Box office: Fantastic Beasts underperforms Harry Potter in North America but outperforms it elsewhere

fantasticbeasts-a

J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world came roaring back to the big screen this week.

[Read more…]

Flashback: The three versions of Terrence Malick’s The New World, now together in a new Criterion Blu-Ray set

newworld-criterion-b

More DVD news: the Criterion Collection has announced that it will release a special edition of Terrence Malick’s The New World this summer that includes all three versions of the film in a single four-disc set — and they will all be in high definition, too, which I believe is a first for the two theatrical versions of the film.

[Read more…]

The New World a feast for the senses and spirit alike

newworld-pocahontasLOS ANGELES — Terrence Malick movies take a long time to gestate. Malick typically shoots hours and hours of footage, much of it improvised, and he then spends months editing it together. And in a career that goes back 33 years, he has directed only four films: Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line and, now, his version of the Pocahontas legend, The New World.

Sometimes the editing continues long after the film has been screened for critics. The New World was about two and a half hours long when it opened in late December for a one-week run in Los Angeles and New York, to qualify for last year’s Academy Awards. But this week, the studio is releasing a somewhat shorter version. And the tweaking doesn’t stop there: some members of the film’s cast say it may be as long as three hours when it is released on DVD.

[Read more…]

Review: Alexander (dir. Oliver Stone, 2004)

Years ago, when I was a teenager obsessed with history, I began to wonder why Christ had come to Earth at the particular time that he did. Why not a century or two earlier or later? I eventually settled on the idea that he had come at the time that would have been most opportune for spreading the gospel — a time after the Greeks had unified many of the world’s cultures and bestowed on them a common language, and a time after the Romans had unified many of the world’s governments. It seemed unfair, then, that the Bible had almost nothing to say about the Greek empire; the Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian and Roman empires all had major roles to play, but apart from an obscurely-written prophetic passage or two, the Greeks fell into that gap between the Testaments.

[Read more…]