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'99 Films


1999 SFFH Films






SFFH in Film and TV


• Though set during a preternaturally long solar eclipse, it sounds as if the new black-and-white film Judy Berlin, written and directed by Eric Mendelsohn and starring Edie Falco and Madeleine Kahn, isn't SF or fantasy so much as a portrait of suburbia along the lines of American Beauty or Happiness. But it's getting great reviews. Kevin Thomas in the Los Angeles Times:

The great thing about "Judy Berlin" is that Mendelsohn doesn't treat the mysteriously prolonged eclipse as a time of doom or of magic--as Alice, in wandering about her neighborhood, would like it to be--but rather an interlude just enough out of the ordinary to spin the Babylonians out of their routines, to be open to new emotions and experiences.
Other reviews:
Salon | NY Times | Washington Post | Mr. Showbiz

(Fri 25 Feb 2000)

• Steven Spielberg has passed on filming Harry Potter (Mr. Showbiz/Reuters), but screenwriter Steve Kloves is still hard at work on the script. His early inspirations include Rod Serling and Jerzy Kosinski, and he's the writer of the Curtis Hanson-directed Wonder Boys, which opens this week.
Salon 24 Feb

(Thu 24 Feb 2000)

• In contrast to the Oscars are the Razzies, given to the worst achievements in film by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Four of the five nominees for worst film of 1999 are SF, fantasy, or horror -- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, The Haunting, The Blair Witch Project, and Wild Wild West. (The fifth nominee is Big Daddy.) Star Wars and Wild Wild West tied for most nominations, with 8 each. Other notable nominations include Robin Williams (Bicentennial Man and Jakob the Liar) and Arnold Schwarzeneggar (End of Days) for worst actor, and George Lucas for both worst director and worst screenplay. This year's nominees also include categories for worst actors of the century (nominated are William Shatner, Kevin Costner, and Sylvester Stallone, among others), and worst picture of the decade (The Postman is nominated). Winners will be announced March 25, the day before the Oscars.
Golden Raspberry Award Foundation

(Wed 16 Feb 2000)

• French film director Roger Vadim, who directed then-wife Jane Fonda in the 1968 SF romp Barbarella, died today in Paris at age 72. — CNN

(Fri 11 Feb 2000)

• Writers Guild of America nominations for feature film scripts include Charlie Kaufman for Being John Malkovich and M. Night Shyamalan for The Sixth Sense, both in the category of screenplays written directly for the screen. Among nominated screenplays based on material previously published is Lewis Colick's for October Sky, based on a book by Homer H. Hickam Jr. Awards will be presented March 5 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York City. — Variety [reposted on Mr. Showbiz] | LA Times

(Thu 10 Feb 2000)

• A New York Times ''Ideas & Trends'' article (February 6) by J.D. Biersdorfer, A Not-So-Brave New World: Sci-Fi TV Runs Aground, considers the state of SF on TV, with comments from Paul T. Riddell and Harlan Ellison.

(Mon 7 Feb 2000)

[Inprint; not online] The February 4 Entertainment Weekly prints a chart of the top 141 US-grossing films of 1999 (pages 38-39). As previously noted seven or eight of the top ten were SFFH, or at least of SFFH interest. So are five of the second ten: The World Is Not Enough (11th), Stuart Little (12th), Wild Wild West (15th), The Green Mile (16th), and Inspector Gadget (20th); and so are four of the third ten. Of course some year-end films are still in theaters and will rise in this ranking, but others, despite critical acclaim, fared poorly at the box office: The Iron Giant ranks only 75th, with US gross of $23.2 million; Being John Malkovich 81st, with $20.2 million.

• Steven Spielberg will receive the Directors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award at the 52nd annual DGA awards ceremony March 11. (This is the award that has been controversially renamed from the D.W. Griffith Award because of the racist elements in Griffith's The Birth of a Nation.) — Mr. Showbiz

Being John Malkovich director Spike Jonze plans next to film a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, ''The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'', about an old man who ages backward. — Mr. Showbiz

(Wed 2 Feb 2000)

January Media Refractions
© 2000 by Locus Publications. All rights reserved.