I'd say threat level: orange? Like a deep, Aquaman-style orange? Talk of a Justice League movie — the DC Comics universe's answer to Marvel's The Avengers, only populated with superheroes you heard of before 2008 — has been around in some form or another ever since the Batman movies were resurrected under Christopher Nolan. Now, with The Avengers making the kind of money that every studio salivates over, and with the Superman reboot Man of Steel gearing up for summer, the rumor mill is getting ever closer to that white column of smoke signaling that we have a new superhero franchise tentpole.
Since SNL announced that it will occasionally be crowd-sourcing host and musical guest suggestions — and since the first Host of the People (if you don’t count the Betty White campaign), Louis CK, had such a good turn — I’ve been brainstorming my short list of candidates for 2013. Jamie Foxx will host next week with Ne-Yo, and Martin Short and Paul McCartney are up on the 15th; after that, it’s up to America (well, sometimes). And I don’t trust America. America is too hung up on ska right now, and I see a lone wolf in the pack of commenters calling out for Eric Dane to host. What if that person has a high Klout score? I’m afraid of Americans. I’m afraid of the world. Trust no one. Except me. Trust me. Here is my SNL host/musical guest omakase:
As you may or may not have read, Oscar-nominated The Fighter director David O. Russell was briefly under investigation late last week for groping his 19-year-old transgender niece's breasts during a workout at a Florida gym, a manual inspection of her hormonal transformation Russell claimed was consensual and innocent. (Though the niece apparently disagrees with her uncle's assessment: Even though authorities have already closed the case, TMZ reported this weekend that the woman is still exploring her legal options.)
In theaters this week are Clint Eastwood's slightly anticipated Razzie-contending Hoover biopic J. Edgar — featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and 50 pounds of sweaty, wrinkled silicone as the titular FBI director — and Adam Sandler's terrifying-looking Jack and Jill in which he plays his own sister. To celebrate, Grantland's YouTube Hall of Fame is remembering the worst and least explicable movie-star transformations ever.
Fisher Stevens in Short Circuit
Rafe Bartholomew: John Wayne did yellowface. So did Marlon Brando. Katherine Hepburn? You bet. Yul Brynner? Duh. If so many legendary actors have crude Asian stereotypes on their résumés, then what makes Fisher Stevens' turn as Indian engineer Ben Jabituya in Short Circuit (and the renamed Ben Jahrvi in Short Circuit 2) so horrendous? Well, Wayne, Brando, Hepburn, and Brynner all did their racial damage before 1960, while Stevens broke out his Kwik-E-Mart accent and mocha foundation in the late 1980s. Were we really so ignorant 25 years ago that a white guy from Illinois could spit malapropisms like "I have to go to the Jack" and "Her pants are blazing for you, Newton Crosby!" and audiences wouldn't mind? Apparently, yes. Thankfully, the Short Circuit movies had the perfect antidote to Stevens' unfortunate transformation: the open-hearted humanism of a military robot who has been struck by lightning and brought to life. Johnny Five Alive!
Two new projects from Terrence Malick now have confirmed titles and casts, but still no plot descriptions. First up will be Lawless, starring Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Rooney Mara; second is Knight of Cups, which brings back Bale and Blanchett, and adds Isabel Lucas. And that’s on top of his next film, which is still untitled and stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem and Rachel Weisz. One quick theory as to why Malick, who’d made five films since 1973, is now popping ‘em out: he’s finally bored with daytime TV makeover shows? Grade: A [Deadline]
Terrence Malick is planning on following up his next movie — not May's Tree of Life, which took him 30 years to make, but the Ben Affleck/Rachel McAdams one that’s already in post-production — with another mysterious, untitled feature that’ll will pair him with Christian Bale (with whom he worked on The New World). Also in contention for the project, which is said to feature a small cast dominated by its two leads, are Rooney Mara, Haley Bennet, Clemence Poesy, and Mia Wasikowska. Serious question: is Malick on that drug from Limitless? Grade: A [Twitch]
Showtime has orders in for three pilots: Gurland on Gurland, a “first-person documentary” from writer/director Andrew Gurland (Cheaters, The Virginity Hit); Masters of Sex, about sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson; and Ray Donovan, a family dramedy about a "fixer" for L.A. power players with a troubled home life. Can’t wait for the crossover episodes! Grade: C+ [Variety]
Stark black and white images. Solemn voiceovers detailing the nature of man, the importance of heroes. English actors undertaking interesting accents. A lurking, unspeakable evil. It’s the end of a story — and the potential end of countless lives.
If you think we’re referring to the newly released teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises: congratulations! You’re right! Give yourself a gold star. (Heck, give yourself a Golden Globe!) But we could just as easily be talking about another somber blockbuster from the early nineties. No, not Batman Returns. We’re talking about Schindler’s List.