Two more movies not screened for critics.


It’s Halloween, so it must be horror-movie time — which often means snub-the-critics time. Last week, Saw V was released without being screened for critics in advance, just like some of its predecessors. And this week, it is The Haunting of Molly Hartley‘s turn to open without press screenings. Both films had night-before-release-date promo screenings in some markets, at least, but critics weren’t necessarily invited, and as always, for the purposes of the list I’m compiling, those don’t count.

James Bond: it’s a generational thing.


I got my pass to the sneak preview of Quantum of Solace today. I asked my dad if he wanted to come see it with me. He said yes, definitely. He took me to see my first James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only (1981), shortly after I turned 11 — and we have seen most, if not all, of the James Bond films together since then. Once again, it floors me to think that the first film in the series, Dr. No (1962), came out when my dad was 16. I wonder how many movie franchises that began when I was a teenager will still be kicking around when I’m a grandfather. And I wonder if they’ll still be cranking out new James Bond movies when my eldest son, who is currently almost 2 years and 9 months old, turns 11.

Another church makes a movie.


Fireproof is the third film to be produced by the non-professionals at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, and after just five weeks, it is only a few days away from passing Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002) to become the top-grossing independent evangelical film of all time — despite playing on considerably fewer screens than that film did.

So, naturally, people are beginning to ask if there are any other churches making movies out there — and FilmStew.com points to New Song Community Church in Oceanside, California. This church isn’t going the strictly non-professional route, though; instead, they got Brian Baugh, a cinematographer on films like An American Carol, to direct a teen drama for them, called How to Save a Life. They hope to have a trailer ready for the National Outreach Convention in San Diego next week.

The film has an official website, and the Christian Post ran an article on the film while the cameras were still rolling last summer. The two sources combined indicate that the film will deal with issues like suicide, teen pregnancy, and school shootings. Time will tell whether the resulting film is a decent drama, or a more sensationalistic successor of sorts to those cheesy youth-group movies that I mentioned here a couple years ago.

Newsbites: The DC Comics edition!

Just a few quickies here.

1. The Dark Knight director Chris Nolan has finally come back from his vacation and given a three-part interview about the success of his film, the thematic implications of his film, the potential or lack thereof for a big-screen cross-over with other DC Comics characters, and the possibility (and at this point, it is only a possibility) of directing the third Batman film himself. — Los Angeles Times (x2, x3)

2. Mark Millar spills more details about the Superman trilogy he wants to write: “I want to start on Krypton, a thousand years ago, and end with Superman alone on Planet Earth, the last being left on the planet, as the yellow sun turns red and starts to supernova, and he loses his powers.” He also invokes the example of Michael Corleone in the Godfather films, which is interesting, since he pooh-poohs Superman Returns for coming out so many years after the first two Superman films, yet the third Godfather came out after a similarly prolonged gap between films, and to a similarly mixed-at-best reception. — Empire

3. Remember those rumours about the allegedly altered ending to Watchmen, and the evidence which seemed to suggest that the rumours were bogus? Now it is said that Warner is “testing” at least two different endings, both of which apparently have completed effects. So the movie could go either way at this point. — Comic Book Resources

4. Sam Mendes, who won an Oscar for directing American Beauty (1999), is now attached to an adaptation of the Vertigo series Preacher. — Hollywood Reporter

The Day the Earth Stood Still — more Gort!

ComingSoon.net just posted this new five-minute trailer for The Day the Earth Stood Still. Most of this footage has been seen already, in one form or another, but there are some new images here — especially where the robot Gort is concerned.

http://d.yimg.com/static.video.yahoo.com/yep/YV_YEP.swf?ver=2.2.30

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

Classic (and rare) David Lean films on the way.


It’s not up at their website yet, but recently I got a press release from the Pacific Cinematheque announcing that 10 of the 16 feature films directed by David Lean will be coming to that theatre next month — including three films that I have long wanted to see but, as near as I can tell, are unavailable on DVD.

Here’s the list, with the dates the films are screening and links to any earlier comments, however peripheral, that I may have written on the films I have already seen:

  1. In Which We Serve (1942) — Nov 20,24
  2. This Happy Breed (1944) — Nov 20,23
  3. Blithe Spirit (1945) — Nov 7,9
  4. Brief Encounter (1945) — Nov 7-8
  5. Great Expectations (1946) — Nov 14,16
  6. Oliver Twist (1948) — Nov 14-15
  7. The Passionate Friends (1949) — Nov 8-9
  8. Madeleine (1950) — Nov 15-16
  9. The Sound Barrier (1952) — Nov 24,26
  10. Hobson’s Choice (1954) — Nov 23,26

Just for completeness’ sake, here are the six films Lean directed that are not playing as part of this series:

  1. Summertime (1955)
  2. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) — Nov 21
  3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) — Nov 22-23
  4. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
  5. Ryan’s Daughter (1970)
  6. A Passage to India (1984) — Nov 27

The picture of Lean above, by the way, comes from this collection of publicity stills for The Sound Barrier, one of the three films I have not yet seen, at the British Film Institute.

NOV 9 UPDATE: The Cinematheque website now has a page for the series here. They are also showing three of Lean’s later epics as a “supersized sidebar” to the main series; I have added the dates for those films above, and you can check for showtimes here.