<p>Two year old Kilaguni was rescued after his  mother was killed by poachers and he was badly bitten by hyenas.<span id="intelliTxt"><a title="Two year old Kilaguni is featured in the IMAX&reg; film Born to be Wild 3D. The little elephant was resc..." href="http://www.allmoviephoto.com/photo/2011_born_to_be_wild_024_big.html"><br />
</a></span></p>
Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment

Review: 'Born To Be Wild' offers gentle lessons on harsh animal realities

A great example of how to use IMAX 3D as more than a gimmick

When IMAX began to change their reputation, working hard to brand themselves as a special way to see Hollywood blockbusters, they did so by moving away from their image as a company that specialized in nature documentaries at museums and other similar venues.

The truth is, though, they're still in that business as well, and they still do a very good job of it.  I got the chance to take the boys to a screening at the IMAX headquarters in Santa Monica, and it was my three-year-old's first 3D movie of any sort.  I showed him the trailer a few times and talked to him about the admittedly heavy themes of the film before we went, though, because the movie could easily have been too depressing or upsetting for young kids based on the subject matter.

"Born To Be Wild" tells the story of what happens when animals are orphaned in the wild and raised by humans before being released back into their natural habitat on their own.  We started the conversation with Allen when Warner Bros. sent out a little stuffed elephant toy a few weeks ago.  When I gave it to him, I told him that the elephant needed a name because his mommy and his daddy got lost, and he needed someone to take care of him.  I asked Allen if he was willing to do it, and he told me the elephant could sleep with him and his stuffed dogs from now on.  He also named the elephant Allen, and he told me that the elephant now had a "mommy and a daddy and a Toshi," just like him.

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<p>It sounds like Matt Reeves has a whole new approach to adapting the short story '8 O'Clock In The Morning,' so we probably won't be seeing this sort of thing in his film.</p>

It sounds like Matt Reeves has a whole new approach to adapting the short story '8 O'Clock In The Morning,' so we probably won't be seeing this sort of thing in his film.

Credit: Universal Home Video

Matt Reeves is only sort of remaking John Carpenter's 'They Live'

A new adaptation of '8 O'Clock In The Morning' could be director's next film

When John Carpenter set out to make 1982's "The Thing," working from a script by Bill Lancaster, what made it exciting was the way he went back to the John Campbell short story that inspired the '50s film and created something very, very different.  I have trouble even calling his movie a remake, because it doesn't bear much resemblance at all to the Christian Nyby film "The Thing From Another World," no matter how much it served as a precursor.

I mention this to try to set some context for the news that Matt Reeves, director of "Cloverfield" and "Let Me In," has signed to adapt the short story, "8 O'Clock In The Morning," as a new and at-the-moment untitled film.  The story has been adapted before, and I find it fitting that it was John Carpenter who adapted it as "They Live."  When Strike Entertainment first started talking about a remake of "They Live," it was easy to imagine that they'd do something that looked very much like Carpenter's movie.  In that film, he created a great device, sunglasses that would allow the wearer to see the truth about aliens living among us, and he played the film as a broad social satire.  It's pretty great in its own right, but is it the definitive version of the story?

Well, we'll see.  Evidently Matt Reeves has decided that he's got a take on it, and Strike Entertainment's explanation of why his take is exciting is, I must admit, fairly persuasive. 

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<p>Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) lean on their new friends, voiced by Jamie Foxx, Will.i.Am, and George Lopez, in the new animated family comedy 'Rio'</p>

Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) lean on their new friends, voiced by Jamie Foxx, Will.i.Am, and George Lopez, in the new animated family comedy 'Rio'

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios

Review: 'Rio' offers colorful international fun with Eisenberg, Hathaway, and Lopez

Blue Sky turns in a company best with this spirited comedy from Carlos Saldanha

Blue Sky Studios has been a reliable producer of family content for 20th Century Fox, but I can't say I love their movies the way I love, yes, Pixar.  And while that may seem an unfair comparison to make, they're certainly all playing in the same sandbox, and they're competing for the same family dollars.

Every studio wants to have a company they can turn to for this story of movie, and it's an important part of the business model for a modern movie studio.  With Blue Sky, they've built their brand on the back of their very successful "Ice Age" series, and having one go-to franchise that does almost unbelievable business each time out allows them to try different things.  I think "Robots" has some major story problems, but I like the way they designed that world.  In adapting "Horton Hears A Who," they did a nice job of creating a Dr. Seuss world on film.  They work within the general "family film" genre, but they've tried several different visual styles and they don't seem to just tell the same story every time out.

With "Rio," their latest movie, they've told a very simple story against a backdrop that allowed them to make some big exciting choices with the soundtrack, and they've included just enough sophistication about the setting of their story that I feel like it nudges a simple film into the "better than expected" category.  Rio is a thrilling place to set a story because it is a world of haves and have nots, and it is a dangerous and beautiful city.  For a film aimed at a family audience to even acknowledge the existence of the favelas seems sort of brave, but to actually set much of the movie there and to try to capture some of the diversity of the city in a movie like this… that's surprising.  And admirable.

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<p>Memories exist as bubbles in a lovely moment from Douglas Trumbull's 'Brainstorm'</p>

Memories exist as bubbles in a lovely moment from Douglas Trumbull's 'Brainstorm'

Credit: MGM/UA Home Video

The Morning Read: 'Apes' rise, Huff fumbles, and Trumball returns

Plus Soderbergh's media diet and a sneak peek at Summer 2011

Welcome to The Morning Read.

In the comments section for the article I ran last week, the great Vern asked the question, "Has there ever been a good movie directed by an effects artist?"

Well, yes.  I can name at least one.  Douglas Trumbull's "Brainstorm" is, in my opinion, a remarkable little film, and while there are some big FX moments in the movie, what makes it great is the emphasis on simple human ideas and emotions.  Trumbull, who is known for his work on "2001," "Close Encounters," and "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," has been a larger than life figure for most of my life, and I still remember his big push to move into ShowScan, a sort of IMAX-esque super format that shot at 60 frames per second.  He's a fascinating guy, and in addition to "Brainstorm," he's also the director of the intriguing "Silent Running," and I wish I'd been at the NAB Show over the weekend to hear him speak at the Digital Cinema Summit in Vegas.  That's where he announced that he'll be directing a new feature, which is exciting news.  I'm not surprised at all that he's on the cutting edge of the push to use higher frame rates in filmmaking, which is about to become the new pet cause of James Cameron.  He spent much of his time at CinemaCon, talking about an industry shift to a standard of 48 fps or even 60 fps.  And unlike 3D, this is something that I don't think would be a gimmick at all.  It's simply a shift in clarity and resolution of image, and the tests I've seen over the years for shooting at higher frame rates are incredibly persuasive.  And while he's talking tech up front, looking at the features Trumbull has made in the past convinces me that him returning to the director's chair is great news, indeed.  I can't wait to hear more details about whatever it is that he's working on.

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<p>Howard Beale is one of the many iconic characters brought to life by the amazing Sidney Lumet over the course of his remarkable career, worth celebrating as we look back a life in the arts.</p>

Howard Beale is one of the many iconic characters brought to life by the amazing Sidney Lumet over the course of his remarkable career, worth celebrating as we look back a life in the arts.

Credit: MGM/UA Home Video

Sidney Lumet is gone, but films like 'Network' and 'Dog Day Afternoon' endure

A look at the career of one of our greatest filmmakers

I am glad that Sidney Lumet, unlike many directors who are still working well into their 80s, got to exit the stage on a high note, with the critically acclaimed "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead".  A few years before that, he was given an honorary Academy Award for his entire career, but I would like to think that Lumet was well aware that with or without Oscars for his mantle, he left behind a filmography studded with genuine classics, cultural landmarks that helped define great cinema decade after decade, and that his films will be watched and rewatched and studied for as long as we are still sharing movies.

First, if you have any ambition towards becoming a filmmaker yourself, you must immediately find a copy of Lumet's remarkable book, Making Movies, and read it cover to cover.  Read it several times.  Read it until it starts to sink into you, become part of the way you think.  Lumet's philosophy on filmmaker was as unadorned and no-nonsense as his actual films, and when you look at his full body of work, you can see his approach in the amazing performances people gave for him, and in the quietly powerful visual approach he took to material.  He was an actor first, working on Broadway and off for many years before he started working in television in the early 1950's.   He always maintained certain habits from the theater, whether working in television or in film, giving his actors room and time to rehearse together as a group, insisting on it because of the difference it made in every performance, not just the starring roles.

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<p>Ryan Reynolds may still return to the role of Wade Wilson, better known as 'Deadpool,' for director Tim Miller</p>

Ryan Reynolds may still return to the role of Wade Wilson, better known as 'Deadpool,' for director Tim Miller

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Will Ryan Reynolds return with Tim Miller set to direct 'Deadpool'?

Is Fox shuffling the order on their 'X-Men Origins' movies?

Let's talk about "Deadpool."

The question was broached a few times to Ryan Reynolds at the recent "Green Lantern" panel at WonderCon in San Francisco, in a few different ways, all boiling down to one main concern:  will you still be playing the role of Deadpool?

If so, it's strange territory for Reynolds.  One Marvel hero, one DC hero, two different studios.  True, it's weirder for Chris Evans, who plays two characters in the Marvel Universe, but it's still a lot to ask for the mainstream audience to accept you as not one but two distinct superheroes in two very different franchises.  I guess these days, the genre is so ubiquitous that it's no different than Burt Reynolds playing two different rednecks with fast cars. 

The difference between Green Lantern and Deadpool as characters, though, is night and day.  Green Lantern is a big broad adventure hero, and the "Star Wars" styled world of that film is designed to appeal to kids and across the board.  Based on early drafts of the script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and comments made by Reynolds last weekend (when he said "it would have to be a hard-R"), it's safe to say that Deadpool is being played much closer to the character that has a dedicated cult audience in print.  Deadpool is a motor-mouthed mercenary, a killer who regularly breaks the fourth wall to make wisecracks to the audience, and the script that they're working with is kinetic and crazy and ridiculous in some really interesting ways.

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<p>Josh Pence, seen here at the SAG&nbsp;Awards, would probably get more work if only he weren't so terribly, terribly ugly.</p>

Josh Pence, seen here at the SAG Awards, would probably get more work if only he weren't so terribly, terribly ugly.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Josh Pence joins 'Dark Knight Rises' cast, raises questions

More clues about what to expect from Nolan's end to the trilogy

Okay, now see… this is the sort of casting news I like because it's suggestive and intriguing, but it doesn't really give away any of the potential secrets of Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises".  All it does is raise possibilities and give fans of Batman something to argue about for the next year.

Josh Pence, who was the Winklevoss you didn't see in "The Social Network," has been signed now to play a young Ra's Al Ghul for the film.  In the story by Borys Kit, it is suggested that Pence will appear in flashback scenes set 30 years before the events of Nolan's Batman series.  Pence will be joining previously announced cast members like Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, Tom Hardy as Bane, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard.  Some of the cast, like Gordon-Levitt and Cotillard, have not had their roles announced yet, which has led to all sorts of speculation about who they're playing and how they fit into the story Nolan is telling, which seems to be designed to bring the entire trilogy full-circle.

Certainly using Ra's Al Ghul again helps do that, and I'm curious to see how that plays out.  According to Devin Faraci over at Badass Digest, The League of Shadows has a major presence in the film, headed by Talia Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra's.  She's always been played as a sort of quasi-villain, dedicated to her own agenda, but also a love interest for Bruce Wayne.  In the comics, she's actually the mother of his son, Damian, but it sounds like they're playing things differently in the film. 

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<p>Kirsten Dunst feels the power in a strange moment from the gorgeous new 'Melancholia' trailer from director Lars Von Trier</p>

Kirsten Dunst feels the power in a strange moment from the gorgeous new 'Melancholia' trailer from director Lars Von Trier

Credit: Zentropa Films

Kirsten Dunst and Kiefer Sutherland face the end of the world in 'Melancholia' trailer

Lars Von Trier's film suggest when the world ends, chaos reigns

Earlier today, I was part of an e-mail chain about a possible get-together on Saturday night, and as is the case with many e-mail chains I'm part of, things devolved into pure silliness very quickly, leading one person to simply reply to everyone, "CHAOS REIGNS!"

It is amazing to me just what an impact the last film by Lars Von Trier made on people, and I'm curious to see if that will carry over into an audience for his next film, "Melancholia," which stars both Kirsten Dunst and Kiefer Sutherland.  The first trailer for the film has just appeared online, and I'm hoping the movie will play at Cannes in May.  I'm also hoping to be at Cannes in May, and if so, you can bet this will be one of the titles I make sure to see while I'm there.

I like how the trailer, posted by Von Trier's company on Vimeo, is simply described as "A beautiful movie about the end of the world."  At first, it looks like a domestic drama about a wedding and the effect of it on a wealthy family, but then Von Trier introduces the idea of a long-hidden planet from behind the sun that may bring about the end of the world, and suddenly you've got a film that looks like a perfect fit for his filmography.

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<p>Does this look like a man who considers 'Your Highness' to be a lesser work in his filmography?&nbsp; I don't think so.</p>

Does this look like a man who considers 'Your Highness' to be a lesser work in his filmography?  I don't think so.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: David Gordon Green pulls a fast one with 'Your Highness'

Does this look like the face of a man who isn't enjoying himself?

One of the funniest things about the bad reviews for "Your Highness" has been reading the hand-wringing disapproval some critics have expressed for the career trajectory of David Gordon Green, the film's director.

Trust me… all this concern on his behalf is silly.  Green is doing exactly what he wants to do, and between "Pineapple Express" and his work on "Eastbound And Down" and, yes, "Your Highness," you're seeing just as honest an expression of who he is as a filmmaker as you did in "George Washington" or "All The Real Girls."  Just because he's not making the exact same movies over and over that he made at the start of his career, that does not mean he's somehow gotten off-track.

Far from it, in fact.  It seems to me that he's enjoying this change-up quite a bit.  The first time I met him, I was invited to visit the "Pineapple" set, and I showed up on a day when they were shooting a car chase.  As I walked up, they were just about to roll cameras on a stunt where a cop car smashes through a bunch of things and flips over.  I didn't realize what was going on, but Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg waved me over and told me to watch.  Maybe a minute later… BOOM! The stunt came off without a hitch, to quite spectacular effect, and about 20 feet in front of us, someone turned around and gave us the thumbs up, big smile on his face.

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<p>Everyone seems so happy, and everything seems so relaxed, and then someone does the limbo under an active cattle prod, and I guess that's why they call it 'Jackass'</p>

Everyone seems so happy, and everything seems so relaxed, and then someone does the limbo under an active cattle prod, and I guess that's why they call it 'Jackass'

Credit: Paramount/MTV/Dickhouse

Watch: An exclusive Spike Jonze clip from 'Jackass 3.5'

One of our greatest filmmakers is not above a bit of clowning

I haven't seen the new "Jackass 3.5" yet.  Hell, I haven't even watched my unrated cut of "Jackass 3D" yet.  But it's not from lack of interest.  If anything, I feel like I'm hoarding these last few bits of "Jackass" for the perfect time.  I'm waiting until I've had that perfect-storm-of-crap day and I need that guaranteed laugh.

And it does feel like we've reached the end of something.  I can't imagine how many more years of this the guys have in them.  The ending of "Jackass 3D" used a Weezer song to create a genuinely poignant sense of this being a conclusion for them.  All of the footage in "Jackass 3.5" was filmed as part of the same big round of filming as "Jackass 3D," and knowing how difficult it was to get everyone together for that, I don't see them pulling it off again any time soon.

I love that Spike Jonze is part of the "Jackass" family.  There's something so wonderful about the notion that this serious filmmaker sometimes puts on latex make-up so he can go freak random strangers out with ill-timed questions about camel toe. 

I try to imagine Stanley Kubrick skateboarding in a gorilla costume, and somehow, I can't quite conjure up that image.  With Jonze, though, we've got a clip of him in comedy terrorist mode today, and it's an exclusive glimpse at what's in store when "Jackass 3.5" arrives in stores.

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