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    Movie-Con III

    127 Hours
    It's here at last: despite the rain, despite the grey skies, the sun was shining at the BFI Southbank this evening with Movie Con kicking off in style. Our own Chris Hewitt was hosting the event in his customary style (a bit scruffy), but we started with an exclusive, brand new, just colour-corrected this afternoon trailer for Danny Boyle's 127 Hours. It's literally hot off the presses. We hear the projectionist had to wear gloves.

    The trailer shows our hero Aron (James Franco) doing extreme sports in the desert, partying and generally being devil-may-care. Think sunshine, mountain-biking and canyoneering. But it all ends in tears as a falling boulder wedges Aron's arm to the wall of a crevice and he's left hanging in the middle of the wilderness. This is not, we're thinking, good news for him - and the trailer breaks off there.

    But it's not over yet - Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson appear to answer the audience's questions! The crowd goes wild for what I suspect is the first of many times this weekend.

    Watch the Q&A for more on how to follow an Oscar win, and how to film a movie without moving...

    A Town Called Panic
    It's Belgian, it's animated; it can only be: A TOWN CALLED PANIC! And Hammer and Tongs, aka Nick Goldsmith and Garth Jennings!

    "We've been rushed from the beer garden. What we'd love to do, first off, is just show you the trailer. And then we'll tell you about it, and why we're here when we didn't make the film.

    The trailer features talking horses, Indians and cowboys living together, a bizarre French voice cast and fish warriors."It's going to be out in October, and it's mental. It's the most spectacular thing we've seen in ages."

    "We got contacted by Optimum, who said, 'We've got this film, and we would really like your help in promoting it.' Which sounded strange because we're making our films. But they gave us a DVD to have a look, and we saw each other the next day at work, and we were both like, oh my god, that was completely insane. We've got to help. It's like nothing we've seen before. I think Optimum weren't ready for what we wanted to do, setting up twinning with a town called Panic somewhere in England."

    They showed us a clip where the cowboy and the Indian realise that they've forgotten the birthday of their horse roommate - and that they have no present ready for him. Some unorthodox gifting ensues. "That's just the very beginning of the craziest thing ever. It is odd to be representing someone else's film, but we do adore it. It's like the opposite of Avatar - which I loved - but this is like the antithesis. We tried to get Vincent and Stephan to record a message for you, but instead we got one of the legendary animators who worked on the film to say hello to you."

    There followed Adam Buxton in a fright wig as gloomy animator "Pavel", who claims to have made a reimagined Spongebob Squarepants called Black Rock No Pants, and showcases his rather nihilistic contribution to the Pokemon universe. Apparently he advised the filmmakers to make A Town Called Panic weirder and take out the bits that make sense. It's completely bizarre and wonderful looking. Here's what we see in the next clip: "So the fish people are furious. The walls have been stolen from their fish land, so they've come back to the land above the water, and they've come back to the farmer's wife's bathroom."

    You're going to have to take my word for it; that looks BONKERS but BRILLIANT. They use pigs as weapons against swordfish! And it all makes that much sense. And sure, this blog entry makes no sense either, but that's the nature of the beast at this point.

    Never Let Me Go
    From the closing film of this year's LFF to the opening film - yes, we like to mix it up that way - Never Let Me Go. Cue some dreamy, beautiful footage based on the magnificent book. If this isn't Oscar bait, we don't know what is. We had the producers of the film, Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich, in to talk us through it - and drop a huge piece of Judge Dredd news, just to mix it up a bit.

    Check out Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich's Q&A here.


    Kenneth Branagh

    Thor, Avengers + Special Guest Kenneth Branagh
    The second clip we see mentions Odin, the Norse God - and here's Kenneth Branagh to tell us more about Thor! Hooray! Cue craziness.We then saw the astonishing footage shown at Comic-Con, and welcomed back Feige, Branagh and Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston.

    Check out the Thor and Avengers Q&A here for all your comic-book needs.

    We saw a tiny teaser for The Avengers and then saw a specially recorded message from Joss Whedon, who wanted to thank "the person to our left" for being a fan. He's in pre-production, "working on tiny details like the story" and promises it's going to be spectacular. Like, OMG!"

    Marvel Presentation - Captain America, Thor & The Avengers
    Day Two of Movie-Con III kicked off with squeals of delight, as the audience entered the hall to find the by-now traditional goodie bags on all the seats, filled with T-shirts, DVDs, books and lots more. I know, like that Ambassador with the chocolates, we are really spoiling you. But impossible as it seems, the day got even BETTER from there. And that's because of a couple of super-star guests we had in to present the upcoming slate from Marvel.

    Check out the Kevin Feige Q&A here for the latest on Cap'.

    Paramount Presentation - Cowboys And Aliens Clips
    Since we were all feeling a bit warm and fuzzy after those awesome clips and a round of spot prizes, we decided to shake things up a bit with the Paramount presentation. Here we saw bits from Megamind, Little Fockers, Rango and more, along with some very kind introductions from Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell and Gore Verbinski. Oh, breaking news: Stiller couldn't be here because he's replacing Robert Pattinson in the new Twilight movie! At least, that's what he said, so it must be true. And he did Blue Steel for us, reducing the audience to pant-wetting putty in his hands.

    Then we saw a good five minutes of Cowboys and Aliens, which looked fantastic. Daniel Craig looks cool in a Western style waistcoast and cowboy hat, and Harrison Ford looks grizzled but tough as nails. Hooray!

    The Hammer Presentation - The Woman In Black
    We then had the director James Watkins, Hammer boss Simon Oakes and writer Jane Goldman, here to talk about The Woman in Black. Not much has been released about the film to date - all most people know is that it's a play, isn't it, and seems quite popular. But with these three on hand, we hope to pump them for a little more information.

    Watch the Q&A here for the latest on making scary stories scary onscreen, and working with Daniel Radcliffe...

    It's all promising stuff. With a bit of luck, we'll have them back next year with some actual footage. After all, judging by the questions from the audience and the answers that got the most keen response, this bunch a) love Hammer; b) have a searing crush on Jane Goldman AND her work, so it should be popular.

    The Momentum Presentation - Starring Skyline
    Then Hamish of Momentum Pictures arrived to introduce some Momentum footage. They have The Fighter, with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, directed by David O. Russell, but the trailer wasn't ready yet (he's promised us any on-set fights will be posted on YouTube immediately). Steven Soderbergh's Haywire was described as Bourne x Bond divided by Salt - but again, no clip.

    But wait! All is forgiven. We've got some footage from Skyline, an extended clip which hasn't been screened in the UK. "The directors felt their hands were tied on Alien Vs Predators, and they definitely wanted to do things on their own this time. So all of this was done in house. This is their geek-out fantasy - so this time if you don't like it, you really can blame them. They also wanted you to understand that the teaser that's up does NOT include all the money shots. There are over 800 effects shots in the final film, so it's essentially a studio-level indie film..." That looks totally ACE. Who doesn't love alien invasions? Well, apart from their victims.

    James Watkins, Hammer boss Simon Oakes and writer Jane Goldman

    Optimum Presentation - The Last Exorcism
    We had two terrifying clips from the above, introduced by Eli Roth and director Daniel Stamm. The first was rather humourous, showcasing the tricks used if you're planning a fake exorcism. The second, in contrast, opens with a brutal attack on a household pet and gets scarier from there. And then, just as the shaking in our boots reaches fever-pitch, we're back with a grinning Eli Roth and stoic Stamm. Sadistic bastards. Judging by the reaction here, Roth's still one of the most popular guys around.

    Monsters Preview With Director Q&A
    We saw the terrifying trailer for the new Monster movie, dubbed this year's District 9 by those in need of an easy hook. There were also a couple of extended clips. One showed our hero and heroine trying to buy a ferry ticket to bypass the monster-infested central American zone - only to be told that it will cost $5,000. And the other had the pair travelling across land, only for their convoy to run into a creature with far more tentacles than is healthy. Then, a Q&A with director, screenwriter and production designer Gareth Edwards.

    Read the Q&A here and learn how to make an effects movie for less than the cost of a car...

    Buried Sneak Preview
    We see the 8 minutes of the movie, which featured Ryan Reynolds waking up in a box at what, we're guessing, is the beginning of a spectacularly bad day. I'm not the only one with the wiggins, right? It's genuinely wiggy. We see his first attempt to contact the outside world, which unfortunately connects him to a clueless 911 (aka 999) operator in Ohio. He, meanwhile, is somewhere under Iraq. Yikes. As he uses a lighter to examine his prison and fumbles for our phone, we can practically feel our fingers burn in sympathy. Director Rodrigo Cortez was on-hand to answer a few questions.

    Check out the Q&A here for evidence of Cortez' fondness for putting stars through hell...

    Hang on, so this Cortez guy is handsome AND funny AND (based on the clip we saw) talented? The Movie-Con audience may have fallen in love with him, but he's clearly an evil genius; no one's that good.

    Interview Chloe Moritz

    Let Me In and Chloe Moretz Q&A
    You may think remakes are always a bad idea, but Matt Reeves' Let Me In aims to prove otherwise, with Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz starring as the bullied boy and vampire girl he befriends. We showed a few extended clips from the film, which suggest that it'll be ace, and then brought out Chloe Moretz to talk about it, and engage in some good-natured banter when our MC gets all ageist ("I'll be younger and cooler than you for longer.") As you'd expect, there were a few Kick-Ass questions in there as well...

    Check out the Q&A here, and learn who'd win in a fight: Nicolas Cage or Adam West...

    Saw 3D and Cary Elwes
    Next up our very own deputy editor and World's Biggest Princess Bride fan™ is joined on stage by Wesley himself, Cary Elwes, who's here to talk about a whole different kind of movie: Saw 3D. But first we're shown a mightily rhesus-splashy and typically inventive three-dimensional trap involving a couple, their pal and a shopfront full of gawkers. Oh, and two bloody great saws. It's not a spoiler to say that splatter ensues. But as Elwes appears, it becomes apparent that Helen isn't the only Westley fan in the room: everyone's going mental!

    Check out the Q&A for all the news on Saw 3D, The Princess Bride and Tintin...

    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    The footage from the new Narnia film looks like a heck fo a return to form for the series: it's got the book's fantastically visual means of getting to Narnia (water starts pouring through a painting of the sea, until it fills a room and our heroes swim up to find themselves in front of the ship) and all of the book's best characters - even the one-legged men! Michael Apted and Ben Barnes appear to talk us through it.

    Check out the Q&A here for Narnia news, Dorian Gray discussion and Barnes-as-Bond...

    As you'll know if you click to read that question and answer session, if Barnes is cast as Bond, you heard it here first.

    Michael Apted and Ben Barnes

    Unstoppable Clip
    Here's an extended clip! It features lots of things that go BOOM! It looks well exciting, actually, especially when things go BOOM! Just wish there'd been more of it; just as we got into the train on the run adventure (based on a true story) the clip finished. But we don't know if they stopped it! And it looks Unstoppable!

    The E1 Presentation - The Hole 3D, Red and The Way Back
    As if our nerves weren't sufficiently shredded by Saw 3D earlier, it's time for a scary clip from The Hole 3D with a kid being menaced by a terrifying jester puppet. The audience screamed quite a bit, then pretended they hadn't. Then a rather girly clip from Red, with Helen Mirren bonding with Mary Louise Parker while also using a high-powered rifle to pick off armed attackers - wow, chick flick. Or not. This one probably went down best of the three, but that's only because everyone fancies Helen Mirren, even the straight girls. Finally, Peter Weir talked us through The Way Back, the story of seven prisoners who escape from a Soviet gulag making their way across land to freedom in India. In summary: they get sore feet. Well, we think that's the summary. There wasn't much to see here beyond the stunning scenery, but the description seemed to have everyone intrigued.

    Warner Brothers Presentation
    And now it is time for some of the big films from Warners: there's a trailer for Due Date, with Robert Downey Jr and Zack Galifianakis and then Ben Affleck's very intriguing The Town. Then we had a stunning, but seriously stunning, Sucker Punch selection of footage, making it clear that this is going to be MEN. TAL.

    Not just in a mental patients way either; the action stuff with the five girls fighting robots and zombie soldiers and giant samurai looks astonishing. Cue cheering from the crowd, who didn't know much more about this than we saw in the trailer before. And then Zack Snyder talked us through Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, with some lengthy scenes and a couple of action-packed sizzle scenes. The good news: it looks good. The predictable news: he's as enthusiastically incoherent as ever! We're left wondering how you get that much detail in a computer-generated owl feather.

    While our Chris handed out more spot prizes to general laughter and judged a heck of a closely fought Geeky T-shirt competition, we prepared for one big final surprise of the day....

    Harry Potter Presentation - With Surprise Guest, Daniel Radcliffe!
    The Deathly Hallows is going to be a massive film later this year and boy did we have a surprise for the audience. Ladies and gentlemen, Daniel Radcliffe! Yes, the star of the biggest franchise ever is here - and we thought the crowd were excited earlier today. Frankly, the annual general meeting of Potter Fans United can't be any more enthusiastic than this lot. Radcliffe, as ever, is looking charmingly shocked by the reception and waving politely, before bonding with Chris over their common family roots in Banbridge - yes, Harry Potter's part Northern Irish! We're taking over.

    Watch the Q&A here for clues to Voldemort's plans...

    Then we saw an action-packed bit of footage, with a few fresh snippets that weren't in the trailer: six of Harry's friends turning into Polyjuice Potion doppelgangers to get him safely out of the Dursley's home; the attack on Fleur and Bill's wedding reception; Harry and Ron fighting in the tent when they're on the run and Voldemort heading up a council of Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor. And then lots and lots of intense action, including an extended look at the run through the woods with Death Eaters in close pursuit. OMG it totally looks awesome.

    DAY 3 - SUNDAY

    Disney And The Tron Legacy Presentation
    Just in case anyone was flagging after two days of movie-watching, Q&As and general excitement, we kicked things off on Sunday morning with a bang with Tron, and producer Brigham Taylor. "Very excited to be here. I bring my regrets from Joe (Kosinski), our director, who is chained to a chair in Digital Domain finishing the film. Thanks to Empire, which is the coolest magazine on the rack by far. By way of introduction we've brought some footage we've finished just recently. This film is going to go right up to the wire; we probably won't finish until November. This film is a standalone sequel. If you know the original, you'll love this. If you don't, that's OK; it's a new story with a son travelling into a new world. Here's an introduction to that new world."

    The extended footage we see has Sam (Garret Hedlund) entering the world of Tron and being picked up by a Recogniser and its guards. His fellow prisoners are quaking in terror as they are flown to a huge fortress-type thing, where Sam is picked for the Games (the prospect of which has one of his fellows committing suicide). He's stripped and dressed by Sirens, who advise him to "survive" - before he's taken into the arena past baying crowds - and we cut to a montage of footage from the film. It's hard to believe this isn't finished yet; we want the rest NOW. The cheers in the auditorium are in danger of raising the roof and seriously damaging Waterloo Bridge.

    Check out the Q&A here for the latest on the 3D extravaganza - and what's coming up for Disney.

    That was all followed by a brief video message from Cap'n Jack Sparrow, who gave us the latest on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. He wasn't terribly coherent. We suspect he may have been drinking.

    The Sony Presentation
    OMG! OMG! Salt looks insane; Angelina Jolie is officially harder than rocks. Then we saw the Easy A footage, and then some very extended clips from The Other Guys (massively wrong, hilarious) and Battle: Los Angeles (mammoth! Awesome!) Then there was the 3D footage from Resident Evil: AfterLife, introduced by Paul WS Anderson and Milla Jovovich. In the extended scene we see, Alice (Jovovich) and Claire (Ali Larter) are in a deserted bathroom when they're attacked by Axe Man and his enormous chopper. Oo-er!

    Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

    Paul Preview - With Guests Simon Pegg and Nick Frost!
    Our Chris tried to introduce the film in the absence of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, describing it as the story of a man and his talking parrot (named Kevin). Luckily, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost promptly appeared and shouted him down - and the crowd, as they say, went WILD. Cue standing ovation, an ocean of noise and actual whooping. And they have news for us! The film is 80% finished, we're told, in terms of the alien. So here's what we CAN see, as they screen the very shiny new trailer, as a little green-grey man meets the alien-loving pair played by Pegg and Frost, and the trio then meet a creationist and his one-eyed daughter (Kristen Wiig, who looks awesome). And the cast all look to be on good form, from Jason Bateman to Sigourney Weaver to Bill Hader. The applause afterwards is rapturous. I think people liked it. But slowly, as it dies down, we get the chance to pump the stars for more info...

    Watch Simon and Nick's Q&A here.

    And with that, they were gone, disappearing back into the ether from whence they came. One final bananas round of applause, a few people fainting (OK, that was just Empire) and the Paul panel reached a triumphant conclusion.

    Director Jonathan English is here to introduce some footage from the film, which looks NUTS.

    "It's about the siege of a castle in 1215. It's based on the true story of the siege of Rochester Castle. King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta and then completely reneged on his commitment, raised an army of mercenaries and razed the land. He was on the road to London, and the rebels sent a small force to hold the castle and buy time. The siege that then happened lasted for nine months in real history, was one of the longest and bloodiest sieges in medieval history. The film we made was based on that, but with a Magnificent Seven sort of a feel to it. We have a great cast, with Paul Giamatti playing King John and James Purefoy as the leader of the knights. We have Jason Flemyng, Kate Mara, Charles Dance, and it's very action packed, violent, extremely loud and violent. You're going to see 11 minutes of footage, the main battle. Our heroes have just arrived, and King John has surrounded the castle. There are three battles in the movie, three major ones, and this is the first."

    SERIOUSLY violent footage follows, with James Purefoy cutting a guy in two with a sword that's bigger than your living room, Mackenzie Crook demonstrating unexpectedly cool archery skills, Jason Flemyng nutting someone with an axe and Paul Giamatti claiming God is on his side as King John. As the blood splatters finally settle, we talk to Jonathan English, the director, producer Andrew Curtis, and stars Aneurin Bernard, Jason Flemyng and James Purefoy. Sounds like fun - although the crowd show are keen to know how much blood there'll be.

    Read the Q&A here for news on Ironclad, Solomon Kane, X-Men: First Class and cutting people in twain...

    Storm Troopers at Movie-Con

    Kyle Newman with Fanboys
    Chris Hewitt was brought back onstage in handcuffs by the 501st Garrison of UK Stormtroopers, but he managed to get himself free and introduce a clip from the film and an introduction from Kyle Newman and Jamie King, looking thrilled by the fact that their film is FINALLY getting a release on DVD and Blu ray here. To be perfectly honest, I've seen it so I know it's good, but this clip showcases a few of the film's geekier moments and reminds me that Jay Baruchel was in it alongside Dan Folger, Kristen Bell and the rest. Seek it out, it's worth it.

    We then heard about the 501st international costume club, who work with George Lucas and Lucasfilm to keep Star Wars alive around the world as if it could die). Turns out they have Tuscan raiders and other aliens among their number, and not just Stormtroopers. The UK garrison has more than 400 members! Crazy popular. Jeremy Bullock (Boba Fett) is actually an indoctrinated member of the Garrison in the US, and trooped with them in the US. And no one knew it was him because, well, he was dressed as a Stormtrooper. Heck, ANYONE could be under those costumes! Let's start a rumour that Tom Cruise is one of the gang.

    Brighton Rock
    Here's some footage that has never been seen for Brighton Rock, with one of the early scenes featuring the doomed Kite being set upon under the arches in Brighton, with sea mist blowing in and lots of noir-ish shadows all around. Our anti-hero Pinky (Sam Riley) appears just as a murder is committed - but it's not yet clear what role he plays in events (unless, of course, you've read the book or seen the 1947 film). Then we see a later scene where Pinky is dancing with waitress Rose (Andrea Riseborough), who he's trying to seduce to keep under control because she has the key to his alibi for another death.

    It's intense and dramatic-looking stuff, and has clearly got people who weren't taken with the idea of the remake (or rather, a new version) interested by the time it's over. Director Rowan Joffe and producer Paul Webster also make a really good impression, stressing their respect for the 1947 film but also showing that they have their own ideas about the film they want to make. Looking forward to seeing this.

    Check out the Q&A here for more on their plans for the film.

    Source Code
    Duncan Jones wanted to be here but couldn't - and sent a little video message instead. He didn't tell us anything exciting though, dagnabbit. Still, nice of him to say hello.

    Edgar Wright at Movie-Con III

    Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - Edgar Wright and Bryan Lee O'Malley
    Edgar Wright, fresh off a plane from LA, appeared "completely fucked" to introduce the film to us all, which was nice. He was planning to down ten espressos while we watch the film and recover. "I'd just like to make love to your eyeballs and earballs and any other holes you might make me want to make love to. I hope you have a blast, or 112 blasts, one a minute for the whole film. I'll be back with Bryan Lee O'Malley who wrote the comics, who's also very jetlagged."

    The film, even on a second viewing, was hugely entertaining, and there were even some game jokes I almost got. Everybody else clearly DID get them, judging by the constant chuckling throughout. John Landis joined us for this part of the afternoon, just as an audience member, and is still sitting nodding his head to the credits music as I write this. What. A. Dude. But now, on with the Q&A! And we have director Edgar Wright and comics writer Bryan Lee O'Malley fighting their way back through the applause to talk us through the entire thing... Hey, a little animated Scott appears at the end of the credits and punches them into oblivion!

    Check out the Q&A here for the lowdown on Pilgrim, comics and Jenny Agutter shower scenes.

    Empire's Movie-Con III proudly presented by BFI Visit www.bfi.org.uk for upcoming events