In Jack the Giant Slayer, Bryan Singer engages in the time-honored tradition of taking a classic fairy tale and reshaping it to fit the times. Current trends being what they are, that means turning the film gritty and (relatively) realistic, with plenty of Lord of the Rings-style action.

Screenwriters David Dobkin and Darren Lemke take the basic touchstones of Jack and the Giant Beanstalk — the poor farm boy, the magic beans, the scary giants — but introduce several brand-new elements to the story. In this version, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) heads upward to rescue a beautiful princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) and stop her evil betrothed (Stanley Tucci) from taking over the kingdom. It’s a version of Jack that’s never been told in all the centuries that the character has been around. So why does it all feel so tiresomely familiar?

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Lots of randomness in this edition of Star Wars Bits. We’ve got debate, video games, standalone talk, real science, humor and more. After the jump. Read about the following:

  • Kevin Smith thinks a new Star Wars movie every year is a good thing.
  • Ewan McGregor has an idea for an Obi-Wan Kenobi stand-alone movie.
  • Zen Pinball has released an Empire Strikes Back map for PS3 and Vita.
  • Several Star Wars Expanded Universe authors reveal what they’d like to see in new Star Wars movies.
  • J.J. Abrams’ production designer Scott Chambliss will not work on Star Wars Episode VII.
  • Exactly what does a 12 parsec Kessell Run mean about Han Solo?
  • Is George Lucas feeling good now that he’s not in control of Star Wars?

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With spring creeping up on us, a whole bunch of images have just been revealed for two very different high-profile releases. Bryan Singer‘s Jack the Giant Slayer is a CG-heavy fantasy epic based on the classic fairy tale, while Derek Cianfrance‘s The Place Beyond the Pines takes an atypical approach to the crime thriller genre.

In addition, we have a new still for Gore Verbinski‘s The Lone Ranger, which isn’t due out until summer but should be revealing a bit of new footage during this weekend’s Super Bowl. Check out all the pictures after the jump.

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Love is in the air in this edition of Star Wars Bits. After the jump read a few romantic stories, a few speculative ones, some Star Wars history and a possible massive hint at Episode VII. Here’s what we’ve got:

  • Disney announced the dates of their long running Star Wars Weekends in 2013
  • Ewan McGregor would “be up for” Star Wars Episode VII if needed.
  • A long-lost short film that played in front of The Empire Strike Back, Black Angel, might soon resurface online.
  • Wes Anderson thinks he could make a good Han Solo origin movie.
  • Star Wars MMO The Old Republic is trying to incorporate same sex romance.
  • George Lucas just got engaged to the chairman of DreamWorks animation.
  • If you have an idea for a Pringles Star Wars commercial, you could win $75,000.
  • Could the lead character of Star Wars Episode VII be female?

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Christmas is over and that means it’s time to get back to the biggest news story of 2012: Star Wars. Lots of little things are going on in the world of Disney, Lucasfilm and a Galaxy Far, Far Away and we’ve rounded it all up for you in this edition of Star Wars Bits. After the jump read about the following:

  • J.J. Abrams comments on being offered and turning down Star Wars Episode VII.
  • Star Trek star Chris Pine suggests he’d be open to appearing in both worlds.
  • Disney‘s acquisition of LucasFilm is now complete.
  • George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy talk to Star Wars Insider about the franchise’s future.
  • Create and grade your own Star Wars Episode VII with a new, funny flash game.
  • Watch Ewan McGregor talk about first hearing about the new Star Wars films.
  • What is the game Star Wars: Trench Run and how can you see it?
  • Samuel L. Jackson is still campaigning to appear in Episode VII.
  • Katie McGrath, a star on BBC’s Merlin, wants in.

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Episode VII isn’t coming out for a few years yet, but 2013 promises lots of non-cinematic Star Wars releases, including a new comic book series, a novel by Timothy Zahn, and an expansion to The Old Republic. After the jump:

  • George Lucas once had plans for four Star Wars trilogies
  • Kathleen Kennedy teases an Episode VII update coming in January
  • Ewan McGregor wants to return, maybe as a hologram
  • Samuel L. Jackson is also willing to return as a ghost
  • Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman talk Star Wars: Legacy
  • Timothy Zahn discusses his novel Scoundrels and Episode VII
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic is getting an expansion

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This morning Megan Fox, Ed Helms, and Jessica Alba announced the nominations for the 2013 Golden Globes. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the event, is famous for nominating films and performances simply based on their star factor — if there’s an actor that members of the HFPA want to hang out with, they’re sure to get a nomination.

But the HFPA is great at putting on a show, and so the Golden Globes generate a lot of attention every year. And, as the NY Times points out, with the Globes nominations coming just days before Oscar nomination voting starts, there’s a possibility that nominations here could affect Oscar voting. The Best Picture nomination set includes what is already becoming a standard set of awards favorites, such as Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty, but there are also nominations for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and Django Unchained. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen picked up a few nominations, actually, which was one of  the big surprises.

The Golden Globes will air on January 13, 2013, hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. The full nomination list is below. Read More »

Star Wars fans looking for some actual news, and even a few laughs, will find lots to like in this edition of Star Wars Bits. After the jump read (and watch) the following:

  • The real George Lucas explains his role as consultant on Star Wars Episode VII.
  • A fake George Lucas drops some funny hits about the film on YouTube.
  • The fourth installment of the Kathleen Kennedy/George Lucas interview has been released, discussing the timeless nature of Star Wars.
  • Ewan McGregor tells the behind the scenes story of the birth of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia during Revenge of the Sith.
  • StarWars.com officially announces the departure of producer Rick McCallum, and mentions his upcoming plans.
  • Why was a Star Wars video game that was 99% complete cancelled? (Not Star Wars 1313, don’t worry.)

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