Director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) returns this December with screenwriter David Magee’s adaptation of the Yann Martel bestseller Life of Pi. Here’s the first trailer:

On the morning of July 20, I was preparing to post a list of my favorite movie villains in conjunction with the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises when I discovered that a real-life villain had emerged during a midnight showing of the same.  A new Batman movie debuts, and, chillingly, James Holmes and I had the same thought: the villain is the draw.

Three of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy villains had made my list.  Nolan’s villains have proven to be particularly memorable, not exactly because they are physically intimidating but because they are enigmatic mad geniuses driven by the idea that only chaos can wipe the slate clean.  Emphasis on genius.  Part of the fear and fascination with Heath Ledger’s Joker, for example, lies in the way he manipulates his cronies in the bank-robbery scene, ending in a school-bus get-away camouflaged upon its impeccably-timed exit by a line of other school buses.

The first full trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated The Master, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, has been making the rounds on the web today (and getting yanked just as quickly).  Watch it now before it vanishes again:

The Dark Knight Rises starts next week, and I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, Hey, I’m kind of missing Michael Keaton, and, where has that guy been anyway?  He’s been hanging out at Amelia’s Espresso and Panini with Daniel Kellison.  That’s where.  And you can the read their whole exchange at Grantland in which the typically media-shy Keaton (Batman, Beetlejuice, Mr. Mom) discusses his new project-in-the-works with Larry David, the one time he watched Quentin Tarantino get sloshed on Jägermeister “like some kind of frat boy,” Night Shift, politics, and working on the set of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  Really:

This week at Comic Con, writer/director Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) and film composer Nathan Johnson are scheduled to appear on “The Character of Music” panel to discuss the soundscapes of their upcoming film Looper. From the press release:

Looper is perhaps [Nathan’s] most unique score to date, featuring a host of indecipherable instruments along with intertwining rhythms and textures. In preparation for the project, Nathan began gathering a wide range of field recordings and then he and his team created a sort of playable, hybrid found-sound orchestra using those original recordings.

But just in case you can’t make it to San Diego, Ain’t It Cool News has posted this exclusive featurette on Nathan Johnson’s Looper score with a listen to the track “Time Machine”:

In conjunction with The Amazing Spider-Man’s release this week, legendary comic book writer Stan Lee speaks to Web of Stories about writing Peter Parker as a self-doubting, regular-guy hero “riddled with neuroses”:

When Pixar’s Up was released in 2009, NPR blogger Linda Holmes wrote a piece that in part argued that young Ellie – a pivotal character who nonetheless gets maybe five minutes screen-time – was just the type of girl she’d like to see as a central character.  Young Ellie is a refreshing change from the sort of girl we’re used to seeing in animated children’s films, the damsel-in-distress, overtly feminine princessy sort, that is.  But she’s only a glimpse.  Flash forward three years and along comes Pixar’s Brave to (kind of) answer the call.  Brave’s Merida is still a princess (Dear Pixar: Linda Holmes specifically requested a non-princess lead character like Ellie), though one with some big differences.  Here we have a young woman challenging gender norms and the status quo whose relationship issues are with her alive-and-well mother instead of anyone resembling a true love.  It’s just the sort of film I figured might earn the endorsement of A Mighty Girl, a new website devoted to compiling lists of books and films that offer empowering representations of female characters for young readers and viewers.  I spoke with Carolyn Danckaert, the site’s co-founder, about A Mighty Girl, literary and cinematic representations of girlhood (empowering and otherwise), and the sea change that Brave just might be a part of.

Not too long ago, the wonderful Ronlyn Domingue, TNB contributor and novelist, suggested I create just this sort of list after she’d enjoyed seeing Cosmo the Jack Russell terrier in Beginners, and what better time to assemble ten cinematic canine greats than the week of The Artist’s DVD release, the film that featured that other recent Oscar-season darling, Uggie. Like Cosmo and Uggie, all of the dogs on this list aren’t the main characters in their respective films but bona fide scene-stealers (just in case you’re wondering why Lassie didn’t make the cut). Now brace yourselves for a huge dose of cute:

A round-up of high quality tweets from people in the world of film and television.

Minnie Driver:

If you know me in the least you know my adoration for Kenneth Branagh runs so deep I even “loved” Thor, and now I can be even more obnoxious in my fandom by insisting that we refer to him as Sir Kenneth Branagh from now on. I say so. The Queen says so. Here he is being all humble (see! he can be humble!) about being knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list:

Because I know you’ll want to join me in celebrating Sir Kenneth by viewing some of his best performances, here are five selections to get you started.

Ever since it was announced that Baz Luhrmann would be filming an adaptation of The Great Gatsby, I’ve been in something like the five stages of grief.  I mean, we’ve all witnessed what became of Romeo and Juliet after being pressed through the sieve of Luhrmann’s sensibilities.  It went in a tragedy and came out a tragicomedy music video.  Which is a little fantastic, I have to admit, but not quite … right.   And now my beloved Gatsby, like Romeo before him, has been officially Luhrmannized despite my many pleas that I would do anything if Luhrmann would just remake Streets of Fire instead.  Another thing I have to admit is that I’ve watched this trailer more than once since it debuted yesterday, and I might just be approaching acceptance. Anticipation, even.  Here’s a look at Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby:

Described as a post-World War II drama loosely based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, Paul Thomas Anderson fans are getting an early glimpse this week of The Master starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix looking better creepier than ever:

A round-up of high quality tweets from people in the world of film and television.

Olivia Wilde:

The 2012 Cannes Film Festival kicks off May 16, and if you aren’t sinking your soles in the pebbled beaches of the Côte d’Azur with roughly $3000 tucked in your pocket right about now, well, then, you aren’t talking to Brad Pitt. That’s the going rate for a Pitt interview, anyway, as The Globe and Mail reports. Sad? Don’t be. You’ve just saved yourself roughly $3000 worth of awkward silences and habitual lip licking. What you can do (or Cannes do, heh) is watch the trailers for the films in competition this year including David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don DeLilo’s Cosmopolis starring Robert Pattinson: