Archive for the ‘Books & Movies’ Category


Thursday, June 19th, 2014

dornan-interview   1286EW-cover

The movie doesn’t arrive until Valentine’s Day next year, but promo for the adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, began last November with an Entertainment Weekly cover, followed by the release of the first poster in January.

A new round has begun, focusing on a steamier Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey, featured on the cover of Interview magazine and in a still released on the film’s Facebook page which has been picked up by nearly every celeb site (according to People magazine, Dornan “smolders in a black leather jacket while sitting behind the wheel of his Audi R8”).

The trailer may not arrive as quickly as fans hoped. It’s being reported widely that it won’t arrive until at least September, even though a teaser was shown at CinemaCon in Las Vegas in March. It seems new rules prohibit releasing trailers more than five months in advance of the film (although there’s confusion on where those rules originate, which makes us doubtful that the studio will bother to adhere to them).

BLACK MASS Begins Production

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

After many delays, the movie Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch, began shooting two weeks ago in Boston (for those in the area, On Location Vacations has scouted out the filming locations). It is now scheduled for release some time in October, 2015.

9781610391092-2The film is based on the life of legendary Boston crime boss, Whitey Bulger. Now in his eighties, he was finally found guilty of multiple murders and other crimes last year. The Hollywood press greeted the verdict as providing an ending for the inevitable biopic.

As his nickname implies, Bulger was called that because of his white blonde hair, which was also balding. As a result, Depp has had to change his look.

There have been many books about Bulger, but this movie credit goes to Black Mass: Whitey Bulger, the FBI, and a Devil’s Deal, by former Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill (PublicAffairs, 2000; paperback, 2012) .

Whitey Bulger

Published last year, Whitey BulgerAmerica’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice by Kevin Cullen and Shelley Murphy (Norton, 2/11/13) was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air and described as not only a fascinating story, but “just a great read.”

A documentary film about Bulger, Whitey: United States of America V. James J. Bulger  is also on its way, set for a limited theatrical release on June 27, to be broadcast later this year on CNN.


Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

For the movie, Adam Rex’s chapter book, The True Meaning of Smekday, (Disney/Hyperion; Listening Library) has been changed to the more prosaic Home (following an earlier attempt to call it Happy Smekday!) and its world is very colorful, as shown by the first trailer:

The original received a rapturous review in The New York Times Book Review when it was published in 2007; “a story so original, so absorbing and so laugh-out-loud funny that the minute I read the last page, I want to start at the beginning again … [it] will captivate fans of the wordplay and characters in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and of the outrageously entertaining satire of Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

The True Meaning of SMEKDAY   SMEK For President

Written in the form of an essay for a time capsule by an 11-year-old girl nicknamed Tip (her real name is Gratuity), it begins after aliens called the Boov, have invaded the earth. They have changed the name Christmas to Smekday (after one of the Boov leaders). It was illustrator Adam Rex’s first novel (the sequel, Smek For President, is coming in Feb, 2015)

It happens that the rave review was written by EarlyWord Kids Correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek. As such a big fan of the book, we wondered how she’d feel about the trailer. Looks like it scores with her as well:

“I LOVE this! The animators really captured how the alien Boov should look. The section of the story featured in the trailer is exactly the one one that I read aloud when I book talk Smekday. I am really looking forward to this one.” The movie is scheduled for release on March 25, 2015.

The main character, Tip,  is voiced by singer Rihanna and the Boov alien, named Oh, by Jim Parsons (star of The Big Bang Theory). Fans of the book will remember that character was originally named J.Lo  In a twist worthy of the wordplay of the book, the real J.Lo, Jennifer Lopez, voices a different character in the movie.

Closer To Screen, RED SPARROW

Monday, June 16th, 2014


It seems less and less likely that the sequels to The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo will be adapted in to English language movies.

However, the team that worked on the first Dragon, director David Fincher and star Rooney Mara, are in talks to join forces again for another adaptation, based on Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews (S&S/ Scribner), which won an Edgar this year for best first novel.

The Washington Post gave the book a particularly strong review, calling it a “sublime and sophisticated debut,” noting that some of the plot points might render it a “hodgepodge of the fantastic [the main character sees emotions] and the prurient [agents are trained in the art of seduction; “an Upper Volga Kama Sutra”] amid a series of spy vs. spy shenanigans. But the novel is far more grounded.”


Monday, June 16th, 2014

We may soon be able to forgive Tina Fey for her part in that awful adaptation of the critically acclaimed novel, Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz, (Hachette/Grand Central, 2009).

This Is Where I Leave YouThe adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You, (Penguin/Dutton, 2009) starring Fey, Jason Bateman and just about everyone else, debuts on September 12.

It seems the movie is fairly faithful to the book, but with one major change.  It is not told in the first person, but director Shawn Levy is so enamored with many of the book’s lines, as he told an audience at BookCon, he marked a copy of it with the lines he wanted to incorporate into the script.

A trade paperback tie-in edition will be published on July 29.


Monday, June 16th, 2014

0590846280Critical reception was strong for How to Train Your Dragon 2, which opened this weekend, but the box office receipts were a disappointment, earning “only” $50 million (predictions had been $65 million).

Just before the opening, Dreamworks announced a release date for How To … 3 , (6/17/18) as well as a raft of other animated sequels and just one original title, an adaptation of Captain Underpants, based on the best selling Dav Pilkey series (Scholastic).

0545504902_494c4Voicing the leads will be Kevin Hart (George Beard) and Ed Helms (the Captain). Directed by Rob Letterman, the movie  is scheduled for release on Jan. 13, 2017.

Captain Underpants first appeared in The Adventures of Captain Underpants (Scholastic,1997). The eleventh volume in the series, Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000 will be released on August 26.


Friday, June 13th, 2014

The first full-length trailer for Paddintgton, features a slimmer Bear than we’ve come to know from Michael Bond’s beloved books. Voiced by Colin Firth (although impossible to recognize here. UPDATE: There may be a reason Paddington only grunts in this trailer. It was revealed on 6/17 that Firth is leaving the project), he shares the trailer with Downton Abbey‘s Hugh Bonneville. The movie, which also features Nicole Kidman as the evil taxidermist, opens Dec. 12

Official Movie Site:

Paddington  Paddington Bear, Fortnum

Michael Bond began his series in 1958,  with A Bear Called Paddington, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum (published by Collins in the U.K. and HMCo here in 1960). Paddington has been featured over the years in chapter books, picture books, pop up books, plays, 56 animated episodes of a television series and 3 half-hour televison specials for HBO.

The first was a chapter book, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. That version will be reissued in July by HarperCollins.

Several picture books feature Paddington. In the 1990’s they were released with illustrations by R.W. Alley, The first in that series, Paddington, is also being reissued.

Other movie tie-ins arrive on Nov. 4.

Shailene Woodley, Nude in WHITE BIRD

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Now that Shailene Woodley is a bone fide star, with two hit movies to her credit (The Fault in Our Stars and Divergent), the media is all over her next movie, White Bird in a Blizzard (based on the 1999 novel by Laura Kasischke, Hyperion).

It was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in January, but got scant attention, with The Guardian calling it a “sci-fi sex romp.”

The media took notice last week when Woodley mentioned it includes nude scenes in an interview with New York magazine, saying, “…i n real life, when I have sex, I’m naked. I don’t have a bra on, and I don’t usually have panties on. So let’s make a real movie! Let’s bring truth to the scene!”

Perhaps coincidentally, this week a new set of clips focus on the sex scenes (plenty of making out, but no nudity). If you find it a bit opaque, check the trailer, which was released in January.

The book’s author, who won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry for Space, In Chains, (Copper Canyon Press) has published 8 novels (White Bird as her second) and was called by PW, ”a bold chronicler of dark obsession.” Her 2007 novel, The Life Before Her Eyes was made into a movie starring Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood, released in 2008.

Her most recent novel, Mind of Winter (Harper) was published in March.

The movie will be released on demand September 25th and in theatres October 24th.

THE STRAIN First Full Trailer

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Enough with the creepy teasers, below is the creepy first full trailer for the FX series, The Strain, based on the vampire novel trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The 10-episode premieres next month.


The Strain Tie-inThe Strain: TV Tie-in Edition

Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Harper, June 24, 2014

Mass market; 9780062344618,  $9.99

Oliver Stone To Film Snowden Story

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

No Place to Hide   Snowden Files

Sony’s movie version of Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio) now has competition. Oliver Stone just announced plans to film another book on the story, Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, (RH/Vintage), published as an original trade paperback in the U.S. in February.

There’s a rivalry between the books’ authors as well. Greenwald worked for The Guardian when he broke his stories about the extent of the NSA’s surveillance on private citizens. After he left to co-found The Intercept, Harding,  one of The Guardian’s  foreign correspondents, published The Snowden Files. In an interview in the Financial Times, Greenwald dismissed it as a “bullshit book … written by someone who has never met or even spoken to Edward Snowden.

In the New York Times, Michikio Kakutani saw movie potential in Harding’s book, calling it “a fast-paced, almost novelistic narrative that is part bildungsroman and part cinematic thriller.” She also reviewed Greenwald’s book, mostly favorably, but objected to his portrayal of  “the establishment media,” and its “glaring subservience to political power.”

Stone plans to begin shooting before the end of the year. In an interview last year, the director told The Guardian (which is cooperating with him on the film), “To me, Snowden is a hero. He revealed secrets that we should all know, that the United States has repeatedly violated the fourth amendment.”

TFIOS Premieres Tonight

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Fault in Our Stars, MTIThe film of John Green’s book, The Fault in Our Stars, premieres tonight, at NYC’s  Ziegfeld Theatre, before opening in theaters nationwide on Friday.

Author Green has had a busy few days. He appeared with the film’s stars last night to a packed audience at the Apple Store in NYC (in a commentary on our times, the store occupies a former post office building in Soho).

Green also appeared at BEA and was a huge hit at Book Con on Saturday.

All of this attention leads the New York Post to speculate on “How The Fault In Our Stars Became A Cult Sensation.”


Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

9780062206138The trailer for Life of Crime, based on the late Elmore Leonard’s novel The Switch, (HarperCollins/Morrow), starring Jennifer Aniston, was released last week. The movie, which also stars John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), Isla Fisher and Tim Robbins, opens on August 29.

Director Daniel Schechter described his efforts to buy the rights to the novel to The Rolling Stone last year, and expressed the hope that Leonard would have appreciated the outcome. With the exceptions of Jackie Brown, Get Shorty, and the FX series, Justified, Leonard wasn’t a fan of the majority of the many adaptations of his work.

The novel is one of a series of trade paperback rereleases of Leonard’s classic backlist published by HarperCollins/Morrow. It is also in the Library of America collection, Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1970s, coming in September (Penguin/Library of America).

Trailer, below

Food, France, Mirren

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Below, yet another attempt to try to make up for that creepy trailer we posted earlier, something to warm the heart and perhaps the stomach, the trailer for The Hundred-Foot Journey, based on Richard C. Morais’s novel about the rivalry between the owners of two restaurants that are just 100 feet away from each other in southern France. Helen Mirren appears to be at her haughty best (even with a rather uneven French accent), and director Lasse Hallström, (Chocolat), returns to the familiar ground of food and France.

The book is described on’s feature, “Books To Read Before The Summer Blockbuster Movies Come Out“:

In Richard C. Morais’ food-centric world, nights are as “black as a boudin noir”; the sun sets like “a mango sorbet dripping over the horizon.” If you love to eat—particularly French or Indian food—you’ll be right at home in that world, tagging along with Hassan Haji and his family, as they taste their way from India to England to rural France. There, they open Maison Mumbai and engage in a culinary culture war with a snooty French madame who runs the elegant, Michelin-starred restaurant across the street. The film version (produced by none other than Oprah, Steven Spielberg and Juliet Blake) delivers lush alpine landscapes and Helen Mirren as the prickly epicurean. But enjoying the fantastical nature of the dishes—for example, the roasted pigeon—takes a little imagination. Devour all 200-odd pages in one sitting.


The Hundred Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey 
Richard C. Morais
July 8, 2014
9781476765853, 1476765855
Paperback / softback
$15.00 US / $17.99 Can.

YELLOW BIRDS Closer to Screen

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Yellow BirdsThe leads have been cast for Kevin Powers’ 2012 National Book Award finalistThe Yellow Birds, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Thorndike Press; Hachette Audio). Benedict Cumberbatch will play army Sergeant Sterling, who leads a platoon in Iraq. Will Poulter and Tye Seridan will play two Privates he takes under his wing (Entertainment Weekly).

David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) is set to write and direct.

When the book, a debut, was published, it received a great deal of press attention, including cover stories in both Parade magazine and the New York Times Book Review.

Powers published a book of poetry last month, Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting, (Hachette/Little, Brown).


Monday, May 19th, 2014

NewImage.pngMedia focus has been heavy on Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (Macmillan/Holt/Metropolitan Books; Macmillan Audio), propelling it up Amazon sales rankings (it’s currently at #14).

More attention may be coming, in the form of a movie. Sony has optioned rights. Many have noted the book reads like a spy novel. Appropriately, Sony is planning to produce the movie with the team behind the recent James Bond movies.

In addition to earlier appearances on the Today Show, The Colbert Report (where he said he is working on an even more explosive story on the NSA), and NPR’s Fresh Air, Greenwald appeared on Fox News today.