> Chapter1-Take1: January 2016

Rebecca Ferguson takes the lead: Despite the Falling Snow (First TRAILER)

UPDATE: 1/31/2016 Despite the Falling Snow made its debut in Spain this weekend AND Ive found our trailer! You’ll find it, in English and Spanish, at the bottom of this post, originally published 1/13/16. Talk about #SlackerSunday! Im done for the day. Except for one thing—congrats to all the winners at the SAG awards last night, especially lovely and deserving Leonardo DiCaprio. How about Leo and Rebecca pairing up in a film? Thats something Id like to see!

If you saw Tom Cruise’s 2015 Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation hit, chances are you remember Rebecca Ferguson, a real standout in her supporting role as Ilsa. Rumor has it shell be back for the next one. Ferguson, who well see in another supporting role in The Girl on the Train, takes the lead this year in the upcoming screen adaptation written and directed by Shamim Sarif, based on her own novel. 

Im doubly jazzed; the lack of female representation in film, both on screen in solid, leading parts and in key off screen roles i.e. directors, cinematographers, has been much talked about lately. With Ferguson starring and Sarif writing and directing, Despite the Falling Snow ticks all the boxes. One is tempted to support a film like this whether its any good or not. Thankfully, the film sounds good! Ferguson is joined by Game of Thrones Charles Dance and The Astronaut Wives ClubSam Reid, playing older and younger versions of Alexander, the love interest for Fergusons Katya.

Heres the skinny on the book—which came out in 2004 but Ive not read it—:

The enthralling narrative of Shamim Sarif's powerful second novel moves between present day Boston and 1950s Moscow. After an early career amongst the political elite of Cold War Russia, Alexander Ivanov has built a successful business in the States. For forty years, he has buried the tragic memories surrounding his charismatic late wife, Katya - or so he believes. For into his life come two women - one who will open up the heart he has protected for so long; another who is determined to uncover what really happened to Katya so long ago. The novel's journey back to the snowbound streets of post-Stalinist Moscow reveals a world of secrets and treachery. Shamim Sarif's elegant writing delicately evokes the intensity of passionate love and tragic violence.
 Anyone read the book which is blurbed on the cover as being ‘breathtaking’? I’d love to hear from you. It sounds like shades of John LeCarre and as a friend told me, Tom Rob Smith, and that sounds awfully good to me. 

Despite the Falling Snow is slated for release in Spain on January 29th, and in the UK on April 22. Hoping for word here in the states soon. 

Movies based on books 2016

Despite the Falling Snow trailer  

En Espa├▒ol

Happy Birthday Christian Bale. Today’s Saturday Matinee stars the 13 year old you: Empire of the Sun

Portrait of the artist as a young man

Released in 1987, directed by Stephen Spielberg, Empire of the Sun, starred Christian Bale as Jim, a young British boy living in Shanghai who becomes a prisoner of war in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.  The movie was based on the 1984 semi-biographical novel by J.G. Ballard and is noted for its striking cinematography by Allan Daviau & score by John Williams. 

While many reviewers were most interested in talking about Stephen Spielberg’s ‘boy genius’ trope, and his failed ambition tackling Ballard’s difficult story,  Janet Maslin in the New York Times has this to say about the then-13 year old young actor, Christian Bale.

“Mr. Bale, who emerges from the choir by singing a solo, at first seems just a handsome and malleable young performer, another charming child star. But the epic street scene that details the Japanese invasion of the city and separates Jim from his parents reveals this boy to be something more.

As Mr. Bale, standing atop a car amid thousands of extras and clasping his hands to his head, registers the fact that Jim is suddenly alone, he conveys the schoolboy's real terror and takes the film to a different dramatic plane. This fine young actor, who appears in virtually every frame of the film and ages convincingly from about 9 to 13 during the course of the story, is eminently able to handle an ambitious and demanding role.” 
And has, many a time since. 

Happy Birthday #42, Mr. Bale. I’m so ready to see the grownup you as an LA-based screenwriter in Terrence Mallick’s Knight of Cups costarring Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman, coming to theaters March 4. 

In the meantime Empire of the Sun is available on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu and GooglePlay.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant Official Trailer – “Tear Down The Wall”

Allegiant, the third in the Divergent series is set to hit theaters March 18th. Lets be honest; what this new trailer has going for it is chemistry. Shailene Woodley and Theo James simply ooze it. I dont really pay attention to the gossip magazines but I have seen headlines that indicate the two are rumored to be dating. Checking the chemistry, I wouldnt be surprised. I’m looking forward to seeing both actors in a couple of other projects: Theo James as Father Gaunt in The Secret Scriptures which stars Rooney Mara and Aidan Turner; Shailene Woodley in Big Little Lies based on Liane Moriarty’s bestseller along with Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Woodley will also be seen as Edward Snowden’s girlfriend in Snowden coming-out in May.

Love books and movies? 
Check out all of this years movies based on books.

Kristen Stewart stars in Certain Women based on Maile Meloy’s story ‘Travis, B.'/ Listen to William Hurt read the story

We’ve already talked a little about Certain Women which made its debut this past weekend at Sundance. The reviews seem to be good, director Kelly Reichardt is a true indie director so this was never proposed or marketed as a mainstream blockbuster despite the presence of stars like Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Laura Dern. IndieWire describes it this way.
The film’s three parts have the qualities of great literary fiction and of refined art-cinema. Reichardt is primarily concerned with capturing Meloy’s highly specific characters, and the landscape they populate. There’s a lot to be picked up here — about the loneliness of people separated by the American Northwest’s vastness, and about being a good steward of both a land and its history. Then again, a person could get a lot out of staring at an artfully composed photograph of Montana, too. For Reichardt, the aesthetics matter as much as the theme. 
While we knew the film was based on a trio of Maile Meloy’s short stories, we didn’t know exactly which ones. Now we do: Tome/Laura Dern, Native Sandstone/Michelle Williams and Travis, B./Kristen Stewart. Director KellyReichardt has substituted a woman in place of the student, Chet, who tells the story in Meloy’s piece, which it can be argued, changes the tenor of the story. I’m curious, if you’ve read—or listened to Travis, B. beautifully read by William Hurt, below, what do you make of the gender swap? I guess we’ll have to see it to see how it plays out in Reichardt’s adaptation; is the character equally besotted? Is the “Chet” character gay, bi,  or does she just have a girl crush? What do you think?
Sundance Q&A

You can hear William Hurt read Meloy’s Travis B courtesy  of NPR’s Selected Shorts: Let Us Tell You a Story

Tome is available to read on google books.

Native Sandstone is available to read here.

War and Peace starring Lily James, James Norton & Paul Dano: Love in the time of waltzing / Episode 2 #book2movie

Last week I kvetched about the commercials. This week I got over it and let myself be swept up by the drama of War and Peace and the waltz to end all waltzes, gorgeously choreographed by Diana Scrivener. 
Catriona Wightman at Digital Spy called the waltz “the most spellbinding thing we’ll see on TV this year” It was heady, romantic, everything we watch movies and television for. miniseries. As Whightman asks “Why can’t all our nights out be like this?” 
She captures every moment so perfectly that Im giving it to you verbatim. Straight from the pages of Digital Spy, here it is.
War & Peace ​has been an undisputed triumph so far. From ridiculous hats, to people having snow-dusted duels, to Tuppence Middleton vamping her way through Russia like a mischievous saucepot - we've been utterly captivated.
But last night's episode took things to a whole other level as James Norton's ​Andrei Bolkonsky​ and Lily James's ​Natasha Rostova​ fell in love on the dancefloor... and we completely melted. Here's why it was the most spellbinding moment of television we'll see this year - yes,​ already:
1. It just looked gorgeous
Lily James on War & Peace

​Puts the Jaegermeister-stained 1970s carpets of your local Rumoursnightclub to shame, doesn't it? We think the Tsar's Ball is much more up our street.
​2. Natasha started the night on a low note
Lily James on War & Peace

​Because the rubbish Boris ​Drubetskoy​ pied her off. Natasha, mate, you can do better than the guy you basically forced to get engaged to you. He's not worth it.
​3. But then Andrei walked towards her and asked her to dance
James Norton on War & Peace

​Boris who?
​4. They got up close and personal
Lily James on War & Peace

​We don't think we're going to see a sexier moment on TV this year than James Norton's gloved hand clasping Lily James's waist. Her sharp intake of breath! The way she looks up at him! 
​5. Five minutes into Tolstoy-and-chill, and he gives you this look
James Norton on War & Peace

​We're gone by this point.
​6. Everyone else was forgotten
James Norton and Lily James on War & Peace

​The dance floor was full of dancing couples, but Natasha and Andrei had eyes 
only for each other. They never break eye contact, and as things slow down and 
the music changes they are the only people in the world.
 (Also, Lily James's ​Cinderella ​lessons have seriously paid off.)
​7. And they fell in love right there and then
James Norton and Lily James on War & Peace

​At this moment, we got flash forwards of the pair's love affair - from chatting 
at the ball afterwards to Natasha excitedly seeing Andrei arrive to their magnificent
smooch in the snow. But it was all tied in with the dance, because
that was where it all began...
Sorry, we melted again.

Of course, almost before the love montage was over, we started thinking about poor Pierre (Paul Dano). If it wasn’t quite clear before, from the look on his face as he sees the two falling in love, it’s clear now that he is crazy in love with Natasha too. Oh, the agony!

Thanks to Maisie @Yahyah56  for the heads-ups that someone had posted the video clearly showing Pierre’s pain! It makes the moment all come rushing back. I love it when fellow fans make my job easier.

Below, more of that beautiful score from series composer Martin Phipps and Jack C. Arnold.
Are you falling in love with War and Peace too? Im gathering my posts in one place here.

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