Two adaptations open this week, one based on a 2008 Philip Roth novel and the other on a 2012 YA novel by Jeanne Ryan, Nerve.
Nerve, opening nationwide on July 27, sports the first Pokémon Go promotional tie-in. Producer Lionsgate is sponsoring PokéStop locations outside movie theaters in several U.S. cities.
The fast-paced YA SF thriller is about an online, voyeuristic, game of truth or dare, which according to Kirkus, reflects themes from another book Lionsgate successfully adapted, The Hunger Games. Nerve stars Emma Roberts, Dave Franco and Juliette Lewis.
It premiered at Sundance this year to mixed reviews. The Hollywood Reporter says it is “A warmly satisfying screen translation of a work by an author who has rarely been served well on film” and the NYT listed Gadon as one of their “Breakthrough Performances.” The Guardian, however, writes, “For a first-time feature, Indignation is undoubtedly accomplished, with handsome production values, stellar performances, and [a] … tour-de-force scene that bodes of great things to come from the budding film-maker. Unfortunately, on the whole, Schamus’ debut feels too self-serious to fully engage.”
A tie-in comes out next week, Indignation, Philip Roth (PRH/Vintage).
The film, starring Eddie Redmayne as magician Newt Scamander, as well as Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, and Katherine Waterston. is directed by David Yates, who was responsible for 4 of the 7 original Potter films. It is scheduled to release on November 18, 2016.
The screenplay, written by Rowling, will be released as a book the day after the movie debuts, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, by J K Rowling (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books).
According to Variety, the Divergent series is likely to move to the small screen as disappointing box office is leading the studio Lionsgate to consider skipping the big screen ending.
Instead the plan appears to be the release of a made-for-TV movie, using it to launch a spin-off series.
Although nothing has been finalized or confirmed, according to Variety it is likely that Ascendant will not open in June 2017 as planned and it remains unclear “if stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and others will return for the Ascendant television movie.”
The first two films did well at the box office but the third film sank, leading to the possible change of plans. Deadline states there is a “decreasing interest in the property from its core audience at the box office each year.”
Girls’ soccer gets the spotlight from Amazon Studios, which just announced the launch of a new series based on the middle grade novls by U.S. Women’s National Team star player Alex Morgan. Like the books, the series is titled The Kicks. The pilot, which was released last year as part of Amazon’s kids pilot season, is still available on Amazon. All nine live-action episodes will be avail on Aug. 26 for Prime members.
Morgan introduces the series in the trailer:
Proclaims lead character, Devin Burke, played by newcomer Sixx Orange, “I am NOT a princess, I am a soccer BEAST!”
Even more Stars Wars related titles are being released, as outlined by Comicbook.com.
A special, not yet public clip featured at the just-concluded “Star Wars Celebration” fan conference held in London, confirms that Darth Vader is in the film, reports Deadline Hollywood, (not a big surprise, since he is listed in the credits). Below is the recently released “Celebration” trailer (sans Vadar).
It follows the first teaser trailer, released in April:
The major theatrical release this week is the family movie Ice Age: Collision Course, opening Friday July 22. The fifth in the series, it features all the usual characters, plus a few more, as they try to save the world from an asteroid collision (and do battle at the box office with The Secret Life of Pets and Finding Dory).
Also coming is Into the Forrest, an adaptation of Jean Hegland’s 1996 novel about two sisters trying to survive after a massive power outage. When it premiered at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival Variety called it “heartfelt but under-realized,” and did not think much of its commercial prospects. It did not get picked up for a major release. Instead it premieres on DirectTV on June 23 (and in NY/LA theaters) before opening in wider release at the end of the month.
Tony-winning Daveed Diggs, who earned the coveted statue for his origination of the roles of Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette in Lin Manuel-Miranda’s Hamilton, is heading to the Stephen Chbosky film Wonder, based on the long-running middle-grade bestseller by R.J. Palacio, Wonder (RH/ Knopf Young Readers, 2012).
The critically acclaimed novel is about a 10 year-old boy with facial abnormalities who has been homeschooled and what happens when he enters a public school. Diggs will play Mr. Browne, says Deadline Hollywood, “an English teacher at the school whose approach to literature is to teach what it means to be human.”
He will star alongside Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts.
Vanity Faircomments that the trailer gives hope that the movie will live up to the book’s heart-wrenching story and beautiful illustrations.
The movie debuts on October 21st.
Candlewick is releasing two tie-ins, including a hardcover “Special Collector’s Edition” that, in addition to the original illustrated YA novel, includes new essays by Ness, who worked on the screenplay, previously unpublished early sketches by illustrator Jim Kay and interviews with the director, cast, and crew.
Just nine days before it was scheduled to debut in theaters, the adaptation of Tulip Fever has been moved to Feb. 2017.
Variety reports that no explanation was offered as to why the film was pushed back, even though it was “thought to be a potential awards contender.” Playlist writes that the move signals a lack of faith in the final product.
It is based on the novel by Deborah Moggach, who also wrote The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love) wrote the screenplay and the film stars Alicia Vikander, Zach Galifianakis, Judi Dench, and Christoph Waltz. A tie-in has not yet been issued, although the paperback edition is headlined with “Now a Major Motion Picture.”
Here is the preview:
Definitely opening this week is The Infiltrator, recounting the true crime story of the take down of one of the world’s most notorious drug kingpins.
Playing an undercover agent, Bryan Cranston moves from cooking drugs on the small screen in his hit show Breaking Bad, to trying to shut down their production on the big screen. He is joined by John Leguizamo and Diane Kruger.
Reviews are strong thus far. Variety says, “Bryan Cranston gets a film role worthy of his ability to break bad in a tensely exciting true-life drama.”
The Wrap calls it “addictive,” and while The Hollywood Reporter has some issues with the “boilerplate crime drama,” it praises “Cranston’s ace performance.”
The film opens July 13. The tie-in came out on June 21, The Infiltrator: My Secret Life Inside the Dirty Banks Behind Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel, Robert Mazur (Hachette/Back Bay).
The adaptation of the hit 1984 movie Ghostbusters opens July 15, featuring the all-female cast of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. The remake has been dogged by haters on the internet, who don’t want to see the classic tampered with. An early review from Variety duns the movie for being an overly reverent remake.
Coming off the long holiday weekend, the media is wondering what went wrong at the box office for Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed The BFG., based on the book by Roald Dahl.
Opening this week is a childrens movie that is the opposite of The BFG, panned by critics, but expected to do very well.
Secret Life of Pets opens July 8. The animated film follows the adventures of pets when no owners are watching. It stars the voices of Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, and Kevin Hart.
Reviews are generally flat for the comic romp created by the same team that made “the ultra-successful Despicable Me and Minions movies.”The Guardian gives it 3 out of 5 stars and calls it “silly but funny.” Indiewire gives it a B-, saying “It may be technically impeccable, but it’s something less than a feeling.” The reviewer for Den of Geek says, “I’m sure it’ll make lots and lots of money … I’m less sure that lots and lots of people will love it.”
Horrorfreak News says it is an “absolute disaster … A disappointment and an embarrassment – for all those involved … With all of the mega-talent surrounding this production, I have to ask, “Seriously, what happened here?’”
BloodyDisgusting says “Given the absurdity of the premise, you’d think Cell would be an entertaining ride. It’s not. It’s gratuitously grim and gloomy, with no real message to drive this misery home … The story packs absolutely no punch and the solid stable of actors look bored.”
The film was released on June 10th on VOD and opens, without much promotion, in a limited run of theaters on July 8. A tie-in came out last week.
Our Little Sister, a Japanese film with subtitles, is opening in LA and NYC on July 8, to be followed by a wider release later. It is based on the manga series Umimachi Diary by Akimi Yoshida.
It received modest to glowing reviews when it aired at Cannes. The Guardian said the “sweetly tender movie … is superbly unforced and unassuming, finding delicate notes of affirmation and optimism and discreetly celebrating the beauty of nature and family love. It is watercolour cinema with nothing watery about it.”
The Hollywood Reporter, on the other hand, sums it up as “Generous spirited, pristinely shot and, quite frankly, somewhat dull.”
No tie-in edition was issued and the series was not published in the US. The author wrote the Banana Fish series, published in the U.S. by Viz Media.
Both Jackson and director David Yates tell Variety that Williams deserves a film of his own. Unfortunately, however, this movie may not make the best case for it. The LA Times writes, “Part comic relief, part valued ally, Williams is an altogether puzzling script component, and Jackson’s habit of sounding like he just stepped out of Pulp Fiction does not help things.”
For more about Williams and this period, two backlist titles are available:
George Washington Williams: A Biography, written by the Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient John Hope Franklin (Duke UP, 1998)
Pop culture sites are full of excited reactions to the trailer for the Warner adaptation of The Girl With All The Gifts, a zombie novel published in 2014 by M.R. Carey (Hachette/Orbit; Hachette Audio/Blackstone; OverDrive Sample). The book is also rising on Amazon’s sales rankings as a result of the attention.
io9 says “The Girl With All the Gifts looks unlike any zombie movie we’ve ever seen—and if it’s half as good as the book, it’ll be a genre standout for sure.”
ars technica says “At last, a new zombie movie that looks original and compelling … Pop culture may be reaching peak zombie, but stories like The Girl with All the Gifts prove that even the most tired tropes can feel vital again if they’re done right.”
Librarians may recall the novel was an Indie Next pick and made the USA Today bestseller list. The short story version (“Iphigenia in Aulis”) was a finalist for the 2013 Edgar Awards.
The film staring Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine and Glenn Close, is directed by Colm McCarthy, who has run several hit British TV shows including Sherlock, Doctor Who, and The Tudors.
M.R. Carey is a lightly disguised pen name for Mike Carey who is best known in the comics world (he has worked on both Marvel and DC series) and wrote The Unwritten (PRH/Vertigo; coming in hardback in a collected edition Dec. 2016). Under the Mike Carey name he is also known for the Felix Castor novel series (The Devil You Know [Hachette/Orbit] is the first).