Hitting Screens, Week of March 27, 2017

Beauty and the Beast‘s box office juggernaut continued over the weekend. Even the release of the Power Rangers reboot could not break the spell, coming in a distant second.

Six screen adaptations come out this week:

MV5BYTFmNzRlNWYtMmFmNi00ZTFiLWJhODgtOGM5ODQ5NTgxZWUwL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTExNDQ2MTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_Netflix’s new series 13 Reasons Why will premiere on March 31.

Based on Jay Asher’s 2007 YA novel TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY, it is about a high school student who commits suicide and leaves behind several tapes, telling classmates how each contributed to her decision. The novel is a YALSA Best Books of 2008, and was a NYT best seller in hardcover for over two years.

The trailer debut alone was enough to send the book soaring on Amazon. A new featurette is out:

Thus far critics seem very happy with the show. Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+ and writes “A frank, authentically affecting portrait of what it feels like to be young, lost, and too fragile for the world.”

Variety writes “13 Reasons Why [will] pull viewers into a suspenseful tale that will keep most of them engaged until the final scene fades out.”

A tie-in came out earlier this month: 13 Reasons Why, Jay Asher Razorbill (PRH/Razorbill; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample).


Alec Baldwin stars in DreamWorks Animation’s adaptation of Marla Frazee’s Boss Baby (S&S/Beach Lane, 2010), opening on March 31.

Directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar), it also features the voices of Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow.

As we posted earlier, the movie is described as “inspired” by Frazee’s picture book and adds several story lines. The tie-in, which came out in February, is a novelization of the movie script, The Boss Baby Junior Novelization by Tracey West (S&S/Simon Spotlight; also in trade pbk; OverDrive Sample).

Early reviews were glowing. Variety reported from the Annecy film festival that it “had the audience in stitches” and brought “whoops of applause.”

However, more recent reviews are not as strong. IndieWire headlines “The Boss Baby Might Pacify Kids, But This Dirty Diaper of a Movie Is Further Proof Hollywood Animation Needs a Change.”

The Wrap says “The Boss Baby runs in the opposite direction of real feeling in favor of bombast. There’s so much to like in this movie, but its best qualities are ultimately subsumed in formula. And not the nutritious kind.”

MV5BMzJiNTI3MjItMGJiMy00YzA1LTg2MTItZmE1ZmRhOWQ0NGY1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTk4MTM0NQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_Ghost in the Shell, the live-action adaptation of Shirow Masamune’s SF manga series, which Movie Pilot calls “a pioneer of cyberpunk,” opens March 31. It stars Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, and Michael Pitt.

There are few reviews thus far but the NYT offers a feature on the many incarnations of the story.

There are multiple tie-ins. See here and here.

MV5BNTY3YmZmYmMtZjc3Zi00N2VjLWE5ZGMtN2M0ODkzOGQ5M2UyL2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTk1MTQ3NDI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,647,1000_AL_The Zookeeper’s Wife opens on March 31. It is is already selling books, taking Diane Ackerman’s nonfiction account of the heroic story of a zookeeper and his wife who harbored 300 Jews from the Nazis back to the best seller lists and rising on Amazon’s rankings.

The film stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton, and Daniel Brühl.

Reviews are not great. The Guardian says it “suffers from an uneven script” while Den of Geek says it is “hurt by erratic pacing.”

The Wrap writes, “Turning an incredible true story of a couple who sheltered Jews into bland historical fare is the most noteworthy of the film’s shortcomings.”

The best-selling tie-in came out in February: The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story, Diane Ackerman (W. W. Norton; Blackstone; OverDrive Sample).

In more limited release are two films. While they will not air to a wide audience at first, they will eventually be released on DVD, making them accessible for libraries creating book-to-film collections (and displays).

MV5BMjMxMTQ2ODgwMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjQyODY2MTI@._V1_Carrie Pilby opens in limited release on March 31 and will be followed by VOD on April 4. It is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Caren Lissner, Carrie Pilby: A hilarious and charming story (HC/Harlequin Teen; Harlequin Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The film stars Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Jason Ritter, William Moseley, Vanessa Bayer, and Colin O’Donoghue.

The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a well-intentioned but imperfect young-adult-skewing comedy-drama … this often tritely plotted tale is not half as clever or cute as it thinks it is.”

Variety says “this is awfully soft stuff, its naval-gazing protagonist not nearly as unusual or delightful as we’re meant to think despite the high IQ she can’t stop referencing … For a story about a supposed genius, it’s not all that clever or complicated.”

The Guardian was much more favorable, giving it 4 out of 5 stars and calling it an “ambitious, upbeat and surprising comedy.”

There is no tie-in.

MV5BNTI5ZWFhOTAtMTRlNC00ZTA3LTk4NTctZjhjMmM3Y2JiMDE3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzI1NjQ1MTU@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,714,1000_AL_The Devotion of Suspect X, a Chinese-language film, opens in very limited release on March 31, just 45 theaters. It stars Wang Kai, Zhang Luyi, and Ruby Lin. There are no reviews as of yet.

The novel on which it was based, The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (Macmillan/Minotaur; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample), received attention when it was published. It was selected by the ALA/RUSA Reading List in 2012 for best Mystery and was nominated for an Edgar. It earned three star reviews, from LJ, PW, and Kirkus.

The Wall St. Journal says, “Whether it amounts to math, philosophy, psychology or cosmology, The Devotion of Suspect X is an elegant literary experiment. It suggests, among much else, that a lot of bad behavior is forgiven in the name of genius—and then even a genius can push the envelope just so far before it breaks.”

There is no tie-in.

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