> Chapter1-Take1: September 2012

The Eye of the Storm: My Take on the Movie starring Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis and Charlotte Rampling #book2movie

Well, thank God for Judy Morris! She's the Australian actress, director, and writer who not only took on the very dense and mystifying novel, The Eye of the Storm written by Patrick White in 1973 but coaxed a pretty good screenplay out of it. At least in my eyes. All those tedious inner monologues. Gone. Presto Chango. Just like that. And I sure as hell didn't miss them - you can read my initial take on the novel here if you're so inclined. In all honesty, I was surprised, no not surprised, totally shocked, to see this much skill from the writer who brought you Babe: A Pig in the City and Happy Feet! Not that those aren't fine films (I haven't seen them and haven't the least bit of interest in reading about them) but they're not the type of credit I would normally associate with a writer in this genre. Not serious enough. Because if one thing is true, The Eye of the Storm is serious.
In the novel everyone wants something - love, money, acceptance, opportunity -  they all despise each other and themselves for that want. Which at times makes it grimly funny. In a ghastly, wow, aren't people just horrible kind of way. Morris captures all of it on film. And much more efficiently than White but then that's film. In this case, the time constraints work in the story's favor. The story of an aging Australian woman, Elizabeth Hunter * (Charlotte Rampling) whose two grown expat kids (Geoffrey Rush as Basil and Judy Davis as Princess Dorothy de Lascabanes) come home to ensure their share of her fortune, isn't just about this horrid little family drama at its core. There are plenty of power plays, barely-hidden resentments, jealousies and secrets to fill an entire season of a television soap opera ala As The World Turns, Days of My Life or perhaps most aptly, All My Children. Especially when you add in the caretakers, family lawyer and socialite 'friends' of the daughter Princess Dorothy, and actor colleagues of the son.

Morris, for her part, was mostly true to White's book, taking the good cinematic stuff for her screenplay and leaving the stream of consciousness voices for the printed page. She did kill off one of White's trio of nurses (Sister Badgery) but beyond that, she stayed the course.

This is Fred Schepisi's first film in five or six years but the award-winning Australian director's imdb.com listed film credits include Roxeanne, Six Degrees of Separation, Empire Falls and A Cry in the Dark so it's clear he knows what he's doing. Except for some odd casting in the case of Geoffrey Rush and Charlotte Rampling. Rush is too old to play Rampling's son or Rampling is too young to play the novel's 86 year old mother. In reality, Rampling is in her late 60's, Rush is just a few years behind her in his early 60's, so it's a bit offputting.
Judy Davis, born in 1951, is just a few years behind them but for some reason, that's not as jarring. Perhaps the two actresses are not that far apart in age because the story sets mother and daughter up as rivals with the older woman being known for her outstanding beauty - and the feeling of entitlement that seems to go with extraordinary good looks. Not a lot of older (70 plus) women who can compete with even the average 50 year old on a purely physical plane. Despite that bit of awkwardness, there's so much awkwardness already between these people, who happen to be family that it just adds a layer of tension.

Of course, all three of these actors are incredibly gifted. I had no idea they were all Australians. Well, I knew Judy Davis was but not Rush. What is it about the country that gives us so many talented actors? Judy Davis and her unsmiling, foot-swinging, lip-nibbling nervous energy. Geoffrey Rush, spot on as the always-on, lecherous Shakespearian actor. And Rampling, who we first saw in Georgy Girl in the 60's and who has worked, worked, worked since and who has been involved in another eight - 8! - projects since filming The Eye of the Storm is as masterful as her character is manipulative. It's not her fault she doesn't look quite old enough.

Schepisi in his casting has also shaved quite a few years off Edward (pronounced EdVar and played by Martin Lynes)- the man at the heart of Dorothy's resentment toward her mother. In the filmmaker's version with this younger Edward, it's easier than in the book, to see how he simply accepts what he's given; Edward as a prize that Elizabeth wins over her daughter is tawdry and shabby. I felt disappointed that Dorothy put so much stock in it or her mother's betrayal.

One casting decision was a clear winner and that's Schepisi's selection of his daughter, Alexandra Schepisi for the role of Flora (Floradora) Manhood. She was terrific as the clean and cheeky looking young woman with a foolish grasping urge. I'm not familiar with her work but like all these Australian actors, she brings a gritty realism to the role. Helen Morse was also striking as Lotte, the cook and Holocaust survivor who is perhaps the only living being to give Elizabeth true pleasure. She is certainly one of the few who truly loves her.  John Gadden - another new to me face but an old hand in Australian tv and film I suspect - struck just the right chord as the honorable family attorney.

The movie was simply beautiful to look at thanks to cinematography by Ian Baker who has worked extensively with Schepisi along with the muted palette of production designer Melinda Doring. My only quibble with the latter is that the house should have looked a bit shabbier in keeping with the decaying life of the family and household.
Not a perfect movie but I wasn't bored for an instant and I credit it for being an honest respectful and mostly successful effort. If I was giving it stars or hearts or chocolate chip cookies - which is not something I do - I'd give it three.

* The absolute rightness of Elizabeth Hunter's name has only now just struck me.  She is both Elizabeth the queen who rules absolutely and the predator who knows only the fittest survive.

I'm highlighting the trailer on my Featured Trailer page or you can watch it here. The film is out in select theatres in the US and available on Amazon Instant Video now. Unless you have a really big screen try and see it in the theatre; it won't be at the multiplex but if you have a movie house that plays those little indie gems they should be screening it.

Life of Pi Premiere and Reviews Are Coming In #book2movie

Life of Pi premiered last night at the New York Film Festival. Check out this link to Collider to read some early reactions to the film based on Yann Martel's popular book.

Earlier, Deadline reported "that Lee described the film as “an adventure of hope, wonder, survival, spirituality, and faith”, and indeed it does have a strong religious aspect to it that should help box office appeal for audiences in the heartland. Lee, a two-time Oscar director winner for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Brokeback Mountain, says he used 3D for the first time not as a gimmick but as “an attempt to put you in the emotional space with these characters as much as the action”.
At CinemaCon, Lee told me this book would have been completely out of the question as a film even five years ago, but the 3D technology had evolved to such a point he was able to get these remarkable shots on water and make the tiger seem 100% authentic. Fortunately, he didn’t have to shoot on the open seas as films like Jaws did; he shot all the massive water sequences in specially designed state-of-the-art water tanks in Taiwan with huge wave machines."

Congrats to Don 'Raymond Chandler' Winslow #book2movie

Attention SAVAGES fans. Don Winslow will be presented with The Raymond Chandler Award at the Courmayeur Noir Festival, held in December in the Italian Alps. Nice work if you can get it.
The festival said Winslow was being awarded  "for a dazzling writing career spent depicting the intense humanity of crime and the marginalized, from Mafiosos to the disenchanted ideals of the California dream, in a style that owes much to cinema. Hollywood has in fact paid tribute to Winslow with Oliver Stone’s adaptation of his recent bestseller, Savages, to be released in Italy on October 25 as Le belve. Winslow co-wrote the script of the film, which is highly anticipated in Italy.

Winslow had this to say
"I have always been convinced that there is a strong interplay between noir and cinema,"
Winslow said, "and personally I think that my writing has been heavily influenced by the big screen unconsciously because I grew up with the films because they have been consciously contaminated by the work of directors like Truffaut, Fellini, and Woo. Films like Eight and a Half and La Strada encouraged me to take risks with the creative structure of my novels, especially Savages."
And I assume he said thanks, as well.
Courmayeur Noir Festival

Source: Deadline

Happy Twenty Fifth Anniversary to The Princess Bride #book2movie

"Anyway, here's the "good parts" version. S. Morgenstern wrote it. And my father read it to me. And now I give it to you. What you do with it will be of more than passing interest to us all.” William Goldman

A friend sent me this fun link to Little Known Facts About The Princess Bride on its 25th Anniversary.

Broken: Should I Read it Before I See the Movie? #book2movie

This is crazy. This cover looks like a kids book but the publisher's blurb shows it is anything but.

Should I read it before I see the movie?
The film version, directed by the British stage director, Rufus Norris, screened at Cannes and now the news is that Film Movement has picked up the screen rights. Broken, starring Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy and unknown Eloise Laurence will open early in 2013. This is Laurence's first movie but she does come from a British show biz family. Her father is Larry Lamb who was Archie on the EastEnders and her mother, Clare Burt, plays Mrs. Buckley in the film. She reminds me a bit of Kerris Dorsey, the luminous young actress who played Brad Pitt's daughter in Moneyball. In fact, the relationship highlighted in the trailer between Tim Roth and Laurence evokes the same lovely father-daughter poignancy.
According to Deadline, the movie will be available concurrently on VOD as well as a limited national rollout. Probably in addition to New York, those of us living in L.A. and a few other select cities will be able to see it on the big screen.  You can check out the trailer, complete with French subtitles below. I haven't read the book - one review I glanced at wasn't exactly gushing with praise - but the film looks like something that would grab me.

The plot line is "a girl’s abrupt coming-of-age after witnessing a savage beating that strips her of her innocence, and only love can save her."  Source: Deadline

Here's that publishers blurb from Harper Collins:

Until that fateful afternoon, Skunk Cunningham had been a normal little girl, playing on the curb in front of her house. Rick Buck­ley had been a normal geeky teen­ager, hosing off his brand-new car. Bob Oswald had been a normal sociopathic single father of five slutty daughters, charging furiously down the side­walk. Then Bob was beating Rick to a bloody pulp, right there in the Buckleys' driveway, and life on Drummond Square was never the same again.

Inspired by Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird, Clay's brilliantly observed and darkly funny novel follows the sudden unraveling of a sub­urban community after a single act of thoughtless cruelty.

A Tatterdemalion in Cloud Atlas #book2movie

Tom Hanks plays Dr. Henry Goose /
 Isaac Sachs / Dermot 'Duster' Hoggins /
Valleysman Zachry
Here's my word for Wondrous Words Wednesday, a fun meme hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion

Tatterdemalion comes from my reading of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, which after a slow-going first chapter or so is really starting to hum along.
"No more tatterdemalion a renagado I ever beheld, but Mr. Evans swore the quadroon, Barnabas, was "the fleetest sheepdog who ever ran upon two legs."

Here's the Dictionary.com definition.  Tatterdemalion: a person in tattered clothing; a shabby person.

I am not disciplined enough to host Read Alongs but if you are reading the book or you have read it, I would love to know what you think. Are you excited about the film?
Cloud Atlas is due out October 26. You might want to check out the Cloud Atlas site.

FIRST POSTER: Les Miserables #book2movie

Isabelle Allen is the young Cosentine,
Amanda Seyfried plays the grown-up version.
What do you think of this first poster (on the left) for Tom Hooper's Les Miserables? You were expecting Anne Hathaway or Hugh Jackman perhaps?  Or do you like that the studio has chosen to echo - at least initially - the iconic image from the musical (the poster on the right)? 
 All I want for Christmas is to see this one! Okay, that's not exactly true but I am really, very, super, totally jazzed.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower : Quotable #book2movie

Read My Take on the Book HERE
"So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be."
Steven Chbsoky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Saturday Snapshot: The Game of Politics

My husband and I took a walk down 3rd Street Friday night. 3rd is a kinda trendy L.A. street chock full of restaurants, bars, cafes, bakeries, and tres cool stores. It's also the route to Old Navy; my husband loves their socks because they hug your feet and don't slide down. Quality plus they're only $5 for 3 pair. Ridiculous!
Anyway, since it's only a mile to Old Navy and it's such an interesting street, we hoofed it. It was a beautiful balmy evening and we found some great looking restaurants we want to try little by little.
And a gourmet shop that looks like it's part of a film set which I will have to check on in detail!
We were both struck by the following display in the window of a men's clothing shop.
It's Mitt and the President playing chess. Or getting ready to anyway. Romney is wearing a suit fashioned out of money while Barack's suit is more global in nature - the print is flags from around the world. Each of the men has their own bobble-head figurine acting as their King. The skin color for the President is a bit off but I imagine they just used their normal mannikins. We thought it was clever and made us both smile. Something we need to do more of this election season!
These pictures are for Saturday Snapshot , the fun meme hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.
And that's it for the politics.

Big Screen Adaptation of Winter's Tale #book2movie

About the Book:
Set in New York at the beginning and the end of the twentieth century, Winter´s Tale unfolds with such great narrative force and beauty that a reader can feel that its world is more real than his own. Standing alone on the page before the book begins are the words, I have been to another world and come back. Listen to me. In that world, both winter and the city of New York (old and new) have the strength and character of protagonists, and the protagonists themselves move as if in a vivid dream. Though immensely complicated, the story is centered upon Peter Lake, a turn-of-the-century Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young heiress whom he encounters in robbing her house, and who eventually will die young and in his arms. His love for her, and a gift of grace will allow him after the most extraordinary and painful explorations and discoveries to stop time and bring back the dead. To follow him, his predecessors, his inheritors, and his companions is to experience one of the great stories of American literature.

Set to Shoot:
Akiva Goldsman, the prolific screenwriter behind A Beautiful Mind, Practical Magic, The Da Vinci Code, I Am Legend, A Time to Kill and more is almost ready to add feature film director to his list of credits. He'll start shooting Winter's Tale on October 27th in Manhattan and is still making last-minute casting decisions; he just added Matt Bomer (Magic Mike, White Collar), Lucy Griffiths (True Blood) and Eva Marie Saint to a cast that already includes  Colin Farrell, along with Downton Abbey‘s Jessica Brown Findlay and major players like Russell Crowe, Will Smith, and William Hurt, who just doesn't make enough movies.
The only character listed on IMDB.com is Will Smith as Pearly Soames.

Colin Farrell is set to star as
Peter Drake, the thief, and
Jessica Brown Findlay is
the dying young woman.

Supposedly Matt Bomer and Lucy Griffiths play the thief's parents.  Which sounds bizarre since both Bomer and Griffiths are years younger than Collin Farell except that the story centers around Farrell's character being able to stop time and bring back the dead. INTRIGUING!

Marc Platt (Wicked, Drive, Legally Blonde, Charlie St. Cloud) and Michael Tadross (I Am Legend, Akira, Gangster Squad, Sherlock Holmes) produce. Zooey Deschanel's proud papa, Caleb Deschanel shoots and Hans Zimmer will score.  Sounds like all the stars are aligning for a good one!

Goldsman isn't saying what role the iconic Eva Marie Saint (North by Northwest) plays but hints its a pivotal part. Can you guess what part Saint will play?

MUST SEE Les Miz Extended First Look

OH WOW! This long first look behind the scenes of Les Miserables is really exciting. I think Tom Hooper's decision to have a piano on set to play along as the actors sing is one of those genius moves that separates the boys from the men. It definitely demonstrates the kind of brilliance that earned Hooper his Academy Award for The Kings Speech. I can't wait to see this.

Unscripted: Peter Jackson

"To get an Oscar would be an incredible moment in my career, there is no doubt about that. But the 'Lord of the Rings' films are not made for Oscars, they are made for the audience."
                                                                     Peter Jackson

New trailer: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The brand new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I want to live in the shire ... and I remember haivng this same exact feeling when I read the book years ago. I didn't want the story to leave the shire.
Very excited to see Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.
Hungry for more Hobbit info? You will probably dig their website which you can visit here
The Hobbit opens December 14.

Les Miserables on Christmas Day

Opens Christmas Day
Christmas is always a big day for end of year movies. Here's a few we can look back on now that opened to mixed results back in 2012.

Some big moves going on in the book to movie world. Les Miserables director, Tom Hooper has turned in his cut of the movie (YES! YES! YES!) and Universal has decided to push the release date from December 14 to December 25. According to Deadline the studio thinks the movie musical is right for a Christmas Day opener which probably means they think it will appeal to families. I know it appeals to mine. The fact that both The Great Gatsby and Life of Pi are no longer scheduled for a Christmas Day opening can only help. Life of Pi will actually open earlier - November 21 and Gatsby has been moved to 2013. 

Opens November 16
FYI, Anna Karenina with Keira Knightly, Jude Law and Savages Aaron Taylor-Johnson opens in limited release on the 16th. That's a movie I would have thought would be released closer to the holidays or at least that big Thanksgiving holiday period. Lots of us can't stand the idea of doing the black Friday thing and head for the movies instead. Especially those theatres that aren't in the local mall clogged with holiday bargain shoppers.
The Christmas Day competition for Les Miserables will be Guilt Trip, Parental Guidance and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. I don't see Les Miz having a problem standing out in that crowd, do  you?

Opens December 21
In other book to movie news, Jack Reacher, the Tom Cruise movie based on Lee Child's One Shot novel opens a few days before - on December 21- but even Lee Child fans probably won't go rushing to see it because they're all so furious that Cruise is trying to pass as the hulking Reacher. Of course Jack Reacher isn't really competition for Les Miserables. It won't get the family audience anyway while Monsters Inc 3D will and This Is 40 from Judd Apatow will bring in the parents.  Peter Jackson is probably highly delighted as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is set to open December 14, and now won't have to worry about Les Miserables taking away from its opening.

Opens December 14
Unless Warner Brothers ends up moving The Hobbit to Christmas Day too. Which is what one of the comments on the Deadline article predicted. They actually said they had inside info that was in the works.
Oh well, we'll see.  It's all good for us, the fans that (hopefully) flock to the theatres this fall and holiday season!

Check out my post about the book here

The Eye of the Storm: My take on the book

Purchase a copy
or read a selection of the novel here
My fellow blogger Louise  at A Strong Belief in Wicker gave me an out when I wrote I was reading nobel laureate Patrick White's 1973 book "The Eye of the Storm" prior to seeing the movie.

"Oh dear, Patrick White is Hard. I've only read one- Fringe of Leaves. It took me 3 months to get through it. No one will think the less of you as a reader, or a person, if you have to give up!"

Would that I had listened! Louise is planning on skipping the book but seeing the film. I know this is a bit sacreligious coming from me but I think she has the right idea.The book is, as Louise says, hard. At least it was for me. White's insistence on getting inside his characters' heads and giving us a multi-page stream of consciousness of their thoughts is quite literally, hard to read. Without punctuation, the  letters, the words, the phrases, the sentences blur together in a dreamlike mess. Even when he's not doing stream of consciousness I had to read and re-read and still would occasionally find myself mystified. When I could see the characters, which quite often seemed shrouded in the mist of White's language, I found a mostly unlikeable but all too human bunch:  a controlling and dying mother, her two very grown children come reluctantly home looking to seal their inheritance, her solicitor, her nurses and cook, an unloved now-dead husband.

The story itself is not that unique but its universality - at least in terms of the death of a parent - is what makes it compelling: a son (Basil, an actor in London) and a daughter (Dorothy, a "French princess" by marriage) raised by a mother so selfish and withholding that her children deliberately live as far away from her as possible. Even when they return to Australia, neither one can bring themselves to stay in the house with her. They are just as greedy, and self-involved as their mother has been. There are no heroes in the book, most of the characters are small and petty and self-loathing and frightened; they plod around rather than soar. I just wish White spent less time in their heads and more time simply telling the story. En anglais, s'il vous plait. Perhaps I would have finished the book feeling transported, moved, thoughtful. Instead I was merely grateful I was done. Okay, I said to myself, get rid of all that interior crap and there's probably a good movie here. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing it; Mark has promised to go with me Wednesday.  Hopefully he won't discover it's not an action flick before then.

I'm a tad floored that Australian screenwriter Judy Morris was given the task of adapting this weighty  tome. Not because she's an Aussie of course but because the longtime multi-talented actress (since 1949!) doesn't have a lot of writing credits - the ones she has seem to be mostly collaborative efforts on animated features ie, Happy Feet and Babe:Pig in the City. In 2010 she is also credited as being one of four writers on a project called Before the Rain, perhaps that's how she clinched the deal? If you have any knowledge about Before the Rain I'd love you to share it.
The Eye of the Storm is directed by Fred Schepisi who directed the stunning Empire Falls based on Richard Russo's equally stunning book. In that respect at least, we know we are in good hands.

Bradley Cooper's Very Good Day

Earlier I blogged about Bradley Cooper's current release The Words which I saw yesterday. The film has been received poorly by critics and filmgoers alike. But if Cooper was feeling a bit down about his Rotten Tomato score, he has no need to. Today, direct from Toronto, where The Place Beyond the Pines, the film where Cooper costars along with lovebirds Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, was quickly snapped up by Focus, we learn that success strikes again.

The Silver Linings Playbook, which also stars Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro,  has won the Peoples Choice Award. Winning is kind of a big deal and should cheer Cooper up.
Its a big deal because in the past other films earning the same nod, Slumdog Millionaire, The King's Speech, American Beauty, went on to take the top prize at the Oscars. Written and directed by David O. Russell, (I Heart Huckabee, The Fighter, Three Kings) the film is currently set for release on November 21, just in time for Thanksgiving break. You can read My Take on the book by Matthew Quick here and a little chatter about the book cover vs the movie poster here and still more about Cooper's big year here.

The Words: My take on the movie starring Bradley Cooper

I didn't need to read any reviews to know The Words was not supposed to be very good.  The verdict was in the air. I knew it but I wanted to see it anyway. Unlike most of the movies I blog about, this one wasn't based on a book BUT the storyline is all about books and writers so I really wanted to see it and share my thoughts with you. 

It begins with Hammond (Dennis Quaid) reading to a large crowd from his newest best seller The Words. The story he tells is the one you already know from the trailer: an unpublished writer (Bradley Cooper) finds a manuscript and passes it off as his own. Naturally it's a mega success. The Old Man ( an ancient looking Jeremy Irons) who actually wrote the manuscript recognizes it as his work - Cooper's character hasn't changed a comma from the originial - and confronts him. The Old Man then tells Cooper the story of how he came to write and lose the manuscript in Paris years ago. It's all about the woman he loves.

Ben Barnes and Nora Arnezeder in The Words
Thanks to glorious cinematography from Antonio Calvache, The Words looked beautiful. The post World WarII Paris scenes were especially gorgeous. Not surprising, he was the DP on Todd Fields also beautiful looking films, Little Children and In The Bedroom

The actors did their best. Bradley Cooper plays aginst type as Rory, the writer who plagiarizes an entire book. I'm not sure I would buy Cooper as a serious writer BUT as a writer who seems a little lazy and loses his moral compass? Yes, that works. 

Zoe Saldana was fine as the wife who spends a lot of time draped all over him. Can you blame her?

Jeremy Irons is The Old Man, the writer whose book was stolen. Irons is one of our most gifted, albeit not flamboyant actors; he's always spot on and didn't disappoint me here. Except perhaps in the gardening scene; watch it and you'll probably see what I mean. Clip clip. His old-aged makeup was really well done unless Irons is more of an old geezer than I recall. Ben Barnes who plays the younger version of the old man is an exciting young new face to watch. For me the only exception in terms of the acting, was Olivia Wilde, miscast as a lit loving grad student hanging on the every word of Clay Hammond, the best selling author played cynically by Dennis Quaid.

The major problem with the movie was the story and its ponderous format: an utterly unnecessary device which framed a story within a story within a story. I just couldn't help thinking why the heck the Dennis Quaid/Olivia Wilde scenes were even in the film. We certainly didn't need the outer framework of a writer reading his book about another writer stealing another writer's work. Yuck!
And their seduction story was just a lil' bit sleazy.

The basic theme, at what emotional cost does one cross that ethical line, is a really interesting one; I think they could have developed it more fully if they'd cut the Quaid/Wilde scenes completely. The story is the problem so it's no surprise it was written and directed by a pair of practically first timers, Ben Klugman and Lee Sternthal - they previously wrote the story (not the screenplay) the film TRON is based on. Would it surprise you to know that Cooper and Klugman went Germantown Academy, a Philadelphia high school together? Which is how the movie must have been given the greenlight in the first place. I think it's admirable that Cooper is loyal to Klugman; apparently they've helped each other fight their own personal demons over the years - the 37 year old Cooper has been straight and sober since he was 29. And I applaud Klugman and Sternthal for trying to write a serious, layered film. Unfortunately when you peel away the layers, there's not that much left to sustain you.

While I clearly can't recommend this as a great movie - or even a very good movie - I wouldn't say I hated it. I always enjoy peeking into the world of writers and any trip to Paris, even a side trip, is a good trip to Paris. And mostly not long enough. There was even a moment during the Paris in World War II scenes where I shed a tear. But I confess to crying easily, my emotional buttons are easily pushed. Ah oui, I would probably save it for a rainy netflix day.

How about you?
What are your favorite movies set - at least partially - in Paris?

Building Blocks: Saturday Snapshot

My son took this shot of the L.A. skyline. I love the haze caused by sunglare. Back when I was his age (in the 70's) this L.A. skyline would have been shrouded in smog. Thanks to the governments epa standards that has changed considerably over the years.
I also love the simple geometry of it - it looks like a ghostly version of the building blocks cities he used to build when he was a a little boy.
Post your own Saturday Snapshot then add it to Mr. Linky over at Alyce's At Home with Books Saturday Snapshot meme.

Unscripted: Brad Pitt

" Heartthrobs are
  a dime a dozen."
     Brad Pitt

Top Ten Update

In my post, 10 books to Read before you see the movie, I told you that Killing Them Softly was coming out in October.  They've just changed the date to November 20th. The Brad Pitt movie is based on Cogans Trade, the crime novel written by crime writer extraordinaire, George V. Higgins.

Here's the lowdown from Random House:
A hard-hitting, tour-de force tale of the mob and the man who makes sure their rules are the only rules, by the American master of crime George V. Higgins.

Jackie Cogan,(played by Pitt) is an enforcer for the New England mob. When a high-stakes card game is heisted by unknown hoodlums, Cogan is called in to “handle” the problem. Moving expertly and ruthlessly among a variety of criminal hacks, hangers-on, and bigger-time crooks—a classic cast of misfits animated by Higgins’s hilarious, cracklingly authentic dialogue—Cogan gets to the root of the problem and, with five consecutive shots from a Smith & Wesson thirty-eight Police Special, restores order to his corner of the Boston underworld.

Combining his remarkable wit and a singular ability to show criminal life as it is lived, George V. Higgins builds an incredible story of crime to an unforgettable climax.


Check out the trailer.

The Best of Dahl

Apparently today is Roald Dahl day. I didn't bake a cake. But I did discover some bits and pieces about Dahl that surprised me - like the fact that he never went to university and that he was a British RAF fighter pilot during World War II . I also learned that besides being one of the worlds most beloved childrens book writers, he wrote a good many screenplays including episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He also wrote a James Bond film. Can you name it? Four Wonka bars if you can!
What's your favorite Roal Dahl book or screen adaptation? I'm torn between James and the Giant Peach and The Fantastic Mr. Fox.  Check out Dahl's website for more info.



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