> Chapter1-Take1: December 2017

Saturday Matinee: Love in the Time of Cholera #book2movies

I’m going to risk being heretical today. I’ve just finished reading Gabriel García Márquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera and I can tell you it was a labor of love. My love of finishing what I’ve started even when I find it in turns tedious and a tad distasteful, the male protagonist little more than an obsessed stalker. 

Here’s how the publisher sums up the book

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

Written by the author of 100 Years of Solitude, the novel that earned the writer the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, the writing feels too almost rich for its’ subject. As near as I can tell, the book is almost universally lauded, at least by those literary critics types who count. A romantic myself, I admit I like the notion of two people who’ve loved each other early on—but the wrong place and the wrong time dooming their love to failure—coming together at last. 

That these two people would find each other later in life is a lovely idea, and as you can read on Facebook, not a fantasy. It happens all the time. The book jacket announces the book is “a novel of love of in all its guises: young love, married love, romantic love, carnal love, even love with the symptoms of cholera.’’ What I didn’t like was the love-sick obsession of Florentino Aziza with Fermina and the way he pops up time and time again. It’s nothing short of creepy. Also disturbing, the endless descriptions of his physical encounters with other women throughout it all. 

Javier Bardim is Florentino with all his faults

Unax Ugalde plays the young Florentino, much more handsome in the film than he appears in the novel.

622 affairs. I got tired of Florentino’s obsession with Fermina and the lengthy display of stalking. Even their romance begins with Florentino staring at Fermina from afar for months. I grew weary of wading through all his affairs—from the “fat widows’’ to the prostitutes to 13 year old America Vicuna who he is supposed to look after but who he takes to bed when he is 73 and continues to do so every Sunday for years. Later, after he has discarded the girl he has been like a father to, he writes ...
“She was no longer the little girl, the newcomer, whom he had undressed, one article of clothing at a time, with little baby games: first these little shoes for the little baby bear, then this little chemise for the little puppy dog, next these little flowered panties for the little bunny rabbit, and a little kiss kiss on her papa’s delicious little dickey-bird.’’

And people decry Lolita for its’ pedophilia! 

In addition to Javier Bardim as the womanizing Florentino in the 2007 movie, the Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno is Fermina with Benjamin Bratt as Dr. Juvenal Urbino, the man she marries. 

Mike Newell directed, and oh by the way, he’s got a film that’s on 2018's list of Movies Based on Books, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society coming out in April. That’s a book I love, a movie I can’t wait to see. 

To be honest I wouldn’t mind watching this film either. There’s a difference between living with a character for the several days it takes to read a book vs the couple of hours it takes to watch a film. You can stream Love in the Time of Cholera on iTunes, GooglePlay, Amazon, Vudu and YouTube for between $3 and $4. 

Should I shell out the cash or will I find the story just as troublesome as I find the book? 

My take on The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

Annette Bening and Jamie Bell Behind the Scenes of Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool

While Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool which opens today, December 29th, is technically a 2017 film release, it opens so late in the year that I could have included it in the list of Movies Based on Books 2018. The film was based on the memoir by Peter Turner and stars Annette Bening as movie star Gloria Grahame with Jamie Bell as the young actor with a crush on the aging star. What begins as a fling turns into something much deeper. 

I’ve yet to see the movie but I’ve glanced at the headlines for a smattering of reviews and what I gather is that the film doesn’t quite live up to Annette Bening’s talented take on the star she plays. And that if there is a reason to see it, Bening’s performance is it. It sounds like something interesting happens as Bening allows us to see her taking off her own mask. The actor is 59, not an easy age for women in Hollywood. As an aging woman myself—I’ve got 5 years on Bening—the subject is of particular interest. I won’t go down that mopey road here.

Annette Bening, Jamie Bell and the movie’s director sat down with THR to chat about the film. 

I’m intrigued. How about you?

Check out the trailer and let me know if Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is on your must see list. 

Are you a fellow fan of all things British? 
Check out Joy Weese Moll’s British Isles Friday.

20+ Movies Based on Books 2018 #book2movies

January 19: 12 Strong 
Based on the book originally titled Horse Soldiers, 12 Strong is about the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. Under the leadership of a new captain (Chris Hemsworth), the team works with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban. Also stars Michael Shannon, Michael Peña & Taylor Sheridan.

March 9: The Leisure Seeker

Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland play a couple of senior citizen runaways who take an unforgettable journey in the RV they call the Leisure Seeker. The movie is based on the book by Michael Zadoorian.

January 24: 

A Futile & Stupid Gesture      In the 1970s and '80s, National Lampoon's success and influence creates a new media empire overseen in part by the brilliant and troubled Doug Kenney (Will Forte) with Domhnall Gleeson starring as partner Henry Beard. For more details read the A Futile & Stupid Gesture post

February 9: The Mercy

Colin Firth stars in the story of yachtsman Donald Crowhurst’s disastrous attempt to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race ends up with him creating an outrageous account of traveling the world alone by sea. Rachel Weisz costars as Crowhurst’s wife.

Feb 9: Peter Rabbit
Live action/animation hybrid adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer McGregor’s vegetable garden. James Corden voices Peter Rabbit while Domhnall Gleeson plays Mr. McGregor. Sia adds her voice to those of Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie & Elizabeth Debicki in bunnyland while Rose Burn & Sam Neil as the older Mr. McGregor join the live action cast. 

Feb 23: Annihilation
You had me at Alex Garland. The director nails sci fi (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later, Never Let Me Go) so when you add Natalie Portman & Oscar Isaac, I’m in for this adaptation of Jeff Vanderdermeer’s story about a biologist (Portman) who signs up for a dangerous expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.

February 23: Every Day 
Opening the same weekend but to a younger market than Annihilation, Every Day is based on the YA romantic fantasy novel by David Levithan. Maria Bello stars along with Angourie Rice as the 16 year old girl who falls in love with a spirit who becomes something different ... every day.

Feb 23:  The War with Grandpa
Robert DeNiro stars as grandpa while Oakes Fegley plays Peter, a boy who hates having to share his room with the old man. The ‘comedy’ comes from the two battling it out. The film also stars Jane Seymour, Uma Thurman, Christopher Walken, Rob Riggle & Cheech Marin. Warning: There are 5 writers listed under screenwriter. Never a good sign, is it?

March 2:
Red Sparrow
We first heard that Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgarton were going to costar in this thriller about a female Russian spy whose first mission targets a CIA agent back in September when we shared the Red Sparrow trailer. Based on the book by Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow reunites Lawrence with her Hunger Games director, Francis Lawrence.

March 9: A Wrinkle in Time
After the disappearance of her scientist father (Chris Pine), three peculiar beings (Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey & Mindy Kaling) send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him. Directed by Ava Duvernay, written by Jennifer Lee based on the classic novel by Madeleine L’Engle.

March 16: Love, Simon
Based on the book, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Love, Simon, is about a closeted gay student who falls for an anonymous classmate online. Coming out, and figuring it all out are “hilarious but scary.’’

March 30: Ready Player One
A movie based on a book about a video game is so not my thing but I know the material by Ernest Kline has its fans. Add Steven Spielberg in the director’s chair, some rising young stars ie Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke & Hannah John-Kamen plus Simon Pegg, Ben Mendelsohn & Mark Rylance and maybe I should put it on my list? Watch the ReadyPlayer One trailer

April 19: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
I’m expecting the title of the movie based on the best selling book by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows to be shortened to Guernsey any day now. The long awaited story of a writer penning a book about the islanders living under German occupation during WWII stars Lily James as Juliet with Michael (Game of Thrones) Huisman as Dawsey Adams, the pig farmer. Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay & Katherine Parkinson also star in the Mike Newell directed film.  

May 11: Where’d You Go, Bernadette
I’m so excited about this movie based on the book by Maria Semple, I can’t stand it. With Cate Blanchett starring as Bernadette, 15-year-old Bee does everything she can to track down her missing mother, and as the logline says “discovering her troubled past in the process.’’ Richard Linklater directs the Mother’s Day weekend release scripted by the wonder duo Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. The cast includes Billy Crudup as her husband, Kristin Wiig as Audrey the gnat neighbor, Judy Greer and Troian Bellisario as Becky who may just be Bee with a new name! Here’s what I thought of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, the book.
June 15: On Chesil Beach
The imdb summary (A drama set in the early 1960s and centered on a young couple on their honeymoon) is technically correct except that it skips all the heartache and pathos of this love story gone wrong. Based on Ian McEwan’s small but beautiful book, Saoirse Ronan & Billy Howe play the young couple Florence & Edward. 

August 17: Crazy Rich Asians
Based on Kevin Kwan’s novel about a New Yorker visiting her boyfriend’s Singapore home &  learning he comes from mega money. Stars Constance Wu (I keep meaning to read her book) Henry Golding, Ken Jeong, Gemma Chan and Michelle Yeoh.

Aug 17: Three Seconds
Clive Owens, Rosamund Pike, Joel Kinnamon, Common and Ana de Armas star in this crime drama about an ex-con who, as an undercover  operative, intentionally gets himself incarcerated again in order to infiltrate the mob at a maximum security prison. Based on the Swedish crime thriller by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom.

Aug 31: The Little Stranger    
Domhnall Gleeson stars as a doctor called in to see a patient at Hundreds Hall, where his mother once worked as a housemaid. The horror film is directed by Lenny Abrahamson and also stars Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter & Charlotte Rampling. The book is on my must read list.

September 14: 
The Darkest Minds
When a disease kills 98% of America’s kids, leaving the remaining 2% with dangerous superpowers, 16-year-old Ruby (Amanda Sternberg/ Hunger Games) is one of those locked up in brutal internment camps. Mandy Moore & Gwendolyn Christie (Game of Thrones) also star in the YA sci-fi thriller.

Sep 28: Boy Erased
Lucas Hedges stars as the gay son of a baptist preacher who is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program. Directed by and also starring Joel Edgerton, Boy Erased also stars fellow Aussies Nicole Kidman & Russell Crowe along with Joe Alwyn.
October 18: First Man
A big one on my must see list. Ryan Gosling stars as Neil Armstrong in this biopic about the 1st astronaut to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969. Claire Foy who we love as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown plays Armstrong’s wife, while Damian Chazelle, the director of LA LA Land helms. 

October 19: 
The Girl in the Spider’s Web
This is quite the opening weekend for Claire Foy who also appears as the new Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Salander & journalist Mikael Blomkvist are caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals & corrupt government officials in this sequel based on Steig Larson’s characters.

December 25: 
Mary Poppins Returns
Our perfect nanny comes back when the kids (Ben Whishaw & Emily Mortimer) are all grown up with problems and children of their own. Very loosely based on the P.L. Travers’ books, Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins is joined in the star studded cast by Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Angela Lansbury and Lin Manuel-Miranda. Even Dick Van Dyke makes an appearance. But not as Burt??

2018 TBD: Bel Canto
Julianne Moore plays  world-renowned opera singer Roxanne Cross who becomes trapped in a hostage situation when she's invited to perform for a wealthy industrialist in South America. Ken Watanabe is the birthday boy, while Christopher Lambert is the industrialist. Keeping my fingers crossed they can capture some of the elusive magic of Ann Patchett’s prose.

Updated 12/28/2017 to include On Chesil Beach. What else did I miss? Give me a holler in the comment section below.

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