The Associated Press issues a clarification.

Because, of course, this sort of thing is so important:

In a May 13 review of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” The Associated Press, relying on production notes from Walt Disney Pictures, reported that the film was an adaptation of the second book in C.S. Lewis’ series.

“Prince Caspian” was chronologically the second book to be released in the series. But after more of the series was written, it became sequentially the fourth book.

I especially love the way the AP blames the production notes for any possible misunderstanding. For a handy introduction to the underlying issue — the debate over whether the books ought to be read chronologically or sequentially — click here.

I suppose one day, when someone gets around to remaking Star Wars (1977), the AP will have to issue a “clarification” that they were relying on the production notes when they called it the first film in George Lucas’s series, rather than the fourth.

Yet another movie not screened for critics.

An American colleague tells me he was told by a publicist today that there will be no advance screenings of The Happening, the first R-rated film from M. Night Shyamalan. That’s interesting, since Shyamalan’s last film, Lady in the Water (2006), had advance screenings even though it was one of the worst major releases in recent memory — and this despite excellent acting from Paul Giamatti, excellent cinematography from Christopher Doyle, and excellent music from James Newton Howard. Then again, Lady in the Water was released by Warner, whereas The Happening is being released by Fox — and Fox has had a somewhat twitchy relationship with critics for at least the past year. The film opens in a couple weeks, on Friday the 13th.

MAY 30 UPDATE: The plot thickens. Two days after I was told — by two different sources — that there would be no press screenings, at least not in Chicago or Vancouver, I now hear from a colleague in Washington DC that he has been invited to a screening on the morning of June 10, three days before the film opens. Does that mean Fox has changed its mind, as they apparently did with last month’s Deception? Or does it mean they are being ultra-selective with the cities and critics for whom they screen the film, as they were with, e.g., Pathfinder (2007)?

JUN 2 UPDATE: New York-based critic Kyle Smith writes:

Fox still hasn’t announced when they are screening the film, opening next Friday, meaning a possible pre-birth burial of holding no critics’ screenings whatsoever, though the last time I reported that, on the Ewan McGregor-Hugh Jackman flop, “Deception,” they reversed course a day or two later.

They’ve announced a screening in Washington DC but not in New York? Curiouser and curiouser. What about, say, Los Angeles?

JUN 4 UPDATE: Lou Lumenick and SlashFilm report that there will be a screening in New York, now, and my colleagues tell me it will be showing in Los Angeles and Chicago, too. Still no word about Vancouver, though. Apparently Fox has added some extra conditions, including a ban on guests at the screening and a stern warning against blogging the film before its release date.

JUN 6 UPDATE: A Vancouver screening has been arranged, after all. The invitation arrived by e-mail this morning — four days before the screening takes place (or, if you prefer, two business days before the screening takes place, not counting the weekend). That’s cutting it kind of close, but it’s better than nothing.

When geeks have children.

My children haven’t started watching any of the shows or movies yet, but they do watch me play the videogame sometimes, and I’ve got them started on the tourism, the costumes and the toys. So I can certainly hope that the day isn’t too far off when I can have a conversation with my son or daughter like the one below:

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Click here if the video file above doesn’t play properly. (Hat tip to

Cory Edwards on writing Fraggle Rock

From his latest blog post:

I’m having a lot of fun. I just finished my first action scene (yes, there WILL be action scenes!), and am cracking some decent jokes. It’s hard to create jokes for Fraggles, since they have no pop culture references whatsoever. That’s probably a good thing… that means I have a better chance of creating a timeless movie (If I see one more cute iconic character ruined by “Shrekking It Up” for easy jokes, I’m going to go postal).

That last line is kind of funny, considering how much “shrekking” there was in Hoodwinked! (2005; my review), Edwards’ Little Red Riding Hood movie! But I definitely appreciate the sentiment.

Hobbit news — the article’s up!

My colleague Josh Hurst got married a few days ago and is off enjoying the perks of newly wedded bliss for the next couple of weeks, so I’m looking after his Reel News column for CT Movies until he gets back. Today’s column looks at some of the latest developments with regard to The Hobbit, including last Saturday’s online chat with producer Peter Jackson and director Guillermo Del Toro, as well as the Times of London‘s recent report that Christopher Tolkien still hopes to “terminate” these films before they are made; he will argue his case in court June 6.

Martin Landau stars in Billy Graham movie.

Two months ago, I mentioned that Hal Holbrook had been cast as Charles Templeton in Billy: The Early Years, a new biopic about Billy Graham — and, since Holbrook is in his 80s, I wondered whether this story might be told from the point of view of the older Templeton, who had lost his faith in his 40s and published a book about his loss of faith when he was 80.

Turns out I was right — though Holbrook has since been replaced by Martin Landau, who turns 77 next month. Today, CT Movies reported:

Billy Graham’s life story has been told a number through various media in a number of ways, but filmmaker Bill McKay wanted to tell it a little differently: From the perspective of a non-believer.

So, for Billy: The Early Years—tentatively slated for release this fall—McKay tells the evangelist’s story from the viewpoint of a dying Charles Templeton. As a young man, Templeton had been one of Graham’s friends and colleagues in Youth for Christ, only to later turn his back on his faith, becoming an agnostic.

Thus, as Salieri told Amadeus’ story, so does Templeton—played by Oscar winner Martin Landau—tell Graham’s, reminiscing from his deathbed.

“I wanted to tell Billy’s life through the prism and experience of an atheist,” said McKay, the film’s writer and producer. “I think we have a film that will make an impact.”

The article goes on to mention that the film will cover two major turning points in Graham’s life, the first being his commitment to Christ at a tent revival in 1934, and the second being the doubt that hit him when Templeton lost his faith a decade or two later:

The second bout with conflict involves Graham’s good friend Templeton, a relationship that began while they traveled together for Youth for Christ. After seeing the devastation of World War II abroad, Templeton—played as a young man by Kristoffer Polaha—questions God and his faith. After attending Princeton Theological Seminary in the late 1940s, Templeton eventually lost his faith and declared himself an agnostic.

“Billy was shaken by this,” said [co-producer Larry] Mortorff. “He questioned whether he should go back and be a dairy farmer and follow in his father’s footsteps, instead of his Father in heaven. He was right on the cusp of shrinking back on his calling. He was wrestling with God. But he came to an absolutely concrete understanding from God to take the Bible by faith.”

Near the end of the article, there is also this somewhat puzzling quote from McKay:

“I wrote this script because I wanted to introduce Jesus again through the experiences of an atheist who betrayed the gospel and betrayed Billy, who in the end understood the only path to freedom and peace, is through Jesus,” he said.

I’m not quite sure what to make of that last bit. It almost sounds like McKay is saying Templeton came back to the faith in the end — unless “who in the end understood” is supposed to refer to Graham. But I have never heard anything to suggest that Templeton did come back to the faith.

Templeton published the book Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith in 1995, at the age of 80, and he died of complications from Alzheimer’s in 2001, at the age of 86 — and while anything can happen in six years, I have no evidence that this particular thing did happen. I wouldn’t mind finding such evidence, though of course I take stories of such deathbed conversions with a grain of salt.