Archive for the ‘Books & Movies’ Category

Hitting Screens, Fourth of July Weekend

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Two big-budget adaptations open this week, both based on classics.

9781101997697_e08eeOpening Friday is Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, based on the childrens novel by Roald Dahl. As we noted earlier, Deadline Hollywood reported that it got a 4-1/2 minute standing ovation when it premiered at the Cannes film festival.

A tie-in came out in May: The BFG Movie Tie-In, Roald Dahl (Penguin/Puffin Books; Paperback; $7.99; Audio tie-in, Listening Library; OverDrive Sample).

Despite the enthusiasm from audiences at Cannes, Variety, predicts disappointment at the box office, noting that Spielberg has not had a major hit in several years, “The man who ushered in the summer blockbuster era with Jaws hasn’t done as much escapist fare in recent years, preferring to spend his time on historical dramas such as last winter’s Bridge of Spies and War Horse. That may have been artistically fulfilling, but didn’t result in many financial windfall.”  In addition, The BFG has to go up against Finding Dory, which continues to dominate box offices after two weeks in theaters.

Spielberg’s next project, an adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, set for release in March, 2018, may reverse the trend, says Variety, since it is “appears to be more mainstream.” Seeming to prove that, each new casting announcement causes a spike in the book’s sales.

The Legend of Tarzan is the other big opening this week. In this live-action take on the familiar story, Tarzan has left Africa for the high life as an aristocrat in England, but is offered a job as a trade emissary to Congo that returns him to his jungle home and plenty of trouble. Variety predicts it will also be a disappointment, saying that “The failure of sequels such as Alice Through the Looking Glass and The Huntsman: Winter’s War has led some analysts to suggest that audiences are rejecting the overly familiar and are desperate for more original entertainment.”

The film stars Alexander Skarsgård in the title role, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent and Christoph Waltz.

There is no direct tie-in.

9781484741238_4a40aAlso opening this week is Life, Animated, a Sundance award-winning documentary following the life of Owen Suskind (son of author Ron Suskind) who was diagnosed with autism at age 3. Unable to speak as a child, Owen found a way to communicate through classic Disney animated films. Variety calls it “captivating” and The Hollywood Reporter says it is “radiant.”

A tie-in is set for release after the film opens, Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism, Ron Suskind (Hachette/Kingswell; on sale July 12). The original hardback was published in 2014.

9780143129646_e719eOur Kind of Traitor opens July 1 and stars Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis, and Stellan Skarsgård. It is the second recent adaptation of a John le Carré novel, but unlike the recent TV adaptation of le Carré’s The Night Manager, this project is getting less than rave reviews. As we noted earlier The Hollywood Reporter says it is “High-toned but ho-hum” while  The Independent calls it “entertaining but very lightweight.”

The tie-in was released earlier this month: Our Kind of Traitor: A Novel (Movie Tie-In), John le Carré (PRH/Penguin Books; OverDrive Sample).


Friday, June 24th, 2016

9780062262264_0dc419780380789030_49994Seth Meyers interviewed Neil Gaiman on Late Night yesterday about his first collection of nonfiction [video here] and the upcoming STARZ adaptation of American Gods, set to premiere in 2017 [video here] .

On compiling his nonfiction collection The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), Gaiman admitted he had difficulty locating some of the pieces. In one case. he even had to enlist the help of a super obsessive fan.

Gaiman is interviewed in more depth about the book in today’s L.A. Times.

Anticipation is building for the STARZ series adaptation of American Gods. Today, The Hollywood Reporter offers a get-up-to-speed guide (amusingly, they feel the need to tell their readers that it began life as a book). They also give kudos to the choice of director, Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, Hannibal) saying. “His shows lean toward the supernatural and the visually sumptuous, so he’s the perfect person to bring American Gods to the small screen.”


Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

A second full-length trailer for Tim Burton’sadaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has just been released. It gives a closer  at some of the characters, including Barron, a villain created for the film and played by Samuel L. Jackson.

Starring Asa Butterfield as 16-year-old Jacob with Eva Green (star of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful) as Miss Peregrine and Chris O’Dowd, Ella Purnell, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp and Judi Dench, the movie opens.on Sept. 30.

The tie-in:


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Movie Tie-In Edition)
Ransom Riggs
Quirk Books, Trade Paperback, August 2, 2016

Also coming is a behind-the-scenes companion book:

9781594749438_37c46The Art of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: The Art of the Film
Leah Gallo
Quirk Books, Hardcover, August 30, 2016
$39.99 USD, $49.99 CAD

Hitting Screens, Week of June 20

Monday, June 20th, 2016

9781469627052_a09d2The Free State of Jones leads the book-to-screen lineup this week with the Matthew McConaughey vehicle, set during the American Civil War, opening in wide release beginning June 23.

The movie recounts the true-life events of a Mississippi farmer who lead a band of rebels against the Confederate army. It is a rarity, an adaptation of a university press book, The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, Victoria E. Bynum (U. of N. Carolina Press), with a tie-in featuring a new afterward by Bynum.

9780452286542_c9235Also on June 23, Queen of the South starts its run on the USA Network, adapting Arturo Perez-Reverte’s story of female drug lords. The novel on which it is based, Queen of the South (PRH/Plume; OverDrive Sample), first published in 2005, now features new cover art advertising the show.

The novel has been adapted previously, as La Reina del Sur, which aired in 2011 on Telemundo (the American Spanish-language network owned by NBCUniversal).

The series is #4 on People magazine’s picks for the week, calling it a “satisfyingly pulpy melodrama.”

9781616203153_044e2On June 24 The Fundamentals of Caring comes to Netflix. Staring Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, and Selena Gomez, the film is based on The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison (Workman/Algonquin Books; OverDrive Sample). No new tie-in is available for the road-trip story of a teen with muscular dystrophy and his down-on-his-luck care giver, but the 2013 paperback now has cover art promoting the movie.

The film got nods at Sundance but as Variety reports, the market for indie self-actualization films has fallen: “Indie-comedy cliches get a crowdpleasing workout … but the theatrical market isn’t what it used to be … Already acquired by Netflix for SVOD [streaming video on demand] in a pricey pre-fest pick-up, that venue sounds like the best bet to connect with audiences.”



Monday, June 20th, 2016

The SelectionFollowing on the heels of the “unexpected” success of the adaptation Me Before You (is it possible that Hollywood underestimated the female-led production?), director Thea Shamrock has her next assignment, reports Variety, directing another adaptation, the best selling YA dystopian series The Selection by Kiera Cass, (HarperTeen, 2012) as a feature film for Warner Bros.

Author Cass tweeted that she’s happy with the choice, but reminded fans that the project does not yet have the green light.

Fans don’t need the reminder. Back in 2012, as detailed by the site MoviePilot, the CW network ordered a pilot for a TV series based on the books. Not satisfied with the result, but not willing to give up, a new script was ordered and a new cast. The resulting pilot was also ultimately rejected. This may be the magic third time.


Sunday, June 19th, 2016


The first footage from DreamWorks Animation’s adaptation of Marla Frazee’s Boss Baby (S&S/Beach Lane, 2010) was shown to an enthusiastic audience this week during the Annecy International Animation Festival in the French Alps.

Directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar), it features Alec Baldwin as the voice of the Baby, with Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow playing as his parents.

Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter praise the director’s use of CGI to mimic classic hand drawn cartoons. Variety reports that the screening “had the audience in stitches” and brought ” whoops of applause.”

The movie is described as “inspired” by Frazee’s picture book and adds  several story lines. The tie-in, coming in January, is a novelization of the movie script:

The Boss Baby Junior Novelization
Tracey West
S&S/ Simon Spotlight
January 17, 2017
Hardcover and trade paperback

All Aboard: Jolie And Branagh
Take On Christie

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

9780062073495_0_CoverAgatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample) looks like it is preparing to leave the station once again. According to Deadline Hollywood, Angelina Jolie is in talks to join the Kenneth Branagh film production.

Branagh is reportedly gathering an all-star cast and plans to play detective Hercule Poirot himself. He will also serve as producer, along side Ridley Scott and others. Michael Green (Blade Runner 2) is on board as screenwriter.

The Guardian reports that Jolie will fill the role of Mrs. Hubbard, one of the novel’s many suspects, most famously played by Lauren Bacall in Sidney Lumet’s 1974 version of the mystery.

No further news on the rest of the cast. Currently plans are to release the film on Nov. 22, 2017, well timed for the award season as Deadline points out.

The classic mystery’s most recent adaptation is the PBS Masterpiece episode starring David Suchet, Hugh Bonneville, and Jessica Chastain.

The most acclaimed film adaptation is Lumet’s production for Paramount. Albert Finney starred as Poirot, alongside Ingrid Bergman, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, Lauren Bacall, and Sean Connery.


Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

9780062190376_94743Ron Howard is set to direct an adaptation of Neal Stephenson’s SF bestseller Seveneves (HC/William Morrow)  says The Hollywood Reporter. Howard will team up once again with Bill Broyles (Apollo 13), who is writing the script.

The LibraryReads and Indie Next pick was just released in paperback. In hardback it drew attention from Bill Gates, who recommended it to readers, calling it “thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable” and crediting it with getting him back to reading SF.

In their laudatory but mixed review, NPR said “The experience of reading a modern Stephenson novel is like going out drinking with 20 or 30 of the smartest people on earth, and them all deciding to play that game where someone starts a story, tells one sentence of it, ends with a conjunction, and passes it along to the next person. Once upon a time, the moon blew up, and then …

Others offered the same blend of praise and hesitation. Several critics called it uneven (Stephenson has a problem with endings says the LA Times) and the novel’s sheer density (NYT), concerns that could easily be cured in a film, especially in the hands of Howard, who proved in Apollo 13 that he can plot a tense moonshot ending.

No word yet on when the project will begin shooting.

Closer To Screen: CHAOS WALKING

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016


Patrick Ness’s award-winning and best-selling YA post-apocalyptic trilogy is closer to screens with the news from The Hollywood Reporter that Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow) is in talks to direct the thriller for Lionsgate/Summit. Variety adds filming is expected to begin as early 2017.

The adaptation has been in the works for years without much to show for it, but seems to be on more solid footing now, with filming planned to begin in the fall and a high-powered director ready to take the reins.

Ness’s background suits the trilogy, an action filled and fast paced story following two central characters as they seek to survive in a world in which everyone can hear each other’s thoughts in a constant stream known as the “Noise.” Begun in 2008, the trilogy has since be reissued with associated short stories, all from Candlewick

 Chaos Walking: Book One, The Knife of Never Letting Go

Chaos Walking: Book Two,The Ask and the Answer

Chaos Walking: Book Three, Monsters of Men 

As The Wrap points out, Summit is trying, as they have for a while, to keep profits rolling in from YA films, building on the success of the Twilight and Hunger Games series. The studio is also behind the Divergent films, but that series has not been nearly as successful.

Another adaptation of a Patrick Ness title, A Monster Calls, (Candlewick, 2011) is scheduled for release on Oct. 21 (recently moved forward a week from Oct. 14). See the trailer here.

WONDER Scheduled for 2017

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Wonder The film adaptation of the best selling middle-grade novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio, (RH/ Knopf Young Readers, 2012), still on the NYT Hardcover Middle Grade list after 43 weeks. is now set for release on April 7, 2017. In the lead role is Jacob Tremblay, who starred in the Oscar-winning adaptation, Room. Julia Roberts will play his mother.

The movie is directed Stephen Chbosky, who wrote and  directed The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Hitting Screens, Week of June 13

Monday, June 13th, 2016

It’s a week with no new movie or TV adaptations, but Disney’s Finding Dory opening on Friday has several tie-ins.

9780736435734_647f1Finding Dory: The Junior Novelization (RH Disney (PRH/Disney) is aimed at kids aged 7 to 10. Also available in paperback, the hardcover edition is called the “Deluxe” version.

There’s a picture book, Finding Dory (Picture Book): Three Little Words, Amy Novesky (Hachette/Disney Press) and the image-rich Disney Pixar Finding Dory: The Essential Guide, DK (PRH/Penguin/DK Children).

The two leveled readers are Ocean of Color (Disney/Pixar Finding Dory), Bill Scollon (RH/Disney) and Dory’s Story (Disney/Pixar Finding Dory), RH Disney (RH/Disney).

The film, which recounts the continued adventures of the fish Dory following Finding Nemo, features the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, and Idris Elba.

GLASS CASTLE: Filming Begins

Friday, June 10th, 2016

glassThe film adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ best selling memoir The Glass Castle, (S&S/Scribner, 2005) is about to begin production in Montreal before moving on to Welch, WVA., reports Collider.

The film stars Brie Larson, winner of the Best Actress Oscar for Room, as Walls with Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as her dysfunctional, sometimes homeless, parents.

The release date has not yet been set.


Friday, June 10th, 2016

9780307887443_cd74cOn the news that casting is nearly complete for Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated adaptation of Ernest Cline’s SF debut Ready Player One (RH/Crown; Random House Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), the novel rose on Amazon’s sales rankings, jumping from an already strong #125 to #80.

After a long search, as we wrote earlier,  Spielberg found his lead in Tye Sheridan. Since then, he has added many more cast members. The latest is Win Morisaki for the role of Daito. Variety reports the “Japanese singer-actor … won the role after an extensive audition process.” It will be the first US film for Morisaki, the lead vocalist of the boy band PrizmaX.

Earlier, it was announced that T.J. Miller, of HBO’s Silicon Valley and the superhero film Deadpool, has also joined the cast, playing a bounty hunter.

In April Spielberg added Mark Rylance to the film’s roster, filling the role of James Donovan Halliday, the creator of OASIS, the game world at the heart of the film.

With other roles being filled by Olivia Cooke (as romantic lead Art3mis), Simon Pegg (as Ogden Morrow, co-creator of OASIS), and Ben Mendelsohn (as Nolan Sorrento, the chief villain of the film), Spielberg only needs to find a few more players for the game to begin.

The film is expected to open on March 30, 2018 and holds still remain strong on the book in many libraries we checked.

Hitting Screens, Week of June 6

Monday, June 6th, 2016

The adaptations that debuted last week did quite well. Deadline reports that the remake of Roots wrapped “respectably,” despite competition from basketball. It’s a sign of the changing media landscape that the series was not expected to do nearly as well as the original, which dominated the airwaves in 1977 when there were only a few network TV stations to choose from.

On the other hand,ratings were soft for Cinemax’s Outcast, based on the comics by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Reviewers have also not been kind.That won’t have any effect on the potential for a second season. It’s already been renewed.

On the big screen, Me Before You went beyond analysts predictions.

Coming this week:

9781101885284_5db12Monday, June 6, TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles begins its 7th and final season, in a show ending 13 episodes run.

Variety reports the series was canceled in January, saying it had “faded since its very strong first two seasons in 2010 and 2011, but remains among the most popular cable programs.”

The show, a mix of police procedural and forensic medical thriller, is based on the popular mystery series by Tess Gerritsen. Publisher PRH/Ballantine is issuing a new set of mass market paperbacks with covers linking the books to the TV series. The most recent is The Mephisto Club: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel.

The film Blackway opens on June 10, starring Anthony Hopkins, Julia Stiles, Ray Liotta, and Alexander Ludwig,  tells the story of a woman stalked by a small town thug who has scared off the police. She turns to an old logger and his side kick for help.

It is based on the novel Go With Me, Castle Freeman, Jr. (Steerforth, 2009; HarperPerennial), which The Wall Street Journal said had “echoes of Deliverance and Cormac McCarthy.”

9780399584831_ee89bAlso opening on June 10 is Genius, a literary bio-pic featuring an all-star cast including Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Dominic West, and Guy Pearce. Firth plays Max Perkins, Law, the writer Thomas Wolfe, West stars as Ernest Hemingway, and Guy Pearce plays F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The film is based on Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, A. Scott Berg (PRH/NAL; OverDrive Sample). As we wrote last week, a tie-in is available.

Stars Align For MARY POPPINS

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

9780152058104The dream-team of the year may be Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, starring in Disney’s forthcoming live-action film, Mary Poppins Returns.

Blunt, who proved her musical chops in Into The Woods, will play the magical nanny while Miranda, currently winning every prize possible for a musical, will play a lamplighter named Jack.

According to The Telegraph, “This new story will take place in Depression-era London. It follows adult Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by Poppins following a personal loss. She and her friend Jack then help the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.”

Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods) will direct and Tony-winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will create the score and write the songs. No word yet if Miranda will get a crack at those as well.

Vulture reports that the film will not only be based on the Disney told story but on the seven other books PL Travers wrote, quoting Marshall: “This is an extension. I’m a huge fan of the original [but]… There is all this new material – it was the Harry Potter of its time – and they were never turned into anything further than that [one] adventure.”

Disney is now known for live action re-boots of their classics films, including the box office hits Cinderella and The Jungle Book,  Coming next year is Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson.

It’s difficult to guess if author P.L. Travers, who famously hated Disney’s first version of her book, would approve of the new one, but Julie Andrews, who played the title role, said back in October, that, after fifty years, it is “about time” for a new version.

Mary Poppins Returns is currently scheduled to open on Christmas Day, 2018.