Saturday, June 30, 2001


This will be remembered as one of 2001's most stunning film achievements. Based upon the 1969 science fiction short story "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" by Brian Aldiss, A.I. originated as a Stanley Kubrick film project, but was posthumously completed by Steven Spielberg. The result is a unique synthesis of both directors and a stunningly original science fiction film.

At times, Spielberg draws from a number of sources in order to bring about emotional reactions from the audience. Story references from Pinocchio, alien elements of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and classical music similarities to Kubrick's earlier films all exist in A.I.

Besides standout performances by Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, and Frances O'Connor, A.I. contains both the sentimentality of Spielberg and the bleak futurism of Kubrick. One offset against the other results in a great film experience, one that fans of both directors can enjoy equally. It's hard to believe that we actually got to the point where we saw a collaboration between two of most notable directors in film history. It's too bad that Kubrick died before being able to make this film himself. It would have been a vastly different film without Spielberg's involvement.

Don't hesitate to see this film. Not a film for young children.

Experience the A.I. web site here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2001

Shadow of the Vampire

This is an absolutely fabulous "what if" story about the personalities involved in the making of the 1922 German horror film Nosferatu. You will remember that, late last year, Shadow was about to be released "wide," that is, to a larger number of theatres across the United States. Then those plans were scrapped at the last minute...literally. We were all expecting to be able to go and see it on the scheduled weekend and it just didn't show up. How disappointing.

Now, Shadow of the Vampire is out on DVD and the world is a better place for it. John Malkovich (F.W. Murnau) and Willem Dafoe (Max Schreck) are both spectacular here. The film's director, E. Elias Merhige (Begotten) is in tip-top form. Shadow is riveting from beginning to end and is best enjoyed when seen either directly after viewing or having discreet knowledge of the original Nosferatu. (Wayne Public Library fans, please note that we have both DVD's in our collection!)

Rounding out the DVD are revealing interviews with Nicolas Cage (producer), Dafoe, and Mehige. The featurette on the making of Shadow is also wonderful. This DVD should not be missed at any cost. Shadow of the Vampire was one of the best films of 2000 and if you missed it because you could not see it in a theatre, you will be robbing yourself of a wonderful experience by not viewing or purchasing the DVD.

For more information, go to the Shadow of the Vampire web site.

Sunday, June 24, 2001

Tomb Raider

Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. She wouldn't have been my first pick for the part, but she is great in the movie. Filled with special effects, the movie rocks right along, with only a semblance of a plot. But that's OK. The point here is that we can see Lara doing her thing in real life just as in the famous series of Playstation games.

Try to see the movie in a theatre with good sound since there is a lot of action with excellent high fidelity sound effects. The beginning of the movie is probably the best part, as Lara tests her mettle against a robotic adversary in the tradition of the X-Men's Danger Room. Good stuff. Also of interest is a bit part by Jon Voight, Angelina Jolie's real-life father, playing Lara Croft's father.

Tomb Raider won't turn out to be the best movie of the Summer of 2001, but it's a great summertime diversion.

Check out the excellent Tomb Raider movie web site at .

Friday, June 15, 2001

The Return of the Electric Light Orchestra

I remember my first Electric Light Orchestra album. It was "On the Third Day." I purchased it when it came out in 1973 because I couldn't figure out why all of the band members were exposing their navels on the cover (today I still have no idea why). I also had no idea what the music sounded like, but I was about to find out. After my first listen, I was hooked by the musical genius of Jeff Lynne, the founder of ELO. I followed the band from album to album, until ELO disbanded in the mid 1980's.

Now, Jeff Lynne has resurrected ELO and a new CD, "Zoom," was released on June 12th. I reviewed it on, here. If you are/were an ELO fan, you should like it, because the album works as both an ELO release and a Jeff Lynne solo album. It's fun.

ELO is about to tour during the fall, but to catch a preview, watch VH-1's Storytellers ELO special. It's one hour of Jeff Lynne and the new ELO (including old ELO buddy Richard Tandy, but, alas, no other original members) performing old and new stuff for a captive audience. Lynne also recalls some ELO history in front of the audience. Check it out.

Read more about ELO here

CD Tracker

...and then, for my audio CD collection, there is CD-Tracker. I've been collecting CDs longer than I've been collecting video, and I have traded many, many audio CDs over the years. (I've even re-bought certain CDs a number of times when I've decided that I couldn't live without them. That's the kind of music fanatic that I am.) You can do the same thing with CD Tracker as you can with DVD Profiler, although CD Tracker does not go into as much detail in their listings as DVD Profiler does. However, both of these services are free, and I can live with some drawbacks when it's free!

Wednesday, June 06, 2001

The Animal

The Animal is the new Rob Schneider movie, following after Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigalo from last year. If you liked Deuce, you'll probably like The Animal too. I liked it, although not as much as Deuce.

Some things never change and the partnership of Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider is one of them. If you have been following the running gag that started in The Waterboy and continued in Big Daddy, Deuce, and Little Nicky, then you won't be surprised to see what happens at the end of The Animal. Even Norm McDonald shows up for some additional comic relief.

Colleen Haskell (from the first Survivor) has her first feature film acting role here, and she's not bad! She looked a little uncomfortable, but she did a good job. Very cute.

Which brings us to whether it's worth going to see. Yeah, I'd say so. Although don't wait around too long. Evolution starts June 8th and you'll want to see Tomb Raider when it opens on June 15th. So, go see The Animal while there is not a lot in the theatres.

Go to the official web site for The Animal for more.