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Entries in Adaptations (178)

Monday
Aug222016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.7: Oscar Loves "Greystoke"

During this summer of the Tarzan reboot we've revisited past films in the long history of Tarzan on film. Four more episodes to go!

Impossible as it may be to move Tarzan away from his ultra-specific origins as a colonial era fantasy, filmmakers have tried over and over again to do exactly that. As we've seen in past installments of our "Swing, Tarzan, Swing!" series, he keeps changing with the times despite his historical baggage. We've seen starkly different depictions of his relationship to Jane from equal partners to Head of the Household suburban conformity. The Lord of the Apes even tried to get bachelor hip with the 1960s at the beginning of the James Bond frenzy. Nearly every Tarzan on television has attempted to place him closer to the actual timeline in which it aired. The new Legend of Tarzan (reviewed) works hard to downplay the racism in the myth, but it's never going completely away given that the story is, at heart, about a white man who becomes king of the jungle and often the savior of Africans in his ongoing adventures.

Tarzan works best when he's allowed to stay in the era to which he belongs. So it was a stroke of inspiration for director Hugh Hudson (fresh off a Best Picture win with Chariots of Fire) to give him the historical epic treatment in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) even though the Ape Man doesn't belong to world history any more than, say, Batman, Superman and Spider-Man who were all also tragically orphaned (it's a superhero thing, okay?). 

The marketing was so committed to this "serious" prestige historical treatment that the poster even has a four paragraph synopsis closer to a novel than a movie tagline...

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Thursday
Jul282016

Michael Mann's "Miami Vice" 10 Years Later

Please welcome back new contributor Bill Curran for a 10th anniversary look at Miami Vice

The major studio head-scratcher of its year, the ultimate distillation of Michael Mann’s brand of clean sheen noir, and the most authentically auteurist film of the aughts, Miami Vice was the movie offspring of a successful and ever-parodied 80s TV series that was nothing like the original. Instead, Mann unleashed a brooding and voluptuously pixilated peacock of a crime thriller upon an unsuspecting public

If only every recent remake had as much reckless spirit as this one did when it opened nationally ten years ago today. Though the film received favorable notices from top print critics, including a rave from A.O. Scott, the majority of reviewers (and almost all audiences) were simply confused...

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Monday
Jul252016

Feeling really "sorted out" about Absolutely Fabulous

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Do you remember that bit in the AbFab series when Edina is turning 40 and her ex husband’s new wife Bo (the hilarious Mo Gaffney), already in her 40s, is feeling really zen about the aging process…

I mean, golly, I wish I could tell her it’s no big deal. I had a ball on my 40th birthday. I felt really strong, really sorted-out about it. I realized what a lucky, wonderful person I was. And whether in your 30s or your 40s, you’re still the same gorgeous person. Enjoy life!

…only to hyperventilate at the mention of her own impending 50s? I kept thinking about that bit during the new AbFab movie...

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Friday
Jul222016

Posterized: Star Trek Franchise

The Star Trek mission statement is a little silly in retrospect, isn't it:

To boldly go where no man has gone before.

The franchise, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, has produced six television series and thirteen feature films so what man hasn't gone there? It's probably bolder to have never taken a ride on the starship Enterprise. But let's do a Posterized. We'll include the series (which each get one poster) in this roundup. So how many of the 19 Star Trek adventures have you seen? 

All the posters are after the jump...

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Sunday
Jul032016

Idris Elba is The Gunslinger in "The Dark Tower"

The Dark Tower, based on Stephen King's novel series (though not apparently a direct adaptation of any particular one of them) is currently filming for an early 2017 release. Here's Idris Elba in costume as The Gunslinger. [More Photos here]

Nice to see his face again after all those computer generated pixels or alien prosthetics (Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Star Trek Beyond). Matthew McConaughey is the villain 'the Man in Black' (set photos). The post apocalyptic drama also features Abbey Lee (The Neon Demon) in the principle female role, Whedonite and nerd-hottie Fran Kranz as the villain's henchmen. Plus: Jackie Earle Haley, Katheryn Winnick, and Claudia Kim.

The costumes are by stylish Trish Summerville. Her work is always so pleasingly modern. She previously did David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Have you read this book series?

Tuesday
Jun282016

Olivia @ 100: Light in the Piazza

For Olivia de Havilland's Centennial (July 1st) we're hitting classics and curios in her career. Here's Chris Feil on a forgotten film that became a new classic musical...

I came to Olivia de Havilland's work in Light in the Piazza thanks to a (still enduring) obsession with the Adam Guettel musical, both adapted from Elizabeth Spencer's novella. While it's not surprising that the film hasn't endured (it lacks the stage version's soaring emotional heights), de Havilland's performance deserves a better place in her legacy. Even with a youthful love story as its center and gorgeous Florence as backdrop, you can't take your eyes off of the concerned mother - and not just because she spends the entire film drenched in custom Christian Dior!

As Meg Johnson, de Havilland is spending a holiday with her young daughter Clara, who falls in love with a charming Italian boy. The reason for her overbearing concern is the secret of Clara's developmental disability that freezes her to a childlike disposition - something the musical uses as an Act Two reveal that the film never hides. By addressing this conflict early on we understand Meg from the outset, especially thanks to the actress's relatability. De Havilland's real prowess in the role is her deep emotional access and intelligence; she keeps the film from stooping to the cheap sentimentality that's all too common in films about disability.

Her Meg is not simply a foil to Clara's love story. De Havilland is telling her own fading romance with her husband, projecting the aches and heartbreaks of their lifetime together in a very specific struggle of weathered marriage. Her dissent against her husband in regards to Clara's care could cause the end of her marriage or may be its only hope, but she plays it solely as selfless motherly affection. Meg's final "I did the right thing" would be hokey final note in the hands of a less soulful actress, de Havilland makes it a hard-won personal triumph with her pure connection to character.

Victoria Clark may have taken the character to glorious Tony winning vocal heights on stage, but this performance is emotionally transformative in its own way. The film may have been forgotten in the broader de Havilland filmography, but the star is in top form and as accessible as ever.

Previously: The Heiress (1949), The Dark Mirror (1946), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and It's Love I'm After (1937).

Wednesday
Jun152016

Great Moments in Gay - Defiant Humanity in "Bent" 

For Pride month, we're celebrating our favorite queer moments in cinema. Here's guest contributor Steven Fenton...

Bent is the story of two men who fall in love while imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp during WWII. When the original play premiered in 1979 it made waves for its powerful depiction of Nazi persecution of homosexuals. By the time the film was released eighteen years later, the AIDS epidemic had ravaged the global gay community, giving further significance to the story’s exploration of survival and freedom.

In the camp, Max (Clive Owen) and Horst (Lothaire Bluteau) are assigned the sisyphean task of hauling stones from one rubble pile to another. On a miserably hot day, Horst attempts to distract Max from the maddening heat and labor. [More...]

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