MGM announces The Hobbit, T4, etc.

MGM has a major case of sequelitis. Yesterday’s Variety reports:In 1969, when the jaunty former CBS president Jim Aubrey showed up at MGM with a mandate to revive the studio, the first thing he did was kill all 15 big-budget, commercial pictures in the pipeline, including “Tai-Pan” and “Man’s Fate.”Fast-forward to 2006: MGM chairman-CEO Harry Sloan, who’s been at the Lion just under a year, is doing exactly the opposite.Having barely finished remaking MGM into a pure distribution and marketing… Read more

Canadian box-office stats — September 10

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.Bon Cop, Bad Cop — CDN $7,117,059 — N.AM $7,117,059 — 100%The Illusionist — CDN $2,428,814 — N.AM $18,089,000 — 13.4%Step Up — CDN $7,696,199 — N.AM $61,588,000 — 12.5%The Protector — CDN $612,143 — N.AM $5,032,000 — 12.2%Crank — CDN $2,338,538 — N.AM $19,859,000 — 11.8%The Covenant — CDN $765,185… Read more

Russian ex-rock star plays Orthodox hermit

Reuters has the following story on an interesting-sounding film:Art closely follows life in a new Russian film about a hermitic monk with a guilty past played by a 1980s Russian rock singer who shunned society after a religious transformation.The White Sea provides the barren backdrop for director Pavel Lounguine’s “Ostrov” (“The Island”), in which former rocker Pyotr Mamonov plays Anatoly, a man who shoots a comrade during World War Two and winds up living a hermit’s existence near an isolated… Read more

Evangelicals and an old global-warming movie

This may not be the best way to lead in to this subject, but the story below got me thinking of Jesus Camp, and how that film focuses on right-wing Christians who teach their home-schooled children to rebut the scientific evidence for evolution and global warming, etc., etc., and how that film ultimately includes an interview with National Association of Evangelicals president Ted Haggard, apparently to show that the film’s right-wing subjects are not just a fringe element within evangelicalism… Read more

Grace, Nativity to sneak-peek in Indiana

From a press release issued yesterday by the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana:Opening the nine-day event on October 19 is the U.S. Premiere of Michael Apted’s powerful “Amazing Grace” at the IMAX Theater. The Festival continues with the opening night of film screenings on October 20 and exclusive filmmaker Q&A; sessions with audiences. Additional events include an opportunity to meet filmmakers and special guests at the Filmmakers’ Brunch; the World Premiere of “Air Buddies” at the Kids’ Movie Party;… Read more

Yet another movie not screened for critics!

The Covenant, opening today, joins the ranks of the unfortunately many films that were not screened for critics in advance this year. Like quite a few of the others, this one was produced by Screen Gems, but even more interesting is the fact that this is the third film in a row that was directed by Renny Harlin and then not screened for critics in the United States — though Mindhunters (2004; my review) was shown to critics in Canada,… Read more

Newsbites: Knud! WarGames 2! Pickton!

Far, far too many newsbites now. I’ll try to be brief.1. There’s been a fair bit of coverage in anticipation of tonight’s premiere of The Journals of Knud Rasmussen at the Toronto film festival. Check the Canadian Press, Reuters, and the National Post.2. Reuters says MGM is planning to make five new sequels:Wednesday’s announcement included the unveiling of thrillers “Species 4,” WarGames 2, “Into the Blue 2” and romance “Cutting Edge 3,” along the “Legally Blonde” title which, Sands said,… Read more

Gotta love these coincidences.

Last night I saw The Protector. Tonight I saw The Guardian.Apart from the titles, there is really no way anyone could confuse these two movies. But still. I’m getting flashbacks to the beginning of my student-newspaper movie-critic days, when The Specialist (1994) opened roughly one month before The Professional (1994). Except the two new titles are a closer match, I think.What’s next, The Bodyguard? Oh, wait, that was another Kevin Costner movie. (Still never seen that one, actually.)No reviews of… Read more

The exorcism of … Emily? Anneliese? Michaela?

Just came back from the Vancouver International Film Festival press conference. I’ve only had a chance to skim the preview program very briefly, but I did notice that the line-up includes Requiem, a German film based on the same events that inspired The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005). That’s one for the must-see list. More details about the rest of the program as I soak it in. Read more

Nativity composer Mychael Danna speaks!

Queen Spoo has posted a brief but interesting interview with The Nativity Story composer Mychael Danna. My favorite bits:What helped you with your decisions for instruments to use and was there any influence from ancient musical melodies or instruments for your score?That’s a good question. I did a lot of research on music of Judea and Palistine at the time. I learned a lot and then decided not to use any of it. The reason for that is I find… Read more

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