Hitting Screens, Week of November 14, 2016

Hollywood is celebrating “the Trump bump.” Revenues at the box office over the weekend were as much as 50% higher than expectations, attributed to people seeking escapism after the election. The Hollywood Reporter quotes one analyst saying, “Two hours of moviegoing is like a massive, immersive group therapy session.” Arrival, the adaptation of the short story by Ted Chiang, “Story of Your Life,” about a linguist (Amy Adams) trying to communicate with aliens, is cited as a particularly strong example (the author Chiang was featured in a story Friday on NPR’s “All Things Considered”).

mv5bmjmxotm1oti4mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwode5otyxmdi-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_9781338109061_cb743The big film of the upcoming week is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The newest entry in the Wizarding World premieres on Nov. 18.

J.K. Rowling writes the screenplay and the film is directed by David Yates, who was responsible for 4 of the 7 original Potter films. Eddie Redmayne stars as magician Newt Scamander, and is joined by Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, and Katherine Waterston.

The film takes place seventy years prior to Harry Potter’s arrival at Hogwarts. Rowling has recently announced it will be the first of five films in the new franchise.

Reviews are in, and are mixed. The Guardian glows, calling it “a glorious fantasy-romance adventure … a rich, baroque, intricately detailed entertainment … a terrifically good-natured, unpretentious and irresistibly buoyant film” and says it features “a lovely performance from Eddie Redmayne who is a pretty fantastic beast himself.”

Variety is not as fulsome, saying it is a “bleak-as-soot spin-off that makes the earlier series look like kids’ stuff.”

Entertainment Weekly gives it a B-, writing “if it plans on replicating Potter’s success, its sequels will have to step it up … for a movie stuffed with so many weird and wondrous creatures, there isn’t nearly enough magic.”

Rowling is featured in a NYT‘s article discussing her dark inspiration for the film.

The central tie-in, the screenplay itself, will be released on the 19th: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books).

More related titles can be found on our collection of upcoming tie-ins.

mv5bmtywmzmwmzgxnl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmta0mtuzmdi-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_The film Nocturnal Animals opens in limited release on Nov. 18, to be followed by wide distribution on Dec. 9.

The psychological thriller is written and directed by fashion designer and filmmaker Tom Ford (A Single Man) and is based on the 1993 novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright. The ensemble cast features Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, and Michael Sheen.

As we noted earlier, it is getting praise in early viewings. Variety says that Ford has created “another winner, an ambitious high-wire noir thriller.

The Hollywood Reporter writes “David Lynch meets Alfred Hitchcock meets Douglas Sirk in Nocturnal Animals, a sumptuously entertaining noir melodrama laced with vicious crime and psychological suspense, which more than delivers on the promise of A Single Man.

A tie-in edition, with the original title, comes out this week: Tony and Susan, Austin Wright (Hachette/Grand Central Publishing; OverDrive Sample).

9781250135735_e0cd7The last of the feature adaptations debuting on the 18th is A Street Cat Named Bob. Directed by Roger Spottiswoode, it stars Bob the cat along with Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), and Anthony Head.

The story, a true-life tale, follows the fate of a homeless man who adopts a street cat, and in so doing, turns his life around.

Variety says “It’s not the best film you’ll see this holiday season, but this soft, agreeable adaptation of the man-and-his-cat bestseller has its charms.The Guardian writes “Bob’s weapons-grade cuteness is almost enough to power this slight but warm-hearted film.”

A tie-in was released earlier,  A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life, James Bowen (Macmillan/A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Griffin; OverDrive Sample).

null-jpg_9935On the small screen, Hallmark has another of its holiday TV movies, A December Bride. It is based on the story of the same name by Denise Hunter about a couple involved in a fake engagement. It stars Daniel Lissing and Jessica Lowndes.

There is no tie-in edition,  but the novella is collected in Winter Brides: A Year of Weddings Novella Collection (Zondervan, 2014; Zondervan Audio; OverDrive Sample).

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