With Labor Day weekend marking the end of the summer movie season — actually, make that the traditional end of summer, period — it’s time to look ahead at the fall and winter offerings on the horizon.

We’ve got early buzz on two very different entertainments coming up, Terrence Malick‘s To the Wonder and Sam MendesSkyfall. The former made its debut at Venice this past weekend to divided audiences, while the latter has apparently begun test screenings in London. Read more after the jump.

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Early Buzz: ‘Cloud Atlas’ Test Screening Reactions

The same breathtaking ambition that makes Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer‘s David Mitchell adaptation Cloud Atlas so intriguing also gives it the potential to flop, hard. Weaving together six interlocking stories that cut across time, space, and genre is difficult enough to do within the confines of a novel, to say nothing of a three-hour film. Then there’s that insane casting: stars like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, and Jim Sturgess are each playing multiple characters, in some cases switching genders or races to do so.

Thankfully, buzz from test screenings suggests that much more of it works than not. Keep in mind that quite a few things may have changed in the few months since testing began (for one thing, some of these folks saw a cut that was four hours long), and that these reactions are coming from people whose tastes we don’t know. Even so, a flood of positive reactions seems like a very promising sign. Hit the jump to read the comments.

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Here’s why you should go out to the movies on a Friday evening: last night at the Aero, in Santa Monica, audiences who turned up to see The Shining were told that Kubrick’s movie would be followed by a surprise double-feature. That second film was Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master, and it was projected in 70mm.

What a cool move on Anderson’s part — not a test screening, but just a low-key surprise for people who were in the right place at the right time. (This is a bit like his choice to premiere There Will Be Blood at Fantastic Fest, when that festival was a lot smaller.) Opinions are starting to filter out about the movie, and while they’re largely from people we don’t know — so we don’t know their taste in film in general — there are some comments that you’ll probably want to read. Read More »

Since its earliest rumblings, we’ve been following a new project by Disney Animation Studios called Paperman. It’s a short film directed by John Kahrs about “a young man in NYC relying on his heart, imagination, a stack of papers—and a little luck—to win the girl of his dreams.” The short is scheduled to premiere in theaters with Wreck-It Ralph this November.

Paperman is now finished and will reportedly debut in Los Angeles and France this month. Several new images have come on line, and the short also screened at Disney’s Pixar Studios, leading several employees there to tweet all about it. Check it out below. Read More »

The expectations are sky-high for Alfonso Cuarón‘s Gravity, the director’s first film since 2006′s Children of Men. In fact, between the A-list cast (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney), its intriguing sci-fi premise, its ambitious long shots, and gushing praise from colleagues like Guillermo del Toro, we have plenty of reason to believe the film could be his most brilliant yet. On the other hand, this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve been dead wrong about a movie this early on.

This week in Pasadena, Gravity had its first test screening, and while the cut was apparently very rough, audiences saw enough to form some strong opinions about it. From here, it sounds like it could be this year’s Tree of Life — gorgeous, innovative, worthy of acclaim, and perhaps a little divisive. Hit the jump to see some reactions.

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Early Buzz: ‘John Carter’

One film I’ve been decidedly mixed on is John Carter, Andrew Stanton‘s live-action debut. Much as I love the talent involved — stars Taylor Kitsch, Willem Dafoe, Mark Strong, etc., screenwriter Michael Chabon, and of course Stanton — I haven’t loved the footage we’ve seen of it so far. But trailers, clips, and Super Bowl spots only tell us so much, and some of the buzz from the early screenings have made the project sound a bit more promising. Hit the jump for more.

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When people think of 1999 movies, titles like Fight Club, The Matrix and Being John Malkovich are just a few of the influential titles mentioned. One that regularly gets overlooked is American Pie, which not only was a massive hit, it launched a franchise, multiple catchphrases and the careers of several actors. It’s now 13 years later and 2012, once again, has a very impressive set of films coming out and, once again, American Reunion is getting overlooked. The fourth theatrical Pie film returns the entire cast for their 10 year high school reunion and will be released on April 6.

The film test screened earlier this week in New York and Los Angeles and fans took to Twitter to voice their opinions. What did they think? They loved it. Read some early buzz after the jump. Read More »

Hugo represents unfamiliar territory for Martin Scorsese, being both his first family film and his first 3D project, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the movie. The legendary director has crafted a charming piece of all-ages entertainment that’s absolutely stunning in its use of live-action 3D — even in the unfinished version I saw, a work in progress with visible green screens, some very rough CG, and a temporary sound mix. This is the kind of work filmmakers are talking about when they insist it isn’t just a cheesy, money-grabbing gimmick, but a true next step in cinematic technology, because this is the kind of movie that’s actually worth shelling out the extra bucks and dealing with those uncomfortable disposable glasses for. Read on after the jump.

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