Did you notice that summer has arrived? Forget about the sunny respite that abruptly halted the ark-building frenzy -- I'm talking about the Die Hard billboards and the trailers for Batman Forever, Judge Dredd, Crimson Tide and Braveheart. According to my City Slickers II watch, it's a full three months before any of these pictures -- or Waterworld, Pocahontas or Casper -- gets within bombing distance of a theater. But that's one of the key tenets of Hollywood's Contract With America: No worthy citizen will have to venture more than two blocks without a reminder that some musclebound buffoon with a Taipei fan club is ready for righteous battle with Dennis Hopper to preserve our capitalist -- excuse me -- democratic way of life. Sic 'em!
Mission maniac Craig Baldwin's latest collage of subversive sight and sound, Sonic Outlaws, sneak previews at the Pacific Film Archive and the Other Cinema next month before its official world premiere at the S.F. International Film Festival in late April ... One of the films opening the S.F. International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in June will be The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love. The story of first love between two high school seniors just might become the long-awaited first gay crossover movie; according to the reviewer in Variety, True Adventure "may even serve as a legit date movie for all types of kids." Hey, Staci, let's go to the mall ... The Harvey Milk movie is once again on Hollywood's front burner; the latest rumor has Tony Kushner (Angels in America) reworking the script and Dustin Hoffman as the man with the camera store. I've had enough of the behind-the-scenes nonsense; wake me when the movie opens sometime next year -- or after the millennium ... The pilot of The Conversation, based on the brilliant 1974 thriller that Francis Ford Coppola directed in between the two great Godfather films (at the height of his powers), is rolling into production here. Coppola is producing, but not directing, the TV series.
While Sam Peckinpah has been rehabilitated by an armload of critical re-evaluations coinciding with the restoration of The Wild Bunch, his anointers overlooked a favorite drinking buddy. Steve McQueen walked the earth long before wisecracking action heroes hijacked the movies. Far from a great actor, he exuded quiet dignity as the archetypal rugged loner in The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape and Bullitt. McQueen would have been 65 on March 24. Here's mud in your eye.