> Chapter1-Take1: July 2012

Chris Colfer came to the Grove and all the girls came too.

My husband has been trying to dowload these pictures from his phone all day. Well actually he tried in the morning and it didn't work and then all day he has been telling me he would try again.
So finally, here are my Saturday Snapshots. Saturday Snapshots is a fun, mostly un-bookish meme where we share photos. Alyce over at  At Home with Books hosts it and to play along, post a picture you took (don't just swipe it from the net) and then add it to her Mr. Linky.
We took these Saturday Snapshots when we went to Barnes and Noble at the Grove in L.A. the other day. As soon as we rounded the corner onto the main shopping area, we saw a ton of young girls, most of them in a long line. I made my husband go find out what they were waiting for.
He came back with the news that it was some guy from GLEE at Barnes and Noble.
We don't watch Glee but I know who Chris Colfer is.

He has a lot of fans. Here they are snaking around the upper level at B&N. The store was very careful to keep them in line, most of which was outside the store in the Grove itself, and on a street leading away from the Grove.

And here are some more in just one of the lines outside the store.

We did not take the following pictures but in case you dont know him, wanted to show you a picture of Chris as well as his recently published book. I kinda hate how celebrities get their books published so easily and can only hope it has some merit. Hell, I hope it's fantastic!
This is Chris.
And this is his book.

The first Life of Pi Trailer is here!

Anyone who has read this book has got to be intrigued with this film. It's one thing to read about a boy sharing a life boat with a tiger, quite another to see it.
I was left with some many questions after reading Life of Pi - my biggest one being WTF? What was that about? I mean really about. So I'm excited to see Ang Lee's version and I have to say, it looks pretty darn stunning.
It comes out in November.

Did you read the Life of Pi by Yann Martel; will you go see the movie?

                        REST IN PEACE

Victims of the tragic Colorado Theater Shooting

My Wondrous Words Wednesday words today come from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. To play along, visit Kathy who hosts this fabulous weekly meme over at her BermudaOnion.net blog.
First off: THIS BOOK IS SOOOOO GOOD!  Flynn has written Gone Girl in a most arresting way. It seems simple, Amy, disappears on her 5th anniversary. Her husband, Nick, will most likely be the prime suspect. But the way Flynn  tells us the story is so delicious, doling us out little morsels of info, keeping us always wanting more. We hear Amy's side of things via her diary which begins at the beginning, before she met her husband. And the husband's narrative which begins The Day Of and goes forward from there. It's riveting, I tell ya. And that's all I can say, so as not to spoil it. No wonder it's already been picked up for a feature, most likely with Reece Witherspoon playing the missing wife. EXCITING!

Okay, back to the words. And the sentences they appeared in.
Numero Uno: "rictusGin martinis wobbling on trays lofted by waiters with rictus smiles. Well that certainly can't be a real, authentic smile, right? According to my Nook's dictionary (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition)
1) the gape of a bird's mouth
2a) the mouth orifice
2b) a gaping grin or grimace
It's from the Latin, open mouth; akin to mockery.
So big, fake, open mouthed smiles?

#2: "fuggy"   I was tender and dull. Fuggy. Maybe still a little drunk. 
fug is the stuffy atmosphere of a poorly ventilated space; also a stuffy or malodorous emanation.
Origin is 1888 and the word is possibly an alteration of fog or foggy.
I think the sound of the words says it all. A dull, stuffy, fuzzy head as part of a hangover. I didn't really need to read the dictionary definition to suss out the meaning, the context made it clear. Cool new word for me though.

Last, "oubliette" Maybe it was my conscience scratching back to the surface from its secret oubliette.
Sounds like some sort of hiding place where someone would tuck their conscience when it got in the way. Let's see.  Aha! Oubliette is a dungeon with an opening only at the top. And the origin is from middle French from oublier, to forget. Makes sense. Let's throw that princess in the dungeon and fuggedaboud her.
If you haven't already, I hope you will check out this book. I haven't read either of Ms. Flynn's other novels, Sharp Objects and Dark Places, both of which are being turned into films but I surely will now!

This is the fabulous Ms. Flynn. She looks so normal but what a mind!

Wicked IS FINALLY coming to the big screen! Who will play those witches?

There has been talk swirling around about the mega hit musical Wicked being adapted for the big screen for years. In fact I read somewhere (I honestly forget where!) that producer Mark Platt wanted to adapt Gregory Maguire's best selling novel as a film initially, but produced the stage version first due to lack of investor interest.
Well, now, according to the news out of Comic-Con, not only is Universal doing it (Platt has a deal there) but after looking at various directors, including J.J. Abrams, Rob Marshall, James Mangold and Glee creator, Ryan Murphey,are now courting Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Reader, The Hours, Extremely Loud and Incrediby Close) to direct.
Platt, by the way, is the producer behind the Gosling movie Drive which my hubby, Mark worked on.  I would love it if he could work on Wicked too!

Okay, guys, who should play Glinda and Elphaba?

In Celebration of Bastille Day: Les Misérables TEASER TRAILER

C'est July 14! Bastille Day.  Vive La France!

I was actually in Paris for Bastille Day in 1989 - the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. I have amazing memories and a scar to remind me. It was incredible. There was a huge parade and afterward the streets were thrumming with people singing and tossing tiny firecrackers. Tiny but still dangerous. I got hit in the leg and had to visit one of the many Red Cross stations set up throughout the city.
So in honor of Bastille Day, instead of a Saturday Snapshot I'm posting this teaser trailer of Les Miserables which hits screens in December. I posted it previously along with some criticism about the singing of Anne Hathaway. Maybe I was in a bad mood; listening to it now I think she sounds great. Or perhaps my critical side has been dulled by my empathetic side. I just read that she sobbed uncontrollably when she got the Fantine pixie haircut - and who can blame her!
Are you looking forward to this film as much as I am? I just watched a report that said  due to the current lack of real Oscar contenders, that Les Miz will definitely be in the running. I think with Tom Hooper directing, the beloved status of the musical, and the cast he's assembled, and the look of this trailer, there's a very good chance. But really, it's only July!
The same video report cited criticism of Hugh Jackman saying his film star status has dulled in recent years due to his insistence of continuing to do Broadway. That's one thing I do NOT hold against him; I adore Jackman's ability to throw himself 150% into singing, dancing and drama. The fact that he is a hot hunk of burning handsomeness throws him over the top. And according to the same source, Russell Crowe is still being held in contempt for his violent cell phone incident. Will he ever be forgiven? Should he be? Still, I think part of that personal drama adds to his excellence as a choice here!

Gone Girl, Fifty Shades of Grey,Sharp Objects, Dark Places: Fiction for Females?

So who has been reading the freshly published Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn?  A ton of you must have read it and loved it as it tops the NY Times Bestseller List for the second week in a row. And now, in a seven figure deal,  20th Century Fox has acquired the book which will be produced by Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon. Gillian Flynn will write the screenplay based on her novel about a woman who disappears on her 5th anniversary with her husband the prime suspect; presumably Reese Witherspoon will star. Apparently, it was a hot bidding war with other studios including Universal in on the action. Nikki Finke theorizes that  "Fifty Shades of Grey action has elevated interest in bestsellers geared to female readers." I would hope that successful books like The Help, The Descendants, to name two, would have done that. The whole 50 shades hullaballoo is making me a little crazy; all the fuss over what is basically trashy titillation is maddening. Unless I'm wrong? I didn't finish the book; anyone willing to step up and say it has redeeming value? But I digress ...
Flynn has two other books being turned into movies in the works; Dark Places with Amy Adams attached to star, and her first novel, Sharp Objects, has Blumhouse’s Jason Blum producing.

Wondrous Words Wednesday : The Art of Fielding

Another week when my reading didn't introduce me to a new word! But not because the book is overly simplistic. While it is a relatively easy read, The Art of Fielding from Chad Harbach is completely compelling. Please note I'm not a particular baseball fan; I have no idea who is currently playing first base for the Dodgers or a point of view on whether the Mets or the Yankees are the better team. The book isn't really about baseball. Oh it takes place in the world of baseball, college baseball actually, much the same way that Bull Durham took place in the world of minor league baseball. But I don't think you have to love baseball or know that much about it to love this book. I'm enjoying it tremendously and reco it highly.

That being said, here's my Wondrous Words Wednesday word. To play along, visit Kathy's Bermuda Onions website. She hosts the weekly meme where we post new-to-us words.
I once again turned to words with friends for my word of the week. One of my opponents played the word "louis".  Huh? I thought that was a proper noun, ala all those French kings. But Words with Friends accepted it!
Well apparently, louis is also short for louis d'or, and whether I like it or not, an acceptable word to play.
Here's the dictionary.com definition.
louis: gold coin circulated in France before the Revolution. The franc (q.v.) and livre were silver coins that had shrunk in value to such an extent that by 1740 coins of a larger denomination were needed. The French kings therefore had gold coins struck and called after their name Louis, or louis d'or ("gold Louis"). After the Revolution, Napoleon continued the practice but called the coins "napoleons." They had a value of 20 francs.

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jena Malone Join Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I guess even Oscar winning actors like Philip Seymour Hoffman want to be part of guaranteed box office success sometimes. EW.com reports that Hoffman - who I love - has signed on to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as Plutarch Heavensbee. Heavensbee is the politically crafty Head Gamemaker who oversees the 75th Annual Hunger Games.
According to EW, "Hoffman is the first new actor to officially join the wildly popular franchise, alongside stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, and Donald Sutherland.  EW didn't mention Stanley Tucci - I hope he'll be back. I'm sure this Hunger Games will be just as fun and campy as number one but with actors like Hoffman, Sutherland, Tucci, Harrelson along for the ride...just think what they could do with a really well written script. I hate to be pessimistic but the chances of that happening aren't that good. They'll want to repeat the formula but will be overly comfortable because of the huge built in fan base not just of the book, but of the first movie which was a phenom!

Actress Jena Malone has reportedly signed up to play tribute Johanna Mason — EW first reported that Malone was in the running for the role — but Lionsgate has yet to confirm that casting." Lionsgate may not have confirmed but it's on IMDB so I bet she's a go. She's not a name yet but take a look at her picture and I bet you'll react as I did. 'Oh yeah, I've seen her." She's been working quite a while and there's something quirky and really memorable about her face. Which should serve her well because she is going to play the lead in a film called The Lonely Hunter. She'll be playing Carson McCullers. The film is about Southern writer Mccullers - who wrote The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Member of the Wedding - and her tumultuous marriages to the same man, her friendship with literary icons like Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams.  What a role! Forget Hunger Games ... I can't wait for this one!
The Director Francis Lawrence is set to begin shooting Catching Fire later this year. Along with Hoffman’s casting, the studio also released its first official synopsis for the film, based on the best-selling novel by Suzanne Collins: 
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark.   Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) — a competition that could change Panem forever.

SAVAGES opens July 6

SAVAGES opens tomorrow. Right now there's no real consensus as to how good or bad it is.  There are not enough critic reviews to say that the current fairly rotten Rotten Tomatoes score will hold. It's 67% right now. On the other hand 87% want to see it,  I know there's a lot of interest out there from the sheer number of  people visiting my site looking for info. It's not clear whether they are fans of the book by Don Winslow or simply curious as to just how the violent drug wars and a menage a trois holds up as entertainment.
I would really, really like to know what you think of the film.
While the verdict is out, from what I gather, these truths appear to be self evident:
Blake Lively who plays O is a 0.
John Travolta is very watchable as a rotten DEA official.
Benicio Del Toro also rocks it as an over the top henchman.

Here's a small smattering of the reviews. 

This is a film full of a bunch of rich, whiny, druggy idiots getting into trouble of their own doing. Not for a millisecond do we care about a single character, their motivations, or their eventual outcome.

Savages is so anti-audience that it proves to be a study in ignorant filmmaking, a sign of a director so callous to his audience, so oblivious to the craft that made his earlier works so enjoyable, that it stops being aggravating and instead devolves into pity for the lost vision.
Entertainment Weekly
Stone presents some bravura set pieces, from a pulse-quickening encounter with a highway cop to an incendiary multivehicle heist to every scene with Benicio Del Toro as a very scary sociopath. As for Taylor Kitsch, he wipes away any lingering John Carter cobwebs with his explosive performance, and John Travolta is funny and desperate as a DEA agent up to his ears in slime. Exciting as it is, Savages does slide off the rails during the last half hour. The film goes from intense to indulgent, plausible to preposterous. But it's still a pleasure to see Stone settle into this dark groove. B+

Thank God for John Travolta
Chicago Tribune
Savages" is a silly and self-serious movie, but its juiciest turns (John Travolta activates his exposition-heavy dialogue nicely as a jumpy, double-dealing Drug Enforcement Administration officer) offer some distraction from the torpor generated by the script's central trio.
It's not as if Stone is above this sort of pulp. But as rejiggered for the movies, "Savages" has trouble making us care what happens to the beautiful people — the untouchables — at the center of the sun-baked fairy tale. As one commenter on imdb.com put it: "After seeing the trailer ... I'm already rooting for the cartels."

Oliver Stone: He's Baaaaack~!
Time Entertainment
And if you don’t like the plot or the performances, just watch the damn movie. Cinematographer Don Mindel obviously looked at the grand work of Robert Richardson on 11 early Stone pictures. Mindel will backlight a face framed in gaudy red flora, and supersaturates the desert landscapes with a sickly glow that make them seem like nuclear testing grounds after the big boom.The whole picture moves like that, nearly overcoming the flaws of conflicted rooting interest and whatever qualms a Ben-like viewer might have about closeups of executions. Savages isn’t great cinema, but it’s a very alive movie about people who probably ought to be dead.


JACK REACHER - First Trailer for Tom Cruise next action flick

Jack Reacher, the TOM CRUISE movie based on Lee Child's One Shot doesn't come out until December but the studio has just released an early teaser trailer. It seems fairly typical to try to start building buzz for an action flick in the summer months when all the young dudes are paying attention. I also wonder whether they are capitalizing on the TomKat divorce buzz publicity - or even whether the divorce is part of the planned publicity.
There has been lots of controversy among the Lee Child fanbase surrounding Tom Cruise's casting; Reacher is supposed to be the enormous physical specimen ala Dolph Lundgren. I doubt the younger demo has read the books so they won't care.
I do notice a striking similarity to some of the ground that Drive, the excellent if shocking, Gosling 'vehicle', covered but I'm not familiar enough with the Reacher series of books from Childs to know if that's part of the character's ammo. Still the shot of the car, the driving, Reacher's hand on the gearshift, the helicopter overhead, all echo that film.
As dark as Cruise was in Collateral, can he carry the emotional weight of Jack Reacher? The trailer hints that he can. Only the film will say for sure.

Night Terrors Update

I haven't been able to stop by my fellow bloggers Saturday Snapshots because today was my son, Russell's last day of shooting his movie (Night Terrors). That's him in the center of the picture looking down through the camera. The actors sitting at the table are Katherine Canipe and Michael McCormack.
Mark and I drove out to the set at Lake Malibou in Agoura (this is about an hour north of Los Angeles). We got some tubs of Stone Fire Chicken, Pasta and Salad plus a congratulations cake for the cast and crew. He and his crew have been working very hard on this film for the last ten days. Now shooting is over, I imagine he'll take a short break, then get down to editing. It's a very very low budget, full length feature and we're all pretty excited about it.
This is a link to the Night Terrors Facebook page
In the shot on the right, he's busy going over his shot list.
Director Russell Carter going over notes

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