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Entries in Adaptations (106)

Thursday
Apr102014

Where My Girls At? Brie Larson, Viola Davis, Kiki Dunst & More...

And now our semi-weekly check in with actresses we love. Where / What / Who are they up to?

BRIE
Brie Larson has accepted an offer to star in the psychological horror drama as "Ma", about a woman who's trapped in her father's basement for years with her son. It's based on the novel by Emma Donoghue who also did the screenplay but the novel is narrated by the 5 year old child who's only ever known this one room so that one's going to be tricky to make breathe as a film. This seems a better fit for her dramatic gifts than that dumb Terminator reboot she lost out on. The actress is in demand now post Short Term 12 as well she should be. She's also got The Gambler remake and the comedy Trainwreck coming out. Room is not the only novel adaptation she's attached to. She'll probably co-star in The Good Luck of Right Now based on a forthcoming novel by Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick. From descriptions of the novel I'm guessing she's playing the librarian girlfriend of the bipolar leading man, who believes she was once abducted by aliens. [src]

VIOLA
As we feared but predicted Hollywood wasted the golden years right after The Help (a white actress in that kind of huge hit / breakthrough would have gotten a ton of follow up offers) and kept on casting Viola Davis in thankless supporting bits that didn't really require her skill level. Just as they'd always done. But the actress stays busy. As previously discussed she has a small but potentially showy role in Get On Up, the James Brown biopic.  And she is politically active too. The actress, who often went hungry as a child living in poverty is speaking out as part of the "Hunger Is" initiative. [src

You wake up thinking about food, you go to sleep thinking about food. We live in a country where you can have anything in your reach, and it's emotionally shameful to live in a land of plenty with nothing to eat. 

That little girl who grew up in dysfunction and poverty is still with me. That's why I need to help those who don't have a voice."

She's already filmed her next five roles: as previously discussed she'll play the showy small role of James Brown's mom in Get On Up (August, 2014); she's excellent as a college professor in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Pts 1 and 2 (release date still TBA but I saw it at TIFF); she's in Michael Mann's thriller Cyber (January, 2015) with Chris Hemsworth as the headliner and supposedly her role is large there as an FBI agent; She'll headline Shonda Rhimes TV series "How To Get Away With Murder" and if it gets picked up past the pilot, don't expect to see her on your movie screens for awhile; The other leading role is Lila & Eve (she plays Lila) but her co-star is... (wait for it)... Jennifer Lopez? Huh. They play moms out to avenge their children who were gunned down in a drive by. The film is directed by Charles Stone III (Mr 3000 and Drumline). There's been little movement on the most exciting Viola projects though -- still no word on a film version of Fences (her Tony winning role despite the obvious marketability (Denzel Washington  is proven to be one of the surest box office draws in the world) and her proposed biopic about politician Barbara Jordan with a screenplay by Tony Kushner is also quiet. Both are the kind of prestige projects that could challenge her and win her an Oscar but I fear neither are going to happen.

SIGOURNEY
[SPOILER ALERT] Lt. Ellen Ripley may return in Prometheus 2 from Ridley Scott. Rumor has it that Sigourney Weaver will return to her signature role. Or a clone version thereof. [/SPOILER]

MICHELLE
There is nothing happening. I continue to be so disappointed that she does not care. She's an empty-nester this year even so for god's sake get back to work.

KIKI
Kirsten Dunst, whose career is back on track with the 1-2-3 punch of great performances in All Good Things, Bachelorette, and Melancholia has upset people with not-exactly progressive gender comments she made to Harpers Bazaar UK (she's on the cover, pictured above). But we're here to talk about her career. 

She'll be back on screens very soon in the Patricia Highsmith adaptation The Two Faces of January (torn between Viggo & Oscar Isaac? Tough life) and not very soon but maybe later this year in Jeff Nichols' Midnight Special a father and son sci-fi-tinged drama (his follow up to Mud so one assumes he'll get bigger budgets now) so it surely won't be focused on her. Still... I feel more offers really ought to be headed her way, right? Her career is back on track but it isn't quite on fire. Some auteur needs to bring some gasoline. Because, as former co-star Ben Foster agreed in our interview in 2011, her talent is major. "She is a beast of an actor, always has been." 

Tuesday
Mar182014

Sofia Coppola's "Little Mermaid" Can You Imagine It?

I'm going to have months of fun fantasizing about what this film will be like. According to Variety, Sofia Coppola is in talks to helm a new version of "The Little Mermaid", the flexible originally quite gloomy Hans Christian Anderson tale of a mermaid who gave up her life for the love of a human. The project, which once belonged to Joe Wright who is now working on a different sort of tale with fairies, called Pan (but we've discussed that enough recently), was aiming to mantain the original unhappy ending.

Though it's easy to giggle trying to juxtapose Sofia Coppola's high end lost rich girl aesthetic onto the familiar tale -- check out this tweet for a good LOL -- once you stop to consider even for a minute it's not that large a stretch.

Coppola does like to dramatize the hazy inchoate longings of fish out of water girls, whether that's Scarlett Johansson wandering lux hotels and karaoke bars in Tokyo or Marie Antoinette suddenly abandoned by her family for life in a new country as their queen. The other films don't readily connect as easily but since those are her two best and both are less directly tied to privileged Hollywood types, it might be a really great idea to shake up Coppola's increasingly Californian filmography.

What was your first reaction. And your second?

Tuesday
Mar182014

Linkomaniac Pt. 1

The Daily Beast talks to Uma Thurman about Lars von Trier and gender politics
Five Thirty Eight parses Shakespeare and finds that Romeo & Juliet have a relationship that's not totally based on getting to know one another. Duh!
The Wire reviews Doll & Em, a new miniseries starring Emily Mortimer 

Playbill Katharine McPhee has landed a series lead gig in a CBS show called Scorpion. (I guess they never saw Smash?)
Salon on the eve of the release of Divergent, a reminder that not every YA best-seller aiming for Hunger Games phenom status succeeds: Beautiful Creatures, City of Ember, The Host and more...
The Guardian Brittany Murphy's final film, Something Wicked, is completed four years after her death
Vulture 294 "issues" Glee has addressed in its first 99 episodes
Variety they went really young casting Peter Pan for that self proclaimed "international" and "diverse" Pan film which keeps casting white people in all the roles (so I guess what they mean by diverse is international and all ages). The boy's name is Levi Miller

Today's Long Read
The complete short story "The Birds" which inspired Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic and will inspire the remake (argh) which might star Naomi Watts and be directed by Diederik Van Rooijen -- which I keep hoping will be cancelled -- is available online if you've never read it. It's from Daphne du Maurier who Hitchcock obviously liked as she also wrote Rebecca. (Thanks to Sasha for pointing it out.)

Sunday
Mar162014

Review: "Enemy" Pits Gyllenhaal Against Gyllenhaal

This review originally appeared in my column at Towleroad

Have you ever read Jose Saramago's "Blindness"? That genius novel, about a sudden epidemic that renders the whole world blind, is hugely unsettling in content. It's also experimental in form. No character is named, the two protagonists are only referred to as "The Doctor" and "The Doctor's Wife", and punctuation is so scarce that there's nothing to guide you; you have to feel your own way through the blocks of words. The film version in 2008, which starred Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore, was too traditional in execution and couldn't capture the mad confusion and haunting power of the book. I haven't read Saramago's novel "The Double" upon which the new film Enemy is based but no one is playing it safe in the transfer this time. This is the kind of movie that feels like a true transfer of surreal text to visuals.

When I attended the Toronto Film Festival last fall, I didn't know what to make of Denis Villeneuve's hallucinatory thriller, which is as far removed from his other recent mainstream thriller (Prisoners, reviewed) as it could be. As far as I can tell the new movie is about a university teacher (Jake Gyllenhaal) who, while absentmindedly watching a video at home, sees a movie actor (Jake Gyllenhaal) who looks exactly like him. His initial shock gives way to curiousity and then to obsession. Things only get weirder from there... 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar042014

Stage Door: Is Kelli O'Hara Obsessed with Best Actress Losers?

Here's Jose to talk about a currently odd Broadway trend.

People like to complain about the movies running out of ideas, with only remakes and sequels in production. But the stage is no different.

Here in New York, Times Square can fool you into thinking you've fallen in a time vortex which has dropped you back in the mid-90s. Billboards for Broadway shows adapted from 1990’s movies are all over the place (The Lion King, Aladdin, Kinky Boots) and two of the newest and biggest are for Bullets Over Broadway (which starts previews next week!) and The Bridges of Madison County. The latter makes me ponder the peculiar choices of its leading lady Kelli O'Hara. Is she secretly a cinephile or actressexual?  

More after the jump (help us guess what Kelli will star in next!?) 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb222014

Yes, No, Maybe So: "What a bunch of A-holes"

Oscar season has crushed my will for timely YNMS entries since everything 2014 is a "No, No, Maybe No" until March 3rd, you know? But let's catch up very briefly so that we don't start at a deficit once the Oscars wraps and a new film year is truly free to begin. After the jump we'll discuss the new trailers and other marketing blitz business regarding Guardians of the Galaxy...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan292014

We Can't Wait #5: Inherent Vice

[Editor's Note: We Can't Wait is a Team Experience series, in which we highlight our top 14 most anticipated films of 2014. Here's Amir Soltani on "Inherent Vice."]

Inherent Vice
Doc Sportello, a perennially buzzed detective in Los Angeles at the beginning of the 70s, gets himself tangled up in a mess with former lovers, low life gangsters, prostitutes, billionaire crooks, a ship called Golden Fang and a whole lotta people with really weird names.

Talent
One of America’s greatest filmmakers, Paul Thomas Anderson, is behind the camera and one of America’s greatest actors, Joaquin Phoenix, is in front of it. Cinematographer Robert Elswit is collaborating with the director again after a one-film break, as is composer Jonny Greenwood. Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short, Reese Witherspoon and P.T.'s partner Maya Rudolph fill out the rest of the cast list.

Maya Rudolph in "Inherent Vice"

Why We Can’t Wait
With Paul Thomas Anderson’s name attached, little else is needed to drum up excitement. In my opinion, he has directed three spotless masterpieces (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood and The Master) and the rest of his filmography is as compelling as it is provocative. His is a singular and vital voice in modern American cinema. But there’s another factor at play here too: Inherent Vice is one of my favorite novels of recent years, and one of Pynchon’s most polished and coherent works. Its relatively modest scale should lend itself better to adaptation than the rest of his bibliography.

It will also be interesting to see Anderson in a more relaxed mood again. Vice has the potential to take him back to the Altman-esque structure he so successfully utilized in Boogie Nights, both because of its sprawling cast of colorful characters and its bitter humor and casual insight into the Angelenos counterculture. Few directors can get an ensemble to click as comfortably as Anderson does and it’d be a shame if he never used that gift again. If adapted faithfully, Doc Sportello is more central to the narrative than Dirk Diggler was, but there’s still plenty of meat for everyone else to chew on here. Plus, look at that cast! It’s mouthwatering. So good, in fact, that I’m willing to forgive the presence of Reese Witherspoon!

But We Do Have To Wait
Warner Brothers has the distribution rights, but we know we have to wait a while. None of Anderson’s films have been released earlier than mid-September on the calendar, and chances are this one won’t be an exception. A festival bow in Venice is likely; one in Toronto is almost inevitable.

Previously on "We Can't Wait"
06 Into the Woods
07 Snowpiercer
08 Nymphomaniac
09 Boyhood,
10 Big Eyes,
11 The Last 5 Years,
12 Gone Girl 
13 Can a Song Save Your Life 
14 Veronica Mars 
runners up  just missed the cut.

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