#60 January 2004
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|DECEMBER MEETING SWAP – HULK SMASH TEK MONEY
The December meeting opened with an energetic round of the annual ICS Christmas Yankee Swap. Coveted LOTR figures exchanged hands several times as did the CASABLANCA DVD while a very cool pair of HULK HANDS and a copy of William Shatner’s Tek Money (autographed by none less than The Minimum Bid Kid) remained with their original giftees throughout the hour long swap session. Honorable mention goes to the Michael Ripper book gag gift – great idea!
However, some club members expressed dissatisfaction with the swap, so we will discuss the future of the Yankee Swap and alternative ideas for a Christmas Gift exchange at the January meeting.
DECEMBER MEETING CINEMA – DAFFY, BILLY AND FAYE WRAY
Once again, John Ward gave us a taste of the days when cartoons preceded the main feature. The ‘toon du jour was DUCK AMUCK. Then, after laughing at Daffy’s antics, we next laughed at those of Billy Batson and Captain Marvel as they escaped one cliffhanger only to fall into another one 10 minutes later (D’OH!). Suddenly, the room grew quiet as chants of ‘Kong! Kong! Kong!’ filled the air. Yes, it was time for the uncensored 1933 classic KING KONG (again, courtesy of Mr. Ward). Special thanks goes to Charlie Wittig who pointed out the scene where the ‘native’ lost his wig. And thank you, John, for coming to the rescue with your films!
VISITORS FROM BEYOND (BEYOND THE EAST COAST, THAT IS)
Life-time members Tim and Heather Fleming flew in for the holidays and spent an evening at ICS to join in the Yankee Swap, watch a flick and visit with friends. It was great to see the both of you – we hope you can make a repeat visit in December 2004!
A BOOK FOR THE LITERATURE CORNER
ICS ANNIVERSARY BASH – JANUARY 24, 2004
Please note that our regular January meeting will be held on the following Saturday, January 31st.
DIRECTIONS TO THE SENATOR
ATTENDING THE 5TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
The attendees to the Senator party are:
NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
THE ANNUAL AUDIT
DUES ARE COMING
The following is a list of renewed members for 2004.
If you are not listed, please see Regina.
CALENDARS ARE STILL HERE!
|FINDING LIFE AFTER FIREFLY
Morena Baccarin, who stars in the upcoming Fox supernatural series STILL LIFE said that the show has a surprisingly lighthearted tone. "It's really just a beautiful show about humanity," the former Firefly star said in an interview at the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention. "I think it can be dark at times, but in those moments of sorrow we really find a lot of comedy, and it has a good combination of both."
Baccarin is best known for her role as high-class interstellar prostitute Inara Serra on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER creator Joss Whedon's canceled SF western FIREFLY. STILL LIFE is a one-hour drama from BUFFY executive producer Marti Noxon and centers on a family dealing with the death of their oldest son, Jake, who watches over them from beyond the grave. Baccarin plays Jake's former fiancee. She recently completed filming the first seven episodes on location in Vancouver, B.C.
Baccarin said the show has been favorably compared to HBO's critically acclaimed series SIX FEET UNDER, which also examines the subject of death, albeit from a less grave point of view. "A lot of people have been comparing it to Six Feet Under, because it's somewhat dark, but it's not depressing," she said. "It's very lifelike. You wouldn't just necessarily be crying your eyes out all the time." STILL LIFE is expected to debut on Fox at midseason.
MARSTERS OK WITH ANGEL
COL. AUSTIN JOINS JAKE 2.0
EARTHSEA GETS GREEN LIGHT
LOWE STAKES CLAIM IN SALEM
ENTERPRISE SEASON TRIMMED? Rumors or Truth?
FARSCAPE MINI SERIES IN WORKS
A stroke of the brush does not guarantee art from the bristles. Kosh Naranek:
Babylon 5 was the last of the Babylon stations. There would never be another. It changed the future and it changed us. It taught us that we have to create the future or others will do it for us. It showed us that we have to care for one another, because if we don't, who will? And that true strength sometimes comes from the most unlikely places. Mostly, though, I think it gave us hope, that there can always be new beginnings. Even for people like us. Susan Ivanova:
: Six months ago hardly anyone knew my name. Now everyone wants to be my friend. I wanted respect. Instead I have become a wishing well with legs. Ambassador Londo Mollari
The Earthers have a saying: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." I believe they stole it from us. Citizen G'Kar:
If I live through this, without completely losing my mind, it will be a miracle of biblical proportions. Susan Ivanova:
|January 9 - 11: CHILLER THEATRE presents Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors
January 24 - ICS ANNIVERSARY BASH AT THE SENATOR
February 13-15: Farpoint is a Baltimore-based, Science Fiction Media Convention, held each February at Marriott's Hunt Valley Inn. We're a Fan-Run, Fan-Friendly Con, with a lot more to offer than your basic Autographs-And-A-Dealers-Room "Show."
February 13-14: Katsucon is an annual festival of Japanese animation. For our tenth anniversary year, we will return to the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, where we will bring you the latest anime straight from Japan, plus great guests, panels, dealers, cosplay, gaming and much, much more!
April of 2004: Johns Hopkins Film Festival 2004.
May 28-31 2004: BALTICON 38 At the Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel.
|DA VINCI SPARKS BOOK SALES
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown's supernatural-tinged thriller novel, is spurring interest in similarly themed books. The best-selling Da Vinci supposes a marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene that produced a royal bloodline in France, and its sales are topped only by J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
The book has also triggered debates about early Christianity and a prime-time special on ABC last month. Nine months after publication, there are 4.5 million copies in print. Its popularity shows that "readers are clamoring for books which combine historic fact with a contemporary storyline.
UP ON THE ROOFTOP
PKD NOMINEES NAMED
If any ICS members would like to share their view on a recent book that they’ve read – fiction or non-fiction, please email it attn betsy at ICSBETSPOTS@aol.com.
|AFFLECK GEEKS OUT
Avowed movie geek and John Woo fan Ben Affleck, who stars in Woo's upcoming SF movie PAYCHECK, said that he had to beg the director to let him do one of his signature moves: pointing a pistol at the face of another man pointing one at him. Woo relented, putting in not one, but two scenes in which Affleck pulls the gun trick.
"This ... was the high point for me, I have to admit," Affleck said with glee during an interview to promote the movie. "I was like, 'Please, John, let me do it!' I was like a little kid. ... I was begging him. Woo said, 'OK, you go like this, then.' He's forever giving me the beleaguered grunt."
In a separate interview, Woo admitted that Affleck had to plead for the scenes. "That was true," the Hong Kong action director said. "Originally, [it was] just run, run, run, you know, ... and just shoot back. ... So I just came up with the move ... in the subway tunnel, pointing the gun with [co-star] Colm Feore. And ... at the end of the movie, just using the same thing with [co-star] Aaron [Eckhart], you know?" Woo said that Affleck told him he was a fan of Woo's films HARDBOILED and THE KILLER. "He had the posters and all. He's sometimes just like a kid, you know?"
Boston native Affleck added that Woo allowed him to change the film's original script to make his character, Michael Jennings, a Red Sox fan. "He did, he did!" Affleck said. "I love him forever. Well, I mean, I got the script, and it was the Mets. And I got family in Boston. Houses [would] be burned down.".
RIGHTS HANG UP HOBBIT?
BARKER BACK IN DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
2003's PEOPLES CHOICE NOMINATIONS
JACKSON GETS THIRD DGA NOMINATION
WOO HONORS HITCHCOCK
SAM IS AN ANCHOR IN KING
McKELLEN EAGER FOR XMEN 3
MORTENSEN UP FOR BATMAN?
SPIDEY 2 SPINS WEB TEASER
DID YOU KNOW?
In Frankenstein meets the Wolfman, the Monster is both blind and mute. When The Monster's dialogue was deleted, also removed were any references to The Monster being blind - a side-effect of Ygor's brain being implanted into The Monster at the end of Ghost of Frankenstein. As a result, Lugosi's sleepwalker-like lumbering gait with arms outstretched is not explained and became the subject of ridicule. It also established the Frankenstein Monster-walk stereotype.
Contrary to popular belief, Godzilla is 50 meters (164 feet) tall, not
400 feet, as stated in the edited American version.
Tomoyuki Tanaka originally wanted Godzilla as a giant fire breathing ape.
The name Gojira is a combination of the Japanese words for gorilla (gorira) and whale (kujira). It was originally a nickname given to an immense man who worked as a press agent for Toho.
After the Crownless was Crowned A Movie Review By: Dava Sentz
With the movie going public in such frenzy over THE LORD
OF THE RINGS, I felt it only fitting to compose a follow-up review of my
previous article. Since my first viewing of THE RETURN OF THE KING,
I have quite a lot to say on the movie's highlights, its performances,
as well as its drawbacks. The following reflects my personal opinion
concerning the final chapter of the trilogy. Because it contains
detailed descriptions of my favorite scenes, (spoilers) be warned if you
have not seen the film, stop reading beyond this point, details of the
movie are disclosed.
| COLLECTIBLES CORNER by Garyzilla…oops, I mean Diecast Dave
Diecast Dave here, pinch-hitting again for Garyzilla! This time we’re going to focus on some of the latest offerings of diecast metal toys out there.
Now diecast is a best associated with toys like Hot Wheels, although they also come in larger sizes. There’s a lot of cool sci-fi related diecast stuff out there! Diecast toys are rugged, well made, nicely detailed items that can double as toys or display pieces.
Holy Bat-toys Batman! One of the most popular diecast model subjects is the Batmobile. Almost any version can be found. From the comic book depictions to the TV show’s to the WB movie ones- all are available. Newest on the block is a nice sized version (about 12 inches) of the so-called “Keaton car”, which comes complete with a detailed cockpit. Hot Wheels has also come out with a version of the Keaton car in its series.
For those who read the comics in the 50s (or those wonderful “80 page Giants” in the 60s), Polar Lights makes a wonderful model of the 1950s comic version Batmobile ($17.00)! A brutish car with a huge bat head on the front, single batfin, and spotlight on the roof. Coming in June there will be a two Batmobile display set, featuring the Kilmer car and the Clooney car ($27.00). Both are about the size of a Hot Wheels car.
For those BACK TO THE FUTURE Fans (are there any?) there’s a 5 inch diecast model of the DeLorean Time Machine, complete with Doc Brown ($25.00). There’s also a larger 9 1/2 inch highly detailed version available ($38.00), with a breast-implanted Lea Thompson! (just kidding). Hot Wheels also makes a version of this car ($12.00).
Now comes one of my favorites, and frankly one I never thought I’d see! And I know Tim Fleming will want to run right out and order this one! Yes, friends, it’s a model of THE CAR ($40.00)! A whopping 13 inches long, complete with NO DRIVER! But it does have a fully detailed interior, a steering wheel that turns the front wheels, detailed motor and trunk (to put Mr. Barbara Streisand in).
As I said, some diecasts are considered “collectibles”. One in point is the Limited Edition model of TV’s “Fireball XL-5” (one of Diecast Dave’s favorite TV shows when I was a kid). Only 100 are being made of this precision 10 inch model, which carries a hefty price tag of $400. Heck, put me down for two!
Right up there with the Batmobile in quantity available are the James Bond diecast toys. There are almost too-many-to-mention versions of the 1964 Bond Aston Martin DB5 from GOLDFINGER. One of the best detailed ones is from Danbury Mint ($150), that has all the details- the ejector seat, the tire slashers, the dashboard tracking device (sci-fi then, fact now with GPS), and even some of the “extras” that were not seen in the film, like the underseat weapons tray. There is also a popular version made by Corgi that’s been around for 40 years that comes with pop-out machine guns and working ejector seat. Corgi also makes Bond’s Lotus, Volante, Vanquish and the auto-gyro “Little Nelly”. Nicely detailed and affordable (usually under $20).
If you’re into Gerry Anderson shows, there’s two new diecasts out that may appeal to you! One is a 12 inch model of the Eagle Transporter from SPACE 1999 ($70.00). Another is a 9 inch model of “Supercar” ($75.00), complete with a Mike Mercury figure behind the wheel (another one of Hendo’s old favorites).
These are some of the newest diecast models coming out. Websites like “Monsters in Motion” have them available, along with some of the older diecast models such as the Black Beauty, KITT the car from KNIGHT RIDER, and the MUNSTERS Coach. Diecasts have always been my favorite type of toy, because of their collectibility, quality, durability and detail. Not to mention that they usually appreciate in value.
MOVIE TRIVIA - YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT KNOWING THIS
At the start of the movie when Selene encounters a werewolf in the train tunnel, you hear a wolf howl - the sound effect is taken directly from American Werewolf in London, An (1981).
Michael Corvin, played by Scott Speedsman, was named after Ashe Corven from Crow: City of Angels, The (1996). The character name of Ashe Corven was previously named Michael Corvin.
LOTR – RETURN OF THE KING
While filming the trilogy, Viggo Mortensen got so into character that during a conversation, Peter Jackson referred to him as "Aragorn" for over half an hour without him realizing it
Viggo Mortensen estimates that, during the
course of filming the entire trilogy and including all takes, he killed
every stuntman on the production at least fifty times.
Andy Serkis and 'Elijah Wood' were given prop rings used in the movie by director Peter Jackson. They each thought they got the only one.
Pippin's song in Denethor's hall was composed and sung for the film by Billy Boyd.
|MUST SEE MOVIES FOR YOU!
Jan 7th BIG FISH Rated PG-13
Jan 23th THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT Rated R
|LOST IS FOUND
Finally, the Robinsons have found it to DVD. LOST IN SPACE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON has hit the shelves. This set includes the Space family Robinsons intergalactic travels including the never-aired pilot episode “No Place to Hide”, from which the villianous Dr. Smith (Jonathon Harris) is conspicuously absent. This is 24 hours and 38 minutes of great memories.
THE BATTLE GOES ON
DVD WITH SNAKE COMIC
SPIDEY ANIME HITS THE SHELVES
TOP SCIENCE FICTION DVD SELLERS 2003
Princess 9 Complete Collection, released by ADV Films 01/13/04, SRP
Crying Freeman Complete Collection, released 01/27/04. 300 min,
Rurouni Kenshin (Samurai X) OAV Collection, released by ADV Films, 01/27/04.
205 min, SRP 69.95
Neon Genesis Evangelion Director’s Cut episodes 21-23, released
Robotech Remaster volume 1, released by ADV Films, 01/27/04. 300 minutes,
A lot of repricing and rereleases are starting this month as well. Pioneer/Geneon entertainment are repackaging many of their older titles as ‘Geneon Signature Series” and lowering the SRP to 19.99. This months releases are- AKIRA, CATNAPPED, PANDA GO PANDA, ARMITAGE III POLYMATRIX, the SAILOR MOON movies and the TENCHOI MUYO movie. The first disc of several series are also being repriced, presumably the other discs will be repriced throughout the year. These discs include the first volume of TRIGUN, GATEKEEPERS, SERIAL EXPERIMENTS LAIN, TENCHI UNIVERSE, TENCHI IN TOKYO, TENCHI MUYO OAVs, and SAILOR MOON S. Wow. That’s a lot of Tenchi Muyo…
Central Park Media is also repricing a lot of the discs, mostly for the short OAVs that they have. This month includes GENOCYBER COLLECTION, VIRTUAL FIGHTER GOWCASIER, PHOTON:THE IDIOT ADVENTURES, LABYRINTH OF FLAMES, AYANE’S HIGH KICK, LEGEND OF LEMNEAR, and the strange sci-fi classic THEY WERE 11. If you like short crappy stand alone anime movies, this is your month.
|British actor David Hemmings, whose portrayal
of a hip fashion photographer in Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 BLOWUP made
him an icon of the swinging 60s, died. Hemmings had appeared in more than
50 movies since the early 1950s, including BARBARELLA, CAMELOT, ALFRED
THE GREAT, ISLANDS IN THE STREAM, and more recently, Martin Scorsese's
GANGS OF NEW YORK and Ridley Scott's GLADIATOR. He was also a prolific
director, who worked largely in television on such popular series as The
A-TEAM, AIRWOLF,and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT. He was 62.
Michael Small, a film composer best known
for his work on thrillers, including KLUTE, THE PARALLAX VIEW, MARATHON
MAN, THE DROWNING POOL, THE CHINA SYNDROME and THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS
TWICE, has died. He was 64.
Hope Lange, who won two Emmys for her charming
turn as Carolyn Muir on the popular television series THE GHOST AND MRS.
MUIR, has died. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for her role
in the 1957 film, PEYTON PLACE.
Les Tremayne, one of the best-known actors
on radio in the 1930s and '40s, has died. He starred as the voice of THE
THIN MAN and THE FALCON but is best remembered by radio fans as the longtime
leading man on THE FIRST NIGHTER series. Tremayne once estimated that he
had worked on more than 30,000 broadcasts, with as many as 45 radio shows
a week in the 1930s. He was elected to the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.
Ellen Drew, who started as a contract actress
at Paramount and rose through the ranks to star with such actors as Joel
McCrea, Dick Powell, Bing Crosby, Donald O’Connor and Rudy Vallee during
the 1940s and '50s, has died. She was 89.
Madlyn Rhue, a veteran television character
actress has died after a long battle with multiple sclerosis. She was 68.
Wah Ming Chang, one of Hollywood's top special-effects
masters who was part of the team whose work on the 1960 science fiction
film THE TIME MACHINE won an Academy Award, has died.
Marguerite McClure Bradbury, wife of writer
Ray Bradbury has died at age 81.
by John Ward
But this year just past was an exception. Not only did I have an easy time picking ten films, their pecking order fell into place so smoothly that, for the first time in years, I didn’t have to dodge arguments by listing my picks in alphabetical order. Not only that, there were enough good films left over this year that I felt compelled to put together a list of “honorable mentions,” films that, in other years, might have made my top ten. This year’s list had a one-two punch at the top that was stronger than any year since 1997, when L.A. CONFIDENTIAL and BOOGIE NIGHTS led my list.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I want to take a moment (or two) to savor my favorite films of 2003 one more time. I’ll list them in reverse order, starting with no. 10, leading all the way up to a film that will not surprise anyone at all who knows me that well. And I think what made me happiest of all is that, with one very notable exception, the best films of 2003 were all top-quality genre pictures. Nicole Kidman was nowhere to be found.
10. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL
2003 was truly the year of the long titles. The first PG-13
film released under the Walt Disney logo was better than anyone had a right
to expect a movie based on a theme park ride could be. But PIRATES
OF THE CARIBBEAN surprised a lot of folks. It was blessed with a
rollicking performance by Johnny Depp, channeling Keith Richards as the
swashbuckling Captain Jack Sparrow. Depp was so good in the central
role that I often found myself watching him in the frame even when other
actors were talking; his eyes would roll, his mouth would sneer, and his
face would come alive with expression.
9. DARK BLUE
It seems like such a long time since I saw this film, and indeed,
it was last winter when Ron Shelton’s searing cop drama came and went in
local theaters. It died so quickly that I noticed just today that
Circuit City was offering the DVD of DARK BLUE at a discounted $8.
Talk about falling off the radar.
8. X2: X-MEN UNITED
Comic fans eager for a rousing sequel to the first X-MEN were rewarded with a follow-up that topped its predecessor in many respects. X2 was not saddled with any need for exposition; it could jump right into the plot. Director Bryan Singer steered his spot-on cast (Alan Cumming was the most welcome addition as Nightcrawler) through the amped-up storyline with ease. Lots of nice action set pieces, and respect was shown for the source material, a little detail that just about every Hollywood director (with the exception of Singer and Sam Raimi) usually seems to get wrong. Here’s hoping that Singer can be lured back for a third round, and he can convince most of the cast to come back, too. Or at least Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Besides, I’d like to see what CGI can do with the Sentinels.
7. OPEN RANGE
A welcome comeback for the western, when most folks seemed to think the genre had brought down its final curtain with UNFORGIVEN. Little did we know that it was simply Eastwood saying goodbye to the genre. Kevin Costner had no such intention; he reinvigorated the western (and his career) with this solid look at friendship, honor, and frontier justice. Costner and Robert Duvall were outstanding as two old saddle bums who run afoul of the local town boss, played by Michael “Just call me Dumbledore” Gambon. Costner wisely let Duvall chew the scenery, and the whole film evoked wonderful memories of LONESOME DOVE. This was especially true of the casting of Annette Bening, who played her spinster role much like DOVE’S Anjelica Huston did. The climactic showdown was brutal but refreshingly free of genre clichés.
6. THE SCHOOL OF ROCK
With all due regard to Pixar’s fish, this was the family film
of the year for me. Jack Black, the live wire whose record store
employee stole HIGH FIDELITY right out from under store owner John Cusack,
nailed one of the performances of the year as Dewey Finn, a slacker forced
by circumstance (and his own finagling) to substitute teach at a snooty
elementary prep school. Within hours, he has tossed the books out
and brought in the curriculum he really knows: rock music.
Under the guise of a “school project,” he corrals his 5th graders to form
an actual rock band, and it is one of the film’s many pleasures that the
students in the class can actually play music.
5. MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
Russell Crowe has become a strange hybrid of movie star, a combination
of Tom Cruise’s matinee idol looks and Sean Penn’s willingness to bury
himself inside a character. Crowe does it again with his understated
portrayal of Capt. Jack Aubrey, the hero of a series of British naval war
novels. In other hands, it could turn into an overbearing swashbuckler
of a role, but Crowe finds the human qualities inside the larger-than-life
figure of Aubrey. This endears him to his men and carries the lion’s
share of Peter Weir’s exciting sea epic.
4. 28 DAYS LATER
The best horror film of the year absolutely knocked me out.
It broke so many of the rules associated with the genre, giving itself
an incredible shot of adrenalin in the process. A viral outbreak
decimates the population of England, leaving London a ghost town (shown
in a haunting opening scene) and the remaining normal humans fighting for
their lives against the virus victims, who aren’t strictly dead; they’re
bloodlusting automatons who move at lightning-fast speeds. Director
Danny Boyle uses videocam technology effectively to create a nightmarish
strobe effect during the most frightening attack scenes.
3. MYSTIC RIVER
I know Clint Eastwood has no intention of retiring, but if this
film turned out to be the last entry in a long, distinguished career, it
would be the perfect ending. MYSTIC RIVER is my favorite Eastwood-directed
film that doesn’t feature ol’ Clint as the star. It’s not necessary,
since he has put together the most perfectly-cast acting ensemble of the
year. Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon play three men from
South Boston who share a tragic past; as kids, Penn and Bacon watched helplessly
while the Robbins character was kidnapped by pedophiles masquerading as
cops. Flash forward 30 years, and Penn is the neighborhood “boss,”
Robbins is a quiet, conflicted husband, and Bacon is a homicide detective.
When Penn’s daughter is murdered and Robbins is fingered as a suspect,
all the pieces are in place for a modern-day Shakespearean tragedy.
2. KILL BILL VOLUME 1
Quentin Tarantino came back in a big way with this loving (Yes,
I said loving) homage to the “grindhouse cinema” of his youth. Short
on plot development but incredibly long on style – blood-soaked, sensational
style – KILL BILL VOL. 1 hit all the right notes for me. Uma Thurman,
making a mini-comeback of her own, was outrageously convincing as the wronged
heroine, left in a coma on her wedding day, but waking 5 years later with
a thirst for revenge. And brother, does she get it.
1. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
This was Peter Jackson’s crowning achievement. It was the closest
thing to a sure-fire success story this year, since Jackson had filmed
all three parts of Tolkien’s classic fantasy trilogy simultaneously, and
the first two parts had been so warmly received. There was the usual
minor nitpicking; plot elements and characters might have been given short
shrift here and there, but no one could deny that Jackson had arguably
crafted the greatest fantasy film ever made. THE RETURN OF THE KING
was simply the final piece to an extraordinary puzzle. It boasted
breathtaking cinematography (a travelogue bonanza for New Zealand tourism),
a musical score both rousing and haunting, state-of-the-art special effects,
action set pieces without equal, and a flawless cast.
As I said early on, this was a wonderful year for movies, and in a weaker year, any of the following films might have made my list. These all tied for “11th Place”: PHONE BOOTH, IDENTITY, BRUCE ALMIGHTY, FINDING NEMO, HULK, TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES, SEABISCUIT, CABIN FEVER, and ALIEN: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT.
GOOD THINGS IN LESS-THAN-STELLAR PACKAGES
And beyond the good films, there were quite a few more that had some redeeming qualities, enough to send me out of the theater with a smile, and not with the feeling that I had wasted my time and money. For one reason or another, for good or ill, I found something interesting about: FINAL DESTINATION 2, THE HUNTED, WILLARD, THE MATRIX RELOADED, THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, AMERICAN WEDDING, FREDDY VS. JASON, THE RUNDOWN, and THE MISSING. And let’s not forget the special theatrical runs for the extended editions of THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING and THE TWO TOWERS.
This wasn’t a hard choice at all. Without question, the worst film I saw in movie theaters this year was… THE CORE. I took my son and his friend to see it at the Tollgate Cinemas in Bel Air, where you could get a ticket, bottomless popcorn, and bottomless soda for $3.99. I still felt gypped. The place is closed now, so the last movie left me with a sour taste; there wasn’t a shred of originality in its doomsday plot about a group of scientists trying to save the planet from certain destruction by tunneling down to the molten core and… well, frankly, I don’t remember what they were trying to do. The special effects were the cheesiest I’d seen in a long time, and what can you say about a plot when I found myself pointing at various characters in the first 15 minutes and predicting aloud, “He’ll die…he’ll die…she’ll live…he’ll live…he’ll die…” and nailing every single prediction right down the line? The movie stunk like rotten cheese.
Which brings us back around to the movie year in review…and 2003 was quite a year. Here’s hoping that 2004 will feature more of the same.
|ICS CALENDER –the Month in review
Jan 23 THE BUTTERFLY