Animals aren’t just poking through as the stars of new films, but are giving killer performances…so to speak. This is almost the view of Pete Hammond, who saw Frank Marshall’s Eight Below (Disney, 2.17) at the all-media last Monday. He also showed Eight Below to his UCLA “Sneak Preview” class last week and says “it went through the roof…one woman said it was the best film she’d ever seen at the series.” He also says that the Huskies and Malamutes in the film are phenomenally touching, and that they almost seem to show acting chops. I couldn’t be bothered to see Eight Below because (a) it looked sappy, (b) I’m starting to wonder if Walker is making the right career calls, and (c) because I’m a narrative animal-movie snob. Except, of course, when it comes to movies like Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard, Balthazar (a sad donkey movie)or Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s Amores Perros (sad dogs). Bresson’s would be an excellent film to remake, of course. It can’t be improved upon, but most people out there won’t rent or buy the Criterion DVD so at least a remake would be seen, although a Balthazar remake would probably turn out better if the Disney people had nothing to do with it. I’m serious about this — animal movies are vaguely in vogue now, and a Balthazar remake would be an upscale way to go with at least a potential of being a critical favorite and an award-winner, if only because cultured film lovers regard the Bresson film as a landmark art film.