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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Adaptations (124)

Wednesday
Mar112015

Brandy. Whitney. Bernadette. It's Cinderella... Again

Cinderella Week continues with Andrew Kendall on a true event in showbiz history...

On our journey through Cinderellas we take a stop in 1997 for an unlikely entry in the canon. Unlike the animated version it did not change a cinematic form, nor like the Julie Andrews version did it launch a star. When the 1997 TV production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella premiered in 1997 it was hailed as one of the most successful TV musicals in years and audiences did, love it, 60 million of them. But, it has endured as little more than a footnote on the résumé of its fêted cast and crew.

This would be the second remake of the Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella written for Julie Andrews in 1957 (the first remake a Lesley Ann Warren version in 1965). And, still, I’d swear on the altar of all things magical that this is the finest adaptation of the Cinderella story. Myriad reasons, but principally because this Cinderella has more on its mind than just the girl at the centre…

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Tuesday
Mar102015

We Cant Wait! #12 "The Dressmaker"

Team Experience is counting down our 15 most anticipated for 2015. Here's abstew...

Who & What: Writer/Director Jocelyn Moorhouse adapts Rosalie Ham's 2000 novel about a 1950s Australian dressmaker named Myrtle "Tilly" Dunnage (Oscar winner Kate Winslet) who returns to her rural Outback home to care for her ailing mother (Oscar nominee Judy Davis). Tilly has not been home since she was 10 years old and forced to leave when she was accused of murder. With her return, she plans to bring the power of haute couture to the village...and seek revenge against those that wronged her.

Moorhouse has described the film as "Unforgiven with a sewing machine" and in addition to Winslet and Davis, stars an impressive Australian cast that includes Liam Hemsworth as Tilly's love interest, Hugo Weaving as the town's police officer, and Sarah Snook and Sacha Horler in supporting roles originally cast with Isla Fisher and Elizabeth Debicki. Creating the film's '50s fashions are Emmy nominated costume designer Marion Boyce with Margot Wilson in charge of Tilly's clothes and 2 custom-made gowns by French designer Sophie Theallet.   

This is apparently what she wears to a rugby game...DIVAWhy We're Excited About It: We love Kate Winslet here at TFE, but just last year I wrote about how Winslet was in need of a career comeback. Divergent was a hit with its built-in YA popular novel source material, but it was hardly her involvement in the project that made it so. (Can you even remember anything she did in it?) This year, on paper, is looking much more promising: the Divergent sequel is a likely hit; she has a supporting role in the all-star cop drama Triple Nine; and then there's a potential awards-buzzy role in Aaron Sorkin's Steve Jobs (directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle). Her lead role in this film is most intriguing and will hopefully be a return to form for Winslet who hasn't received an Oscar nomination since her win. 

What If It All Goes Wrong? The fact that director Jocelyn Moorhouse hasn't directed a film since 1997's failed awards contender A Thousand Acres doesn't seem like a good sign. And she never really lived up to her exciting breakthrough with 1991's Australian film Proof. And it could be a tough balancing act tonally as a comedic revenge drama (those seem like 3 different genres). But at least one thing is certain - the clothes will be to die for! 

When: The film finished shooting back in late 2014 and this past February had footage shown to potential European distributors at the Berlin Film Festival. No US date is confirmed yet, but Universal Pictures International has already confirmed an October 1st release date for Australia. If buzz is strong, expect it at fall film festivals in time for awards season.

Previously...
#13 The Hateful Eight
#14 Knight of Cups
#15 Arabian Nights
Intro Pick a Blockbuster

Thursday
Mar052015

Downton Abbey is The New Gateway to Disney Stardom!

Have you been following the casting announcements for Disney's live-action adaptation of their Best Picture nominated classic Beauty & The Beast (1991)? First came the collective girlfriend of millennials Emma Watson as Belle. But she's not the only Beauty in the cast. Former Downton Abbey star "Cousin Matthew" himself Dan Stevens, who slimmed down and muscled up since that show and immediately shifted perceptions with an about face turn in The Guest, signed on as the cursed romantic Beast. 

Given that Lady Rose (Lily James) and Daisy from the Downton kitchen (Sophie McShera) are playing Cinderella and her stepsister this coming weekend at the movies one has to wonder which Downton Abbey star is next for which big Disney property? Maggie Smith's schedule just opened up Mouse House. Jump on that before someone else grabs her!

But in all seriousness... Downton Abbey has a deep bench of valuable players some of whom made their names in the movies (Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern chief among them), some of whom will probably be content to stay well employed in British television, and a few of which are already trying their hand at transferring to film. But how much longer can that series keep telling its repetitive story? (Don't misunderstand: I love Downton -- even when its at its weakest -- but the writers room is definitely on loop)

If I were a casting director I'd have the whole cast (so many rich character talents) under surveillance for restlessness and would definitely be trying to lure the ice cold beauty Michelle Dockery away. She's hitting movie screens this summer in Tarsem Singh's next movie Self/less. which happens to co-star her new love interest on Downton film/tv regular and handsomest man on earth Matthew Goode.

But back to BEAUTY & THE BEAST for a wrap-up
It looks like Luke Evans will be Gaston to Emma Watson's Beauty in the forthcoming live action adaptation of the musical. No word yet on whether he'll put on more muscle or if 'ev'ry last inch of him's covered in hair' but he can definitely sing!  

 

Do you think he harmonizes with Jon Kartajarena at home

 

Monday
Feb162015

Review: 50 Shades of Grey

This review originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad. It is reprinted here with a couple of minor adjustments.

SPOILER ALERT: Nothing happens in 50 SHADES OF GREY. Nothing at all. The property’s idiot savant genius may be how well it achieves this tabula rasa narrative and aesthetic zen state. Its slate is so blank that the audience is free to project whatever they’d like on to it including the drama. BYOE: Bring Your Own Everything. Perhaps this accounts for its enormous “event” like status at the box office. 

We begin with an embarrassingly botched interview between a young woman who we're supposed to think of as a frumpy plain jane, an unstylish deer in the headlights if you will, and the snappily dressed über intimidating businessperson who will decide her fate. (Think The Devil Wears Prada plus sexual tension minus jokes). Naive and beautiful young Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), her name apparently downloaded from a romance novel generator, has gone to see the young billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) but she's not actually supposed to be there. She's doing it as a favor for her sluttier worldly BFF Karla (think streetwise Kit to impossibly virginal hooker Vivian in Pretty Woman) who happens to be sick on the day of her interview with the college's most successful alumnus/eligible bachelor. 

So our leads meet quite by accident. Is it fate? Will it get kinky? 

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Thursday
Dec182014

Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo to Star in Romantic Drama 'Americanah'

Earlier this year Lupita Nyong'o acquired the rights to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's award-winning 2012 novel Americanah, signing on to star as Nigerian émigré Ifemelu, as well as produce along with Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment. David Oyelowo has also signed on to star as romantic lead Obinze. The book is divine: beautifully written, emotionally complex, swooningly romantic and often bitingly funny. It's also full of razor-sharp insight on immigration and cultural identity, the shifting concept of home, and blackness in America, Nigeria, and Britain.

The project is guaranteed to be a meaty opportunity for Nyong'o and Oyelowo, but is still several steps away from production. Some questions:

1. Should we worry that the project doesn't yet have a script? I'd say no, in part because of my love for the source material, but largely due to the strength of Plan B producing. They've got a respectable filmography, and the last couple years have been a serious hot streak (Moneyball, 12 Years a Slave, Selma). They shouldn't have trouble attracting top-drawer talent. With the right team in place, this could be someone's shot at a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.

2. Who should direct? It's only natural that Ava DuVernay's name should come to mind, given her skill with romantic drama and epic political context. It would make hers a 3-for-3 David Oyelowo filmography, and she certainly already has the in with Plan B Entertainment. But since the story is so indivisible from the non-American experience, and so specifically Nigerian in perspective, perhaps a Nollywood director might be a better choice. Perhaps Biyi Bandele, whose adaptation of Adichie's novel Half of a Yellow Sun came out earlier this year to mixed reviews, would be interested in another shot at the author's work?

3. Will Beyoncé help with the movie's PR? When Beyoncé dropped her secret album last year, she gave Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a major profile boost by sampling her TED talk "Everyone Should Be a Feminist on the song "***Flawless", which sent Americanah rocketing up the Amazon sales charts. (To be honest, that's also how I first heard of the book.) Maybe the movie release can be preceded by a tie-in Beyoncé single that samples dialogue from the movie? Harness the power of Bey and you have the makings of a serious box office hit on your hands.

It's impossible not to admire Lupita Nyong'o's initiative and savvy in carving out her career, snapping up the rights to an interesting project herself and then backing that up by attracting major talent and industry clout. No production date is set; join me in hoping that this moves forward smoothly.

Have you read Americanah? Who else do you think should be brought on to the production?

Sunday
Nov232014

Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Michael C here with what I suppose is part one of my review of Mockingjay.

“I wish she were dead,” says Finnick Odair at the start of the third entry in the Hunger Games series. “I wish they were all dead and we were too,” he adds to include himself, Katniss, and all the tributes that remain in the clutches of the Capitol after the events of Catching Fire

If that seem like a dispiriting way to start an action blockbuster rest assured it perfectly establishes the tone of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, a grim, disjointed film that is short on thrills and long on misery. Francis Lawrence’s sequel progresses from torture to bombs dropped on hospitals to the wreckage of towns strewn with skulls, all of it scrubbed down to a bloodless PG-13. Our big reward for wading through this suffering is to see our beloved Katniss strangled within an inch of her life. 

I expect fans of the series will like it a lot...

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