Ben-Hur: a new photo and a couple new soundbites

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Can’t let a week go by without another Ben-Hur update!

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Box office: Winter but no Christmas for The Huntsman, and Zootopia becomes the 8th-biggest animated film worldwide

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There was good news and bad news for Chris Hemsworth this week.

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Last Days in the Desert soundtrack album coming May 13

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Soundtrack.net reports that Lakeshore Records will release the soundtrack to Last Days in the Desert on May 13, the same day the movie — which stars Ewan McGregor as both Jesus and the Devil — opens theatrically in limited release.

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It’s a Her reunion! Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to play Jesus opposite Rooney Mara’s Mary Magdalene

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Deadline reports that Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to play Jesus in Garth Davis’s Mary Magdalene, which has Rooney Mara attached to play the title role.

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Prophet Joseph — episodes one and two

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Last year I wrote an essay on films about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph — the patriarchs of Genesis — for an upcoming book called The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (current release date: July 15). As research for that essay, I watched a lot of movies based on Genesis, but I only had so much time at my disposal, and I couldn’t watch everything that came my way.

This was especially true of Yousuf e Payambar, a.k.a. Prophet Joseph, a 45-episode series about the life of Joseph produced for Iranian television about eight or nine years ago. I was intrigued by the series, especially when I found multiple versions of it floating around YouTube and other websites, but I couldn’t justify watching roughly 35 hours of footage just to beef up one or two paragraphs in my essay.

I have a little more time now, though, and since I have done weekly episode recaps of series like A.D. The Bible Continues and Of Kings and Prophets, I thought it might be interesting to take a similar look at Prophet Joseph — but since there are so many episodes, I plan to look at two each week, instead of just one. I don’t mind doing this over the course of five or six months, but almost a year? That’s a little much.

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Flashback: The three versions of Terrence Malick’s The New World, now together in a new Criterion Blu-Ray set

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More DVD news: the Criterion Collection has announced that it will release a special edition of Terrence Malick’s The New World this summer that includes all three versions of the film in a single four-disc set — and they will all be in high definition, too, which I believe is a first for the two theatrical versions of the film.

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