Box office: Arrival beats expectations in its big-screen debut

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A smart sci-fi film was the top new movie at the box office this week.

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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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Review: Stay (dir. Marc Forster, 2005)

stay2005There are movies that pull the rug out from under their audiences in the very last moments, and in doing so reveal that much of what we have just seen was actually an illusion. Then there are movies that pull the rug out from under their audiences somewhere in the middle, thus giving us, and the characters, time to come to terms with what the relationship between reality and illusion depicted in these films might mean. And then there are movies that don’t have a rug in the first place. These movies let you know that their characters inhabit an unreal world, and so you patiently sit through two hours of puzzle pieces bumping up against each other and failing to fit together, and you wait for that moment at the end when the penny will drop, the pieces will fit, and illusion will give way to reality. Surprise twist endings are a dime a dozen, so these films remove the surprise.

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