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Newsbites: Tintin! Expelled! Bank Job! etc.!

Newsbites: Tintin! Expelled! Bank Job! etc.! March 21, 2008

Time for another quick round-up of various miscellany.

1. The Daily Mail says it looks like Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson may have found their Tintin — and the lucky guy who may be playing the plucky young Belgian reporter is 17-year-old British actor Thomas Sangster. If Sangster is in this film, can Colin Firth — his co-star in Love Actually (2003), Nanny McPhee (2005) and The Last Legion (2007) — be far behind?

2. Evolutionary scientists crashed a screening of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed last night — or rather, one of them tried to, while the other succeeded. While the movie was still playing, PZ Myers wrote a blog post explaining how he was, uh, expelled from the line-up outside the theatre; and after the movie was over, Stuart Blessman sent my friend Jeffrey Overstreet an account of how Richard Dawkins did get into the theatre and announced his presence during the Q&A; that followed the movie. Expelled co-writer Kevin Miller responds to all the hubbub:

Incidents like this make me want to hug PZ. He and his peanut gallery have been lighting up switchboards (not to mention my blog) across the web with their cries of outrage. They’re the best PR team a guy could wish for. Keep up the good work!

UPDATE: PZ Myers responds to Blessman’s version of the story.

3. One of the better new films I’ve seen so far this year is The Bank Job. It’s based on a mysterious true story, though how much of it is truly based on fact and how much of it is conjecture and fill-the-gaps dramatization is open to question. Thankfully, several websites have tried to sort at least some fact from fiction.

My favorite so far is this article in the Daily Mail — mainly because it includes this audio file of the robbery in progress, recorded by a ham radio operator who happened to overhear part of the walkie- talkie communication between the thieves and their lookout! That would make a very cool DVD feature, especially if it came with subtitles for those of us who can’t quite make out all the words.

Apart from that, you can also check out a story that appeared in The Observer one year ago, when the film was being made, as well as some of the more recent items that have appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, and the Chicago Reader‘s ‘On Film‘ blog. Plus, of course, there are Wikipedia and the film’s official website.

4. Christian Bale recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about his work in The Dark Knight — he says he “would like very much to complete a trilogy” of Batman films — and said very little about his upcoming role as John Connor in the next round of Terminator films. As one who took part in a roundtable interview with Bale a few years ago, I can just hear his voice as I read this transcript.

5. Victor Morton reviews Definitely, Maybe:

Still, DEFINITELY MAYBE is notable for two firsts in current movies. First, it’s an exercise in 90s nostalgia, and not nearly as didactic as I’d feared when the plot makes Reynolds a volunteer with Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. BTW, this is one of those movies that takes place over 15 years and nobody ages noticeably. But nostalgia for a decade that I was already an adult when it began? I feel old.

Second and far more interestingly, like all movies now, DEFINITELY MAYBE takes place in the routine-divorce culture. That can’t not affect the romantic comedy genre, and I alluded to one of the ways here last year. But still, never have I seen in a conventional romantic-comedy, a child spend the movie’s last reel trying to get her father back together — not with her mother — but an old girlfriend whom the child had never met. And not because her mother is abusive or somehow “out of the picture.” Now, we consider divorce so routine (a reason for the one in this movie is never even hinted at, as if there’s no need) that we consider it an acceptable fantasy for a child of divorce to express, not the natural wish about her parents, but about a step-parent. If there’s been a conventional romantic-comedy with that rather self-rationalizing-for-adults premise (”it’s what the kids WANT”) — I’m unaware of it.

Re: the bit about feeling old. I know exactly what he means.

6. FilmStew.com says Bishop Mark Tolbert of the Victorious Life Church in Kansas City, Missouri has taken an unusual approach to sex education … by producing a feature-length movie called Secrets. Tolbert told the Kansas City Star he would like to see the admittedly amateur-based film get picked up for nationwide distribution or even for a remake, ideally by, uh, Tyler Perry.

7. IGN.com reports that Bob and Harvey Weinstein want their new DVD label, the Miriam Collection, to “compete” with the Criterion Collection and other labels that produce lavish “collector’s editions” of classic films. Well, they’re nothing if not ambitious — and as one who watched their new two-disc edition of El Cid (1961) just last month, I’d say they’re off to a decent start, at least.


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