A Starry Night Over Mordor (Or, how everyone loves Van Gogh)

This is my favorite painting.

If this seems familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it before. You have, trust me. Maybe not in person (you can see it with your own eyes at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan), and maybe not in its original form. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Vincent Van Gogh’s magnum opus. Some people prefer Starry Night Over The Rhone, but for sheer emotion and beauty, I go to The Starry Night. I could get lost in the swirls of blue and white. Now, I’m no art major, so I won’t go into the technical details of the painting. But I will go into into its various reincarnations in pop culture.

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Is Hollywood Creatively Bankrupt? (Or, how I keep running into Spiderman at the cinemas)

Spiderman is ruling Hollywood, and if it isn’t him – well, it sure feels that way. In 2002, Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire brought your friendly neighborhood webslinging wall crawler to the cinemas, and it has since spawned two sequels, released in 2004 and 2007. It’s a fun franchise, to be sure – but do we really need to “reboot” it in less that five years? Yes, The Amazing Spider-Man, set for a 2012 release (and with a 2014 sequel already in the works), will combine the talents of Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans, but…isn’t there someone else we could make a movie about?

What is the most creative Hollywood blockbuster you’ve seen in the past few years? One with a plot that feels fresh, like it hasn’t been rehashed or remade to shreds. Think about it. Most people would say Christopher Nolan’s Inception, or maybe Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Now think about the movie line-up for 2011. Here’s a small selection of the released and upcoming movies for the year:

The Hangover Part II; Cars 2; Paranormal Activity 3; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol; Spy Kids: All The Time In The World In 4D; Fast Five; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

Try something else. Think about the number of superhero movies out there (or what I like to call the rise of the Marvel/DC comic book movie empire).

Thor; Captain America: The First Avenger; Green Lantern; X-Men: First Class

Why is Hollywood doing this? Has it become creatively bankrupt? Have we run out of good ideas? Is this a black hole of creativity?

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