<p>Craig Roberts turns the focus on his father's depression in Richard Ayoade's 'Submarine'</p>

Craig Roberts turns the focus on his father's depression in Richard Ayoade's 'Submarine'

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Review: 'Submarine' offers up shimmering, lovely coming-of-age story

Great supporting work grounds a wonderful look back

There are few genres that reveal quite as much about the filmmaker as the coming of age story.  "Submarine" may be based on a novel by Joe Dunthorne, but there is such a personal quality to the film that a few days after I saw it at Sundance, I happened to spot director Richard Ayoade in the lobby of the Yarrow Hotel, and the urge to walk over and give him a hug ran through me.  I resisted, but that's the way "Submarine" affected me.  It is a wonderful film, smart and funny and beautifully performed, and it speaks well of what Ayoade is capable of behind the camera.

If Americans know Ayoade, it's probably from his work on "The IT Crowd," a sitcom from the UK where he plays Moss, an uber-nerd who would make the guys on "The Big Bang Theory" look like Shaft by comparison.  His co-star on the show, Chris O'Dowd, made his big American breakthrough in films last month as Kristen Wiig's romantic interest in "Bridesmaids," and I'm curious to see what happens with him as a result.  It is important, though, for Ayoade's film to make some sort of a splash, because I want more work from him in the future.  No… I'll go one step further.  Based on how good "Submarine" is, I need more movies from him.  Absolutely.

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<p>This little boy is the main character in Pixar's new short film 'La Luna'</p>

This little boy is the main character in Pixar's new short film 'La Luna'

Credit: Pixar

First Look: Pixar's new short 'La Luna' offers unconventional family story

Some new art gives us a peek at what to expect from Pixar's latest experiment

One of the most important things Pixar does is maintain their short film program, allowing younger talents or artists who work in departments where directing may not seem like the most logical next step to make the jump and express new voices.  It's paid off in any number of ways over the years, and their short films are one of the highlights of each year's new release.

When we first got the "WALL-E" Blu-ray, I think we watched "Presto," the short film that was attached to that film, about 150 times.  It's a masterpiece of timing and performance, and one of the things I love about these short films is how they can emphasize a single idea or a technical innovation, and they help push forward the technical side of the feature division.  I also dug it when they gave Gary Rydstrom a shot at directing with "Lifted," which is a great piece of comedy staging, or when they had Bud Luckey, a legend in the industry, finally bring his long-time dream "Boundin'" to life.

Now, Enrico Casarosa is going to be taking his shot with "La Luna," and we've got a look at the film's style as well as a synopsis for you.

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<p>And honestly?&nbsp;&nbsp;This is one of the least weird things you'll see in the original 'Big Man Japan'</p>

And honestly?  This is one of the least weird things you'll see in the original 'Big Man Japan'

Credit: Magnet Releasing

Sony makes oddball call to remake 'Big Man Japan'

Will this be the 'Men In Black' of giant monster movies?

If you'd like to get a look at the original "Big Man Japan," it's available on Netflix Instant right, and it's worth your time.  Of course, I offer up that information with a caveat:  the movie is incredibly, almost mind-bogglingly weird.

It's also one of those things where the more familiar you are with the film conventions that it intentionally, gleefully subverts, the more you're going to end up enjoying the film, and it really only works as a response to the tradition of kaiju movies and TV shows that are such a fundamental part of Japan's pop culture history.

So when the news broke via press release this morning to announce that Columbia purchased the remake and sequel rights to "Big Man Japan," I had a hard time imagining what sort of plans Neal Moritz has for the material.  Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi are already onboard to write the new film, and it sounds like something they are moving forward on fairly quickly.

As usual, there are no isolated incidents in Hollywood, and right now, kaiju is starting to become a hot property in general.  Legendary Pictures seems determined to make the genre viable on the bigscreen between their development of "Godzilla" and Guillermo Del Toro's "Pacific Rim," and both of those sound like serious approaches to the notion of giant monsters.

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<p>So when exactly will Kirk and Spock find themselves on the bridge of the <em>Enterprise</em> again?</p>

So when exactly will Kirk and Spock find themselves on the bridge of the Enterprise again?

Credit: Paramount

JJ Abrams comments on rumors of 'Trek' leaving summer 2012

If the film was never officially set for that date, how can it be moving?

One of the stories breaking this morning is about Dwayne Johnson joining the "G.I. Joe" sequel for Paramount, and while our own Dave Lewis wrote the story up for the site, I popped in to talk about how Johnson seems to be building a game plan that involves making sequels to films he didn't originally appear in.

Speaking of sequels, though, the Deadline story that everyone's linking to for the Johnson news also contained the following throw-away line:  "The picture has become an important one for Paramount, which will have to scratch the 'Star Trek' sequel from its summer 2012 schedule and will likely put this film in its place."

Oh, really?

During all of the press JJ Abrams has been doing for "Super 8," he has been setting the fanbase up to wait for a while longer while he and Damon Lindelof and Kurtman and Orci all work to make sure that the sequel to the film, offering up variations on ideas like "we're not making a release date, we're making a movie," and "we're going to work on it until it's right."  I know people have been assuming that the summer of 2012 was the release date, but I hadn't actually seen that confirmed anywhere.  So how is it that "Star Trek" is suddenly moving "off" a date it wasn't really on in the first place?

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<p>The US&nbsp;release poster for 'The Human Centipede' alone is enough to make me queasy, so I'm not sure I could handle the sequel</p>

The US release poster for 'The Human Centipede' alone is enough to make me queasy, so I'm not sure I could handle the sequel

Credit: IFC Films

The Morning Read: The UK bans 'Human Centipede II' completely

Plus a great Spielberg interview and the 'Hollywood Liberal' conspiracy

Welcome to The Morning Read.

So did the blog seem a little light on content to you last week?  Well, I apologize.  I got sidelined by some health issues, and while I'm still working through them, I'm well enough to at least get back to work here.  There's nothing quite like a doctor reacting like Sydney Pollack in "Death Becomes Her" to get my attention, and I'm going to be focused on doing some things differently to prevent this sort of thing instead of just reacting when my health does let me down.

In the meantime, I've got a big crazy trip planned for the 21st of this month, and I sort of can't believe where I'm heading.  It's one of those moments where I am fascinated at the way writing about movies can open up the world for me.  I look forward to sharing that one with you, in all its lunatic glory, once I've actually left for the trip.  In the meantime, let's jump back into the Morning Read fray, because there's an amazing line-up of stuff out there today.

First, have you seen the reaction to "Human Centipede II" by the BBFC?  Be warned… if you read their decision, it's loaded with "spoilers" for the sequel, but in order to understand their decision to ban the film completely, you need to read the details.  The film cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK now.  I'm not a fan of the first film, and I think the second one sounds silly, but banning it?  That gives the film an instant power that it would probably not have otherwise, and it also sends the message that the contents of the film are genuinely dangerous.  I'd say that is pure win for Tom Six and whoever releases "Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)" around the world.

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<p>Edward Scissorhands (played by Johnny Depp) may be the perfect encapsulation of Tim Burton's art style on film, and plays a big part in the current LACMA exhibit dedicated to the filmmaker</p>

Edward Scissorhands (played by Johnny Depp) may be the perfect encapsulation of Tim Burton's art style on film, and plays a big part in the current LACMA exhibit dedicated to the filmmaker

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Film Nerd 2.0: Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA dazzles and disturbs

Is the artwork by one of Hollywood's biggest names appropriate for younger museum goers?

Toshi still hasn't seen the film "Edward Scissorhands," but after a recent weekend outing, I have a feeling that's going to change sooner rather than later.

I've taken some heat for things I've written about Tim Burton's recent work here and on Ain't It Cool, and I think the idea has settled in that I don't like Burton.  That's not true at all.  I think he's a significant film artist.  I think that even when I don't like his films, his ability to bring his vision to life with such precision onscreen is impressive, and he has more than staked out a place in film history, no matter what I think of individual films he's made along the way.  When I was in Toronto last year for the film festival, I saw dozens of ads for the Tim Burton exhibit at the TIFF Lightbox.  I was sorry to leave town before the exhibit showed up, and I regretted not getting a chance to see it.

As a result, when it was announced that the Burton exhibit would be making its way to LACMA, I knew I'd be attending, but I wasn't sure if I'd take the boys or not.  Then, as the Memorial Day weekend rolled around, I found myself planning a Monday out with the boys so their mom could have the day off.  I called my friend Craig, since his daughter Frannie is one of Toshi's best friends, the two of them having been born a month apart when we were still living in the apartment next to Craig and his wife.  We decided to spend the day at a park and then at the Burton exhibit, and Monday, just before noon, I stopped by his house so we could load both of my boys as well as him and his little girl into my car.

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<p>Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Jason Bateman are all going to do very bad things to very deserving people in 'Horrible Bosses' this summer</p>

Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Jason Bateman are all going to do very bad things to very deserving people in 'Horrible Bosses' this summer

Credit: Warner Bros.

Saturday Night At The Movies: What SNL Faces Will You See In Movies This Summer?

David Koechner, Andy Samberg, and Jason Sudeikis among the ranks this year

Last week's return of "Saturday Night At The Movies" looked at the pressure on every single SNL cast member to somehow become a movie star, something that is statistically unlikely.  Instead, when they make the jump to movies, most SNL cast members do it as supporting players, and in many ways, that's the career to chase, the goal you want to attain.

When Randy Quaid joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" in 1985, he already had a long and impressive resume as one of the most interesting young character actors in his age range.  It was somewhat surprising that he would join the show, based on how long he'd already been working and, yes, because not a lot of Oscar nominees decide that a few seasons on SNL is exactly what they should do to follow up on that sort of momentum. 

Look at this list of films he appeared in before SNL:

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<p>Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney are two of the young leads in the new JJ&nbsp;Abrams film 'Super 8'</p>

Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney are two of the young leads in the new JJ Abrams film 'Super 8'

Credit: Paramount

Review: 'Super 8' offers up charming character piece with soft alien story

As a mystery, it fizzles, but as a piece about young friendship, it flies

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the trailers for the new JJ Abrams film "Super 8" that there is a heavy sense of nostalgia at the heart of the movie, but that's not all there is to it.  While I may not be on the "loves it unreservedly" end of things, I think "Super 8" has much to recommend it, and it is a lovely next step for Abrams as a filmmaker.

"Super 8" tells the story of a group of young friends who are making a zombie film together in the late '70s when they accidentally capture a terrifying train accident on film.  During the accident, something escapes from the train and begins to wreak havoc on their small town, and the kids find themselves at ground zero for an incident that changes their perception of the world around them.  That's the plot, and it's fairly straightforward.  There's no big giant twist that is being protected by the ad campaign, but that's not the sort of film it is.  I think people get wound up by how close Abrams plays his cards, and they build a film like this or "Cloverfield" up to be something it's not before they ever see it.

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<p>Leonardo DiCaprio, seen here at January's Santa Barbara Film&nbsp;Festival, could be in line for a major villain role in Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'... or maybe not.</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio, seen here at January's Santa Barbara Film Festival, could be in line for a major villain role in Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'... or maybe not.

Credit: AP Photo/Phil Klein

Rumors about 'Django Unchained' casting include Idris Elba and Leonardo DiCaprio

Is Twitter becoming a prime source of casting rumors?

This is how things work on the Internet these days.

Rumor travels at light speed, and assumption becomes fact before anyone stops to consider what they're printing.  I've certainly made my share of mistakes, but I've only really done so when I took a short-cut or when I took someone else's word for something without doing my own legwork.  I don't count moments where I've reported on a story in progress only to see things change later, because that's one of the things you have to accept doing this job.  I'm talking about moments where I printed a rumor that simply wasn't founded in fact, and I think I've gotten much, much better about that over time.

The more anticipation there is for a film, the faster a rumor will travel, and by that standard, people must really be looking forward to Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," because two distinct rumors, both fueled by Twitter, have lit up the Internet over the last few days.  In both cases, I find the suggestions provocative and exciting, but anyone reporting either of these as fact right now is reaching.

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<p>Michael Fassbender does exceptional work as Erik, aka Magneto, in 'X-Men:&nbsp;First Class'</p>

Michael Fassbender does exceptional work as Erik, aka Magneto, in 'X-Men: First Class'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: 'X-Men: First Class' redefines the most important superhero franchise with style

A strong emphasis on character and content marks a new beginning

Because I've already offered up my first impressions of "X-Men: First Class," the only way to write a proper review of it is to actually dig into the text of the film.  That could mean spoilers.  If you want the short version of my thoughts on the film, you can read that here, and you can walk into the movie fairly fresh.  If you're reading this review, you want a real discussion about this smart and stylish redefinition of the franchise that kicked off the modern superhero movie.

Happy to oblige.

"X-Men" in 2000 was a very important moment for the genre.  It introduced some characters and imagery that were stranger and more outrageous than anything in "Superman" or "Batman" or any earlier comic-to-movie transition.  Cyclops.  Storm.  Wolverine.  Jean Grey.  Cerebro.  Magneto.  Mystique.  And while the film gets some things right and some things wrong, it's got a great energy to it.  And Bryan Singer in '99 was just the right choice.  A strange choice at first.  But he made an authentic movie about being an outsider, told through a genre prism.  It felt like, underneath all the swagger and special effects, something real was happening.  Something that mattered.  "X-Men" worked just well enough.  They short-changed that first film out of fear.  The studio really struggled with the producers on that first film, the sort of tension on a movie that, in this case, paid off with something that did not feel cookie-cutter, something that didn't feel like a safe bet.  They got outrageously lucky with the casting of Hugh Jackman, and vice-versa.  He made the character click with audiences, and once they loved Wolverine, they were onboard for the rest of the ride.

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