BC Christian News — June 2008

The newest issue of BC Christian News is now online, and with it, my film column, which includes brief notes on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Silent Light and Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

The paper also reports that my column for them on Philip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials trilogy placed 2nd among editorials in the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers’ recent awards. Yay me!

Canadian box-office stats — June 1

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.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay — CDN $7,220,000 — N.AM $36,955,000 — 19.5%
What Happens in Vegas — CDN $6,460,000 — N.AM $66,074,000 — 9.8%
Made of Honor — CDN $4,190,000 — N.AM $42,965,000 — 9.8%
Forgetting Sarah Marshall — CDN $5,880,000 — N.AM $60,471,000 — 9.7%
Sex and the City — CDN $4,880,000 — N.AM $55,740,000 — 8.8%

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian — CDN $9,750,000 — N.AM $115,674,000 — 8.4%
Iron Man — CDN $23,040,000 — N.AM $276,625,000 — 8.3%
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — CDN $16,440,000 — N.AM $216,881,000 — 7.6%
The Strangers — CDN $1,150,000 — N.AM $20,707,000 — 5.6%
Speed Racer — CDN $2,040,000 — N.AM $40,558,000 — 5.0%

A couple of discrepancies: Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay was #8 on the Canadian chart (it was #12 in North America as a whole), while Baby Mama was #7 on the North American chart (it was #11 in Canada).

Bryce Dallas Howard joins Terminator 4

Kate Brewster, the future wife of John Connor, was first played by Claire Danes in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003). Then it was announced ten days ago that she would be played by Charlotte Gainsbourg in Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, which has already been shooting for a few weeks. Now, tonight, the Hollywood Reporter says Gainsbourg is being replaced by Ron Howard’s daughter Bryce Dallas, who was last seen playing Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man 3 (2007). Apparently Gainsbourg had to bow out because of the prospect of an actors’ strike which could have led to a scheduling conflict with a French comedy that she is already committed to.

Can you wipe away a soul?

I’m not exactly a big Joss Whedon fan, though I do like aspects of Firefly (2002-2003) and Serenity (2005), both of which my wife really likes. But I am a big fan of stories about amnesia and various other kinds of memory loss, and the questions such things raise regarding the nature of identity and the relationship between the body and the soul, etc. So now I’m wondering if I should check out Whedon’s newest series, Dollhouse, when it premieres early next year (or when it comes out on DVD afterwards).

Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly.

Side note: I am intrigued by how the trailer above begins with the protagonist sitting underwater. When I first gave my massive, three-part lecture on ‘Memory at the Movies’ four years ago, I was struck by how several of the films I cited made significant use of aquatic motifs — most prominently in Finding Nemo (2003), perhaps, but it’s also there in Total Recall (1990), Dark City (1998), 50 First Dates (2004) and the Bourne trilogy (2002-2007), to name the first few films that come to mind.

Is this the summer of older people?

Lou Lumenick notes that the phenomenally successful Sex and the City has at least one thing in common with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the film it is poised to knock down to 2nd place at the box office this weekend: namely, both films feature romantically active leading ladies in their 50s.

This gets me thinking. One of the things people praised Iron Man for was the fact that its leading man was an actual man, played by the 43-year-old Robert Downey Jr., and not one of those nerdy mutant boys who have been all too common at the box office lately.

Meanwhile, the two major films aimed this month at kids — and starring young 20-something men in the leading roles — have been box-office disappointments. I refer, of course, to Speed Racer, which has earned only about $40 million after four weeks, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which has been lagging behind the first Narnia film nearly every day of its release, and this week fell behind Iron Man.

More and more, that abnormally young-ish — and hopefully abandonedJustice League movie looks like a really, really bad idea.

Shirley Manson joins Terminator TV series

The Hollywood Reporter says Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson has joined the cast of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles as “Catherine Weaver, the CEO of a cutting-edge high-tech company.” As one who counts ‘Only Happy When It Rains‘ among his favorite rain-themed songs of all time — and yes, I do have a list — I just had to post this news, along with this photo from Garbage’s music video for the theme song to The World Is Not Enough (1999).