Site ColumnsBy Michelle
January 14, 2005 - 7:42 PM
It's a boring time of year, so I'm just going to report on my entertainment goings-on, since there's been no snow of note and I'm sure you don't want to hear about my kids' school assemblies. Last weekend we saw The Aviator, which we thought was superb - beautifully filmed, very well acted, excellent pacing. The early scenes with Kate Beckinsdale's Ava Gardner weren't very impressive after Cate Blanchett's astonishing Katharine Hepburn, but I suppose Martin Scorsese had to do something to convince us that she cared enough for Howard Hughes to be there for him later, when he started to come apart.
But the real kudos should go to Leonardo DiCaprio. I am one of those people who wasn't all that impressed with him in Titanic and couldn't believe how famous it made him - he now claims he didn't want that, but nobody gets on that many magazine covers without himself and his publicist and manager making it happen. I held that against him for several years, but seeing Total Eclipse reminded me of just how good he can be, and in The Aviator he takes a lot of similar risks. I love how unafraid he is to be really despicable in scenes when he could try for empathy; he sympathetic moments but he doesn't ever soft-pedal the really rotten stuff. I had read that the film didn't deal with Hughes in his insane last years, so I didn't expect his earlier OCD and related issues to be portrayed so graphically; the lunatic edge is very striking.
Monday night we watched Breaking Up on DVD, in which Salma Hayek is luminous and Russell Crowe is adorable despite playing a real dork. Here's a case of two actors who have such great chemistry and generate so much energy that it's possible to overlook the sillier parts of the script; a lot of it sounds like a stage play that no one bothered to convert into the more natural language of film. Structurally it has a lot in common with Australian import Better Than Sex, which we watched the week before last, so it's fun to have watched it not long after.
On Tuesday we watched Windprints, which is an understated gem of a film. I know a decent amount about what was going on in South Africa in the 1980s but very little about Namibia, so much of this was revelatory to me. It's about a liberal South African of Afrikaner roots (though he can't speak the language and is "accused" of being English) sent to work on a theoretically objective BBC-type documentary in Namibia, who finds that everyone makes up their own myths concerning a renegade Nama accused of killing black people on farms in the region. It's a very dark story yet it has some twistedly funny moments involving the various racial and cultural prejudices that keep flaring up. The film concludes quite abruptly, without trying to draw any morals or conclusions, which I really like; it's very emotional but it doesn't have any pat lesson for viewers.
Earlier I went for a repeat viewing of The Phantom of the Opera, because sometimes you're in the mood for overripe cheese and spectacular fetish wear and hummable music, you know? But I am starting to think that, with Enterprise no longer on Wednesday nights, I am the only person in North America not watching Lost. Doesn't anyone else still love Smallville?
Trek BBS Today
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Trek Two Years Ago
These were some of the major news items from January 2003:
- 'Nemesis' Misses Oscar F/X Shortlist
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced the shortlists for the visual effects and sound editing Oscars, but Star Trek Nemesis was overlooked in favor of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Men in Black II, Minority Report, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Spider-Man.
- UPN Tries To Secure Its Future
Facing a contract with Fox affiliates set to expire at the end of the 2003-2004 television season, CBS President Les Moonves initiated talks with the Fox Television Station Group to secure a new agreement in an attempt to ensure UPN's long-term survival. "If the deal is terminated, there will be no UPN," a source told The New York Daily News.
- 'Enterprise' Scores VFX Nods
Star Trek: Enterprise received two nominations in the first annual Visual Effects Society awards, one for previous season finale "Shockwave, Part I" in the category of Best Visual Effects in a Television Series, another for "Dead Stop" in the category of Best Models and Miniatures in a Televised Program, Music Video or Commercial. Only the Dinotopia mini-series earned more television nominations.
More news can be found in the archives.
Below are the results of the most recent TrekToday poll:
Please vote in our new poll after you have seen "Daedalus" and rate the episode!
Thursday, January 20th would have been the 85th birthday of DeForest Kelley, the original series' much-missed Dr. McCoy.
Today's Television Listings
Tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, UPN will show a new Star Trek: Enterprise episode, "Daedalus". Here's the official synopsis of the episode:
The crew welcomes aboard Emory Erickson, the inventor of the transporter device, set to conduct a series of experiments to test a radical upgrade to the technology. However, once Enterprise reaches the test site, Archer realizes that his old family friend has lied and is using the ship to search for his son, lost years before in a transporter mishap.