Batkid to the rescue! Thanks to the awesome, Batman-loving folks over at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, San Francisco has been turned into Gotham City for the day for Miles, a 5-year-old boy in remission from lymphoblastic leukemia, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Working together, the people of San Francisco Gotham City have created a Batman-themed day catered to Miles' wish. The crime-stopping festivities include Miles' own Batmobile, a call for help from Police Chief Greg Suhr, the capture of the Riddler as he attempts to rob a bank, a rescue mission involving a woman tied to the trolley tracks, and a flash mob of people in Union Square asking Batkid for help getting back Lou Seal, the San Francisco Giants mascot, from Penguin. Oh, and his little brother is dressed as Robin to assist him along the way. (You can watch a live video of the events here.)
And so Miles never forgets his special crime-fighting day, the San Francisco Chronicle printed a 1,000 special-edition newspapers called the Gotham City Chronicle with stories penned by Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Brenda Starr, and Perry White. Best. Day. Ever.
Thank you, Batkid. You've brought a smile to many people's faces today.
Louis Leterrier’s remake of Clash of the Titans the 1981 cult favorite that fused Greek mythology with sci-fi theatrics is a grand experiment in the ancient art of alchemy a big-budget attempt to spin fanboy nostalgia for a 30-year-old novelty into contemporary box-office gold. The main ingredients in this ambitious concoction are a potent arsenal of CGI weaponry and the star of the biggest movie ever Sam Worthington who inherits Harry Hamlin’s role as the heroic Perseus. But it’s what’s missing from the formula that ultimately dooms this remake.
Clash of the Titans redux mimics the original film’s epic ethos and preference for spectacle over all else but its storyline differs dramatically. Perseus is still the half-breed product of a one-night stand between the god Zeus and a human hottie and he still must to defeat the monstrous Kraken in order to save the lovely Princess Andromeda. Almost everything in between however has been altered — and not necessarily for the better.
The new version casts the Greek city of Argos as the primary battleground in a proxy war fought by dueling Olympian superpowers Zeus (Liam Neeson) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes). Born of a god but raised by and partial to humans Worthington’s Perseus battles not for the hand of Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) — as Hamlin’s character did — but instead for the people of Argos who stand to perish along with their princess at the hands of the dreaded Kraken. The film’s love story if it can be called that consists of the briefest of flirtations between Perseus and Io (Gemma Arterton) his self-appointed spiritual guide. (Cursed with immortality by the gods Io’s been secretly watching him all his life — which ostensibly makes her a glorified stalker.)
This detail is a small but crucial one. Strong-willed Perseus braves an obstacle course of giant scorpions gorgons and other horrors laid out for him by the wheezy fiend Hades but it’s never quite clear why he bothers with it all since what’s at stake is a princess he isn’t particularly interested in and a community of people he doesn’t really know — and who frankly don’t seem all that worth saving. His deadbeat dad up on Mount Olympus certainly isn't worth dying for nor are the battlefield compatriots he met barely a week prior. And while I’m sure that a few inviting glances from Gemma Arterton are positively delightful I wouldn’t risk being doused in flesh-eating scorpion venom for them.
This narrative oversight triggers a drain in enthusiasm that persists throughout the film. For a movie so epic in scale Clash of the Titans makes for a disappointingly bland ride. Leterrier’s CGI set pieces are at times magnificent but they’re proffered in the service of weak story filled with characters whose motivations are either unclear or unconvincing. During the film’s climax when Neeson’s Zeus utters the portentous words “Release the Kraken ” what should be an emotional high point instead feels perfunctory and anticlimactic. The only excitement it spawns comes from the knowledge that the end is mercifully imminent.
Puerto Rico's Chayanne and Mexico's Pilar Montenegro were the big winners at the Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami Thursday night, taking home three awards each.
Spanish trio Las Ketchup, Mexican group Mana, Argentine-Mexican duo Sin Bandera and Mexico's Los Temerarios and Lupilla Rivera all walked away with two awards each.
Latin stars Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias, Luis Miguel, India and Juanes picked up one trophy each at the ceremony.
For the first time in the show's history, awards were also given for label of the year in various genres. Sony Discos led the way as the top label on six Billboard charts, including Hot Latin Tracks, Top Latin Albums, Latin Pop Airplay, Tropical/Salsa Airplay, Latin Pop Albums, and Tropical/Salsa Albums.
This year's event included two special award presentations. Mexican composer/singer Armando Manzanero was honored with the Billboard Hall of Fame Award for his contribution to Latin music.
Panamanian rapper El General, meanwhile, received the Spirit of Hope Award for his work with Ninos Pobres Sin Fronteras (Poor Children With No Borders), the Panama-based foundation he created and supports.
Ricky Martin, who performed the song "Tal Vez (Maybe)," was honored with Telemundo's Star award.
Other performers included Chayanne and Montenegro, who performed their hit songs, and Mexican star Thalia, who won the female pop album of the year for Thalia and the Telemundo Viewers Choice award. A.B. Quintanilla, Alexandre Pires, Gilberto Santa Rosa, India Kumbia Kings, and Lupillo Rivera also performed at the ceremony.
Below is a complete list of winners at the 2003 Billboard Latin Music Awards, presented May 8 at the Miami Arena.
Hot Latin Track Of The Year: "Y Tu Te Vas" Chayanne (Sony Discos)
Hot Latin Track Of The Year, Vocal Duo: "Por Ese Hombre" Brenda K. Starr With Tito Nieves and Victor Manuelle (Sony Discos)
Hot Latin Tracks Artist Of The Year: Alexandre Pires (RCA/BMG Latin)
Songwriter Of The Year: Estefano (10 titles)
Producer Of The Year: Rudy Perez (8 titles)
Latin Pop Album Of The Year, Male: Un Dia Normal Juanes (Surco/Universal Latino)
Latin Pop Album Of The Year, Female: Thalia Thalia (EMI Latin)
Latin Pop Album Of The Year, Duo or Group: Revolucion De Amor Mana (Warner Latina)
Latin Pop Album Of The Year, New Artist: Las Ketchup Las Ketchup (Shaketown/Columbia/Sony Discos)
Top Latin Albums Artist Of The Year: Los Temerarios (Fonovisa/UG)
Latin Rock Album Of The Year: Revolucion De Amor Mana (Warner Latina)
Tropical/Salsa Album Of The Year, Male: Viceversa Gilberto Santa Rosa (Sony Discos)
Tropical/Salsa Album Of The Year, Female: Latin Songbird: Mi Alma Y Corazon India (Sony Discos)
Tropical/Salsa Album Of The Year, Duo or Group: Confesiones... Monchy & Alexandra (J&N/Sony Discos)
Tropical/Salsa Album Of The Year, New Artist: Un Gran Dia En El Barrio Spanish Harlem Orchestra (Ropeadope/AG)
Regional Mexican Album Of The Year, Male Solo Artist: Amorcito Corazon Lupillo Rivera (Sony Discos)
Regional Mexican Album Of The Year, Male Group: Una Lagrima No Basta Los Temerarios (Fonovisa/UG)
Regional Mexican Album Of The Year, Female Group or Female Solo Artist: Libre Jennifer Pena (Univision/UG)
Regional Mexican Album Of The Year, New Artist: A Toda Onda La Onda (EMI Latin)
Latin Greatest Hits Album Of The Year: Grandes Exitos Chayanne (Sony Discos)
Latin Compilation Album Of The Year: Las 30 Cumbias Mas Pegadas Various Artists (Disa/UG)
Latin Jazz Album Of The Year: The Shadow Of The Cat Gato Barbieri (Peak/Concord)
Latin Dance Club Play Track Of The Year: "Escape/Escapar (Remixes)" Enrique Iglesias (Interscope/Universal Latino)
Latin Dance Single Of The Year: "Alive (Thunderpuss Remix)" Jennifer Lopez (Epic)
Latin Rap Album Of The Year: A La Reconquista Hector & Tito (VI Music/Universal Latino)
Publisher Of The Year: EMI April, ASCAP
Publishing Corporation Of The Year: EMI Music Publishing
Latin Pop Airplay Track Of The Year, Male: "Y Tu Te Vas" Chayanne (Sony Discos)
Latin Pop Airplay Track Of The Year, Female: "Quitame Ese Hombre" Pilar Montenegro (Univision)
Latin Pop Airplay Track Of The Year, Duo or Group: "Entra En Mi Vida" Sin Bandera (Sony Discos)
Latin Pop Airplay Track Of The Year, New Artist: "Entra En Mi Vida" Sin Bandera (Sony Discos)
Tropical/Salsa Airplay Track Of The Year, Male: "Viviendo" Marc Anthony (Columbia/Sony Discos)
Tropical/Salsa Airplay Track Of The Year, Female: "Por Ese Hombre" Brenda K. Starr (Sony Discos)
Tropical/Salsa Airplay Track Of The Year, Duo or Group: "Te Quiero Igual Que Ayer" Monchy & Alexandra (J&N/Sony Discos)
Tropical/Salsa Airplay Track Of The Year, New Artist: "Asereje" Las Ketchup (Sony Discos)
Regional Mexican Airplay Track Of The Year, Male Solo Artist: "Te Solte La Rienda" Lupillo Rivera (Sony Discos)
Regional Mexican Airplay Track Of The Year, Male Group: "Perdoname Mi Amor" Conjunto Primavera (Fonovisa)
Regional Mexican Airplay Track Of The Year, Female Group or Female Solo Artist: "Quitame Ese Hombre (version nortena)" Pilar Montenegro (Univision)
Regional Mexican Airplay Track Of The Year, New Artist: "Quitame Ese Hombre (version nortena)" Pilar Montenegro (Univision)
Latin Christian/Gospel Album Of The Year: Storm Fernando Ortega (Word)
Latin Tour Of The Year: Luis Miguel (Warner Latina)
Hot Latin Tracks Label Of the Year: Sony Discos
Top Latin Albums Label Of the Year: Sony Discos
Latin Pop Airplay Label Of the Year: Sony Discos
Tropical/Salsa Airplay Label Of the Year: Sony Discos
Regional Mexican Airplay Label Of the Year: Fonovisa
Latin Pop Albums Label Of the Year: Sony Discos
Tropical/Salsa Albums Label Of the Year: Sony Discos
Regional Mexican Albums Label Of the Year: Univision Music Group
The winners are determined by sales and airplay measured by Nielsen SoundScan and Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, respectively, reflected in the Billboard charts for the issues dated Feb. 16, 2002, through Feb. 8, 2003.
With its twisty-turning plot and military setting Basic could be the love child of an illicit affair between The Usual Suspects and The General's Daughter; it even borrows the star of the latter. In Basic John Travolta plays Tom Hardy a former Army Ranger and interrogator extraordinaire who's now a DEA agent in Panama suspended from duty on suspicion of bribery. He's hitting the rebellious law enforcement officer's requisite bottle of Jack Daniels heavily--until an old friend on the local army base Col. Bill Styles (Tim Daly) calls him in to investigate the disappearances and probable deaths of an elite group of trainees and their commander Sgt. Nathan West (Samuel L Jackson) during a training session in the Panamanian jungle. Staff investigator Lt. Julia Osbourne (Connie Nielsen) a plucky Southern gal who's none too pleased with Hardy's invasion of her turf is assigned to help Hardy question the unit's surviving members Kendall (Giovanni Ribisi) and Dunbar (Brian Van Holt). As their stories unfold over a series of flashbacks the interrogators discover a military underworld of drugs murder and coercion--and the mysterious existence of a rogue Ranger unit called "Section 8." Now for an interrogation of our own. Is the plot convoluted? Sir yes sir! Is it too tricky for its own good? Sir yes sir! Thank you soldier. You may stand down.
The trigger-finger pointing winking cluck-clucking "gotcha" persona Travolta (Swordfish Domestic Disturbance) creates in Hardy is as appropriate to the story as it can possibly be; the way he manipulates his subjects under interrogation is much the same way the story manipulates its audience. He leads them--and the observant Lt. Osbourne--to believe one thing then pulls the rug out from under them to prove the old cliché of military movies: that nothing is as it seems. In Nielsen's (The Hunted One Hour Photo) Osbourne we're given a character who could lead us through the jungle of the plot (she discovers the "facts" at the same time as the audience so her reaction is meant I suppose to be ours) but since Hardy spends much of his time making her look and feel like an idiot she comes off as one and frankly so do we. The talented Jackson (Changing Lanes) mostly does the bellowing drill sergeant bit while Ribisi (Heaven) as the homosexual son of a high-ranking general talks like he has cotton wool in his mouth and moves and twitches like he's mildly brain-impaired. (His character's not supposed to be; he only got shot in the leg.) One bright spot in this movie is the featured role for hunky Van Holt (Windtalkers Black Hawk Down) whose chiseled good looks and heroic demeanor make him a shoo-in should anyone ever make a live-action Johnny Bravo movie.
Director John McTiernan has given audiences some heavy-duty action in Die Hard Die Hard With a Vengeance and The Hunt for Red October but he's also the director who brought us such gems as Rollerball and Last Action Hero so it's not surprising that in Basic we get some action and intrigue paired with the out-there story stylings and narrative confusion of some of his less successful work. Here each flashback brings new information that conflicts with what we've been told before and the story never really resolves those conflicts in any satisfying way. The "big twist" at the end instead of bringing it all together creates gaping holes in the plot or at least creates so much doubt in the story we've just spent an hour and a half watching that it's easy to get fed up with trying to figure it out. Naturally no one likes to be spoon-fed plot resolutions but in order for twists to work they have to give the audience something to focus its doubt on--they can't just call the whole kit and caboodle into question. We have to be able eventually to figure it out. But hey maybe we aren't supposed to work out the details; after all this movie with its catchy one-word title and colorful cast of characters is just begging for a sequel: Basic 2: Explaining the First Movie.