Time for another roundup

Time for another roundup

Posted by Sean Stangland on Sun, 06/22/2008 - 22:46

• Surprisingly, "Get Smart" pistol-whipped "The Love Guru" at the box office this weekend. This proves that bad reviews can still kill a movie, no matter how popular its star is. By almost all accounts, "Love Guru" is one of the worst movies of the year. I saw neither new comedy this weekend, but caught up with "The Incredible Hulk," which had everything the Ang Lee version didn't have -- namely, exciting action scenes, great acting and "HULK SMASH!" Of course, Lee's stylistic choices and serious handling of the subject make his 2003 "Hulk" a much better film, but I think Louis Letterier has made a better movie.

"The Happening" composer James Newton Howard's score
for "Signs" is one of the best of recent years. His music makes
the main titles the best scene in the flick.

• M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening" saw a steep decline in business this weekend, as expected, and while the director's reputation has been tarnished by his last few movies, his composer's reputation only grows. James Newton Howard has been a Hollywood staple for more than two decades, but his collaboration with Shyamalan has yielded his best work. "Unbreakable" was a moody, dreamlike beauty that defied all superhero stereotypes, "Signs" was the best score Bernard Herrmann never wrote, and "The Village" simply defies description. He was also called in to pinch-hit for Howard Shore when his "King Kong" score was rejected by Peter Jackson, and the result was a speedily written masterpiece. If you've got some iTunes credits to burn, a good JNH sampler would include "Noah Visits" from "The Village," "A Fateful Meeting" from "King Kong," the main title theme from "Waterworld," "Flying" from "Peter Pan" and "The Hand of Fate" from "Signs." (Bonus: He also wrote the theme from "ER," which isn't even heard in first-run broadcasts on NBC anymore. Boo!)

• The memorial service for Hollywood magician Stan Winston was held today in Los Angeles, and there's a lovely story about the service from the Associated Press that unfortunately repeats errors their obituary had last week -- Winston's best makeup Oscar was for "Terminator 2," not "Batman Returns," and "T2" was released in 1991. That aside, the story got me a little misty-eyed, as I have long counted Winston among my big-screen heroes. Quoted in the story are his two most famous collaborators, Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, the directors that gave him the opportunities to create T-rexes, Terminators, and xenomorphs.

• I still need your suggestions for "Guitar Hero: Suburbia." I think the inclusion of Veruca Salt is a must, and perhaps the Thirsty Whale shall make an appearance as well ...

I just saw this last night: Here's a dude singing "Bohemian
Rhapsody" as 25 different rock stars. Funny stuff!

Entertainment Weekly's list of the 100 classic films of the last 25 years is pretty infuriating, for a number of reasons. If the list represents that nexus of popularity, critical acclaim, and Oscar victories, then the top three are pretty hard to argue with ("Pulp Fiction," "The Lord of the Rings," "Titanic"). But such a list always neglects truly groundbreaking, truly great films in favor of hits, hence some glaring omissions. Worst of all: No "Amadeus." How can any list of 100 classics from any period of time be complete without "Amadeus"?

And finally ... I need your help. I have spent almost $3,000 on car repairs in the last four months. I know nothing about cars, and find myself in need of a new one. What's affordable and efficient?

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