First up, if you haven’t already, trip on over to Apple’s trailer site and see the full-length trailer for Apocalypto, Mel Gibson’s latest effort (for God-talk potential, see here). Then head over to Bible Films Blog, where Matt reveals that South-African Jesus pic Jezile (aka Son of Man) is getting wider distribution (and an official website) as well as catching us up on Nativity, this time about the composer and its scheduled showing at the 2006 Heartland Film Festival. If you haven’t seen the Nativity trailer, go here (which also links to a couple of “behind the scenes” features).
Reviews are trickling in for Amazing Grace (the William Wilberforce/John Newton abolition of slavery pic with potential modern applications) which was shown at the Tornonto Film Festival and releases state-side in February 2007. The Hollywood Reporter finds it a good period piece but lacking in significance: “The movie contains lengthy parliamentary debates over slavery, though you wonder to what purpose because that argument was settled long ago. The political maneuverings are of some historical interest, but modern relevancy is hard to find.” But Variety liked it: "Crisply told and sincerely thesped, Amazing Grace is a workmanlike costumer that distills Blighty's long battle for the abolition of slavery and the personalities behind landmark antislavery legislation into a tidy story of conscience and perseverance."
Regarding fantasy films (which this blog believes have great potential to generate God-talk), fav-of-this-blog Mirtika points to a Guardian article that suggests “Peter Jackson is turning his hand to an air force of dragons, manned by crews of aviators. Téméraire, a historical fantasy book series that sees squadrons of dragons fighting in the Napoleonic wars, has captured the imagination of the Lord of the Rings director.” Speaking of Lord of the Rings, Variety report that a film version of The Hobbit may be in the works as an MGM parrtnership with New Line. In other news, the epic-mouse flick Desperaux now boasts a (impressive) cast, and Brendan Frazer is reprising his role in the next installment of the Mummy franchise. Frazer’s a busy guy, ‘cause he’s also starring in Inkheart, a story that “revolves around a girl whose father [played by Frazer] has the power to bring characters from books to life by reading aloud. When a villainous ruler and his band of rogues from a children's fable kidnap the man, his daughter and her friends, both real and imaginary, must rescue him.”
Onto the comic-book front (find out here why these kinds of films make this blog’s list) Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has started filming and, on the sci-fi front (another genre with good potential for God-talk) there’s Next (due out September 2007), based on Phillip K. Dick's (Blade Runner) short story The Golden Man with Nicolas Cage (also in 2007 comic-book film Ghost Rider) playing:
Chris Johnson, who has the unique ability to see future events and affect their outcome. The FBI learns of his abilities and they want to utilize his power to help prevent a global terrorist threat - European terrorists have stolen a Russian bomb and have threatened to blow up the ports of the city. Johnson is reluctant to help the FBI for reasons that couldn't be revealed to us or the plot would be given away. However, we were told that after the terrorists have captured Johnson's girlfriend Liz (Biel), he is forced to work with the FBI to help get her back. Johnson is ultimately faced with the daunting choice of saving the world or the woman he loves.And on the Asian epic front, John Woo casts some impressive actors (including Ken Wantabe and Chow Yun-Fat) in Battle of Red Cliff:
. . . set in the final days of the Han Dynasty in the year 208 and covers the war that established the Three Kingdoms period, when China had three rulers. Historians reckon 1 million soldiers took part in the original battle of Red Cliff. Woo plans to set up six units to simultaneously shoot various scenes for the war epic.For more info on the historical battle, see Wikipedia. Speaking of epic battles, check out the graphic-novel-gone-big-screen 300 (which this blog also picked up on from the wonderful Mirtika), the Spartan Gates of Fire piece of history (though I think it’s not for the weak of heart--or stomach). What’s the God-talk potential here? Sacrifice and belief in something worth giving up your life for is a good start. We’ll see how it plays out.
And that it for now.
(Image: Apocalypto, Touchstone/Icon; Amazing Grace, Walden Media)