has posted a review of what appears to be the most recent draft of the script for Rambo IV — and apparently this version, dated November 6, bears the subtitle “Pearl of the Cobra” rather than “In the Serpent’s Eye”. A few excerpts from the review:The next chapter finds Rambo recruited by a group of Christian human rights missionaries to protect them against pirates, during a humanitarian aid deliver to the persecuted Karen people of Burma. After some of… Read more

Time to unload a few more items; most of the ones in this batch concern upcoming releases or screenings.1. Hot Docs is going to host the Toronto premiere of Jesus Camp on January 10. The press release calls this the film’s “Canadian premiere”, but that’s just typical Torontocentrism; the film played the Calgary International Film Festival back in September.2. The VanCity Theatre in Vancouver is going to show Béla Tarr’s 7.5-hour opus Sátántangó (1994), a “monumental tale of a false… Read more

I watched all the Rocky films (1976-1990) this weekend — all, that is, except for the sixth film, Rocky Balboa, which opens nine days from now. I had seen only one of them before, and that was on a high school retreat nearly 24 years ago, so it was kind of a fun marathon, watching all these films for the first time and charting the sometimes jarring shifts in tone and theme across the years.Sylvester Stallone, like many other filmmakers… 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 $16,865,079 — N.AM $128,894,000 — 13.1%Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan — CDN $14,739,202 — N.AM $120,260,000 — 12.3%Blood Diamond — CDN $835,545 — N.AM $8,515,000 — 9.8%The Holiday — CDN $1,239,468 — N.AM $13,500,000 — 9.2%The Santa Clause 3: The… Read more

Rocky IV (1985) is almost certainly the silliest film in the entire series — I say this as one who hasn’t seen Rocky V or Rocky Balboa yet — but with $127.9 million in the till (enough to make it the #3 film of that year, behind only Back to the Future and Rambo: First Blood Part II), it also earned more than any of the others.In a similar vein, Moonraker (1979) was by far the silliest film in the… Read more

Box Office Mojo reports that Apocalypto was #1 yesterday with an estimated $4,950,000, and The Nativity Story was #8 with $1,450,000. Doesn’t look like the film has legs, does it? Read more

The Repository in Canton, Ohio has a story up on Hollywood and the faith-based market, and a fair chunk of it quotes me. I had a lovely 43-minute chat with Charita M. Goshay, and it’s still vivid enough in my mind that I think I can remember how I said most of the bits that ended up in print. There are a few factual errors in the between-the-quotes bits, but the one thing I will single out is the reference… Read more

Time for a few more updates, methinks.1. Never mind Saint Mary — it looks like a Koranic interpretation of the life of Jesus, also produced in Iran, is also out there. Indeed, according to Matt Page, there might even be two such films.One, Son of Mary (1998), was described five years ago at this German website as “zeigt aus Leben Jesu aus der Sicht des Koran”, or as Matt translates it, as “showing the life Jesus from the view-point of… Read more

My review of Apocalypto is now up at CT Movies.At the end of the review, I write that “some people may find they cannot watch The Passion the way they used to.” I’ll give you a tiny for-instance. I have written at some length — especially in a chapter for Re-Viewing The Passion that was posted here — about the use of point-of-view shots and other techniques that Gibson used to take us into the “subjective” experience of Jesus. When… Read more

Say what you will about Mel Gibson, but there’s no denying the man knows how to use a camera — which is more than can be said for many other actors who have turned to directing. His skills as an auteur have become especially apparent over the course of his last two films, The Passion of The Christ and now Apocalypto, both of which feature mostly unknown actors speaking ancient languages; the absence of big stars and readily intelligible dialogue… Read more

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