Monday, October 20, 2014

Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy: In the Heart of the Sea trailer

Well I have seen the trailer for In the Heart of the Sea which stars Chris Hemsworth and all I can say is, it looks like a whale of a tale. Yes, I went there. Hemsworth was in Ron Howard's amazing Rush; the director must have fallen in love with Hensworth just as I did because Howard cast him as the real life captain of the whaling vessel the Essex. The film is based on the book about the true story that inspired Herman Melville's Moby Dick. 
The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents-including a long-lost account written by the ship's cabin boy-and penetrating details about whaling and the Nantucket community to reveal the chilling events surrounding this epic maritime disaster. An intense and mesmerizing read, In the Heart of the Sea is a monumental work of history forever placing the Essex tragedy in the American historical canon.
Yep, pretty sure, Melville didn't read Nathanial Philbrick's account;  the author's name only sounds like it's straight out of the 1800's? Philbrick was born in 1956, the National Book Award winning book was published in the year 2000.

For my Dreaming of France friends, here's the trailer in French.  It's a nebulous connection at best but the French voice over grabbed me. Au Coeur de la Ocean, un film de Ron Howard avec Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Benjamin Walker et Ben Whishaw.

And here it is in English. It's the same, correct?

The film opens in Mars, 2015. That's March for you non French speakers.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Nicole Kidman talks "universal theme of a man controlling of every aspect of a woman's life" in Before I Go To Sleep

Good Slacker Sunday morning all! (What a crazy headline!)I hope the day finds you well and happy, ready to celebrate the glorious world and your place and space within in. Yeah, I woke up in a good mood: Ebola, Isis, right-wing politicians, you don't scare me! What does? The idea of people carrying guns in grocery stores. Thank God that doesn't happen here in California, but I signed and tweeted the Moms Demand Action petition to stop Krogers in other parts of the country from allowing guns in their grocery stores. Check my twitter feed or link to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America  End of political rant, thank you. 

Okay, back to fun, scary stuff. Here in the states Before I Go To Sleep, a horror movie of sorts, is being released the day before Halloween. Based on the SJ Watson thriller which I've posted about from time to time, Before I Go To Sleep stars Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong. For today's Sunday Slacker post I'm posting the most recent trailer and linking to an interview with Kidman in The Australian 

Here's what Kidman told the magazine about the subject of control within the context of a marriage - and the film. Just in case you think she's talking about her relationship with Scientology's superstar Tom Cruise, she clarified that no, it's not about him. 
Simply enough, Kidman says she was attracted to the film because she knew its director, Rowan Joffe, the director of Brighton Rock. (Joffe is also the son of director Roland.) “(I) just connected to the universal theme of a man controlling every part of a woman’s world and her having to fight her way out of that,” she says. 
Kidman says she was intrigued by the internal struggles in this film: Christine’s need for her husband (Colin Firth’s Ben) and how that contrasts with the husband relishing “complete control over every aspect of her life”. 
“Control is a really fascinating subject for a movie,” she says. “And that’s what this is, it’s a film about that and identity, obviously.”

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry: My take on the book behind the upcoming movie

I can't say I loved Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture. Not like I loved the bright and breezy Where'd You Go Bernadette which I read just before tackling Barry's much weightier and complex novel, also written in the epistolary style. While I found Barry's book, shortlisted for the Man Booker prize, slow-going, challenging but ultimately satisfying, I think my personal preferences are for material a little more easily accessible.

The basic story is that of a doctor assessing an ancient patient's ability to be relocated when the mental hospital, where the one hundred year old woman has spent most of her life, is slated for demolition. The patient, Roseanne reveals her life before her institutionalization in an epistolary she keeps hidden under the floorboards. That history - tumultuous and tragic - isn't quite clear because Roseanne, while well-intentioned has the expected issues of memory loss and revision that come with one hundred years of living. Even if she is sane - and we're not at all sure of her mental state - what really happened and what she remembers or wants to remember may not the be same thing. What has she forgotten over the years? What has she reforged and altered to protect herself?
What of your personal history have you revised to protect yourself? That's a theme I find myself confronting over and over again on my other blog where I write 'memoir' and struggle to retrace my own footsteps. I can only tell my own truth, but it's painful to discover that doesn't always align with another's reality. 
Dr. Grene, her psychiatrist, at seventy plus years, isn't a young man himself. He's been caring for Roseanne for at least a quarter century, and his side of the story, his efforts to get to the truth of Roseanne's life, as well as the story of his own life, with its loves and losses, is told in his own words in an alternating narrative.

Both have compelling tales to tell but much of Roseanne's early years take place against a background that almost demands historical context. Sadly my knowledge of Irish history is shamefully small - as in close to zero - and Barry's writing is full of references to the Irish uprising and often veiled allusions to the surrounding political ramifications so there were notions that were difficult for me to fully fathom.

Vanessa Redgrave Now and Then (Camelot)

Wading through the work - that's how it felt sometimes - the story itself is dramatic and cinematic. Little wonder then that the book, basically an unravelling of a mystery, is currently in preproduction with filming in Ireland starting up soon - imdb says 'shooting in September' but I can't find any evidence of that. While I'm finding some of the casting mystifying - Eric Bana as Dr. Grene for example - I can see this has the potential to be a thrilling period drama. The venerable Vanessa Redgrave has been cast as Roseanne with Rooney Mara as the younger version.  Mara is not quite the alluring beauty the young Roseanne is meant to be - and that Vanessa Redgrave was in films like Camelot and Blow Up. Much is made of Roseanne's looks and while Mara does have the requisite mysterious aura I still think Jessica Chastain, originally cast as Roseanne would have been the ultimate choice. There is a cold and cruel Catholic priest that figures prominently in Roseanne's world, Fr. Gaunt, who will be played by the gorgeous Theo James. I initially balked at his casting - why waste his romantic appeal by casting him as the rigid priest? - now that I've read the book, and understand his role in the events of Roseanne's life, I can see how the playing against type could work really well. Jeremy Irons and Jack Reynor are also onboard, the latter plays one of Roseanne's love interests, probably her husband, but that's not entirely clear. Which fits right in with my take on the book! The film will be directed by Irish director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot.)

If you'd like to read a real review of Barry's The Secret Scripture from reviewers who have a greater understanding of literary criticism and the important historical context referenced in the novel,  I've got two links for you to check out.

The New York Times
The Guardian

 I won't assign rating points; I don't feel I'm qualified. As to 'enjoyment points'? Hmmm, I'd give it 3 out of 5 Irish roses.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Men, Women and Children - What device will you watch the trailer on?

"Don Truby thought about Kelly Ripa's anus. He thought about what it would look like as he slid his penis into it."
                                               Men, Women and Children, A Novel; Chad Kultgen

I haven't read Men, Women and Children, the novel that Jason Reitman's newest film is based on. Judging from the first two sentences (above) it's a pretty 'racy' book. The plain black text on white stock cover sort of screams something wicked this way comes. Here's the copy from the book jacket:
Chad Kultgen, cult hero and author of the buzz-generating illicit classics The Average American Male and The Lie, cuts to the quick of the American psyche like no other author writing today. In Men, Women & Children he explores the sexual pressures at work on a handful of troubled, conflicted junior-high students and their equally dysfunctional parents. From porn-surfing fathers to World of Warcraft-obsessed sons, from competitive cheerleaders to their dissatisfied, misguided mothers, Kultgen clicks open the emotionally treacherous culture in which we live—in his most ambitious and surprising book yet.

But I'm a fan of Reitman. I loved Up in the Air starring George Clooney with Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. I even liked his adaptation of Joyce Maynard's Labor Day with Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet. So while the prudish part of me wrinkles my nose at the thought of Kelly Ripa as an object of this guy's sexual fantasy - I'll never be able to watch her spot for that new chocolate hazelnut spread without thinking of that line again - ew! - I'm putting it on my list of maybe see's. 

As the poster indicates there's a lot of reliance on the devices many of us are attached to night and day. I'm hoping the movie looks at that addiction which includes being tied to far more than just porn. At my house when we try to start a conversation, we've learned to wait while we come up out of our zoned out trances. The film stars Adam Sandler as the porn-addicted Truby; he's such an on-again, off-again actor I can't see bothering on his account. But the rest of the cast is pretty strong; Jennifer Garner as the internet monitoring mom with Kaitlyn Deaver (Last Man Standing) as her daughter Brandy, Dean Norris from Breaking Bad, Rosemary DeWitt (Kill the Messenger) as Sandler's wife, Judy Greer (will Sprint please stop using that annoying iPhone commercial where Greer and pals squeal to the glass-breaking point?) and for the millions of The Fault in Our Stars fans, Ansel Elgort who reportedly got addicted to World of Warcraft himself to play Norris' son. Emma Thompson does the voice over narration.

The movie is playing in L.A. now; too late for me to read the book - which feels a tad too icky to read anyway. What can I say; I couldn't finish 50 Shades of Grey either. But if any of you have read it, I'm quite curious as to your thoughts. I'm probably being way too squeamish and silly. 

Here's the international trailer for the film ... Thoughts?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Will Christian Bale bail on The Deep Blue Good-by too?

The last we heard definitively, Leonardo DiCaprio had decided to disembark as Travis McGee in the adaptation of John D. MacDonald's The Deep Blue Good-by. The so-called 'salvage consultant' and resident of the Busted Flush houseboat was the big man onboard for the 21 colorful Travis McGee novels, and Fox is hoping to create a franchise ala the Bourne series out of them. While DiCaprio is still onboard, as it were, as producer, a lot of people on the forums are mighty glad to see him go. Not big enough, they complain. Really? Leo is 6ft, tall enough I think to carry off McGee's 6'4" stature, but that boat has sailed so it's time for me to move on. 

Word is Christian Bale was circling the Dennis Lehane script with James Mangold directing but he hasn't said yes or no yet because, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox wants him to agree to the sequels (not all 21 books, surely!) and he's not keen to do that. So they're sort of at a standstill with Bale off to do the Steve Jobs movie that Aaron Sorkin penned. Will he bail completely on the project, or return when he wraps the Jobs job?

Christian Bale and Natalie Portman/Knight of Cups

I'm just not that invested in the 'should he go, or should he stay' question where he's concerned. While I love Bale as an actor, he's not my perfect Travis. If I can't have Leo, I'll take McConaughey for starters. In my previous The Deep Blue Good-by post I suggested Chris Hemsworth but I think I was just blinded by his beauty in Rush. How about you? Who would you cast as the guy who loafs around on the Busted Flush until he runs out of cashola, then gets busy finding stuff that needs to be found for a mere 50% finders fee?

Anyway, thought you'd like to know there's a completed The Deep Blue Good-by script ready and waiting for the right guy to say yes to. As it stands right now the studio is hankering for Christian Bale, in the meantime Bale is off to do the Steve Jobs picture before he commits (or doesn't) to being Travis. I picked up a copy of The Deep Blue Good-by from the biblioteca today, maybe I'll have some bright ideas when I've finished re-reading the book that started it all. How about you? Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Game of Thrones / Kit Harrington fans might love Testament of Youth (TRAILER)

It's taken Testament of Youth three quarters of a century to make it onto the movie screen. The memoir, the first of four written by Vera Brittain, and published in 1933 details a young woman's coming of age story during the World War I years. For those of us who seem to enjoy watching history rather than read it, it sounds irresistible. The film which just debuted at the London Film Festival is slated to hit theaters in the UK on January 16, 2015 and here in the states sometime later in the year. (I can't believe it's already time to get that list - guide to movies based on books/2015 - together!)

Alicia Vikander (Kitty in Joe Wright's sumptuous but flawed Anna Karenina) stars as Vera, a brilliant young woman keen to study literature at Oxford and to be a writer. Brittain sacrificed her dreams to serve as a wartime nurse - what else? that's mostly all that women were allowed to do even when there wasn't a war going on - while Kit Harrington, the remaining heartthrob in the Game of Thrones cast, plays soldier, poet, and love interest Roland Leighton. Emily Watson and Dominic Cooper play her parents in the film from British TV director James Kent (Marchlands, Inside Men, The White Queen) with the screenplay written by Juliette Towhidi (Calendar Girls, Love Rosie, Death Comes to Pemberley).

There's a trailer (below) and I've found some images to share with you. Here are a couple of links to reviews from the London Film Festival screening if you want to go there. Variety review by Guy Lodge. The Guardian review by Peter Bradshaw. I think I'll wait and try the memoir first, it sounds incredibly moving. 

And oh by the way, the book was adapted for the small screen back in the 70's by the BBC so yes, some of you have seen it before. I'm curious to see if it rings a bell with me as well. Have any of you read Brittain's memoir? I'm so curious to know more about it; I'm of the generation where both my British grandfathers - one who I saw twice in my life, the other who I never met - fought in that war, while much of my own limited knowledge comes from historical dramas like Downton Abbey and Atonement. Writing that sentence I'm simply amazed by my own lack of historical curiosity but there it is! Shameful.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Secret Scripture: Casting includes Theo James as Fr. Gaunt, Eric Bana as Dr. Grene

Would you cast gorgeous hunky Theo James - he was Four in Divergent - as a priest? Because apparently he's playing Fr. Gaunt in the adaptation of Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture, currently in preproduction. I don't see it. Granted, I'm only two thirds of the way through the book, perhaps the novel and his character takes a turn I've yet to see because otherwise why waste Theo James mega sex appeal on a role that calls for none of that? I've written about the upcoming adaptation a couple of times; initially Jessica Chastain was set to play Roseanne, the younger version of the ancient patient (Vanessa Redgrave is Roseanne at age 100) at a Irish mental hospital. Her life is revealed through her secret diary; Rooney Mara replaced Chastain this past summer.

In addition to James as Gaunt, I've learned that Eric Bana will play Dr. Grene, the psychiatrist charged with assessing Roseanne's condition. Variety reports that Jack Reynor will play Roseanne's 'love interest' but it's not clear whether that means he plays her husband Tom McNulty or John Lavelle.  McNulty is described as a "short, thickset, almost fat man in a sturdy and neat suit"  while Lavelle is said to be dark-haird and pale-skinned. And simply irresistible. Jeremy Irons is also onboard, while imdb doesn't break it out, I assume Irons is too old to play her beloved father and probably has been cast as John Kane, the old pervy man who cleans Roseanne's room and goes about with his fly undone.

I expect to finish The Secret Scripture and get my take up sometime this week; I'll see how I feel about the casting of Theo James as Gaunt when I finish the novel but I gotta feeling this book, already full of horrors, takes another dark and disturbing turn.

Eric Bana seen here in Deliver Us From Evil cast as Dr. Grene
Jack Reynor seen here in Transformers:Age of Extinction plays Roseanne's love interest