Archive for the ‘Books & Movies’ Category

THE NIGHTINGALE Set for Debut

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

In an unusual vote of confidence for a film with no stars attached so far, Sony has announced a release date for Tri-Star’s adaptation of Kristin Hannah’s NYT bestseller, The Nightingale (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Macmillan Audio, OverDrive Sample). Deadline Hollywood reports that it is set to debut on August 10, 2018.

The movie also features a first-time film director, Michelle McLaren. However, she has had wide-ranging experience in television, directing episodes of hit shows such as Game of Thrones and Modern Family.

The book also represents a first for author Kristin Hannah. Her first historical novel, after several best selling contemporary romances, the change in genre brought her to a new level of sales. The Nightingale was on the NYT best seller for almost two years, much longer than any of her previous novels. After its paperback release, it went immediately onto the NYT Paperback Trade Fiction list where it is currently #7.

WONDER, Film Trailer

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Auggie gets a face in the just released first full trailer for the film adaptation of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder (RH/Knopf Young Readers, 2012; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Directed by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), the film stars Jacob Tremblay (Room) as Auggie, a young boy with a facial deformity who enters a new school. Julia Roberts plays his mom, Owen Wilson, his dad, and Daveed Diggs (Hamilton), his classroom teacher.

The novel has spent 92 weeks on the NYT Children’s Middle Grade Hardcover list, where it is currently #2.

A tie-in comes out November 7, 2017, Wonder Movie Tie-In Edition by R. J. Palacio (PRH/Knopf Books for Young Readers). The cover is not yet finalized.

The film premieres November 17.

THE BEGUILED Takes Its Bow

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled got its moment in a screening at Cannes Wednesday morning. Entertainment Weekly calls it “a film that radiates with thrilling, deliciously dark southern gothic flair.” Starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, and Kirsten Dunst, it is based on the 1966 Thomas Cullinan novel, A Painted Devil (see our earlier post for a more on the novel and its adaptations).

The Guardian writes “With its hilariously fraught psychodynamic, the film has hints of Black Narcissus and the famous Diet Coke ad about office workers admiring a perspiring worker slaking his thirst” and continues, “Coppola tells the story with terrific gusto and insouciant wit.”

On Twitter, New York Magazine’s senior editor wrote that the film was “ravishingly shot, with a ‘damn she’s good’ MVP performance from Kirsten Dunst

Others were not as impressed. Variety misses the pulp aspects of the 1971 adaption and writes “If you’re the sort of moviegoer who favors good taste over sensation, restraint over decadence, and decorous drama over porno leering, then you may actually like Coppola’s coolly pensive and sober new version of The Beguiled. But anyone else may wonder what, exactly, the movie thinks it’s doing.”

The Independent says it is Coppola’s “worst work.

Set during the Civil War, the plot involves a group of women sequestered in a girls boarding school in the South, whose lives are turned upside down by the appearance of a wounded Union soldier. The movie is scheduled to debut in theaters on June 30th. A tie-in will be published on June 6, The Beguiled: A Novel (Movie Tie-In) by Thomas Cullinan (PRH/Penguin Books, Trade Paperback; OverDrive).

IndieWire explores Coppola’s adaptation and her jitters about appearing at Cannes for the first time since 2006, when her movie Marie Antoinette was poorly received.

Cannes Goes Punk

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Neil Gaiman’s short story, “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” which John Cameron Mitchell adapted into a feature film of the same name, has had its moment at the Cannes Film Festival, including a spectacular runway and spectacularly bad reviews.

Mitchell describes his adaptation to The Hollywood Reporter as “a Romeo and Juliet story between a punk and an alien.” He says he filled in the very short story with his own stance: “We brought in the punk element, because it wasn’t really in the story. Then I kind of plumped up the Romeo and Juliet story. The punks and the aliens are fighting to keep the lovers apart.”

The few reviews so far are withering. Variety calls the “lifeless punk-meets-alien romance … the biggest dud I’ve seen at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.”

The Guardian writes ” What an extravagantly muddled, borderline incontinent film this is … If you only see one gritty punk-rock coming-of-age sci-fi kids fantasy caper in this lifetime, maybe double-check the listings before you alight on this one.”

The Hollywood Reporter calls it “Close encounters of the absurd kind … there’s too little narrative cohesion or persuasive subtext to make this much more than a low-budget folly that’s outre without always being terribly interesting.”

However, there was still some fun to be had. The film’s stars, Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning, lead a dramatic runway show when the cast showed up in their movie outfits, made of colorful latex (starting at :56):

Below is the trailer:

Gaiman’s story was nominated for the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Short Story and won the Locus Award in that category. It is collected in Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders (HC/Harper, 2010) and is posted on Gaiman’s websiteThe audio is there as well, read by Gaiman. It has also been adapted as a comic, Neil Gaiman’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman, Gabriel Bá, and Fábio Moon (PRH/Dark Horse, 2016). There is no US release date yet for the movie.

Hitting Screens, Week of May 22, 2017

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

At the box office over the weekend, the YA adaptation Everything Everything brought in $12 million, outpacing the fourth in the established childrens franchise, Wimpy Kid, a disappointment with just $7.2 million.

A single adaptation airs this week. Netflix’s War Machine starring Brad Pitt begins streaming on May 26.

The film fictionalizes  Michael Hastings’s The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan (PRH/Plume; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample). Pitt’s character is based on General Stanley McChrystal who was fired after Hastings’s exposé ran in  Rolling Stone.

The movie details how the fictional general, Glen McMahon, is given command of the coalition forces in Afghanistan and, because of his ego and hubris is wildly unpredictable. Written and directed by David Michôd (Animal Kingdom), it is produced by the team that created the Oscar-nominated The Big Short. Tilda Swinton, Sir Ben Kingsley, Anthony Michael Hall, and Topher Grace star alongside Pitt.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that Neflix paid $60 million to finance the film after its original supporters backed out, fearful the movie’s arch black comedy slant might anger conservative audiences.

The single review to date is a rave. The Star-Telegram says “Brad Pitt, we salute you” and goes on to say “Pitt chews scenery in this dark comedy, a spiritual cousin to such films as Dr. Strangelove and Catch-22.”

To qualify for awards, in addition to streaming on Netflix, the film will also play in a few theaters in Los Angeles and New York.

Back Together: The DOWNTON Gang

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Golly Gumdrop! Julian Fellowes, Downton director Michael Engler, and Elizabeth McGovern are teaming up again in Masterpiece’s production of The Chaperone, based on Laura Moriarty’s 2012 novel of the same name (PRH/Riverhead; Thorndike Large Print; Blackstone Audio; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The novel was a hit, landing on the NYT Best Seller list, getting strong coverage, and triggering hold queues that topped 10:1.

It is a historical set in the 1920s that traces the story of a Kansas woman named Cora (played by McGovern and coincidentally the name of the character she played on Downton), who acts as the chaperone of Louise Brooks, a 15-year-old girl who becomes the famous 1920’s movie star (played by Julia Goldani Telles, The Affair).

The movie is set to open first in theaters and then will be aired on PBS stations nationwide. Deadline Hollywood notes this will be the first time Masterpiece has produced a feature film.

McGovern is very familiar with the novel. She read the audiobook version, getting an AudioFile Earphones Award in the process. In their review, Audifile writes, “McGovern’s soft-spoken performance is utterly entrancing. Her careful use of emotion and mastery of expression pull listeners into this period piece about a young woman on the road to self-discovery and a girl on the brink of fame … an outstanding audio experience.”

A premiere date has not been announced.

Moriarty talked about the book at 2012’s BEA:

THE GLASS CASTLE, First Trailer

Friday, May 19th, 2017

The first trailer was just released for the film adaptation of the bestselling memoir by Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle (S&S/Scribner, 2005):

Starring Academy Award winner Brie Larson as Walls with Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as her dysfunctional, sometimes homeless parents, Rex and Rose Mary, the film opens in wide release on August 11.

The author approves, telling People magazine, “They did a spectacular job bringing to life a complicated story, there’s so many nuances … I wanted Brie Larson to play this role even before I knew who she was. She understands how to be strong and vulnerable at the same time, how you can fight and be scared at the same time … The first time that I saw Woody in makeup and in character, I started trembling and crying … the degree to which he captured my father was breathtaking.”

The memoir spent over 250 weeks on NYT best seller lists, in both hardcover and the trade paperback, where it had its most enduring success. Also a constant in book groups, the memoir is assigned reading in schools, and even has its own Cliff Notes.

A tie-in is forthcoming:
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (S&S/Scribner)

WONDERSTRUCK Hits Cannes

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Todd Haynes’s adaptation of Brian Selznick’s middle grade novel Wonderstruck (Scholastic, 2011) was screened this morning at the Cannes Film Festival, bringing mixed reactions. On the positive side, the AP writes, “The cacophony of the Cannes Film Festival was tamed Thursday by a deaf 14-year-old actress, Millicent Simmonds, whose screen debut is being hailed as a breakthrough.”

Describing the film itself, the AP calls it, “Fanciful and sentimental … an unlikely family-friendly turn for Haynes, the director of Far From Heaven and Mildred Pierce. But it doubles down on his fondness for period tales, weaving parallel story lines from 1927 and 1977.”

Variety‘s Chief Film Critic Owen Gleiberman is more subdued, saying the film is “a lovingly crafted adventure of innocence that winds up being less than the sum of its parts.” The Hollywood Reporter says the the screening drew merely a “polite burst of applause from the assembled press,” but adds the film “can be expected to be welcomed with a lot of warm reviews.”

Produced by Amazon Studios, Wonderstruck enters the Festival as concerns are heating up over changes in the way, as Variety puts it, “people are consuming content,” with particular animosity directed at Netflix, which has two films in competition that were originally scheduled to debut on the company’s streaming service, thus bypassing theaters (they have since changed that plan).

On the other hand, Amazon works in partnership with theatrical distributor Roadside Attractions, which will open Wonderstruck in limited release on October 20, but there is still concern about whether they will stick to that arrangement for future films.

Expressing his displeasure with Netflix at a press conference, Cannes jury president, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, stated his position,

I’ll be fighting for one thing that I’m afraid the new generation is not aware of. It’s the capacity of the hypnosis of the large screen for the viewer. “The size [of the screen] should not be smaller than the chair on which you’re sitting. It should not be part of your everyday setting. You must feel small and humble in front of the image that’s here.

Actor Will Smith, also on the panel, basically said “good luck with that,” responding that his three children, “go to the movies twice a week and they watch Netflix. There’s very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they watch on Netflix in my home.” Variety dryly notes, “Netflix, it just so happens, is the distributor of Smith’s next movie, the big-budget Bright, which opens this year.”

Amazon Studios, which were greeted at the Festival last year with open arms, are facing a chiller reception this year. Variety reports there was “a loud but isolated groan” when Amazon’s credit appeared on the screen during the showing of Wonderstruck.  Todd Haynes felt compelled to defend Amazon‘s commitment to theaters by asserting, “The film division at Amazon is made up of true cineastes who love movies and really want to try and provide opportunity for independent film visions to find their footing in a vastly shifting market.”

Gabriel Allon to TV

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Time to crank up the betting on which actor will play Israeli art restorer, spy and assassin Gabriel Allon from Daniel Silva’s New York Times bestselling novels. Deadline reports that MGM Television, has bought the rights to the books.

Silva has published 16 titles in the series beginning with The Kill Artist in 2000, but says he’s been waiting for the “right time and the right partner” to adapt the books. The partner he chose is currently hot, having produced Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale and FX’s Fargo. As MGM Motion Pictures president Jonathan Glickman notes, the books have been hot for some time, saying bidding was “highly competitive” and the rights “have been sought after for years.”

The 17th title in the series, House of Spies will be published on July 17th (HarperCollins/Harper; HarperAudio; HarperLuxe)

To Screen: THE BOOKSELLER

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Julia Roberts will star in and produce a big screen adaptation of Cynthia Swanson’s 2015 debut novel The Bookseller (HC/Harper; HarperLuxe; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), reports Variety.

The novel was not widely reviewed. It made the NYT eBook bestseller list for a week and rose to #85 on the USA Today list. It was also an Indie Next pick:

“In 1962, 38-year-old Kitty Miller lives unconventionally. She’s an unmarried working woman who is running a bookstore with her best friend. But at night, in her dreams, it’s a different story. There, Kitty (now Kathryn) explores the path not taken. She’s the married mother of three. It’s the life that might have been, and the novel explores both Kitty’s waking and dream lives in alternating chapters. Swanson’s enjoyable debut really gets interesting when the lines between waking and dreaming, fantasy and reality, begin to blur.” —Susan Tunis, Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, CA

A starred review in LJ said, “This is a stunner of a debut novel … Kitty/Katharyn’s journey is intriguing, redolent with issues of family, independence, friendship, and free will. This will especially resonate with fans of the movie Sliding Doors and the authors Anna Quindlen and Anita Shreve.”

This marks the latest in a run of book-based films for Roberts, who, like Reese Witherspoon, has had success with adaptations. Early in her career she starred in the film version of John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief . She is now set to star in and produce Harlan Coben’s Fool Me Once and, with Viola Davis, will feature in the film version of Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things.

Hitting Screens, Week of May 15, 2017

Monday, May 15th, 2017

The heavily promoted adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s debut YA novel  Everything, Everything opens on May 19. The book debuted at #1 on the NYT  Young Adult best seller list and stayed on it for over a year. The release of the trailer in February brought the book back to the list, again at #1

About a teen girl confined to her house because of severe allergies, the novel earned a glowing NYT review (“gorgeous and lyrical”) and an A- review from Entertainment Weekly (a “complex,” “fresh, moving debut”).

The film stars Amandla Stenberg (who played Rue in The Hunger Games) and Nick Robinson (Zach in Jurassic World). Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses) directs.

Tie-in:  Everything, Everything Movie Tie-in Edition, (in hardcover: PRH/Delacorte Press; April 18, 2017; ISBN 9781524769802; 18.99; Listening Library; also in paperback: PRH/Ember; April 4, 2017; ISBN 9781524769604; $10.99).

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul premieres on May 19. It is based on the 9th title in the popular kids series written by Jeff Kinney.

The three previous films in the series have been commercial, although not critical successes. The new film, featuring a fresh cast including Alicia Silverstone, Tom Everett Scott, Charlie Wright, and Jason Drucker, follows a family road trip.

Tie-in: Diary of a Wimpy Kid # 9: Long Haul: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney (Abrams; OverDrive Sample).

Also opening May 19th is Wakefield, an adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s short story of the same name. Starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner, it tells the story of a man who “vanishes” but really only hides in his garage spying on the lives of his family and neighbors.

Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter posted reviews in 2016 when the film was making the festival circuit. While praising Cranston’s performance, Variety says the ending is “a cop-out.The Hollywood Reporter agrees that Cranston “is the whole show” and calls the film “decreasingly convincing.”

It opens in limited release . There is no tie-in. The short story was published in The New Yorker in 2008.

Airing on May 21st is A Bundle of Trouble, a Hallmark adaptation of Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden series featuring a crime-solving librarian.

There are nine books in the series. This newest adaptation is based on the sixth, titled A Fool And His Honey (PRH/Berkley; OverDrive Sample). This is also the 6th Hallmark adaptation, following A Bone To Pick, Real Murders, Three Bedrooms One Corpse, The Julius House, and Dead Over Heels.

The show stars Candace Cameron Bure (Full House) as the librarian sleuth. There is no tie-in, although the book is still available. See the Hallmark site for a preview (unfortunately we cannot embed the clip).

As we posted in the May 15th Titles to Know, HBO is adapting The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diana B. Henriques (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Griffin; Tantor Media; OverDrive Sample).

It premieres May 20 and stars Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer. Barry Levinson directs.

See our earlier post for more details.

WONDERSTRUCK

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Both the movie poster, left, and a clip have been released for Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck, based on Brian Selznick’s 2011 illustrated novel. The movie will debut at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18 and in US theaters in limited release on October 20, with the promise of a wide release sometime in mid-November.

The book, set in 1927 and 1977, features two deaf children, Ben and Rose, each within their own time line, each secretly longing for different lives. As the story unfolds, the tales of both children weave back and forth before finally coming together.

The film co-stars Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams. Oakes Fegley (Pete’s Dragon) plays Ben and newcomer Millicent Simmonds, who is deaf, plays Rose.

Selznick wrote the adapted screenplay. Below he describes how he wrote the novel:


Expect some creative film making to match the creativity of the novel. Movie Pilot writes “Rose’s half of the movie will be shot as a silent film! This will allow the movie to stay faithful to the novel, capture the world through the eyes of Rose, and recreate the aesthetic of the silent film era.”

Wonderstruck is the sixth film that Roadside has distributed with Amazon Studios. The two companies biggest success so far is Manchester by the Sea, which won two Oscars and was the biggest box office success to date for both companies.

The fight to keep theaters viable in an age of streaming services and high definition TV has led the Cannes Festival, like many film events, including the Oscars, to limit eligibility to movies  that are released to theaters before hitting small screens.

Things are becoming more complex now that streaming services have also gotten in to producing their own movies. Overturning their rule against streaming services sast year, Cannes accepted five of Amazon Studios films as entries into the competition, because Amazon execs “promised that, unlike Netflix, all of their films will go out in theaters, holding to the traditional 90-day theatrical window,” writes the Hollywood Reporter, adding that it makes business sense for Amazon,

“Unlike Netflix, which operates its streaming service in virtually every country in the world … Amazon’s Prime Video service is not available in France, in Italy, in Canada, Spain, Australia, Russia or Brazil. A global day-and-date rollout, the cornerstone of Netflix’ release strategy, still is impossible for Amazon.”

LibraryReads Pick To The Movies

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Big Little Lies producer and star Reese Witherspoon has issued a “Great Book Alert!” to her 9.7 million followers on Instagram, about the LibraryReads pick Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman (PRH/Pamela Dorman; Penguin Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

Just a few days later, Deadline Hollywood, reported that she will produce the film version and likely star.

The actress and Hollywood powerhouse when it comes to adapting books, says the novel is “Beautifully written and INCREDIBLY funny … I fell in LOVE with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love too!”

Her rave review adds star power to what is already a buzzy debut, as does the fact that she also added it to her rwbookclub on Instagram.

GLASS CASTLE Gets Premiere Date

Monday, May 8th, 2017

9780743247542_c87a6The film adaptation of the beloved and bestselling memoir by Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle (S&S/Scribner, 2005), finally has a debut date, set to open in wide release on August 11.

The film stars Academy Award winner Brie Larson as Walls with Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as her dysfunctional,  sometimes homeless parents, Rex and Rose Mary.

The memoir spent over 250 weeks on NYT best seller lists, in both hardcover and the trade paperback, where it had its most enduring success. Also a constant in book groups, the memoir is assigned reading in schools, and even has its own Cliff Notes.

Deadline Hollywood reports that Lionsgate plans to pitch the film to women hoping to create the kind of appeal and word of mouth power enjoyed by Eat Pray Love, The Help, and Julie & Julia, all of which also had August release dates.

As we have noted, readers have been waiting for some time for the film version. In 2012, Paramount announced plans to adapt the film with  Jennifer Lawrence in the lead, but that project fell through. In 2015, Lionsgate bought the rights and cast Larson in the title role. Director Destin Daniel Cretton, who worked with Larson on her breakout film, Short Term 12, has stayed the one constant in the adaptation’s ups and downs.

A New Chapter for THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY

Friday, May 5th, 2017

9780609608449_5e627The great-great grandchildren of Henry H. Holmes, the serial killer featured in the best seller, The Devil in the White City, have received permission to exhume his body to confirm whether he was indeed hanged in Philadelphia in 1896.

The investigation aims to determine the truth of the legend that he faked his own death, reports the Chicago Tribune, by bribing “jail guards to hang a cadaver in his place.”

Meanwhile, the film version of Eric Larson’s true crime title, The Devil in the White City (RH/Crown, 2003), has been in the works ever since it was published. As recently as last month, Deadline Hollywood wrote that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are still developing the project.

Scorsese told the Toronto Sun in December, “Right now, there is a script being worked on … One of the things that I had to stop for the past six months [to complete Silence] was my meetings on that script. They want me to start again in January and see if we can find a way because it’s an extraordinary story.”

Finding a way has proved difficult thus far. Tom Cruise acquired the rights in 2003 but the project stalled. We wrote about the last wave of hopes for it in April 2016. Even earlier, in 2015, we posted about the film’s long gestation period. DiCaprio has owned the rights since 2010.