After a week traversing the wilds of Central Ohio, I’m back, baby! And just in time for another update of everyone’s favorite new feature.
The animation studio that could do no wrong finally seemed to slip up a little with the clearly commercial-driven stylings of Larry the Cable Guy and “Cars 2.” The assumed pressure from Disney to produce sequels to their most popular properties has now resulted in “Toy Story 3,” (which turned out pretty damn well anyway), “Cars 2,” the upcoming 2013 sequel to “Monsters, Inc.,” and swirling rumors regarding a “Toy Story 4.” So it’s refreshing that even in the midst of this streak of relative creative stagnation, Pixar remains committed to original storytelling (even if it does appear a little like Pixar’s response to “How to Train Your Dragon”). “Brave” will be Pixar’s first film with a female protagonist, and also promises to be a bit darker and more mature than many of their previous efforts, as co-directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman have promised a fairy tale in the tradition of Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm. Since this one’s still a year off, there’s not too much to say, but it looks like we’ll have stunningly gorgeous animation as always, and I look forward to great voice work from Kelly Macdonald, Julie Walters, Emma Thompson, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
First off, not the best idea to put a sub-title on a franchise that already features a colon. But anyway, I remain more excited for “M:I IV” than I would probably care to admit, especially considering this glitzy mess of a trailer. I’ve always greatly enjoyed the “Mission: Impossible” movies, even when John Woo took the whole synthetic mask device way over the top in the second installment. Sure, these movies are flashy, action-packed and often narratively incomprehensible, but they’ve also always been smarter than glossy summer franchises like “Fast & Furious” or Jason Statham’s testosterone-romps, which is the company this Eminem-infused trailer seems to associate “Ghost Protocol” with. But I’m thinking that’s just a marketing ploy, especially considering that Brad Bird is at the helm this time around, a man who has literally done no wrong in his previous efforts, “The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles” (which certainly displayed some influence from the “M:I” series) and “Ratatouille.” And whatever your feelings toward Tom Cruise as a person, he remains a serviceable movie star (though if Jeremy Renner ends up stealing the show, that’s totally fine by me). Basically I have only one complaint here: WHY IS THERE NO VING RHAMES???? There had better be a Luther cameo, or heads will roll.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
God, I miss the Cold War. The smoke, the intrigue, the shady back-alley dealings, the murder, the fate of the free world at stake, the great British actors doing their thing…
Anyway, Tomas Alfredson’s follow-up to “Let the Right One In” looks like a tight, simmering thriller that could potentially shake up the awards season in late November with some much-needed genre suspense. The acclaimed 1979 TV version of John le Carré’s masterful novel won Alec Guinness a BAFTA award; could the same role finally land Gary Oldman that elusive first Oscar nomination? Here’s hoping. Also, I really, really hope the whole score is as creepy and atmospheric as the selection we get here in this trailer.
Ladies and gentlemen, the OSCAR MOVIE is back, with a vengeance. Seriously, between John Williams’ heart-rending score, Niels Arestrup’s sage grandfatherly wisdom, Janusz Kaminski’s stirring visuals, the pure prestige of a “STEVEN SPIELBERG FILM,” and the fact that, you know, it’s a war story about the bond between a boy and his freaking horse, let’s just hand over that Best Picture award right now. It’ll save everyone the time. Good lord.