JUL 23 UPDATE: And now the Seattle Times reports that The Island may be a rip-off of Parts: The Clonus Horror (1979), a film that was featured on Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The IMDB even flat-out states that one film is a remake of the other.
Just a few quick items.
Gibson wrote the script and will direct “Apocalypto,” which, sources say, is not religious in theme. Pic begins production in October in Mexico for a summer 2006 release. . . .
Gibson will not star in “Apocalypto” and may not use a star for the film, which is set in an ancient civilization some 3,000 years ago. The title is a Greek term which means “an unveiling” or “new beginning.” Consistent with such Gibson films as “Braveheart” and “Passion,” the script depicts abundant action and violence. Gibson has already begun pre-production; he is setting locations and has already begun casting.
This kinda confirms what I’ve said before, about how every movie Gibson directs takes place further back in the past than the one before it. It won’t be long before he makes a film about cavemen.
3. I just got an e-mail from a publicist working on Left Behind III, which I re-posted here. Looks like they’re going to release the film to thousands of churches simultaneously in October. Does this include churches that already meet in movie theatres, I wonder?
Variety reports via ComingSoon.net that AnnaSophia Robb — the young star of Because of Winn-Dixie (my junket report; my review) and Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and a self-professed Christian — will co-star with Oscar-winner Hilary Swank in The Reaping, a “supernatural tale” from Robert Zemeckis and Joel Silver’s Dark Castle Entertainment, about a “myth debunker (Swank) who travels to a small, religious town in Texas to investigate occurrences that appear to be the 10 Biblical plagues.” The most recent version of the script is by Chad and Carey Hayes, whose last film was the Paris Hilton-starring House of Wax remake; and while the IMDB lists Stephen Hopkins (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, 2004) as the director, the project has apparently gone over to James Cox (Wonderland, 2003; that’s the one with Val Kilmer as legendary porn star John Holmes).
Just for the record, I have finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince — a bit later than I had hoped, but at any rate, I have posted chapter-by-chapter comments at the earlier post.
UPDATE: And now I’ve condensed my comments into a review for BC Christian News; the print edition will be even shorter.
Heads up, Vancouverites. Sunday nights will be movie nights at Granville Chapel this August, and I have been asked to introduce Denys Arcand’s Jesus of Montreal (1989) and to help kick off the discussion afterwards — which I also happened to do last year at Cornerstone’s Flickerings festival. That will be on August 21. Rumour has it the other films may include more recent fare like Hotel Rwanda (2004; my review), The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Passion of the Christ (2004).
James Doohan, the Vancouver-born actor and former soldier who lost a finger while taking part in the D-Day invasion 61 years ago, but who is most famous for playing Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery Scott on Star Trek (and in one episode of The Next Generation), passed away today. He was 85 years old. Rest in peace, Scotty.
This can’t be serious — but Google currently lists seven different news items to the effect that Drew Barrymore wants to make a sequel to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982; my review), the film that made her famous when she was only six years old:
Drew Barrymore and director Steven Spielberg are in talks to make a sequel to Hollywood classic ET.
Barrymore is anxious to resume her role as Gertie Elliot, but only if Spielberg, who directed the first film, agrees to oversee the project. Barrymore was six-years-old when ET: The Extraterrestrial shot her to fame in 1982.
According to reports the sequel will see ET return to a now grown-up Gertie, desperate for help saving his family from extinction.
“Drew has spoken to Steven about it,” a Hollywood insider said. “Although he thought she was joking at first, he’s actually giving it serious thought.”
“Drew thinks the world needs another feelgood movie like ET right now and she’s prepared to work with Steven to make it happen.”
Presumably Drew is not criticizing Spielberg’s more recent films, like War of the Worlds, which haven’t been all that “feelgood”.
Check out Mark Steyn’s obituary for Ernest Lehman, one of the great Hollywood screenwriters (The Sweet Smell of Success, North by Northwest, etc.). Among his observations:
Lehman had his off-days. There’s one small change he made to The Sound of Music that always irks me: in the stage version, Hans the postboy — the guy who’s 17 going on 18 — is a loyal and enthusiastic Nazi but, at the crucial moment, he misleads the party bigshots and thus permits the Trapp family to escape; in the film version, the Trapps escape because the nuns swipe the spark plugs from the Nazis’ car. The first version is the classic Hammersteinian theme that everyone is capable of redemption, or at least doing what’s right in the moment, and it underlines that, whatever their political differences, in the end Hans has lived up to the love he claimed in his song; the second is just cute nun shtick. It’s a tiny shift that makes it a little easier to despise The Sound of Music — as many of Lehman’s friends did. As Burt Lancaster sneered to him, ‘Jesus, you must really need the money.’ Not after two-and-a-half per cent of the profit he didn’t.
My review of The Island — the first Michael Bay action flick to be produced without Jerry Bruckheimer — will be up on Friday. In the meantime, check out this interesting paragraph from The Hollywood Reporter‘s review, by Kirk Honeycutt:
What’s troubling from a political point of view is that these filmmakers have, perhaps unwittingly, delivered a film certain to give succor to the religious right. In this ethical horror story, scientists experimenting with human genetics to advance medicine and cure illness are cast as Dr. Frankenstein villains. The chief villain, Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean), mouths platitudes about curing leukemia but clearly has greed in his heart.
I think it’s a little more complicated than this — Merrick’s corporation also happens to be breaking ethics laws, which might appeal to those of a more left-ish bent, plus the story has Gnostic overtones that could be read as a criticism of conservative religious patterns — but it’s still an intriguing remark. It’s always interesting to see what sorts of political assumptions mainstream film critics are allowed to make when writing their reviews.