Projections 2002

Cinema's magic lantern lights up another year, sort of

There will be no shortage of epic entertainments in 2002, no doubt ranging wildly in quality and hosting massive opening weekends. Two will emerge from ersatz Egyptian mythology, as the late Aaliyah stars in Michael Rymer's The Queen of the Damned, based on Anne Rice's third vampire novel and featuring Stuart Townsend (About Adam) as the rockin' vampire Lestat. And then the . . . um . . . People's Eyebrow known as The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) portrays The Scorpion King, based on Stephen Sommers' Mummy franchise, but handed off to first-time helmer Chuck Russell. Also, if you enjoy déjà vu, later in the year we'll get the next installments to Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids, Chris Columbus' Harry Potter and Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, so you'd better mark your calendars now, because no one else will remind you.

And will the year yield unexpected pleasures? We can hope. There are looming doubts around Mark Pellington's UFO package The Mothman Prophecies, starring Richard Gere, and it's hard to know what to make of Danny (Trainspotting) Boyle's post-The Beach effort, 28 Days Later, which has nothing to do with Sandra Bullock but, rather, a deadly virus (then again . . .). Guy Jenkin's The Sleeping Dictionary looks exquisite, and spirits may be raised by the return of Pedro Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York), and Hoosiersand Rudydirector David Anspaugh (Wisegirls). We'll see.

Time and again: In a year that promises to play out on the screen like a nasty episode of déjà vu, DreamWorks' The Time Machine will seem all too fitting.
Andrew Cooper
Time and again: In a year that promises to play out on the screen like a nasty episode of déjà vu, DreamWorks' The Time Machine will seem all too fitting.

What would be best, however -- and this is a plea to the powers that be -- is if we could simply get wide distribution for cool and unusual films that slip through the cracks. In 2002, I'd like to see the marquee sporting titles like Mike Binder's The Search for John Gissing or Alan Rudolph's weird and fascinating Investigating Sex. You there, behind the desks: Bring out the sublime stuff and surprise us. We'll be watching.

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