Though I was initially not that impressed by the films, a number of rescreenings have provoked something of a change in my view of them. Now, with some confidence, I can say that I genuinely love one of them and I really, really like the other. Steven Soderbergh's Solaris, despite its generally lukewarm reception by critics and audiences, has much going for it. Though not perfect, the film, truly, is a very interesting adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's novel, free from much of the ponderousness of Tarkovsky's own 1972 adaptation. (Also, Soderbergh did not do a "remake" of the Tarkovsky effort; it is, rather, another adaptation.) Though one can quibble with the film's apparent setting in the near future (because, if we are talking about visiting a strange planet orbiting another star, then we cannot be talking about events in the "near" future -- it will be centuries before humanity ever travels beyond this Solar System, perhaps even thousands of years). However, if one is able to overlook that issue, there is much to like about Soderbergh's imagining of the events. George Clooney's Kelvin and Natascha McElhone's Rheya are at the heart of the story, with Kelvin viewing Solaris's replication of his dead wife as a means of undoing his own misrememberances of her. The story becomes his story in a way that it didn't in Tarkovsky's film. Too, Cliff Martinez's music lends to the atmospherics. In the end, the film is haunting. As for Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky, I have a confession to make: I have not seen the film upon which it is based -- Abre los Ojos -- and shares a star (Penelope Cruz). Perhaps my take on Vanilla Sky is thus flawed. But I do like the film. Tom Cruise, whether you like the man or not, does a superb job of playing an egotistical, happy-go-lucky head of a magazine publisher who meets a woman at his birthday party who also brings out in him a softer nature (Cruz's Sofia). Add to that a true femme fatale in Cameron Diaz's Julie, who takes Cruise's David Aames on, well, the "ride" of his life, and the film offers a gritty take on the world of a New York publishing exec' who seems to have the world at his command. One can even tell where the "fantasy" portion of the story -- the "vanilla sky" -- kicks in, on the morning when Aames is "awakened" on the street by Sofia. This film, like Soderbergh's, was not appreciated properly upon its initial release. But, now, it is gaining some deserved respect. At any rate, those are some thoughts to leave everyone with for today.