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Da Vinci Code

June 17, 2006 | Louis Sahagun, Times Staff Writer
So a guy walks up to the doorman at Opus Dei's red brick national headquarters in New York City, points at an upper floor and asks, "Is that where you keep the torture chamber?" "That's ridiculous!" says the doorman. "The torture chamber's in the basement." That's not just a joke. It's a true story as told by the doorman in question, Robert Boone.
June 8, 2006 | Josh Friedman and Don Lee, Times Staff Writers
In a stunning about-face that is sure to send shock waves through Hollywood, the government of China has decided to yank the controversial thriller "The Da Vinci Code" from the country's theaters starting today, Sony Pictures confirmed Wednesday. The decision, made in the wake of protests from Catholic groups, comes three weeks after the movie opened in China on nearly 400 screens -- the biggest rollout there of a film by a major U.S. studio.
June 3, 2006 | From the Associated Press
Seven of India's 29 states have banned screening "The Da Vinci Code," with officials in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh saying Friday the movie was insulting to Christians. "We have taken the decision because the release of the movie could have led to demonstrations and trouble," said Paul Bhuyan, the special chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh.
May 26, 2006 | Charles Taylor, Special to The Times
"The Da Vinci Code" is not just a mega-selling book, not just a crowd-drawing movie, it's also, at $21.95, an "illustrated screenplay" replete with storyboards, stills from the movie, musings by author Dan Brown and the movie's principals and boxes of production trivia (such as " 'The Da Vinci Code' had 25 revisions over six months" and "Twenty-four rue Haxo doesn't actually exist in Paris.") At the heart of the "official making-of-the-movie book," though, is Akiva Goldsman's script.
May 26, 2006 | Robert W. Welkos
Part of the charm -- some would say bane -- of the Cannes Film Festival is the crass promotion, from the gaudy billboards to the shapely Hawaiian Tropic models who strut their stuff along the Croisette. But one of the more unusual promotions here is for a pen. Yes, that's right. A pen. Dante Del Vecchio, president and founder of Visconti, the Italian maker of luxury writing instruments, has been making the festival rounds this week handing out his $1,618 pens to celebrities.
May 23, 2006 | Robert W. Welkos, Times Staff Writer
For the world's entertainment media who gather here annually for the Festival de Cannes, the news conferences with directors and actors after screenings occasionally put a movie star's poise and wit to the test. Especially when the questions get a little personal. Take Halle Berry, for instance.
May 23, 2006 | JOEL STEIN
THERE ARE TWO types of Christians: Those who will let us dance and those who won't. Admittedly, much of my theology comes from "Footloose." So, while some ministers planned protests outside theaters showing "The Da Vinci Code," senior pastor Ken Baugh of Coast Hills Community Church in Orange County appeared on the "Today" show to encourage people to investigate the movie's claims themselves.
May 22, 2006 | Josh Friedman, Times Staff Writer
Moviegoers shunned harsh reviews and spent $77 million on "The Da Vinci Code" this weekend, giving Sony Pictures' theological thriller the best opening this year at U.S. and Canadian theaters. The film's worldwide box-office gross was even more staggering: At $224 million, it ranked second in history to last year's "Star Wars: Episode III," which hauled in $253 million. The mystery behind the much-hyped screen version of Dan Brown's controversial bestseller now becomes: How big a hit will it be?
May 21, 2006 | Nick Owchar, Nick Owchar is deputy editor of Book Review.
MORE than a decade ago, a British nun with an overbite and a girlish voice became a TV sensation. Sister Wendy Beckett made paintings accessible to a mass audience the way that Leonard Bernstein made classical music interesting for children. Her approach was simple. "People who go to the museum are not asked, luky them, to hold forth about these works," she told an interviewer. "My struggle has been to let them know there is something there to respond to and for them to respond to."
May 21, 2006 | Louis Sahagun, Times Staff Writer
CALL it "The Da Vinci Lode": an almost-anything-goes industry of spinoffs and tie-ins emerging in the shade cast by the mega-bestseller and movie. A researcher says he can prove the story of Adam and Eve actually describes human evolution. A historian says the Holy Grail is buried in an estate near Stafford, England. A documentarian has linked the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandals to satanic images cunningly concealed in the religion's artwork.
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