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John Lennon Murder a Bore in New Film

John Lennon | 'Children of God' | Joe Strummer

Lennon Murder a Bore in New Film

It’s not enough that John Lennon was assassinated in 1980 by Mark David Chapman. Now filmmaker — I use the word advisedly — J.P. Schaefer has managed to kill him again. He’s also made a boring, unreleasable movie that no one will ever see, except a few members of the press.

“Chapter 27” is probably more notable — as I noted a few months ago — for its wholesale lifting of passages from J.D. Salinger’s classic novel “The Catcher in the Rye.” I can’t believe Salinger’s lawyers aren’t already exploring ways to penalize the people behind this piece of drivel for stealing sections of the writer’s work.

The movie was screened on Tuesday night for the first time. But I’m told it’s been rejected by other film festivals before finally gaining berth here at Sundance.

It doesn’t really matter. Most of the audience struggled to remain awake during the film’s lethargic 90 minutes.

Not much happens. Chapman is played pasty by actor Jared Leto — who looks like a spent a month eating hero sandwiches and downing milkshakes.

He’s adopted a Southern accent for the role, and we get to hear it a lot, since almost all of the movie is either Chapman talking to himself or at others in a monotone.

There’s no explanation for Chapman’s feelings about Lennon other than he thinks he’s a “phony” for having several homes.

Chapman just goes on and on about Salinger’s signature hero, Holden Caulfield, to the point of inanity.

If Chapman thought anything else about Lennon, we just aren’t privy to it. Schaefer gets an "F" for not doing any research or homework.

There are a couple of other actors in "Chapter 27" -- the title refers to what would have been one more chapter in the novel, although this is not made clear.

Lindsay Lohan is thoroughly wasted in a bit part as a Beatle fan who hangs around the Dakota building in New York City, where Lennon lived, and is friendly with Sean Lennon’s nanny.

Judah Friedlander has the thankless part of a paparazzo whom Schaefer imagined chatted up Chapman in the hours right before he shot Lennon dead.

And the shooting is right there in the movie, if you’re wondering. Luckily, we only get to hear it, and Yoko Ono’s screams. Otherwise, Lennon is seen for a microsecond. And he’s played by the unfortunately named Mark Lindsay Chapman, the same actor who played Lennon in a TV movie years ago. Apparently once was not enough for this man.

Schaefer, whoever he is, has not made himself a welcome introduction to the indie film world. Not only is "Chapter 27" exploitative, it’s also dull, unimaginative, repetitive and without any redeeming cinematic qualities.

Leto, who started out with a promising career (“Requiem for a Dream,” “Prefontaine”) basically plays Chapman as a blob in tinted sunglasses. It’s the most inert performance in movies since Kevin Spacey wrecked “The Shipping News.”

As for Lohan, she’s better off in rehab than wasting her talents on this junk.

Cult Members Cause Scene at Screening

Last night, the Park City police were called to a screening of a movie at Slamdance, the alternate film festival on Main Street.

The reason? Members of "The Family," a Christian cult, caused trouble at a screening of an HBO film called “Children of God.”

The documentary, directed by former member Noah Thomson, alleges child molestation at the hands of cult leaders. Thomson says he was one of those children. Another former member was in the audience last night as well, co-producer Fenton Bailey says.

But things got dicey during the Q&A session that followed last night’s screening. A young woman stood up and began screaming that no molestations had ever occurred. On closer inspection, it was revealed that she had a microphone pack on and “was transmitting to a camera outside,” Bailey says.

“There was a fear that she had taped the whole movie,” Bailey says. The police were called and the woman was followed. An audio tape she’d made was produced.

“She’d taped at least the whole Q&A,” says Bailey, who presumably will add security to future screenings. “Children of God” will air on HBO sometime this year.

Ironically, HBO at the same time was celebrating its film “Longford,” starring Jim Broadbent, written by Peter Morgan ("The Queen," "Last King of Scotland") and directed by Tom Hooper ("Elizabeth I").

The occasion was a swanky dinner down the street at the wonderful Purple Sage. HBO Films chief Colin Callender presided, with Broadbent getting many kudos. A screening followed but no protests were reported and the police remained uninvolved.

Strummer Rocks Sundance; Corinne Hits

One of the best documentaries at this year’s Sundance festival is about Joe Strummer, the late leader of the Clash.

Julien Temple, famous for his music videos and short films, gets high marks for an inventive, refreshing look at this punk rock icon who died of a heart attack at age 50 in 2002.

Temple cleverly uses audio interviews with Strummer, plus interrogations of his family and friends, rare audio and video clips and some inspired animation in "The Future Is Unwritten."

Clash fans John Cusack and Matt Dillon are included, but it’s mostly Strummer who speaks eloquently for himself. …

Paramount Vantage spent $8 million yesterday on a spoof by Garth Jennings called “Son of Rambow.” The price included a documentary that was bundled with it. …

Corinne Bailey Rae’s appearance on Oprah was a success, to say the least. Her CD sales increased 126 percent over the previous week, driving her debut album back into the Top 5. …