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Harrison Ford Iraq War Movie + Michael Moore Is Pharmaceutical Companies' Chupacabra?

Harrison Ford Hollywood Homicide with Josh Hartnett: The Battle of Falluja next in line?Harrison Ford in Hollywood Homicide, with Josh Hartnett. The Battle of Falluja next in line for the veteran actor? One of the leads in one of the most successful movie franchises ever – Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), The Return of the Jedi (1983) – and a Best Actor Oscar nominee (Witness, 1985) who became a major box office draw from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s (The Fugitive, Air Force One, What Lies Beneath), Harrison Ford has suffered a couple of major setbacks in the last couple of years, with two box office bombs: Kathryn Bigelow's K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) and Ron Shelton's Hollywood Homicide (2003).

Late 2004 news: Harrison Ford in Iraq War movie

Late December 2004 movie news include the announcement that veteran actor Harrison Ford (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Witness) is set to star in Hollywood's first film about the Iraq War, The Battle of Falluja. The movie is to be based on correspondent Bing West's upcoming book No True Glory: The Battle of Falluja.

The titular battle officially left more than 800 dead, the vast majority of them Iraqi civilians.

Amitabh Bachchan named AIDS awareness ambassador

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has been appointed a 46664 Special Ambassador. Clarification: 46664, the prison number of former South African president Nelson Mandela, is an AIDS awareness campaign spearheaded by Mandela.

Other 46664 Special Ambassadors are former U.S. president Bill Clinton, talk-show hostess and sometime actress Oprah Winfrey, and actors Brad Pitt and Will Smith.

South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world.

Filipino actor-politician Fernando Poe Jr. dies

According to reports, 300,000 mourners poured onto the streets of Manila for the funeral of film star-turned-presidential contender Fernando Poe Jr. (a.k.a. Ronald Allan Kelley Poe), who died of a stroke at age 65 on Dec. 14. Many Filipinos believe that Poe was cheated when he lost the election to current president Gloria Arroyo by a 3 percent margin.

During a career that spanned half a century, among Fernando Poe Jr.'s nearly 200 movies are The Ravagers (1965) and Muslim Magnum .357 (1987), in addition to the entries in the Ang Panday fantasy series.

'A Legendary Love' in Singapore

Saw Teong Hin's A Legendary Love / Puteri Gunung Ledang, the most expensive Malaysian movie ever made and a cause for deep embarrassment at the 2004 Venice Film Festival, became the first film from Malaysia in three decades to be screened in Singapore, where it opened on Dec. 15.

Malaysia's submission for the 2005 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, A Legendary Love stars Tiara Jacquelina as a 15th-century Javanese princess who falls in love with a Muslim warrior (M. Nasir) from the Malacca Sultanate.

Early in 2005, A Legendary Love will be presented at the Palm Springs Film Festival.

Rehoboth Beach Film Society vs. puritanism

Sanity prevails (for a change): Delaware State Police and the state's Attorney General have declared that the Rehoboth Beach Film Society did not violate any state obscenity laws during its Nov. 2004 film festival.

A woman had complained to authorities that the festival had screened three films – Miguel Albaladejo's Bear Cub (Cachorro); John Palmer's Sugar; and Vladimir Vitkin's X, Y – purportedly containing explicit gay sex scenes while children were present in other parts of the cinema complex.

The films, however, were shown in an area apart from the main complex; admission to those screenings were also kept separate.

Catherine Deneuve & the 'friendship for cash' affair

Screen legend Catherine Deneuve – at 61 she is probably old enough to be a legend – is to be questioned by a French magistrate as a result of her alleged “friendship for cash” with Algerian millionaire Rafik Abdelmoumen “Moumen” Khalifa, 38, who happens to be wanted in Algeria for fraud and money laundering, and whose financial empire collapsed last year.

Gérard Depardieu and several other international stars have also been accused of accepting cash or in-kind payments to appear at social events hosted by Khalifa.

Michael Moore: Quotes indicate Sicko filmmaker now a scary urban legendMichael Moore: Quotes indicate Sicko filmmaker has become an urban legend. According to an executive at a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company – one of the topics of Michel Moore's upcoming documentary, Sicko – there have been Moore “sightings” reported by their various business centers. The Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker has thus become the Chupacabra and Vanishing Hitchhiker of the pharmaceutical industry.

Late 2004 quotes: 'Urban legend' Michael Moore vs. the pharmaceutical industry

Pharmaceutical industry leaders are afraid that, in his upcoming documentary Sicko, Michael Moore will portray them and their products in the same way he portrayed U.S. President George W. Bush and his products in the documentary blockbuster Fahrenheit 9/11.

Employees of some pharmaceutical companies have been warned that the Documentary Bogeyman may come and get them any day now. The Los Angeles Times quotes Rachel Bloom, executive director of corporate communications at AstraZeneca, based in Wilmington, Delaware, as saying:

“We have six business centers nationwide, all of which report 'sightings.' Michael Moore is becoming an urban legend.”

James Cromwell vs. animal abuse

James Cromwell, best known for his Best Supporting Actor Oscar-nominated turn in Chris Noonan's Babe (1995) and for Curtis Hanson's neo-noir L.A. Confidential (1997), is calling attention to the vicious abuse of animals at pig farms, where sows are kept in small concrete and metal enclosures.

“They have no straw with which to root, which is what they do instinctively, so we have managed to frustrate every bit of instinctive and genetic behavior that they have developed over eons. All because we reduce animals to commodities and individuals who buy it into consumers.”

James Cromwell quote via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Samuel Goldwyn Jr. vs. the Academy's arcane laws

Veteran Hollywood producer and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences member Samuel Goldwyn Jr., whose credits range from the 1958 Alan Ladd-Olivia de Havilland drama The Proud Rebel to the 2003 Oscar-nominated Peter Weir-Russell Crowe collaboration Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, isn't happy with the arcane laws governing the selection of the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Language Film submissions.

“The system doesn't work. The Academy's job is to pick the best foreign-language picture of the year. But what happens when two of the best pictures of the year are made in France? Or suppose you had Italy's The Bicycle Thief [a.k.a. Bicycle Thieves] and La Dolce Vita in the same year. It would be criminal if you could only pick one.”

About a decade ago, Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors: Red / Trois couleurs: Rouge, officially submitted by Switzerland, was disqualified because the French-Polish-Swiss co-production wasn't deemed “Swiss enough” by the Academy's Foreign Language Film committee.

This year, among the well-received non-English-language releases not in the running in that category are Pedro Almodóvar's Bad Education / La Mala educación, Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries / Diarios de motocicleta, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement / Un long dimanche de fiançailles.

Samuel Goldwyn Jr. quote via the Los Angeles Times.

Bigger budget = 'Godzilla'-sized quality

Toho executive producer Shogo Tomiyama explains why the Tokyo-based studio spent an unprecedented US$19.3 million – reportedly at least twice the budget of any of the previous Godzilla movies – on the making of the 28th installment of the reptilian saga, Godzilla: Final Wars.

“We wanted to make the best Godzilla movie ever.”

Shogo Tomiyama Godzilla quote via The Associated Press / The Miami Herald.

Money isn't all

Money, however, isn't everything when it comes to making movies. Not even close. Or so says Sense and Sensibility and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon director Ang Lee.

At the 2004 Golden Horse Awards ceremony held in Taiwan, Lee affirmed that Chinese-language films can compete with better-funded Hollywood blockbusters as long as Chinese filmmakers use their imagination.

“Creativity is the most important thing for a good movie.”

Ang Lee quote via Reuters.


Josh Hartnett and Harrison Ford Hollywood Homicide image: Miramax Films.

Sicko filmmaker and “urban legend” Michael Moore image: Lionsgate Pictures / The Weinstein Company.

Harrison Ford Iraq War Movie + Michael Moore Is Pharmaceutical Companies' Chupacabra? © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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