Archive for category Film
Recently watched The Drop. It’s just like the book as Dennis Lehane wrote the screenplay for the film based on a short story and then wrote the novel based on the screenplay. It stars Noomi Rapace, Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini and a cute cute cute puppy! Plenty of Dennis Lehane novels have been adapted to film– Shutter Island, Gone Baby Gone.
Even though I’m not an avid mystery/thriller reader, I’ve sought out a few Dennis Lehane because he’s a local author and many of his books take place in Boston.I took Live By Night out of the library because Ben Affleck will be directing the film version of that one this summer. Read Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout when it came out many years ago [Strout is also a lively speaker] and am delighted to see such a quality miniseries on HBO with Frances McDormand. I don’t read a lot of mystery/thrillers so if they’re adapted to film I’ve likely not read all that many of them.
Like most people I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars as well as The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins before I saw the wonderful film versions. Sometimes the film version is better than the book but often the book is better than the film. Sometimes it’s a good story either way. I’m a bibliophile but not a literary snob that must read every book before seeing its cinematic adaptation. Most Nicholas Sparks, fantasy, romance or YA I’ll give a pass.
It’s usually best to read the book a while before the film comes out or cast announcements unless you want to envision certain actors in the role. I read Shutter Island right before I saw the film so I pictured Leo DiCaprio the entire time. Not a bad thing. I plan to read Wolf Hall in the next month before the BBC mini-series starring Damian Lewis as Henry XIII.
some 2015 film releases and the source material:
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
starring: Simona Brown; Hetty Baynes; Lolita Chakrabarti
release date: February on BBC One
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
starring: Carey Mulligan; Tom Sturridge; Matthias Schoenaerts
release date: May 1
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
starring: Tom Hardy; Gary Oldman; Noomi Rapace; Paddy Considine; Dev Patel and Charles Dance.
release date: April 17
Serena by Ron Rash
starring: Jennifer Lawrence; Bradley Cooper
release date: March 27
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
starring: Charlize Theron; Chloe Grace Moretz; Christina Hendricks; Nicholas Hoult and Corey Stoll.
release date: TBD
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
starring: Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara
release date: TBD
The Mordecai Trilogy by Kyril Bonfiglioli
starring: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow; Ewan McGregor
release date: January 23
Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes
starring: Emilia Clarke; Sam Claflin
release date: August 21
Black Mass by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill
starring: Johnny Depp; Benedict Cumberbatch; Kevin Bacon; Juno Temple
release date: September 18
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
starring: Rooney Mara; Vanessa Redgrave; Eric Bana; Jeremy Irons
release date: TBD
The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman
starring: Jessica Chastain
release date: TBD
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
starring: Robert Redford; Nick Nolte
release date: TBD
“You’ll need a country retreat if you want to get anything done.”
“It’s a very impulsive decision and I’m pleased with myself for that.”
“I’m glad he’s replaced himself with a younger surrogate for forlorn moping.”
“I can’t process how grossly dissatisfied I find myself feeling. Things I’ve coveted for years are mine now and all I feel is miserable.”
Aaliyah, the young, determined teen with a magnetic style and powerhouse vocals rose to fame quickly at 15 with her multi-platinum album Age Aint Nothing But a Number. It sold 3 million copies. The niece of Gladys Knight [Elise Neal], her uncle Barry Hankerson [Lyriq Bent] worked at Jive Records and started his own label Blackground Records. Aaliyah had connections but also talent or she wouldn’t have sold millions of albums. She dated and married R. Kelly who produced her first album. He was nearly twice her age at the time. She insisted on developing her own style which was a crop top, baggie low-ride pants and a thick headband. Very Gwen Stefani. Later she dated Damon Dash [Anthony Grant], eight years older than her but at that time Aaliyah was 21. She died in a plane crash while filming a video in the Bahamas at age 22. Lifetime’s Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B skims over everything. There’s no depth and not much to care about.
The R. Kelly [Cle Bennett]/ Aaliyah romance races past. One minute they’re in the studio, the next minute they’re married. Kudos to the production team for showing her parents horrified reaction to the union. Her father says: “I can’t understand that a grown man would be with a young girl. It’s statutory rape.” Her father forbids them any further personal or professional connection or he’ll have R. Kelly arrested. I wonder how many other young woman would’ve been saved from R. Kelly’s predatory actions if that had happened 20 years ago. Someone as driven and confident as Aaliyah certainly possessed qualities making her seem older than her 15 years but there’s no excuse for R. Kelly’s actions. She was still 15. This knocks Aaliyah into a funk for a while. But then for her second album Aaliyah insists on working with producers Timbaland [Izaak Smith] and Missy Eliot [Chattrisse Dolabelle]. Then unknowns. “It’s my career. It’s my album and I think it should be my decision,” Aaliyah stresses when her label balks at this request.
Alexandra Shipp turns out a vibrant, heartfelt performance as Aaliyah. She sinks into the role. It’s a treat to watch the potential. Everything falls flat outside her believable and invested portrayal. My top complaint is a typical one for Lifetime movies: it’s written and directed by men. A biopic about a young woman always turns out better with a female screenwriter and female director.
Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B premieres Saturday, November 15 on Lifetime.
“I am the industry-wise transition girlfriend to his soon to be model-fucking teen heartthrob.”
“I’ve decided to embrace my defects. It’s all part of the package.”
–Ellie [Toni Collette]
there are quite a few great films out there on DVD/Netflix. highly recommended. Here’s a round-up.
Kelly & Cal 
starring: Juliette Lewis, Jonny Weston, Josh Hopkins
directed by: Jen McGowan
written by: Amy Lowe Starbin
Juliette Lewis [Kelly] is fantastic as a former punk rocker turned suburban mom. Kelly’s not thrilled to be so isolated and away from her friends and life in the city. She’s second-guessing being a mom and thinking about her lost youth. She befriends a neighborhood high-school student named Cal [Jonny Weston]. A bond develops between the two over their love of music and art. It’s sweet and genuine.
starring: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins
written and directed by: Kat Candler
This one is dark, harsh and sad with outstanding performances by Aaron Paul [Breaking Bad] and Juliette Lewis. It’s about a teenage boy [an impressive Josh Wiggins] who’s behaving badly after his mom died. Such awful behavior that he’s jeopardizing his younger brother as well.
Lucky Them 
starring: Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church
directed by: Megan Griffiths
written by: Emily Wachtel and Huck Botko
In a stand-out performance Toni Collette plays the superbly flawed GenX music critic Ellie Klug. Ellie’s still figuring it all out. She hooks up with artists she interviews. She’s messy. She’s unapologetic. And it’s absolutely fantastic. As a music critic I could see myself in this character. Her editor [Oliver Platt] assigns her a story about her ex, a renowned musician who disappeared a decade ago. She takes along a strange old friend Charlie [Thomas Haden Church] who plans to film a documentary about her search for the elusive Matthew Smith [Johnny Depp]. It’s funny, smart, moving and one of the best films I’ve seen about music journalism in a long time. At one point, Charlie and Ellie are talking about how it’s impossible that Charlie doesn’t like music. She says that she’ll play him music at her place. He admits that there is one Canadian artist he likes.
Ellie throws out a few artists like Rufus Wainwright, as she’s all about alternative music. Turns out it’s Bryan Adams.
directed by: Jillian Schlesinger
Just see this inspirational documentary about a brave teenage girl, Norwegian Laura Dekker, who at 14 sets out to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone. It’s filled with a lot of footage that Laura shot by herself on the boat. Also interspersed with some interviews and her background into how she got into sailing. She’s a fun teenager. When she lands in one country she colors her hair from blonde to red. She meets cool people along the way, makes stops in beautiful places like Cape Town, St. Maarten, the South Pacific islands and Australia. She enjoys her solitude and grows up out on her own. A beautifully edited must-see documentary that shows just what girls can do when given the opportunity.
Youth, beauty, it all seems so meaningless now.
–Lamia [Michelle Pfeiffer]
“Hi Guys! Are you freezing? It’s so cold in here,” Claire Danes exclaims as she wraps her vintage jacket about her lithe frame. The jacket is tan which complements her long, honey blonde hair and it has cool orange swirls on it that gives it flair. Not that Ms. Danes needs any. She wears jeans, a gray shift and great clunky stone rings on her fingers. Actually, I take note of three on one finger.
She wraps her legs under her and sits down, bending forward, with a smile, to speak
about her latest film, Stardust, at a local Boston hotel a few weeks ago. Known for her roles in Romeo and Juliet, the summer’s very moving Evening, Shopgirl, The Family Stone, Les Miserables and forever as Angela Chase from television’s My So-Called Life, Danes will makes her Broadway debut in Pygmalion this fall.
Stardust is a wonderful, if sometimes goof-ball, fantasy film. It’s often Shakespearean in tone: think Midsummer Night’s Dream meets Princess Bride. This delightful escape relishes in clever and witty dialogue, off-beat, quirky, layered characters, unexpected moments and thrilling, dream-like sequences. Danes finds herself in good company: Michelle Pfeiffer, as an unattractive, deliciously wicked witch with piercing eyes who seeks everlasting beauty and youth brings an exuberance and fervor to her character. Robert DeNiro, in really not that much of stretch considering the Meet the Parent films, plays a cross-dressing pirate. Adding to the fun: British actors Jason Flemyng, Sienna Miller [nearly unrecognizable] and Charlie Cox. Danes plays a star, Yvaine, who fell to the ground and wants to go home. Who wouldn’t love this film and this role? A star personified! And Evie is happy but also a bit pensive being a star. You’d think she would be conceited and powerful but she’s at times insecure and very sweet. An endearing, bright-eyed gentleman named Tristam [Cox] travels across the barrier to this “forbidden” but special and magical land and finds Evie. Together they go on an amazing journey which, naturally, becomes one of self-discovery. Stardust really charms, remaining unique while it addresses: age/youth, beauty, love, and destiny with all the magic, intrigue, adventure and humor of any smart film.
What did you like about this project?
Claire Danes: “I loved the story. It’s charming and engaging. The dialogue is witty and wry and Evie has a trajectory. She changes which is appealing. She is knowing and wise because she’s ancient but unbelievably naïve.”
What do you like best about acting?
Claire Danes: Laughing: “The costumes are fun. I really like the challenge of imagining what it is to be another person and exercising empathy and stretching the imagination.”
What do you do for fun?
Claire Danes: “walk my dog, draw [takes life drawing classes in down time], dance.”
Do you think you will always live in New York?
Claire Danes: “NY is home to me. I travel constantly for work.”
What is the best part of working on this film?
Claire Danes: “The rewarding part of this movie is working with Charlie [Cox]. He’s a special guy—appealing, honest, expressive and great person.”
What attracts you to a role?
Claire Danes: “exploring new territory and new genres. Characters with dimension and complexity and who undergo change. And grow and transform. Usually women exist to facilitate change and growth in male characters.”
What are some of your favorite films?
Claire Danes: “Waiting for Guffman, Sophie’s Choice, and I know everyone says it but, Citizen Kane.”
What are some favorite films of your own?
Claire Danes: “Romeo and Juliet, Stealing Beauty, Shopgirl and Brokedown Palace.”
Originally published in The Harbus, the Harvard Business School student newspaper.