<p>Lisa Cholodenko (right) and her &quot;Kids Are All Right&quot; collaborator Annette Bening, now both Academy governors.</p>

Lisa Cholodenko (right) and her "Kids Are All Right" collaborator Annette Bening, now both Academy governors.

Credit: AP Photo/Michel Spingler

Academy welcomes six new governors, including Lisa Cholodenko and Bill Condon

New Academy president to be elected in two weeks' time

Female directors and producers may have received relatively short shrift at the Academy Awards over 84 years -- for those of you keeping score, only seven women have won Best Picture, while that number famously drops to one for Best Director. Within the Academy itself, however, they get a little more respect: following yesterday's announcement of their rejigged Board of Governors, women occupy two-thirds of the spaces in the director and producer sections.

One of them is also one of six new governors: Lisa Cholodenko, the Oscar-nominated writer-director of "The Kids Are All Right," joins recent Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow and Michael Mann at the directors' table. Mann returns to the board after a hiatus, while Bigelow retains her place (and also holds a spot in the documentary field, making her the only governor doing double duty).

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"Finding Nemo"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

'Finding Nemo 2' is apparently happening


A colleague was recently bemoaning Pixar's descent into the world of, as he put it, "Roman numerals, Roman numerals, Roman numerals."

Indeed, after turning "Toy Story" into an amazing franchise that got better with each installment, the company has added onto the "Cars" series with a sequel, has "Monsters University" (a follow-up to 2001's "Monsters, Inc.") on the way next year and, as broken today by Deadline, is priming "Finding Nemo" for another trip to the well.

This makes me really sad. Some are saying there's a whiff of director Andrew Stanton retreating to safe territory after the disaster of "John Carter," but he has always said he wouldn't be averse to a sequel if he found the right concept. Well, it appears he has, and what I consider to be Pixar's best film and one of the decade's best, too, will no longer go unsullied by franchising.

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<p>A classic image from &quot;Batman Begins,&quot; which was largely inspired by Frank Miller's &quot;Batman: Year One&quot;</p>

A classic image from "Batman Begins," which was largely inspired by Frank Miller's "Batman: Year One"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

10 Batman arcs to prepare you for 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Which stories have inspired Christopher Nolan's trilogy?

This Friday the giant zit that is "The Dark Knight Rises" hype will finally be popped and the anticipation for Christopher Nolan's superhero denouement will give way to discovery. But the great thing about Batman is that the character endures, even if Nolan's interpretation takes its leave.

"Definitive" will be a word thrown around a lot when considering these films, but -- and not to take anything away from Nolan -- when stacked against what? Nothing that came before understood the character well enough to be considered the mold. So I hope future filmmakers will not feel trepidation when saddling up to give their take. In this world of reboots, we all know it's coming. But I wouldn't let Nolan's trilogy cast too daunting a shadow. Again, the character endures. He was here long before Nolan.

And indeed, one of the reasons I'd argue this series has been so successful has been its reverence for that source material. Story arcs from Batman's 70-plus years were fruitful inspiration for the filmmakers, and with the closing installment right around the corner, it seemed like a good time to call back to those yarns from the pages of DC Comics.

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<p>Aris Servetalis in &quot;Alps.&quot;</p>

Aris Servetalis in "Alps."

Credit: Kino Lorber

'Alps' does the (limited) Stateside rounds

Catch Yorgos Lanthimos's 'Dogtooth' follow-up if you can

This is a total cop-out of an admission, but the best film I saw in my recent trip to the Karlovy Vary Film Festival was one I'd seen before. (Okay, including what I caught in the Jean-Pierre Melville retrospective, I should amend that to the best few films. But let us not split hairs.) The week hadn't wanted for worthwhile discoveries, but things swam into perspective when, in the last few hours before I had to leave for the airport, I impulsively ducked into a screening of Yorgos Lanthimos's "Alps." Coming out of it a second time, everything else I'd seen that week looked a shade smaller, a little more finite, by comparison.

Regular readers might remember I fell hard for Lanthimos's playful, existentially preoccupied follow-up to "Dogtooth" at Venice nearly a year ago: it was my favorite film of the festival, and wound up in my Top 5 of 2011. But it plays even better on a second go-round.

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<p>Christopher Nolan at the New&nbsp;York premiere of &quot;The&nbsp;Dark&nbsp;Knight Rises&quot;</p>

Christopher Nolan at the New York premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises"

Credit: AP

'Dark Knight Rises' cast and crew speak of 'bittersweet' goodbye at New York premiere

The family Christopher Nolan built bids farewell

Manhattan played host to the world premiere of Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" today on a hot day in the city (which also served as one of the key locations of the shoot). The Associated Press offered a live stream of the red (make that black) carpet arrivals, which, in addition to principals from the cast and crew of the film, included other such celebrities as Ron Howard and Dennis Haysbert.

"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished with the three movies," star Christian Bale said. "I'm very honored to have played this character and to have recreated it in our own fashion. And I'm very fascinated to see what consequent Batman incarnations will look like."

In many ways, Bale said he was amazed to be there for the premiere of a third and final film. Everyone involved with the production always said they should just assume one movie at a time and "not be arrogant enough" to assume they would have the opportunity to make sequels.

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<p>The Tumbler in &quot;Batman Begins&quot;</p>

The Tumbler in "Batman Begins"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'The Batmobile' documentary to air on The CW

Take look back at the Dark Knight's wheels over the years tonight

One of the highlights of my extremely (mercifully) short trip to Comic-Con this year was a big showcase of all the Batmobiles, from the 1966 TV series edition through the Tumbler of Christopher Nolan's latest Batman franchise. I've always wanted to see one of the Anton Furst-designed rigs from the Tim Burton films up close and suddenly, I got my chance. It didn't disappoint.

The Batmobile has always generated awe. It's a signature element of the Dark Knight's arsenal, unique in the world of superheroes. And each iteration on screen has been pretty friggin' cool in its own way.

So with that in mind, the CW will be airing a short documentary tonight creatively called "The Batmobile" that covers the history of Batman's ride. Interviews with Nolan, Burton, Joel Schumacher, Adam West, Dennis O'Neil and Michael Uslan are included.

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<p>Two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton will serve on this year's Venice Film Festival jury.</p>

Two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton will serve on this year's Venice Film Festival jury.

Credit: AP Photo

Venice jury includes Samantha Morton and Marina Abramovic

A diverse selection of eight artists to serve under jury president Michael Mann

I confess that when the press release unveiling this year's Venice Film Festival jury landed in my inbox today, it brought me up a little short -- I hadn't quite realized that the festival, which I'll be covering here at IC for the fourth consecutive year, is only a little over six weeks away. Yep, that's how close the fall festival season, and all the feverish awards talk it brings with it, is: enjoy the peace of summer while it lasts, folks.

That slightly sobering realization aside, the press release brought good news: in keeping with Venice's recently acquired reputation as perhaps the most adventurously programmed of the big three European festivals, this year's jury -- expanded this year from the usual seven members to nine -- is a suitably contemporary and eclectic gathering of artists. It was previously announced that Michael Mann (whose daughter, Ami, competed at the fest last year with "Texas Killing Fields") will preside over this year's Competition jury, marking the third year in a year in a row that an American director has had the honor: Quentin Tarantino and Darren Aronofsky precede him. But he's to be the only Yank at the table, with his fellow jurors coming from Britain, Israel, Argentina, Hong Kong, Serbia, France, Switzerland and, of course, Italy.

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<p>Michelle Williams in &quot;Take This Waltz.&quot;</p>

Michelle Williams in "Take This Waltz."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

A belated appreciation of 'Take This Waltz'

One of the year's best films has already been out for two weeks

Every now and then, the curious in-between state of being a film critic in two different countries means an occasional slip in awareness. As much as I try to stay abreast of both the UK and US release schedules, I'm sometimes surprised to find that this film or that has or hasn't surfaced in one of those regions -- particularly when the parallel universe of the festival circuit means so many things are seen out of time.

Which is why this post arrives a fortnight late: somewhere between my festival exploits in Edinburgh and Karlovy Vary, I completely failed to register that Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz" -- itself a long-tarrying premiere at Toronto last autumn -- opened Stateside at the end of June. (Perhaps I was distracted by its August release date in the UK.) No harm, no foul -- except when we're talking about one of the year's best films.

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<p>Christian&nbsp;Bale in &quot;The Dark&nbsp;Knight Rises&quot;</p>

Christian Bale in "The Dark Knight Rises"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The 'Dark Knight Rises' Oscar talk begins

And here...we...go!

You could hear the hype machine behind Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" humming to life the instant it was assured some form of existence. It's building to a fever pitch this week as the film is on everyone's lips down in Comic-Con and word out of uniquely selective screenings makes the rounds. And now, David Germain has gone and thrown out the Oscar talk, so strap in.

Discussing the film in semi-review language, Germain swears it "has the weight and scope – and then some – of 2008's 'The Dark Knight'...whose snub in the best-picture field helped prod the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to expand the category to more than five nominees." He basically plants a flag for the film's chances on the circuit and gets Nolan, Christian Bale and Anne Hathaway on the record to discuss the franchise's awards legacy.

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<p>Comic-Con&nbsp;exclusive &quot;Django&nbsp;Unchained&quot;&nbsp;T-shirt</p>

Comic-Con exclusive "Django Unchained" T-shirt

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'The Hobbit,' 'Django Unchained' and more look to stir advance word at Comic-Con

In a weak year on the film side, a few hope to get the awards gears turning early

SAN DIEGO - I'm here but I'm not covering Comic-Con this year. Last night was the annual HitFix Kick-Off Party, which I was happy to attend, but a day in Coronado sounds a lot better than fighting the hordes, so I'm opting out this year.

Most agree this is a pretty thin year on the whole for movies at the Con, anyway. Dan Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall will surely have a blast on the TV side of things, as the small screen continues to dominate programming. But I don't think I could sit through "Resident Evil" and "Total Recall," etc. The only panel of note in my view is Warner Bros., bringing footage from "Man of Steel," "Pacific Rim" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

On the latter, it's one of a couple of films that serve our purposes here. As in, films that we may be talking about in a few months' time as the awards circuit heats up. Peter Jackson and company hit a bit of a snag when the 48 fps (frames per second) footage was largely criticized at CinemaCon in April, but the presentation here at Comic-Con will be in 24 fps "so the focus stays firmly with the content and not the technical stuff," as Jackson said in a recent interview with Hero Complex's Geoff Boucher.

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