Saint Mary — as seen on Iranian television

One of the people I spoke to at the Nativity Story junket nine days ago was Shohreh Aghdashloo, the Iranian actress who plays Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Near the end of our interview, she mentioned a film that I had never heard of before:SA: As a matter of fact, I found out that the only place that they had made a film about Saint Mary is in Iran, and I got my hands on it, and my… Read more

Yet another set of LOTR bonus features?

The original The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) DVDs came with TV specials, music videos, and web featurettes. The extended editions came with extensive documentaries on the making of each film, each one lasting six hours, give or take. The limited editions that came out earlier this year included brand-new documentaries by Costa Botes. And now comes word that there may be a fourth set of extras, for the inevitable HD release.From IGN.com’s interview with Michael Pellerin, producer of the… Read more

Time magazine needs a fact-checker.

From Time magazine’s recent story on The Nativity Story:Despite the challenges of reconciling Scripture with story, casting actors to play icons, constructing a Christ-era Nazareth in the Italian countryside, wrangling donkeys and camels, and figuring out how to market the first major-studio Bible epic since the genre’s peak in the 1950s and ’60s with films like The Ten Commandments, The Nativity Story will arrive in theaters on Dec. 1, just about a year to the day after Rich started his… Read more

Peter Jackson will not direct The Hobbit.

Click here to read his reasons why not.(Hat tip to Jeffrey Overstreet at the Looking Closer Journal, who is already recommending another director for The Hobbit.)UPDATE: Jeffrey Wells says New Line Cinema dumping Peter Jackson “is a reflection of the this year’s sea-change attitude among distributors and producers towards coddled, overpaid wunderkind types like Jackson — big-name talents who get rich deals for themselves and their production companies, after which they go off and strain or exceed the budget, and… Read more

Canadian box-office stats — November 19

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 $3,239,243 — N.AM $17,291,000 — 18.7%Babel — CDN $1,710,232 — N.AM $12,013,000 — 14.2%Casino Royale — CDN $5,236,603 — N.AM $40,600,000 — 12.9%Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan — CDN $11,386,270 — N.AM $90,504,000 — 12.6%The Prestige — CDN $5,763,562 –… Read more

Borat — about those consent forms …

I saw Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan about a month before it opened, and I spent that entire month resisting the urge to give away some of the movie’s bigger surprises, and telling people little more than, “I wonder why there haven’t been any lawsuits!” Well, the movie’s been out for two weeks now, and as you may have heard, the lawsuits have begun. I don’t care to rehash all the details here,… Read more

The Ten Commandments: The Musical

Readers of this blog with long memories and an inordinate fondness for Bible movies may remember that, a year and a half ago, I mentioned in passing that Val Kilmer — the voice of Moses (and God) in The Prince of Egypt (1998) — had also starred in a stage musical called The Ten Commandments. If you missed your chance to see this production live at the Kodak Theatre, then have no fear, it is apparently coming out on DVD… Read more

Fast Food Nation — the review’s up!

My review of Fast Food Nation is now up at CT Movies.UPDATE: On re-reading this review, it occurs to me that there are at least two points I could have gotten into, but didn’t.First, my review does allude briefly to the link the film makes between the commodification of meat and the exploitation of sex (more specifically, the exploitation of women’s bodies), but I could have been more explicit about that; apart from the meat supplier checking out the waitress’s… Read more

Newsbites: Prison! Frisbee! Thing! Dixie Chicks!

Just a few more quickies before I go to bed.1. Yet another movie is going into wide release now without being screened for critics! I refer, of course, to Let’s Go to Prison.2. Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher (2005) is now available for sale on DVD. Director David Di Sabatino writes:The movie is a sleek and fast-paced 60 minutes, but almost everything that was in the longer version is jam packed into another 60 minutes of… Read more

PG-rated movies — an update

Remember that item I posted here in June, when Nacho Libre and The Lake House opened in the same week — thus presenting us with the highly unusual spectacle of not one, but two, brand new PG-rated movies for grown-ups? At the time, I noted:Of the 23 weekends so far this year, the #1 movie has been PG-13 or R-rated almost every time, the sole exceptions being last week’s G-rated Cars and five earlier PG-rated films (Glory Road, Eight Below,… Read more

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