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Star Wars



Best/Worst of '98



news, magazines, webzines

SF in film and TV

People's Choice
All three of the nominations for the ''favorite motion picture'' category in the People's Choice Awards, determined by a nationwide Gallup poll, are SF or fantasy: The Matrix, The Sixth Sense, and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Currently the 12th-highest domestic grossing film of all time, The Sixth Sense is also nominated as ''favorite dramatic motion picture'', along with The Blair Witch Project and Double Jeopardy. Among TV categories, Futurama is nominated as ''favorite new television comedy series''. The awards will be presented January 9, 2000, and televised on CBS. [Mr. Showbiz]

The Return of Clockwork Orange
Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film A Clockwork Orange will return soon to British screens. Kubrick withdrew the film in 1973 after he and his family received death threats. (The film has remained available in other countries.) The adaptation of Anthony Burgess's novel was controversial for its stylized depiction of often brutal violence; a famous scene showed Alex, played by star Malcolm McDowell, and his thugs beating a couple while ''Singin' in the Rain'' played on the soundtrack. Warner Bros., the film's distributor, is in the final stages of negotiating with the late director's family, and plans to make the film a major release next year.

(Novelist Burgess, by the way, was unhappy with Kubrick's film for omitting the final chapter of the book, in which Alex is redeemed. Kubrick followed the original American edition of the book, which omitted that chapter. The complete British text wasn't published in the US until 1987.)

(Fri 3 Dec 1999)

§ Newsweek December 6, 1999
The cover feature about searching for life on Mars includes a summary of the various Mars projects underway in Hollywood, by James Cameron, Brian De Palma, and others.

(Wed 1 Dec 1999)

§ Los Angeles Times Nov. 28
A special 21st century edition of the Sunday Calendar section includes an article by Gregory Benford, ''Play Smarter, Not Harder'', about the future of media.

Entertainment Weekly
A special collector's issue on the 100 Greatest Entertainers [not greatest movie stars -- that was a different special collector's issue], limited to 1950-2000, puts Steven Spielberg in 4th place (after The Beatles, Elvis, and Marilyn), The Simpsons in 10th place, Alfred Hitchcock 14th, Stephen King 21st, Woody Allen 26th, Tom Wolfe 28th, Star Trek 33rd, Harrison Ford 37th, Stanley Kubrick 57th, Michael Crichton 75th, The X-Files 76th, Monty Python 77th, and James Cameron 95th. Rod Serling, Ridley Scott, and Roger Corman are mentioned on a sidebar list of ''trailblazers'', while Asimov, Heinlein, Le Guin, and Gibson are the SF entries on a half-page ''Intro to Modern Lit'' sidebar. [Not online]

Casting Notes

  • Jodie Foster has declined to star in the film version of Hannibal, Thomas Harris's sequel to The Silence of the Lambs, because it's too grisly and isn't true to Foster's character in the first film, Clarice Starling. But that was based on reading the book. The script is in development from writers David Mamet and Steve Zaillian, and may have a completely different ending.
    (Tue 30 Nov 1999)

    Obituary: James Goldstone
    Television and movie director James Goldstone died in Vermont on November 5, 1999. He was best known as director of the second pilot episode for the original Star Trek TV series, ''Where No Man Has Gone Before'', and also directed episodes of The Outer Limits, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E..

    Casting Notes

  • § In Salon, Matthew Sullivan wonders, who should play Anakin Skywalker in Episode II?
  • Pop singer Michael Jackson will play the lead in The Nightmares of Edgar Allan Poe, according to the film's co-executive producer Gary L. Pudney. The movie is scheduled for release in 2002. Jackson previously played the scarecrow in the 1978 movie The Wiz.

    § New York Times Nov. 18
    This article is about Hollywood's current interest in turning books into movies -- not just as art house films.

    § New Statesman 15th November 1999
    Ziauddin Sardar denounces best-of-century and -millennium lists, like Amazon's Millennium Video Top 100:

    Sky's Millennium Movies, for example, is a product of popular opinion. And what a sorry lot the public turns out to be. The greatest film of all time? Star Wars. Which possibly deserves a place, if only because it is the highest money-earner of all time. But how on earth did Titanic get to be second on the list? The answer is contained in the list itself. Of the 100 films listed, only six were made before 1950. So ''all time'' turns out to be a short period in the public memory. The people who bother to fill out the questionnaires have clearly seen very few films indeed.

    (Tue 23 Nov 1999)

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