Vital Signs

Under, Over, and Worlds Apart

Eight Millimeter
Produced by Columbia Pictures and Hofflund/Polone
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker
Released by Columbia Pictures

October Sky
Produced by Charles Gordon and Larry Franco
Directed by Joe Johnston
Screenplay by Lewis Colick and Homer Hicham
Released by Universal Pictures

Analyze This
Produced by Tribeca Productions
Directed by Harold Ramis
Screenplay by Ken Lonergan and Peter Tolan
Released by Warner Bros.

Watching film today exercises your capacity for hope. You're always longing for the medium to realize its potential, knowing in advance it won't more times than it will. Three movies I saw recently prove the point: two disappointments, underworld in every sense, and one spirited reach for the sky.

Let's get the worst out of the way first.

Although St. Paul claimed the wages of sin were death, many of Hollywood's finest would beg to differ. For them, the wages of sin are, well, wages. And extravagantly bountiful wages at that.

Case in point: Joel Schumacher, the currently popular director who saw fit to sexualize a comic-book hero by redesigning Batman's bodysuit with nipples and a codpiece. Schumacher apparently has an aggravated talent for prurience, and ifs once again...

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