Yet another movie not screened for critics.

Witless Protection comes out in the U.S. tomorrow, and there are still no reviews at Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes. This isn’t too surprising, since the film is being released by Lionsgate, a studio that often avoids showing movies to critics in advance, and it stars Larry the Cable Guy, whose previous live-action films Delta Farce (2007) and Health Inspector (2006) also had critics-avoidance issues. The film will open in Canada three weeks from now, and the local publicist says it “will not be screened prior to release.”

MAR 6 UPDATE: Libertas says the film won’t be opening in Canada at all, now. That wouldn’t happen to be because the film never managed to crack the Top 12 even in the U.S., would it?

Soon my collection will be complete! reports that the next round of ‘Walt Disney Treasures‘ sets will come out November 11, and will include The Chronological Donald Volume Four: 1951 – 1961.

And with that, I will have all but a very, very few of the animated shorts produced by the studio during Uncle Walt’s lifetime. (Naturally, I hope they don’t screw up the framing again, but I won’t get my hopes up too high.)

One of the other two-disc sets will revolve around Destino (2003), an Oscar-nominated short that was based on an abandoned collaboration between Walt and Salvador Dali back in the 1940s.

And meanwhile, somewhere down the road in the not too distant future, the long-out-of-print classic Pinocchio (1940) will finally be re-issued with some bonus features — and in Blu-Ray, no less.

Hoodwinked 2 — casting news, updates

Cory Edwards has posted an item at his blog listing some of the main cast members in Hoodwinked 2: Hood Vs. Evil.

Characters and actors returning from the first film:

  1. Cory Edwards, Twitchy
  2. Glenn Close, Granny
  3. Patrick Warburton, The Wolf
  4. David Ogden Stiers, Nicky Flippers
  5. Andy Dick, Boingo
  6. Benjy Gaither, Japeth the Goat

Old characters, new voices:

  1. Hayden Panettiere, Red (formerly Anne Hathaway)
  2. Martin Short, The Woodsman (formerly Jim Belushi)

New characters, new actors:

  1. Joan Cusack, “a new villainous witch”
  2. Brad Garrett, The Giant “from the notorious beanstalk”
  3. Wayne Newton, Jimmy Ten Strings, a “singing harp”
  4. David Alan Grier, “a troll”
  5. Bill Hader, Hansel
  6. Amy Poehler, Gretel

Sounds good. Let’s hope they can bring back Fleming & John for the soundtrack — and let’s hope this soundtrack album isn’t yanked off the market prematurely like the first one was.

Six degrees of Julie Christie and C.S. Lewis

It has been 42 years since Julie Christie won an Oscar for her part in John Schlesinger’s Darling (1965), and many people think she could win another golden statue this Sunday for her part in Sarah Polley’s Away from Her (2006) — and if she does win the award this year, it will apparently mark the longest gap between Oscar wins in Academy history. (Or so says Shinan Govani.)

That’s an interesting bit of trivia in its own right, but here’s another, which I was only alerted to the other day: Darling marks the one-and-only big-screen appearance of Hugo Dyson, a member of the Inklings and a key figure in the conversion of C.S. Lewis; he was there on that fateful night in 1931 when J.R.R. Tolkien explained to Lewis his belief that Christianity was a myth that happened to be true. (He was also the guy who reportedly said “Oh no! Not another fucking elf!” when passages of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings were read aloud at Inklings meetings.)

I have never seen Darling, but I think I will have to, now. Dyson’s uncredited performance isn’t very big, apparently — in fact, the five-minute video below is supposed to contain all the scenes that depict or refer to his character — but it would be good to see these scenes in the broader context of the entire film.

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

The Final Inquiry — the interview’s up!

My interview with Dolph Lundgren, one of the co-stars of The Final Inquiry, is now up at CT Movies.

For what it’s worth, the only version of this film that I have seen so far is a screener of the original European version, which went by the title The Inquiry and still had timecodes and everything. The American version came out on DVD today, and I was supposed to get a copy of it, but it hasn’t arrived yet — so I can’t comment on whether any of the rumoured changes were made to it in the end.

Interview: Dolph Lundgren (The Final Inquiry, 2006)

finalinquiry-dolphDolph Lundgren made a name for himself in the 1980s, as the villain in films like A View to a Kill, where he tangled with James Bond, and Rocky IV, where he played Russian boxer Ivan Drago. Then he switched to playing heroes in films like Masters of the Universe and the original version of The Punisher.

His films since then have not been so high profile, but he has stayed busy, acting in a steady stream of movies and even directing a few. His newest film as an actor, The Final Inquiry, is a remake of a 1986 film about a Roman soldier who is sent to Palestine to investigate claims that Jesus came back from the dead. Lundgren plays Brixos, a Nordic slave who serves as the Roman tribune’s bodyguard.

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