Archive for the ‘Books & Movies’ Category

Hitting Screens, Week of April 24, 2017

Monday, April 24th, 2017

Several highly anticipated TV shows begin their runs this week, including Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

9780525435006_a03ffThe Handmaid’s Tale starts on April 26 and runs for ten episodes, staring Elisabeth Moss as Offred, the central character and a rarity in her world, a fertile woman, or ‘handmaid,” she becomes the property of the state, forced to conceive against her will. Joseph Fiennes stars as The Commander, to whom Offred is assigned.

Reviews are glowing. The A.V. Club headlines, “Praise be to the arresting, topical nightmare of The Handmaid’s Tale.” Entertainment Weekly gives it an A, writing it “plays like true prestige television: A masterfully unnerving vision of a near future … Moss is a brilliant muse, a fantastically unsettling alloy of fury and stillness; if this doesn’t earn her the Emmy she was robbed of for her years on Mad Men, the voting Academy should sue itself for gross negligence.” IndieWire says it is “The Scariest TV Show Ever Made, Because It Feels So Real.” Time calls it “masterful … hits exactly the right note … [and] The more you learn about Offred, the more she looks like TV’s great new heroine.” The Hollywood Reporter says it is “A thrillingly dystopian escape from our modern dystopia.”

The tie-in edition comes out this week, with an eerie photo of Elizabeth Moss on the cover: The Handmaid’s Tale (Movie Tie-in), Margaret Atwood (PRH/Anchor; OverDrive Sample).

9780062572233_d8645American Gods starts its 8-episode run on April 30. It has an all-star cast including Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday, Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon, Gillian Anderson as Media, and Kristin Chenoweth as Easter.

Early reviews are largely positive. Entertainment Weekly gives it an A-, with the reviewer writing that he was “consistently engrossed.” Den of Geek writes “The American Gods TV show is something special — for anyone who has ever believed in anything or simply questioned the structure of existence. This show is for you.”

However, Comics Beat headlines that it is “a beautiful mess” and says the show lacks a needed “sense of urgency” and that its “thematic superficiality is heartbreaking.”

The tie-ins hit shelves in late March: American Gods, Neil Gaiman (HC/William Morrow; also in mass market; HC Audio; OverDrive Sample).

9781501171383_c1b1eGenius begins its 10-episode run on the National Geographic channel on April 25. It is the first scripted series from the cable network, reports Deadline Hollywood, and is part of a planned “anthology drama– telling the stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators.”

This opener is based on Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography, Einstein: His Life and Universe and stars Academy Award-winner Geoffrey Rush as Einstein. Johnny Flynn (Lovesick) plays the younger Einstein while Emily Watson (The Theory of Everything) is Elsa, his second wife. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are the series executive producers.

It is getting some good buzz. The NYT says “this is not your father’s biopic. It’s about time to meet the real guy behind the cuddly accent and the curvature of space-time … it’s a tense binge-worthy psychological thriller full of political and romantic melodrama.” Forbes writes the series may “inspire a new generation of thinkers and dreamers to expand our knowledge of the world” and calls it impressive and attention grabbing.

The tie-in came out in early April: Einstein TV Tie-In Edition: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

9781410466822_e7e92 Only one theatrical film opens this week, The Circle, premiering on the 28th and starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and and John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens). It is based on the novel of the same name by Dave Eggers, who also co-wrote the script for the film.

There are no reviews yet but Entertainment Weekly ran a story recently, opening with a reminder that the plot of The Circle, about technology and privacy, is very timely:

“Imagine a world where everything you do is tracked online. Where privacy doesn’t exist. Where corporations have the government’s blessing to extract whatever information they want about you. Welcome to that world. Thanks to a recent party-line vote in Congress, you live in it.” They continue saying, “All of this makes the The Circle … look a lot less like a thriller and more like prophecy.”

Watson tells the magazine, “This is not a dystopian future that’s set in, you know, 2050 or something. This could basically be tomorrow. This is kind of an uncomfortably close film about where, if we aren’t careful, we could very easily go.”

There is no-tie in.

HBO Gets HOT

Friday, April 21st, 2017

9781451673319_c2388The premium cable network, HBO has discovered the temperature at which paper burns, moving forward with a film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s dystopian masterpiece Fahrenheit 451 (S&S; Tantor; OverDrive Sample).

The novel, first published in 1953, depicts a future world where books are outlawed and, if found, burned by firemen. Written during the McCarthy era it has found a new readership following the 2016 election.

The movie will star Michael B. Jordan (Creed) and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals) reports Deadline. Adds TorJordan will play “Montag, the young fireman who has a crisis of conscience when he begins to believe that burning books is wrong, and Michael Shannon as Beatty, Montag’s captain and mentor.”

Assessing the novel in 2008, over 50 years after it was first published, a writer for The Guardian attested to the novel’s continuing appeal, saying it is “often startling and poetic … almost as memorable for its imagery as its ideas … As far as ideas go, the effect was just as powerful when I read the book anew.”

It won a Retrospective Hugo in 2004 and was adapted by François Truffaut in a 1966 film starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie and was adapted as a graphic novel in 2009: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation by Tim Hamilton (Macmillan/Hill and Wang).

Cannes is WONDERSTRUCK

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

WonderstruckTodd Haynes’s adaptation of Brian Selznick’s middle grade novel Wonderstruck (Scholastic, 2011) has been selected to enter the competition at the Cannes Film Festival to be held May 17-28.

Haynes, whose films to date have been for adults, won the Queer Palm at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, for Carol based on Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt. This is Haynes’s first film based on a children’s book.

Starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Okes Fergley Wonderstruck is produced by Amazon studios. A section of the novel is set in 1927 and features a deaf child, Rose, to be played by newcomer Millicent Simmonds, a 13-year-old deaf actress. Haynes has chosen to film her section as a silent movie, using what Deadline calls “an unprecedented number of deaf actors in roles that would normally go to hearing actors.”

This will be the second Selznick book adapted by a celebrated director, after Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning Hugo, based on The Invention Of Hugo Cabret.

Wonderstruck spent 25 weeks on the NYT Children’s Middle Grade Hardcover best seller list, won the 2012 Schneider Family Book Award and was named an ALA Notable Children’s Book.

No news yet on a release date or a tie-in.

MIST Trailer

Monday, April 17th, 2017

The chilling trailer for the series adaptation of Stephen King’s novella, The Mist, has been released. The 10-episode series is set to debut on Spike TV on June 22. No tie-ins have been announced.

The pace of King adaptations is picking up. Last year brought the generally well-received J.J. Abrams’ mini-series adaptation of 11.22.63 on Hulu in February, followed by the much less successful film adaptation of Cell, released in July.

Several more will follow The Mist this year.

The Dark Tower — After many delays, the film, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey is now firmly set for release on August 4th.  Fans are clamoring for the trailer, but so far, have had to content themselves with reports about the footage shown at ComiCon in March.

It  — Starring Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, this film debuts on September 28th. A teaser arrived late last month. CORRECTION: As pointed out in the comments below, we incorrectly identified the actor playing Pennywise as ALEXANDER Skarsgård from Big Little Lies.

Mr. Mercedes (TV Series) — Currently filming, the release is expected this year. After visiting the set, Stephen King tweeted that it looks “awesome,” adding the same accolade for The Mist and The Dark Tower, as well as two titles in post-production, but with no release dates yet, 1922, based on his short story, and Gerald’s Game, based on his novel.

Hitting Screens, Week of April 17, 2017

Monday, April 17th, 2017

The adaptation of David Grann’s The Lost City of Z debuted in just four theaters over the weekend, but it made plenty of noise with critics who are raving about it (the one hold out is the Wall Street Journal‘s critic). It expands to 400 theaters this coming weekend.

Two small screen adaptations make their debuts in the coming week.

9780804190107_26921HBO’s adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s long-running bestseller, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, will begin airing on Sunday, April 22 at 8 p.m.

Oprah Winfrey stars as Deborah Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter. Rose Byrne (Damages) plays Skloot. Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) plays Henrietta and Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) plays con artist Sir Lord Keenan Kester Cofield. The Broadway superstar and Tony winning George C. Wolfe (Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk) wrote the screenplay and directs.

Winfrey tells the NYT that she took the role because she wanted to work with the director, “Audra McDonald said, ‘It will change your life and change you as an actress to work with George.’ And she’s right. He was the person who was able to take a script that felt overridden by the science and re-adapt that into a story about a woman in search of her identity through her mother. That’s why it happened.”

The Baltimore Sun praises Winfrey’s performance, saying she “plays the role sky-high, wide open and without a safety net.”

Anticipation for the series has brought the book back on to best seller lists after a brief absence. It is currently #6 on the NYT Paperback Nonfiction list. The tie-in was released two weeks ago, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Movie Tie-In Edition), Rebecca Skloot (PRH/Broadway Books; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

9780316469708_0f5dbAlso coming to TV is Famous in Love, an adaptation of Rebecca Serle’s 2014 novel of the same name. It will air on Freeform, reports Deadline Hollywood, following Pretty Little Liars.

Bella Thorne (The DUFF) plays Paige, a college student who becomes a major Hollywood star and It Girl almost overnight. Kirkus said the book was a “frothy but not frivolous … wish fulfillment for any teen who wants to feel the thrill of celebrity and love.”

The A.V. Club reports that Marlene King (who created Pretty Little Liars) and Serle worked on the scripts together.

The show start on April 18th at 9 p.m.

Tie-in: Famous in Love, Rebecca Serle (Hachette/Poppy; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Cumberbatch Dons
THE ROCKEFELLER SUIT

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

9780452298033Fresh off his role as Doctor Strange for Marvel, Benedict Cumberbatch may soon don a different suit, reports Deadline Hollywood.

He is in negotiations to star as the real-life con man Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, the subject of The Man in the Rockefeller Suit: The Astonishing Rise and Spectacular Fall of a Serial Impostor by Mark Seal (PRH/Plume, 2012). Kirkus said of the true crime story, “Patricia Highsmith couldn’t have written a more compelling thriller.”

Gerhartsreiter, who went by the name of Clark Rockefeller, tricked people into believing he was a member of that famous family, helping him to land prestigious jobs on Wall Street and marry rich. He was sentenced to jail after kidnapping his own daughter and was subsequently sentenced to prison for the first-degree murder of his landlady’s son.

A long simmering project, the film first got under way in 2011, but the recent interest in true crime may have given it a fresh push.

NPR’s All Things Considered featured the book in 2011, explaining the case.

To The Movies: HILLBILLY ELEGY

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

9780062300546_9dafbRon Howard’s Imagine Entertainment production company has won the film rights to Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), reports Deadline Hollywood. Howard will direct.

Vance’s memoir arrived as the presidential campaign was heating up. The media embraced his sympathetic portrait of life in the Rust Belt as an explanation for the deep divides that drove the election. As a result of growing media attention, the book landed on best seller lists several weeks after publication. It is currently #2 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list after 36 weeks.

It came to define what Slate‘s Laura Miller calls a new genre of nonfiction, the on-the-ground Trump explainer … illuminating the desperation driving white small-town Americans, as told by a native son.” She calls Vance’s book the genre’s “vanguard title.”

In a statement, Imagine describes it as “a powerful, true coming-of-age memoir … Through the lens of a colorful, chaotic family and with remarkable compassion and self-awareness, J.D. has been able to look back on his own upbringing as a ‘hillbilly’ to illuminate the plight of America’s white working class, speaking directly to the turmoil of our current political climate.”

Hitting Screens, Week of April 10, 2017

Monday, April 10th, 2017

Boss Baby continued to rule the box office over the weekend, happily beating out another movie aimed at kids, the formulaic Smurfs: Lost Village. On TV, the adaptation of Jay Asher’s best-selling 2007 YA novel 13 Reasons Why is a hit for Netflix and is stirring up controversy about whether there should be a second season.

Two adaptations come to screens this week.

9780525434658_325e0Having received much advance attention for its star studded cast, The Lost City of Z finally hits theaters in a limited run at the end of this week, expanding to more theaters next week. Based on David Gann’s nonfiction account of Percy Fawcett’s search for a fabled lost city, it stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Tom Holland.

Already released in the UK, The Telegraph says it is “Transporting and profound … an instant classic.Business Insider says it is “the best movie of 2017 so far” and director James Gray’s “magnum opus.” The Wrap says it “blends knock-out visual beauty, tender feminism, overall personal inter-connectedness, and something else, too, something yearning and just out of reach … [it] feels like a clear artistic advance for Gray, who proves himself here as one of our finest and most distinctive living filmmakers.”

Reviewing it after its NY Film Festival debut, Variety called it “Apocalypse Now meets Masterpiece Theater … a finely crafted, elegantly shot, sharply sincere movie that is more absorbing than powerful.”

The book received raves. The NYT critic Michiko Kakutani wrote it is at “once a biography, a detective story and a wonderfully vivid piece of travel writing that combines Bruce Chatwinesque powers of observation with a Waugh-like sense of the absurd … it reads with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller and all the verisimilitude and detail of firsthand reportage.”

It topped most of the year’s best books lists the year it was published. Grann is now back in the news for a new book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (PRH/Doubleday; RH Large Type; RH Audio/BOT).

Tie-in: The Lost City of Z (Movie Tie-In): A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, David Grann (PRH/Vintage; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

9781501174926_7136bOn cable The White Princess begins on April 16, about the long-running War of the Roses.

It’s the sequel to The White Queen, which aired on Starz in 2013, based on the first four books in Philippa Gregory’s The Cousins’ War series and earned both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations.

The new series adapts Gregory’s fifth title in the historical saga and relates the story of Princess Elizabeth of York, forced to marry into the house of her enemy. Gregory outlines the chronology of the novels on her website.

It stars Jodie Comer as Princess Elizabeth, Essie Davis as Elizabeth Woodville, Joanne Whalley as the Duchesss of Burgundy, Michelle Fairley as Margaret Beaufort, Jacob Collins-Levy as Henry VII, and Suki Waterhouse as Cecily of York.

One of the few reviews out thus far says “if it’s melodrama you want, The White Princess delivers – serving up a steamy soup of bitchy, backstabbing, corseted women plotting each other’s doom.”

Vanity Fair offers an interview with the stars.

Tie-in: The White Princess, Philippa Gregory (S&S/Touchstone; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample; also in mass market).

Hitting Screens, Week of April 3, 2017

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Headline writers are having fun with this weekend’s box office success of DreamWorks Animation’s adaptation of Marla Frazee’s Boss Baby. Some believe it’s getting an additional bump from the star who voices the baby, Alec Baldwin, and the attention he has received lately for voicing a different boss on SNL.  Take heed, that bump may also work for Baldwin’s memoir arriving this week.

The major adaptation news for the week is the debut of a  TV series.

9780062669810_76badAMC will bring its version of Philipp Meyer’s multi-generational Western, The Son, to small screens on April 8, starring Pierce Brosnan, Paola Nuñez, and Elizabeth Frances with Meyer writing the script along with fellow authors Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy.

The press coverage is plentiful. The NYT has a feature story, Entertainment Weekly offers an exclusive clip, and New York magazine reports on Meyer’s role in the creation of the series.

Reviews, however, are not strong. Variety says “If you’re looking for yet another show centered around a morally grey white man with a dark past, The Son might be right up your alley. Those who want something more original or fresh in the drama arena are likely to end up looking elsewhere.”

The Hollywood Reporter says it “starts off with a stretch of episodes that feel all-too-familiar and vaguely mummified before exploring more morally complex material in the second half of its 10-episode run. Pierce Brosnan’s return to the small screen is the biggest selling point for the drama … But the erstwhile Remington Steele (or James Bond, if you prefer) is the least interesting piece of the less interesting of the story’s halves.”

Tie-in: The Son, Philipp Meyer (HC/Ecco; Harper Audio; OverDrive Sample).

In theaters, two adaptations make their debuts.

9780310350576_7a6f4Nearly two decades after it was published, and close to 10 million copies sold, Lee Strobel’s journalistic investigation into Christian beliefs is being turned into a film starring Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, and Faye Dunaway, The Case for Christ.

There are no reviews but CBN offers an interview with the author, a former reporter for The Chicago Tribune.

Tie-in: The Case for Christ Movie Edition: Solving the Biggest Mystery of All Time, Lee Strobel (Ingram/Zondervan; Zondervan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

It debuts on April 7 in 1,100 theaters.

9780062414915_fa53cTheir Finest debuts on April 7 in a very limited run, just four theaters, despite strong early reviews. Based on the novel Their Finest Hour and a Half, the tie-in uses the movie’s shorter title, Their Finest, Lissa Evans (HC/Harper Perennial; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

Starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, and Bill Nighy, the film is set in London during WWII. It features filmmakers creating patriotic movies during the war.

The Hollywood Reporter calls it a “stealth charmer” and Variety says it is “a relentlessly charming romantic comedy.Entertainment Weekly says it is “Comedic, poignant, and delightful.”

IT Gets a Trailer

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

The first trailer has been released for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel IT and is already the #1 trending video on YouTube.

Its release is moving two editions of the classic horror novel up Amazon’s sales rankings. The trade paperback moved from #449 to almost within Amazon’s Top Ten (it is #12). The mass market leaped from #7,395 to #225.

The clip is for the first of a two-part movie. As we posted earlier, part one follows a group of kids, members of the Losers’ Club, who live in a small town in Maine and fight against an ancient and shape-shifting evil that stalks the town every 27 years. Part two will follow those terrorized kids, now adults, as they once again stand guard against the recurring evil of It.

Andrés Muschietti (Mama) is directing and Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård plays the evil clown Pennywise. One of the producers is Seth Grahame-Smith, known for launching the mashup craze with his books Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

itposterUSA Today quotes Muschietti musing on what “IT” means: “Maybe it is real as long as children believe in it. And in a way, Pennywise’s character is motivated by survival. In order to be alive in the imagination of children, he has to keep killing.”

The tie-in comes out on July 25, 2017 (S&S/Pocket). There is no cover image yet, but it is likely to be similar to the creepy new film poster at left.

Heading To Screen: THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

9780385542364_94521Barry Jenkins, the writer and director of the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, will write and direct the adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s National Book Award-winning novel The Underground Railroad (PRH/Doubleday) as a series for Amazon.

“Going back to The Intuitionist, Colson’s writing has always defied convention, and The Underground Railroad is no different,” Jenkins said in a statement. “It’s a groundbreaking work that pays respect to our nation’s history while using the form to explore it in a thoughtful and original way.”

The Underground Railroad is a massive job,” he told the the LA Times. “Right now, I’m thinking I want to do that over six or seven hours, and that will take a lot of time and consideration because it absolutely has to be done the right way. It’s a landmark work.”

Consequence of Sound reports “Jenkins has been working on the project since September, just one month after Colson’s book was released.”

It is early days, so there is no word on an air date or casting.

DOWNTON Goes To GUERNSEY

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

9780385340991Called a “Downton Abbey Reunion,” the adaptation of Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (PRH/Random House, 2008), currently filming in Australia, features four actors from the popular BBC series. Lily James, who played Downton‘s Lady Rose, is the movie’s lead. Recently joining the cast are Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton‘s Lady Sybil), Matthew Goode (Henry Talbot), and Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley).

Also recently added are Glen Powell (Hidden Figures), Michiel Huisman (The Age of Adeline, Game of Thrones), as well as Tom Courtenay (45 Years).

Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Four Weddings and a Funeral) directs the re-titled Guernsey. Release is expected in 2018.

The epistolary novel set during WW II received strong reviews and was a long running best seller. No tie-in has been announced

Ferdinand Gets a Trailer

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

The first trailer for a new animated adaptation of Leaf Munro‘s 1936 classic The Story of Ferdinand made its “exclusive” debut on the Today Show this morning. It opens on December 15. CORRECTION: As Donna points out in the comments, we transposed the author’s first and last names.

9780670674244A tie-in has not been announced.

The original is still available in both hardcover and paperback (Penguin Young Readers/Puffin).

A Board Book edition is coming in August.

 

Hitting Screens, Week of March 27, 2017

Monday, March 27th, 2017

Beauty and the Beast‘s box office juggernaut continued over the weekend. Even the release of the Power Rangers reboot could not break the spell, coming in a distant second.

Six screen adaptations come out this week:

MV5BYTFmNzRlNWYtMmFmNi00ZTFiLWJhODgtOGM5ODQ5NTgxZWUwL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTExNDQ2MTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_Netflix’s new series 13 Reasons Why will premiere on March 31.

Based on Jay Asher’s 2007 YA novel TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY, it is about a high school student who commits suicide and leaves behind several tapes, telling classmates how each contributed to her decision. The novel is a YALSA Best Books of 2008, and was a NYT best seller in hardcover for over two years.

The trailer debut alone was enough to send the book soaring on Amazon. A new featurette is out:

Thus far critics seem very happy with the show. Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+ and writes “A frank, authentically affecting portrait of what it feels like to be young, lost, and too fragile for the world.”

Variety writes “13 Reasons Why [will] pull viewers into a suspenseful tale that will keep most of them engaged until the final scene fades out.”

A tie-in came out earlier this month: 13 Reasons Why, Jay Asher Razorbill (PRH/Razorbill; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample).

MV5BMTk2NjI5NzgwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDc4NTA1OTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,947,1000_AL_

Alec Baldwin stars in DreamWorks Animation’s adaptation of Marla Frazee’s Boss Baby (S&S/Beach Lane, 2010), opening on March 31.

Directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar), it also features the voices of Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow.

As we posted earlier, the movie is described as “inspired” by Frazee’s picture book and adds several story lines. The tie-in, which came out in February, is a novelization of the movie script, The Boss Baby Junior Novelization by Tracey West (S&S/Simon Spotlight; also in trade pbk; OverDrive Sample).

Early reviews were glowing. Variety reported from the Annecy film festival that it “had the audience in stitches” and brought “whoops of applause.”

However, more recent reviews are not as strong. IndieWire headlines “The Boss Baby Might Pacify Kids, But This Dirty Diaper of a Movie Is Further Proof Hollywood Animation Needs a Change.”

The Wrap says “The Boss Baby runs in the opposite direction of real feeling in favor of bombast. There’s so much to like in this movie, but its best qualities are ultimately subsumed in formula. And not the nutritious kind.”

MV5BMzJiNTI3MjItMGJiMy00YzA1LTg2MTItZmE1ZmRhOWQ0NGY1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTk4MTM0NQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_Ghost in the Shell, the live-action adaptation of Shirow Masamune’s SF manga series, which Movie Pilot calls “a pioneer of cyberpunk,” opens March 31. It stars Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, and Michael Pitt.

There are few reviews thus far but the NYT offers a feature on the many incarnations of the story.

There are multiple tie-ins. See here and here.

MV5BNTY3YmZmYmMtZjc3Zi00N2VjLWE5ZGMtN2M0ODkzOGQ5M2UyL2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTk1MTQ3NDI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,647,1000_AL_The Zookeeper’s Wife opens on March 31. It is is already selling books, taking Diane Ackerman’s nonfiction account of the heroic story of a zookeeper and his wife who harbored 300 Jews from the Nazis back to the best seller lists and rising on Amazon’s rankings.

The film stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton, and Daniel Brühl.

Reviews are not great. The Guardian says it “suffers from an uneven script” while Den of Geek says it is “hurt by erratic pacing.”

The Wrap writes, “Turning an incredible true story of a couple who sheltered Jews into bland historical fare is the most noteworthy of the film’s shortcomings.”

The best-selling tie-in came out in February: The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story, Diane Ackerman (W. W. Norton; Blackstone; OverDrive Sample).

In more limited release are two films. While they will not air to a wide audience at first, they will eventually be released on DVD, making them accessible for libraries creating book-to-film collections (and displays).

MV5BMjMxMTQ2ODgwMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQyODY2MTI@._V1_Carrie Pilby opens in limited release on March 31 and will be followed by VOD on April 4. It is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Caren Lissner, Carrie Pilby: A hilarious and charming story (HC/Harlequin Teen; Harlequin Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The film stars Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Jason Ritter, William Moseley, Vanessa Bayer, and Colin O’Donoghue.

The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a well-intentioned but imperfect young-adult-skewing comedy-drama … this often tritely plotted tale is not half as clever or cute as it thinks it is.”

Variety says “this is awfully soft stuff, its naval-gazing protagonist not nearly as unusual or delightful as we’re meant to think despite the high IQ she can’t stop referencing … For a story about a supposed genius, it’s not all that clever or complicated.”

The Guardian was much more favorable, giving it 4 out of 5 stars and calling it an “ambitious, upbeat and surprising comedy.”

There is no tie-in.

MV5BNTI5ZWFhOTAtMTRlNC00ZTA3LTk4NTctZjhjMmM3Y2JiMDE3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzI1NjQ1MTU@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,714,1000_AL_The Devotion of Suspect X, a Chinese-language film, opens in very limited release on March 31, just 45 theaters. It stars stars Wang Kai, Zhang Luyi, and Ruby Lin. There are no reviews as of yet.

The novel on which it was based, The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (Macmillan/Minotaur; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), received attention when it was published. It was selected by the ALA/RUSA Reading List in 2012 for best Mystery and was nominated for an Edgar. It earned three star reviews, from LJ, PW, and Kirkus.

The Wall St. Journal says, “Whether it amounts to math, philosophy, psychology or cosmology, The Devotion of Suspect X is an elegant literary experiment. It suggests, among much else, that a lot of bad behavior is forgiven in the name of genius—and then even a genius can push the envelope just so far before it breaks.”

There is no tie-in.

Closer to Screen: THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE

Monday, March 27th, 2017

9781250121462_c1182The film version of David Finkel’s Thank You For Your Service opens on October 27, 2017. As Variety reports, the release date is timed for awards season.

Oscar-nominated Jason Hall (for Best Adapted Screenplay, American Sniper) wrote the script and makes his directorial debut. Amy Schumer (Trainwreck), Haley Bennett (The Girl on the Train), and Miles Teller (War Dogs) are among the large cast.

The book follows a group of soldiers as they try to adjust to civilian life after returning home from fighting in Baghdad. A critical success, it was reviewed by the NYT, Washington Post, NPR, and The Guardian, shortlisted for a National Book Critics Circle Award and selected as a NYT‘s Notable Books of 2013.

tie-in edition (Macmillan/Picador; Macmillan Audio) comes out in September.