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Movie Answer Man (07/09/1995)

Q. After viewing "Batman Forever," I immediately began speculation on what villain might appear in the fourth "Batman" installment. The traditional ones have all been used. Then I remembered that just after Robin escapes on his motorcycle, Batman comments, "he's probably halfway to Metropolis by now." That city is the residence of Superman! I think it would be interesting to see Batman meet Superman in a movie, perhaps as enemies. Then your question about which one would win in a fight would finally be resolved. Does Batman keep kryptonite in his utility belt? (Brian Moore, Hanover Park, Ill.)

A. Superman and Batman have met over the years in comic book adventures, and it's possible they could meet on the screen; the films of both superheroes are produced at Warner Brothers. After the two franchises have run out of steam, your idea might look attractive. In the meantime, you'll have to be content with "Jason meets Freddy," New Line Cinema's match-up of the villains of their "Friday the 13th" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies, now in pre-production.

Q. Does Jim Carrey star in the Dirty Harry film "The Dead Pool"? I saw the film and thought I recognized Jim Carrey as the drug-addicted rock star who is murdered at the beginning. I watched the credits and saw the name of the actor as being James Carrey. Is this the same man? (Ian Turnbull, Richmond-upon-Thames, England)

A. It is. Before he became the $20 Million Man, Carrey starred in "Once Bitten," "Earth Girls are Easy" and "The Dead Pool."

Q. Can you stand one more comment regarding "Sixty Second Preview?" I run a fantasy league game based on Hollywood box office results (sort of like fantasy league baseball, only you bid on upcoming releases instead of ball players), and one of our largest penalties is a $3 million fine to any film that is praised by Jeff Craig and his team of happy-go-lucky non-critics. (Kevin Burk, Bonney Lake, Washington)

A. Fabulous! Great! I loved it! One of the year's best letters!

Q. When "Schindler's List" came out on video, there was an article in the local paper about the fact that Blockbuster Video had established a policy against stocking the letterboxed version of a film if there is also a non-letterboxed version available. The reason was that they had received too many complaints about "Last of the Mohicans," and they didn't feel that their clerks should have to be "bothered" by trying to explain letterboxing. What do you think about this? (Jeffrey Graebner, Columbus, Ohio)

A. I think it is short-sighted, since so many people insist on letterboxing and do not like to be short-changed by the "pan and scan" versions that eliminate from 20 to 55 percent of the total picture. Video stores that forsake that audience are suggesting that they consider the movies only as a product, not as an art they care about. Call me a dreamer, but I think video store clerks exist to be bothered.

Q. When a movie is released on videotape, why isn't the original movie trailer included on the videotape? Sometimes the trailer you see in the theater is more interesting than the movie itself. Or, like the trailer for "Citizen Kane," almost as interesting. (Steven Siferd, Alpine, CA)

A. Increasing numbers of movies do include the previews (and some include previews for other forthcoming videos). The determining factor is often the length of a movie, since 120 minutes is standard for both tapes and discs, and if the movie runs a full two hours, there's no room for a preview.

Q. Something has always bothered me about "Sunset Boulevard." The second most famous line in the film (after "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille") occurs after William Holden's character asks "didn't you used to be big?" Gloria Swanson's character then replies "I AM big. It's the pictures that got small!" If she's trying to convince him that she's still big, wouldn't she say that the pictures had got bigger, and that she appears small by comparison? (John Shannon, Oceanside, Calif.)

A. Your logic seems sound. But let's see how the suggested dialog would sound: "I AM big! But the pictures got even bigger, and I appear smaller only in comparison." Hmmm. Know what? I actually think it plays better the way Swanson says it.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert was the film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, he won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism.

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