BC Christian News — September 2007

The newest issue of BC Christian News is now online, and with it, my film column, which looks at three different things. First, it looks at the box-office woes of Evan Almighty — especially in comparison to the cultural impact, such as it is, of Knocked Up and Superbad. Second, it looks at three films — namely The Monastery: Mr. Vig and the Nun, In Memory of Myself and One Hundred Nails — that will be at the Vancouver International Film Festival in three or four weeks. And third, it takes a brief look at the recently announced Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

Tron creator now developing Soul Code

Variety says Steven Lisberger, the writer-director of Tron (1982; my review), is now developing a movie called Soul Code:

Lisberger will direct the story of a tech pioneer who has perfected a way to download and transfer a person’s memory. Script examines what happens when her memory is placed into a much younger woman’s body. . . .

Lisberger met [Jessica] Chobot, a comely tech guru with a devoted following among the geek set, at a “Tron” screening and was quickly intrigued by her fresh femme take on a male-dominated arena. The two soon began hatching a story about the dangers of cyberspace from a distinctly female point of view.

“Jess is not a film person — she was a fan — and that was refreshing,” Lisberger said. “She wasn’t double-thinking what the audience wants; she was the audience.”

Lisberger, who has been involved with several post-”Tron” projects that never got off the ground, said this one “felt different from the get-go.” . . .

Lisberger has also become more jaded about cyberspace in the intervening years. He credits Chobot for re-energizing his creative muse, noting that he really didn’t have a project to which he felt a real connection until they cooked up “Soul Code.” This project, he said, is the type he wanted to explore 25 years ago, when he was developing “Tron.” . . .

As a fan of Tron, and as a fan of movies about memory and its ties to identity and spirituality, I am definitely intrigued.

Yet another movie not screened for critics?

I just saw an ad on TV for The Brothers Solomon, and it occurred to me that I have heard not a single peep anywhere about a screening for this film. Then I checked to see who had produced this film, and discovered that it is being distributed by Screen Gems, a studio with an established track record of foregoing press screenings. I’m guessing we can add this one to the list, then.

UPDATE: Apparently there is a preview screening tonight, though I am told the passes were sent out by courier late last week, and not by regular mail. I’m guessing the fact that I recently moved to a new, temporary address may be one reason why I didn’t get a pass myself. Ah well, I guess I’ll take this one off the list.

Perelman to re-write, direct Atlas Shrugged

Variety reports that Vadim Perelman, writer-director of House of Sand and Fog (2003), has been hired to direct Atlas Shrugged:

Perelman will work from a draft of the script penned by “Braveheart” scribe Randall Wallace, who managed to boil down the Rand manifesto of 1,100-plus pages into a 127-page script. The drama revolves around what happens when great industrialists and thinkers go on strike and the world grinds to a halt.

Wallace will remain involved, and in a recent meeting with Perelman, the pair traded Russian dialogue. Perelman was born in Kiev, while Wallace has picked up the language researching his Catherine the Great pic “The Mercenary”; Rand was born in Russia. Perelman has brought his own take that will be incorporated into Wallace’s script.

The filmmakers reportedly hope to start shooting the film in early 2008, with Angelina Jolie in the starring role.

Exodus premieres at Venice, sans Margate

The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw on The Margate Exodus, the title of which was apparently trimmed to simply Exodus before it premiered at the Venice International Film Festival this week:

I was intrigued, but perplexed by another British film, Penny Woolcock’s Exodus; it’s a dystopian fantasy that parallels the Biblical story of the same name. Some time in the future, a firebrand fascist leader called Pharaoh (Bernard Hill) leads Margate as a secessionist city-state, and herds all the undesirables into a fenced-off zone on the site of the old Dreamland funfair. Part shanty-town, part concentration camp, it’s a Sowetànamo of boiling resentment. Pharaoh’s son Moses (Daniel Percival) winds up living there, and finds himself destined to lead the people into the promised land. The casting of up-and-comer Claire-Hope Ashitey underlines a resemblance to Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men, though, frankly, without any very convincing or exciting story.

FWIW, the Times of London has an article on the non-actors who were hired to play many of the parts in this film.

Canadian box-office stats — September 2

Here are the figures for the past weekend, arranged from those that owe the highest percentage of their take to the Canadian box office to those that owe the lowest.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday — CDN $4,400,000 — N.AM $18,992,000 — 23.2%
The Nanny Diaries — CDN $1,750,000 — N.AM $15,262,000 — 11.5%
Superbad — CDN $9,860,000 — N.AM $89,335,000 — 11.0%
Stardust — CDN $3,420,000 — N.AM $31,092,000 — 11.0%

War — CDN $1,710,000 — N.AM $16,979,000 — 10.1%
The Bourne Ultimatum — CDN $20,010,000 — N.AM $199,734,000 — 10.0%
Death Sentence — CDN $389,253 — N.AM $4,225,000 — 9.2%

Rush Hour 3 — CDN $9,070,000 — N.AM $120,416,000 — 7.5%
Balls of Fury — CDN $991,850 — N.AM $14,307,000 — 6.9%
Halloween — CDN $1,290,000 — N.AM $26,462,000 — 4.9%