Hitting Screens, Week of February 27

Debuting this week is a major TV documentary, a heavily anticipated adaptation of a YA novel, and the film version of a long-running inspirational best seller.

9780316315432_50365When We Rise airs on ABC starting Feb. 27 in a two-hour premiere. Gus Van Sant directs this chronicle of the LGBTQ community’s civil rights movement. Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk, created the project, inspired in part by Cleve Jones’s memoir When We Rise: My Life in the Movement (Hachette; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

It runs for eight hours over four nights. The large cast includes Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker, Michael K. Williams, and Rachel Griffiths.

Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+, writing, “It’s a story of a marginalized people who deserve to be recognized, a history we all need to know and own, presented as potent mainstream television.” The LA Times calls it “powerful and moving.” USA Today says it is “overly ambitious But goodness: Scattered within this history of the battle for gay rights are moments of great power and lessons of great importance, as it pays homage to a struggle that too frequently has been ignored by mainstream television — and has yet to be fully won.”

There is no tie-in but the hardback edition of Jone’s book now has a sticker connecting it to the show.

9780062656322_25b35Before I Fall opens on March 3. It is an adaptation of Lauren Oliver’s debut YA novel, the best seller Before I Fall (HarperCollins, 2010).

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).

Variety calls it “impressively stylish” and says it “forgoes the overlit Disney Channel look, embracing a cooler, steely-blue aesthetic that’s more in line with such bygone cult faves as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Veronica Mars — plus, it unfolds in that post-Judy Blume space where it’s OK to broach such touchy issues as teen suicide and contraception.”

The Hollywood Reporter says “this neatly written Heathers-meets-Groundhog Day high-concept package delivers both technical polish and a toothsome yet likeable cast. Better still, it has just enough tragic edge to draw young adults, and young-at-heart adults, with melancholy temperaments.”

Tie-in: Before I Fall Movie Tie-in Edition, Lauren Oliver (HarperCollins; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

MV5BMjI1MjkzMjczMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDk4NjYyMTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,676,1000_AL_Logan is the 10th X-Men movie and the final Wolverine solo film. It opens on March 3 and stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Dafne Keen.

USA Today calls it an “excellent adventure” and says the series ender is a “super sendoff … going out very much on top.” Entertainment Weekly, not as big a fan, gives it a B- and says it is “a high-octane action flick with a protect-the-cub emotional subtext.”

It is not a pure adaptation of the comics, but rather inspired by them. We wrote earlier about one tie-in, Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Mark Millar, illustrated by Steve McNiven (Hachette/Marvel; OverDrive Sample).

9781455567607_12df3William 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, but it is finally arriving on March 3.

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.

There are few reviews yet but there are multiple tie-ins: The Shack, Wm. Paul Young (Hachette/Windblown Media; Blackstone Audio;  OverDrive Sample; also in mass market). The novel is currently #4 on the NYT combined Fiction best seller list.

9780765326225 The TV series adaptation of Time After Time, based on the 1979 time travel novel by Karl Alexander, as well its earlier film version, will premiere in a 2-hour episode on March 3 on ABC.

The book features author H.G. Wells who creates an actual version of the apparatus featured in his novel The Time Machine, which is used by Jack the Ripper to escape to 1970’s era San Francisco, with Wells on his heels.

For the TV series, the US location was changed to present-day New York. Early reviews are not great. IGN says it “gets off to a bland start that doesn’t inspire much confidence in what’s to come.” Slash Film writes “What’s frustrating about the pilot is that it refuses to deviate from a story that most viewers wouldn’t be disappointed in seeing altered.”

No tie-in has been scheduled, but the book is still available, in a 2010 paperback reprint (Macmillan/Forge Books; OverDrive Sample).

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