Many critics see the new production by rising young director Peter Jackson, "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," as opening a new page in moviemaking. Jackson, only 40, brings a new wave of energy to Hollywood production.
United Press International's veteran Hollywood reporter Vernon Scott says that the young director has created "a classic fable for every generation."
Scott said that Jackson's past efforts have been in the genre of the horror picture. "Rings" is his first major film. Scott, who has viewed the Hollywood scene for more than four decades, credits Jackson has bringing "a fresh eye and ear to an enormous project without the baggage of other, lesser pictures, he has directed."
"Rings" and "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," both now in theaters, are shining examples of films that have universal appeal. They push the viewer's imagination to the max with a new generation of special effects while relying on old-fashioned story telling and acting to carry the day.
COSTNER PREPARES FOR THRILLER
Popular actor-director-producer Kevin Costner is getting ready for a new kind of role. Published reports indicate that he will soon begin filming a psychological thriller called "Dragonfly." His co-star in the project will be Kathy Bates.
Meanwhile, the star and many of his close friends and associates gathered in Santa Barbara, Calif., to celebrate the holidays and the six-month anniversary of Costner's new restaurant, Epiphany.
By the way, Epiphany is the second eatery opened by Costner. The first, The Clubhouse -- with a golfing motif -- is co-owned with pro golfers Fred Couples and Jack Nicklaus. Actor Robert Wagner is also involved.
EASTWOOD'S DAUGHTER ESCAPES FIRE
Police in North Vancouver, B.C., say that the eight-year-old daughter of actor Clint Eastwood and his former girlfriend escaped a quickly spreading house fire on Christmas morning.
Officials say that Francesca Eastwood was able to get out by crawling through her bedroom window. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the young girl then made her way to the roof of a garage and finally into the arms of a neighbor.
Her mother, Frances Fisher, also was able to get out of the building. Fisher had taken Francesca to Vancouver to be there while she was filming a TV series.
MARY TYLER MOORE TO BE BRONZED
The folks at the TV Land cable channel say they are going to erect a bronze statue of Mary Tyler Moore in downtown Minneapolis some time in the coming months. The statue shows Moore in her classic "throwing her hat into the air" pose from the opening credits of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
The $55,000 sculpture was done by a Milwaukee artist, Gwendolyn Gillen.
Minneapolis officials confirm that TV Land had hoped to have the statue in place before the holiday season, but delayed the installation because of the events of 9/11.
NEW PROJECTORS WILL REVOLUTIONIZE THEATERS
Many young people have never seen a movie the way they used to be shown -- with powerful projectors on huge screens. Sound may have gotten better over the years, but screens have gotten smaller.
To survive financially, many older theaters have cut up their buildings into multi-cinemas, but each theater has a screen the size of a wall map. But, because people are getting used to smaller screens, a new generation of digital projectors is able to fill those screens without looking fuzzy.
The ability to project electronically, rather than through film, is just what Hollywood sees as its future.
The technology is still expensive and pictures aren't quite as good. But when the art of electronic projection is finally perfected and film becomes obsolete, just think of the cost savings.
No more will huge canisters of film have to shipped around the country. When you hear that a movie is playing in 3,000 theaters, just remember that 3,000 copies of that movie have had to be made and then distributed.
Now, imagine a time when that same movie can be sent up to a satellite and received at each theater and projected electronically. One other thing. When the technology is perfected, movies that are created digitally will be seen with the same clarity as the original computer-generated version. Special effects will be even more incredible than now. Can a return to 3-D be far away?