Warning: There be major, major spoilers here.Rod Dreher and Jeffrey Overstreet have linked to a handful of spoiler-filled reviews of Apocalypto which suggest that Mel Gibson’s film is, in some sense, about the triumph of Christianity over the evils of paganism. That is how some of Gibson’s Catholic fans have interpreted the film, and that is also how some of his detractors, such as Traci Arden, have interpreted it, too.But as you could guess from my own review of the… Read more

Variety reports that a new version of Tarzan is in the works — to be written by John Collee (Happy Feet, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) and directed by Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), if present negotiations stay their course:Del Toro, who grew up reading Spanish-language translations of those books, feels that the classic themes are still compelling, and that there is new ground to cover in the Tarzan mythology by turning back to the original… Read more

When will they learn? Reuters reports that “U.S. religious groups” are giving the makers of the new horror movie Black Christmas pretty much exactly what they want by venting some outrage and giving the film just that wee extra bit of free publicity. Oh, and note to Jennifer Giroux of Operation Just Say Merry Christmas: Christmas is not “our most sacred holiday”. Ever hear of Easter? Read more

This Variety headline caught my eye, for obvious reasons…PTC unhappy with TV’s religious stereotypes… and then I realized they weren’t talking about me. Read more

Seems like something’s always in development.1. Johnny Depp has a thing for religious themes, it seems. Three months ago, he hired a screenwriter to adapt the graphic novel Rex Mundi, and now, reports Variety, he has bought the rights to James Meek’s novel The People’s Act of Love, which is “set in 1919 Siberia” and “revolves around an escapee from a Russian prison camp who stumbles upon a Christian sect.” The write-up at Amazon.com adds the detail that this sect… Read more

I just got a plot synopsis for Epic Movie, the looks-so-lame movie parody that comes out January 26. The synopsis alludes to a few films that do not come up in the trailer now playing in theatres:The twisted minds of two of the six writers of “Scary Movie” tackle the biggest mega-blockbusters of all time in EPIC MOVIE. The story centers on four not-so-young orphans: one raised by a curator at the Louvre (where an albino assassin lurks), another a… Read more

My article on ethnicity in Jesus films — which looks primarily at the current releases The Nativity Story and Color of the Cross, but also touches on King of Kings (1961), Dayasagar (1985), The Miracle Maker (2000), The Passion of the Christ (2004) and Son of Man — is now up at the Mennonite Brethren Herald. Read more

Variety and the Canadian Press report that the Toronto International Film Festival’s organizers have released their picks for Canada’s Top Ten of 2006. The ones I have seen are in bold:Away From Her (dir. Sarah Polley)Congorama (dir. Philippe Falardeau)The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (dir. Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn)Manufactured Landscapes (dir. Jennifer Baichwal)Monkey Warfare (dir. Reginald Harkema)Radiant City (dir. Gary Burns and Jim Brown)Sharkwater (dir. Rob Stewart)Sur La Trace D’Igor Rizzi (dir. Noel Mitrani)Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (dir. Mike… Read more

LatinoReview.com 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

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