Newsbites: Apocalypto! Invisibles! Verhoeven!

Just a few quick items before I head off to bed.1. Apocalypto was deemed fit for children in Italy the other day, but Variety reports that a court has now overturned that ruling:ROME — A national outcry in Italy over the release of “Apocalypto” with an unrestricted rating prompted a Rome court to rule Monday that Italo kids under 14 will not be admitted to see the Mayan blood-and-guts saga. . . .Meanwhile, amid the brouhaha, “Apocalypto” opened strong in… Read more

Canadian box-office stats — January 7

Here are the figures for the past weekend, arranged from those that owe the highest percentage of their take to the Canadian box office to those that owe the lowest.Casino Royale — CDN $23,904,071 — N.AM $159,837,718 — 15.0%Blood Diamond — CDN $6,161,330 — N.AM $43,894,082 — 14.0%Children of Men — CDN $1,490,773 — N.AM $11,902,000 — 12.5%Rocky Balboa — CDN $5,588,149 — N.AM $60,892,000 — 9.2%Eragon — CDN $5,513,692 — N.AM $67,043,851 — 8.2%The Pursuit of Happyness — CDN… Read more

The NeverEnding Story and B.C. Place

All the storms and whatnot that have come Vancouver’s way lately have taken their toll on the city’s skyline, as the roof of the B.C. Place Stadium suffered some major tears and was deflated entirely while the people in charge figure out how to fix it.The stadium has been a key part of the city’s profile ever since it was completed in 1983; it is currently slated to host both the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Winter Olympics.Thinking… Read more

Shooting Dogs — re-named for Christians!

The opening paragraph’s reference to “North America” is a wee bit misleading, since Shooting Dogs (2005; my review) already played in Canada last summer, but anyhoo, Variety says the film is finally coming to the United States — under a new title:IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME coming, but “Shooting Dogs,” the “other” Rwandan genocide movie, has finally secured a North American theatrical release.New York-based Adirondack Pictures has acquired the rights and teamed with IFC Films to handle distribution.Directed by Michael… Read more

Newsbites: Writers! Grace! Mexicans! Italians!

Just a few more newsy nibbles.1. The New York Times reports that Armand Jones, one of the teen actors recruited for Freedom Writers — for one of the more minor roles — was shot dead in a Denny’s several months ago, shortly after shooting on the film had been completed. Sad.When [casting director Margery Simkin] and Richard LaGravenese, the writer and director of “Freedom Writers,” first watched the movie’s promotional trailer a few months after Mr. Jones’s death, they saw… Read more

Flashback: Indiana Jones in Premiere, 1989

Years ago, when I was an avid reader of Premiere magazine, I remember reading an article on the making of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and how Spielberg said at the last minute that he wished the end-credits music could have used the themes for Short Round and other characters from the earlier films — to give the “trilogy” a proper wrap-up. Now, lo and behold, the Premiere website has posted that article, to mark the news that… Read more

Freedom Writers — the review’s up!

My review of Freedom Writers is now up at CT Movies. Read more

Newsbites: Knife! Hoodwinked! Ratatouille!

Just a few quickies before I go to bed.1. The Golden Compass is still in front of the cameras and won’t be out in theatres for another ten months, but Variety reports that New Line has hired Hossein Amini (1996’s Jude, 1997’s The Wings of the Dove, etc.) to write the script for The Subtle Knife — i.e., the second installment of Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, which New Line intends to complete if the first movie is a… Read more

How many long-lived franchises are there?

I found myself thinking about the James Bond films the other day and marvelling at the fact that a movie franchise that got off the ground in 1962 — when my father was still in high school, or whatever they called it in Zambia then — is still alive and kicking.It occurred to me that most current franchises don’t go back much further than the 1970s, i.e. the dawn of the blockbuster era.So naturally, I began to make a list.For… Read more

Vin Diesel still talking about Hannibal — in Punic

Remember how Vin Diesel wanted to make an epic movie about Hannibal of Carthage — and in ancient Punic, no less?I first mentioned it here ten months ago, and you might have been tempted to dismiss it as a mere vanity project that would never see the light of day, but The Independent reported last week that Diesel is still forging ahead — and is even scouting locations:However, the shaven-headed star with the gym-buffed physique insists that he is deadly… Read more

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