Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

'The Hobbit' trailer gives a peek at the latest 2-part epic

Two part movies are all the rage right now with Twilight: Breaking Dawn being split up, as well as the final Harry Potter book making two movies, and that trend is about to continue with "The Hobbit." The first, subtitled "An Unexpected Journey," is out next December, while "There and Back Again" hits theaters in December of 2013.

The first trailer has been meticulously picked apart by fans; my favorite overly in-depth analysis was done by Bleeding Cool.

As someone who hasn't read "the Hobbit" since I was a small lad (wait, is watching this trailer making me talk like them now?), some of the trailer was a bit mystifying, but still exciting. There are enough touchstones for it to be accessible to those who just know the story from "the Lord of the Rings" films, though — particularly a closing appearance by everyone's favorite piece of CGI magic, Gollum.

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Can Wonder Woman appeal to a modern audience?

In her 70 year history, Wonder Woman has never made it to the big screen. Wonder Woman almost made it to television this fall, with legendary TV producer David E. Kelley behind it. A pilot was produced for NBC, but in the end, NBC decided not to go with it.

DC Comics recently redesigned Wonder Woman, giving her pants and a jacket to cover up her rather bare classic look. Once the show was dropped, the pants dropped too (no, not like that), with DC having no need of coordinating a look across media properties.

The pilot's leaked out online, so there are reviews available. The consensus seems to be that it was cheesy and not quite there, but that there are the sparks of something, particularly in the actress portraying Wonder Woman (also known for her work on "Friday Night Lights"), Adrianne Palicki. This generation apparently won't get the chance to watch a Wonder Woman TV show of their own.

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Joss Whedon's new secret movie: Shakespeare via Santa Monica

muchadothemovie.com

The promo image for Joss Whedon's new movie "Much Ado About Nothing."

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Joss Whedon (L) with his favorite actor, Nathan Fillion (R).


Director Joss Whedon, best known so far for TV cult classics like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Firefly," soon to be known for directing "The Avengers," just shot another film. In secret. In 12 days.

It's a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," filmed in less than two weeks, in black and white, all in Santa Monica. Members of the cast started tweeting about it after principal photography wrapped.

A press release was issued giving details on the project, which is looking at being completed by early spring before moving to the festival circuit. That press release includes some of Whedon's signature deadpan self-deprecating humor, noting that the cast is committed to the idea that "the joy of working on a passion project surrounded by dear friends, admired colleagues and an atmosphere of unabashed rapture far outweighs their hilariously miniature paychecks."

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New documentary 'Shut Up, Little Man!' looks at going viral before the Internet

The new documentary "Shut Up, Little Man! An Audio Misadventure" opens Friday in Los Angeles and New York after previously opening in the heart of the film's story, San Francisco. It tells the story of two roommates who decided to record the darkly funny arguments of their alcoholic neighbors, Peter J. Haskett and Raymond Huffman. I had the chance to speak with those two neighbors who made the recordings, who went by the monickers "Eddie Lee Sausage" and "Mitchell D."


A young Mitch D and Eddie Lee Sausage.

Eddie and Mitch moved from the Midwest into a bright pink San Francisco apartment in 1987. Their neighbors would get drunk and fight until the wee hours of the morning, and Peter shouting "Shut up, little man" became the iconic cry of those arguments. Eddie and Mitch began recording Peter and Ray and ultimately started distributing copies to their friends, which started a viral phenomenon in the pre-Internet, pre-social media, pre-YouTube era.

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Francis Ford Coppola's 'TWIXT': Director as DJ, allowing live movie editing

The trailer just came out for Francis Ford Coppola's new movie, "TWIXT":

It may look like a standard suspense/horror flick on the surface, but I saw Coppola show off what's really interesting about this movie at Comic-Con. He pulled out a tablet computer and showed the crowd that he could rearrange the scenes on the fly.

Coppola explained that, for example, if things were going well, he could go with the long version of a scene, or if he wanted to speed things up, he could go with the short version of the scene. He demonstrated this by playing an extended trailer, then making all the scenes with Val Kilmer, who was also there, a bit longer with some added footage.

Composer Dan Deacon was also there to provide variations on the film's score. Coppola and Deacon plan to tour the film to 30 cities this fall, giving live performances of the movie with 30 cities potentially getting 30 different cuts of the movie.

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