Just some quick items here; more later.1. One of the bigger surprises when I re-visited Empire of the Sun (1987) two years ago was seeing a rather young Ben Stiller in one of the supporting roles. Now Production Weekly says Stiller is basing a comedy on his experience making that movie:Ben Stiller plans to star in and direct ‘Tropic Thunder’, a high concept comedy that he’s been developing ever since he worked on Steven Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun” way… Read more

FWIW, the increasingly nasty war of words between New Line Cinema co-founder Bob Shaye and Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has had me thinking back wistfully to this Salon.com story that I remember reading way, way back in November 2001 (gadzooks, Harry Potter looks so young in that photo):At a time when the big, mainstream studios are managed by teams of bland executives whose marching orders are set by corporate bean counters, New Line, despite its ownership, has… Read more

Time to start another list.Ten months ago, I posted an item on Ultraviolet and several other movies which had not been screened for critics in the first two months of 2006; and then, as the year progressed and the ranks of such movies swelled, I posted updates to that original post.Well, here we are, with the second weekend of 2007 upon us, and already a film is going into wide release without being shown to critics in advance — unless… Read more

My wife listed Dear Frankie (2004; my review) among the videos she wouldn’t mind getting for Christmas last month, and since that film happened to top my own top ten list last year, I was happy to oblige. Today she watched it while she played with the kids, and since I was working off to the side, every now and then I peeked at the screen and savoured a moment or two. Fine performances, intelligent script, enchanting music — it’s… Read more

Oh, how could I have neglected to link to this SciFi.com item that’s been making the rounds. It seems Bob Shaye, who co-founded New Line Cinema in 1967, has resolved never, ever, ever to work again with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson:”He got a quarter of a billion dollars paid to him so far, justifiably, according to contract, completely right, and this guy, who already has received a quarter of a billion dollars, turns around without wanting to… Read more

Here’s another batch to keep you all going.1. Variety reports that Yvonne De Carlo, the Vancouver-born star of The Ten Commandments (1956; she played Moses’ wife) and The Munsters (1964-1966), has passed away at the age of 84. While she may be better known for roles like those, among my siblings she will always be remembered for her performance as Peter Ustinov’s flirtatious wife in the World War II comedy Hotel Sahara (1951).2. Ever hear about The Devil and Daniel… Read more

The nominations for this year’s Genie Awards came out yesterday, and surprise, surprise, four out of the five Best Motion Picture nominees are from Quebec.It is interesting to see how this list matches — or doesn’t — the top ten list that was issued last month by the team that runs the Toronto film festival. Only two of this year’s Best Picture nominees were on that list, namely Un dimanche à Kigali and Trailer Park Boys: The Movie — though… Read more

Thanks to Jeffrey Overstreet at the Looking Closer Journal for catching Steve Greydanus catching this interview with Children of Men director Alfonso Cuarón in Filmmaker magazine:Filmmaker: Your adaptation of the novel is quite loose. How did you approach your source material?Cuarón: Once we decided to do this exploration on the state of things – and you don’t have to go very far to realize that the environment and immigration are pretty much on the top of the list – then… Read more

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

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

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