Jackson will “definitely” direct Hobbit: Zaentz

Studio Briefing seems to be confused about the chronology, but it passes on the interesting news that, at least a week ago, producer Saul Zaentz told a German website that Peter Jackson will definitely direct The Hobbit — with or without New Line Cinema:It will definitely be shot by Peter Jackson. The question is only when. He wants to shoot another movie first. Next year the Hobbit-rights will fall back to my company. I suppose that Peter will wait because… Read more

Hmmm, has The Times plagiarized me?

Greetings to those who are visiting FilmChat via the link at Amy Welborn’s blog! And thanks to “chris K”, who posted a comment to Amy’s blog which links to this article on The Nativity Story from today’s Times of London. Portions of that article sound a tad familiar to me. Compare this bit from The Times …In the film, Mary’s betrothal to Joseph is imposed on her by her parents, and local people are scandalised to hear that she is… Read more

Ethnicity in Jesus films – does it matter?

In 1961, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer produced King of Kings, the first major Hollywood film about the life of Christ since the silent era. The virgin Mary was played by Siobhan McKenna, a respected Irish actress in her late 30s, and the villainous Herod the Great was described by the narrator as “an Arab of the Bedouin tribe.” Nearly half a century later, things have flipped around. The Nativity Story, produced by New Line Cinema (the same studio that made The Lord of… Read more

Children’s pop culture and subversive mythifying

I’ve got children’s pop culture and the subversive use of religious imagery on the brain today, and I’m not sure what to do with it.Yesterday, as I was going through Star Trek: The Animated Series — which I am enjoying, BTW, because I approach it with the same sort of low expectations with which I approach at least half the original series, and sometimes the stories are actually rather good — I came across the episode ‘The Magicks of Megas-Tu’,… Read more

Newsbites: 49 Up! Charlemagne! Children!

Been stockpiling some of these. Figured I’d let ’em go now.1. The Globe and Mail has a great interview with Michael Apted, in anticipation of the Sunday and Monday broadcasts of 49 Up on CBC Newsworld. My favorite paragraph:Seven Up!’s producers had told Apted to find rich and poor children from the class-system extremes. Apted regrets that now. He feels the original focus has ignored the middle class, which has undergone the most change over the past four decades. By… Read more

Casino Royale — a trip down memory lane

Just got home from seeing Casino Royale with my dad. Loved it. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a vast improvement over previous James Bond films, and it was interesting to see how they balanced the deeper psychological elements of the novel with the action setpieces that audiences have come to expect ever since the Roger Moore era — indeed, ever since the late Sean Connery era.And hoo-boy, what setpieces. Even when things threaten to get big and bombastic, the actual… Read more

The Nativity Story — the junket report’s up!

My article on The Nativity Story — including interviews with director Catherine Hardwicke and co-stars Shohreh Aghdashloo and Oscar Isaac — is now up at CanadianChristianity.com. Read more

Filmmakers seek to inspire audiences with The Nativity Story

LOS ANGELES, CA — It has been nearly three years since The Passion of the Christ proved there was an audience for biblical movies with a strong Christian theme. Now, Hollywood is finally beginning to catch up — and what better way to follow a film about the death of Jesus than to make a film about his birth? The Nativity Story, which comes to theatres December 1, is directed by Catherine Hardwicke, a former production designer who made her… Read more

The Hollywood Reporter needs a fact-checker.

I just noticed this now, but The Hollywood Reporter’s review of The Nativity Story also went up yesterday — and, like the Variety review, it manages to make two errors in a single sentence:[Mary’s] aging cousin Elizabeth (Oscar-nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo) is experiencing a similar miracle, newly pregnant by her equally ancient husband Zechariah (Stanley Townsend), a priest. Mary convinces her parents to allow her to visit the pious couple to sort out her life. It is here she experiences the… Read more

“Yes… I play a streetwise pimp…”

Say what you will about Al Gore and his climate-change seminar-on-film An Inconvenient Truth, but you gotta love this ad for the DVD, starring Gore and Futurama’s Bender. Read more

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