Friday, March 31, 2000
It was the evening of the Academy Awards, an annual ceremony devoted to honoring the best movies of the year in various categories; and as such, celebrities from every corner of the globe showed up to watch the contenders vie for the top prizes.
Unfortunately, like so many telecasts before it, the 72nd evening of the Oscars was nothing short of a bore—a dreary and predictable experience in which the real Oscar winners were ignored for much more mainstream (and sometimes undeserving) front-runners.
Saturday, March 25, 2000
We've approached an era in which anything is possible at the tear of the envelope, as seen most recently with the surprise win of "Shakespeare In Love," which went up against Spielberg's World War II epic "Saving Private Ryan," just last year. This time around Hollywood is treading on similar territory; Dreamworks Pictures, which owns "Saving Private Ryan," now has "American Beauty" to deal with; meanwhile the brains behind Miramax, whose campaigning of "Shakespeare" left many feeling like they had bought the Best Picture Oscar, are hoping that their much-publicized surprise hit "The Cider House Rules" will make it out on top. It's a battle of clashing forces, as it seems: both films are leaving their other competition ("The Green Mile," "The Insider," and "The Sixth Sense") literally in the dust thanks to heavy publicity. But who will actually win? Now there's a good question!
Monday, March 20, 2000
What's even more disheartening is the continuing success of the picture; while it tramples the box office competitors, great and important works like "Magnolia" and "Wonder Boys" are disappearing from the list almost as soon as they are introduced. How sad that decent moviegoers are missing films that actually have something to say and are flocking to those that merely have something to mock.
"Peter Pan" was certainly one of my faves at the time. But each of us has a soft spot for childlike myths even after the years have passed by, because such stories constantly remind us of the fearsome possibilities of youth and its many adventures. Could this explain why there are so many interpretations? Partially. But I think the subject endures so many remakes simply because it seeks exposure to each new generation. Most of the renditions, though, are produced for the stage--there have only been a handful of movies using Pan as the source material.
Musically, she's one of the greatest women of all time; cinematically, however, very little has helped establish her as a hardworking actress. There are a couple of exceptions--both "A League Of Their Own" and "Evita" showcased talents that we never thought she had to begin with--but most work is, bluntly, complete crap. A 1993 film called "Body Of Evidence" would be exhibit A if there were ever trials that could prosecute actors for horrible roles.
This, to a certain effect, is the core problem with Roman Polanski's "The Ninth Gate." Here is a story that almost no one will be able to comprehend--one that is confusing, odd, dimwitted and often unbelievable. But I find myself recommending the picture regardless. Though the premise is considerably shallow, and it shifts back and forth between intriguing and ridiculous, the lush imagery presents us with high energy and is so well shot that we want to keep watching.