The next in the Marvel line of comic adaptations opens on Friday, Doctor Strange, an expected blockbuster.
It is about an arrogant surgeon who suffers from a career-ending accident and seeks the mystic arts in an effort to heal himself, only to discover powerful beings and other dimensions.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Doctor Strange along with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton.
Early reviews are good. Variety calls it “Marvel’s most satisfying entry since Spider-Man 2, and a throwback to M. Night Shyamalan’s soul-searching identity-crisis epic Unbreakable, which remains the gold standard for thinking people’s superhero movies.”
Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+, writing it “mostly works very, very well” and crediting Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton for the success, “two actors, who in addition to being intelligent, top-shelf stars both project a slightly alien, otherworldy air [and make the film] accessible and seductively engrossing … It’s eye candy and brain candy.”
Hallmark describes the romance as “a chance meeting between two strangers who share a disdain for Christmas results in The Mistletoe Promise, a pact to help them navigate their holiday complications – together. But as they spend more time with each other and experience the magic of Christmas the phony couple discovers there may be more to their contract than business.”
Published in July, the middle-grade novel, The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (Workman/Algonquin Young Readers) received rapturous reviews, including stars from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Booklist plus the NYT Sunday Review, which wrote, “Kelly Barnhill’s wonderful fourth novel … educates about oppression, blind allegiance and challenging the status quo while immersing the reader in an exhilarating story full of magical creatures and derring-do.” It also has a large number of “Much Love” ratings from booksellers and librarians on Edelweiss.
Word has made it to Hollywood. Fox Animation has picked up the movie rights. Deadline reports, it “is expected to be a hybrid live-action/animation.”
Ron Howard and Tom Hanks both return to the film series with Howard directing and Hanks starring once more as Robert Langdon. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, Rogue One), Irrfan Khan (Jurassic World, Life of Pi), Omar Sy (The Intouchables), and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor) also star.
In 2013 we wrote that the production company behind The Hunger Games had bought film rights to the satiric debut novel Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (RH/Doubleday).
The Hollywood trades are now reporting that Warner Bros has given the greenlight to the film with John M Chu (Now You See Me 2) to direct. Deadline Hollywood says that the production team plans to have “a fully Asian cast … a first for a Hollywood studio.”
The first book in a trilogy, New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin called it a “a dizzily shopaholic comedy of crass manners,” that “offers refreshing nouveau voyeurism to readers who long ago burned out on American and English aspirational fantasies.”
The second book is China Rich Girlfriend(RH/Doubleday, 2015). The third, Rich People Problems, is part of a new two-book deal Kwan signed with Doubleday, reports Entertainment Weekly, and is expected in 2017.
Kwan also told Entertainment Weekly that he loves the screenplay for Crazy Rich Asians, saying “I’m overjoyed by how they adapted the book. It was making me laugh so much I almost spat out my tea several times.”
After several variations on the superhero genre, comes the latest, the grim and aging superhero.
The final in the Wolverine X-Men spinoff movies, Loganarrives on March 3rd. Entertainment Weekly unpacks 5 takeaways from the brief trailer.
Following the release of the trailer yesterday, a collection of the comics the film is based on by Mark Millar soared up Amazon’s sales rankings. Originally released in 2010, it is being reissued next year.
Marvel’s quirky 2014 superhero film, Guardians of the Galaxy, was such a surprise hit that it required a sequel so fans can get hooked on even more feelings.
The first sneak peek debuted today. The movie debuts on May 5, 2017.
It lit up the Internet with commentary.
E News says the second in the series “picks up two months after 2014’s original Guardians chronicled their mission to stop an intergalactic force from destroying the universe.” CinemaBlend expands on that, saying the plot features “Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) reunited with his father … [the] script will hit on important subjects regarding family, where you come from, and how that affects who you are.”
Director James Gunn makes it clear that the 90 seconds dropped today is just the start, tweeting, “To make it clear: the sneak peek just released is NOT a teaser-for-the-trailer; it’s a totally separate piece from the eventual trailer(s).”
The new movie poster also drew comments for its style, “it’s downright dripping in the kind of confident, throwback attitude audiences expect” says ScreenRant.
Expect vol. 2 to also be a moneymaker. Says Forbes, “anyone betting against Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 being one of the summer’s very biggest hits is playing a fool’s game.”
The comics series has been through many iterations and different teams of Guardians over the last 40 years. The movies are based on the 2008 series by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Screenwriter Nicole Perlman, interviewed on Marvel’s Web site, recounted how, as part of Marvel Studios writer’s program, she picked the obscure series to develop because it was “more like a space opera, and a very funny, sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek version of this kind of genre.” As a result, she became the first woman to receive screenwriting credit for a Marvel movie.
Actor Ewan McGregor makes his directorial debut with an adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1997 novel, American Pastoral. McGregor also stars along with Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Connelly, Rupert Evans and Valorie Curry. After a limited release this weekend, it will open in more theaters on Oct. 28,
IndieWire‘s critical roundup reports “Critics have described the film as yet another ill-advised Roth adaptation and more proof that the writer’s work doesn’t translate well to the screen, save for James Schamus’ Indignation released earlier this year.”
But Deadline Hollywood is more positive saying, the film is “unquestionably is awards bait –a remarkable directorial debut for Scottish-born McGregor, who brings a unique outsider’s view to an especially turbulent time in America. Fanning will surprise fans with a performance that is different than anything we have seen from her before. Having gotten an early look at the film I can attest it is sure to spark talk.”
The Handmaidenan adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith, transports the British Victorian setting to 1930s Korea.
It stars Ha Jung-woo, Kim Min-hee, Jo Jin-woong and Kim Tae-ri and is directed by Park Chan-wook.
Variety says it is “clever, heady and sensually lavish to a fault … Boasting more tangled plots and bodies than an octopus has tentacles, South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is a bodice-ripper about a pickpocket who poses as a maid to swindle a sequestered heiress. His first Korean-language fiction feature since 2009’s Thirst, it’s sybaritic, cruel and luridly mesmerizing.”
Two TV series begin this week as well, starting with Chance, a new Hulu series based on Kem Nunn’s novel of the same title.
It has some powerhouse names attached says Slashfilm: Hugh Laurie stars. Lenny Abrahamson (Room) is the executive producer and directed some episodes. Nunn and Alexandra Cunningham (Desperate Housewives) created the series.
Laurie plays Dr. Eldon Chance, a San Francisco-based forensic neuropsychiatrist, who, says Slashfilm “ventures outside of his area of expertise with a stolen identity plot, corrupt police, and a mysterious patient (Gretchen Mol).”
Originally scheduled for release in mid-January, the film adaptation Hidden Figures will arrive in theaters earlier, opening in limited release on Christmas Day indicating the producers think it has a shot at the Oscars.
As we earlier noted, the film stars Taraji P. Henson (whose newly-released memoir, Around the Way Girl, S&S/Atria, is making Hollywood news), Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as a group of African American women who worked at NASA in Langley, Virginia on the mission that sent John Glenn into space in 1962. Also in the cast are Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge and Glen Powell.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, Margot Lee Shetterly (HarperCollins/Morrow; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), hit the NYT Nonfiction list at #7 in September with the paper featuring the author in “The Story Behind This Week’s Best Sellers,” quoting Shetterly on her experience growing up: “I knew so many African-Americans working in science, math and engineering that I thought that’s just what black folks did.”
The film was the subject of a clever bit of creative marketing during the recent Toronto International Film Festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter, where a special concert with “Pharrell Williams and other performing artists involved with the movie’s soundtrack” accompanied a screening of “exclusive footage” and a Q&A session with the high powered stars.
Coetzee won the Booker Prize in 1983 for Life & Times of Michael K and in 1999 for Disgrace. He also won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003. This year, The Schooldays of Jesus (PRH/Viking; Feb. 2017) was on the longlist, but did not make the cut to the shortlist.
Deadline Hollywood reports that Coetzee adapted his novel for the film. Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) will star and Oscar nominated director Ciro Guerra, who earned praise for Embrace of the Serpent, will helm the project says the trade source.
In their review of the book, the NYT wrote “Mr. Coetzee tells the story of an imaginary Empire, set in an unspecified place and time, yet recognizable as a ‘universalized’ version of South Africa. This allows Mr. Coetzee some esthetic distance from his subject, for even while remaining locked with the history of his moment, he isn’t completely at the mercy of its local chaos and ugliness. The result is a realistic fable, at once stark, exciting and economical.”
NPR brought new focus on the novel in 2014 when they named it “This Week’s Must Read” after the Senate Intelligence Committee issued its report about the “brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA after Sept 11.”
The trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One debuted today on CBS This Morning.
The two and a half minute trailer is examined for clues to the story line by The Verge noting, “Disney has been careful to downplay its expectations for Rogue One. It’s the first major film set outside of the traditional saga, and has been characterized as ‘an experiment’ by the company’s CEO, Bob Iger.”
There are several tie-ins, of course but, following the precedent set byThe Force Awakens, the official novelizations for Rogue One will not be released until after the film premieres on Dec. 16, 2016, to avoid spoilers.
Despite fears about Hurricane Matthew closing many theaters, Girl on the Train rolled to its expected major box office opening over the weekend. On the other hand, The Birth of a Nation, about a slave uprising, considered a major Oscar contender, did not do as well as expected.
Next week, two film adaptations open, one in theaters and the other on TV, and a new BBC series begins on PBS Masterpiece.
It is getting strong reviews. Calling the director among the “great American filmmakers,” Variety said few “can do quite as much with quiet as Kelly Reichardt. Superficially empty soundscapes are layered so intricately with the rustle of nature, the brooding of weather and the breathing of preoccupied people that her films come to seem positively noisy to a sympathetic ear. So it is in the marvelous Certain Women, where the storytelling has a similarly latent impact.”
It stars Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, and Lily Gladstone and is based on short stories from Maile Meloy’s collection, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It (PRH/Riverhead, 2009), specifically, says Variety “Tome,” “Native Sandstone” and “Travis B.”
It airs Sundays, October 16th through November 20th and stars Keeley Hawes from Upstairs Downstairs “as the an intrepid widow who decamps from dreary England to a sun-dappled Greek island with her four recalcitrant children, ages 11 to 21.”
Also airing on TV is The Julius House: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, based on the Charlaine Harris character of a crime-solving librarian. The series began in 2007 with Real Murders, the most recent is the 2016 title All the Little Liars.