The Painted Veil (2006)

What a beautiful film. I regret missing it during its theatrical run. Visually, musically, thematically, and in terms of the actors’ performances, there is quite a bit to chew on here, and I find I’m still thinking about it the day after I watched the DVD.

No time for a review, but two brief points.

First, I was struck by how this film seemed, at first, to follow that old rule of portraying marital sex by not portraying it — the clothes stay on, the lights go out, etc. — whereas the adulterous sex is portrayed a little more explicitly: we get hints of nudity, the sounds of passion, etc. For earlier examples of this sort of thing, see, e.g., Ryan’s Daughter (1970), directed by David Lean. But then… as the bitter married couple begins to lose its bitterness… things get a little more interesting. And while the nudity isn’t anything to write home about, it is worth noting that the male nudity is a little more pronounced than the female nudity, and it is interesting to compare and contrast the two scenes in which men get out of bed after being with the Naomi Watts character.

Second, this is at least the third time, following Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) and Birth (2004), that I have found myself thinking, “Wow, this music is really good,” and then seen the name Alexandre Desplat come up on the screen. I don’t buy soundtrack albums anywhere near as much as I used to, but still, it’s a little odd that I haven’t got any of his stuff in my collection yet.

Warner Brothers bans previews in Canada

Well this sucks:

Asserting that our neighbors to the north have become major suppliers of pirated pics around the globe, Warner Bros. is taking the unprecedented step of canceling all promotional and word of mouth screenings there until the Canadian government makes it illegal to take camcorders into theaters.

According to Warners, more than 70% of all pirated Warners titles released over the past 18 months originated in Canada.

“Within the first week of a film’s release, you can almost be certain that somewhere out there a Canadian copy will show up,” said Darcy Antonellis, Warner Bros. senior VP of worldwide antipiracy operations.

Policy, coming just as the busy summer box office season gets under way, will take effect beginning with “Ocean’s Thirteen,” which bows June 7. Ban also means that Canadian auds won’t get a sneak peak at “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which bows in July. Warners Bros. Pictures Canada will still hold press screenings for credentialed media.

Thank goodness for that last sentence.

But wait a minute — about 95% of the Warner advance screenings I have been to in the last dozen years were promo screenings (e.g. screenings attended by people who won tickets via radio contests, usually at night or on weekends) and not press screenings (i.e. screenings attended by professional critics only, usually in the morning). Does this mean Warner plans to replace promo screenings with press screenings? Or does this mean credentialed media will see only a handful of Warner movies in advance?

more C.S. Lewis on the big screen (sort of)

Barbara Nicolosi announced today that she and some partners have secured the film rights to Sheldon Vanauken’s A Severe Mercy, which she will adapt into a screenplay. She calls it “a really beautiful and wonderful project with strong transcendent themes (and a cameo appearance by C.S. Lewis!)”, and while I have not yet read the book myself, the review at indicates that it is an autobiographical story dealing with pagan love, Christian conversion, jealousy, grief, and the relationship between God and tragedy. Sounds like they could almost call it Shadowlands 2!

Canadian box-office stats — May 6

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.

Hot Fuzz — CDN $2,120,000 — N.AM $16,145,000 — 13.1%
Fracture — CDN $3,340,000 — N.AM $26,453,000 — 12.6%

Next — CDN $1,170,000 — N.AM $11,835,000 — 9.9%
Blades of Glory — CDN $10,120,000 — N.AM $111,632,000 — 9.1%

Spider-Man 3 — CDN $12,250,000 — N.AM $148,000,000 — 8.3%
Disturbia — CDN $4,880,000 — N.AM $59,883,000 — 8.1%
The Invisible — CDN $948,547 — N.AM $12,346,000 — 7.7%
Lucky You — CDN $181,741 — N.AM $2,515,000 — 7.2%
Meet the Robinsons — CDN $5,300,000 — N.AM $91,771,000 — 5.8%

A couple of discrepancies: The Canadian figure for Spider-Man 3 combines the regular release ($11,690,000), which came in at #1, with the IMAX release ($560,787), which came in at #2 — so I do not know what film would have been #10 in Canada if those figures had been combined. I believe the American figure for Spider-Man 3 has already combined the regular and IMAX revenues.

I’m number two! I’m number two!

It’s awards season again — and apparently my film column for BC Christian News won second place in the ‘Media Review – Newspaper’ category at the Canadian Church Press awards last Friday. The judge, Marianne Meed Ward, commented:

Well written, relevant to the interest of your audience, packed with quirky facts and informative — it’s a media survey and piece by piece review rolled into one brief engaging package that never forgets the needs of the audience. A rare achievement.

I don’t know yet who the other winners in this category are, but when I find out, I’ll post that info here too.

George Lucas still pursuing Sean Connery

Last Thursday, Anne Thompson of Variety wrote the following in an item describing her visit the previous week to Lucasfilm headquarters at the Presidio in San Francisco:

At the party I got a kick out of watching Lucas, Robin Williams, John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Staunton and Brad Bird whooping it up and making each other laugh. (Coppola was on a wine tour.) “I’m a big proponent of regional filmmaking,” Lucas told me. (He told me that for the first time when I interviewed him for Film Comment in 1981 for Raiders of the Lost Ark.) He’s still chasing Sean Connery, by the way, for Indy 4–just sent him a new script.

Then, on Friday, Reuters passed on a few things that George Lucas said the night before at the San Francisco Film Festival:

In a brief interview, he said veteran actor Sean Connery had yet to agree to reprise his role as Indiana Jones’ father.

“We have a script with him in it,” he said. “If he doesn’t do it, we’ll do a quick rewrite.”

Sounds like Professor Henry Jones Senior wouldn’t be all that big a part of Indiana Jones IV even if Connery did come back. Still, it would be nice to see him on the big screen just one last time.