Moses joins the Bar Kokhba revolt, and other anachronisms in Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings

exodus-yahoo-4Yesterday, 20th Century Fox released a new featurette on the locations for Exodus: Gods and Kings. Among other things, it contained one never-before-seen shot from the film, of Moses secretly visiting with Joshua’s father Nun and some other “Hebrew scholars”.

Today, a sharp-eyed reader pointed out to me that there is an engraving behind Nun in this newly-revealed shot, and that it seems to be based on a coin that was minted by Jewish rebels during the Bar Kokhba revolt — a war against the Romans that took place about 1,400 years after the events of this film. The engraving behind Nun even seems to include the letters that spell Bar Kokhba’s first name, Shim’on:
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Check out the Exodus locations in a new featurette

vlcsnap-2014-09-10-10h30m12s100Another week, another Exodus: Gods and Kings featurette.

Last week’s was about “The World” of the film. This week’s is about the “Locations” where they shot the film, including Pinewood Studios in London, Almeria in Spain, and the Canary Islands.

Along the way, the featurette does seem to include one shot from the actual film that we have not seen before. You can check it out below the jump.

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Exodus will be a big movie. Not a small movie. A big movie. The studio really wants you to know that.

exodus-facebook-140909In case you haven’t heard, Exodus: Gods and Kings is going to be big. Huge. Epic. Immense. The most embiggened thing that was ever supersized.

20th Century Fox made that point in a featurette that came out last week. In less than two minutes, the filmmakers used words like “epic”, “massive” (twice!), “giant”, “immense”, “big”, “bigger”, “exponentially” and “biggest” to describe their movie — and now the movie’s Facebook page is posting photos with those size-emphasizing quotes.

Today’s photo is yet another brand new shot from the opening battle sequence. (If there’s one thing the studio has emphasized more than the bigness of this film, it’s the fact that the movie has an opening battle sequence.)

There’s Moses, and he’s got his bow out, and the group of soldiers beating up on each other seems appropriately multiethnic — and at the top of it all is a quote from the production designer, who declares, “It’s an IMMENSE production.”

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Is there, or will there be, a “church-based” ad campaign for Exodus: Gods and Kings?

exodus-empire-mosesjoshua-a-aThe Wrap story that I linked to in my last post, on the dismal box-office performance of recent “faith-based” movies, ends with a puzzling quote.

In it, vice-president and senior analyst Phil Contrino says 20th Century Fox is “running mainstream and church-based campaigns” for Exodus: Gods and Kings, the Moses movie that opens in three months, give or take, depending on the country.

This caught my eye, because I haven’t heard a peep about any church-based campaigns for this film (or synagogue-based campaigns, for that matter).

To provide a bit of perspective: I attended a pastors’ screening of Son of God hosted by Mark Burnett on November 15 of last year — three and a half months before the film was released in theatres.

And the studio behind Noah was showing special trailers for that film at church conferences at least eight months before the film came out.

But has there been anything like that for Exodus? Anything at all?

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Box-office update: Guardians of the Galaxy breaks more records while the “faith-based” genre underperforms

guardiansofthegalaxyThis is my first box-office update since July, and a lot has happened since then.

The big news, of course, is the phenomenal success of Guardians of the Galaxy, a film that was based on one of the more obscure Marvel properties, had no major stars, and revolved around some pretty wacky ideas (like a talking, machine-gun-toting raccoon), yet still managed to become the top-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe movie without Iron Man, at least in North America.

Overseas, it ranks behind all of the Marvel sequels, but ahead of all their other “original” films except for The Avengers — and that was really kind of a super-sequel, too. So you could say that, worldwide, Guardians of the Galaxy is the top-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that introduced a new set of characters.

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Interview: Ray Liotta (The Identical, 2014)

identical-rayliotta2From Something Wild to Goodfellas and this year’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Ray Liotta has played a lot of crazy, criminal and disreputable characters — but he’s also played his share of decent characters, too.

One of the most decent of them all is Reece Wade, a preacher who adopts a boy at the height of the Great Depression and watches his son grow up to choose music over the ministry in The Identical, the latest film to be pitched to the “faith-based” market.

The film opens this weekend, and I had a chance to speak to Liotta over the phone. Here is an edited transcript of our interview.

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