> Chapter1-Take1: January 2013

The Man from Primrose Lane attracts Bradley Cooper

source: thefml.net
Lucky book, that's all I can say! The novel from James Renner came out just shy of a year ago, now Deadline is reporting that Bradley Cooper has signed on star in the screen adaptation of The Man from Primrose Lane for Warner Brothers. He'll play David, a crime writer investigating the death of a hermetic man everyone knows as The Man from Primrose Lane.  
Film School Rejects snarked "In The Future, All Films Star Bradley Cooper" because hey, the man is on a very nice run right now. Looking at the book synopsis I'm excited to see him tackle this one. We know he can handle 'broken' vis a vis Silver Linings Playbook and the stuff about the 'reality-altering power of his own obsessions' brings to mind Limitless and even his haunted character in The Words.
Chad Feehan whose short list of credits include scary stuff like Paranormal Activity 4 and Beneath the Dark is 'penning' the script. (Truth- do you find that usage of 'penning' pretentious?)
Anyway, here's  hoping he gets it right.

Here's the synopsis via Barnes and Noble:
In West Akron, Ohio, there lived an elderly recluse who always wore mittens, even in July. He had no friends and no family, and was known only as the Man from Primrose Lane. And on a summer day, someone murdered him. Fast-forward four years. David Neff, the bestselling author of a true-crime book about an Ohio serial killer, is broken by his wife’s inexplicable suicide. When an unexpected visit from an old friend introduces him to the strange mystery of “the man with a thousand mittens,” David decides to investigate. But the closer he gets to uncovering the man’s true identity, the more he begins to understand the reality-altering power of his own obsessions—and how they may be connected to the deaths of the old hermit and David’s beloved wife. Deviously plotted and full of dark wit, James Renner’s The Man from Primrose Lane is an audacious page-turner unlike anything you’ve ever read.

What do you think, is Bradley Cooper right for the part? 
Is this a movie you'd like to see?

Life of Pi: For Your Consideration, Visual Effects

I promised more looks at the nominated crafts people behind Life of Pi, Ang Lee's 11 time nominated film based on Yann Martel's best seller.  Here's a peek at the work of Bill Westenhofer, the Visual Effects Supervisor nominated for some truly spectacular effects. Check it out to see how Westenhofer and his crew brought this mysterious and magical film to life.

The other films in competition in the Visual Effects category are  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Prometheus.

Thanks to Deadline for sharing.

Don't forget to cast your vote for the Academy Award for Best Picture 
The poll is in the sidebar on the right!

Silver Linings Playbook:Matthew Quick on his book and the movie

It's almost Oscar month! Yes, I'll be obsessed all month long. The big night is February 23rd and naturally the Adapted Screenplay Award category is of special interest, especially when the source material is a book. This year we have two novels, Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi, Lincoln based on the historical nonfiction book Team of Rivals, Argo based on a 2007 article by Joshuah Bearman, Beasts of the Southern Wild adapted from the stage play of the same name. Silver Linings Playbook  is one of my favorites in the Adapted Screenplay award, the director David O. Russell penned the script himself and made a few necessary changes.  I'm always curious as to how a novelist feels about an adaptation ... turning over your baby and standing by helplessly while they rearrange its' DNA! Horrors!
So I was especially interested to read a terrific interview with Matthew Quick by Christine Spears over at Word & Film.
He talks candidly about his own mental health issues and what he thinks about the impact that both his Silver Linings Playbook novel and the movie have had. Quick also reveals that he's written a YA book  Forgive Me Leonard Peacock which comes out in August as well as the fact that his upcoming book for adults, The Good Luck of Right Now  has already been optioned by Dreamworks. It doesn't look like they've scheduled a release date for that one yet. I imagine they'll coordinate somewhat with the film's release. Both books deal with mental health issues and seem bound to stir up controversy and conversation.

Here's a snippet from the interview...click here to read the entirety.
Word&Film: This film celebrates our deepest flaws and failings and how the things that make us seem crazy to the outside world are also the very qualities that make us loveable and human. Was that part of your intention while writing the book?

Matthew Quick: Absolutely. I always say that artists live on the fringe. For seven years after undergrad I was teaching at a very prestigious high school and I was going in every single day and I was playing the role for my students. I was a very good high school English teacher and I was a very good counselor of teenagers. But inside I was very depressed. I was going through a lot of things partly because I wasn’t doing the one thing I wanted to do, which was to write. I was counseling my students to pursue the arts, so I also felt like a hypocrite. The other part was that there were a lot of weird quirky things going on inside of me that I didn’t let show. But when I started to write, I started to explore my psyche and all the things that make me Matthew Quick, or “Q.” And part of that was the fact that I do deal with depression. I do have anxiety issues. I can get overwhelmed with emotions. I had always been embarrassed by those traits but it’s also what fueled my writing. And the more that I came to understand that, most of my heroes who are novelists like Hemingway or Kurt Vonnegut, these are people who know the wild ups and downs. These are quirky people. These are people who are not mainstream. That was a revelation to me. So when I was writing the character of Pat Peoples, everybody thought they knew this guy. But when he gets locked up in a mental health facility and when he comes home he says, ‘That old guy, that’s not me. I’m going to show you the new Pat Peoples.’ Those who know him struggle to wrap their mind around the new Pat and he fights really hard to create this new identity. I was talking about this with David O. Russell. Pat doesn’t have a lot but he does the best with what he has and that’s a beautiful thing.

W&F: People have so many labels for quirky people who don’t follow the social contract of how ‘normal’ people are supposed to behave. Aspbergers. Tourretes.

MQ:  One of the big things for me is that I don’t like to label my characters. I don’t like to come out and say ‘my character is bipolar’ or ‘my character is diagnosed with autism.’ In the film they come out and label Bradley Cooper’s character bipolar early on. But in the novel I don’t do that because I don’t think you know someone just if you know their diagnosis. If you know someone’s diagnosis or label, you don’t know somebody. People are much more than that. Someone who is bipolar, that is just one part of their personality. There is a lot more to Pat Peoples than his diagnosis. And I think people who consider themselves part of the mental health community, and I consider myself a member, we understand it’s important to understand these things so we can talk about them. But you are not your diagnosis. You are much more than that. You are a human being.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes being adapted for the screen

Congrats to Jojo Moyes ... her acclaimed novel Me Before You is on its way to becoming a movie, thanks to MGM. I've only read the first couple of pages but they really sucked me in. Two little pages and I already know I'm going to like it.

Here's the description from the publisher
"They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?"

Have you read this one? Who should play Lou and Will? 
And a couple of things. Please, let's have the film take place in England like the story does in the book! As much as I enjoyed it, I still get annoyed that director Cameron Crowe moved the Dartmoor Zoological  Park from where it lived happily in Benjamin Mee's memoir, We Bought A Zoo to somewhere in the boonies of Southern California. Even though it was just a few miles from where I lived.
And please, please, can all the actors be English too? Unlike, again, We Bought A Zoo where all the English characters (who happened to be real people) were replaced by American actors like the lovely Scarlett Johannson and the equally lovely Matt Damon.  
Lovely as they are, I like my British movies based on books to feature British actors being British. Unless the actors are extremely gifted in terms of believable accents  ala Hugh Laurie who passes perfectly as the American doc in House and Renee Zelwegger wasn't too bad as British Bridget Jones.
So, back to business, who should be Louisa and who should be the deeply troubled Will Traynor?
I've just finished the book and have posted my take here.  

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks:First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday

Since the screen adaptation of Nicholas Spark's Safe Haven comes out pretty soon - yeah, it's Valentine's Day natch, I thought I'd share the opening to the book for First Paragraph - Teaser Tuesday hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea.  And for Teaser Tuesday at Should Be Reading

I haven't bought the book yet and unless the opening paragraph and the free sample on my Nook
convince me otherwise, I probably won't. I'm not usually much of a Sparks fan but since the screen adaptation starring Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough does come out on February 14th, I have loads of time to read the book first if you think I should. 

Let's take a look and maybe you can give me some advice ...

As Katie wound her way among the tables, a breeze from the Atlantic rippled through her hair. Carrying three plates in her left hand and another in her right, she wore jeans and a T-shirt that read Ivan's: Try Our Fish Just for the Halibut! She brought the plates to four men wearing polo shirts; the one closest to her caught her eye and smiled. Though he tried to act as though he was just a friendly guy, she knew he was watching her as she walked away. Melody had mentioned the men had come from Wilmington and were scouting locations for a movie. 
 Well?  Should I keep reading the free sample on my Nook?  
Should I buy it?  Borrow it?  Or Forget it?

Watch the Safe Haven trailer

P.S.  Don't Forget to Vote in my Best Picture Movie Poll in the upper right corner! Thanks.

Russell Crowe just tweeted this! LOVERLY. - "Stars" [piano & vocal studio version]

Russell Crowe just tweeted this piano and vocal studio version of STARS from Les Miserables,
my vote for Best Movie of the Year!
It's quite beautiful. I seriously hope he didn't do it in defence of critics ala Adam Lambert; there are those of us who are fans of his beautifully nuanced version in the film.
Take a listen and let me know what you think.

And here's the version from the film Les Miserables.

My French Film Festival

Dreaming of France is the weekly meme hosted by Paulita at An Accidental Blog where fellow bloggers share their love of anything and everything French. 
This week I discovered a website  that promotes the exchange of culture between America and France. You'll discover books, French writers, new films, art, the works. I think my favorite feature is the calendar which allows you to scroll over a map of the country to find events.
I know, I know. You'd rather be there. Me too but if you can't be there in person, watching a French movie is the next best thing in my opinion.
One of the events that piqued my interest was the film festival currently running. My French Film Festival is an online French film festival slated to run through February 17th. There are various ways to watch the films for a fee online, including iTunes. 
According to the site
MyFrenchFilmFestival.com is an innovative concept the goal of which is to let you discover French cinema and share your love of French films with Internet users all over the world. For its third edition, the festival returns with new foreign languages, new partner platforms and an avant-première for its launch in London
Sounds good, oui? 

Sunday Snippets: Oscar poll, Ben Affleck wins for Argo

Awesome graphic: One Movie Five Views
Good morning! It's another spotty day here in L.A.; the rain of the last few days is back with a few spitter spatters.
Thanks for reading this post and if you like, casting your vote in the sidebar. I've just posted a poll asking you lovely readers to vote for Best Picture of the year.
I'm not asking what you think will win the coveted Academy Award, rather what film you feel should win, iyho. That's in your humble opinion, know what I mean? Which movie - of the films you've seen - do you hold in your head and heart as the creme de la creme in what has been a rather extraordinary year in film?
The Producers Guild of America made its choice Saturday, crowning Ben Affleck's Argo as their numero uno and awarding it the Darryl F. Zanuck trophy. And that puts the odds in Ben Affleck's favor for Argo to be the big winner at the Oscars on February 24th. The last five Oscar winners were PGA winners too; in fact in the past 24 years only 7 Darryl F. Zanuck winners have not gone on to win the Academy Best Picture prize.
Sooooo things are looking good for good looking Ben Affleck even if the Academy did ignore him.
I loved Argo - it's fast, suspenseful and is easier to applaud (for many Americans anyway) than the more challenging and difficult to digest, Zero Dark Thirty rife with the torture controversy. Les Miserables is still my choice for movie of the year because it moved me so but Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi were also extraordinary achievements.  Any one of these fine films could win as could Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild. In fact, while a win by Amour would be as initially surprising as its' nomination, it would also make sense if you listen to David Edelstein's logic. Edelstein on CBS Sunday, saying he 'was gobsmacked' by the nomination, puts part of the Academy's love for Amour down to the Academy's aging membership. He also called it one hell of a movie; I still can't decide because it is such a stark intimate look at this couple's coping with the wife's illness that I felt like a voyeur, and as helpless as the couple's grown up daughter. I quite liked Beasts, it was fresh and revealing and the young actress is luminous but it didn't hold me riveted quite like the others did.
But this isn't about what I think, it's about your choices. So, tell me if you please, what is your favorite movie of the year? I'd love to hear all about it and why. And I'd love to see your vote in the sidebar. Don't worry, your vote won't reveal your identity, or mess with your privacy. I'm going to cast the first vote now ...

Go to the poll and vote for Best Picture of the Year!

A Shot in the Dark

Saturday Snapshot

Saturday Snapshot is a weekly meme hosted by Alyce at At Home with Books. To participate post a picture that you or someone you know, took and link it back to Alyce.

My son Russell took these shots of the night sky.
I love the glowing orbs and blurred streaky sky.
Did you guess the orbs were lights in a parking lot?
 I love that he can find the beauty in something 
 as pedestrian as a mall parking lot.

If animals were the stars...

This is a great time of the year for the movies. The Oscar nominations are out and most new films aren't that great, so you actually have time to go back and watch the "important" ones from the previous year.
Last year had some great pieces of cinema, but don't you think they were all missing something?
They were missing more animals. Every movie from the past year didn't have enough wild beasts as main characters. Thankfully, the folks over at Next Movie have fixed this for us.

Beautiful Creatures: Gothic Romance in theaters Valentine's Day

This YA novel just didn't speak to me. The original cover, with its lilac letters seeming to grow out of the tumble of tangled tree branches, said creepy and supernatural. The Beautiful Creatures title is very provocative but the book's description sounded like pure Gothic romance so I skipped it. As far as art appreciation goes, I prefer the cover sans characters vs the movie tie in version where everything seems scrunched in and squeezed together.

"Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything."

The movie poster courtesy of JustJared.
Now the screen adaptation from Warner Brothers is set to hit theaters on Valentine's Day and, as I posted previously the cast includes the terribly talented Viola Davis. The studio is banking on this adaptation of the wildly popular book - and its sequels - to take the place of the Twilight series so I guess it's not that surprising to see actors of a certain gravitas like Davis as well as Emma Thomson and Jeremy Irons leading up the cast.  Newcomer Alice Englert is Lena Duchannes, Emmy Rossum is Ridley and Alden Ehrenreich is Ethan. 

Ehrenreich is a recent NYU graduate and rising star. Russell has mutual friends and saw Ehrenreich in a play he wrote himself last year. Russell tells me he is very very talented, that Francis Ford Coppola cast him as the lead in Tetro when Alden was 19. Others agree, the now 23 year old actor will also be seen in the upcoming Stoker which comes out in February as well. It stars Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasichowa and Matthew Goode and looks completely creepy.  What a very busy and thrilling month for him! I'll be interested to see if he does turn into one of Hollywood's darlings. He's been talked about as the next DiCaprio. What do you think? 

To find out more about the teen gothic romances by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl visit the Little Brown website.  And check out the trailer below.

For Your Consideration: Life of Pi Cinematography

Congratulations  Claudio Miranda!

The many nominations Life of Pi has received, from the Golden Globes to the BAFTA to the Academy Awards necessarily include nominations for the spectacular cinematography by Claudio Miranda.  Miranda, who highlights some of the gorgeous work in this 'For Your Consideration' video,  doesn't have a huge list of credits as a cinematographer or even as a director of photography but I wasn't surprised at his achievement when I saw he had also shot The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I think working with a director as demanding as David Fincher would push most people to push themselves and their own creative limitations even further. In any case, Miranda has done exquisite work here - and in 3D no less - and justly earns his nomination. The opening segment alone is just so lyrical and wondrous ... I am aware of watching it with my mouth open wide in delight. Thank God theaters are dark; I'm sure I looked like a grinning goofball.

The studio has released several of these For Your Consideration videos online, I'll be posting them here for you separately. While the videos and snippets the studios provide are all part of massive publicity campaigns I share them because they also illuminate the creators and craftspeople who do their jobs so well. When an artist works for months, years sometimes, pouring not only their breadth of knowledge but their hearts and blood and guts into a film project, and that film project turns out so spectacularly, I feel nothing but joy in celebrating it. Especially when that film is based on what has been called an 'un-filmable book' from Yann Martel.

Let's drink to the artists, the makers of the magic! 


Benedict Cumberbatch is Julian Assange

While Wiki-Leaks founder Julian Assange is reportedly still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, there are several 'wiki-leak' movies already in the works. The first to actually go into production, The Fifth Estate or The Man Who Sold the World stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange.  In the first picture released from the set we see a blonde Cumberbatch as Assange with Danile Bruhl as Daniel Domsheit-Berg.  Domsheit-Berg penned the expose, My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website one of two books which informed the script.

I love Cumberbatch's work - he is extraordinary as the quirky modern-day Sherlock, while his portrayal as Peter Guillam, the younger agent Smiley enlists to help him catch the mole in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, had me sweating nervously. Hobbit fans know him as the Necromancer while Star Trek devotees have his turn as a bad guy in the next Star Trek movie to look forward to. Looking at a side by side comparison, it's clear that on the purely physical plane the casting is spot on.  The movie is also based on the book by David Leigh, the British investigative journalist. If you think a film on Assange and Wiki-Leaks is premature, read the statement from Bill Condon, the director, via Dreamworks, the major studio behind the film.
"It may be decades before we understand the full impact of WikiLeaks and how it's revolutionized the spread of information," Condon says in a statement released by DreamWorks. "So this film won't claim any long view authority on its subject, or attempt any final judgment. We want to explore the complexities and challenges of transparency in the information age and, we hope, enliven and enrich the conversations WikiLeaks has already provoked."
 Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis and Peter Capaldi are rumored to be in the cast but aren't listed on the film's imdb page where the movie is titled The Man Who Sold the World.  The film is set for release on November 15th in the states.

Dreaming of France: April in Paris

Unfortunately I won't be landing in Paris this April, but a new film based on a French cult classic novel will be.  Written by Boris Vian in 1947,  L'ecume des Jours, has been translated into English as both Foam of the Daze and Froth of the Daydream and has been adapted for the screen before. Scroll down to see the poster for the film made by Charles Belmont in 1968.

The new film, arrives in France on April 24th. Entitled Mood Indigo when it hits English speaking shores sometime in 2013, the movie brings powerhouse French talents Audrey Tautou, Omar Si and Roman Duris, back together under the direction of Michel Gondry ( Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep, and Be Kind Rewind as well as the poorly received The Green Hornet. ) 

The synopsis on Dark Horizons is quite a tease! "a world where you can travel around on a pink cloud or literally be swept off an ice skating rink into a hole"

Angie Han at /Film gives us this:
"Vian’s surreal tale revolves around a wealthy young man named Colin, inventor of an “olfactory-musical invention” called the pianococktail. He meets and falls in love with a woman named Chloe, only for her to become ill when she gets a water lily in her lung. The only way for Colin to treat her sickness is by constantly surrounding her with flowers, which eventually drains his funds.Meanwhile, Colin’s married friends Chick and Alise suffer problems of their own when Chick becomes so obsessed with the philosopher Jean-Sol Partre that he begins devoting all of his time, money, and attention to collecting Partre’s books."

According to the publisher,  "L'Ecume des Jours is a jazz fueled Science Fiction story that is both romantic and nihilistic! Vian's novel is an assortment of bittersweet romance, absurdity and the frailty of life. Foam of the Daze is a nimble-fingered masterpiece that is both witty and incredibly moving. It is a story of a wealthy young man Colin and the love of his life Chloe, who develops a water lily in her lung. The supporting cast includes Chick, an obsessive collector of noted philosopher Jean-Sol Partre's books and stained pants, and Nicolas who is a combination of P.G. Wodehouse's fictional butler Jeeves and the Green Hornet's Kato. The soul of the book is about the nature of life disappearing and loving things intensely as if one was making love on a live grenade!"

Making the Shining- Behind the Scenes VIDEO

Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson & Vivian Kubrick (standing)
and crew watching playback. Source: Flicker tma-one
I'm on a bit of a Stanley Kubrick jag! Russell (the one and only son) found this amazing documentary Making the Shining shot by Kubrick's then 17 year old daughter, Vivian. If you liked  my last post about the Kubrick exhibit at LACMA (A MUST SEE if you're in LA this Spring) then you you'll be interested in watching it. It's very real, not like the polished press pieces of today's behind the scenes stuff which seem quite rehearsed and pre-planned in comparison. Vivian follows a confident, joking Nicholson around with her hand held, and is right in the thick of it as Kubrick argues with Shelley Duvall. While Jack Nicholson was already a big star, Shelley Duvall is not and it's clear they get different treatment from the crew, and certainly the director.
Shelley Duvall, Jack Nicholson and Stanley Kubrick.
Can you feel the love? Source: Thorninyourside

See the 30 minute video here at Daily Motion

Vivian went on to compose the score to Full Metal Jacket but eventually had a falling out with her father and ultimately her whole family. She refused to work on Eyes Wide Shut and moved to California. Rumor has it that she became a scientologist and that didn't sit well with her mother who has said she was glad that Kubrick didn't live to see it.

Stanley Kubrick is in the house: LACMA exhibit

I went to see the Stanley Kubrick exhibit at LACMA again yesterday and my friend Laura and I were so impressed I decided to repost this blog I originally wrote back in October. 

If you are planning a trip to Los Angeles add a visit to LACMA , the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Beginning November 1 and running through June 13, 2013 the museum is featuring an
amazing Stanley Kubrick exhibit.

There are film clips, extensive notes, sketches, designs, wardrobe, props from most of his movies. It's a thorough and fascinating multi-roomed show, each film getting the full treatment. I'd heard Kubrick was ferocious in terms of research and preparation but I was completely blown away to the degree displayed in the exhibit. I was also pleasantly surprised by just how many of Kubrick's films were based on books!

There's great personal memorabilia too including a handwritten note from Audrey Hepburn thanking Kubrick but turning down an offered part.  There's also a note from Sue Lyon, 30 years after playing the fourteen year old Lolita, happily married and living away from Hollywood. I was shocked to read that she herself was just 13 when they started filming Lolita, the controversial film based on Nabakov's book. I didn't remember that the character in the book was just twelve! Not so surprising then, that there are also letters from pastors and religious organizations asking Kubrick not to make this movie.

There's the typewriter WITH the sheet of paper in it from that wild and crazy scene in The Shining plus a model of the maze.

So many things to read and listen to and marvel at from:

Lolita based on Nabakov's book.
Barry Lyndon based on the novel of the same name (but sometimes called The Luck of Barry Lyndon) written by
William Makepeace Thackeray.
Eyes Wide Shut based on Arthur Schnitzler's Rhapsody: A Dream Novel written in 1926.
Full Metal Jacket based on the novel Short Timers by Gustav Hasford.
Clockwork Orange based on Anthony Burgess' masterpiece.
2001: A Space Odyssey based on the book by Arthur C. Clarke
And of course, The Shining from Stephen King - much to his disgust.


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