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Number 47 (Vol 2, No. 7).  This edition is for the week of February 12--18, 2001.
"Hannibal" has different bite than its predecessor. This week's Oscar talk--and Mike's picks.
But first, this: Sky-homes do exist!
"Jaaaaaane, howdya stop this crazy thing! Jaaaaaane...."

Photo of Sky Home All my long-time, loyal readers will remember my "birthday, 2000" despair (from last year--issue 21) over the "fact" that we never arrived in the era of "homes in the clouds" on high stilts overlooking all. Like The Jetsons. Well, take a gander at the photo at right.

I'm indebted to reader Ward Kendall for sending me the link to a site I'm ashamed I never heard of called "SkyPad™ Technologies, Int'l"

Here, you can special-order your own "Jetsons-style" home at tree-level, tree-top, or above tree-top level. Of course, all amenities are cutting-edge, as would be expected. There are designs implemented to make it hurricane-proof. Heck, if you want, you can even have a roof-top VTOL or helicopter landing pad installed!! Know why? Because they're developing flying cars as well (a must-see page)!!  Aside from one VTOL/car craft listed for $899,000(!), I didn't see any prices on the site while I was there. (Their ordering page was still under construction when I visited.) No matter. I just wanted to let you know these things actually exist---and on schedule. And that's headline enough.
Photograph of stilt home is ©2001 SkyPad™ Technologies, Int'l, all rights reserved.

announcements
Another T.R.E.E. success.     The Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort, Inc.
Good friend Will Moriaty wishes to thank all the volunteers, particularly Boy Scout troop #109 from Valrico, for the successful planting of some 500 trees at the Bell Creek Preserve last Saturday. The county ran a small article in the Brandon edition of the paper which the Scouts saw and responded to. For more info on TREE, click here..

Before I hand the reins of "Hannibal" over to the teen wonder of the state of Kansas, Brandon Herring, for his excellent, in-depth review, Mike and I have a couple of things to say...
"Hannibal"--Mini-review by
Michael A. Simth
"Hannibal". Here is my review in a nutshell: A worthy successor to "Silence of the Lambs" that would stand alone if "Silence" had never been heard of.
Once again, Anthony Hopkins takes a role and makes it his own. Julianne Moore is fine as Clarice Starling. Before the first five minutes had passed, I completely forgot about Jodie Foster (which anyone who knows me knows is tough since I've lusted after her since "Freaky Friday!") An uncredited (until the end) Gary Oldman is his usual solid self as Hannibal's only surviving victim and Giancarlo Gianinni is excellent as the policeman who is tracking Hannibal for his own gain. Gotta tell you that the ending (which is different from the novel for those who read it) is pretty intense, with some of the most graphic footage to gain an "R" rating since "Dawn of the Dead." Definitely not for the squeamish. Other than that, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it.
"Hannibal"--Selective review by
Nolan B. Canova
I agree with Mike about almost everything. I do recommend "Hannibal", but with a caveat: Ridley Scott has simply made a different kind of movie than Jonathan Demme.
   "Silence of the Lambs" was equal parts crime-drama and psychological thriller. "Hannibal" is equal parts crime-drama and horror movie, if you can wrap your mind around that. It has a lot going for it. Well, for a gore-monger like myself, it has a lot going for it. More on that in a sec.
   One thing my esteemed colleagues glossed over rather lightly affected me more profoundly and that's this: the success or failure of this movie for general audiences depends overwhelmingly on the character of Clarice Starling, and Julianne Moore's portrayal of her than any other single factor.  I do not feel this is Lecter's story so much so as it is Clarice Starling's. Now, I must bring up the Jodie Foster question.
   I won't go into detail here on the well-documented behind-the-scenes soap-opera of casting mishaps. I disagree with Mike, tho, on one thing: it took me much longer--if ever--to forget Jodie Foster. For continuity's sake, it's too jarring. But, eventually, there's one way the re-casting does work: Julianne Moore is much more classically beautiful than Jodie Foster (sorry, Mike) and, therefore, easier to believe that big men--friend and foe alike--are falling all over themselves for her. She is a bitter, angry, unhappy Starling with a tarnished FBI record. Considering the large challenge before her, I agree, in the end, Moore made a fine Starling.  Funnily enough--she resembles The X-Files' Gillian Anderson more than she does Jodie Foster, accent notwithstanding. (With a touch of irony, Anderson was also considered for the part of Starling.) That being said, I can't help but wonder how much more powerful the movie would have been with Foster.
   Mike and Brandon comment of the fine role of the Italian detective and I agree with them. I don't regard the "central 40 minutes" as a major slow-down as so many critics have already. I think it's necessary to build sympathy for a character in serious danger.
   The gross-out factor-- Greg Cannom's make-up job on the incredible Gary Oldman as tycoon Mason Verger is a brilliant piece of yuk! by Oscar-winner Cannom (Platoon, Bram Stoker's Dracula). Oldman is unrecognizable, but highly, effectively pathetic.
   I thought the murder scene photos at the FBI and flashback scenes were tastefully done. One hanging murder is particularly effectively done.  I must say tho--without giving too much away--there's a shocker scene--a dinner scene, ha ha--near the end which must be seen to be believed. It is so deliciously outrageous, I can't bear to divulge any details and spoil it except to comment that this is arguably the coolest-grossest-smoothest-most perverted horror effect I've ever seen ever!!   I'm guessing it is a combination of make-up and computer graphics. Don't worry if you'll recognize what I'm talking about--you'll know.
   I went into the theatre not expecting to like this movie. But, recognizing it's a different experience, and well done, my verdict is:  RECOMMENDED.


"Hannibal"
Movie review by
Brandon Herring
"Hannibal"   * * *1/2 out of * * * *
Starring: Sir Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Ray Liotta, Giancarlo Giannini, Ennio Coltorti, Francesca Neri, Gary Oldman. Directed by: Ridley Scott. Running Time: 131 Minutes. Rated R: graphic violence, gore, language.
I was eight years old in 1991. I remember watching some Hollywood news show with my parents and the trailer for "Silence of the Lambs" appeared on there. I grabbed on to my Mom, as she looked down at me and smiled. I remember wanting to see the movie so badly, and hearing so many good things about it. However, me being eight years old, my Mom would never let it happen. Then her and my dad rented it and she said she couldn't even go downstairs to our basement to do the laundry it scared her so much. By this time I was really enthused, and finally seven years later when I was fifteen I finally sat down and watched "Silence of the Lambs"; since then it has been one of my favorite movies.

A few years ago Thomas Harris wrote a sequel to "Silence of the Lambs" to which he also wrote, he entitled it "Hannibal" and it furthered the adventures of the doctor on the loose in Italy. I picked it up and read it and remember it being a total page-turner, very intense and well written. The ending, however, severely disappointed me, but I was still happy that I had read the book. Around two years after the book was written, a big screen adaptation was made, and even with the absence of Jodie Foster, "Hannibal" is still a success, but in more ways than one.

The film opens set ten years later, with an intense sequence to which agent Clarice Starling and her companions go to a fish market to find a woman who is in drug-dealing. A shoot-out occurs, and since the woman is holding a baby, Starling does not want anyone to shoot this woman. However, when the woman pulls out a Mac 10 on her, she shoots her in the chest splattering HIV positive blood all over the baby. Afterwards pictures are released showing Starling shooting this woman with a baby in her arms, and not showing the gun. Starling is relieved of her duties as an FBI agent for a while and goes out living her life as a normal person.

Still in her life tracking down her longtime nemesis Dr. Hannibal Lecter, she is asked by a multimillionaire Mason Verger (Gary Oldman who is uncredited) whose face was horribly disfigured after a little run into with the Dr. Lecter himself, Verger wants his revenge and wants Starling to find him for him. He wants to use Starling as the bait, for he knows the feeling Lector has for Starling. We then go to Italy and meet Rinaldo Pazzi (Giancarlo Giannini) who is a cop, trying to figure out the strange disappearance of a certain doctor's patient. This doctor, of course, is Lector himself, going under a different name. After Rinaldo finds a picture of Lecter on the FBI's ten most-wanted list, he finds out that there is a huge reward of $3,000,000 dollars, and he instantly tries to devise a plan to capture Lecter. Rinaldo Pazzi however does not realize that the sly, brilliant Dr. Hannibal Lecter has devised a little plan of his own, and goes back to America to find Clarice herself and have the biggest reunion of the century leading to a shocking climax that will make your stomach turn, while having your eyes glued to the screen at the same time.

What may be the biggest controversy of all time, is why Jodie Foster didn't return, of course when you watch this movie you can't help but compare Julianne Moore to Jodie Foster in the role as Clarice Starling, but let me be the first to say even though Julianne Moore (who I love and think is the most beautiful woman in the world) she does not come nearly as good to Jodie Foster, but in the role of Clarice she does a damn good job of it. She keeps her attention focused on her costars, her dialogue comes quick and snappy out of her mouth, and she seemly fits the role of Clarice 10 years after coming in contact with Hannibal himself.

Even ten years after he won a Best Actor Oscar for his brilliant-yet-terrifying performance as "The Cannibal" himself, Anthony Hopkins is fantastic in every scene he is in. In fact, he's great in every second of every scene he is in, and he is just as scary and terrifying now as he was then. Since "Hannibal" is mostly his movie, he and Clarice are not together as much as they were in the first film, but the first time they talk in this it was, to me, a very powerful part, and I found myself holding my breath.

In his uncredited role, Gary Oldman plays underneath all that gruesome make-up a great Mason Verger, and almost brings the character from the book to life. He is creepy, but you almost have to feel sorry for him for the life he lives in. Ridley Scott's beautiful direction add much depth to "Hannibal" as well as the cinematography. It's beautifully shot with fantastic camera angles and great set direction, not to mention the fact that half the film was shot in Italy. Even with all these plusses, "Hannibal" has a couple minuses. The gore quotient in the film is at times unnecessary and I will not ruin it, but a scene towards the end was so graphic and disgusting that I had to actually cover my eyes while peeking through, something I don't do much. The other minus was that the middle of the film for about 40 minutes falls flat, and gets extremely boring while Rinaldo is tracking down Hannibal. But, the ending climax is very intense--it had my heart racing fast. The face-to-face confrontation of Clarice and Hannibal was very powerful and riveting. "Hannibal" is a movie that, even though it isn't even as close to being as good as "Silence of the Lambs", it still stands as a great movie, with some great acting, beautiful photography and a great story.
Brandon Herring 2-9-01
Letters to the Editor
Mike's Rant   by Michael A. Smith.
Hey, Just a few notes and Oscar predictions..................based on your enthusiasm I listened to Art Bell for the first time this past week. Will make it my driving home from work choice from now on. (Welcome aboard! Glad you enjoyed him, I've been a fan for years. More for us to chat about now. LOL!---N)
Hello gang! A few notes and my Oscar nominations, but first.............................

GOOD THINK HE WASN'T WATCHING "RUGRATS"
I'm sure by now that many of you have heard about the unfortunate incident in a Boston area theatre in which an 11-year-old boy stabbed another 11-year-old boy to death. The news media was quick to pick up on the fact that the movie "Valentine" had opened that weekend and assumed that the young man in question had seen the film unaccompanied. When the facts were collected, it seems that the two boys argued in the arcade area over a girl they both liked and that is what caused the altercation. In fact, neither boy had gone to their respective films yet. It puzzled me that everyone was quick to point out the "R"-rated film playing at the theatre was a cause without asking any other questions. My first one is WHY DID AN ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD BOY HAVE A KNIFE?? And, once again, why did his parents allow him to have a knife? I've yet to hear any reports of children feeding their enemies to flesh eating pigs due to "Hannibal," but of course the weekend isn't over yet!

FIRST ALEC AND KIM........
Sad to report that Hollywood's glamour couple has gone the way of Bruce and Demi, Alec and Kim, Laurence Olivier and Danny Kaye. (LOL!! You slay me!---N) Citing problems with their conflicting schedules, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman have called it quits, with Cruise filing for divorce this past week. Rumors are that another man may be involved. Another is that Nicole cheated.(LOL!!! Stop..you're killing me!---N)

OSCAR TIME
As I write this, it is 1:20 am, Monday morning................almost 48 hours until the Oscar nominations will be announced. I listed my choices for Best Picture last week. Here are the rest in the major categories. Fingers crossed: (And I'm getting a workout on my HTML "tables" codes!  I'm repeating your Best Picture nominees for our readers' convenience. Oh, and READERS...this list was received from Mike on Monday afternoon, 2-12-01. It was posted Tuesday evening, 2-13-01.---N)
MIKE SMITH'S OSCAR NOMINATION PREDICTIONS
BEST PICTUREBEST ACTOR
Almost Famous
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Erin Brockovich
Gladiator
Traffic
Sean Connery--"Finding Forrester"
Russell Crowe--"Gladiator"
Michael Douglas--"Wonderboys"
Tom Hanks--"Cast Away"
Goeffrey Rush--"Quills"
SPOILER: Jamie Bell--"Billy Elliott"
BEST ACTRESSBEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Joan Allen--"the Contender"
Juliette Binoche--"Chocolat"
Ellen Burstyn--"Requiem for a Dream"
Laura Linney--"You Can Count On Me"
Julia Roberts--"Erin Brockovich"
SPOILER: Renee Zellweger--"Nurse Betty"
Jeff Bridges--"The Contender"
Willem Dafoe--"Shadow of the Vampire"
Benecio Del Toro--"Traffic"
Albert Finney--"Erin Brockovich"
Joaquin Phoenix--"Gladiator"
SPOILER: Wilson--"Cast Away"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESSBEST DIRECTOR
Marg Helgenberger--"Erin Brockovich"
Kate Hudson--"Almost Famous"
Francis McDormand--"Almost Famous"
Julie Walters--"Billy Elliott"
Catherine Zeta-Jones--"Traffic"
Kate Winslet--"Quills"
Cameron Crowe--"Almost Famous"
Ang Lee--"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
Ridley Scott--"Gladiator"
Steven Soderbergh--"Erin Brockovich"
Steven Soderbergh--"Traffic"
No, not a misprint. I do believe that Soderbergh will gain two nominations for directing this year. If he only gets one, I give the other place to Steven Speilberg for "Jaws"................or Robert Zemeckis for "Cast Away". Next week, I'll check my score and comment on the real nominations. (No need to wait Mike, I was jonesing to upload the info! See the final outcome below---N)
PRETTY DARN CLOSE!
Nominees announced 2-13-01. The following was posted Wed. night, 2-14-01.
BEST PICTUREBEST ACTOR
Almost Famous
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Erin Brockovich
Gladiator
Traffic
Chocolat
Sean Connery--"Finding Forrester"
Russell Crowe--"Gladiator"
Michael Douglas--"Wonderboys"
Tom Hanks--"Cast Away"
Goeffrey Rush--"Quills"
Jamier Bardem--"Before Night Falls"
Ed Harris--"Pollock"
BEST ACTRESSBEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Joan Allen--"the Contender"
Juliette Binoche--"Chocolat"
Ellen Burstyn--"Requiem for a Dream"
Laura Linney--"You Can Count On Me"
Julia Roberts--"Erin Brockovich"
Jeff Bridges--"The Contender"
Willem Dafoe--"Shadow of the Vampire"
Benecio Del Toro--"Traffic"
Albert Finney--"Erin Brockovich"
Joaquin Phoenix--"Gladiator"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESSBEST DIRECTOR
Marg Helgenberger--"Erin Brockovich"
Kate Hudson--"Almost Famous"
Francis McDormand--"Almost Famous"
Julie Walters--"Billy Elliott"
Catherine Zeta-Jones--"Traffic"
Kate Winslet--"Quills"

Judi Dench--"Chocolat"
Marcia Gay Harden--"Pollock"
Cameron Crowe--"Almost Famous"
Ang Lee--"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
Ridley Scott--"Gladiator"
Steven Soderbergh--"Erin Brockovich"
Steven Soderbergh--"Traffic"
Stephen Daldry--"Billy Elliot"

AND FINALLY
Long time readers of this column know that on occasion I mention my friend and long time Doctor Demento contributor The Great Luke Ski. Luke recently sent me an email much too long to summarize here. However, if you want to check out the latest on this rising star of demented discs and crazy comedy (if I may paraphrase the good Doctor), check out his web site: Luke Ski's GNOME Page.
Well, gang, that's it for now. Have a great week!
Congratulations on scoring 100% in the "Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor" categories!  I guess "Pollock", "Billy Elliot" and "Chocolat" left a bigger impression on some folks.  READERS--I'd also like to direct your attention to the fact that our friend Corey Castellano's movie, "The Patriot", which was at least nominated for best cinematography, best sound and best original score, got shut out of the special make-up category. Oh well--there's always next year!---Nolan.
Matt's Rail   by Matthew Drinnenberg
Hello gang.....
I've been sitting here staring at an empty email page for about 10 minutes trying to think of something worthy enough to write, but all I can think about is the aggravation of Monday, so,.......

Monday morning, I had to drive down to West Farms, CT to prep for a Shoe Seminar I was going to give in Waterbury, CT the next morning. All went quite smoothly as I pulled the remainder of my info together, ensuring a successful event. As I did so, I noted that, on the radio, the weatherman was saying it was about to get REAL crappy outside, in terms of Snow. Being the true-blue Florida cracker that I am, I don't really care for snow too much. Oh...it's fun to play in, but driving???? Forget it. Needless to say, I hustled along so as to make the 20-minute drive to Waterbury without incident. I grabbed my stuff, ran out to the parking lot (which was now covered in 5 inches of snow), found my car, put it in reverse, hit the gas, and didn't budge. Not a happy moment...especially given the fact I don't carry an ice chipper with me. So there I was, in my suit, scissors (yes, scissors) in my hand, chipping away at the swiveled ice, perfectly cupping my front left tire.

After an hour or so of raking the skin off my knuckles, these four OUTSTANDING, FABULOUS individuals came to my aid and literally picked my car up and over the element of my frustration. Thanking them beyond normal understanding, I was on my way to Waterbury. What a great feeling to be tooling down the highway after a crud ordeal like that. Yeah...blazing past exits 40, 39, 38, 37, 36, 35, 34, 33,........and then came...."exit 32". This exit now carries a lot of meaning for me. For you see, I was sitting at it for 9 hours!!!!!

Yes, its true, stuck on Interstate 84, in the Connecticut Hills, in a massive traffic jam, and even more massive blizzard. And yes....it DID suck. Amazingly, not a whole heck of alot of things go thru your mind when faced with the situation, other than the fact that your IN the situation and that it "does" suck, tremendously. Yes, I would go as far as to say that the suckage of this moment reached even galactical proportions. Biblical, if you will, without intention of being blasphomous, of course. Eventually, I inched (literally) my way to the cause of all this. Six mack trucks, trying to make it up a snow covered hill, slid backward into each other, jackknifeing and the like, blocking 84. It took a couple Dousenhalfs to get it out of the way and open up one lane, which I gleefully went thru. On the other side, it was wide open highway. Can I tell you how great that was. And yes, my speed was excessive. There's more to this story but I'll save the "hotel" portion till next week.

Oh, I almost forgot. Before I got to the opening, a funny thing happened on the highway and we were all inching forward. You see, several cars and trucks ran out of gas and were stranded on 84, and one of these trucks ended up being in front of me. There was room to slide in to traffic in the left lane, but Mr. Asshole saw me and hit the gas, closing the gap. Fortunately, Mr. Good Samaritan, in the right lane, saw this unfold and let me slide in. Why am I telling you this? Because the car directly in front of Mr. Asshole got stuck in the snow next to the truck that was in front of me that had run out of gas. Naturally, I thought it only the decent thing to do to honk and wave at Mr. Asshole and thank him for not letting me in.
Till next week....when the saga continues.
Take care and God bless.
Matthew


"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith   "Matt's Rail" is ©2001 by Matt Drinnenberg   All contents this page are ©2001 Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova, ©2001