CULTURE

Another blockbuster September

Greece’s customary September cinema season appears to be making a comeback this year. Despite distribution companies’ strong efforts over the past few years to maintain a full 12-month cinema season with film premieres taking place at the same time as abroad, the Greek public has proved to be set in its ways: New film productions do not seem to go down well with warm weather, and this summer, things were even worse with the World Soccer Cup running for an entire month. Way too many films were being screened to keep movie theaters open, but they held little interest for cinema-goers. Things started picking up at the end of August and now, in September, every week promises to feature a new film that will hold appeal for the general public or for critics, and sometimes even for both. The new season kicked off with a bang with «Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest,» the sequel to the 2003 box-office hit «Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,» again directed by Gore Verbinski and featuring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley in the leading roles. In the three-hour fast-paced adventure, Depp gives yet another great performance as the eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow, but there are fewer comic elements than in the first film. August also saw the Greek premiere of Paul Greengrass’s «United 93,» the first feature film to deal with the events of September 11. The film focuses on the United Airlines 93 flight, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field without hitting its target. Greengrass’s take on the story, which holds a lot in common stylistically with documentary filmmaking, makes the movie frighteningly real. Director Oliver Stone is slated to present a more dramatized version of the events in his «World Trade Center,» which will hit local cinemas on October 12. One of the all-time favorite superheroes, Superman, will return to the big screen on Thursday. «Superman Returns,» directed by Bryan Singer, is not a remake of the well-known previous Superman films starring the late Christopher Reeve, but a darker follow-up. In the film, Superman returns to Earth after a five-year quest for his roots in space, only to find his archenemy Lex Luthor has been let out of prison and the love of his life, Lois Lane, is with another man and has a child. The highlight of this blockbuster however, lies in the casting of its secondary roles: Kevin Spacey plays the ambitious and vengeful Lex Luthor with comedian Parker Posey playing his partner Kitty Kowalski, while Kate Bosworth plays Lois Lane. Brandon Routh, cast as Superman after much ado, appears to be ideal as the «man of steel,» but whether he is truly talented or not might come out in his next film. For kids, too Pixar, the production company that has given us some of the most inventive animated films in recent years, will present «Cars» on September 14, right in time for the start of the school season. The creators of «Finding Nemo» and «The Incredibles» have made another film which conveys a message of respect and compassion in a fun way. An arrogant race car, which destroys people’s properties in a small town, is forced to help the residents with their needs and learns the meaning of working together. The animated film features the voices of Owen Wilson and Paul Newman. Neil LaBute’s «The Wicker Man,» a remake of an older 1973 film that is due to open in Greece later this month, stars Nicolas Cage as a police officer who is tormented by his failure to save a woman and her daughter from a tragic road accident. His chance to make peace with himself comes when his ex-girlfriend’s daughter goes missing, but his search leads him to an island inhabited by a mysterious neo-pagan community. Toward the end of the month, the big screen will be filled with action, fast cars and speed boats, as «Miami Vice,» the film version of the highly popular 1980s TV series, will hit local cinemas on September 28. Michael Mann, one of the producers of the original series, directed the film, which stars Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx as detectives James «Sonny» Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs respectively. While the television series focused on solving different crimes, in the film Mann gives a complete portrait of the two detectives’ personalities. October will also kick off powerfully, with the release of Brian De Palma’s «Black Dahlia» on the 5th. The production, based on a crime story by James Ellroy, boasts a very strong cast, namely Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank and Josh Hartnett.