By • Jan 1st, 2001 •

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Here we are in 2001, and you know there’ll be a revival of Kubrick’s visionary work. But alas, I’m informed by an unfailingly reliable source that it’ll only be in 35mm, which is not how the director intended it to be seen to be seen correctly. Such is the dwindling state of things in our universe. But we all know that. I’d be the last on a long line to suggest that our recent presidential election was just one more reflection of how tepid the new century is shaping up so far.

And yet, there’s much to be thankful for in this new millennium. There’s home theater, thriving in DVD, dolby digital, wide screen monitors and, on the far horizon, affordable plasma tvs for those of us with compact apartments. Alternate endings and mind-boggling footage long thought lost keeps resurfacing at an incomprehensible rate. It’s almost as if it’s being manufactured via CGI and passed off on us eager buffs as the real thing. Wouldn’t that be a fine how-do-you-do! Twenty years ago, word went around of a color test of the ending of King Kong, and every film maven in the universe was desperate to see it and own it. I finally did catch up with it, at the home of my old friend Al Kilgore, and though it was impressive, he quickly began catching flaws in it, and eventually we learned it was a demo for a tv commercial by an animator other than Willis O’Brien.

My last trip to L.A. produced a sad revelation. Back in ’79 I worked with Susan Tyrrell on Document of the Dead. She was a bright, feisty, sexy and funny person, and as you know she gave us a whole lot of quirky performances with her smoky voice (that was so suited to narrate Document.) Well, I get to the hotel and look in the LA Weekly for local goings-on, and I notice there’d been a benefit tribute to her the night before. Seems she’d had both her legs amputated, the result of a rare blood condition. I was horrified. The picture of her face in the paper looked post-surgery, it was so pale and drawn and wistful. I spoke with Taylor Negron, the well-known standup comic and radio show host, who knows SuSu, and told me she’s taking it all remarkably well, with typically perverse humor. I was unable to reach her, but hope to on my next trip to the coast. I’ve gotta say, I think her film aura could handle a comeback in her present condition, given the right role.

Steven Soderberg, winner of the best Director Award from the NBR for Traffic and Erin Brockovitch, pauses for a moment to grab a shot with two SVA students, Alex Serpico and Jennifer

Hope some of our DVD suggestions were helpful for Christmas gifts. Since for some of us Christmas is all year long, we’ll keep the coverage coming. Also Adam Blair’s review/interviews for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He had mixed feelings about the film, but for me it was the standout of the year, and The National Board of Review gave it Best Foreign Film in their upcoming awards ceremony: Tuesday, January 16th, again at Tavern on the Green. As usual there’s a stellar lineup of presenters and recipients, but the two I’m most excited about meeting are Lupe Onteveros, who won Best Supporting Actress for Chuck and Buck, and Ennio Morricone, who is receiving a career achievement award for his hundreds of innovative film scores. I think there are still seats, so maybe I’ll see you there.

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