Natl Film Title Weekend Gross Rank LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star Total Gross Theaters Days --- ----------------------------- ----------- ----- ---- 4 Sweet Home Alabama 6,524,217 3182 31 C. Jay Cox (screenwriter) 107,302,338 7 Punch-Drunk Love 3,308,223 481 17 LDS actors/characters: 5,861,261 David Stevens, Nathan Stevens, Michael D. Stevens, Jim Smooth Stevens (James Smooth) 39 Master of Disguise 159,727 226 87 Perry Andelin Blake (director) 40,032,054 58 Jack Weyland's Charly 36,608 26 31 Adam Anderegg (director) 388,032 Jack Weyland (book author) Janine Gilbert (screenwriter) Lance Williams, Micah Merrill (producers) Tip Boxell (co-producer) Bengt Jan Jonsson (cinematographer) Aaron Merrill (composer) Micah Merrill (film editor) Actors: Heather Beers, Jeremy Elliott, Adam Johnson, Jackie Winterrose Fullmer, Diana Dunkley, Gary Neilson, Lisa McCammon, Randy King, Bernie Diamond, etc. 64 Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man 26,973 6 906 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 14,215,755 66 Minority Report 24,756 47 129 Gerald Molen (producer) 132,014,112 74 City by the Sea 13,822 31 52 Eliza Dushku (actress) 22,295,473 93 China: The Panda Adventure 8,184 4 458 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 2,903,323 108 Galapagos 3,179 4 1095 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 13,766,610 113 ESPN's Ultimate X 2,794 8 171 Reed Smoot (cinematographer) 4,191,641 114 Handcart 2,790 6 17 Kels Goodman (director/DP) 56,623 David Greenslaw Sapp (producer) Mark von Bowers (screenwriter) Eric M. Hanson (composer) Joel Petrie (film editor) Actors: Jaelan Petrie, Stephanie Albach Chris Kendrick, Shannon Skinner, Gretchen Condie 120 Mark Twain's America 3D 1,455 2 1578 Alan Williams (composer) 2,279,281 123 The Singles Ward 1,113 3 269 Kurt Hale (writer/director) 1,249,570 John E. Moyer (writer) Dave Hunter (producer) Ryan Little (cinematographer) Cody Hale (composer) Wynn Hougaard (film editor) Actors: Will Swenson, Connie Young, Daryn Tufts, Kirby Heyborne, Michael Birkeland, Robert Swenson, Wally Joyner, Lincoln Hoppe, Sedra Santos, etc.
3 LDS-THEMED FILMS IN THEATERS: In its fifth weekend, "Jack Weyland's Charly" played earned grossed $36,608 in 26 Utah and Idaho theaters, a per-theater average of $1,408. "The Singles Ward," many weeks after its rapidly-selling video/DVD release, continued to play in a reported 3 theaters -- probably all second run theaters. One of these was the Movies-8 in Provo, Utah. The others were in California; Mesa, Arizona; and/or Utah. In its 3rd weekend, "Handcart" played in 6 theaters. 5 were in Utah: Walker Cinema 6, Brigham City; Fiddler 6, Cedar City; Cinemark Tinseltown USA, Layton; Scera, Orem; Stadium 8, St George. The last was The Strand in Evanston, Wyoming. Next week (Nov. 1) "Handcart" opens in Monticello, Utah at Blue Mountain Cinema.
GONE FROM THEATERS: "The Other Side of Heaven", the 3rd-released Latter-day Saint-themed feature film, finally disappeared altogether from theaters this week -- after a lengthy ten months of continuous screenings. It's initial Utah run and wider national run had long since wound down, but it continued to play on a handful of theaters, with just 1 theater last week, but none this week.
PUNCH DRUNK BROTHERS - Salt Lake Tribune has a detailed article about the Stevens brothers, the Utah brothers who star in the current hit movie "Punch-Drunk Love." They are widely described in movie reviews as "Mormon brothers" from Provo: http://www.sltrib.com/10252002/friday/10382.htm
TEXAS: THIS IS THE PLACE - A new IMAX film is nearing completion. "Texas: The Big Picture" is being produced and directed by Scott Swofford, and photographed by T.C. Christensen (both are Latter-day Saints who have extensive experience doing Church film projects and are leaders in the IMAX industry.) The film is a documentary about the state of Texas, featuring locations such as San Antonio, the Hill Country, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and ranches and farms in West Texas and the Panhandle. It is scheduled to be released in April of 2003. Principal photography ended October 28.
MORE TEXAS NOTES - And, as noted earlier, the Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Suddenly Unexpected" wrapped filming in Houston, Texas last week and is in now in post-production. Crew members compared it to "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and "The Gods Must Be Crazy." The production and artistry is top-notch. Additionally, Dallas-based Latter-day Saint filmmaker Joshua D. Smith premieres his new feature film "Zombie Campout" this week and as previously noted, "Handcart", a feature film directed by Texan Latter-day Saint Kels Goodman, is now in theaters in Utah, and will be expanding to dozens of cities outside of Utah.
SLC FILM FESTIVAL CALL FOR ENTRIES - The 2002 Salt Lake City Film Festival was highly successful and plans are well underway for the 2003 event. Entrants in 2002 were from all over the world and from various backgrounds, but the films featured are all without gratuitous, vulgar, inappropriate content. Latter-day Saints who won awards at the 2002 festival include Scott Tiffany, Best Documentary for "Forgotten Voyage", and Mark Goodman, SLCFF Audience Award and Best Feature Film for "Someone Was Watching." If you're going to have a film ready by February 28, 2003, check out the details: http://www.slcfilmfest.org/2_entries/index.html
PUMPED FOR THE ECLIPSE - The Eclipse Film Festival is just a couple weeks away: November 8th and 9th. The official website now hosts a fantastic TV commercial (available in 3 sizes of QuickTime), as well as radio spots: http://www.eclipsefilmfest.com. (This festival will be awesome, by the way -- we've checked out the lineup, and we're very excited. Many of the names you see here on LDSFilm.com will be there as competitors or judges or other festival participants)... The TV commercial even shows a second of Christian Vuissa's short film "Daybreak", though as far as we know "Daybreak" will not be shown at the festival, only Vuissa's "Roots and Wings" will be shown. (Daybreak is a very nice-looking but weird little film, if you've never seen it. The whole thing can be downloaded from here: http://yfilms.byu.edu/finalcut/daybreak.mov But if you watch it, don't think that's what "Roots and Wings" is like. "Roots and Wings" actually has a story, dialogue and characters and is one of the best short film by an LDS director we've seen.)
SMOOT ROCKS - "Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees", the latest IMAX documentary by legendary Latter-day Saint cinematographer Reed Smoot opened this week (25 October 2002) in Los Angeles. The Toronto Sun highly recommended the movie when it opened earlier this year in Canada. Smoot's previous IMAX films include: Ultimate X; China: The Panda Adventure; Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure; All Access: Front Row. Backstage. Live!; The Human Body; Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man; Olympic Glory; Galapagos: The Enchanted Voyage; Mysteries of Egypt; and 3 IMAX films nominated or Academy Awards: "Special Effects: Anything Can Happen", "Rainbow War" and "Ballet Robotique". His non-IMAX films include: Disney's Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Gleaming the Cube, Russkies, The Wraith. His films for the Church include: Legacy (1990), The Pump, The Emmett Smith Story, Uncle Ben, John Baker's Last Race, The Lost Manuscript, Cipher in the Snow. Plus MANY more films. His films have grossed over $500 million at U.S. box offices. As is sometimes the case, especially with IMAX films, weekend box office gross totals for "Wild Chimpanzees" for this past weekend were not available.
COMICAL COMPETITION - The Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City recently announced the creation of the first annual Ruth and Nathan Hale Comedy Writing Awards, a competition looking for family-friendly three-act comedies. The competition is open to students from any of Utah's universities, colleges and junior colleges. The top prize is $1,000, with $500 for second and $300 for third. Scripts must be turned in by April 30. For more information, call 801-984-9000.
ANNOUNCEMENT FROM MICHELLE WRIGHT'S ACTION ACTING STUDIO - Hello, Everybody! Thank you so much for your overwhelming response and support to our new acting studio! We have some great classes coming up! For our Director's Workshop, Thursday Nov 7th at 7:00 PM we have FRANK E. JOHNSON, DIRECTOR OF TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL! Frank has had a great career in episodic television and this a wonderful opportunity to spend some time learning from Frank before he begins his schedule on this season of Touched and his feature film in January. Space is limited, so you need to register ASAP. The cost is $149.00. Plus: We've schedule 2 more EXTRA'S CLASSES! This cost is only $25.00 and that includes the class, the digital headshot for the database, and adding your info into the casting database! Also you can now register automatically for each class right on the web on our secure order form. Thanks again for the support and see you all there! - Michelle K. Wright, http://www.actionacting.com, 801-299-3688 (Michelle is the casting director for "The Singles Ward" and "The R.M.".)
COMEDY TROUPE AUDITIONS - The comedy "improv" troupe Knock Your Socks Off is auditioning potential company members during the next two weeks, culminating with a callback audition on Saturday, Nov. 9. Applicants must pass a screening process before qualifying for the callback. Training in acting, improvisation and music are a plus but not required. Those interested should attend KYSOff's free workshops, scheduled for 4-6 p.m. on Oct. 26 and Nov. 2, at Trolley Square Live, in the southwest corner of the mall's ground-floor level. For further information, call (801) 942-5976 or go online to www.KYSOff.com.
PUNCH-DRUNK AT #7 ON MOVIES WITH MORMON CHARACTERS LIST: P.T. Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love", starring Adam Sandler versus the Stevens brothers as thugs from Provo, opened wider last weekend and grossed an estimated $3.5 million over the weekend, bringing the movie's estimated gross to over $6 million after 3 weeks. This puts "Punch-Drunk Love" at #7 on the list of top-grossing movies with LDS/Mormon major characters, ahead of "The Other Side of Heaven" ($4.7 million). "Punch-Drunk Love" should easily surpass "Paint Your Wagon", the 1969 comedy musical about Mormon pioneers directed by Joshua Logan. (Of course, any comparison between un-adjusted box office grosses in 1969 versus 2002 may be meaningless). After that, it's a LONG climb to the next position: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" with $102 million U.S. box office gross. Of the six movies ahead of "Punch-Drunk Love" on this list, only "Ocean's Eleven" and "Paint Your Wagon" explicitly use the word "Mormon" in identifying the religious/ethnic identity of the Mormon characters. "Rain Man", "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", and "Panther" feature main characters based on historical figures who were Mormons, but no mention of this is made in the movie. "Deep Impact" features a fictional Latter-day Saint astronaut, but his religious affiliation is not identified explicitly by name.
On this same list, "Jack Weyland's Charly" already passed "S.L.C. Punk!" last weekend. It is roughly half-way to the $905,073 box office gross of last year's "Brigham City."
THIS INFORMATION IS BEING RELEASED TO THE PRESS TODAY (TUESDAY, OCT 29TH), BUT WE WERE ABLE TO RELEASE IT TO OUR DAILY MAILING LIST YESTERDAY:
>From a press release from Mormon Movies, LLC - THE BOOK OF MORMON IS COMING TO THE SILVER SCREEN!
Salt Lake City, Utah - October 29, 2002 -- The Salt Lake Hilton Hotel will be the site of a press conference announcing the production of an epic, multi-million dollar motion picture, "The Book of Mormon Movie, Volume One!"
To members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Book of Mormon is a sacred record of an ancient people who migrated from Jerusalem to the America's some 600 years before the birth of Christ. The book covers approximately one thousand years of their history, including a visit by Jesus Christ, after his crucifixion and resurrection in the old world.
"This is a very unique motion picture," stated Gary Rogers, the film's producer, writer and director. "Virtually every member of the Church I've talked to has told me they have waited all their lives to see a movie about the Book of Mormon! It really is a filmmaker's dream. However, the biggest challenge will be to produce a film that satisfies the audience. Most of the nearly 12 million members of the Church have already "seen" the movie many times in their minds! The prospect of meeting the expectations of millions of people is a very frightening but exciting challenge," say's Rogers.
"The Book of Mormon Movie will have special appeal to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, the movie is designed to appeal to all viewers," stated Rogers. "The movie has all the same elements that make up any good motion picture: mystery, drama, action, intrigue, murder and romance. This will be an epic motion picture in every sense of the word."
Rogers said the Book of Mormon Movie would actually be a "series" of movies. The Book will be filmed in eight or nine installments or volumes, approximately two hours each in length, over the next seven years. Volume One covers Lehi's treacherous journey through the Arabian desert, crossing the great ocean to the "Promised Land" and the early years in the New World. Shooting will take place in Salt Lake City, for interior shots of sets, the California desert and Central America. In addition, "pick-up" shots without actors, will be filmed in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Robert C. Bowden, the Emmy-award winning former Musical Director of the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus and former Conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, will compose the musical score. Mr. Bowden will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra, the same orchestra that performed all the music for "Star Wars."
"No celebrity actors will be used in filming the movie," stated Rogers. "I think a celebrity would actually detract. Tom Cruise playing Nephi or Jack Nicholson playing Lehi just wouldn't work! They bring too much 'baggage' with them, not to mention their enormous price tag! The Book of Mormon is the draw here, not the actors," says Rogers. However, Rogers was quick to emphasize that the actors must be able to act as well as any actor in the world.
Rogers hopes to use as many local actors as possible. "We have an incredible talent pool right here in Utah." An open casting call will be held Saturday, November 2nd at the Salt Lake Hilton Hotel. Casting information can be found on the Company's website at http://www.bookofmormonmovie.com, or by calling (801) 557-3515.
The movie's anticipated release date is spring of 2003. The movie will open first in the Utah market and then be released nationally. After the theatrical release, the movie will be available on DVD and Video. The DVD version will allow the viewer to see and hear the movie in Spanish with the simple click of the remote! Also, at any point during the movie, the viewer can click the remote and text will appear on the screen showing the exact chapter and verse in the book that relates to what the viewer is watching on screen! The DVD version will also show how the movie was made, including outtakes, special effects and interviews with cast members.
GARY ROGERS BIO ONLINE - If you're wondering who is this guy who is bold enough to make the first attempt at chronicling the entire Book of Mormon in a series of live action motion pictures, check out our bio on Rogers, which can be found at http://www.ldsfilm.com/bio/bioR2.html
NOT THE FIRST ATTEMPT - This is not the first attempt to make a commercial motion picture based on the Book of Mormon. It may surprise some of you, but Orson Scott Card's grandfather, Lester Park, made a film titled "Corianton" in 1931 based on the story of Alma the Younger's son. You can read more about this early film on our site at http://www.ldsfilm.com/directors/LesterPark.html. And, of course, the animated videos from the Book of Mormon created Richard Rich and The Living Scriptures, Inc. are widely known. However, Rogers' project will be the first filmed attempt to create a series of commercial, live action motion pictures depicting the entire history of the Book of Mormon. Hopefully, this attempt will be far more successful than "Corianton" was.
CASTING CALL - Interested in acting in "The Book of Mormon Movie"? Here is casting information for the first installment: An open casting session will be
held on November 2, 2002 at the Salt Lake Hilton Hotel, 255 South West Temple, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All actors must be attractive, in excellent physical condition, with EXCEPTIONAL acting talent and ability. Please bring "head shots" if you have them. This is a non-union production. NON-SAG. Actors should come prepared with a memorized selection of their choice (not to exceed two minutes), showing good emotional range. For further information check out http://www.bookofmormonmovie.com or call (801) 557-3515.
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PRETTY GOOD MUSIC - "Charly" and "Singles Ward" soundtracks in Top 10 selling CDs at Deseret Book, according to their website. Here's the entire top 10 list:
1. True North
by Jericho Road
2. The Singles Ward Soundtrack
3. The Ocean in Me
by Cherie Call
4. Jericho Road
by Jericho Road
5. We Believe: Especially for Youth 2002
6. Charly Soundtrack
7. Seminary's Greatest Songs: 25 Years of Seminary Favorites
8. Women of Destiny: Songs Celebrating the Declaration of the Relief Society
9. Something's Changed
by Jeff McLean and Michael McLean
10. Whatever It Takes: Music to Inspire and Strengthen the Youth
>From Hunter: Note that the soundtrack CDs for "God's Army" and "The Other Side of Heaven", as well as the "Brigham City"-inspired CD "Welcome to Brigham" are also on sale in stores. I listen to them all the time, especially "Brigham City" and "The Singles Ward." One of my favorite tracks from "God's Army" is Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband's "Snow." I've heard great things about "The Other Side of Heaven" score, but I don't own the CD. I can hardly wait for the "Out of Step" CD, which should be available soon. Also be sure to check out the CD from Eric Endres' "A Week In The Life...", an entertaining new musical about a lowly group of Customer Service reps who work for a large, sales-based company, and their quest for recognition, respect and love. The premiere production will run from May 16 to June 7 of 2003 at the Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo, NY.
>From Baggaley: We'll give you a break this time and won't mention that you can also pick up a pretty dang good CD by film composer Thomas C. Baggaley called "Spirit of the Sabbath" while you're at Deseret Book looking at these other CD's as well.
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DEMME, THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE, P.T. ANDERSON, PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, AND MORE UBIQUITOUS SAINTS: Jonathan Demme's "The Truth About Charlie" opens nationwide this weekend, just one month after the similarly-titled Latter-day Saint-themed feature film "Jack Weyland's Charly" opened on September 27th. There is far more to comment on than the mere similarity in names...
"The Truth About Charlie" director Jonathan Demme is one of Hollywood's most acclaimed directors. He received the Best Director Academy Award for "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991). He is also the director of "Philadelphia" (1993, starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, 5 Academy Award nominations, including 2 wins). His other pictures include "Beloved" (1998) and "Married to the Mob" (1988). But, of course, Latter-day Saint film historians remember him as the director of "Melvin and Howard" (1980), the quirky and critically acclaimed film based on the true (according to Demme) story about Melvin Dummar, a Mormon gas station owner in Willard, Utah who helped out a bum he found on a road, a bum who turned out to be billionaire industrialist Howard Hughes.
"Melvin and Howard," which was filmed in Utah, earned actress Mary Steenburgen a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for playing Latter-day Saint housewife Lynda Dummar. Along with Dustin Hoffman's Oscar for "Rain Man", this is one of only two Academy Awards ever given to an actor for playing a character based on an actual Latter-day Saint person. (By the way, this has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the fact that last year Steenburgen last year starred in two feature films by Latter-day Saint filmmakers: Mark Andrus' "Life as a House" (2001) and Richard Rich's "The Trumpet of the Swan.") Jason Robards received a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for playing Howard Hughes. Dabney Coleman had a fondly-remembered role as a Mormon judge, but didn't win any awards.
The story in the movie "Melvin and Howard" is tied intimately to Howard Hughes' famous so-called "Mormon Will," in which Hughes left $156,000,000 to Dummar and his wife. That will was eventually dismissed by courts. The "Mormon Will" associated with Dummar should not be confused with the actual settlement that went to Hughes' one-time wife, actress Terry Moore. (Moore recounts her experiences as a devout Mormon who ends up in a very odd marriage to Hughes in her autobiographical The Beauty and the Billionaire, New York: Pocket Books, 1984.)
Screenwriter Bo Goldman received an Academy Award for his "Melvin and Howard" screenplay. Bo Goldman, by the way, is NOT related to writer William Goldman, who won a Best Screenplay Academy Award for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), about the famous Mormon outlaw Butch Cassidy, played by Paul Newman, and some other guy played by Utah resident Robert Redford.
While it is true that every movie about historical Mormons written by a person named Goldman has earned the writer an Oscar, we don't recommend this as some kind of strategy. Peter Jackson and Frances Walsh earned an Academy Award nomination for their "Heavenly Creatures" screenplay, about real-life Latter-day Saint convert Juliet Hulme, played by Kate Winslet. (Hulme is better known today as best-selling mystery novelist Anne Perry.) Alas, Jackson and Walsh lost out to Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," and they probably would still have lost had one them been named "Goldman." Kate Winslet, by the way, did NOT receive an Academy Award nomination for her role as the young Latter-day Saint-to-be, but she later picked up nominations for "Sense and Sensibility" (1995), "Titanic" (1997) and "Iris" (2001). Winslet's bare bossom in "Titanic" launched an entire new film editing industry based in Utah, which is another story entirely. A story which might not have taken place had "Titanic" director James Cameron not had his film career launched by a consortium of rich Latter-day Saint dentists who funded his first film, "Xenogenesis" (1978).
Oddly enough, the Mormon characters in Demme's "Melvin and Howard" may help explain the Utah setting and ostensibly Mormon characters found in another movie this month, P.T. Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love," which is being heralded by critics as one of the year's best films. "Punch-Drink Love" stars Adam Sandler, who runs afoul with a crooked businessman based in Provo, Utah (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, no relation to Dustin Hoffman, nor to Mark Hoffman, for that matter), who sends four brothers (played by Latter-day Saint actors David Stevens, Nathan Stevens, Jim Smooth Stevens and Michael D. Stevens) after Sandler. The brothers are identified by reviewer's and Anderson's website as Mormons, although the movie doesn't identify them as such. (Perhaps they are four blonde Episcopalian brothers from Provo, Utah.) So why Utah? Why Mormons? On P.T. Anderson's own webpage he lists three director's on a page titled "PTA Influences": Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme. The page states that Demme's "Melvin and Howard" ranks as one of PTA's favorite films and he notes, "...a lot of my first film, Hard Eight, is patterned after Melvin and Howard's kind of structure..." Of course, the situation with the characters is inverted -- in "Melvin and Howard" the Mormon/Utah characters were the heroes of the movie, and in "Punch-Drunk Love" they are the bad guys, but Demme's movie could be a source of inspiration.
Which brings us back to "The Truth About Charlie," a remake of Stanley Donen's classic Audrey Hepburn/Cary Grant film "Charade" (1963). One of the most notable aspects of "Charade" is its beautiful cinematography, often heralded as an homage to Paris. The stunning cinematography was done by Charles Lang, a native of the small town of Bluff, Utah who received 17 Academy Award nominations during his career. When Jonathan Demme proposed doing a remake of "Charade," his fan and friend P.T. Anderson nominated himself to be the screenwriter. Demme and Anderson went on a research trip to Paris, where Anderson made many of the suggestions that formed the new movie. But Anderson dropped out of the project to focus on making "Punch-Drunk Love." In the Audrey Hepburn role, Demme eventually cast Thandie Newton, the Zimbabwean-English actress best known for starring in "Mission: Impossible II" (2000), which was filmed partially in southern Utah.
So, is "Charlie" in "The Truth about Charlie" so named because of fondness Demme and Anderson had for Jack Weyland's classic novel? Well, no. The lead character in both movies is named "Regina Lampert." Newton's character is NOT "Charlie." Charlie is the name of her murdered husband. The plot in both movies revolves around finding out the truth about Charlie Lampert's past, and how that led to his murder. I suspect that the title "The Truth About Charlie" was chosen by Demme in order to allude to, but be distinct from, the title "Charade."
So are there any French Latter-day Saints in "The Truth About Charlie"? I doubt it. But who knows... I haven't seen it yet.
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FILMS CURRENTLY PLAYING LOCALLY BY LATTER-DAY SAINT/UTAH FILMMAKERS
The lists of films currently playing locally from the 25 October 2002 SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, the DESERET NEWS and the Utah County DAILY HERALD include the following films made by Latter-day Saint and/or Utah filmmakers:
[Authors of capsule reviews: Salt Lake Tribune: Sean P. Means. Deseret News: Jeff Vice and Diane Urbani. Daily Herald: Sean D. Snider. Salt Lake City Weekly: Scott Renshaw and Greg Beacham.]
S.L. TRIBUNE: *** 1/2 -- Adam Sandler plays an anger-prone wholesaler who may have found true love with Emily Watson. Director-writer Paul Thomas Anderson ("Magnolia") finds surprising depth within Sandler's screen persona, and creates a sweetly absurdist romantic trifle. (S.P.M.) Rated R for strong language including a scene of sexual dialogue; 91 minutes. Salt Lake County: Century 16, Megaplex 12 at The Gateway. Utah County: Cinemark 16 (Provo). Davis County: Layton Hills 9.
DESERET NEWS: *** -- Romantic comedy featuring the unlikely teaming of director Paul Thomas Anderson ("Magnolia") and comedian Adam Sandler. Emily Watson and Philip Seymour Hoffman co-star. R (profanity, violence, vulgarity, brief sex). (Century, Megaplex 12.)
LEWIS & CLARK: THE GREAT JOURNEY WEST:
S.L. TRIBUNE: The great expedition from the Mississippi to the Pacific is recounted, with documentary information and re-creations. Jeff Bridges narrates. Not rated, but probably G, 40 minutes. Salt Lake County: Cricket SuperScreen at Jordan Commons.
DESERET NEWS: *** 1/2 -- The latest six-story-high movie whisks us away from St. Louis and across the prairie with the Corps of Discovery, and lays out a wide range of facts that will have you shaking your head in amazement. Shown in the large-screen format. Running time: 45 minutes. Not rated, probable G (nothing offensive). (Jordan Commons.) (June 14, 2002)
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA:
S.L. TRIBUNE: Lon Chaney terrorizes the Paris Opera in the 1925 silent classic. Blaine Gale, in cape and mask, accompanies on the Wurlitzer Organ for this pre-Halloween tradition. Salt Lake County: Organ Loft, 3331 S. Edison (half a block east of State Street); tonight at 7:30. (admission is $5; call 485-9265 for reservations). ["The Phantom of the Opera" screenplay was co-written by Latter-day Saint screenwriter Elliott J. Clawson.]
DESERET NEWS: **** -- One of the all-time great horror films, the 1925 silent version of the story, starring Man of a Thousand Faces Lon Chaney in the title role. This is the 1929 reissue print, which features the color masked-ball sequence. With live organ accompaniment (music and sound effects) from Blaine Gale. Made before ratings, probable PG (violence). (Organ Loft, Friday, 7:30 p.m.)
S.L. WEEKLY: Disfigured hermit Lon Chaney plays with his organ. At Organ Loft Silent Films, Oct. 23-25, 7:30 p.m.
S.L. TRIBUNE: Salt Lake City filmmaker Joshua Taeoalii's film about a paraplegic contemplating suicide, intercut with four other stories of tortured souls. Salt Lake County: Utah Film & Video Center, 20 S. West Temple in Salt Lake City; tonight at 8 (admission is $6, or $5 for students, seniors and film center members).
DESERET NEWS: The first feature shot on celluloid by local director Joshua Tai Taeoalii is this psychological drama about a paraplegic (Don Shanks, from "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers"), who, contemplating suicide, reflects on the lives of people he's known and met. This film is not rated but may contain some R-rated material. (Salt Lake Art Center, Friday only, 8 p.m.)
S.L. WEEKLY: Joshua Taeoalii's story of a paralyzed man whose life flashes before his eyes as he contemplates suicide. At Utah Film & Video Center, Friday, Oct. 25, 8 p.m.
WARREN MILLER'S STORM
DESERET NEWS: The latest ski film from Warren Miller Productions features the usual snow-sports action, including two never-before-seen, world-record-breaking stunts. Spotlighted athletes include Barrett Christy, Glen Plake, Charlotte Moats and Utahns Luke Westerlund and Chris Paulding. Not rated, probable G. (Capitol Theatre, Friday and Saturday, 6 and 9 p.m.)
S.L. WEEKLY: *.5 -- See review p. 32. At Peery's Egyptian Theatre (Ogden), Oct. 24 and Abravanel Hall, Oct. 25-26.
AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER:
S.L. TRIBUNE: *** -- Salt Lake County: Sandy Movies 9, Showcase Cinemas 6, Sugarhouse Movies 10, Valley Fair 9.
DESERET NEWS: ** -- The third Austin Powers movie is more of the same: Dr. Evil (Mike Myers) is still funnier than the main character and the jokes are more crude than funny. Running time: 100 minutes. PG-13 (vulgarity, violence, profanity, brief sex, brief partial nudity, brief drugs). (Sandy, Showcase, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (July 26, 2002)
S.L. WEEKLY: ** Mike Myers' randy English superspy is ready for another go in this third installment of the most unlikely blockbuster franchise in Hollywood history. Though he's added a new villain--a creepy-funny Dutch roller-disco kingpin with a golden schlong--it's another helping of the same combination of winkingly broad laffs and inane blather that carried the first two pictures. Myers, who again wrote much of the film, seems to be getting lazier as he gets older, relying way too much on fans' memories of the first two films. He puts together a few outstanding sight gags in this one, most of them involving Mini-Me (Verne Troyer) during an attempt to infiltrate a Japanese factory. But the half-baked nature of the pointless screenplay and the wasted supporting characters (most prominently Michael Caine as Austin's father) again leave us wishing Myers was as resourceful and irresistible as his dentally-challenged creation. (PG-13) --GB
S.L. TRIBUNE: * -- Salt Lake County: Carmike 12 (West Jordan), Cinemark 24 (Jordan Landing), Ritz 15. Utah County: Cinemark 16 (Provo). Davis County: Tinseltown 17 (Layton). [Filmed in Utah.]
DESERET NEWS: ** -- Michael Myers slaughters his way through his eighth cast in this sequel, which isn't scary but is mildly satisfying anyway, thanks to a primo finale. Running time: 85 minutes. R (violence, gore, profanity, vulgarity, drug use, sex). (Carmike 12, Jordan Landing, Ritz.) (July 13, 2002) - Chris Hewitt, Knight Ridder
DAILY HERALD: C- (R for frequent harsh profanity, some nudity, some sexuality, a whole lot of blood and murder) Michael Myers is back, this time killing college students who are spending a night in his childhood home as part of an Internet reality show. Gone is the self-referential humor of post-"Scream" movies; now the kids are going into basements alone and having sex at inopportune times, just like the old days. Not scary or original, of course, but not the worst entry in the series.
S.L. TRIBUNE: ** 1/2 -- Davis County: Tinseltown 17 (Layton).
S.L. WEEKLY: ** -- ...Earnest presentation. A few ghastly performances. Preaching to the choir... Jaelan Petrie stars as Samuel, an Iowa lad circa 1856 who falls for a Mormon girl (Stephanie Albach) and joins up with the ill-fated Martin handcart party's westward journey. Director Kels Goodman mounts a good-looking production boosted by a rich score, and finds at least one solid supporting actor in Chris Kendrick. But too much of Handcart trudges through an inefficient narrative toward a foregone conclusion: that the pioneers overcame tremendous obstacles buoyed by their faith. Paging Richard Dutcher--can someone remind these guys that they should be making movies first, and testimonies second? (PG) -SR
JACK WEYLAND'S CHARLY:
S.L. TRIBUNE: ** Schmaltzy romantic drama, based on Jack Weyland's LDS-themed novel, about a free-spirited New York gal (Heather Beers) and an uptight Utah guy (Jeremy Elliott). Beers' fresh performance enlivens the tired script. (S.P.M.) Rated PG for thematic elements; 104 minutes. Salt Lake County: Carmike 12 (West Jordan), Cinemark 24 (Jordan Landing), Holladay Center, Megaplex 12 at The Gateway, Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons, Ritz 15. Utah County: Cinemark 16 (Provo), Water Gardens, Wynnsong 12. Weber County: Tinseltown 14 (Ogden). Davis County: Gateway 8, Tinseltown 17 (Layton).
DESERET NEWS: ** -- Newcomer Heather Beers impresses in this otherwise bland, manipulative adaptation of the best-selling LDS novel about a free-spirited New Yorker who becomes involved with a return missionary. For fans of the book only. Running time: 104 minutes. PG (mild vulgarity, brief violence). (Carmike 12, Gateway, Holladay, Jordan Commons, Jordan Landing, Megaplex 12, Ritz.) (Sept. 27, 2002)
DAILY HERALD: B- (PG for some very mild sexual innuendo, thematic elements) Likable adaptation of Jack Weyland's LDS-themed romance novel, about a strait-laced Mormon boy who falls in love with a fun-loving non-Mormon girl. Heather Beers is splendid as the title character, full of charm, energy and wit; Jeremy Elliott is much less satisfactory as her counterpart. The movie's sentiments are lovely, and for the most part they are expressed well.
S.L. WEEKLY: ** -- The 1980 Mormon tearjerker gets a feature film treatment that demonstrates what can go most wrong with tearjerkers and with Mormon movies. Jeremy Elliott plays stolid young devout Mormon Sam; Heather Beers takes on the title role, a free-spirited New York Gentile. When Charly comes to visit family in Utah they meet-cute, fall in love, she converts, he loosens up and heartbreaks follow. The standard-issue melodrama and forced whimsy are frustrating (if predictable) enough. What's even more frustrating (if equally predictable) is watching yet another LDS narrative turn into an exercise in serene hand-holding. The conflict carries all the kick of a Little Leaguer booting second base, because this story by the faithful and for the faithful isn't about asking hard questions. Beers' spunky, genuinely emotional performance at least ensures that Charly herself has plenty of life. The film that bears her name is always waiting for something better from the next life. (PG) -SR
THE MASTER OF DISGUISE:
S.L. TRIBUNE: zero stars -- Salt Lake County: Sandy Movies 9, Showcase Cinemas 6, Sugarhouse Movies 10, Tu Cine (with Spanish subtitles), Valley Fair 9. Utah County: Provo Movies 8.
DESERET NEWS: turkey -- Possibly the least funny movie ever to star a "Saturday Night Live" alum, Dana Carvey's ill-conceived comeback vehicle is a painful comedy about a dim-witted, clumsy waiter with a penchant for mimicry. Running time: 80 minutes. PG (slapstick violence, vulgarity). (Sandy, Showcase, Sugar House, Valley Fair.) (Aug. 2, 2002)
DAILY HERALD: F (PG for some very mild profanity and some crude humor) An embarrassing, amateurish disaster in which Dana Carvey does a lot of "funny" voices and "funny" faces. He plays a guy with a genetic ability to mimic others, which he uses to rescue his kidnapped parents. The jokes range from flatulence to Carvey getting slapped a lot, none of it clever, original or amusing. It will take a lot of work to produce a movie worse than this one anytime this year.
S.L. TRIBUNE: **** -- Salt Lake County: Sandy Movies 9, Sugarhouse Movies 10, Tu Cine (with Spanish subtitles). Utah County: Provo Movies 8.
DESERET NEWS: ** 1/2 -- This science-fiction thriller, teaming director Steve Spielberg and actor Tom Cruise, does have some dazzling action sequences. But what starts out smart gets progressively dumber in the final third. Running time: 140 minutes. PG-13 (violence, profanity, drug use, gore, brief sex, vulgarity). (Sandy, Sugar House.) (June 21, 2002)
DAILY HERALD: A- (PG-13 for scattered profanity, some strong violence, brief sexuality) Oscar-bait Spielberg and fun-movie Spielberg finally collaborate on a film that is as thought-provoking and visionary as it is flat-out entertaining. Set in the future, it concerns a system where murders are predicted -- and thus prevented -- before they can happen, with Tom Cruise playing the head of the Pre-Crime division. The finale is not as high-minded as the first two-thirds would lead you to expect, and there are plot holes. But overall, the engaging story and exciting presentation make it one of the year's better films. A-
S.L. TRIBUNE: *** 1/2 -- Salt Lake County: Brewvies Cinema Pub (must be 21 or older).
DESERET NEWS: *** -- Neil LaBute's latest - a romantic drama/mystery starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart as academics - is rather dialogue heavy. Yet it's also the most appealing thing he's ever done. Running time: 102 minutes. PG-13 (sex, vulgarity). (Brewvies, must be 21 or older.) (Aug. 30, 2002)
S.L. WEEKLY: *** -- Sweeping romance and Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men) would seem to coexist about as peacefully as a fluffy bunny and a rabid hyena. But LaBute's notorious misanthropy finds a more restrained outlet in this adaptation of A. S. Byatt's award-winning novel. Aaron Eckhart and Gwyneth Paltrow play literary scholars who discover that the Victorian poets they respectively study (played in flashback by Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle) may have had an affair. Byatt's mountains of florid correspondence become slim, trim LaBute visuals, yet the film still conveys the power of love created through a meeting of intellects. Even the tweaks--like making Eckhart's character an American--add texture to the juxtaposition of the two couples and their perceived impediments to happiness. Though at times it feels cramped by its running time, its wit and lyricism show that LaBute doesn't look half-bad in a fluffy bunny suit. (PG-13) -SR
THE SINGLES WARD:
DESERET NEWS: ** -- Essentially a filmed road show, this locally produced romantic comedy relies too heavily on cameos by such local celebrities as Steve Young, Richard Dutcher and Danny Ainge and "inside" humor, though leads Will Swenson and Connie Young do have a certain charm. Running time: 102 minutes. PG (slapstick violence). (Showcase.) (Feb. 1, 2002)
S.L. TRIBUNE: * -- Salt Lake County: Showcase Cinemas 6. Utah County: Provo Movies 8.
DAILY HERALD: C- (PG for pretty much no reason) Friendly, though inept, comedy about an LDS man who gets divorced and is thrust back into a young single adults ward. Humor is generally broad-side-of-the-barn stuff; if you're LDS and have a sense of humor, you've probably already made these jokes yourself. Likable performances from the leads (marred by over-acting from most of the bit players) and a general good-natured attitude help a little.
ESPN'S ULTIMATE X:
S.L. TRIBUNE: ** -- Utah County: Mammoth Screen Theater at Thanksgiving Point.