Terminator: Genesis starts filming, plus some cast updates

Filming has commenced on Terminator: Genesis. Skydance Productions posted the attached image of the film’s first slate to their Facebook page today.

Speaking of which, there have been some casting updates since I last wrote about this film a few weeks ago.

Sandrine Holt, who has a recurring role on House of Cards, is set to play someone named Detective Cheung, “who arrests Kyle and Sarah when they arrive in 2017.”

In the timeline of the first four films, Kyle Reese died in 1984 and Sarah Connor died in the late 1990s, and everyone who traveled through time did so by going to the past. So it looks like this film will do something that has so far happened only in the TV series The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and pluck some of its characters out of their existing continuity and have them travel into the future.

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The Battle of the Bible Films — the article’s up!

My article on the Bible-movie revival is now up at the Christianity Today website; it will also be in the print edition of the magazine. The article looks at the fitful attempts made by the studios to cash in on the success of The Passion of the Christ since it came out a decade ago, it looks at the three Bible movies coming out this year — Son of God, Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings — and it looks at what might be next if Noah and Exodus are big-enough hits. It also includes soundbites from publicist Jonathan Bock, director Darren Aronofsky (Noah) and screenwriters Stuart Hazeldine (Paradise Lost, Gods and Kings) and Barbara Nicolosi (Mary).

Box-office update: Noah might get edged out of the top ten, Heaven Is for Real does better than expected, Son of God and God’s Not Dead begin to see some action overseas

Noah may or may not be in the top ten in this, its fourth week of release.

Deadline reports that Noah is virtually tied with God’s Not Dead and newcomer Disneynature’s Bears for the #9 spot, with a weekend haul of $4.8 million each. Box Office Mojo gives Noah the edge with an estimated $5 million, while Leonard Klady says God’s Not Dead is well behind the other two, with only $4.3 million.

In any case, one of those films will end up outside the top ten, in the #11 spot, when the final figures are released tomorrow. If Noah turns out to be that film, then it would have one more thing in common with Son of God, box-office-wise, as that film fell out of the North American top ten in its fourth week of release, too.

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Flashback: The films made by Alex & Stephen Kendrick

In my review of God’s Not Dead, I made a point of contrasting the “Christian ghetto” approach of that film with the more open-minded “Christian niche” approach of the films made by Alex and Stephen Kendrick (Flywheel, Facing the Giants, Fireproof and Courageous).

So I figured it might be good to round up the various articles I have written about the Kendricks and their films; the list includes two op-ed pieces, a review, and several interviews with the filmmakers and their collaborators.

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Review: Transcendence (dir. Wally Pfister, 2014)

Transcendence is, in theory, the sort of film I ought to like. It’s a science fiction film with big ideas about the increasingly blurry line between humanity and technology, and it addresses the question of whether some creations can ever outgrow or improve upon their creators. The film also has some fantastic production design. It’s a treat to look at.

But in execution, the film — the first to be written by Jack Paglen and the first to be directed by Wally Pfister, a cinematographer who has shot all but one of Christopher Nolan’s films — leaves a lot to be desired, almost as though the ideas at play were simply too big for the filmmakers to really get a handle on.

Most significantly, the film sets up a conflict but can’t decide whose side it’s on — which makes for a curiously subversive bit of entertainment but also leaves the story feeling quite muddled, especially in its final moments.

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Noah news round-up: Oscar buzz & an environmental panel

It seems like the Oscars happened just last month. Oh, wait, that’s because they did happen just last month. So we have almost a year to go before the next batch of golden statues are handed out. Still, why wait to campaign for next year’s awards when you could start right now!

Two weeks ago, Pete Hammond wondered whether critically-acclaimed films like Noah and The Grand Budapest Hotel might have a shot at the Oscars, despite the fact that they were released so early in the year. Now comes word, via Deadline and Variety, that Paramount has already started its campaign for Noah.

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