The Omega Code and the mainstreaming of Christian film

omegacodeThe always brilliant Darren Franich had a new article up at Entertainment Weekly over the weekend, in which he took a look at the movies of 1999 — once dubbed “the year that changed movies” by his bosses — and asked how well those films have stood the test of time.

That was the year when everyone thought The Matrix would take the place of Star Wars as a sci-fi myth for our times. That was the year when The Blair Witch Project invented the found-footage horror subgenre and proved the value of viral marketing campaigns. That was the year when young, hip directors like David Fincher, David O. Russell and Spike Jonze produced instant cult hits like Fight Club, Three Kings and Being John Malkovich, all of which came out in October of that year. And so on.

But there was another game-changer released in October 1999 that Franich doesn’t mention — a movie that may be pretty silly but still set a new precedent.

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From The Song to the Left Behind reboot: are Christian films becoming more comfortable with sexuality?

song-duetI got an e-mail today from the folks behind The Song. Like most Monday-morning e-mails of this sort, it asks its readers to support a newly-released independent film by voting with their dollars as soon as possible, etc.

The e-mail also does something I don’t believe I have ever seen in an ad or message promoting a “faith-based” film before: it draws special attention to secular critics who have praised the film for the “sexual chemistry” between its lead actors.

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Box-office update: Guardians of the Galaxy breaks more records while the “faith-based” genre underperforms

guardiansofthegalaxyThis is my first box-office update since July, and a lot has happened since then.

The big news, of course, is the phenomenal success of Guardians of the Galaxy, a film that was based on one of the more obscure Marvel properties, had no major stars, and revolved around some pretty wacky ideas (like a talking, machine-gun-toting raccoon), yet still managed to become the top-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe movie without Iron Man, at least in North America.

Overseas, it ranks behind all of the Marvel sequels, but ahead of all their other “original” films except for The Avengers — and that was really kind of a super-sequel, too. So you could say that, worldwide, Guardians of the Galaxy is the top-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that introduced a new set of characters.

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First The Leftovers, now The Remaining: will audiences be tired of the Rapture by the time Left Behind comes out?

Rapture, Rapture everywhere! With The Leftovers almost finished its first season on HBO, it turns out we may have another Rapture story to tide us over until the Left Behind reboot comes out October 3. A couple of trailers for a movie called The Remaining, which opens September 5, have popped up on my radar, and you can see the newer, longer one at the top of this post.

The Remaining is produced by Affirm Films, the same “faith-based” branch of Sony Pictures that had a hand in Heaven Is for Real and Moms’ Night Out. The only actor I recognize is Alexa Vega, who starred in all four Spy Kids films as well as the later Robert Rodriguez films Machete Kills and Sin City: A Dame to Kill for.

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The Leftovers: “The birth of religion in the face of mystery.”

The Leftovers — the HBO series about a community coping with the Rapture-like disappearance of many of its members — premieres this coming weekend, and while I haven’t been scouring the internet for coverage of this series the way I sometimes do for films like Noah etc., a few things have popped up in my regular news feeds, including a new video, a new interview with the show’s creators, and a handful of reviews.

The interview, with novelist Tom Perrotta and series producer Damon Lindelof, is up at The Daily Beast, and it’s a bit of a frustrating read for me, as I find myself nodding along at some points and wanting to argue with the interviewees at others. Here’s a sample:
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Chaos reigns in new Left Behind teaser trailer

Here we go! The new Left Behind reboot has a teaser, which you can watch to the right. I’ll say this much: it looks more like a “real” movie than the original film that came out 14 years ago. You can watch the teaser for that film — which makes it look every bit like the straight-to-video production that it was — and see a new poster for the reboot below the jump.

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