Just some quick items here; more later.
1. One of the bigger surprises when I re-visited Empire of the Sun (1987) two years ago was seeing a rather young Ben Stiller in one of the supporting roles. Now Production Weekly says Stiller is basing a comedy on his experience making that movie:
Ben Stiller plans to star in and direct ‘Tropic Thunder’, a high concept comedy that he’s been developing ever since he worked on Steven Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun” way back in 1987. The script Stiller wrote with Etan Cohen (”Madagascar 2 “) and Justin Theroux, is about the making of a big-budget war movie where everything that can go wrong does, and where the actors end up becoming the commandos they are playing. Principle photography is scheduled to begin in July.
2. Keith Uhlich at The House Next Door passes on the news that the original, rarely-seen, longer version of Terrence Malick’s The New World (2005) is already out on DVD in Italy. Still no word on when the even longer three-hour version might come out.
3. Jeffrey Wells links to a New York magazine piece on the “sex-shock cinema” coming to the Sundance Festival this month. Some of the films involved — The Ten, Teeth — happen to have religious elements, albeit of an apparently perverse sort.4. Two stories, both from the Associated Press, appeared in my news reader only a few seconds apart, and the difference between the headlines was rather eye-catching. First, there was this:
Theater Fears Violence, Drops Black Film
Thursday January 11 4:15 PM ET
The CEO of a theater chain said he won’t show a film about black college fraternities at any of his Springfield theaters this week out of fear it could trigger the kind of gang violence that erupted during another movie last month.
The decision drew criticism from the president of the Springfield branch of the NAACP, who said it hurts black audiences, particularly black families that would be attracted to what he says is an uplifting film.
The movie, “Stomp the Yard,” is about a dance competition between black college fraternities.
Tony Kerasotes of Kerasotes Theatres, a Midwest chain, said he did not make his decision based on race but out of concern that the film would attract gang members.
He said he feared a repeat of a fight and shooting that occurred during a Christmas Day screening of “Black Christmas” at Parkway Pointe theater in Springfield. “Black Christmas” is a horror film and did not depict the black community. . . .
Then, there was this:
New Film Shows Positivity of Black Youth
Thursday January 11 3:41 PM ET
A film about black youth that doesn’t focus on violence, gangs and life in the ‘hood? Hard to believe these days, but it’s possible. . . .
Make of that juxtaposition what you will.