> Chapter1-Take1: September 2017

Deborah Kerr, A Star to Remember #SaturdayMatinee #book2movies

Today marks the birth of classic movie star Deborah Kerr, born in Glasgow on September 30, 1921. Ms. Kerr was with us until October 16, 2007. She died at age 86.

Whether she was making us sob in An Affair to Remember, bristling at Yul Brynner in The King and I, or smoldering opposite Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity Kerr was always a class act. 

All three films are available to stream on the usual services. What’s your Saturday Matinee pick? 

New trailer for Darkest Hour with Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill: Move over John Lithgow #book2movies

Move over John Lithgow! You were fantastic in The Crown but it’s time to step aside. 

There is a ton of Oscar buzz about Gary Oldman’s star turn as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour coming to theaters on November 22. The actor’s physical transformation is jaw-dropping. Check out the trailer below.

Directed by Joe Wright, the acclaimed director of Atonement as well as the controversial Anna Karenina, Darkest Hour also stars Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Kristen Scott Thomas and Samuel West. The screenplay was written by BAFTA winning writer of The Theory of Everything Anthony McCarten, based on his own book.

From the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter of The Theory of Everything comes a revelatory look at the period immediately following Winston Churchill’s ascendancy to Prime Minister—soon to be a major motion picture starring Gary Oldman.
“He was speaking to the nation, the world, and indeed to history...”
 May, 1940. Britain is at war. The horrors of blitzkrieg have seen one western European democracy after another fall in rapid succession to Nazi boot and shell. Invasion seems mere hours away.
Just days after becoming Prime Minister, Winston Churchill must deal with this horror—as well as a skeptical King, a party plotting against him, and an unprepared public. Pen in hand and typist-secretary at the ready, how could he change the mood and shore up the will of a nervous people?
In this gripping day-by-day, often hour-by-hour account of how an often uncertain Churchill turned Britain around, the celebrated Bafta-winning writer Anthony McCarten exposes sides of the great man never seen before. He reveals how he practiced and re-wrote his key speeches, from ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’ to ‘We shall fight on the beaches’; his consideration of a peace treaty with Nazi Germany, and his underappreciated role in the Dunkirk evacuation; and, above all, how 25 days helped make one man an icon.
Using new archive material, McCarten reveals the crucial behind-the-scenes moments that changed the course of history. It’s a scarier—and more human—story than has ever been told.
By the way, I’m pretty sure that first time we see Churchillwith his two fingers up, he’s not flashing the Victory sign. I think that’s the Euro version of Up Yours!

Interested in films, books, and all things emanating from the British Isles? 
Connect with Joy Weese Moll’s weekly British Isles Friday meme.

The Mountain Between Us starring Idris Elba & Kate Winslet: The reviews are in but do they get it? #book2movies

I’ve just read two crappy reviews for The Mountain Between Us starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet which opens next Friday, October 6th.  That’s the movie based on Charles Martin’s novel about a pair of strangers whose small plane crashes in the mountains in the middle of a snowstorm.  No one knows where they are, it’s up to them to save themselves.
It’s fantastically unrealistic stuff from the first minute to the last (and there are far too many minutes between them), but Idris Elba and Kate Winslet generate enough heat to keep the frostbite at bay, and Mandy Walker’s stunning location cinematography ensures that the film looks considerably more authentic than it feels.~David Ehrlich, Indie-Wire
Ehrlich also wonders what makes ‘‘the imminent bride want to spend the day with an obscenely handsome stranger?’’ 

Ha! Idris Elba fans around the world are laughing. Are you serious, Mr. Ehrlich?  

But seriously, if you read the book, and if the movie was true to the book (which it doesn’t sound as if it is), the reason the bride to be spends the day with that obscenely handsome stranger is because he has chartered a private plane and offers her a ride. It’s the only way she can get to where she needs to be, on time. It’s as logical a reason as any. In the book, if it’s a contrivance, it’s a tiny one, and forgiven in the genre. Look, The Mountain Between Us is based on what is essentially a romance novel—one I enjoyed—which at times descends into Nicholas Sparks territory. It’s a fantasy no more or less believable than Noah in The Notebook building a house just for Allie. Just as I don’t watch X-Men films looking for realism, you can’t read a book or watch a film like this, expecting it to be something other than what it is, a romantic escape movie.

Between its beautiful stars and panoramic vistas, this gorgeous-looking Fox production offers plenty of scenery to ogle, but not much else for the brain to do while Winslet and Elba alternately bicker and bond in what amounts to a fairly routine wilderness trek — minus wolves, avalanches, frostbite or any of the challenges that typically make such things interesting. Instead, true to the eminently skimmable novel on which it’s based (Charles Martin writes like a child. In sentences without subjects. Or verbs.), the central questions are, first, whether the pair will survive, and then, more bizarrely, whether the experience will forge them into a romantic couple.~Peter Dubruge, Variety
I learned from Debruge that the movie definitely does not follow the book. While the novel is told from Ben’s POV, the movie centers on Kate Winslet’s character. She is the one to charter the plane, she’s the focus. And while in the book, she is truly helpless—flat on her back, Dr. Ben even has to help her go to the bathroom—here, she seems to have just a badly broken leg. 

It sounds like the screenwriters (two men) were attempting to answer our current concern with the role of women in film, needing them to be stronger, more fully realized. It sounds like what these male writers didn’t realize is that rescue fantasy is deeply embedded in the DNA—FANTASY being the key word. In our real life relationships, the healthy ones anyway, we take care of each other, we know men and women take turns being the strong one, sometimes I lean on him, sometimes he leans on me. Sometimes he leads, sometimes I do. It depends on our strength in any given situation BUT it’s fun to fantasize about a life where you lie back and relax and leave the responsibilities and tough decisions to someone else.

I wonder if the movie is as mediocre as these two men who reviewed it think it is, or if their expectations and interests just don’t always jive with mine? 

I don’t know about you, but when I think of a book as a beach read, I don’t expect Great Expectations, I expect adventure, a bit of romance, escape. Anyhoo .... since it is the obscenely handsome Idris Elba and the always winsome Kate Winslet, I will be watching The Mountain Between Us. They may be right, the film may be a snore, but woman to woman, I want to see for myself.

And one more thing from Debruge’s review

Script shortcomings aside, Winslet and Elba make a reasonably good couple. He’s far manlier than practically any of the other male stars working today, but etched with a sensitive side that comes out when it’s finally revealed why he seems less concerned about his wife than she does her fiancĂ©.

The Motion Picture Academy Museum—like something out of Blade Runner 2049—is taking shape. #book2movies

Some of you may know this, others frankly don’t give a damn my dear, but I live across the street from the future Museum of Motion Picture Arts & Science. Not sure if they have a snazzy new name, but on twitter they’re calling it the #AcademyMuseum. I love the futuristic form, something we might actually see in Blade Runner 2049. I really can’t wait for 2019. 

I’ve been watching  from the start when all we had were sketches and taking the occasional picture myself, since we do live so close. Recently, as the dome itself has been taking shape, I’ve grown more and more excited. 

The museum opens in 2019 which may seem like a long way away but will be here before we all know it. Make plans to be in LA, and hey, let’s do lunch!

Is it about time Los Angeles had a museum devoted to the movies or what? 

Anyway, today the Academy released a video announcing some exciting progress so I had to share that here. Watch!

Our Souls at Night: My take on the book by Kent Haruf #book2movies [review]

 Our Souls at Night starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda opens this Friday at select theaters and on Netflex, hence this splashy new tie in cover, which is kind of lovely. 

I recently read the book, Kent Haruf’s last, on my Nook. It’s a small book—just 136 pages—written in a very simple, straightforward style. No big words, just big feelings, and thoughts about how we choose to live our lives and who for? I finished it in a few hours but their story will stay with me for quite awhile. 

It is a lovely, heartfelt tale, about two lonely older people in their 70's. Both of their lives didn't play out exactly as they might have wished, this is likely their last chance at love. Together, little by little, layer by layer, they come to share the secrets of their pasts and find new joy in simple pleasures; picnics and Sunday drives, and just having someone to share your thoughts with. I was touched throughout the book by how clear and direct and patient they were with each other, and by all the unspoken wonders they found in the world around them. I found myself sniffing back tears several times. The addition of Addie's grandson Jamie into the plot—a bit of a monkeywrench in how he affects their romance—is heart-wrenching. 

The film version of Kent Haruf's last book comes to the screen on September 29th and I'm eager to see how Robert Redford and Jane Fonda translate Louis and Addie onscreen. Check out the teaser trailer below, it really is quite sweet. The rest of the cast includes Matthias Schoenaerts—who I ususally like but I'm a bit miffed he's playing Addie's disapproving son Gene, Judy Greer as Redford's daughter Holly, Bruce Dern as a disapproving neighbor and Ian Armitage as Addie's grandson, Jamie. Jamie is one of the few who doesn't disapprove! 

The script was written by rom-com masters Scott Neustadter
and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer, The Fault in Our Stars, Where'd You Go Bernadette

About the book, from the publisher...
In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf's inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis's wife. His daughter lives hours away, her son even farther, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. But maybe that could change? As Addie and Louis come to know each other better--their pleasures and their difficulties--a beautiful story of second chances unfolds, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer's enduring contribution to American literature.

Our Souls at Night makes its debut this Friday, September 29th on Netflix and in select theaters. Here in Los Angeles the film screens at the iPic theaters in Westwood and Pasadena.

The Snowman starring Michael Fassbender: Don't watch this trailer #book2movies

I really wish Hollywood would find another way to promote films rather than giving the whole movie away on the trailers. Do it the way Alfred Hitchcock used to do it vis a vis the trailer for Psycho or this vintage trailer for The Birds.

Unfortunately I have it on good authority that this trailer for The Snowman gives it all away. If you’ve read the Norwegian crime thriller by Jo Nesbo, fine. You know what to expect, part of the fun is seeing how what you’ve read on the page is translated to the screen. 

But what about the movie goers who haven’t read the book? (You still have plenty of time) I hate when trailers give you the beginning, middle and the end, don’t you?

The Snowman starring Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson and Chloe Sevigny is one of the October releases (based on a book) we are most looking forward to. The movie comes out October 20th. Watch for the full list to pop up in the next few days. It’s that time of the month.

A Discovery of Witches: Meet Teresa Palmer & Matthew Goode [video] #book2movies

Look what Deborah Harkness posted on her Facebook page! 
I couldn't resist! 

A Discovery of Witches: Meet Matthew Goode as Matthew Clairmont, Vampire #book2movies

To be honest, I wouldn’t be reading A Discovery of Witches if I hadn’t turned into a bit of an aging fan girl over Matthew Goode. I’m just not the paranormal romance type. But knowing that Goode is playing the 1500 year old vampire also named Matthew, I can read Deborah Harkness 579 paged novel and easily picture the British actor instead of the creature Harkness was describing.

From the book—
This one was tall—well over six feet ... And he definitely was not slight. Broad shoulders narrowed into slender hips, which flowed into lean muscular legs. His hands were strikingly long and agile, a mark of physiological delicacy that made your eyes drift back to them to figure out how they could belong to such a large man.
As my eyes swept over him, his own were fixed on me. From across the room, they seemed black as night, staring up under thick, equally black eyebrows, one of them lifted in a curve that suggested a question mark. His face was indeed striking—all distinct planes and surfaces, with high angled cheekbones meeting brows that shielded and shadowed his eyes. Above his chin was one of the few places where there was room for softness—his wide mouth, which like his long hands, didn't seem to make sense.

I don’t know who you picture when you read that but I don’t picture Matthew Goode who at six foot two is tall but not quite the ‘well over six feet’ ‘large man’ Harkness evokes. Goode may not fit the part perfectly, yet he is perfect. 

The television series which will star Goode as the extraordinary vampire and Teresa Palmer as Dr. Diana Bishop, the equally extraordinary American witch and historian, is currently shooting in Oxford where much of the story takes place.

I nabbed this series of shots from the instagram account of Elisangela Damasceno who shared the images of Goode and some of the production staff scouting the college and the Bodleian library.

Are you one of the many devotees of Harkness’ book? Published in 2011 the book is notable for being a romance novel imbued with intelligent prose. A historian and professor at USC, Harkness engages us not only with searing looks but also a mix of historical acumen and her own in-depth knowledge of the occult. Granted my eyes glaze over as the discussion turns to DNA sequences and Mitochondrial DNA. Fingers crossed they gloss over that in the television show.

This sure ain't Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit! #book2movies

And you thought Peter Rabbit stealing a few carrots from Mr. McGregor was trouble! Purists may find this outlandish and silly trailer for what is surely an outlandish and silly re-imagining of Peter Rabbit a bit much. But I find it refreshing. I was expecting some lovely, hushed voice remake but this, this is balls to the walls fresh. Ridiculously so. The kids are gonna love it. Peter Rabbit stars James Corden as Peter, Domhnall Gleeson as Mr. McGregor with Rose Byrne andMargot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki and Daisy Ridley lending their voices as well.

Here’s the low down on the movie, due out February 9, 2018.
Peter Rabbit, the mischievous and adventurous hero who has captivated generations of readers, now takes on the starring role of his own irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude. In the film, Peter’s feud with Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) escalates to greater heights than ever before as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door (Rose Byrne).”

Of course, it’s easy for me to laugh. I no longer have little kidlets at home I have to take to the movies.

Winnie the Who? Goodbye Christopher Robin starring Domhnall Gleeson & Margot Robbie has its premiere #book2movies

Domhnall Gleeson stars in Goodbye Christopher Robin

Goodbye Christopher Robin has had its splashy premiere and the reviews are in. 

If you’re the really bookish type, especially a lover of Brit lit, will you be able to resist the film about author A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his relationship with his son Christopher Robin, the little boy that inspired the Winnie the Pooh literary empire anyway? Scroll down below the video for more. 

Domhnall Gleeson with Margot Robbie

But first, a short 3 minute interview with Domhnall Gleeson from the premiere in which Gleeson admits that Winnie the Pooh was not part of his childhood, not the A.A. Milne books, not the Disney version, nothing!

Oh my! I remember making my son a Winnie the Pooh cake for his third birthday, he spent hours playing with his Winnie the Pooh play set. A childhood without Winnie the Pooh?! I can’t help but wonder what books Domhnall Gleeson did read—or have read to him—when he was a child?

The film opens September 29th in the UK and Ireland, here in the US Goodbye Christopher Robin opens on October 13th.

Sherin Linden at The Hollywood Reporter—they call it ‘compelling if not always subtle’—says 

where the movie truly stumbles is in its cozily cathartic wrap-up, sorting out unresolved guilt and blame in such picture-perfect fashion that Christopher Robin Milne and his famous father would likely cringe.

 Peter Debruge at Variety  
the film seems fixated on the irony that the boy every kid in Britain wanted to be was quite unhappy in his own skin, which as handled, isn’t just eye-opening, but tear-duct-cleansing as well.’ Debruge who calls Margot Robbie as Milne’s wife ‘distractingly beautiful, disappointingly bland’ does advise us to pack our handkerchiefs.

Debruge also advises would-be movie goers to brush up on our reading of A.A. Milne’s work especially his poem Vespers, in order to pick up on the inside references. 

Here’s the poem.


Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,Droops on the little hands little gold head.Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!Christopher Robin is saying his prayers. 
God bless Mummy. I know that's right.Wasn't it fun in the bath to-night?The cold's so cold, and the hot's so hot.Oh! God bless Daddy - I quite forgot.
If I open my fingers a little bit more,I can see Nanny's dressing-gown on the door.It's a beautiful blue, but it hasn't a hood.Oh! God bless Nanny and make her good. 
Mine has a hood, and I lie in bed,And pull the hood right over my head,And I shut my eyes, and I curl up small,And nobody knows that I'm there at all. 
Oh! Thank you, God, for a lovely day.And what was the other I had to say?I said "Bless Daddy," so what can it be?Oh! Now I remember it. God bless Me.
Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,Droops on the little hands little gold head.Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!Christopher Robin is saying his prayers. 
The Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn) directed film stars Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Kelly MacDonald and Will Tilston as Christopher Robin.

Wonderstruck starring Julianne Moore: The first trailer gives us an emotional glimpse of the movie #book2movies

While Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick is technically a childrens’ book, that didn’t stop an unusually large number of you from being interested when  I wrote about the upcoming adaptation back in April. Probably because Wonderstruck, like Selznick’s The Adventures of Hugo Cabret is filled with complex and intriguing black and white illustrations, the kind of images you want to linger over, captivated, no matter your age. Now we’ve got the first trailer for the movie. 

The film, scripted by the author, is directed by Todd Haynes (Carol, I’m Not There) and stars a couple of young people you likely haven’t heard of—I haven’t—with the star power of Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams to pique your grown up interest—and get the film financed.

Here’s the logline:
The story of a young boy in the Midwest is told simultaneously with a tale about a young girl in New York from fifty years ago as they both seek the same mysterious connection.

That doesn’t capture the pathos of the young boy and girl—who are both deaf—and the interconnected worlds we see in the trailer. Watch. You’ll see Michelle Williams as the boy’s mother and an almost unrecognizable Julianne Moore playing dual roles in this glimpse of a very emotional story. Oakes Fegley and Millicent Simmonds are the kids, Ben and Rose, at the heart of the story, with Jaden Michael as Ben’s buddy, Jamie.

Here's the rundown on the book from the publisher
A boy named Ben longs for the father he has never known. A girl named Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room, and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.
Ben's story, set in 1977, is told entirely with words, while Rose's story, set fifty years earlier, is told entirely with pictures. The two stories weave back and forth before ultimately coming together. 

Amazon has also included version that features an introduction especially for the deaf community. 

Wonderstruck is set for release on October 20th. 
What do you think?

Blade Runner 2049: Ryan Gosling & Harrison Ford on Acting & More [image gallery] #book2movies

Blade Runner 2049—the long awaited sequel to Blade Runner based on the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick—comes out October 5th and 6th all over the world. Cue the hype machine, which as you know, when Ryan Gosling is involved, is fine with me.

First up, an awkward and adorable tete a tete with Ryan and Harrison Ford from Wired. Stay tuned for the photos following the video. I guess it's time for me to make a Blade Runner Pinterest board!

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