<p>Pixar Animation&nbsp;Studio in Emeryville,&nbsp;Calif.</p>

Pixar Animation Studio in Emeryville, Calif.

Credit: AP Photo

Pixar strikes a compromise between original concepts and sequels

The animation studio plans to aim for one original film every year

I've certainly voiced my share of regret with regard to Pixar sequels. I'm honestly not against them in principal (some might argue the "Toy Story" films got better with each subsequent installment), but I do understand frustration from those who'd like to see the animation studio steer away from the brand expansion market and back to original concepts.

That said, it's odd to me that "Monsters University" seems to be such a last straw for so many. I couldn't stand "Cars 2," and yes, I'm pretty perturbed at the notion of my favorite Pixar film receiving the sequel treatment while a film that seems to be aching for it -- "The Incredibles" -- remains singular. But I was charmed by the new "Monsters," which landed to one of the biggest openings in the studio's history last weekend. It's not the poster child here, in my opinion.

Nevertheless, it seems Pixar has heard the moaning and taken it to heart. In an interview with Pixar president Ed Catmull, Buzzfeed reveals that the studio is planning to scale back on sequels and aim for one original film each year.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Nymphomaniac.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Nymphomaniac."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Sex or sweeties in first clip from Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac'

It's fair to say the film isn't revealing its hand just yet

Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" -- a supposed sexual odyssey with a starry cast including Shia LaBeouf, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Uma Thurman, among others -- is currently enjoying such a feverish level of anticipation that it could announce a new typeface for its credits and the internet would collectively freak out for a minute. So it's inevitable that the first, minute-long clip to be revealed from the film has been eagerly seized upon by the web -- and even more inevitable that von Trier has punked us with a wholly chaste clip that, alluring as it is, doesn't reveal much of anything (or any of its famous faces). Come on, you didn't think Lars was going to let the cat out of the bag just yet, did you?

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<p>Ilkka Koivula in Aki Kaurismaki's &quot;Tavern Man,&quot; part of &quot;Historic Center.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Ilkka Koivula in Aki Kaurismaki's "Tavern Man," part of "Historic Center." 

Credit: Urban Distribution International

Edinburgh Film Festival: Auteurs at play in 'Historic Center,' and other short treats

Also: one to watch in the Best Animated Short Oscar race?

One of the pleasures I’ve allowed myself at this year’s Edinburgh fest is more time than usual to graze the handpicked short film programme – annually a point of pride for the festival, though inevitably swamped in the attention stakes by even the most negligible features in the lineup. That’s understandable: it’s hard to cover films that your readers have no certain way of accessing, and even with advances in online exhibition, distribution of shorts remains a niche affair. Taking aside from the annual release of those fortunate shorts rather randomly singled out by the Oscars, civilian cinemagoers are unlikely to see any at all.

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<p>&quot;Looper&quot;&nbsp;star Joseph Gordon-Levitt was invited to join the actors branch</p>

"Looper" star Joseph Gordon-Levitt was invited to join the actors branch

Credit: AP Photo

Jason Bateman, Lena Dunham and Prince among 276 invited to join the Academy

As well as...Chris Tucker?

The Academy has announced its annual list of invitees to its esteemed membership, including 276 names from actors Jason Bateman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jennifer Lopez and Milla Jovovich to directors Steve McQueen, Todd Phillips and last year's wunderkind Benh Zeitlin.

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<p>Stark Sands, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake in &quot;Inside Llewyn Davis.&quot;</p>

Stark Sands, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake in "Inside Llewyn Davis."

Credit: CBS Films

'Inside Llewyn Davis' soundtrack, featuring Justin Timberlake and Marcus Mumford, out in September

The T Bone Burnett-produced folk collection is sure to be a hipster favorite

American audiences will have to wait until December 6 to see "Inside Llewyn Davis," the Coen Brothers' folk-scene study that wowed critics (and Steven Spielberg's jury) at Cannes last month. But take heart: you can hear it -- well, sort of -- a few months earlier, as the film's excellent (and highly integral) soundtrack is released on September 17. That's in time for Grammy consideration, by the way -- and while it won't be eligible for any music Oscars, they may as well start engraving the Best Compilation Soundtrack Grammy statuette right now.

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<p>Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in &quot;White House&nbsp;Down&quot;</p>

Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in "White House Down"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'White House Down'

Roland Emmerich's 'Die Hard' rip-off explodes onto screens this weekend

There's a lot of apologizing for Roland Emmerich's "White House Down" going on out there. On one hand, I get it. It's fun. Etc. And I've certainly been an Emmerich apologist in my time. On the other hand, the film is so PAINFULLY derivative and you can only roll your eyes so many times in a film before it just stops being an enjoyable experience, no? I just didn't realize you could get paid for a script that so liberally cribs another ("Die Hard"). Right down to the Beethoven. Noted. Anyway, HitFix's Drew McWeeny is on my side of the line, calling the film "inconsequential summer programming." But let's hear what you have to say about it. Rifle off your thoughts in the comments section below when and if you see the film, and feel free to vote in our poll, too.

<p>James Franco</p>

James Franco

Credit: AP Photo

James Franco abandons directorial project 'Garden of Last Days'

Actor-director has left the project two weeks before shooting was set to begin

As I was saying the other day, James Franco has a lot going on. As an actor, he's already had four films out this year, others from Sundance and Berlin still awaiting release, while his sixth feature as a director, the William Faulkner adaptation "As I Lay Dying," just premiered at Cannes. He's got an art exhibition on the go in London, and, with his producer's cap on, is currently seeking crowdfunding for three feature-length adaptations of his short stories. Whether you love, loathe or are simply bemused by Franco, you can't accuse him of hiding his light under a bushel. 

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<p>Channing&nbsp;Tatum and&nbsp;Bennett&nbsp;Miller on the set of &quot;Foxcatcher&quot;</p>

Channing Tatum and Bennett Miller on the set of "Foxcatcher"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Where will Bennett Miller's 'Foxcatcher' end up?

Sources say it could go to Sony Classics or be shuffled off to 2014

When you take a look across Sony Pictures' impressive slate for the upcoming fall movie season, it becomes clear that the studio has a lot to work with. There's George Clooney, fresh off "Argo"'s Best Picture Oscar win with his directorial effort "The Monuments Men." There's also another heavyweight from last year's Oscar race, David O. Russell, back in the saddle with a big cast in "American Hustle."

Those two would be more than enough for any awards campaign to handle, but then there's Paul Greengrass's "Captain Phillips," the true-life account of a 2009 Somali pirate raid starring Tom Hanks. And finally, "Moneyball" director Bennett Miller will be back with "Foxcatcher," the bizarre true story of convicted millionaire murderer John duPont with Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum. Something might need to blink, and the way I hear it, it may just be "Foxcatcher."

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<p>Julianne Moore with her SAG&nbsp;Award in January for playing another politician in HBO's &quot;Game Change&quot;</p>

Julianne Moore with her SAG Award in January for playing another politician in HBO's "Game Change"

Credit: AP Photo

Another prestige actor heading to the 'Hunger Games' cast?

The Francis Lawrence-directed sequels are stacking the deck as of late

Boy, make $400 million at the box office and everyone wants to hop on your franchise. Young Adult adaptation "The Hunger Games" hit last year and it hit big, making a bigger star of Jennifer Lawrence and establishing a giant money magnet for Lionsgate in the process. The sequels were immediately set up with Lawrence and co-stars Woody Harrelson and Josh Hutcherson returning, with director Francis Lawrence at the helm.

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<p>Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender in &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender in "12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Searchlight gives '12 Years a Slave' room to breathe

Steve McQueen's slavery drama will get an October 18 platform release

You can hear the Oscar gurgles percolating as studios have been showing films in hushed theaters looking for feedback and shuffling their schedules to find the right release dates for this and that. Soon the fall festival season will reveal what's what and it'll be a race to the finish among the players.

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