Ah, the "early, funny ones." That seemingly innocent, but bitterly loaded, phrase for the evolved artist's simpler, less conflicted juvenilia was coined by Woody Allen in his 1980 film "Stardust Memories" to playfully antagonize fans with limited patience for his tonal experimentation. He was hardly the first nor the last filmmaker to look down his nose at his own foundational work, even as he backslid towards less risky creative territory in years to follow. Rarer is the established auteur who exhibits an active hankering for his own "early, funny ones," whether or not his audience is demanding the same -- but then, Pedro Almodóvar has never played by anyone's rules but his own.
With such credible titles as "The Social Network" and the Coens' recent Cannes sensation "Inside Llewyn Davis" on his CV, Justin Timberlake's acting career has hit a certain plane of respectability, without any one performance making either critics or audiences stand to attention. Now comes "Runner, Runner" -- the first film since Andrew Niccol's botched 2011 sci-fi "In Time" to pitch Timberlake to us as a bona fide leading man.
An email came over the transom today that normally wouldn't have sparked my attention except it raised an interesting question: Could the Oscars' all-time champion, Walt Disney, figure into the 86th annual Academy Awards in a big way with the animated short "Mickey Mouse in 'Get a Horse?'"
With Seth MacFarlane having ruled himself out of proceedings, the annual pass-the-parcel game for one of the most thankless gigs in showbiz -- hosting the Academy Awards -- continues apace. Nobody's taken on the burden for two years running since Billy Crystal in 1998, while in the past decade, seven people have been (thus far) one-night-only hires. Finding a resident host would probably save AMPAS a lot of bother every year, but so far, nobody seems willing and/or able to be the 21st-century Bob Hope.
We'll be getting into refreshing our Oscar contenders and predictions and whatnot in a few weeks, we promise. It's nice to just leave it alone while, you know, we remain in the dark on what most of the season has to offer. But moves are being made here and there as studios start looking into the fall for prestige rollouts, and Universal has just made a bold move.
You have to hand it to Jennifer Lawrence -- not that the 22-year-old Oscar-winner and industry princess needs anything to be handed to her right now. But even with her career currently at supernova status, the hard-working star isn't resting on her laurels and waiting for all the plum opportunities to come her way. Instead, she's moving toward developing her own projects. It was announced today that she'll be making her producing debut with the prestige drama "Rules of Inheritance," in which she'll also obviously take the lead role.
In principle, when it comes to English-language remakes of successful foreign-language films, I'm not as militantly opposed to the idea as some critics. With the right balance of respect and initiative, a reinterpretation can often stand proudly beside the original. William Friedkin's "Sorcerer" (a remake of "The Wages of Fear"), Christopher Nolan's "Insomnia," Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning "The Departed" (a remake of "Infernal Affairs") and, soon to be in theaters, Jim Mickle's ingenious gender-flip of Mexican horror hit "We Are What We Are" are among the notable exceptions to a subset of cinema that is, admittedly, crammed with such embarrassments as "Diabolique" and "Swept Away."
We're just over a week away from one of the year's most anticipated movies, Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel." With Marvel Studios drawing the map for successful superhero franchises as of late, DC Comics is looking to catch up, and in the wake of Christopher Nolan's self-contained Batman trilogy, the way into developing that world on film -- after the stumble of "Green Lantern" -- is surely the Boy in Blue. But what of the Superman mythos has been tapped for this new vision?
Cannes is still fresh enough in my mind that the idea of diving into another film festival right now is ever-so-slightly panic-inducing, but I've got over three weeks to get in the mood for the admittedly far more relaxed charms of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic, which kicks off on June 28.
Superman and Batman aren't the only icons celebrating 75 years in the pop cultural consciousness as of late. Next year, Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion all join in on the fun as Victor Fleming's classic of Technicolor cinema, "The Wizard of Oz," pops the cork on its diamond anniversary. And Warner Bros. plans to celebrate on the biggest screens around.