i>REDACTED TO CONFRONT PROTESTS

Director Brian De Palma's latest film Redacted is scheduled to open tomorrow (Friday) in limited release as theater owners brace for possible protests. The film, inspired by the case of the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers, has been condemned by Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly, who called on his audience to bring signs to theaters reading "Support Our Troops" and predicted that the movie "will incite anti-American hatred around the world." He also called the film's executive producer, Mark Cuban, an "anti-American" and encouraged fans of the Dallas Mavericks, which Cuban owns, to protest against the film at the team's games. O'Reilly described De Palma as "a true villain in our country." In response to such verbal assaults, the director told the Canadian Press, "I have been needlessly attacked in the press and the blogs as a left-wing wacko who should be horse-whipped, and how can I say anything terrible about what's going on in relation to the troops? ... I just state what I feel very strongly, and I don't have to be loved. ... I'm not running for office." In a separate interview with Philadelphia City Paper, De Palma accused the media of soft-pedaling the Iraq war, whereas during the Vietnam War, "we saw the images. We saw our casualties, we saw their casualties. That's what got us out into the streets, and that's what got us out of the war." At the end of Redacted, he shows a montage of victims of the Iraq War as well, although their faces have been digitally obscured, reportedly on orders from Cuban. Nevertheless, De Palma observed, the original photographs appear all over the Internet "and yet none of these images has ever gotten into the mainstream media. ... How does that happen?"

PLANS FOR "HYBRID" HIGH-DEF VIDEO PUT ON HOLD

With each of the other major studios committed either to the Blu-ray or HD DVD high-definition video-disk format, Warner Bros. has abandoned plans to release films on a "hybrid" disc with Bluray on one side and HD DVD on the other, the website High-Def Disc News reported Wednesday. Warner Home Entertainment Group spokesman Jim Noonan told the website that the hybrid disk, called Total HD, is "on hold," explaining: "We're the only studio producing content in both formats. If we were to put out Total HD with just our titles, it wouldn't really provide the solution to our retail partners that it was intended to provide. If anything, at this point, it would further complicate their life, because there would be another product looking for shelf space. Our job is not to further complicate the lives of our retailers."

KATZENBERG PREDICTS 3-D WILL BE SIGHT FOR SORE BOX OFFICE

DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg is predicting that new 3-D projects will drive up the box office as moviegoers seek out entertainment that they can not duplicate at home. As Katzenberg put it in an interview with the New York Post following announcement of a deal with IMAX to release his forthcoming films in 3-D IMAX, "I think this becomes something that so differentiates what you get in your home versus what you get in a movie theater, it becomes a real driver to keep people excited about the movie going experience." Box office analysts will be keeping an eye on receipts for 3-D screenings of Beowulf, which opens tomorrow, to see whether audiences will in fact be willing to pay premium prices to see the 3-D version. The film, from director Robert Zemeckis, uses the same 3-D performance-capture animation technology that Zemeckis introduced in The Polar Express. Meanwhile, a daughter-in-law of John Wayne says she is hoping to restore the actor's 1953 Western Hondo, which was filmed in 3-D, and re-release it. The Hollywood Reporter reported today (Thursday) that a digital print of the movie was screened Tuesday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Gretchen Wayne, widow of Wayne's son Michael, told the trade publication, "I would love to get this film [restoration] as good as possible and take it out for a theatrical release. ... The digital world is constantly evolving, and as it does we are able to do more and more with this very old 3-D version of Hondo."

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.