<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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<p>Brandon Lee's performance in 'The Crow' could have made him iconic even without the underlying tragedy.</p>

Brandon Lee's performance in 'The Crow' could have made him iconic even without the underlying tragedy.

Credit: Miramax

'28 Weeks Later' director signs on to resurrect 'The Crow'

Now all they need is someone to put on the make-up. And a script.

This probably shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who's been following the story over the last few months, since Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's name has been in the mix for the director job on "The Crow" reboot since at least February.

It's official now, though, and Fresnadillo will helm the re-invention of the character for producer Edward R. Pressman and Relativity Media, with a start date set for the fall with an eye on release next year.  Right now, Fresnadillo is finishing up work on  "Intruders," a Clive Owen film that he's making for Apaches Entertainment, which is also involved in this new "Crow" reboot.

I'm not a big fan of "The Crow" overall, but at least with the Brandon Lee film, you had the benefit of an actor who was looking to make a name for himself, giving a performance that is almost feral.  One of the reasons I find it genuinely painful to watch footage from the Alex Proyas film is because Lee was amazing, daring you to look away from his work, and the loss of Lee at that point in his life seems incredibly cruel.

There are still a few major hurdles that the filmmakers are going to have to clear before they actually roll film.  For one thing, they have no script and no writer at the moment.  For another thing, they need to find The Crow.  There have been so many films between 1994 and now that tap into the whole moody supernatural thing, not even counting the sequels to the original, that I'm curious to see how you make a "Crow" that doesn't feel like just another lame "Underworld" knock-off.

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<p>The last time Arnold Schwarzenegger played a sheriff, someone got a 'Raw Deal.'&nbsp; And we all know how painful that can be.</p>

The last time Arnold Schwarzenegger played a sheriff, someone got a 'Raw Deal.'  And we all know how painful that can be.

Credit: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Will Arnold Schwarzengger make a 'Last Stand' for Kim Jee-Woon?

Is an action movie return really the right answer for the former Governor?

I am intrigued by the idea that people genuinely want to see more action movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Look, as much as anyone, I am a first-generation fan of the guy as an action icon.  I was so determined to see "Conan The Barbarian" in the theater when I was 12 that I spent months campaigning my parents, eventually getting them to agree to take me and all my friends to see it as part of my birthday party that year.  When "The Terminator" came out in '84, my friend's older brother worked at a local theater and would let us in for free, which led to me seeing the film in the theater something like 30 times.  There are many films he starred in, including a high percentage that happen to have been directed by James Cameron, that I enjoy.  But as a first-generation fan, I also remember the unmitigated garbage that makes up much of his filmography, and I would hardly call him the king of good decisions.  His presence in a movie does not automatically render that movie amazing.  And we are now at least a decade past the point where I realistically see him as an action lead, especially after he just spent a stretch of time working his office gig.

Still, I understand that nostalgia is king for my generation and even more so for the film fans a decade or so younger than me.  Anything that reminds them of their childhood is indulged to the point of being creepy.  When I see people debating the merits of a "Thundercats" reboot, it is obvious that quality has nothing to do with this disturbing fetishization of anything that was part of their formative years.  And there must be some sort of near-Pavlovian comfort that they hope to get from the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger to action roles, no matter how old he is.

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<p>The closest I could get to finding a picture of Arthur getting drunk was this shot of him with a wine glass on the table.&nbsp; Well played, Warner Bros.&nbsp; Well played.</p>

The closest I could get to finding a picture of Arthur getting drunk was this shot of him with a wine glass on the table.  Well played, Warner Bros.  Well played.

Credit: Warner Bros.

The Big Question: As 'Arthur' arrives, is excess still funny?

Can you let a character overconsume without having to punish them?

THE BIG QUESTION is a weekly feature in which we're going to examine issues and ideas that are important to our industry as a whole.

I was talking back and forth with someone the other night about some new films we'd each seen, and I mentioned "Arthur" and the person messaged back, "I hear Arthur is not even a drunk.  True?"

The film opens on Friday.  And this person, who works in media, who no doubt sees a ton of advertising and marketing and trailers and clips and whatnot, still doesn't know for sure if Arthur drinks or not.

To be clear, just as in the original film, Arthur drinks pretty much non-stop through the entire film.  He is a raging lush.  You could call the film "Raging Lush" and it would be completely appropriate.  He is a silly drunk.  He's the kind of drunk who buys a Batman outfit, a real Batmobile, and then has his chauffeur run from the cops while driving dressed as Robin, plastered the entire time.  He's the kind of drunk who just goes staggering around in public like an astronaut from the planet Privilege, having a laugh at pretty much everyone and wasted the entire time.  He's always got a bottle or a flask or a glass in hand.  Arthur is not just a drunk.  He's Alpha Drunk.  And he makes it look like loads of fun.

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<p>James Franco and Danny McBride are fueled by nothing more than the love of their new movie and the joy of sharing it during our interview about 'Your Highness'</p>

James Franco and Danny McBride are fueled by nothing more than the love of their new movie and the joy of sharing it during our interview about 'Your Highness'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: James Franco and Danny McBride share a bond on 'Your Highness'

Lots of laughs for such a short interview

The first time I met James Franco was on the set of "Pineapple Express."  It was the afternoon where they were shooting the car chase where he put his foot through the windshield of the police car while driving, and watching them stage the gag and watching Franco work through the beat with his director, David Gordon Green, was an interesting glimpse into what seemed at the time like a bit of a course correction in terms of career for him.

After all, when you look at Franco, he's a leading man type, but as has become perfectly clear over the last few years, he's a much more eccentric guy than that, and his choices seem to indicate that whatever path Hollywood would like him to follow, he probably won't.  I love that hot on the heels of Oscar nominations for both Franco and Natalie Portman, the two are appearing in "Your Highness," which will most likely not be nominated for anything at next year's Academy Awards except, perhaps, "Best Joke About Being Molested By A Puppet."

Franco and Danny McBride together is a whole lot of personality for one room, and I walked in hoping to have some fun talking to the two of them about their work in "Your Highness," and specifically about creating that dynamic between brothers that is central to their work in the film.

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<p>The young cast of 'Attack The Block' better brace themselves for cult stardom on an international level, because the film just nailed down American distribution</p>

The young cast of 'Attack The Block' better brace themselves for cult stardom on an international level, because the film just nailed down American distribution

Credit: Screen Gems/Optimum Releasing

Screen Gems buys 'Attack The Block' for American distribution

And there was much rejoicing

Clint Culpepper, today I salute you.

Last week, we co-hosted that fan screening of "Attack The Block," along with Ain't It Cool, Badass Digest, and Collider, and afterwards, I talked to most of the people who attended, even if it was just a quick, "Wow! Thanks!" as they walked by.  But there were some people there who work in the industry who managed to not only depress me but actively upset me, immediately bringing up the same "remake" nonsense, all because of a couple of accents.  I had to tune it out.  I know the reaction most of that theater had, and I know what reaction the SXSW audiences had, and I am as sure of this as I am of anything regarding any movie you will see in a theater this year:  "Attack The Block" is perfect just the way it is.

And now, thanks to Sony Pictures Worldwide and Screen Gems, audiences here in America are going to be treated like adults who can actually decipher an accent or two, and "Attack The Block" will be released.  And I am going to do whatever I have to do between now and the release of the film to convince as many people as possible to check it out opening weekend, to reward Screen Gems for stepping up where so many other people in this business appear to have been too spineless to do so.  I hope this wee little alien invasion movie turns into a monster runaway hit for Screen Gems.  I hope it kickstarts Joe Cornish's career as a feature director, and that he keeps a list of every single person who hesitated on this one, and that when he is in crazy demand because audiences have fallen in love with "Attack The Block" that he reminds those doubters and refuses to let them reap the rewards on the next one.

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<p>Greta Gerwig and Russell Brand both come off well in the underwhelming remake of 'Arthur'</p>

Greta Gerwig and Russell Brand both come off well in the underwhelming remake of 'Arthur'

Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: Russell Brand and Greta Gerwig make the most of uneven 'Arthur' remake

Major missteps hobble some good work

The original "Arthur" was a modest little comedy that ended up with a major invite to the Oscars and a big pile of money.  It was a critical and commercial hit, and the dialogue of the movie entered the pop culture vernacular that year.  The theme song from the film by Christopher Cross was omnipresent on the radio, and between this film and "10" a few years earlier, Dudley Moore was having a full-blown movie star moment.  The film was the kind of hit that rarely happens these days, a slow-burn word-of-mouth case of a little movie that audiences just plain devoured.  That was part of its charm.

The new "Arthur" is a much more elaborate affair, and as conceived, it is a calculated attempt at using a beloved-but-old-enough-to-be-forgotten title to force a movie star moment with someone who has been tapped for said stardom.  In this case, Russell Brand is the guy who everyone has been trying to figure out since he made his studio debut with "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," and right now, he's having about as clear a shot at it as he's ever going to get.  He had a big weekend last week with his family comedy live-action/animation hybrid "Hop," and now this week, he's the lovable drunk who has to choose between a loveless marriage as a wealthy man or the girl of his dreams and a life of poverty.

And before we go any further, yes… he's a drunk.  He drinks non-stop in the film.  He is as constantly sloshed as Dudley Moore was.  It's been conspicuously absent from all of the advertising for the movie, but literally within the first five or ten shots of the film, we've seen bottles and flasks being slipped into a utility belt.  From the marketing materials, I thought the angle this time was less about him being a raging alcoholic and more the man-child thing.  It turns out to be both, which makes sense.  

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<p>Uma Thurman and Michael Angarano co-star in the warm and funny 'Ceremony'</p>

Uma Thurman and Michael Angarano co-star in the warm and funny 'Ceremony'

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Review: 'Ceremony' is charming showcase for Uma Thurman, Michael Angarano

Max Winkler makes a strong feature debut with a low-key gem

It would be very easy, as someone who sees and reviews hundreds of films a year, to let first impressions color my work or poison a film before I ever set foot in a theater.  It affects what I choose to see at a festival, what press days I attend, and any number of other editorial decisions, and I find myself constantly working to avoid being cynical or immediately dismissive of films for shallow reasons.

It would be easy to look at the debut film by Max Winkler and presume that nepotism got him his opportunity.  After all, his father is Henry Winkler, and he's grown up in and around this industry to such an extent that he's able to thank "Steven and Kate" in the closing credits of this film.  And it would be equally easy for me to have skipped it based on the star of the film, Michael Angarano, an actor I've had a hard time liking over the course of his short career.  It's not his fault, per se, and it's wrong to hold something as chemical as my dislike of him against him.  It just happens sometimes.  I think for all serious film fans, there are those people who pop up occasionally that just set your teeth on edge for reasons you can't even explain.  And so, making a surface judgment, I skipped the film when it played Toronto last fall.

Now, with the movie opening this weekend in limited release, I decided to finally bite the bullet and catch up with it at a screening yesterday afternoon, and to my enormous surprise, I not only found the film to be expertly written and directed by Winkler, but I also warmed up to Angarano in a way I wouldn't have thought possible.  This may have finally been the performance that convinced me, and for that alone, I would recommend seeing the film.

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