The Shack moves its release date from August to November

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The Shack has blinked.

The film version of William P. Young’s novel was originally set to come out on August 12 — but then, a few months ago, another movie based on a best-selling novel that features Jesus as a supporting character, i.e. Ben-Hur, claimed that date.

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Newsbites: The spin-offs and re-hashes edition!

Remember when there was talk of turning The Tales of Beedle the Bard into a movie? Well, it turns out the inevitable Harry Potter spin-off movie will actually be based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, one of two Hogwarts “textbooks” that J.K. Rowling released in 2001. The book was credited to Newt Scamander, a wizard born in 1897 who worked on his book between 1918 and 1927 — and it sounds like the film will take place during this period.

It’s worth noting that Rowling herself will write the screenplay for this film; all of the previous movies were based on her books but were adapted by other writers. Also, the first film in this new series will be set in New York; it is tempting to suggest that Rowling has finally given in to studio pressure to Americanize her very-British series, but Scamander supposedly traveled “across five continents” to research his book, so this could very easily turn out to be a globe-trotting series like the James Bond or Indiana Jones films.

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It’s all connected: Gertrude Bell, Harry Potter and more!

Deadline reports that James Franco is “circling” a role in Werner Herzog’s long-in-development Gertrude Bell biopic Queen of the Desert. The role — which was once going to be played by Jude Law — is that of Henry Cadogan, a British diplomat who met Bell when she visited Persia, or modern-day Iran, in the 1890s. Bell herself will be played by Naomi Watts.

This bit of news reminds me that I never got around to blogging the last bit of casting news around this film, when it was announced last summer that Twilight star Robert Pattinson is attached to play T.E. Lawrence, a.k.a. “Lawrence of Arabia”. I found that news kind of amusing because Pattinson has already co-starred with another actor who once played Lawrence.

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James T. Kirk and the mind-body-spirit relationship

“Kirk is a man of passion and emotion and follows his gut.” So says Chris Pine in a new Star Trek into Darkness featurette.

To a certain extent, Pine is correct: Kirk does indeed have these characteristics. But on another level, Pine’s statement reflects one of the subtle but significant changes that the new films have made to the original Star Trek characters.

The way Pine speaks of Kirk’s “passion” and his “gut” reminds me of a point that John Granger made in his book The Hidden Key to Harry Potter.

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Richard Griffiths: The link between Tarzan and Harry Potter.

British character actor Richard Griffiths has passed away at the age of 65.

To many people — including many of the headline writers out there — he is best-known as the actor who played Harry Potter’s awful Uncle Vernon. To others, he is famous for playing Uncle Monty in the cult hit Withnail & I (1989).

But he will always linger in my memory for a tiny part he had in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984).

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Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (dir. David Yates, 2009)

harrypotter6THE END is near, for Harry Potter and his gang.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth movie to be based on J.K. Rowling’s phenomenally popular books, and like all the previous sequels, it is darker and more mature than the instalments that have preceded it.

But there is only one book left to be adapted, and so this film is filled with a sense that things are coming to a head. Secrets are revealed, the nature of the evil Dark Lord Voldemort’s futile plan to cheat death is finally spelled out, and the film ends on a major cliffhanger that will set the story spinning towards its inevitable climax.

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