Archive for the ‘Books & Movies’ Category

From MAD MEN to HANDMAID

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

9780385490818The streaming service Hulu has announced it is adapting Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1986) into a 10-episiode drama. The news sent the novel rising on Amazon’s sales charts.

Elisabeth Moss, who made her name on Mad Men, will star. Atwood will serve as a consulting producer.

In a hulu press release Atwood says:

The Handmaid’s Tale is more relevant now than when it was written, and I am sure the series will be watched with great interest. I have read the first two scripts and they are excellent; I can hardly wait to see the finished episodes.”

The series is set to debut in 2017 and will be the second screen adaptation of Atwood’s dystopian novel. A 1990 film starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall told the story of a religious totalitarian state that controls women and their fertility. The scathing and grim novel has also been adapted into a graphic novel, an opera, and a ballet.

The novel won the inaugural Arthur C. Clarke award and was nominated for the Booker Prize and Nebula Award. In 2012, Atwood wrote an essay for The Guardian on the novel’s genesis and legacy.

Hitting Screens, Week of May 2

Friday, April 29th, 2016

MV5BMjQ0MTgyNjAxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjUzMDkyODE@._V1_SX214_AL_The big screen debut of the week is Captain America: Civil War, opening May 6 and hoping to knock The Jungle Book out of first place (Jungle Book is not likely to be unseated this weekend, according to box office prognosticators).

USA Today gives the Captain 3.5 stars out of 4. Entertainment Weekly gives it a strong A- saying it offers “a sense of fun and joy missing from that other recent superhero smackdown” and goes on to comment that what is “essentially a third Avengers movie [is] the best one yet.”

Comic Book Resources agrees, “it’s not just breathtaking in its visuals, it’s heartbreaking in its content, making [it] one of the best Marvel movies yet.” The Guardian rounds up the praise with a 4 out of 5 starred review.

There are some doubters in the mix however, as typified by Indiewire‘s pointed C grade. They say “The Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t get much better than this — and that’s a big problem.”

Tie-ins include a re-print of the graphic novel Civil War Movie Edition, Mark Millar and illustrated by Steve McNiven (Hachette/Marvel) and Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War: The Deluxe Junior Novel, Marvel (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; in paperback as well).

The Family FangMV5BMjA5ODk5NTY3MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzI4Mjg1ODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_ opens on May 6 too. While based on the librarian-favorite novel by Kevin Wilson (HarperCollins/Ecco, 2011), it unfortunately has all the hallmarks of being a minor film for the studios, opening in a limited number of theaters on April 29, followed by a simultaneous VOD release and a wider, but not very wide, theatrical roll-out.

Entertainment Weekly gives it a B, saying director Jason Bateman provides a “sensitivity that the story’s sour whimsy doesn’t quite deserve” while People magazine makes it one of their picks of the week, saying, “Nicole Kidman delivers a strong turn … The Surprise is Batemen … Best known for his dry wit, he can also deliver the tears.”

A tie-in has not been announced, but the paperback edition carries a “Now major motion picture” sticker.

MV5BMjExNjMyMDk3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTg4MzgxMw@@._V1_UY268_CR3,0,182,268_AL_The final season of Wallander begins airing on May 8 and will run until the 22nd on PBS stations. Starring Kenneth Branagh the show is based on Henning Mankell’s Swedish crime series. New to the cast this year is Harry Hadden-Paton, who viewers last saw as Edith’s fiancé, Bertie Pelham, on Downton Abbey.

Mankell died last year. At that time Branagh told the BBC:

In life and in art Henning Mankell was a man of passionate commitment. I will miss his provocative intelligence and his great personal generosity. Aside from his stringent political activism, and his decades of work in Africa, he also leaves an immense contribution to Scandinavian literature. His loving family, and those privileged to know him, together with readers from all over the world, will mourn a fine writer and a fine man.

Screen Deal for MEN WE REAPED

Friday, April 29th, 2016

9781608195213Lee Daniels has optioned the film and TV rights to Men We Reaped, Jesmyn Ward (Macmillan/Bloomsbury, 2013).

As reported in Entertainment Weekly, the executive producer of Empire and director of The Butler has not released plans but says  Ward’s critically-acclaimed memoir could not be in better hands.

EW calls it “a natural fit” pointing out that “Daniels is responsible for racially-conscious films like Monster’s Ball, The Butler, and Precious.” Ward continues to write powerfully and with great resonance about race in America.

9781501126345_a59b8Her next project, says EW, is The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race (S&S/Scribner, Aug. 2, 2016), an anthology of essays and poems that address the past, current, and future racism in the United States. Contributors include Edwidge Danticat, Claudia Rankine, Natasha Trethewey, Isabel Wilkerson, and Kevin Young.

New WATERSHIP DOWN Adaptation

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Watership_Down_coverNetflix and the BBC are set to produce a new four-episode adaptation of Richard Adams’ 1972 novel, Watership Down (S&S/Scribner).

Deadline Hollywood reports it will star John Boyega, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Ben Kingsley, and Gemma Arterton, directed by Noam Murro (300: Rise Of The Empire). The CG animation team is headed by Pete Dodd (Fantastic Mr Fox).

The fantasy adventure novel, much like Tolkien’s The Hobbit, has been a crossover hit with both kids and adults for decades that has been adapted twice before, as a hit movie in 1978 and as a British/Canadian TV series 20 years later. The story follows a group of anthropomorphized rabbits as they escape the destruction of their home (as foreseen by one of their members) and seek a new place to live, all the while facing great danger.

Recalling the darkness of the 1978 adaptation (more on that in a Guardian interview with the author from 2014), the A.V. Club declares that Netflix and the BBC are on course to “ensure that no generation of children goes without the character-building experience of waking up screaming at the thought of being messily devoured by rabbits, or drowned in pastoral fields of blood … [with a] star-studded cast lined up to appear in the ongoing nightmares of every child whose parent puts on “the cute bunny movie” and leaves them to their fates.”

The series is still in development, so there is no word yet on an air date.

SNOWDEN, First Trailer

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Director Oliver Stone’s interpretation of the Edward Snowden story, based on
Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, (RH/Vintage; trade pbk tie-in, 8/23/16), titled simply Snowden, is set for release on Sept. 16.

The trailer released today, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the title role, gives a taste:

Also in the movie are Shailene Woodley as Snowden’s girlfriend and Zachary Quinto as journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Curiously,  a rival project based on Greenwald’s  book,  No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio) was announced two years ago.

Even curiouser, as we reported earlier, there has also been a rivalry between the authors of the books each of the films are based on. In an interview in the Financial Times, Greenwald dismissed Harding’s as a “bullshit book … written by someone who has never met or even spoken to Edward Snowden.”

TULIP FEVER Arrives in July

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Tulip FeverThe adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel Tulip Fever (PRH/Delacorte, 2000) was filmed back in 2014, so yesterday’s announcement of a July 15 release date seems sudden.

The industry news site IndieWire suggests that the Weinstein Company has held back the release for a reason, as they are known for “sitting on movies when they don’t make the grade” also citing that “American audiences are still waiting to see the WWII tale Suite Francaise starring Michelle Williams and Matthias Schoenaerts”

No trailer has been released for Tulip Fever, starring Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander, along with Christoph Waltz, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger, Cara Delevingne, Judi Dench and, Zach Galafianakis and no tie-in has been announced.

Vikander also stars in the film adaptation of The Light Between Oceans, set to open on Labor Day.

CELL, the Trailer

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Two long-awaited Stephen King adaptations are scheduled for release next year. Yet another has just been announced for this year.

As the fan site Slash Film says, “Everyone has been so focused on the currently filming adaptation of The Dark Tower, the upcoming adaptation of It, and the ever-in-development big screen version of The Stand that we completely forgot that another Stephen King adaptation was on the way.”

Published in 2006, movie rights to Cell sold quickly but then the project bounced around to various studios and director.

There may be a reason this adaptation has been overlooked. Slashfilm describes the plot as “built around a ridiculous premise that feels like a parody of a Stephen King book … One day, everyone using a cell phone is driven insane and begins to viciously attack anyone near them … Cell is lesser King, but it’s gnarly and weird and a brisk read.”

It is set for release on Ultra VOD on June 10th before simultaneous theatrical and regular VOD release on July 8.

The trailer, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson has just been released. No tie-ins have been announced.

[UPDATE: Eerily, the Cell trailer seems to no longer be available. The YouTube link is here, but at the time of this posting, it didn’t work]

HP, the Prequel and the Sequel

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Fantastic Beasts, screenplayAnnounced on the Pottermore Web site on Tuesday,  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, will be published in the U.S. by Scholastic on November 19, the day after the release of the movie. Presumably, it is being held off until after the movie debuts to avoid spoilers.

Meanwhile, the original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Scholastic; 9780545850568), a faux Hogwarts textbook, is only available from used book retailers.

More may be coming. At the time of the announcement of the movie, it was also announced that Warner Bros has agreements in place with Scholastic to “publish children’s movie tie-in books for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and its sequels, as well as tie-in books based on the original eight Harry Potter films.” and for adult tie-ins with HarperCollins that “will delve into, and behind the scenes of, the richly textured film and its sequels to enhance fans’ enjoyment of the new stories. Books will include details about how the films were made, the process of art and design, interviews with the cast and crew, and interactive formats such as colouring and postcard books.”

HP Cursed ChildRowling caused excitement earlier this year when she gave fans the impression that Harry Potter 8 would be published this summer. In fact, the book is the script of the play, titled Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts I & II (Scholastic) set to debut London’s Palace Theatre on July 30th. According to the announcement, it is  “based on an original new story by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. It is officially the eighth story in Harry Potter canon and a new play by Jack Thorne.”

A new trailer for Fantastic Beast was released earlier this month.

Stephen King’s IT To Begin Filming (Again)

Monday, April 25th, 2016

9781501142970_c0849Fans may take with a grain of salt the newly announced release date of Sept 8, 2017 for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 novel It (cover, at left, from the S&S/Scribner trade paperback, released in January). The project has been on the burner since 2012. Back in December of 2014, it was confidently announced that it was set to begin filming the following summer, with True Detective‘s Cary Fukunaga directing.

Fukunaga left the project last May and has since been replaced by Andy Muschietti. Entertainment Weekly reports that “Fans of King’s novel should be pleased with the current take on the script” quoting the producer saying it will be in two parts, one “from the point of view of the kids, and then making another movie from the point of view of the adults, that could potentially then be cut together like the novel. But it’s gonna be a really fun way of making this movie.”

Currently filming, also after many delays, is the movie adaptation of King’s The Dark Tower, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. It is set for release Feb. 17, 2017, so two long-awaited King adaptations may arrive next year.

Hitting Screens, Week of April 25

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

MV5BMTc3NTUzNTI4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU0NjU5NzE@._V1_SX214_AL_The Jungle Book continues to dominate the box office with Deadline Hollywood predicting that the juggernaut will continue this weekend. Entertainment Weekly marvels that it has already earned “a whopping $103.6 million domestically and $240 million worldwide” and has “demolished expectations to earn the second highest April opening in box office history, second only to last year’s Furious 7.”

Good thing; a sequel was announced even before the movie was released.

9780062389503_bb806We have reported on the tie-ins but there are other books timed to the movie including a new illustrated complete edition of Kipling’s tales, The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Minalima Ltd. (HC/Harper Design).

If the excitement makes you wonder about that other Jungle Book adaptation in the works  from Warner Bros., you are not alone. Entertainment Weekly writes about the rivalry and likely differences, the chief one being that first-time director Andy Serkis has said his movie will be “a lot darker” than the Disney version.

Variety reports the release date for the Warner Bros. edition has recently been pushed forward to 2018, shifting from Oct. 2017, to allow for more separation from the Disney hit.

Deadline reports, given the extra time the studio now has, that Oscar-winning Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron has been bought on board to “give notes on the project and see if there are ways … to improve the picture.” Cuaron is just one more big name on the project. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Matthew Rhys are all part of the film and Andy Serkis (who perfect performance-capture technique play Gollum in Lord of the Rings) is playing Baloo as well as directing and producing.

Den of Geek reports the studio has changed the name as well, changing it from Jungle Book:Origins to simply The Jungle Book, a move that will surely cause confusion as Disney powers ahead with a planned sequel, The Jungle Book 2.

MV5BMjM5OTQ1MTY5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjM3NzMxODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Also of note is the 4/24 Sunday premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Rolling Stone offers 11 questions they have about the show, which serves as a timely catch-up to where things stand.

Two new adaptations open in theaters next week, one based on a book and the other on a video game (with book tie-ins).

MV5BMTA5ODYyMzY1MTleQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU4MDY3NTE2NTgx._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Starring Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones, The Man Who Knew Infinity opens April 29th. It is based on Robert Kanigel’s 1991 book of the same title, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a New York Times Book Review‘s Notable Books of the Year.

A new tie-in edition is out on the 26th: The Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius Ramanujan, Robert Kanigel (S&S/ Washington Square Press).

The NYT offers a feature on the film, which is about an impoverished math genius from India, who has “the ability to divine formulas seemingly from thin air that, a century later, are informing computer development, economics and the study of black holes.” However,  both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety give it lackluster reviews.

9781338030426_dd55c 9781338030419_fdc0e

Also opening on the 29th is an animated movie Ratchet & Clank, based on the SF video game series that features a Lombax (a cat-like species that walks on two feet) and a robot who have adventures across multiple galaxies.

Scholastic is releasing two tie-in titles. Ratchet and Clank: The Movie Novel, Kate Howard (Scholastic; OverDrive Sample) and Ratchet and Clank: Hero Time (The Movie Reader), Meredith Rusu (Scholastic; OverDrive Sample). Forthcoming in August is the Game Guide Book (Ratchet and Clank), (Scholastic).

Entertainment Weekly reports a new tie-in game is also out. In their game review The Verge calls it “the best possible commercial for the upcoming animated movie.”

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN,
First Trailer

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

It’s here!

The setting is changed from the book’s London location to New York (thus, no images of gin and tonics in a can. In fact, the main character Rachel’s heavy drinking is only hinted at), but Emily Blunt keeps her British accent.

The movie arrives in theaters on Oct. 7th.

Alice Munro via Almodovar

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

It may be hard to imagine, but three short stories by a Nobel-winning Canadian writers known for her modesty and the realism and psychological insight of her writing, have been adapted into a film by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, known for his flamboyance, splashy story telling and occasional use of surrealism.

Julieta_posterThe movie Julieta, was recently announced as an Official Selection for the Cannes Competition. It premiered in Spain earlier this month where, according to Deadline it was well-received and described as “a brilliant adaptation that lets you know you’re in the hands of a master.”

Unfortunately, the Hollywood Reporter and Variety reviewers did not see it the that way.

9781400077915_50f22Based on three short stories from Munro’s collection Runaway (PRH/Knopf), about a Vancouver woman named Juliet Henderson, Almodovar moves the setting to Madrid and changes the character’s name to Julieta Diaz.

It is set to open in the UK in August; no US release date or tie-in has been announced.

Another cross-cultural adaptation in the competition is Korean director Park Chan-wook’s modernized version of Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith (PRH/Riverhead) titled Agassi (The Handmaiden). The director talks about the changes he made to the novel in an interview in Variety.

In less of a stretch, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG based on the novel by Roald Dahl will also be shown at the festival which runs May 11-22.

THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, Renewed Hopes

Monday, April 18th, 2016

9780375725609A new deal between Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way and Paramount Pictures brings renewed attention to the long-simmering film adaptation of Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City (RH/Crown, 2003). Deadline reports that the movie, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring the actor could be “DiCaprio’s next major project.

As we observed last August, the adaptation has had a long gestation period. Tom Cruise acquired the rights, planning to star, in 2003 but nothing came of it and DiCaprio bought the rights in 2010. It was not until screenwriter Billy Ray (The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips) figured out a way to tell the book’s dual story that power players got behind the adaptation once again.

DiCaprio clearly likes book adaptations. His production company is currently at work on Live By Night, based on the Dennis Lehane novel and directed by Ben Affleck.

9780425170410He has two other book adaptations in mind as well, Variety reports. One is based on the forthcoming YA post-apocalyptic novel Sandcastle Empire by debut author Kayla Olson, to be published by HarperTeen in the summer of 2017, according to the author’s website. Also in development is another long simmering project, a limited television series adaptation of A. Scott Berg’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Charles Lindbergh.

A caution, however, as The Guardian reports, “Appian Way is a serial purchaser of rights to promising Hollywood projects, not all of which see the light of day.”

Hitting Screens, Week of April 18

Friday, April 15th, 2016

MV5BMTc3NTUzNTI4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU0NjU5NzE@._V1_SX214_AL_The Jungle Book continues to earn stellar reviews and is set to open to acclaim this week. Writing for RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz sums up the general take:

“I saw the newest Disney version of The Jungle Book in the company of my enthralled 12-year old son, and there were moments when I envied him—but not too many, because the film is so surefooted in its effects, so precise and simple in its characterizations, and so clear about what it’s trying to say about the relationship between humanity and nature, that it made me feel about his age again, too. Maybe younger.”

Entertainment Weekly, Deadline, and USA TODAY all follow suit with The A.V. Club offering a rare dissent.

Today we focus on 3 movies of the adaptations arriving next week with tie-ins and big prospects (there are more, see our Upcoming Books to Movies and TV spreadsheet).

The Night Manager debuts on AMC (imported from the BBC) in a six-part miniseries that had already enjoyed gushing praise, so much so that fans are asking for a second season.

Promoting the the US release, stars Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie both say there will only be the one season.

9780399594007_44c2dThe TV show is based on The Night Manager (TV Tie-in Edition) by John le Carré (PRH/Ballantine Books) in which a former British solider goes undercover to investigate an arms dealer.

The series begins in the US on April 19. One indicator of its success is that, after its release in the UK, tourist business increased to Mallorca, a major setting of the show.

MV5BMTU2MzU1NTg4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzQ5MjAzODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_9781101973776_f4117Hologram for the King have sneaked up on many with even the tie-in edition coming out just a week ahead of the film’s opening.

If you aren’t aware of it, you’re not out of the loop. There hasn’t been a great deal of press coverage yet, even though the trailer got attention and Entertainment Weekly listed it as one of “20 of 2016’s Most Anticipated Book-to-Movie Adaptations.”

The film is directed by Tom Tykwer (Cloud Atlas) and stars Tom Hanks, Ben Whishaw, Tom Skerritt, and Sarita Choudhury. Based on Dave Eggers’s 2012 novel, a finalist for the National Book Award, it tells the story of a washed-out American salesman trying to change his fortunes with a deal out of Saudi Arabia.

MV5BMjM5OTQ1MTY5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjM3NzMxODE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_The season six premiere of Game of Thrones airs on April 24th, finally putting an end to months of speculation over what is going to happen now that the TV series jumps ahead of  George R.R. Martin’s novels. As a result, there is no tie-in for this season, with Martin writing that the next book will “be done when it’s done.”

A new trailer was released this week, prompting the fan site Den of Geek to analyze the many promos to date.

 

Finally, THE FAMILY FANG

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

family-fang

If you had a tough time imagining Kevin Wilson’s quirky novel The Family Fang (HarperCollins/Ecco, 2011) as a movie, the trailer released this week gives hope that the adaptation might actually work.

Early reviews, based on a showing at the Toronto Internation Film Festival, are mostly positive, with an 80% positive rating from critics tracked on Rotten Tomatoes.

A GalleyChat favorite, the book was acquired by Nicole Kidman’s production company, Kidman stars, along with Jason Bateman, who also directs the project.

For those unfamiliar with the book, it has nothing to do with vampires, but with a quirky family of performance artists.

The film was acquired for distribution by Stars Digital. It will be shown in a limited number of  theaters on April 29, followed by a national rollout and simultaneous VOD release on May 6.

A tie-in has not been announced, but the paperback edition carries a “Now major motion picture” sticker,