“Disturbing images” — yet another euphemism?

Last summer, you may recall there was some confusion as to what the MPAA meant when it said that certain PG-rated films had earned that rating for their “thematic elements”. Now I’m starting to wonder what the MPAA means by “disturbing images”.For example, last week, while finishing my review of Stranger Than Fiction, I noticed that the MPAA had rated the film PG-13 for “some disturbing images, sexuality, brief language and nudity.”Then, while looking up some info on Richard Linklater’s… Read more

Newsbites: Jesus Camp! Invasion! Frog Princess!

Just a few quickies.1. Christianity Today has another update on the closure of Becky Fischer’s children’s camp, which has come under attack since appearing in the documentary Jesus Camp.2. TMZ.com reports that the Wachowski brothers (or “siblings”, as the website cheekily calls them), who wrote and directed the Matrix trilogy, have been brought in do an “emergency rewrite” on the ending of The Invasion, Oliver Hirschbiegel’s upcoming remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, etc.).TMZ.com makes it sound like… Read more

Canadian box-office stats — November 12

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.The Queen — CDN $2,682,532 — N.AM $13,784,000 — 19.5%Babel — CDN $976,380 — N.AM $7,488,000 — 13.0%The Prestige — CDN $5,280,334 — N.AM $46,037,000 — 11.5%Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan — CDN $7,752,912 — N.AM $67,840,000 — 11.4%The Departed — CDN $10,947,184 –… Read more

A Catholic, an Orthodox and a Protestant walk into a junket …

I just got home from the Los Angeles press junket for The Nativity Story, where I saw the film (for the third time in nine days!) and took part in interviews with the writer, director, producers, and a couple of the actors. Expect to see snippets of these interviews here over the next three weeks, followed by my review of the film itself, which will go up December 1, the day of the film’s release.Arguably more important than the film… Read more

The Family Way — the soundtrack lives!

You know how some movies stick with you over the years? And how the music, in particular, can bring back a lifetime of memories and associations? I’m going through that right now as I type this, because I am listening to the soundtrack for The Family Way (1966, composed by Paul McCartney with George Martin), which my sister discovered while working at the public library.I’ve written about this film a bit here before — back when Sir John Mills, who… Read more

Stranger Than Fiction — the review’s up!

My review of Stranger Than Fiction is now up at CT Movies.You can’t see it on the review page, but the “deck” or subheadline on the main page sums up the movie like so:Comedian Will Ferrell turns serious and dramatic—with surprisingly poignant results—in this metafictional movie about an author who meets her fiction.Before I wrote the review, I had thought about trying to work in a pun like that, but I forgot all about it until after I had finished… Read more

Yet another movie not screened for critics!

Is Sarah Michelle Gellar turning into the actors’ equivalent of Renny Harlin? The Return, which opens tomorrow and also counts playwright Sam Shepard among its thespians, will be the second Gellar horror movie in a row to open without being previewed for critics; and whereas The Grudge 2 at least had a promo screening late in the evening the night before it opened, The Return apparently won’t get even that much warming up. Read more

Newsbites: Nativity! Poledouris! Others!

Just a few more bites before I dash out the door.1. Variety reports that The Nativity Story will premiere at the Vatican November 26, “and the Pope has been invited.”2. Reuters reports that composer Basil Poledouris died of cancer yesterday at the age of 61. I used to listen to his soundtracks for Robocop (1987) and The Hunt for Red October (1990) all the time; maybe I should dig them out again. And maybe I should finally get around to… Read more

Newsbites: Departed! Babel! Burning! Casino!

I’ve been stockpiling some of these items while working on other stuff, and it’s time to set them free!1. As of Tuesday, The Departed has passed The Aviator (2004) to become the top-grossing film of Martin Scorsese’s entire career, with $103.3 million to date — and it’s still in the weekly top five!The Departed currently ranks third in Leonardo DiCaprio’s filmography, behind Catch Me If You Can (2002; $164.6 million) and Titanic (1997; $600.8 million); and it will soon rank… Read more

Christian Slater in a Christian Christmas flick?

Production Weekly reports that Christian Slater and Elle Fanning will star in an adaptation of Karen Kingsbury’s Gideon’s Gift:One long-ago Christmas, Big Earl Gibson (Slater) lost the two things most precious to him-his wife and daughter. Angry and heartbroken, he abandoned his belief in God and is now living on the street. Gideon Mercer (Fanning) is an eight-year-old leukemia patient determined to reach out to this lonely and hurting man. And Earl is just as determined to rebuff her. It… Read more

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