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


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


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

lastdaysinthedesert-jesus-boy-a 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


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


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


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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