February 29, 2012

An insight from - 'Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close'

“In bed that night I invented a special drain that would be underneath every pillow in New York, and would connect to the reservoir. Whenever people cried themselves to sleep, the tears would all go to the same place, and in the morning the weatherman could report if the water level of the Reservoir of Tears had gone up or down, and you could know if New York is in heavy boots.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

February 27, 2012

Literary Apparel


Check out the latest form of literary adaptation – the fashion accessory.

When Michelle Williams arrived at the Independent Spirit Awards yesterday, she was applauded by fashionistas for her winning-style. Her mini tuxedo was cute, but what grabbed my attention was her Catcher in the Rye clutch purse.

"Olympia Le-Tan's wonderfully whimsical and totally unique embroidered canvas clutch is a beautiful homage to one of literature's best-loved books. Impeccably hand-crafted with Liberty-print lining and a sleek gold frame, it's the attention to detail that really makes this piece special. Let this limited-edition style pop against your favorite LBD for a standout evening look."  

Love it!

February 25, 2012

Mixed Reviews: One for the Money

Rotten Tomatoes says there are not enough votes to reach a consensus – but the odds are not tipping in the favour of One for the Money.

Out of 49 reviews, 48 are rotten.

Melissa Anderson from Village Voice is straight to the point:

“Punitively dull.”

As is Andrew Barker from Variety:

“Tedious and tonally inept.”

Ed Gibbs from the Sun-Herald directs his criticism at Katherine Heigl:

“With yet another ho-hum run at the multiplexes, Katherine Heigl's big-screen resumé is fast looking like an insider's gag.”

As does This is London:

“The film miscasts Heigl and doesn't do much good for Debbie Reynolds as Grandma, either.”

The general audience vote seems a little kinder, with 59% having liked it. The views of “Super reviewer” Bathsheba Monk are case-in-point:

“This is an entertaining movie and Heigel is perfect as Stephanie Plum. Okay, official critics, it's not Citizen Kane, but it isn't pretending to be...can't you see the difference between art and entertainment? Nice to see a movie where the women is the hero!"

What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy the film? Did Katherine Heigl satisfy your expectations for Stephanie Plum?

February 19, 2012

You don't leave Marilyn alone, she can't handle it: A review of 'My week with Marilyn'

It’s a fantastic blend of skill and fate, when an actor is able to embody a well-known character completely. Two faces, decades apart – completely different yet in so many ways the same.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Elvis Presley; Jamie Foxx and Ray Charles; Joaquin Phoenix and Johnny Cash – and now Michelle Williams and Marilyn Monroe.

In My week with Marilyn, Williams provides an eerily exact projection of Monroe – not only in face, but also in body, in voice, and in countenance.

In the opening scene, Williams is stunning – a sparkling diamond, offset by a sea of black. Although this film is brimming with magnificent performances, it is Williams that shines throughout, just as Monroe herself would have done.

She leans forward when she speaks, to accentuate her curves as well to entice her audience. Her voice flows, with a familiar velvety breathiness. Her lips forever puckered, despite a constant show of smiling teeth. Williams paints Monroe exactly right: a picture of imperfect perfection.

Kenneth Branagh is scathing as “Larry” Olivier, who is concurrently critical and enchanted by Monroe: “Teaching Marilyn to act is like teaching Urdu to a Badger!”

In response, Williams reveals Monroe’s timid fragility, her exasperated fears and insecurities.

The film is set in the summer of 1956, when Marilyn arrives on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl in England. It is six years before her death in 1962, and yet it provides a clear insight into the demons that led to her demise. When Monroe retreats within herself, into a haze of depression, it is her eyes that show it most – vivid blue and blindingly vacant.

Tribute must also be paid to rest of the exemplary supporting cast, including Eddie Redmayne, Judi Dench and Emma Watson – who have done incredibly well not to be outshined completely.

My week with Marilyn is a love story for a long lost star. Although it is told through the eyes of Colin Clark, it is seen as if through everyone’s.

Michelle Williams for the Oscar!

I would be very happy to receive your comments and feedback on ‘Book or Big Screen’ – please click on the below link to tell me what film adaptation you are excited about, or to suggest the book/film that I should review next.

What’s coming next? A review of The Help

February 16, 2012

Biographical adaptations: The truth is stranger than fiction

What do The Vow and My Week With Marilyn have in common? Quite a few things actually…

They are both based on true stories. They are both technically adaptations, as the true stories were recounted in a book before they made it to the big screen. And they are both showing in Australian cinemas this week.

The Vow is based on The Vow: The Kim and Krickitt Carpenter Story. The biography was written in 1996, and recounts a married couple’s experience of surviving a car accident. Krickitt suffered a serious head injury, which completely wiped her memory of meeting and marrying her husband Kim.

My Week With Marilyn is based on The Prince, The Showgirl and Me and My Week with Marilyn – both autobiographical tales by Colin Clark.

Colin Clark was a British writer and filmmaker whose first job after finishing university was on the film The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). Laurence Olivier directed and starred in the film, and the leading lady was none other than Marilyn Monroe.

The thing about biographical adaptations is that true stories very rarely have the typical movie-style happy ending. If conjured in the imagination of an author, or scripted straight for Hollywood, the stories are likely to be very different.

We all know that Marilyn Monroe’s life was as far from a fairytale, so I’m expecting that the film will have a very raw, humanistic quality – but what of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter’s story? Does Krickitt (renamed as Paige in the film) regain her memory? Is Rachel McAdams given the opportunity to relive the memorable Notebook scene, of running into the embrace of her long lost love?

Well I’m not going to ruin it for you – you’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

February 11, 2012

More photos from the set of 'The Great Gatsby'

Baz Luhrmann's film schedule was supposed to wrap up in December... But with re-shoots still happening in Sydney, the local paparazzi have had more opportunities to steal us a glimpse of what this epic production will look like.

Just quietly.. I'm loving the high-waisted beige slacks on Leo.

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The air is alive with chatter and laughter: Inside the garden party of The Great Gatsby
Look’n great, Gatsby!

February 9, 2012

Big Miracle

Big Miracle seems to have all the makings of a heart-felt, tear-jerking, family-friendly movie.

Start with the beautiful-yet-treacherous scenery of an Alaskan ice shelf; add Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski and Kristen Bell, all rugged-up in puffy jackets and beanies; and give them the seemingly insurmountable task of saving a family of 40 tonne whales.

Sounds like a winner to me.

I haven’t seen this one yet – but going by the title, I’m guessing that the whales are indeed successfully saved. One could also safely guess that the whole experience will lead the central characters to evolve, and become better people.

Drew and John’s characters are apparently estranged loves, so I’m sure they will also renew their affections in some way too… And who wouldn’t love that?

So, in order for this movie to be a winner in the way that I have described, it’s clear that the story will need to deviate quite substantially from the source material.

You see, ‘Big Miracle’ is based on the book Freeing the Whales by Tom Rose – which details the true story of ‘Operation Breakthrough’ in 1988.

I was two in 1988, so I had no idea what Operation Breakthrough was all about – but from a quick Google, it seems that the whole thing didn’t play out like a typical Hollywood script.

It will be interesting to see just how much the film glossed over some the stories more ‘realistic’ elements.

February 7, 2012

Tell us what you really think: Joe Drake

“After the trailer launched Nov. 14, we had 8 million views in the first 24 hours... We were the number one Twitter trend on the planet. Since then, the book sales have jumped 7.5 million copies. That kind of data gives us enormous confidence.”

- Lionsgate Films president Joe Drake has very high hopes for The Hunger Games

February 3, 2012

The Many Faces of: Rachel McAdams

As Regina George in Mean Girls (2004), based on the self-help book Queen Bees & Wannabes (2002) by Rosalind Wiseman.

As Allie Hamilton in The Notebook (2004), based on the 1996 novel by Nicholas Sparks.

As Clare Abshire in The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009), based on the 2003 novel by Audrey Niffenegger.

As Irene Adler in Sherlock Holmes (2009), a character that featured in the story A Scandal in Bohemia (1891) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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February 1, 2012

Don't judge a book by its movie cover #4

The film was based on the best-selling book, and now the book is sold with images of the adaptation emblazoned on its the cover. It’s an endless cycle of one capitalizing on the success of the other. 

Here are some examples of original book covers, and the replacement movie poster versions. What are your views? Does the movie poster demonstrate what the book is all about? Does the new art do the original story justice? Are the famous faces likely to have a positive impact on book sales?

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Don't judge a book by its movie cover #3
Don't judge a book by its movie cover #2
Don't judge a book by its movie cover #1