July 09, 2008
Cross over San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, head north for half an hour, and you'll reach Mount Tamalpais State Park, home to redwood groves and, a little ways up, panoramic views of the bay. As it turns out, though, the park is also home to large amounts of pollution from Asia--dust, sulfur, trace metals--blowing in from across the Pacific. "We call it the persistent Asian plume," says Steven Cliff, an atmospheric scientist currently working with the California Air Resources Board.
January 25, 2005
One of the most emotionally affecting moments of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow comes, unfortunately, during the closing credits, when jazz vocalist Jane Monheit sings "Over the Rainbow." It's a wistful, haunting rendition that plays beautifully off Judy Garland's Wizard of Oz version, becoming at once old and new, an homage and an original. It's this challenge, of simultaneously conjuring the classics and offering something fresh and vital, that largely eludes Sky Captain, released on video today.
December 07, 2004
When Spider-Man hit theaters in the spring of 2002, I thought it had distilled the perfect formula for cinema superheroics, a careful blend of in-costume action and out-of-costume drama, seasoned with a dash of unrequited adolescent longing and liberal portions of Tobey Maguire's insistent adorability. There was no reason to doubt that the recipe would work equally well in a sequel. Clearly, the filmmakers also felt they had found a replicable formula; they just took the idea a little more literally.