Archive for the ‘Books & Movies’ Category

HIDDEN FIGURES Goes To The White House

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

9780062363602_4650aThe cast and director of the upcoming film Hidden Figures will be hosted tonight by First Lady Michelle Obama at a special White House screening.

In addition to several cast members, 97-year-old Katherine G. Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson in the film, is also expected to attend. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom last year. NASA profiles her as “The Girl Who Loved to Count.”

Below is the ceremony. Johnson’s award begins at 30:24.

9780062662385_6084fHidden Figures is based on a book that is #5 on Time magazine’s list of the best nonfiction of the year, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly, released as a tie-in last month, (HC/William Morrow Paperbacks; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). 

It is one of the hot films of the season and debuts in a limited, Oscar-qualifying run, on Christmas Day. It will open in wide release on January 6.

Early reviews are strong. The Wrap says the movie:

“not only stirringly celebrates intelligent women of color (and the very idea of science itself), but it also offers a more realistic-seeming portrayal of racism than we generally get in American movies … Hidden Figures is feel-good history, but it works, and it works on behalf of heroes from a cinematically under-served community. These smart, accomplished women had the right stuff, and so does this movie.”

Golden Books

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

The nominees for the 2017 Golden Globes include a number of TV shows and films with book connections. As the LA Times puts it in their rundown, so many that “if you’re more at home in a library or a bookstore than a movie theater, you’re likely to find some reading material to curl up with while the rest of your family is gathered around the television set.”

Most of the nominees are already well known, as we have noted:

mv5bm2q4zty1mdatywqxys00ywm0lwfjzdmtngezntdhmmq3mdizxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjuyoti5mq-_v1_sy1000_cr007541000_al_One is much less familiar, My Life as a Zucchini, an animated film from Switzerland based on Autobiographie D’une Courgette (J’Ai Lu Editions, 2003; no English translation), a YA novel by the French journalist Gilles Paris.

Selected as the Swiss entry for Best Foreign Language Film for this year’s Oscars, it just won the European Film Awards category for best European animated feature (here is its official entry page).

The story is about a young boy who becomes an orphan following the death of his alcoholic mother. Taken to an orphanage by a police officer who befriends him, the boy must learn to cope with his new life and surroundings as he interacts with other traumatized children.

Variety says “Leave it to a French-language stop-motion film to cut closer to the reality of the orphan experience than Annie, Matilda or any number of like-minded live-action melodramas … the cartoon is never afraid to be cute, but more importantly, it’s committed to being real.”

The Hollywood Reporter calls it “lovingly told and gorgeously rendered” and says “Though not as dark as the book that inspired it, nor as directly critical of the French welfare state [it is] not exactly a tale for all ages. That said, savvy distributors who know how to market high-end animated films to older audiences should get some decent mileage out of this Courgette.”

Variety reports that North American distribution rights have been sold, but so far, no release date has been announced.

Hitting Screens, Week of Dec. 12, 2016

Monday, December 12th, 2016

It’s going to be a big weekend in theaters with the opening of the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One this Friday (see titles to know for tie-ins). Nevertheless, a new film adaptation of a novel by Patricia Highsmith, A Kind of Murder, starring Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel, also dares to debut, although it is set for release in just a limited number of theaters as well as on demand.

9780393322446_8b16eReviewing it when it was featured at the Tribeca Film Festical in April, Variety was not enthusiastic, calling  it a “stylish adaptation,” but although the “thrills are mitigated by convoluted plotting and suspect character behavior, the film’s uniquely bleak twist on classic noir conventions is enlivening.”

Based Highsmith’s The Blunderer, 1954 available in a 2001 trade paperback from Norton.There are no tie-ins.

Also on Friday, Amazon debuts the second season of their well-received adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s classic 1954 SF title, The Man in the High Castle.

A tie-in was released last year, timed to the first season.

9780544817289_e9678The Man in the High Castle (Tie-In)
HMH/ Mariner Books 
Trade Paperback 

PART-TIME INDIAN Heads
To The Movies

Friday, December 9th, 2016

9780316013680Greeting the news that Sherman Alexie is adapting his beloved, best-selling, and National Book Award winning novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, for the big screen (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; OverDrive Sample), The Seattle Review of Books notes, “This is a big damn deal for a book that has demonstrated remarkable longevity with young readers.”

The Hollywood Reporter writes that Hugh Jackman, “will play a supporting role in the film as well as serve in some producing capacity.”

Temple Hill, who helped bring another YA favorite, The Fault in Our Stars, to theaters will produce along with the Donners’ Company (Deadpool), says THR.

Alexie made the announcement via Twitter:

9780316504041_008e7There is no word on when the film will debut, but 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the novel. Hachette is marking the occasion with an anniversary edition to be published with a new cover and bonus material on Oct. 3, 2017, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (10th Anniversary Edition), (Hachette/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).

Hitting Screens,
Week of December 5, 2016

Monday, December 5th, 2016

At the domestic box office over the weekend, the adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts is doing well enough in its third week to expect that the franchise will continue through the planned four more films. The screenplay is now #2 on the USA Today after two weeks.

The much lower budget Arrival, based on the short story by Ted Chiang, is also doing well and has brought new attention to the author.

mv5bmtk5otm2mjqynl5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjm2nde0mdi-_v1_sx675_cr00675999_al_A single adaptation opens this weekend, All We Had, the indie film that marks the directorial debut of Katie Holmes. She stars as well as a hard-luck mother besieged by difficulties. The film also features Stefania Owen, Luke Wilson, Richard Kind, Mark Consuelos, Judy Greer, and Eve Lindley.

It is based on the debut novel of the same name by Annie Weatherwax (S&S/Scribner, 2015; OverDrive Sample) about the very difficult lives of those living on the uncertain edge of the American economy.

Reviews are not strong but some are more complimentary than others. The Guardian is the most receptive, giving it three stars and saying “A stellar, brazen performance by the Dawson’s Creek actor and her strong cast keep this film, about the bond between a wayward mother and daughter, afloat.”

Variety was not as kind, writing “Katie Holmes makes an undistinguished helming debut with All We Had, a middlebrow drama with no pretensions but also no depth.”

The film will open on Dec. 9 in both theaters and on demand. There is no tie-in.

The Shack Gets A Trailer

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

9781455567607_01cb2William P. Young’s 2007 self-published inspirational blockbuster, The Shack, (later picked up by Hachette/Grand Central; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) has had a long road to the silver screen. We first wrote about the movie deal in 2013 when Summit Entertainment acquired the film rights.

The first trailer is sending the book zooming once again on Amazon, rising to #59 from #997. Entertainment Weekly reports it has sold 20 million copies since its release date.

The film stars Sam Worthington (Avatar), as a father who has lost is faith in the face of unspeakable tragedy. Octavia Spencer (The Help) plays God. Grammy winner Tim McGraw stars as well, alongside Radha Mitchell.

The film will debut on March 3, 2017.

Tie-ins have already been released. The Shack, Wm. Paul Young (Hachette/Windblown Media; also in mass market).

Hitting Screens, Week of Nov. 28th

Monday, November 28th, 2016

This must be a record. No new film adaptations open this coming weekend.

9781338132083_7fb14  9780736435741_f3789

In its second week in theaters, the Harry Potter prequel/spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ranked number 2 at the box office over the Thanksgiving holidaybehind Disney’s Moana. See our earlier post, for more information about the latter, including tie-ins.

Director Peter Jackson Finds
a New Series to Adapt

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

9780545222112The force behind The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film adaptations is bringing another UK import to the big screen, the SF series by Philip Reeve known as Predator Cities. The first book is Mortal Engines (Scholastic; OverDrive Sample) and as of now, that will be the name of the new Peter Jackson film (note, in the US the series is called the Hungry City Chronicles).

The first novel, published in 2003, opens the dystopian series in which cities on caterpillar tracks move about in search of other cities to attack in a quest for a dwindling amount of resources caused by a devastating global war. It features a 15-year-old orphan named Tom Natsworthy who is flung off the moving city of London along with Hester Shaw, another orphan. The pair finds themselves lost in the wasteland of the ruined landscape hunted by a cyborg.

It was a ALA Notable Children’s Book and made SLJ‘s best books list and YALSA Best Books for Young Adult list. In their starred review, PW wrote “Like the moving cities it depicts, Reeve’s debut novel is a staggering feat of engineering, a brilliant construction that offers new wonders at every turn.”

Variety reports that Jackson and Fran Walsh “co-wrote the screenplay with their LOTR and Hobbit collaborator, Philippa Boyens, who serves as co-producer.”

The film is set to open on Dec. 14, 2018. According to Variety, “That week of December has brought good fortune to Jackson: All six Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies staked out the same pre-Christmas week date.”

STORIES OF YOUR LIFE Taking Off

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

9781101972120_4afa1One surprising winner of the political season has been the under-the-radar Science Fiction writer, Ted Chiang. Well known to the SF fan-base but not a household name, Chiang has won an impressive number of major science fiction awards even though he has written just 15 short stories, most of them originally published in magazines.

By far his most famous, “Story of Your Life,” is the basis for the film Arrival, a movie that got a huge boost as viewers sought escape after the election.

Now the collection that includes that story, Stories Of Your Life And Others (originally published in 2002 by Macmillan/Tor; re-released by PRH/Vintage in 2016; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample) is rising on Amazon, just outside the top 100 bestsellers. It is also racking up large hold ratios. Counting both the original publication and the tie-in edition, some libraries are showing holds as high as 7:1.

Some press coverage has featured the author, such as Wired‘s take on the film, headlined “With Arrival, Ted Chiang Becomes Hollywood’s New Philip K. Dick.”

io9 says “Story Of Your Life Could Be One of the Year’s Most Magical Films” and GQ writes about “How an Unfilmable Story Turned Into the Year’s Best Sci-Fi Movie.”

Writing for The Guardian in 2004, China Miéville offers an explanation of Chiang’s appeal:

“In Chiang’s hands, SF really is the ‘literature of ideas’ it is often held to be, and the genre’s traditional ‘sense of wonder’  is paramount. But though one reads Stories of Your Life with a kind of thematic nostalgia for classic philosophical SF such as that of Asimov and Theodore Sturgeon, the collection never feels dated. Partly this is because the ‘wonder; of these stories is a modern, melancholy transcendence, not the naive 50s dreams of the genre’s golden age. More important, the collection is united by a humane intelligence that speaks very directly to the reader, and makes us experience each story with immediacy and Chiang’s calm passion.”

NPR featured Chiang on All Things Considered, reporting that three more of his stories have been optioned for adaptations. The show also quotes Chiang as saying, “Fiction writing is very hard for me and I’m a very slow writer … I don’t get that many ideas for stories … And I like to take my time when I do get an idea for a story.” “Which means,” says NPR, “that readers get to take their time, too — to chew on Chiang’s craft and carefulness.”

SILENCE Gets A Trailer

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Director Martin Scorsese has adapted a book he has “reread countless times,” one that has given him “a kind of sustenance” that he has “found in only a very few works of art.”

The novel is Shusaku Endo’s Silence: With an Introduction by Martin Scorsese (Peter Owen Publishers, Dec. 1; trade paperback, Macmillan/Picador Modern Classics), first published in 1966 and winner of the Tanizaki Prize, one of Japan’s highest literary honors.

Entertainment Weekly writes that the film is about “a Portuguese Jesuit priest who is persecuted along with other Christians in 17th-century Japan … the hardship inflicted upon them [the priest and two others], and especially on their fellow Christians, puts their faith to the test.” It stars Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, and Adam Driver.

9780720614480_052afIn  addition to the quotes above, Scorsese also writes in his introduction to the tie-in, that the priest in the novel, played by Neeson, “begins on the path of Christ and … ends replaying the role of Christianity’s greatest villain, Judas.” Endo “looks at the problem of Judas more directly than any other artist I know. He understood that, in order for Christianity to live, to adapt itself to other cultures and historical moments, it needs not just the figure of Christ but the figure of Judas as well.”

This is not Scorsese’s first film about religious subjects. He directed The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988 and Kundun in 1997 (about the Dalai Lama).

At a press conference in May, held to promote the first look at the film, Scorsese told reporters that he’d been trying to adapt the book for over 25 years and that “The subject matter presented by Shusaku Endo was in my life since I was very, very young … I was very much involved in religion, I was raised in a strong Catholic family. … Further reflection is how [we] want to lead our life in the Christian faith … so ultimately this book drew my attention when it was given to me in 1988.”

Silence will open Dec. 23 in a limited Oscar-qualifying run before opening in wide release in January.

Hitting Screens, Week of November 21, 2016

Monday, November 21st, 2016

As expected, the Harry Potter prequel/spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, ruled at the box office over the weekend, but some wonder if the $75 million it took in is enough to justify the other four movies planned in the series. Variety notes that, unlike the HP series, audiences for Fantastic Beasts are comprised mostly of adults, indicating that the fan base is aging. That may change, however, when kids get out of school for the Thanksgiving holiday.

mv5bmziyoti5mjmxml5bml5banbnxkftztgwode4ndy3nze-_v1_sy1000_cr007041000_al_To keep kids at home on Thanksgiving, PBS is premiering a new version of Anne of Green Gables at 8 p.m. EST. The film, entitled Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, adapts the beloved childhood novel, also the subject of a forthcoming 2017 Netflix series.

Martin Sheen stars as Matthew Cuthbert, part of the family who cares for the central character Anne Shirley, played by Ella Ballentine.

Shot in Canada, the Canadian Global News says this rendition is “a more modern take on the story, with darker, edgier moments that take it out of the past and into the present … [even as] Montgomery’s own granddaughter, Kate MacDonald Butler, serves as an executive producer on the project, and has given the remake her blessing.”

Variety is not charmed, writing “Though the characters are somewhat recognizable and the adventures faintly ring a bell, the 90-minute made-for-TV movie truncates the plot, flattens the characters, and fumbles through the small-town sentiment that the book’s author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, excelled at … a dull film and a mediocre adaptation.”

mv5bmja3njkznjg2mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmdkymzgzmdi-_v1_sy1000_cr006811000_al_Opening on Nov. 25th is Lion starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, and David Wenham. They join a cast of actors well-known in India, including Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Priyanka Bose, and Tannishtha Chatterjee. The inspirational story is directed by Garth Davis (Top of the Lake).

As we have previously written, it is based on a memoir of an amazing journey of loss and recovery originally titled A Long Way Home, Saroo Brierley (PRH/Viking, 2014, trade paperback, 2015). In the book, Brierley recounts how he was separated from his family in rural India at age 4, when he climbed aboard a train and was carried over a thousand miles away to a city he did not know. He wound up in an orphanage and was adopted and relocated to Tasmania. As an adult, using Google maps, he searches for his lost family.

The film debuts in the Friday after Thanksgiving time slot, not just prime time to attract families looking for entertainment but also good timing for awards. Vanity Fair reports the film is “Already on Awards-Season Short Lists.

The Guardian offers praise, writing “a strong cast, international themes and an emotional true story. From the outset, it’s a film that’s impossible not to find hugely involving.”

The Hollywood Reporter says it “should find a very warm embrace from discerning audiences. It’s that relatively rare breed — a classy crowdpleaser.”

Variety is not sold, writing “Lion seems awfully brazen advertising its deux ex machina right there in its logline, and though the human story is what makes it so compelling, “advertising” remains the operative word. Next up: How Siri helped you find your car keys.”

A new tie-in version is out as well, Lion (Movie Tie-In) (PRH/NAL; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

 

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING Gets Release Date

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

UPDATE: The release date has been shifted to May 19,2017

The film adaptation of Nicola Yoon’s debut novel now has a premiere date, August 18, 2017, reports Deadline Hollywood.

9780553496659_2f2ffEverything, Everything (PRH/Delacorte; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample) received high praise and found many readers when it hit shelves last year and debuted at No. 1 on the NYT YA best-seller list. It earned a glowing NYT review (“gorgeous and lyrical”) and an A- review from Entertainment Weekly (a “complex,” “fresh, moving debut”).

The Hollywood Reporter writes that “rising actors” Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) and Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) will star in the adaptation.

Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses) directs while J. Mills Goodloe (Age of Adaline) writes the script.

Sternberg was one of  Time magazine’s Most Influential Teens 2016, described as:

“one of her generation’s leading social activists, especially regarding race, representation and gender identity. As a result, she’s earned some high-profile admirers. Among them: Gloria Steinem, who sat for a one-on-one interview with Stenberg for Teen Vogue, and Beyoncé …

She is also set to star in another YA novel adaptation, Alexandra Bracken’s Darkest Minds trilogy.

9780553496680_6d3d6Yoon’s second novel, The Sun Is Also a Star, was a finalist this year for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

BEFORE I FALL, First Trailer

Friday, November 18th, 2016

The adaptation of Lauren Oliver’s debut YA novel, Before I Fall, (HarperCollins, 2010) is scheduled for released on March 3, 2017. The first trailer has just been released.

Directed by Ry Russo-Young (Nobody Walks), the film stars Zoey Deutch (Vampire Academy), Halston Sage (Goosebumps), Logan Miller (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) and Jennifer Beals (Flashdance, The L Word).

9780062656322_25b35About a girl who dies in a car crash, but then gets to relive the last day of her life seven times, the book was a best seller.

A tie-in will be published in February.

First Trailer for
ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

The film adaptation of The Zookeeper’s Wife the true story of the valiant couple who rescued 300 Jews from the Nazis by hiding them in the bombed Warsaw Zoo (see the NYT review of the book here), is set for release on March 31, 2017.

The first trailer was released today.

It stars Jessica Chastain who wrote in an essay in The Hollywood Reporter‘s special “Women in Entertainment” issue, that although women make up only 20% of the crew of The Zookeeper’s Wife, that’s “way more” than any film she’s ever worked on. As a result, she said, “You don’t feel a hierarchy; you don’t have anyone feeling like they are being left out or bullied or humiliated.”

A trade paperback tie-in will be released in February

The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story
Diane Ackerman
(Norton;  February 7, 2017)

LIVE BY NIGHT, Final Trailer

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

The final trailer for Ben Affleck’s adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live by Night (Harper/ Morrow; Harperluxe; HarperAudio) has been released. The movie opens in an Oscar-qualifying limited run on December 25th, followed by a nationwide release on January 13, 2017.

In addition to directing and writing the screenplay, Affleck stars with Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Chris Cooper, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina and Elle Fanning. It’s Affleck’s first time in the director’s chair since his award-winning Argo.

the_given_day  Live by Night  9780060004903_615d1

The novel follows the rise of an Irish-American Boston gangster, Joe Coughlan, during the Prohibition era. Prophetically, Entertainment Weeklycalled Live by Night a “ripping, movie-ready yarn that jumps from a Boston prison to Tampa speakeasies to a Cuban tobacco farm.” The book won Lehane an Edgar for Best Novel. In his acceptance speech, he thanked librarians for offering “a light in the darkness for the kids from the wrong side of the tracks.”

Live by Night follows The Given Day, which was the author’s first departure into historical crime. A third book in the series, World Gone By, was published last year.

The tie-in is set for Dec. 7, in mass market and trade paperback (HarperCollins/Morrow). It will contain a preview chapter of Lehane’s forthcoming novel Since We Fell (HarperCollins/Ecco; May 16, 2017).