Friday, February 14, 2003

This probably would have happened even if Spiderman had tanked at the Box Office, but the fact that it made more than $400 million domestically didn't help matters. According to the Wall Street Journal today, Hollywood is on a big-time superheroes kick with the release this weekend of Daredevil being just the tip of the iceberg. Coming later this summer is X-Men 2 followed by The Hulk. And then next year we will get Spiderman 2, The Punisher and Iron Fist, followed by Blade III and Iron Man in 2005. By that time, of course, we will probably also have Daredevil 2 and a spinoff movie for Jennifer Garner's Electra character (both already in the works). Plus there are rumored movie scripts and projects in development for Ghost Rider, the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer and Sub-Mariner. And that doesn't even take into account the inevitable rebirth of the Superman and Batman franchises.
So what is left to do? Surely they will do movies for Capatin America, Green Lantern, Aqua-Man and The Flash. Superhero movies are bound to become as prolific in our generation as Westerns were during the previous generations.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Most of the time these days the national news just makes me angry and depressed and it seems the only response is to write angry and depressing posts about the state of the nation. But I found a web log today where this guy Adam Felber responds to the awful news with biting satire and humor. So that is my recommendation for today. Check him out at Fanatical Apathy.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

The Oscar nominations are out and I guess I can't complain too much since The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers did get a Best Picture nod. But I'm still going to complain anyway.
Here are the Best Picture nominees:

The Hours
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Gangs of New York
The Pianist

All the nominees are here 75th Annual Academy Awards

First, I'm upset about the snub to Peter Jackson in the Best Director category. They always make a point of not nominating one of the Best Pic directors each year and this time they skipped over Jackson after nominating him last year for Fellowship of the Ring. In his place, we have Pedro Almodar, the Spanish director of "Talk To Her," the highly praised Spanish-language film which did not get nominated in the Foreign Language category because the Academy only allows each country to submit one film each year and Spain chose a different picture. So apparently the Academy intelligentsia decided to "show" Spain how wrong they were by giving Almodar the director slot. And I guess they figure to make it up to Jackson next year by giving him the gold statue for "Return of the King."

I still want to go see Chicago and Gangs of New York. The other two, The Hours and The Pianist, will probably be rentals sometime down the road. I'll be interested to see if I think Gangs really deserves the Best Pic nod in place of say, Catch Me If You Can or Minority Report., the two Spielberg offerings this year.

I can't say too much about the acting categories since I haven't seen most of the films. I never really thought that Andy Serkis would get nominated for his groundbreaking performance as Gollum. Maybe next year. I notice that Golden Globe winner Richard Gere was shut out by the Academy for his performance in Chicago. Instead, it seems every other major character in that movie got a nomination, even Queen Latifah. I was also sad to see that Houston-native Dennis Quaid did not get the acting nomination that was expected for Far From Heaven. I liked Christopher Walken in Catch Me If You Can and I'm also a big fan of Paul Newman (Road To Perdition).

On the music side, Lord of the Rings was passed over for Musical Score, but at least Catch Me If You Can score by John Williams was nominated. I really loved the music in that movie with its jazzy, 1950s-60s era feel. On the Best Song category, we can also rejoice that Madonna did not get a nomination for her James Bond theme song. Instead, we have Eminem (the only one of the group that I've actually heard, and like) and U2 for music in Gangs of New York. But where did this "Wild Thornberries" song nomination come from? OK, I guess because it is a Paul Simon tune, but it should have gone to Lord of the Rings for "Gollum's Song."

The Academy wised up this year and nominated Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine in the Documentary category. In the past, they have passed over films like Moore's "Roger and Me" and the anti-death penalty film "A Thin Blue Line" in favor of obscure pictures made by Academy friends and family members - a mini-scandal that now seems to have been corrected.

The only one of the animated nominees I have seen is "Ice Age" which I did not like. "Spirited Away" is supposedly the critical favorite while the inclusion of the critically panned "Treasure Planet" can only be a testament to Disney's marketing prowess.

One final happy note is the inclusion of "About A Boy" in the Best Screenplay category.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Got to see "Catch Me If You Can" this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Tom Hanks plays an FBI agent in the financial crimes section who becomes obsessed with catching a teenage mimic who has been cashing bad checks and passing himself off as everything from an airline pilot to a hospital administrator. The movie makes you side with Leonardo DiCaprio's character right from the beginning by drawing you into his shattered world at the point where his parents are breaking up. It takes longer, however, to feel empathy for the Tom Hanks character who comes across first like the police official in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables chasing after some poor guy who stole a crust of break to feed his starving family. Of course, DiCaprio's character is stealing a bit more than just bread. By the time the movie is well underway, he is driving around in Porsches and pretending to be like James Bond in Goldfinger.

The Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow morning and I am hoping that The Two Towers will get a Best Picture nod, but I am worried it may get passed over this year. We shall see. My best guess on the Oscar best picture nods is Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Hours, Lord of the Rings - Two Towers, About Schmidt.