Hitting Screens, Week of August 15


MV5BMzQ2MDI3Mzg1OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTM5MzI4Nw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,772,1000_AL_9781496411051_52382One of the new movies opening this week is a blast from the past, Ben-Hur.

NY Magazine writes that the book it is based on “was a best seller on release, surpassing Uncle Tom’s Cabin as the most-purchased American book in history, and holding that record for an astounding 56 years (Gone With the Wind unseated it).”

Forbes reviews the re-make, saying “the pitch here is basically 300: Rise of an Empire … with cheaper looking costumes, the same CGI and editing, and Morgan Freeman, whose performance as God in Bruce Almighty and as a divine narrator in so many other things helps subtly sell the godly aspect.”

The biblical epic is executive produced by Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) and husband Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Apprentice). It stars Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman and opens Aug. 19.

There is a tie-in: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, Carol Wallace (Tyndale House; also in trade paperback and in Spanish).

9781451667608_3a26fWar Dogs opens on August 19 and stars Miles Teller, Jonah Hill, Bradley Cooper, Ana de Armas and J. B. Blanc.

As we wrote earlier, it is based on a nonfiction account originally titled Arms and the Dudes. It tells the unlikely story about winning a $300 million US government contract to supply weapons for the war in Afghanistan.

A tie-in came out in late July: War Dogs: The True Story of How Three Stoners From Miami Beach Became the Most Unlikely Gunrunners in History, Guy Lawson (S&S; OverDrive Sample; also in mass market).

MV5BMjA2Mzg2NDMzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjcwODUzOTE@._V1_SY1000_SX675_AL_Also heading to theaters is Kubo and the Two Strings by Oregon’s stop-motion animation house Laika (the operation behind Coraline and The Boxtrolls).

As we wrote when the preview lit up the Internet, the the fantasy-adventure is set in Japan and features the voices of Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, George Takei and Art Parkinson (Game of Thrones). It debuts in theaters on 8/19/16.

There are multiple tie-ins:

9781452153155_b2a16Kubo and the Two Strings: Meet Kubo, R. R. Busse (Hachette/Little, Brown YR; pbk.; Passport to Reading, Level 2, Ages 4 to 8).

Kubo and the Two Strings: The Junior NovelSadie Chesterfield (Hachette/Little, Brown YR.; pbk.; Ages 4 to 8).

The Art of Kubo and the Two Strings, Emily Haynes, Travis Knight (Chronicle).

MV5BMjIyNzk2MTY0Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzExNTA2OTE@._V1_SY1000_SX675_AL_9780156032520_72c98Opening in limited release is A Tale of Love and Darkness, Natalie Portman’s directorial debut (she acts in the film as well). It is based on the memoir of the same name by Israeli author Amos Oz.

Variety calls the film “well-meaning but dreary,” but Esquire headlines it as “the Most Revolutionary Jewish Movie Since Schindler’s List” and goes on to say it “is urgently relevant and unlike anything else.”

There is no tie-in but the book is available in paperback: A Tale of Love and Darkness, Amos Oz, translated by Nicholas de Lange (HMH/Mariner Books).

Comments are closed.