Ten talking points for this season's movies



1.  Renaissance Man:  Liam Neeson. He's the voice of the alpha-male raccoon in "The Nut Job," speaks for Bad Cop/Good Cop in "The Lego Movie" and returns to action movies as an air marshal in "Non-Stop." He was game for a crazy cameo at the end of "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues," too.

2.  Life of Pie: Those really are actor Josh Brolin's hands and baking skills on display in "Labor Day." Director Jason Reitman said the actor made a pie every day and at first it was charming, but by the end of production, it was, "Oh [expletive], he made me a pie."

3. Remakes: We realize young moviegoers don't know the original "Endless Love" and Hollywood is risk-averse, preferring to bank on titles audiences recognize, but really? However, we look forward to Michael Keaton as a villainous businessman in the new "RoboCop."

4. Welcome Addition: Anthony Mackie is one of those actors who seems to always deliver, no matter the movie, TV show or play. Look for him, along with a young fellow named Robert Redford, when "Captain America" returns.

5.  Finding Religion: Although there was talk about a resurgence in religious movies after "The Passion of the Christ," that didn't happen in a big-screen way with A-listers. Now, three Oscar winners -- Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins -- star in "Noah," and Christian Bale will turn up as Moses in Ridley Scott's "Exodus" in December. Rounding out the winter calendar are "Son of God" and "Heaven Is for Real."

6.  Animal Control: Critters are back, in animated and real-life form. Morgan Freeman, the voice of choice for such docs, will narrate "Island of Lemurs: Madagascar" (no "I Like to Move It, Move It," though) while John C. Reilly handles the honors for "Bears."

7. On a Roll: Shailene Woodley will land in Oscar's clutches one of these years; she's a year younger than Jennifer Lawrence and equally talented. She will star in "Divergent" March 21 and "The Fault in Our Stars," mainly shot in Pittsburgh and based on the John Green novel, June 6.

8. Bad Words, Good Comedy?: Here's hoping Jason Bateman's directorial debut, "Bad Words," about a cranky, foul-mouthed, ill-mannered high school dropout who enters the National Quill Spelling Bee, lives up to its description as a crowd-pleaser.

9. Monumental Opportunity: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler provided interviewers with an ice-breaker (or mood-killer) when talking to George Clooney about "The Monuments Men." So, what did he think of the Golden Globes quip that " 'Gravity' is the story of how George Clooney would rather float away into space and die than spend one more minute with a woman his own age."

20. Gone Baby Gone: The movie version of Gillian Flynn's deliciously dark novel "Gone Girl" isn't due until October, but those of us who loved the book were heartened by a recent EW story. It quotes director David Fincher as saying Ms. Flynn, a former writer for the magazine who penned the movie's screenplay, shocked star Ben Affleck 


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