Alfonso Cuarón tells a deeply personal story with absolute precision in "Roma"                "Creed II" is an outstanding sequel and one of the year's best films                Strong showings for "Eighth Grade" and "You Were Never Really Here" highlight the Independent Spirit Award nominations                Review: Round-Up: "At Eternity's Gate", "The Clovehitch Killer", "Jonathan", and "The Last Race"                "Green Book" is a crowd pleaser of the highest order and a definite Oscar contender                Steve McQueen and a phenomenal ensemble cast help make "Widows" look effortless                "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" offers something for every type of Coen Brothers fan                Updated Academy Award predictions for early November                Review Round-Up: "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch", "El Angel" "The Long Dumb Road", and "Outlaw King"                Taking a look at potential Best Documentary Feature contenders                "The Front Runner" is a terrific and timely film for right around Election Day                Hollywood Film Awards Marked the Launch of Awards Season                Taking a first crack at Golden Globe predictions                “The Favourite” and “The Front Runner”: Films to see in November                Awkwafina to Host 22nd Hollywood Film Awards        

“Hobbit” cast speaks — Watch the press conference here!

By Sean O’Connell It’s a really good time to be a film geek. Almost every superhero under the sun has a film franchise, many of which are being guided by enormously gifted storytellers like Christopher Nolan or Darren Aronofsky. Big screen adaptations of beloved literary properties are underway. And technology puts fans on the front line of the process, opening “doors” that never could have been cracked just a few years ago.

Take Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit,” for example. There’s no chance any of us could have attended the New Zealand press conference with the full “Hobbit” cast. But thanks to the all-powerful Internet, you can watch all 38 minutes of the press event right here.

Amazing. Omnipresent media has its negatives, but access like this is extremely positive. Heck, even Jackson couldn’t attend due to his recuperation from ulcer surgery. I wonder if he watched the press conference online, as well?

During the press conference, Martin Freeman received the most attention, as his character, Bilbo Baggins, shoulders most of the “Hobbit” load. When asked if he has looked at any of Ian Holm’s work in the first “Lord of the Rings” films, Freeman said, “Obviously I’ve been looking at what he was doing. There’s a certain level, of course, at which I have to match what he was doing and then forget it as well. … Without being either big-headed or falsely modest, I think I’m quite a good match for him.”

Then there was Richard Armitage, who has been cast as Thorin Oakenshield. “My first experience on stage was in a production of The Hobbit at the Alex Theater in Birmingham,” he said. “I played an Elf and Gollum was a papier-mache puppet with a man offstage on a microphone. It’s been in my childhood very prominently, so to come to it as a middle-aged man and have another look at it is a brilliant opportunity.”

“The Hobbit” goes into production next month, and targets a December 2012 release date.

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