Preaching to the Choir (Currently playing). Starring Eartha Kitt, Ben Vereen, Patti LaBelle, Tichina Arnold, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. This comedy/drama is about two estranged brothers—one a preacher and one a hip-hop star—who are forced to reconcile when the hip-hop star flees California for his Harlem home. The film’s website boasts: “Through the intersection of gospel and hip hop, east coast and west coast, the sacred and the secular, Preaching to the Choir weaves a story of unconditional love and redemption, a story of community.” It’s apparently playing in many areas of the country, but not here. Sigh.
The King (May 5, limited release). Starring Gael Garcia Bernal and William Hurt. This heavy drama debuted at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and appears to be scheduled for release in America, albeit limited. William Hurt stars as a minister who’s confronted by a young Latino man who claims to be his son from a liaison with a Mexican woman before he met Jesus. Eventually an act of anger that results in murder stands between them. The Hollywood Reporter gives a complete review, if you want to know more. If you read that review, you’ll know why this one is already a God-talk generator.
Nacho Libre (June 16). Starring Jack Black and Hector Jimenez. Dark Horizons reports that “The creators of the cult hit Napoleon Dynamite hope lightning strikes twice with this eccentric comedy about a Mexican priest who becomes a masked wrestler to raise money for an orphanage.” Yeah, well, maybe not.
Lady in the Water (July 21). Starring Paul Giamatti and Bryce Dallas Howard. Then there’s M. Night Shyamalan's (The Sixth Sense and Signs—one of my favs, btw) tale about a man who discovers a storybook character in an apartment complex pool. Shyamalan is known for his films about the supernatural and issues of faith, though I don’t know near enough about this one to make a judgment call (which is why I’ve hesitated adding it). But my curiosity is getting the best of me, so I’m putting it on my watch list.
The Reaping (Aug 11). This one has been touted in several articles reporting Hollywood’s rush to get a piece of The Passion pie (if you’re interested see here and here and here). Essentially, Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby) stars in the billed horror/thriller as a Christian missionary who lost her faith when her family was killed. She’s become an expert who debunks faith and the supernatural—until she’s called upon to save a small Louisiana town from plagues of biblical proportions. Or something like that. CinemaBlend has several photos, if you are interested.
In other film news, Mel Gibson's Mayan action-adventure Apocalypto has been moved from its August 4 release to December, reportedly due to delays in filming because of heavy rains in Mexico. And NarniaWeb clues us in on an Entertainment Weekly article which spills Walden Media’s order of the Narnia movies: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (2005), Prince Caspian (2008?), Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Magician’s Nephew, The Horse and His Boy, and The Last Battle. I also read elsewhere (but can’t remember for the life of me where) that Caspian, Voyage and Silver Chair will all be filmed together. But don’t quote me on that. Oh, and the new Omen trailer is online. And in case you think this is a low-budget B film, guess again. It boasts Julia Stiles, Mia Farrow and Liev Schreiber among its cast. The film is due June 6, 2006—get it?! Sigh.