Interview: Kenneth Branagh, director of Hamlet (1996)

hamlet1996Date: January 10, 1997
Place: Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, BC

This interview was conducted when Kenneth Branagh was in Vancouver to promote his four-hour movie version of Hamlet. It was a joint interview with two other student reporters; Robin Yeatman and I represented The Ubyssey, and Marci Drimer represented The Campus Times. Branagh had to catch a plane right after the interview, and he tended to speak really fast, lowering his voice sometimes as he did so, so it’s hard to make out some bits on the tape; those portions are marked *** .

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Gender vortex / Critics of 1950s scifi thought it was sexist. But the new Star Trek movie shows they ain’t seen nothing yet.

In one early scene in Star Trek: First Contact, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart), who has travelled back in time to stop the Borg from conquering the Earth in the 21st century, strokes a nuclear missile from his planet’s past. Data (Brent Spiner), the android, follows suit but says he cannot feel anything, so he tries again. Then Counselor Troi (Deanna Sirtis) walks in, sees them fondle the tall, hard, erect explosive device, and asks, “Would you three like to be left alone?”

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Review: Moses (dir. Roger Young, 1995)

ABRAHAM meandered too much, and Jacob fell completely flat. Things started looking up with the epic Joseph, and now, with the brisk Moses under its belt, it would appear that ‘The Bible Collection’ has finally hit its stride.

And what a fast pace it is, too: Moses opens with a quick montage to show how this Hebrew came to grow up in the Egyptian palace and then it squeezes Exodus and Numbers into a mere three hours while skipping Leviticus and using just one or two chapters from Deuteronomy. (By way of comparison, it took seven hours for The Bible Collection’s first three videos to cover 39 chapters of Genesis.)

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Interview: Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies, 1996)

Mike Leigh’s films are a paradoxical mix of tight directorial control and letting the chips fall where they may. He begins each film by gathering a cast around a basic premise, then getting the actors to improvise a storyline. But once a character’s next move has been determined, everything is scripted, rehearsed and executed with exacting precision. The result is an extremely professional work in which neither you nor the filmmakers ever quite know what’s going to happen next.

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Interview: Steven Lipscomb (Battle for the Minds, 1996)

stevelipscomb-pokerDate: October 8, 1996
Place: Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver International Film Festival

Peter T. Chattaway: You seem to have a great sense of humour, and there is precious little of it in the film. Would you say the film [Battle for the Minds] is characteristic of you in some way?

Steven Lipscomb: It’s really funny that you say that, because I think there’s actually humour all the way through this film. It’s very subtle, because of the nature of the material we’re dealing with. A guy who saw it, he’s one of the stars of Second City, called me and said that’s what he keyed on. He found that there was lots of this sardonic wit, because inside everything that’s frightening there is comedy. So I think there are lots of moments in there [like that]. I’ve never seen this with an audience; this is the first time that we will have a substantial audience to see the film. I think it does have comedic breaks. But there’s not much to laugh about in what’s going on within the religious right in America. What this tells is the story I believe moderates — and I think most people are moderates, most of us fall in the centre — and we all believe that these guys can’t win, and I think what this film does is tell the story of where they did win, and they did it in a democratic setting. In the last 16 years, they have completely taken over the Southern Baptist Convention, which is over 15,000,000 people, 40,000 churches, and now they’re using all of their power and wielding it to make us believe the way they believe.

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Hollywood may be unfair, but look at big picture

“I think all minority audiences watch movies with hope. They hope they will see what they want to see. That’s why nobody really sees the same movie.” — screenwriter Arthur Laurents

As a Christian and a film critic, I am often frustrated by the misunderstanding that exists between filmmakers and Christian watchdog organizations such as Movieguide. Yes, it is true that Christians often don’t get a fair shake in the mass media. But Christians have not done a particularly good job of assessing the situation and suggesting ways to improve things.

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