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Filmism.net Dispatch April 18, 2011

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It's not like superhero movies have finally petered out. A rigourous scientific enquiry (how sick of hearing about them I already am) tells me there are more this year than ever. (Thor, The Green Lantern, Captain America, etc etc).

So Hollywood certainly won't let one dead horse lay to rest before flogging the next one. And from where I sit it looks like the next one's going to be Twilight-flavoured fairy tales. We've already had Red Riding Hood. There are several teen-oriented Snow Whites and Wizard of Ozes films on the way. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, starring Jeremy Renner, is coming from the director who did the hilarious Dead Snow.

The common thread seems to be the barely-buried sexuality of young adulthood and the action the kids are used to from superhero reimaginings. Maybe studios are desperate to capture the elusive second quadrant of young women/teenage girls. They sure put them off with Sex in the City 2, after all...

So while I can already see a news post a year or so in the future crying 'please, Hollywood, enough with the slightly sexy and passably violent fairy tales!', there's at least someone showing them how it's all done. Check out this intriguing trailer from the Jane Campion-produced Sleeping Beauty. The only potential downside is Emily Browning in the title role, who showed us with Sucker Punch that she's good at pouting but not much else.

But there's a deeper story. Studios were searching their vaults for anything related to car races (or buying properties up) when the Wachowski's Speed Racer was nearing release. When it flopped, CGI car racing became the craze that never was. Red Riding Hood was a critical flop and hasn't even made back its $42m budget. What's with all the certainty teenage fairy tales are going to be the Next Big Thing?

And if you need a laugh, have a look at this video of the Hollywood Reporter roundtable from last years' Oscar season. If Jesse Eisenberg stumbling over his words like a kid on a first date doesn't make crack you up (James Franco's just staring at him thinking 'what the fuck are you on?), watch Robert Duvall. After the pissed off-looking vet sits there quietly for a minute or so, he hijacks the conversation to lay into none other than Stanley Kubrick.

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