Why did Mel Gibson want to make a Maccabees movie?

One of a few stories that came and went during my blogging hiatus concerned an attempt by Mel Gibson to make a movie about the Maccabees, the Jewish warriors who took their country back from the Greeks in the 2nd century BC. The project was first announced in September 2011, but by April 2012 it had been shelved, after screenwriter Joe Eszterhas turned in a script that didn’t pass muster. Eszterhas then accused Gibson of anti-Semitism, released a recording of Gibson losing his temper, and wrote an e-book telling his own side of the story.

This all comes to mind now because Allison Hope Weiner, a journalist who counts Gibson as a friend, has written a column for Deadline asking Hollywood to take Gibson off its “blacklist”, and along the way she makes a claim or two about the story behind Gibson’s aborted Maccabees project: [Read more…]

Son of God — my review’s up! (And some other links.)

Aside from my interview with Darwin Shaw, which I posted on Monday, I haven’t said much about Son of God here for the past couple weeks. But the big-screen Bible spin-off finally came to theatres last night, so it’s time to catch up on all the news and reviews, etc.

First, there is my own review of the film for the National Catholic Register, which went online this morning; my friend Steven D. Greydanus, who normally covers film for that paper, likes to say that I reviewed this film so that he doesn’t have to.

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Comment: Rethinking The Passion in light of Gibson’s folly

YOU MAY have heard about a little incident involving Mel Gibson, a speeding car, an open bottle of booze, and some racist and sexist remarks in late July.

For some people, the incident proved what many had been saying for at least three years, namely that Gibson is an anti-Semite, and that the controversial movie he made about the death of Jesus, The Passion of the Christ, is anti-Semitic.

But is it as simple as that? There are several issues tangled up in this story, and each one needs to be addressed separately.

First, it is dangerous to define a person by the sins with which they struggle.

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Mel Gibson’s Jesus film inspires impassioned discussion among pastors, ministry leaders

THOUSANDS of Canadian pastors and ministry leaders got a sneak preview of The Passion of the Christ last week, as Campus Crusade and several other evangelistic organizations sponsored a cross-country tour of a rough cut of Mel Gibson’s graphic and controversial film about the death of Jesus.

The film was shown to an estimated 9,000 people in nine cities over six days, beginning in Halifax and ending with two screenings January 17 at Pacific Academy’s Chandos Pattison Auditorium in Surrey, BC. Bob Kraemer, director of special projects for Campus Crusade, said the film was overwhelmingly accepted by the Christians who saw it.

The film shown at these screenings was not quite complete — it was missing some special effects, and it had a temporary music track that borrowed heavily from Peter Gabriel’s soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ and the albums of Dead Can Dance — but it still had the power to move audience members to tears.

[Read more…]