June 29, 2006
Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and Ian McKellan are starring in "The Colossus," an adaptation of Ann Harries' novel, Manly Pursuits. Set against the backdrop of the Boer War, Firth plays an ornithologist hired to transport 500 birds to South Africa where an ailing colonist (McKellan) believes his health can only be restored by the sound of an English songbird. Along the way, Firth's character falls for a political activist (Weisz) who is trying to avert the impending war. Authors Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde and Rudyard Kipling apparently factor into the book's cast of characters, but no word on whether they'll make it into the movie. Filming begins this fall. -- Amy
Roof slates from the estate that was supposed to belong to Mr. Darcy in the 1995 Pride & Prejudice miniseries may be sold as souvenirs to help pay for the building's restoration. -- Amy
June 28, 2006
Venice, Italy -- Patricia Arquette and her random, kilt-wearing hubby (actor Thomas Jane) get the Romancing the Tome thumbs' up for wedding of the week. It's like a Merchant/Ivory film in the making! (I wonder if Patricia's transvestite bro, Alexis, was maid of honor?) -- Amy
Variety reports that Sean Bean (pictured) and Tilda Swinton will star in "Come Like Shadows," an adaptation of Macbeth described as "a period piece designed for a contemporary audience." The film will be set in Scotland and directed by The Jacket's John Maybury. Steven Soderbergh is the executive producer. Great casting choices, if you ask me -- Bean played Macbeth on the London stage in 2002 in a performance several reviews described as "raunchy." Hmmm. Incidentally, my friend, Meg, just saw the Scottish play performed in Central Park, with none other than Jennifer Ehle (P&P's Elizabeth Bennett) as Lady Macbeth. Here's what she had to say about it.
Also filmbound: Marley & Me, John Grogan's uber-bestselling account of 13 years spent with a very bad dog. -- Amy
June 27, 2006
"Well, I'll tell you the truth. I ain't no real cowboy, but I'm a hell of a stud." -- Joe Buck, Midnight Cowboy
It only just dawned on me this weekend while watching Midnight Cowboy for the second time in my life that it's actually an adaptation of a novel by James Leo Herlihy. While I'm not much for reading a novel after seeing the film version, I may make an exception for this one. Not exactly your conventional "buddy picture," it's the account of a naive male prostitute who meets both rotten luck and, ultimately, a best friend on the unsavory streets of New York City. In the film, Jon "Shiloh's grandpappy" Voight plays the wannabe cowpoke (no pun intended), while Dustin Hoffman is his down-at-heel sidekick, "Ratso" Rizzo. Has anyone out there read Midnight Cowboy or any of Herlihy's other novels? Just curious. -- Amy
Although Kim and I continue to debate the merits of downtown Los Angeles, we're both in agreement that high tea at the Millenium Biltmore hotel is a bright spot in the metropolitan melange. We partook of the "Empress Afternoon Tea" at the hotel's Rendezvous Court on Friday afternoon, and here's how it measured up. -- Amy
Ratings scale: One sugar cube = tepid; Five sugar cubes = tea-rrific
TEA: Although the selection was limited, we both enjoyed our tea choices. Following a glass of champagne each, we forgot to make note of exactly which tea we ordered. Afterwards, the sugar buzz had zapped our memory completely. So excuse the lack of specifics.
Rating: Four sugar cubes
SANDWICHES: Egg salad, smoked salmon, cucumber and ham & cheese. Though not exactly bowled over by originality, we wouldn't have wanted anything too avant-garde. The classics never disappoint.
Rating: Five sugar cubes
SCONES: We had to wait for a new batch of scones to come out of the oven, but it was worth the wait. Though preciously diminutive, we were generously allowed five, AND offered more after we polished them off. (We had enough discipline to decline extras.)
Rating: Five sugar cubes
SWEETS: Believe it or not, we're often put off by afternoon tea services that offer too many sweets. (Because after gorging on sandwiches and scones, one still feels obligated to eat every last delectable dessert, thus feeling like a penitent porker by the time one is finished.) In this case, the Biltmore wisely kept the dessert plate to an appropriate three items per person: White chocolate mousse topped with fresh fruit in a crisp, edible cup, a lemon bar topped with slivered almonds and, the chaser -- a chocolate truffle.
Rating: Four sugar cubes
ATOMOSPHERE: The room itself was beautiful: High, intricately painted ceilings with wooden beams, a fountain and a grand staircase leading to the second floor. There was no harpist (but we certainly survived without a flourising rendition of the Titanic theme song...) On the downside, the hotel lobby restroom was appallingly institutional (read: high school lavatory). Still, the hotel has loads of cool history. There are old black and white photos from Academy Award ceremonies of yore, and legend has it, the Black Dahlia's ghost still lurks in the lobby. (A hotel doorman was the last person to see Elizabeth Short alive.) Kim found the photo of a dapper Jimmy Stewart accepting an Academy Award for Philadelphia Story particularly swoon-worthy.
Rating: Four sugar cubes
June 22, 2006
I've been known to fall for a limey or two in my day (a byproduct of my love for Masterpiece Theater and for men who start sentences with "I say,...." spell color with a "u" and have a vocab that includes the word "serviette.") The accent, as we all know, is, in a word, hot. (I even know a dude from New Jersey who faked a British accent to get a date with my friend. It worked!) Conversely, the American accent doesn't have the same "kiss me, you fool!" effect for the English ladies -- at least not for Keira Knightley, who tells In Style magazine that she prefers dating Brits to Yanks. Knightley, who is still dating her P&P co-star, Rupert Friend (Mr. Wickham), says she prefers guys who smell like Guiness to "vain" American men who put too much effort into their appearance. Clearly, Miss Knightley has not ventured far enough into our great country to find the real buzzards. -- Amy
June 21, 2006
June 20, 2006
Ioan Gruffudd looks wholly unsure, nay, almost "wigged-out" as he and a stylist stare skeptically at the hair piece he is to wear as abolitionist Wilber Wilberforce in the forthcoming Amazing Grace. He seems to have regained his smiley composure once a cravat completes his look. -- Amy
photos courtesy of ioanonline.com
Natalie Portman "is a strong likelihood for the part of Rosa" in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, reveals the book's author Michael Chabon on his blog. Also it looks like the marvelous party with Salvador Dali will make it into the movie (yay!), but the scene at the ruins of the World's Fair got the axe (ouch!). --Kim
After pulling that whole "censoring themselves in China" thing, it didn't take long for Google to worm their way back into my heart, especially now that I've found their Shakespeare search site. It lets you canvas the bard's plays for quotes on any subject imaginable (Forsooth, how this technology might have saved my ass 10 years ago as an undergrad English major, fumbling through the index of that honkin' Riverside Shakespeare anthology....) -- Amy
June 19, 2006
I read John Steinbeck's East of Eden for the first time a few months ago and loved it. Great characters, terrific backdrop, enticing plot twists, wicked she-bitch from hell... So I decided to watch the movie version over the weekend. Wasn't it supposed to be a classic?
As I waited through the boring, five-minute musical overture of waves hitting against a rocky coast (not smart enough to hit fast-forward until I'd viewed most of this vast nothing-ness) I should have taken it as a sign for the boredom to come. But no...I saw "James Dean" and "directed by Elia Kazan" in the credits and waited with tingly anticipation.
Of course, I knew I wouldn't get a complete retelling of the epic novel. After all, it spans three generations and is simply too long to fit into a two-hour movie. Still, I figured that even if they began the story with Cal and Aron (generation three) there would still be enough juicy stuff to make for a good flick.
I was disappointed right away when I realized that one of my favorite characters from the novel (the Chinese cook, Lee, who is in many ways the voice of wisdom in the tale) isn't even represented in the movie. "Oh well, at least I have Cathy," I thought. But sadly, I didn't have Cathy...at least, not the way Steinbeck depicted her. Instead of being pure evil -- the book's symbol for satan, she was just sort of boring and weak and occasionally even downright tender with her grown sons. Did Kazan even read the book??!!
I'd say 80 percent of the movie has pretty much nil to do with the important elements of the novel (Where in the book did Cal climb down off a ferris wheel or swing from the rafters of a gym????). Except for James Dean (Cal), who offers the one semi-captivating portrayal, this book is trying and tedious. I am beside myself with guilt for making my boyfriend watch it with the constant disclaimers, "I think it should get more exciting...".
In the novel, there is this long-running debate between three of the characters (including the MIA Lee) about biblical semantics regarding free will in the Cain and Abel story of Genesis. The last deathbed scene of the book brings this discussion full circle. Naturally, the movie didn't even attempt to take on this level of profundity and instead ended with a really lame substitute that left me utterly aghast at its stupidity.
In summation, I feel like I could direct finger puppets to create a better adaptation than this one.
Incidentally, however, I just realized there is a 1981 miniseries version of the book starring Bruce Boxleitner, Lloyd Bridges and Jane Seymour (?!?!) as Cathy Trask. This version does include Lee and won two Golden Globes, so maybe it's worth checking out. Can anyone recommend it? -- Amy
June 15, 2006
B&N.com: There is talk of a movie based on The Shadow of the Wind: rumors about whether or not the rights are up for sale, speculation about whether it will be filmed in Hollywood or in Spain, and questions as to whether you, being both an author and screenwriter, would allow others to write the screenplay. What's your view? What would your choice be?
CRZ: Since I have some experience in this area, I am especially cautious regarding the possibility of a film adaptation. If it is to happen, it will be because I feel the right elements are brought together and I'm persuaded that the adventure is worth a try. But at any rate this is not a priority for me at all. I think it is good that novels stay novels, and that there's no need at all for everything to become a movie, a TV show, a video game, a kiddie meal, or a licensed toy of the month. Nothing can tell a story, convey a world, and render characters with the intensity, depth, and magic that literature allows. The Shadow of the Wind will be always first and foremost a book, and proudly so.Guess we shouldn't hold our breath for a movie version, however, it won't deter me from casting Diego Luna as the protagonist, Daniel -- at least in my imagination. -- Amy
June 14, 2006
June 13, 2006
June 12, 2006
Or so I thought. On Saturday, I had the pleasure of hitching a ride on the 1947 Project's most recent Crime Bus Tour: The Nightmares of Bunker Hill. Donning period costume, a genuine passion for the historical macabre and a healthy sense of humor, Kim Cooper and Nathan Marsak (pictured) regaled 40 passengers with a century's worth of mostly obscure crime stories centered in and around downtown Los Angeles.
For five hours we toured dozens of sites of highly unusual crimes and accidents, some gruesome, some downright hilarious. Sadly, most of the crime scenes in question have been torn down and rebuilt beyond recognition, but our intrepid guides had compiled a DVD of historical photographs that we could reference via TV monitors on the bus. They also read contemporary police and newspaper reports of the incidents which proved extremely entertaining if not always politically correct. I applaud Cooper and Marsak for sleuthing to unearth loads of intrigue and drama under L.A.'s disgustingly stuccoed facade.
For more info on the 1947 Project's upcoming tours (there's a Pasadena tour in the works for July) as well as a Black Dahlia tour later this year, check out www.1947project.com. Or, check here to peruse some of the more infamous crime stories and photographs . -- Amy
June 8, 2006
Written by Amanda Jacobs and Lindsay Baker, the show will incorporate both the world of Jane Austen and the world of the Bennet sisters as Jane interacts with the characters she's created. Show dates, ticket info and a more detailed synopisis here. In the unlikely chance you happen to be visiting the thriving metropolis of Wooster next month, check it out. -- Amy
But will it be "Some Movie?" Here's a trailer for the live-action version of E.B. White's classic, Charlotte's Web, starring Dakota Fanning as Fern and Julia Roberts as the voice of Charlotte. (It'll be out at Christmas.) Judging from the trailer, it's got some fairly obnoxious moments. Call me crazy, but I prefer the 1973 animated version, with Paul Lynde as Templeton the rat crooning "A fair is a veritable smorgasbord (orgasbord, orgasbord...)." -- Amy