Sunday, September 28, 2003

History goes to the movies

Fall-winter films revisit familiar American landscapes - the Alamo, the Civil War - and go around the world

By Margaret A. McGurk
The Cincinnati Enquirer

History buffs have plenty to look forward to at the movies this year, as a cornucopia of period pieces arrives beginning Friday to compete for the attention of grown-up ticket buyers and Oscar voters alike. This year's key contenders (with release dates, all subject to change):

[IMAGE] Russell Crowe stars in Master and Commander
| ZOOM |

Master and Commander

Opening: Nov. 14

Historical period: Napoleonic Wars

Plot: Ship and crew explore life on the far side of the world.

Big-deal star: Russell Crowe

Sexy cool co-star: Paul Bettany

Literary roots: Patrick O'Brian novels

Prestige director: Peter Weir (Gallipoli)

Oscar winners on board: Crowe, makeup artist Greg Cannom

Quote: "There's something to be said for just leaving other people alone." - O'Brian, noted recluse

Around The World In 80 Days

Opening: Nov. 21

Historical period: Late 19th century

Plot: An adventurer accompanies a time-obsessed Englishman on a daring journey around the world.

Big-deal star: Jackie Chan

Sexy cool co-star: Cecile de France

Literary roots: Jules Verne's seminal fantasy novel

Prestige director: Frank Coraci (The Waterboy)

Oscar winners on board: Jim Broadbent, Kathy Bates, special effects director Kit West

Quote: "The trickiest thing with Jackie ... is we're always like, 'What hasn't he done? Climbing a Ferris wheel?' No, he's done that. 'Fighting a giant squid?' That, he hasn't done. It's searching for some of those things that he's never done." - Director Coraci


Opening: Nov. 26

Historical period: 14th-century France

Plot: Archaeological students, trying to retrieve their professor, are trapped in the past.

Big-deal star: Paul Walker

Sexy cool co-star: Anna Friel

Literary roots: Michael Crichton novel

Prestige director: Richard Donner (Lethal Weapon, 1 through 4)

Oscar winners on board: Costume designer Jenny Beavan

Quote: "We've spent many, many dollars that were wasted and never seen on the screen." - Donner, on misfortunes that delayed production two years

The Alamo

Opening: Dec. 25

Historical period: 1836, San Antonio

Plot: Davy Crockett and James Bowie lead a futile, fatal stand in the battle for Texas.

Big-deal (lone) star: Texas

Sexy cool co-stars: Dennis Quaid, Jason Patric

Literary roots: Many and varied

Prestige director: John Lee Hancock (The Rookie)

Oscar winners on board: Billy Bob Thornton, screenwriter Stephen Gaghan, cinematographer Dean Semler, sound editor Jon Johnson, producers Mark Johnson, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard

Quote: "It was the biggest set ever built in the United States. It was on 53 acres. It was on a 2,000-acre ranch so you didn't see a house, you didn't see a power line, and you didn't see a car. ... It is historically to scale. It's historically perfect. It's phenomenal." - Cast member Marc Blucas

Comics fans: Take our survey

MOTH attracts Midpoint's bright lights
History goes to the movies
Read more about it
Americans love their Westerns
New creative team to lead SSNOVA alternative gallery
Persistent local playwright's 'One' opens
Workshops often first stop for local playwrights
Theater veteran enters hall of fame
Help kick off local theater season
Ovation's production gives a 'Voice' to women authors
CCO concertmaster relinquishes his chair
New executive says orchestra must find niche
Desmarais' return to curating comes as no shock to art scene
New director expected to keep up momentum

'Cold Case,' 'Lyon's Den,' 'Practice' premiere tonight

It's a rose, for Pete's sake

Pianist, Jarvi create music to remember
Ekoostik Hookah jams for Cash, Palmer tributes

Get to it!

Kendrick: Alive and well

Maisonette joins move toward fixed-price menu
Pumpkin pancakes deliver the flavor of fall