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Peter T Chattaway

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Everything posted by Peter T Chattaway

  1. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    The Heretical Gnosticism of Darren Aronofsky's Most Daring Film Moreover, the love that generates the world is encased in an imperfect vessel, as Lurianic Kabbalah holds. Its spark is contained in a vessel that will inevitably shatter, bringing evil into the world. When Woman ate of the forbidden fruit, it wasn’t an apple or a fig – it was the kli, the vessel of the Divine Light itself. And she shattered it. Darren Aronofsky has thus retold the gnostic myth of the kosmos, with God as Satan. It is not God who creates or maintains the world: it is the Goddess; Her; Isis; Astarte; Asherah. The Male God is the False God, as Gnosticism (and perhaps some echoes of it in Kabbalah) insists. He is the usurper of the power of the true Deity, the Feminine, the Goddess, and while she gives and nourishes, he lives only for himself. Jay Michaelson, Forward, September 20 - - - I want to hear more about this "Lurianic Kabbalah" and its "vessel that will inevitably shatter". All the "heart" imagery in the house -- and the way it is fused with the crystal that serves as an allegorical stand-in for the forbidden fruit -- reminds me of how the forbidden fruit in Noah pulsed like a heart. And there's a close-up of Bardem and Lawrence holding hands in mother! that feels, to me, very reminiscent of a close-up of Adam and Eve holding hands in Noah as they walk towards the trees at the centre of the Garden of Eden.
  2. First Reformed

    Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried to Star in Drama 'First Reformed' Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried will star in Paul Schrader's next film, First Reformed. The Arclight Films and Killer Films project follows an ex-military chaplain (Hawke) who is tortured by the loss of a son he encouraged to enlist in the armed forces. He is further challenged after befriending a young parishioner (Seyfried), and her radical environmentalist husband. He soon discovers hidden secrets of his church's complicity with unscrupulous corporations. . . . "First Reformed is a script I've been moving toward for almost fifty years. Ethan Hawke’s image appeared to me while I was writing and he responded days after reading the script,” said Schrader. “Now we are delighted to be able to add Amanda Seyfried. These are unique performers with a special charisma.” . . . The Hollywood Reporter, September 9
  3. The Impossible (not the 2012 film)

    Got a press release for the book today: - - - THE IMPOSSIBLE BOOK SET TO RELEASE ON NOVEMBER 7 THROUGH HACHETTE BOOK GROUP, 20th CENTURY FOX FILM ADAPTATION TO FOLLOW Miraculous True Story of Mother’s Faith and Child’s Resurrection Defies All History, Experts and Science LOS ANGELES (Sept. 18, 2017) – The inspiring and incredible true story of Joyce Smith and her son John, told through The Impossible- The Miraculous Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection is set to release through Hachette Book Group, Tuesday, November 7. An upcoming film is also in development through 20th Century Fox, by Executive Producer DeVon Franklin (Heaven is for Real, Miracles from Heaven). When Joyce Smith's 14-year-old son John fell through an icy Missouri lake one winter morning, she had seemingly lost everything. At the hospital, John lay lifeless for more than 60 minutes. They asked themselves, “How could God do this to us?” But Joyce was not ready to give up on her son. She mustered all her faith and strength and cried out to God in a loud and desperate plea to save her son. Immediately, her son's heart miraculously started beating again. Through this story, Joyce hopes to touch those who believe in miracles and healing, but also reach those who are seeking bigger answers by representing the true power of prayer and the realness and nearness of God. This story will change how we look at the world and handle our everyday experiences, and reinforce our belief in God and the way we pray. “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that our family would embark on such a miraculous journey or have the divine honor and privilege to share such an amazing story of God's mighty healing power,” states Joyce Smith. “Each and every day I am eternally grateful for God answering this mother's prayers in such a profound way. Nothing is impossible with God, He always has the final word.” In the days after John’s accident, he would defy every expert, every case history, and every scientific prediction. Sixteen days after falling through the ice and being pronounced clinically dead for an hour, John Smith walked out of the hospital on his own two feet, completely healed. “We have spent the last two years searching around the world to see if there is another case like John’s and we have found one that has some of the same characteristics,” said Dr. Jeremy Garrett, Cardinal Glennon PICU Doctor Area expert on drowning and Hypothermia. Adding, “John is the only person we can find who has survived and come back 100 percent in the world that we know of.” THE IMPOSSIBLE is about a profound truth: prayer really works. God uses it to remind us that He is always with us, and when paired with unwavering faith, nothing is impossible. For more information, please visit: Website: www.theimpossiblebook.com www.hachettebookgroup.com
  4. The Impossible (not the 2012 film)

    Link to our thread on J.A. Bayona's The Impossible (2012), with which this film should not be confused. Links to our threads on Mission: Impossible 3, 4, 5 and 6 -- just because. Links to our threads on previous DeVon Franklin productions Heaven Is for Real (2014), Miracles from Heaven (2016) and The Star (2017). He also has an acting credit, playing a preacher in Woodlawn (2015). - - - Fox, DeVon Franklin Set Miracle Tale ‘The Impossible’ EXCLUSIVE: Fox and Miracles From Heaven producer DeVon Franklin have preemptively acquired The Impossible, a book proposal by Joyce Smith that tells the inspiring true story of John Smith. When he was 14, Smith drowned in Lake St. Louis and was dead for nearly an hour. According to reports at the time, CPR was performed 27 minutes to no avail. Then the youth’s mother, Joyce Smith, entered the room, praying loudly. Suddenly, there was a pulse, and Smith came around. Seven Pounds scribe Grant Nieporte is attached to write the script while Smith finishes the book. It is the first project set at Fox for Franklin Entertainment since the producer moved his deal there. Smith’s story made national headlines in 2015, and the book proposal hatched a bidding battle won by Hachette Books, which will publish later this year. Deadline.com, January 18
  5. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    Regarding the yellow powder that Lawrence drinks, see this interview with Anne Thompson: "And what is that yellow potion that Mother drinks when she gets anxious? 'I will never answer what Jen is drinking,' said Aronofsky. 'That secret I will take to the grave.' "
  6. Netflix and Other Home-Video Vendors [was: DVD-by-Mail]

    : As of this month, the streaming platform offers just 43 movies made before 1970, and fewer than 25 from the pre-1950 era (several of which are World War II documentaries). I assume these are the documentaries that Netflix posted in conjunction with the brand-new documentary Five Came Back, which is about the *making* of those documentaries. : It’s the sort of classics selection you’d expect to find in a decrepit video store in 1993, not on a leading entertainment platform that serves some 100 million global subscribers. Netflix’s DVD subscribers enjoy a much wider selection (four million customers still opt to receive discs in the mail) . . . Netflix doesn't have any DVD subscribers outside of the US. And it bears mentioning that Netflix's selection varies from country to country, so it's possible that there are different numbers of pre-1970 and pre-1950 films in each territory.
  7. Uh-oh, another website redesign.

    Now with even *more* gratuitous white space! (What *is* it with designers these days.) In the past, we had simple lines between individual posts. Now each post has its own special frame, with a special buffer of white space between the individual posts (adding to the white space that already exists between the text of each post and the frame surrounding it). And that's not the only example of said white spacing. Meanwhile, the A&F and Image logos at the top of the page are gone. Intentional, or accidental?
  8. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

    Links to the threads on Episode I, Episode II, Episode III, Episode IV, Episode V, Episode VI, Episode VII, Episode IX and the 2004 and 2006 editions of Episodes IV-VI on DVD and the 2011 edition of Episodes I-VI on Blu-Ray, as well as The Clone Wars (2008-2015), Rogue One (2016), Rebels (2014-2017), the Han Solo spin-off (2018), and the various rumoured other TV series (plus one quasi-duplicate thread on the comedy series) and spin-off movies. See also the threads on 'Star Wars Debate Redux' (which began as a place to bash Episode II; Jul 8 - Nov 11, 2003), 'Sci fi = spiritual? Star Wars, X2, etc.' (Apr 12-14, 2004), 'Best Star Wars Movie?' (with poll; Apr 18-20, 2004), 'Top 100 Discussion: The Star Wars original trilogy?' (May 6-7, 2004), 'Is Star Wars Blasphemous?' (Jun 15 - Jul 25, 2005), 'Star Wars in 20 minutes' (Aug 8-9, 2006), 'Star Wars: Uncut' (Apr 2010) and 'Clear reference to Pelagian heresy in Star Wars: Episode III?' (Jul 2015). - - - ‘Star Wars’ Bombshell! Rian Johnson To Write, Direct Next Two Films EXCLUSIVE: Rarely have I seen the revival of a film franchise stir so much fervor as Star Wars, among hot young filmmakers who grew up loving George Lucas’ original film trilogy. In a bombshell move, I’m told that Lucasfilm is making a deal with Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX. Essentially, that means that the intention is for Johnson to take the baton from JJ Abrams, who has gotten the space franchise off the ground and is right now helming Episode VII. I don’t know too much more at this point, but it is in keeping with Disney and Lucasfilm’s strategy of entrusting the venerable franchise to the best and brightest writers and directors, including the spinoff films that are being directed by Chronicle‘s Josh Trank and Godzilla‘s Gareth Edwards. . . . Deadline.com, June 20
  9. Blade Runner 2

    The second short-film prequel:
  10. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    Here's a clip from the film, of the two brothers fighting, and it's pretty clear from Aronofsky's narration that there's a Cain-and-Abel thing going on here, even if he doesn't use those names specifically:
  11. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS Like, seriously. Spoilers. Huh. I would have said that the primary reference point is Cain and Abel, given that [1] one of the brothers actually *kills* the other, [2] he does so using an object in his hand (similar to how Cain kills Abel in Noah), and [3] the "God" figure puts a "mark" on the Cain figure's head. (Plus, of course, the Cain and Abel figures here are the sons of the Adam and Eve figures who were cast out of the God-figure's study after they touched the "forbidden fruit", i.e. the tzohar-like crystal on the mantle; the fact that the Adam and Eve figures go straight to having sex after one of their sons kills the other is, I assume, a reference to how the grieving Adam and Eve had sex and conceived Seth after Abel's death.) But the inheritance business does seem a little more Jacob-and-Esau, I guess.
  12. The Red Turtle

    FWIW, my capsule review from last year: Well this was a fine way to kick off my birthday. Produced by Studio Ghibli (the outfit behind Hayao Miyazaki’s films), The Red Turtle marks the feature debut of Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit, who won an Oscar for his short film Father and Daughter and was previously nominated for The Monk and the Fish — and in some ways this is really two short films put together. The first half is a brilliantly naturalistic depiction of a man stranded on a desert island and his persistent efforts to escape that island, leavened with gently surreal dream sequences in which, for example, instead of simply floating across the ocean, the man sees a bridge across the ocean and floats across that. But then something genuinely magical happens at the midway point, and the second half of the film becomes an ode to the “cycle of life”. I’m not sure that the magical plot twist works as well as it should, but I liked the film’s light humour (the crabs almost steal the show), and I definitely appreciated its matter-of-fact depiction of death and violence in the natural world, from the animals that are sometimes found washed up on the beach to the tsunami that hits the island with devastating force. See this film on a big screen if you can, for the sound design as well as the visuals.
  13. Uh-oh, another website redesign.

    John Drew wrote: : The screen theme had changed back to the "4.2" setting. Just had to click on "Theme" at the bottom of the page (I think Theme is at the bottom of every page), and clicked on the "Arts & Faith Custom 1 (Default), and the settings with the A&F and Image logos reappeared. ... The look of the discussion board is something that *we* pick? ... Is there any way we could have a *range* of themes to choose from?
  14. All Saints

  15. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

    Saw the film today. I can't help thinking that it could give a lot of ammo to the people who hated Noah. There is one shot in here that certainly... colours... my response to a similar shot in Noah. And the depiction of one character in particular is making me think a *lot* about what Aronofsky told me three years ago regarding how he had given Russell Crowe's Noah the "character arc" that God seems to have in the biblical story. Not that the arcs are the same, exactly -- though they do overlap in significant ways! -- but more because the gap between Crowe's Noah and the God of that film is essentially closed here. (When I interviewed Aronofsky three years ago, he said that the God depicted in Noah knew how things would turn out; he wasn't just letting Noah decide whether humanity would survive or go extinct. Aronofsky, at least when speaking to me in my capacity as a Christianity Today reporter, seemed keen to put some distance between Noah and God in that regard. Suffice it to say that the equivalent metaphor in mother! -- if metaphor is the word -- is a lot more ambivalent.) This is a virtually impossible film to discuss without getting into spoilers, so I'm mostly biting my tongue right now. I may or may not write something up by opening day. Or I might wait even longer, until after non-festival-goers have had a chance to see it and start discussing the particulars. I will say, though, that the film got me thinking about C.S. Lewis, Peter Greenaway and a quote that Robin Williams once ascribed to Tom Waits.
  16. Star Wars: Episode IX

    As I said at Facebook: So Colin Trevorrow, who got his start in blockbusters because he reminded Brad Bird of Brad Bird, is now being replaced as director of Star Wars: Episode IX by JJ Abrams, who produced Brad Bird's first (and so far only successful) live-action film. Funny how the young up-and-comers keep getting bumped for the well-remunerated establishment hacks (Ron Howard on the Han Solo film, Abrams here...).
  17. Star Wars: Episode IX

    Links to the threads on Episode I, Episode II, Episode III, Episode IV, Episode V, Episode VI, Episode VII, Episode VIII and the 2004 and 2006 editions of Episodes IV-VI on DVD and the 2011 edition of Episodes I-VI on Blu-Ray, as well as The Clone Wars, Rogue One, Rebels and the various rumoured other TV series (plus one quasi-duplicate thread on the comedy series) and spin-off movies. See also the threads on 'Star Wars Debate Redux' (which began as a place to bash Episode II; Jul 8 - Nov 11, 2003), 'Sci fi = spiritual? Star Wars, X2, etc.' (Apr 12-14, 2004), 'Best Star Wars Movie?' (with poll; Apr 18-20, 2004), 'Top 100 Discussion: The Star Wars original trilogy?' (May 6-7, 2004), 'Is Star Wars Blasphemous?' (Jun 15 - Jul 25, 2005), 'Star Wars in 20 minutes' (Aug 8-9, 2006) and 'Star Wars: Uncut' (Apr 2010). - - - Rian Johnson to Write and Direct ‘Star Wars’ 8 — But Not 9 Rian Johnson will write and direct the eighth “Star Wars” movie, inheriting the franchise from J.J. Abrams, according to two individuals with knowledge of the director's plans. Johnson will also write the treatment for the ninth movie, but he will not direct it. TheWrap.com, June 20
  18. Links to our threads on the original TV series (1966-1969), J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (2009) and its upcoming sequel (2012). - - - Artistically and financially, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (hereafter known as ST5:TFF) has long been widely regarded as the least successful film in the Star Trek franchise, at least until Star Trek: Nemesis came out last year. So of course, I approached the "collector's edition" two-disc DVD set -- which came out yesterday, 14 years and a few months after the film came out in theatres -- curious to see whether the film's low reputation would be acknowledged in the extras. And it is, sorta. In one featurette, sci-fi author David Brin calls the film an under-rated entry in the series. In another, executive producer Ralph Winter says he and the rest of the production team may have tackled the film with too much exuberance and confidence, without stopping to think about the film the way they should have, following the success of ST4:TVH (which remains, to this day and despite the rise in ticket prices since 1986, the only Star Trek film to break the $100 million barrier at the box office). In another, both Winter and one of the other creative types grumble that the special effects really failed to serve the film (I believe this may be the only Star Trek movie, apart from the very first one, that turned to some company other than George Lucas's Industrial Light & Magic for its effects, and yeah, the effects here ARE tacky). And William Shatner himself, in the making-of featurette, concludes by saying that he has a tremendous capacity for "denial", so as far as he's concerned, he had a great experience directing the film, and that's what matters to him. Seen in this light, the archival footage of producer Harve Bennett making his pitch to the film's promotors -- giving them the Vulcan salute and saying it is impossible to lie while making this salute and saying the upcoming ST5:TFF will, no lie, be a "blockbuster" and possibly even bigger than ST4:TVH -- is a bit awkward and embarrassing. But hey, you gotta admire the guts of whoever made the DVD for putting that on there, too. I have always thought ST5:TFF was something of a wasted opportunity. It is the ONLY film in the entire series that feels like it could have been an episode of the original show. The other films all put new major characters on the bridge (Decker and Ilia in ST:TMP, Saavik in ST2:TWOK), or they take major characters OFF the bridge (Chekov is first officer on the Reliant in ST2:TWOK, Sulu is captain of the Excelsior in ST6:TUC, and of course Spock is virtually absent from ST3:TSFS altogether), or they don't take place on a proper bridge in the first place (the Enterprise is a trainee ship filled with youngsters in ST2:TWOK, Kirk shanghais an automated Enterprise in ST3:TSFS, then uses a stolen Klingon Bird of Prey in ST4:TVH) -- and that's before we deal with the major life-and-death issues that pre-occupied the other films (major threats to the Earth in ST:TMP and ST4:TVH, Spock's death and resurrection in ST2:TWOK and ST3:TSFS, ending the Cold War with the Klingons in ST6:TUC). ST5:TFF is the only film in which Kirk is captain of the Enterprise from beginning to end, with the same crew under him that he had in the series, and in which the story ends as it began, thus leaving the way for future episodes. And they blew it. The film was basically written and directed by Shatner for contractual reasons -- going back to the days of the series, he and Leonard Nimoy had a deal where they would take turns negotiating their contracts, and whatever one person got, the other person got too. So after Nimoy had directed ST3:TSFS and ST4:TVH to great success (and then gone on to have non-Trek success with 1987's Three Men and a Baby), Shatner figured it was his turn to direct a Trek movie, and everybody let him do it. For whatever reason, Shatner wanted to make a story about a man who looks for God, finds the Devil, "and by extension, God exists." Right away, there should have been obvious problems with this premise. First, this is the kind of story you can tell very well with supernatural thrillers like The Exorcist, but how can you deal with this in a space-adventure franchise like Star Trek? The "God" creature that Kirk meets and defeats at the end of the film is, as far as I can tell, just another in a long line of super-powered aliens that the various Enterprise crews have had to deal with -- how does finding (and defeating!) this alien prove that the Devil exists, let alone that God exists? Second, there is nobody in the Star Trek franchise who would be likely to go on this quest ... so Shatner had to come up with a storyline in which someone (who turns out to be Spock's half-brother Sybok) hijacks the Enterprise and Kirk is basically just along for the ride, thus turning our normally dynamic hero into a rather passive bystander. (Who was it who said the main problem with the film could be summed up by the scene in which an exasperated Kirk says to Sybok, "Let me do SOMETHING!"?) Third -- and bringing the two other objections together -- there is the fact that the film's message is pretty much tacked onto the rest of the story and does not grow out of it. The quest to find God in outer space is Sybok's quest, not Kirk's; yet, after Sybok's death, it is Kirk who gives us the moral of the story ("Maybe God isn't out there, Bones; maybe he's right here, in the human heart"). It's amazing to hear on the featurettes that many people -- including producer Bennett, who had revitalized the franchise with ST2:TWOK and had been involved in all the films since -- had qualms with Shatner's story and didn't want to work on the film. But they did. And the studio, despite its nervousness, green-lit the project and then began to force Shatner to drop various things along the way. So it's not just a badly written movie, but a half-heartedly executed badly-written movie. Shatner and his daughter Liz, who wrote the making-of book back when this movie came out, provide an audio commentary on the DVD, and one of the things they address is the fact that Shatner wanted Kirk's team-mates to turn against him and side with Sybok, but Nimoy and DeForest Kelley both nixed this idea, at least insofar as it related to their characters. (I have read Shatner's Star Trek novels, and I must say, yes, Shatner DOES love to pit Kirk against his friends whenever he can -- I guess he finds it extra dramatic or something.) This behind-the-scenes disagreement becomes especially interesting during my favorite scene in the film, in which Sybok tries to "heal" the pain of Spock and McCoy. First we learn that McCoy pulled the plug on his father or, more likely, actively euthanized him when his father was suffering from an incurable disease (it's not entirely clear, because he does it with some futuristic gizmo), only to find out shortly afterwards that a cure had been found. Shatner says Kelley really, really resisted playing this scene and had to be argued into it because of his "convictions"; Shatner then mentions that his OWN conviction is that, when dignity is gone, people SHOULD pull the plug, and this prompts a "Hmmmm" from his daughter. (As one who opposes euthanasia myself, I have to say I have no problem with the scene in its present form -- McCoy's "pain" stems from the fact that if he had waited just a little bit longer, his father might still be alive today, which would support the idea that McCoy should NOT have killed him -- and besides, I think there is a world of moral difference between "pulling the plug" and letting nature take its course on the one hand, and doing something that actively kills someone who might have lived longer.) Then comes the bit where Sybok tries to "heal" Spock, but this part of the scene never worked for me, because it harps on the fact that Spock is half-human and had let his father down, and this theme had been harped on to death on the original series; what's more, Spock had actually RESOLVED many of these issues in the previous films. This scene tells us absolutely nothing "new" about Spock, the way the other scene told us something "new" about McCoy, so there is no suspense, really, over how Spock will react to Sybok's attempt to "heal" him. Interestingly enough, though, one of the deleted scenes on the bonus DVD reveals that there was, at one point, a second element to this scene, in which Sybok and Spock re-create the moment when they last saw one another, back when Spock was just a boy; Nimoy even delivers his lines like an anxious child. THAT might have told us something "new" about the character, but the scene doesn't quite work as well as it should have -- it doesn't have the theatricality, the visual creativity, of the McCoy scene. Curiously, we never get even a hint of what Kirk's "secret pain" might be -- Sybok is interrupted before he can force himself on Kirk. But I do like the way Kirk says "I NEED my pain." I would never accuse Shatner of trying to preach a Christian message, but I think this film was one of the first things that got me to think about the positive value of pain, the way that suffering helps to shape us as people, and so on. Just a few more comments. In the commentary, Shatner says that the scene where Sybok realizes the "God" he has been following is actually a more devil-ish creature was inspired by the disillusionment that many Communists felt when it was revealed that, well gosh, Stalin really WAS a murdering tyrant, despite all those years they defended him. Shatner and his daughter make an ill-advised attempt to give the film new, modern relevance when she suggests there is something "weirdly prophetic" about the fact that this film begins with a religious zealot who gathers followers in a desert landscape, and Shatner replies that the film might have done better at the box office if it had been released now. Shatner says the opening and closing scenes in Yosemite are meant to show that God can be found in nature, rather than something outside of ourselves (which reminds me, it always did seem a little odd that the "God planet", which one character calls "Eden" and which looks from space like a big blue ball of gas, would be pretty much a barren desert on the surface). And the featurette on religion is, well, disappointing of course -- especially considering how short it is and how many people they seem to have interviewed for it. Executive producer Ralph Winter, who is well-known in Christian circles (and who I met when he spoke at Regent College's faith-and-film conference last year), makes one very quick reference to his "relationship with God" and then they cut away to someone else. I would have liked to hear him talk a little more about that. The rest of the featurette features things like Gene Roddenberry's son saying Star Trek isn't anti-religion, it just "believes in humanity as much as religion", or some SETI guy saying that our religions will be "improved" if we ever come into contact with aliens, etc. David Brin also makes some perceptive comments (e.g., Star Trek stories don't mind the transcendent, so long as it "leaves us alone"), though a few of his comments (especially about the contrast between ST2:TWOK and ST3:TSFS re: "playing God") do seem to be recycled from comments he made on the ST3:TSFS DVD last year. Oh, two final observations. First, the DVD only barely acknowledges the fact that ST5:TFF was the first Trek film to be produced after the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation in the fall of 1987; at the time, producer Harve Bennett blamed the existence of the TV show for the poor box-office performance of the film (of COURSE everyone shows up for the feast when there's two years of famine between feasts, but when you give people turkey sandwiches every week... or so his argument went). ST5:TFF came out after ST:TNG finished its second season, but I believe common wisdom has it that ST:TNG didn't really get good until its third season, so I wonder what the fans were making of the franchise at the time. (I didn't start watching ST:TNG for another couple years, myself.) Second -- and this will show how truly geeky I can be -- I cannot believe that the DVD makes NO reference to the fact that the actor who plays Captain Klaa, the token Klingon of this film, was an extra on ST2:TWOK, as one of the engineering trainees; he's the one standing next to Scotty's nephew when Kirk and Peter Preston have their little exchange. (He might even be the one who clears his throat when Preston has his little outburst, but it could also be Scotty, who is off-screen at that point.) The way the actor describes his audition before Shatner, you would think it was the first time the two of them had been in the same room.
  19. Victoria & Abdul

    Remember how Peter O'Toole played King Henry II in two completely different films, made by completely different directors and based on plays by completely different playwrights? To quote what I wrote at my blog over a decade ago: "The films were made only four years apart, but O’Toole seems a heck of a lot older in the later film. The first movie spans two decades, beginning prior to Becket’s rise to the Chancellorship in 1155 and ending with Becket’s murder in 1170, and setting the story between a prologue and epilogue that take place in 1174. Henry is no more than 22 when the story begins, and 41 when the final scene ends — and O’Toole was 31 when the movie came out, so he was perfectly suited to play both ends of that spectrum. "The second movie covers just a few days circa Christmas 1183, when Henry was a couple months shy of 51 — and when that movie came out, O’Toole was 36. But thanks to some effective make-up and the gravitas of his performance, he looks and feels every bit the character’s age. The fun-loving, overgrown adolescent of Becket, whose heart can be broken by a close friend, has given way to a much more bitter and cynical (but still very temperamental) man — and one who is all too aware of his looming mortality." Judi Dench seems to be doing something similar with Queen Victoria now. In 1997, when she was 62, she starred in Mrs. Brown, which spans 1863 to 1883 (when Victoria was 44 to 64) -- and now that she is 82, she is starring in Victoria & Abdul, which will apparently take place sometime between 1887 and 1901 (when Victoria was 68 to her death at 81).
  20. Victoria & Abdul

  21. Star Trek: the first ten movies (1979-2002)

    FWIW, I recently came across this video, which indicates that the theatrical and director's cuts are more different than I thought (to wit, I knew about many of the scenes that were missing from the theatrical cut, because I videotaped the film off of TV and watched that version for several years before buying the film on VHS -- and I was shocked to discover that the VHS version was missing several scenes that the TV version had; but there are also several instances where different versions of the film use different takes of the same line of dialogue): One difference that is *not* mentioned in this video is the scene where Kirk talks to Saavik in the turbolift. That scene might be identical between the theatrical-cut and director's-cut Blu-Rays -- it's a single wide shot -- but in the TV version that I videotaped way back when, I believe it was a series of alternating close-ups. By the way, I've never liked the bit in the director's cut where someone asks Marcus "Where are we going?" and she says, "That's for us to know and Reliant to find out." If I had been the person who asked her the question, I'd be like, "Right. Us. It's for us to know. So where are we going?"
  22. Mother! (Darren Aronofsky)

  23. Paul, Apostle of Christ

    Link to our thread on Hugh Jackman's Apostle Paul project, which I haven't heard much about lately. Jim Caviezel is playing Luke in a new film about Paul, which is currently being shot on Malta with a 2018 release in mind. The film also co-stars Bible-movie veterans James Faulkner as Paul (his credits include Peter and Paul and the 2010 version of Ben-Hur; he also played Herod Agrippa in I, Claudius), Joanne Whalley as Priscilla (her credits include A.D. The Bible Continues and The Ark) and John Lynch as Aquila (his credits include The Passion, The Nativity and Killing Jesus). From the director of Full of Grace, which was set near the end of the Virgin Mary's life, Paul, Apostle of Christ is similarly set during Paul's twilight years (in prison, in his case).
  24. Samson

    Link to our thread on Cecil B. DeMille's Samson & Delilah (1949). Link to our thread on the Australian film Samson & Delilah (2009), which is *not* a Bible epic. Link to our thread on Scott Silver's "futuristic" Samson movie. Pure Flix, the studio behind God's Not Dead and The Case for Christ, is shooting a movie about Samson in South Africa right now, and several of the actors and extras have been posting behind-the-scenes pics to Instagram. Interestingly, the actor who played Goliath in Of Kings and Prophets (2016) appears to be playing a Philistine in *this* movie, too. Unless he's an Israelite jailer, I guess. Pure Flix's press release says the film is about "a man with supernatural strength who leads his enslaved tribe to victory over the mighty Philistine empire," which sounds a wee bit more triumphalistic than the Samson story in the Bible. (When does the biblical Samson actually *lead* anyone, for one thing? The one time the Bible describes him meeting a large group of Israelites, it is because they have decided to capture him and hand him over to the Philistines.) But I'm curious to see the film, at any rate. Just as long as it isn't another disaster like David & Goliath... Which reminds me, Pure Flix is one of the growing number of entities that have been sued by Tim Chey (not merely *threatened* with a lawsuit, but actually sued!) and have succeeded in getting the lawsuit dismissed. (See also Netflix.)
  25. Samson

    mrmando wrote: : Judges doesn't mention the name of Samson's mother. Evidently she had more sons after Samson; or she died and Manoah married someone else; or Manoah had more than one wife. Or the word translated "brothers" refers to kinsmen in general. Hmmm. This is starting to feel vaguely reminiscent of the debate around' Jesus "brothers".