Previewing the ‘Super Summer of 2015’: Part 3


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the movies that are scheduled for release during the ‘super-summer of 2015’. It seemed to be a case of Disney vs. the Rest of Hollywood, as the Mouse House had scheduled 5 big releases during the period 13th March to 31st July, 2015.

One studio that was missing from the roster was Sony Pictures; well yesterday, news came through that Sony has just put a stake in the ground for Summer 2015. They have signed on Hugh Jackman for a lead role in Chappie, the scifi/ comedy directed by Neill Blomkamp. Mr. Blomkamp has already directed two films which may be described as ‘socially-aware scifi’; he received a Best Screenplay Oscar nomination for his debut feature District 9, but he got the sophomore blues with Elysium this summer, which came across as standard Hollywood scifi fare, and was seen as a critical and commercial disappointment. It will be interesting to see if he can bounce back with Chappie, which is based on his 2004 short film Tetra Vaal about a robot policeman designed for deployment in Third World countries. For Manga afficionados, please note the distinctive ‘rabbit ears’ on the robot, which are an homage to the helmet design of the cyborg Briareos Hecatonchires in the Japanese anime Appleseed.

Universal Pictures already had Jurassic World parked in the middle of June 2015 and they have now added Minions on July 10th. This is a spin-off from the Despicable Me films, is directed by Pierre Coffin and is sure to be a mega-hit.

In my earlier post, I had mentioned that Paramount was bringing back the Terminator franchise in July 2015. I had forgotten to write about another big film they are releasing that summer which aims to establish the studio as a player in the animation business. After tasting success with Rango in 2011, Paramount decided to create its own in-house capability with the setting up of Paramount Animation. Consequently, they decided not to renew their distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation; all DWA films will now be distributed by Fox for the next 5 years. This created an interesting situation; Fox already has an animation unit, which had built its success over the last 10 years around films produced by Blue Sky Animation, which Fox owns. Blue Sky was set up in 1987 by Chris Wedge, one of the pioneers of CGI animation (he created the CG effects for Disney’s TRON in 1982). Along with partner Carlos Saldanha, Mr. Wedge directed Ice Age in 2002, the first of a string of hits for Blue Sky/ Fox, which included the Ice Age sequels, RobotsHorton Hears a Who!Rio and this year’s ecologically themed Epic. With Chris Wedge starting to look around for new things to do, Fox decided to hedge their bets and get into bed with DWA. Soon after the Fox-DWA deal was announced came the news that Paramount Animation had hired Chris Wedge to direct their big-budget live-action/ CGI-animation hybrid, Monster Trucks. So Paramount and Fox have effectively traded their animation partners.

Paramount is looking to start a “Transformers-like franchise” with Monster Trucks, which is being released on 29th May 2015, smack in the middle of the ‘2015 super-summer’, probably going up against the 2nd weekend of Star Wars Episode VII. I wonder at the irony of Chris Wedge following up on the green-themed Epic with a film built around large, noisy, heavily polluting vehicles! He has experience with this sort of subject matter, having directed Robots in 2005, so let’s see if he can work the magic for Paramount.

I expect at least one more big release to be announced by Paramount for the summer of 2015, as also by Sony and Warner Bros. I also expect Star Wars Episode VII to announce its full title and its exact release date soon. I assume the release date will be May 22nd, 2015 to coincide with its ‘traditional slot’ on Memorial Day weekend.

Advertisements

Previewing the ‘Super Summer of 2015’: Part 2


So, what do the other studios have lined up that can compete the Disney’s range of product? Not that much variety, I’m afraid. If there’s one thing we learned from the similarly over-crowded summer of 2013, it’s that audiences can only take so much of a ‘good thing’; in this case the ‘good thing’ is special effects and explosions and big bombastic music scores. Disney has more variety in 2015, with one fairy tale, one kids’ animated feature, 2 superhero films and one space opera. Between Fox, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros., they have 2 superhero films, one reboot of a scifi classic, a fourth sequel to a scifi/ monster classic, a long-delayed sequel to a scifi/ alien invasion classic, an new animated  feature about a ghost and a big-screen adaptation of a very successful, but creepy children’s story. Somehow, I get the feeling that audiences will be fed up with all that rehashed scifi by the end of the summer.

Fox

20th Century Fox gets a jump-start on the summer by releasing a reboot of its Marvel property The Fantastic Four in early March. Fox’s 2 FF movies released in 2005 and 2007 did middling business, but had terrible reviews. It did introduce movie goers to a certain Chris Evans who played the Human Torch and then went on to much greater fame with what will now be a long-term role as Captain America in the Disney movies. As per the complicated rights deals between Marvel and studios which were in place before its sale to Disney, these studios have to keep making movies at fixed intervals otherwise the rights revert to Marvel (which means Disney). So, Fox still holds the rights to the X-Men franchise which is ticking along very well, thank you…and will now attempt to give this beloved and long-lived Marvel superhero group another lease of life on the big screen. I am really looking forward to this one because the film is being directed by an exciting young talent named Josh Trank, who turned heads by writing and directing a low budget superhero film called Chronicle in early 2012. This ‘found footage’ film featured 3 college students who gain superpowers after they investigate a mysterious phenomenon in the woods. What follows is a very realistic depiction of how they attempt to deal with these powers…certainly the very antithesis of the ‘responsible teenage superheroes’ in Marvel’s universe like Spider-Man and Nova. Trank is expected to bring some degree of gravity to the FF reboot and he will be using his Chronicles experience to create some emotional tension for the characters after they return from their fateful outer space mission.

On the 3rd of July, Roland Emmerich will attempt to repeat his success from 19 years earlier when he owned the box office with the alien invasion flick Independence Day. That film catapulted Will Smith to super-stardom and earned about USD 800 million globally, an unbelievable number in those days. The film featured the now-iconic sequences of the Empire State Building and the White House being destroyed and also had a raft of interesting characters played by the likes of Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Randy Quaid, Harry Connick Jr. and Bill Pullman. Mr. Emmerich has failed to recreate that level of success since then. His films Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 all seem to feature a rehash of the same city-destroying scenes. He has been talking about a sequel to ID4 off and on for some years and this summer Fox finally announced it officially. No word yet on whether Will Smith will return, but no doubt the studio execs and agents are hard at work; with the failure of Smith’s After Earth this summer, he may be more open to a guaranteed big pay-day. The film will definitely generate a big opening due to its heritage and the release date, but long term box office receipts will depend on thrills and big visuals…and as I said, Mr. Emmerich hasn’t been particularly original or creative on that front for several years.

Miss Peregrine's HomeAt the tail end of the summer on 31st July, Fox will release the movie adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the debut novel by Riggs Ransom which spent 63 weeks on the NYT Best Sellers list for Children’s Chapter books in 2012. I intend to start reading this book soon; it is characterized by the creative use of spooky photographs to bring the narrative alive (the cover photo should give you some idea). News reports indicate that Tim Burton has signed on to direct the film. I feel that the appeal of the film may be limited, but given the setting of a lonely island and an abandoned orphanage, it shouldn’t be too expensive to produce and should have no problem making a profit.

In early June, Fox will release the animated film B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations. This is certainly an interesting premise, about a ghost who has to return to haunting school to upgrade his skills. While Fox also has The Penguins of Madagascar slated in late March, I haven’t listed that as a player in the 2015 summer wars, simply because these characters have plenty of exposure in the Madagascar movies and on their own TV show. Somehow i don’t think there will be that many paying customers to see the pesky avians in theatres.

It’s tough to say which of the 4 films will be the winner for Fox; frankly I have my doubts if the ID4 sequel will actually see the light of day, and Peregrine seems too niche to become a big hit. So, I guess it all rests on the shoulders of 29-year-old Josh Trank to save the summer for Fox with The Fantastic Four.

Paramount

The Terminator franchise has changed ownership over the years and consequently the movies have been released by different studios as well. Somehow, all the companies that have owned rights to Terminator have declared bankruptcy one by one – Hemdale Film Corporation, Carolco Pictures and The Halcyon Company! The rights are now owned by the Ellison siblings, Megan and David through their respective production companies Annapurna and Skydance. Larry’s kids (yes, that Ellison) have been making waves for the past couple of years, co-producing a slate of movies including Zero Dark Thirty, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Star Trek into Darkness and World War Z. Megan Ellison tends to go for the indie award-contenders while David backs the big tentpoles. With Paramount now confirmed to distribute the film (titled Terminator) and Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones and Thor: The Dark World) set to direct, they just have to sort out the small matter of having a working screenplay and casting the main parts. It is expected that 66-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger will somehow be incorporated into the storyline!

I am pretty sure that Paramount will announce some other big projects for the summer of 2015, perhaps a sequel to World War Z or G.I. Joe or the next Tintin film to be directed by Peter Jackson.

Universal

Univeral’s Jurassic Park franchise has seen declining grosses since the first film broke box office records and redefined CGI special effects in the summer of 1993. The movies have had writers of the caliber of David Koepp and Alexander Payne writing the screenplays but the thrill of seeing live dinosaurs has worn off due to an overabundance of TV shows like Walking with Dinosaurs (which is getting its own movie this Christmas) and cheap movie knock-offs.

It will be a gap of 14 years from the last film by the time Jurassic World is released in June 2015 and while the brand name is very well known due to the popularity of the original film and numerous theme park rides, the filmmakers will have to put together a really interesting screenplay and characters to squeeze any more dough out of this series. New director Colin Trevorrow has only directed one other movie, the quirky comedy Safety Not Guaranteed in 2012. He is updating an earlier draft of the screenplay, so this one is going to be a real unknown until more news filters through next year.

Warner Bros.

Warner Brothers re-launched the Superman franchise this year with Man of Steel…yet another attempt to replicate the phenomenal success of Marvel’s comic book properties. Unfortunately, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy which ran from 2005-12 is firmly set in a different universe/ continuity, so they could not hook it up with Zack Synder’s film. Therefore, the sequel to Man of Steel will now feature a new Batman, which WB hopes will lead to the expansion of the DC Universe and a Justice League movie sometime soon. I am sure that with the recent announcement of a new film franchise set in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter universe, WB execs are breathing a bit easier and don’t need to stress so much about when Flash and Wonder Woman will hit the big screen.

Superman vs. BatmanGetting back to Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel, it created a firestorm of controversy with the recent announcement of Ben Affleck in the role of Bruce Wayne/ Batman. While Mr. Affleck has gained widespread respect as a director recently (Gone Baby Gone, The Town and his Oscar-winner Argo), comic book fanboys have still not forgiven him for his disastrous turn as Marvel superhero Daredevil in 2003. No doubt, he has the chin for playing Batman, and in movies where he directs himself (especially in Argo) he has shown that he can throw off his ‘aw shucks’ persona and play the grim, determined protagonist very convincingly. So I’m willing to give him a shot (although frankly I too would have preferred someone else in the role). Certainly in a Superman vs. Batman film, we can expect to be relieved from the kind of city-wide destruction which became so difficult for audiences to stomach in Man of Steel. Of great interest will be the choice of villain for the movie; I am desperately hoping it will not be Lex Luthor, as I have disliked both cinematic iterations played by Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey. Since there is no continuity with Chris Nolan’s films, they could bring back the Joker, but I suspect that the producers will not want to compete with Heath Ledger’s iconic performance.

Whichever the villain, it is likely that Superman vs. Batman is the only film that can give Disney a run for its money as the top grossing film of the ‘Super Summer of 2015’.

Previewing the ‘Super Summer of 2015’: Part 1


Studios always block out their launch weekends 2-3 years in advance, partly as a signal to other studios to ‘get out of the way’. This also creates a lot of buzz in advance which is always good for the studios. After all, it’s never too early to get excited about upcoming movies; and observers are certainly getting worked up about the ‘Super Summer of 2015’. The period from March to July will feature 4 superhero films, a creepy new film from Tim Burton, new entries in the Jurassic Park, Terminator and Star Wars franchises, a live-action re-telling of an animated classic and a risky sequel to a mega-hit after a gap of 20 years. As was the case with this summer, with so many big names ready to duke it out at the multiplexes, there will surely be some high-profile casualties.

I’ve decided to break this down by studio, just to get a sense of how each of them is managing its portfolio for that summer. Part 1 will have the Disney releases and Part 2 will have all the rest.

Disney

There is no such thing as a sure thing in the movie industry, but at the moment, the smart money is on Disney winning the summer crown in 2015, having clearly emerged as THE industry powerhouse over the past few years. Their current status can trace its roots back to their acquisition of Pixar in 2006, followed by Marvel in 2009 and Lucasfilm last year. This breadth of product has allowed them to take big risks and win big; this also means Disney can bear the impact of big budget failures like John Carter and Lone Ranger in the last 2 summers.

2015 is the year when it all comes together with each of their divisions having something big to flaunt.

Disney’s summer begins very early; in fact it begins in early spring with the release of their big budget live action remake of Cinderella, directed by Shakespeare thesp turned director Kenneth Branagh. This would be Disney’s 2nd live action remake/ update of an animation classic in two years. In 2014, the Mouse House releases Maleficent with Angelina Jolie in the title role as Sleeping Beauty’s nemesis. Both Maleficent and Cinderella are being put together as tentpole family entertainment films (market research executives would say that they tick ‘all four quadrants’ – male, female, under- and over-25); both lead and supporting roles are filled with actors who have both box-office drawing power and acting chops. For example, Cinderella features Cate Blanchett as the evil stepmother and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother. Sparks will certainly fly!

The summer then really kicks off with the release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which brings back all the big Marvel superheroes, this time fighting the criminally insane, sentient robot Utron, voiced by James Spader. Joss Whedon is back in the director’s chair and I am excited to see 2 new superheroes, Magneto’s twin children Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

Disney started building this franchise in 2008 by creating an unexpected monster hit with Iron Man, who was essentially a Tier 2 character in the Marvel universe. Their magic formula consisted of the following ingredients – the superhero is played by a charismatic actor who can also act, the heavy action is leavened with doses of humour, the smart but low-key female love interest is played by an accomplished actress who generates lots of chemistry with the hero and finally, the fanboys are kept happy with cameos and post-credit sequences that give them glimpses into the larger Marvel universe. After Iron Man’s success, this formula was successfully replicated from 2010 to 2013 and looks set to continue for the next couple of years into 2015, which will mark the culmination of their ‘Phase 2’ movies.

The summer will also end with a Marvel-Disney release, this one being the launch of potential new franchise with Ant-Man. This character is one of the more complex superheroes in the Marvel Universe. In the original comics, Ant-Man is the alter ego of a brilliant scientist named Henry Pym, who figures out how to shrink himself and use a special helmet to communicate with ants. He is one of the founding members of the Avengers group. The same technology allows him to increase his size and become the superhero Giant-Man/ Goliath. He later suffers a nervous breakdown and takes on a new insect-themed identity – Yellowjacket – with no memory of his association with the Avengers. He is also the creator of Ultron (yes, he is clearly as disturbed as he is brilliant). Clearly, the comic book continuity is going to be thrown aside in the movie world, as Ultron will have a different origin earlier in the summer before Ant-Man is introduced to audiences. I am really curious to see how Ant-Man is brought to life on the big screen, as the movie is being directed and co-written by Edgar Wright, who is better known as the man behind bizarro-comedies like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and this year’s The World’s End. Marvel is taking a calculated risk by working with Mr. Wright, but why not? They will need to bring in some variety of characterization and tone into their movie portfolio if they don’t want to bore audiences with a sea of sameness. The industry is expecting casting announcements for Ant-Man to be made soon.

But the real jewel in Disney’s 2015 summer crown, the film which is expected to top the box office, is J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII. Naturally, speculation has been rife about the storyline of the next installment, but it is a given that it will include the next generation of Jedi in the Skywalker family, as well as feature the return of actors Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher to reprise their roles. Although the second trilogy released from 1999-2005 made lots of moolah, it is commonly considered to be a critical disappointment for several reasons – overuse of digital backgrounds and props, poor casting choices, generally wooden acting and the lack of chemistry between Hayden Christiansen and Natalie Portman. However, there is hope for the new trilogy. Lucasfilm is now headed by Kathleen Kennedy, who for years has been the producing partner behind all Steven Spielberg’s successful films, besides working with other giants like Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood (she has been co-nominated for 8 Best Picture Oscars, including ET, The Sixth Sense and Lincoln). Mr. Abrams certainly knows how to keep the action going and how to generate lots of tension among the characters. He works with elaborate sets, so no fake-looking digital landscapes hopefully. However, I we will have to put up with lens flare.

inside outIn mid-June, we get to see an interesting new project from Pixar called Inside Out. This is the story of the 5 personified emotions (Fear, Sadness, Joy, Disgust and Anger) that live inside the head of a 11-year old girl. Pixar released this concept art last month.

There was to have been a 6th Disney blockbuster that summer, but thankfully they have pushed Pirates of the Caribbean 5 to 2016 or beyond.

The other 4 studios are releasing 7-8 big movies between them and hoping that they can survive the Disney onslaught. I will cover those in Part 2.

Cuarón, del Toro and Iñárritu – The Three Caballeros


In 1994, I was getting my weekly dose of Barry Norman’s Film 94 review show when he talked about an unusual vampire film called Cronos directed the previous year by a first-time Mexican director named Guillermo del Toro. Having won several local awards, Cronos was hitting some screens in Western markets and as a result of Mr. Norman’s review, I tucked away del Toro’s name for future reference.

Over the years, I have become a big fan of his movies, including this summer’s Pacific Rim. With the imminent release of Alfonso Cuarón’s space drama Gravity and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s intriguing comedy Birdman coming up in 2014, I started thinking about the amazing body of work produced by these three Mexican comrades-in-arms in the past 10+ years. This trio has wowed audiences and critics alike with their unique blend of strong visuals and visceral storytelling, built around memorable characters. They have also created a mutual support group that has quickly expanded to embrace and nurture a host of Spanish-language filmmakers.

Guillermo del Toro:-

The busiest, most commercially oriented and therefore, the best known of the trio is del Toro, whose own work has gravitated strongly towards horror, scifi and fantasy.

His mainstream Hollywood films Hellboy, Hellboy II and Pacific Rim have had limited box office success, as he seems to make his movies unapologetically for genre fanboys. The peak of his critical and commercial success came in 2006/07 with the genre-bending Spanish-language fantasy/drama Pan’s Labyrinth. The film was nominated for 6 Oscars, including a best screenplay nom for del Toro.

I only got to watch his breakthrough 1993 feature Cronos last year and it was interesting see how del Toro’s fascination for disparate elements like religion and clockwork return in later projects like Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Del Toro frequent collaborators include character actor Ron Perlman (Cronos, the Hellboy films and Pacific Rim) and countryman Guillermo Navarro as cinematographer.

Several emerging filmmakers have had their films produced by del Toro and therefore can claim to be his protégés. Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona directed the intense and disturbing The Orphanage in 2006. Canadian comic book artist turned director Troy Nixey directed Don’t be Afraid of the Dark in 2010 with Katie Holmes. Young Spaniard Guillem Morales made the critically acclaimed horror film Julia’s Eyes also in 2010. Versatile Ecuadorian Sebastian Cordero (who just released the well-reviewed scifi thriller Europa Report) had two of his early films – Chronicles (2004) and Rage (2009) – co-produced by del Toro.

Many of del Toro’s films have an element of dark humour woven in; DreamWorks Animation tried to channel some of this into their films by hiring him as executive producer and creative consultant for Megamind, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots and Rise of the Guardians. In turn, del Toro got into the relationship as he was keen to get a strong technical understanding of animation for the Pinocchio feature he is developing with Claymation expert Mark Gustafson. I don’t particularly feel that del Toro’s darker sensibilities have worked for these movies and I believe the relationship will end soon as del Toro moves on to other areas of interest.

Speaking of moving on, del Toro is well known for announcing his attachment to a number of projects at a time, only for some of them to fall apart during development. Two of his highest profile dropouts are H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. The latter was not really his fault as the production became embroiled in a legal battle and by the time it was resolved, del Toro had decided to work on other projects. However, he spent nearly two years with Peter Jackson in New Zealand designing sets and creatures, so his imprint (and a screenplay co-credit) can be seen on the final films. Other projects he has been attached to (and unlikely to see the light of day) include Disney’s Haunted Mansion, remakes of Frankenstein, Jekyll & Hyde and Slaughterhouse Five for Universal.

Alfonso Cuarón:-

Cuarón too makes mainstream films, albeit of a more cerebral variety. His first English language film, A Little Princess, is a rarely seen little gem. After a misstep with 1999’s version of Great Expectations he came roaring back with the erotic Mexican road trip movie Y Tu Mama Tambien, which received an Oscar nomination for best screenplay and countless other awards. His contribution to the Harry Potter franchise – the 4th entry, The Prisoner of Azkaban – is considered the best reviewed film in the series. And his last film, the dystopian Children of Men garnered 3 Oscar nominations, including another personal one for best screenplay. His forthcoming Gravity is widely expected to earn an Oscar nomination for Sandra Bullock and certainly one for cinematography.

Cuarón has also been active as a producer, supporting del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and Iñárritu’s Biutiful. He also co-produced Cordero’s Chronicles along with del Toro. And he frequently collaborates with his own family members; his son Jonas co-wrote Gravity and directed Year of the Nail, which dad produced; his brother Carlos co-wrote Y Tu Mama Tambien and directed Rudo y Cursi, the Mexican comedy-drama which was a big hit in 2008. In fact, Rudo y Cursi was the big coming-together party, as it was co-produced by del Toro, Cuarón and Iñárritu and featured the popular acting duo of Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, who had made it big with Y Tu Mama Tambien.

I love the look of Curon’s films, primarily as he works with one of my all-time favourite cinematographers Emmanuel Lubezki (5 Oscar nominations so far). Besides Cuarón, Lubezki has worked with other visually oriented directors like Terrence Malick and Tim Burton; this alone should establish the breadth of Lubezki’s visual palette. He is equally at home whether creating the drab and gritty visuals of Children of Men, or the lush fantasy feel of A Little Princess, or the everyday look of Y Tu Mama Tambien. His work on the upcoming Gravity is considered to be his most technically challenging yet and no less a filmmaker than James Cameron has said, “I think it’s the best space photography ever done…”.

Alejandro González Iñárritu:-

Iñárritu is the least prolific of the three, having directed just 4 features since his breakthrough work Amores Perros in 2000. This thriller is still my favourite film and in some ways his most accessible work. He has tended to lean towards art house or indie projects, although Babel from 2006 can be considered a mainstream film and is his biggest box office hit to date. It was a major force at the Oscars with 6 nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. Both Babel and Amores Perros use the multiple-thread/ nonlinear storytelling technique that has become popular since 1994’s Pulp Fiction. I tried to watch Biutiful, but the film was so intense and dreary that I couldn’t go through with it, the 2 Oscar noms for Best Foreign Film and Best Actor (Javier Bardem) notwithstanding.

Besides the hit movie Rudo y Cursi, Iñárritu’s work as a producer has been low profile. But of particular note are the two movies – Nine Lives and Mother and Child – he has produced for director Rodrigo Garcia. The 54-year-old Garcia is none other than the son of famed Colombian writer and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Another interesting Iñárritu collaborator is Argentine director Armando Bo. Bo comes from a filmmaking pedigree (his namesake grandfather was a director of sexploitation films in the 60s and 70s including the first ever nude scene in Argentine films; his father Victor is an actor) and has co-written the screenplay with Iñárritu for Biutiful and the upcoming Birdman. Iñárritu produced his debut feature The Last Elvis in 2012, which won several awards in Argentina and was a hit at Sundance.

And of course, in the same vein as the other 2 directors, Iñárritu shoots all his films with a fellow-Mexican behind the camera, Rodrigo Prieto.

It’s fascinating to think of this extended network of talented Spanish-language artists and filmmakers working on each other’s projects. With del Toro, Cuarón and Iñárritu now entering their 50s it will be interesting to see how their future films will evolve tonally. I certainly feel that they are creating their most complex, layered work ever and I appreciate the fact that they have managed to successfully straddle both the Hollywood system and the Spanish language film world, while maintaining their respective artistic vision.