Newsbites: Goldfinger! Tintin! Superman!

Just a few quickies this time.

1. I don’t know how I put this off for so long, but I finally read Mark Steyn’s ‘Song of the Week‘ today, and it’s all about ‘Goldfinger’ and other James Bond themes. Very entertaining reading (“Repeat for 20 minutes, louder and louder and louder, and then hold the final note until Tuesday lunchtime”), but it will probably be replaced by another ‘Song of the Week’ tomorrow, so read it while you can.

2. Remember Steven Spielberg and Tintin? Michael Stevens at Hollywood North Report is claiming — based on I know not what “sources” — that “the estate of Tintin creator Hergé has approved a screenplay submitted by director Steven Spielberg, for a feature based on the ‘Tintin’ comic book album adventures The Secret of the Unicorn and its sequel Red Rackham’s Treasure.”

3. There are only about two and a half Superman movies that I care for all that much (maybe three, depending on how the “Donner cut” of Superman II turns out — though I just noticed that Jeffrey Wells hates it), but I’m a collector at heart, and the 14-disc “ultimate edition” set — which includes every original feature film from Superman and the Mole Men (1951) to Superman Returns (2006), as well as the enjoyable Fleischer cartoons (1941-1943) — does look appealing. Alas, DVD Active reports that the American version of the set has been shipped with the wrong version of Superman III (1983). Granted, it’s only Superman III. But still.

UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times profiles the makers of Superman II, including old nemeses Richard Donner and Ilya Salkind.

4. The Associated Press notes that The Nativity Story premiered at the Vatican today, becoming the first feature film to do so:

[Director Catherine] Hardwicke praised “The Passion,” but said she tried to do a more uniting film than Gibson’s blockbuster about the last hours of Jesus Christ.

“There were some things he did that maybe were a little controversial. We wanted our film to be uniting and make the public see the similarities between religions instead of the differences,” she said.

Before the screening, Archbishop John Foley, a U.S. prelate who heads the Vatican’s social communications office, praised what he called a dialogue between faith and culture.

“Cinema, a powerful means of communication, once again carries a universal message,” he told the audience.

UPDATE: Variety also covers the premiere, and quotes this lovely nod to the jump that Hardwicke made from one genre to another:

“I hope my next film opens on a space station,” joked Hardwicke, whose previous films are “Thirteen” and “Lords of Dogtown.”

UPPERDATE: Reuters adds:

The audience of some 8,000 people who attended a benefit gala premiere in the Vatican’s vast Paul VI Hall broke into applause five times during the screening and again at the end. It was the first feature film to premiere at the Vatican.

“It is well done,” said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, who ranks second only to Pope Benedict in the Vatican hierarchy.

“It re-proposes this event which changed history with realism but also with a sense of great respect of the mystery of the nativity,” he told reporters afterwards. “It is a good cinematic event … the judgment is positive.”

5. David Poland holds out hope for the wider release of Todd Field’s Little Children, starring Kate Winslet, and observes that it is “the only non-IMAX movie this year that has grossed over $1.5 million without ever appearing on more than 40 screens.”

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