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Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 07/27/2008

Comic-Con: A Trio of Movies Worth Watching

By Jen Chaney
Comic-Con...

Yesterday I stayed parked in the Convention Center's Hall H for virtually the entire day, ingesting movie presentation after movie presentation. I saw sneak peeks and/or panel discussions of eight upcoming flicks. These are the three that gave me the best reason to get excited:

1. "Terminator Salvation" The reboot of the "Terminator" franchise, starring Christian Bale as John Connor, should start generating positive buzz after yesterday's panel, in which director McG got everyone in the room fired up by calling Bale (who was in Japan to promote "Dark Knight") on his cell phone and convincing all 6500 of us to scream into his voice mail. McG suggested that the new "Terminator" may be R-rated, despite rumors of a PG-13, and strongly implied that Schwarzenegger's character will be part of the story.

He was joined onstage by several key cast members, including Bryce Dallas Howard, Common and Anton Yelchin, who plays Kyle Reese. Some footage was shown as well, and it looks promising. The film, as McG explained, was shot with color stock but treated with as much silver as one might use for black-and-white film, so it has a very stripped-down, grainy feel. The crowd definitely seemed excited. Personally, I could watch Christian Bale clean out the lint catcher in his dryer, so with him in the movie, they have me at hello. "Terminator Salvation" comes out next summer.

2. "Drag Me to Hell." Sam Raimi came to Comic-Con, but not with Spidey. He brought some footage from his return to "Evil Dead" territory, a horror flick called "Drag Me to Hell." And Oh. My. God. If you're a fan of Raimi's campy-but-scary work in this department, you will be super-excited by this one.

Raimi showed two clips, one of star Alison Lohman in a completely insane fight with an old woman determined to bite her face off, and another in which really bad things happen after a teeny blue fly crawls into Lohman's mouth. Both clips were completely gory, frightening and hilarious. Everyone around me was gasping and giggling with horrified glee. Even the cast members who joined Raimi and just finished shooting three weeks ago -- Lohman, Justin Long and Dileep Rao -- seemed really jazzed to see the footage. This one also comes to theaters next summer.


Star James Franco answers a question at Saturday's 'Pineapple Express' panel. (Jen Chaney for washingtonpost.com)

3. "The Pineapple Express." Yeah, the buzz on this has already been building for a while. But it was still fun to see Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen, James Franco and other members of the "Pineapple" crew onstage and in several clips from the stoner comedy. The guys made plenty of marijuana jokes (duh), James Franco looked handsome in the most Daniel Desario possible way and everyone in the audience seemed very excited about the movie, which comes out Aug. 8. The car chase scene and a knock-down, drag-out between Rogen, Franco and Danny McBride make this worth the price of admission, I think.

Biggest Bummer: "Land of the Lost." Yes, Sid and Marty Krofft were onstage (awesome) and they even implied that they might make a movie version of "H.R. Pufnstuf." But the only footage we got to see of this adaptation of the freaky children's TV classic was a 30-second teaser featuring Will Ferrell and a ticked-off dinosaur. Presumably we'll get a better sense of the movie between now and next summer, when it's slated to open.

By Jen Chaney  | July 27, 2008; 12:20 PM ET
Categories:  Comic-Con  
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