Con when the stars of "Breaking Dawn" invade the convention center? What footage will be debuted, what news will break, what will Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have to say to their adoring fans?

Even if you're not in town for the pop-culture festivities, MTV News has you covered. On Thursday (July 21) at 6 p.m. ET/ 3 p.m. PT, shortly after the "Breaking Dawn - Part 1" panel wraps up, we'll be presenting a live-stream event with special appearances by Stewart, Pattinson and Taylor Lautner.

You'll get to hear from the Big Three about what it's like to bring their film to the SDCC masses. We'll also be welcoming in a slew of live "Twilight" guests — including Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Elizabeth Reaser and Julia Jones — to give you exclusive insight into the "Breaking Dawn" panel and what we can expect in the months leading up to the film's November 18 release date.

By the end of the hour-long live stream, you'll know everything there is to know about the "Twilight" experience at Comic-Con — plus a whole lot more. That's because we're inviting you to take part in the action, submitting the questions you're dying to have answered by sending them via Twitter to @MTVNews using the hashtag #mtvsdcc.

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Harry PotterFROM MTV MOVIES: There was little doubt that when the "Harry Potter" franchise finally came to a close after a decade-long presence at the multiplex, it would do so in epically lucrative fashion. But only when "Deathly Hallows, Part 2" actually began lighting up screens last Thursday at midnight did the true extent of its box-office power become clear: The film raked in a record $43.5 million at those early screenings and ended up shattering the three-day opening record of "The Dark Knight."

"While I assumed it would have the best 'Harry Potter' debut of all time, I wasn't quite sold on the fact that it could eclipse the 'Dark Knight' record, as none of the previous films, although highly successful, have ever approached that staggering number, despite having one of the most rabid fanbases filmdom has ever seen," said Jeff Bock, box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. "This was monumental, as it seems everyone wanted to be a part of the discussion, everyone wanted to say goodbye to dear friends, and everyone wanted to experience the magic on the big screen one more time."

But not everyone wanted that magical experience in 3-D. While "Deathly Hallows, Part 2" benefited from the largest 3-D launch ever, according to Box Office Mojo, a majority of ticket buyers choose 2-D screenings, with just 43 percent of its total gross coming from 3-D screenings ("Transformers: Dark of the Moon," by comparison, earned 60 percent of its opening gross from 3-D showings). So, although "Deathly Hallows, Part 2" opening marks the second-biggest 3-D opening after "Alice in Wonderland," the last "Potter" film wasn't a 3-D must-see — it was a pop-culture must-see.

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News that "Blade Runner" might be headed back to the multiplex in sequel or prequel form was met, at least in an MTV Movies Blog poll last March, with a mixture of excitement, derision, and "Meh, let's wait and see" ambivalence.


I'm conflicted myself, though producers behind the effort seem to be hitting all the right notes, saying they'll avoid executive suite-driven micromanagement and will model their approach to the material on the way Christopher Nolan handled "Batman." All good things! But it would certainly help matters if "Blade Runner" star Harrison Ford would cosign the new films and perhaps even take part in the sci-fi madness.

That's what we were wondering when we sat down with Ford late last week at a "Cowboys & Aliens" press event in Montana. He was tight-lipped (not to mention bemused when I embarrassingly, inexcusably mispronounced the name of his "Blade Runner" character, Rick Deckard; nerd mea culpa!), but the takeaway is that he's certainly been in touch with producers.

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TransformersFROM MTV MOVIES: As even Michael Bay has admitted, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" had almost nowhere to go but up after the writers' strike-affected, audience-alienating previous installment.

And insofar as Bay and company had something to prove — and to improve — this time around, they've succeeded. While "Dark of the Moon" isn't currently the highest rated film in the franchise, according to the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregator, the general consensus among critics is that the new 3-D flick is best of the "Transformers" bunch.

That's not to suggest reviews have been universally positive; many have been as brutal to the film as the film's robots have been to certain American cities. Reviewers have taken issue with poor plotting, weak characters and brain-scrambling action set pieces. But then there are a slew of reviewers utterly onboard with what Bay has created, celebrating some of the finest 3-D visuals since "Avatar" and a story that is the most fully fleshed out of the series. For those opinions and others, take a deep dive into the "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" reviews.

The Story
"A sweet prologue (marred only by a phony-looking digital JFK) recounts the war for Cybertron and the real reason behind the U.S.-Soviet space race of the 1960s. Cut to the present where Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) struggles to find his first post-college job, while the Autobots led by Optimus Prime and the U.S. military's NEST team led by Lt. Col. Lennox (Josh Duhamel) work in tandem to take out the remaining Decepticons around the world. However, the evil 'bots eventually get the upper hand and begin an invasion to conquer the Earth with Chicago as Ground Zero in this final war between the Autobots/humans and Decepticons. There's more going on, but for the sake of spoilers we'll keep it at that. Transformers: Dark of the Moon definitely has more of a plot than either of its predecessors. There are genuine stakes this time." — Jim Vejvoda, IGN

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"We're not terrorists!"

So promised Nick Swardson on the set of "30 Minutes or Less," as he and costar Danny McBride attempted to explain what they were doing, just minutes earlier, in a junk yard in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a crossbow in one of their hands and a detonator in another. Take after take, they blew up watermelons with some homebrewed explosives and yelled f-bomb-laden tough talk.

No, terrorists they are not — just misguided fellows with an outlandish idea: kidnap a pizza delivery boy, strap a bomb to his chest and make him rob a bank. And that, in an action-comedy nutshell, is the plot of "30 Minutes," the Ruben Fleischer-directed flick that hits theaters on August 12.

"They're against terrorists. I mean, would you invite these guys over to your house with your family? Probably not," McBride explained. "They just want to be loved. Whether it takes a bomb or bank robbery to get there."

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"The truth is that my focus has been so much on finishing 'Super 8.'"

That's essentially been J.J. Abrams stock answer to any and all who ask about the status of "Star Trek 2," the follow-up to the franchise he rebooted to critical acclaim and big box-office bucks in 2009. While Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof had been hired to script the sequel, the project wouldn't be able to kick into high gear until Abrams wrapped up "Super 8."

Now, though, we've reached that point, as Abrams himself told us on Tuesday (June 15) to chat about the $35.5 million "Super 8" opening. And while he's working closely with Orci, Lindelof and Kutzman on the story, he admitted "Trek 2" might end up missing the June 29, 2012 release date that Paramount Pictures announced last year.

"I would say it's not an impossibility to do it, but the studio agrees the most important thing is that the movie be good," Abrams told us. "No one wants to make something that makes its date but isn't necessarily worth your time. I want to make sure that whatever we do and whenever it comes out that it's something that people will have a great time watching."

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