Zac Efron, ‘Transformers,’ ‘Twilight’ & More At ShoWest 2009

The cabbie who drove me to the hotel kept making fun of Ashton Kutcher. My room at Planet Hollywood is themed around Dolph Lundgren’s 1987 clunker “Masters of the Universe.” This afternoon, I browsed concession booths pitching Dipping Dots, White Castle Jalapeno Cheeseburgers, and more variations on nachos and popcorn than I thought humanly possible.

I might be in Nevada, but it sure feels like I’m still in LA.

Welcome to ShoWest, the annual convention in Las Vegas where theater owners, studios and journalists come to meet up and talk about all the big films of the next few months. I’ve already taken some pictures of all the various posters, from the best (“Terminator Salvation” has a really badass standee) to the worst (Nia Vardalos in a quasi-sequel to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” a half-decade too late?) to the uneventful (the “New Moon” poster is so plain that I found it over in a corner of the hallway, leaning against the wall virtually unnoticed).

Tonight are super-advance screenings of “The Proposal” (Which will win? Sandra Bullock’s snoozy romantic comedy clichés, or Ryan Reynolds’ all-around awesomeness?) and “The Battle for Terra” (in 3-D!), and then tomorrow is “Whatever Works” (Woody Allen + Larry David = Brilliance?).

On Thursday evening, I’ll be attending the closing night Awards Banquet. The honorees are some big names, and all are expected to spend some time giving us the scoop on their upcoming movies: Zac Efron, Rachel McAdams, Audrina Patridge, Dennis Quaid, Michael Caine, Sienna Miller, Zack Snyder, Bradley Cooper and Michael Bay included.

Oh, and did I mention that Bumblebee from “The Transformers” movies is standing outside the Paris hotel? Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s doing interviews.

Keep your eyes here over the next few days, as we’ll be bringing you the latest news from ShoWest. In the meantime, I’m gonna run back to my hotel room and see if I can get the “Skeletor Trooper” prop gun that’s hanging above my bed out of its protective glass casing for a few hours without losing my room deposit.

Anybody else at ShoWest this year? If so, what have you seen/done so far?