The Karate Kid: Instead of an expensive summer camp, apparently Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith (you know her as TV's tough-as-nails nurse, HAWTHORNE! If you see a nurse who cares so much that she's getting dragged out of the hospital screaming and/or making a pithy yet wise remark, you've just been HAWTHORNED!) bought their spawn The Karate Kid to play with. Full disclosure: I have not seen all of The Karate Kid or even The Karate Kid Part II, though I have actually seen The Karate Kid III and much of The Next Karate Kid. So I do not hold the original in any particular esteem and I am not worried that a remake will "ruin" a junior-league remake of the first few Rocky movies. However: as much as I dig Jackie Chan, I don't particularly feel like rewarding Will and Jada's ambitious investment in Jaden Smith, Inc. No one expects the creation of a child star to be especially organic, but an insanely wealthy family training their offspring in the art of preternatural charm deployment and monetizing feels particularly crass. In fact, to the same degree that Smith Senior is inarguably ingratiating, I find his son weirdly off-putting. It seems like he was genetically engineered to fit the same amount of charm into a smaller package, like an ipod, only the experiment went wrong and gained dangerous self-awareness, and now we have this cocky little kid too conscious of his own charm potential. Just send your kid to space camp or something.
Winter's Bone: I half-liked Down to the Bone, Debra Granik's depressing previous feature, not least because it qualifies for a spot on my list of The Ten Best Upstate New York Movies. Winter's Bone sounds a bit more eventful, following a girl hunting down her no-account drug-dealing father (shades of another upstate-misery movie, Frozen River, although apparently this new movie is set in the Ozarks), and I'm eager to see it. But something petty nags at me: if your last movie was called Down to the Bone, shouldn't you labor to think of a title for your next movie that does not include the word "bone," lest your audience suspect that maybe your sense of gritty desolation is perhaps more than a little calculated? Unless: you're planning some kind of Desolate America Bone Trilogy. So as long as Granik gives us Straight Off the Bone around 2013, we should be good.