Not just another low-budget Rapture flick…?

There are many — far, far too many — Christian films based on the 19th-century concept of the Rapture and the various social and political problems that follow it. But how many non-Christian films have explored this territory? There is Michael Tolkin’s scathing The Rapture (1991), of course. But beyond that, nothing comes to mind — except, perhaps, for a low-budget flick-in-the-making that got some attention the other day in the Charleston City Paper:

It’s Judgment Day. Mankind has been nearly wiped out. Ruthless creatures roam the land to prey on the survivors, their small numbers dwindling. All of God’s chosen people have been beamed up to heaven.

For four nonbelievers who’ve been left behind, the world they’ve awakened to isn’t much different than the one where the Good Book says they’ll ultimately end up, that is if they don’t change their heathen ways. And in the days after the Rapture, that’s hard to do. After all, the survivors are more likely to be forced to summon the head-cracking power of a Louisville Slugger than the power of the Lord.

This is the world of The Man Who Shot God, written and directed by Mt. Pleasant filmmaker John Barnhardt. With five short films under his belt, he’s spent 2007 shooting and editing his first full-length movie with a dedicated group of local actors and filmmakers. Many of the crew members are from Trident Technical College, where he teaches in the film department.

“I want this to be the El Mariachi of Charleston,” he says, referring to celebrated director Robert Rodriguez’s first indie hit, which was shot for less than $7,000. “We’re making the equivalent for half the money. I want to carve a path for independent film here and get people saying, ‘Hey! Look at these guys. Look at what they’re doing!’” . . .

Barnhardt has posted some clips at MySpace and YouTube.

The Elah Party — the reviews are up!

My review of In the Valley of Elah is now up at CT Movies, as is my review of The Hunting Party.

The death and rebirth of Rightwing Film Geek

Note to fans of Victor “Rightwing Film Geek” Morton: He used to have a blog here. A few days ago, it vanished. But now he has resurfaced, over here. He explains what happened here.

Yet another movie not screened for critics.

The only local screening I’ve heard of for Resident Evil: Extinction takes place tonight at 9:30 pm — which happens to be a point in time when the midnight screenings will already have begun on the east coast. Can’t say I’m surprised. The first two movies in this series were pretty bad — click here for my review of the second one — and the third film is being distributed by Screen Gems, which frequently avoids screening films for critics.

Newsbites: League! Franklyn! Dollar! Cleo!

Four quick news blurbs, all courtesy of Variety magazine.

1. George Miller — director of Happy Feet (2006), Babe: Pig in the City (1998), The Witches of Eastwick (1987) and the Mad Max trilogy (1979-1985) — will direct that upcoming Justice League movie. One slight complication is that the Batman franchise is currently going strong on its own with Chris Nolan and Christian Bale. The Superman franchise, on the other hand, seems to have been put on hold for now. The Justice League movie is also expected to feature Wonder Woman, the Flash and Aquaman.

2. Ryan Phillippe and Eva Green have joined the cast of Franklyn:

The pic is set in contemporary London and a future metropolis dominated by faith and weaves the tale of four lost souls divided by two parallel worlds on course for an explosive collision when a single bullet will decide all their fates.

It was said at one point that Ewan McGregor would star in the film, but his name does not come up anywhere in the Variety article.

3. Here is another story on the havoc that is being wreaked on the Canadian film industry by the falling American dollar:

Now there is no advantage to shooting in Canada in terms of exchange rate or tax credits, as many U.S. states and countries have similar or even more lucrative tax breaks.

“I think it’s a nightmare,” said Paul Bronfman, who runs the Toronto-based Comweb Group, one of the country’s leading production services and equipment rental companies. Comweb is also an investor in Filmport, the massive film studio being built in Toronto.

“I think it’s going to make it extremely difficult to attract more American work,” he added. “We have a lot of variety of locations but the bottomline is that the economics are getting skinnier and skinnier to shoot in Canada. Right now, we have to find new ways to attract business here.”

Canada is actually doing okay in terms of American shoots this year, but most believe that’s only because the studios are stockpiling pics in case there is labor strife in Hollywood next year.

4. Young Cleopatra begins shooting in Cairo in November. When I mentioned the film four months ago, it had a reported budget of $5 million; now, its reported budget is $3 million.

Canadian $ now as good as American $

If not better. This is a bummer, for me and many others.