January 27, 2005

Son of a Gun

When Kim and I discovered a 14-installment film series about a rifle-totin' British hottie fighting in the Peninsular War, we prayed we had found the terra firma answer to Horatio Hornblower.

Yet while Sharpe's Rifles, Part I, bore a remote resemblence to the A&E Hornblower series in terms of genre, neither the movie nor its hero are really fit to share honors with our favorite seafarer.

True, Richard Sharpe cut a fine figure and intrigued us with his attempts to endear himself to the disrespectful men under his command. Yet hideous strains of electric guitar music (think "Top Gun" soundtrack) and a laughable romance that seemed ripped from the pages of a Harlequin paperback (a LITERAL roll in the hay!) made us simply unable to swear our allegiance to watching 13 more of these. We'll probably give it one more shot (No pun intended) just to see where Sharpe's half-cocked attitude and raging libido lead him next. Maybe he'll grow on us. Or perhaps we're gluttons for punishment. -- Amy

January 24, 2005

DaVinci Code Gets Instant Cred Boost

French favorite Audrey Tautou (Amelie) has signed on to play opposite Tom Hanks in the adaptation of Dan Brown's bestseller The DaVinci Code. (THR via Defamer.com)

January 19, 2005

Beowulf and Robert Burns

Hot Scott Gerard Butler (The Phanton in The Phantom of the Opera) is set to play Beowulf in this year's Beowulf & Grendel. According to IMDB the film will co-star Sarah Polley (The Sweet Hereafter, Go, Dawn of the Dead) and Stellan SkarsgÄrd (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville). Butler will also play Robert Burns in the forthcoming film Burns, with Julia Stiles portraying the poet's wife. --Kim

The Lovely Bones

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has optioned the film rights to Alice Seybold's bestselling novel The Lovely Bones. I'll be curious to see how this novel, narrated by a young girl who details her rape and murder and the subsequent attempts of her family to solve the crime, will translate onscreen. I'll have to wait until 2007 to find out. (Guardian UK) --Kim

January 12, 2005

"Curious" Alert

Steve Kloves, who wrote the first four Harry Potter flicks, will direct the screen version of Mark Haddon's bestselling novel, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time." The story is told from the perspective of an autistic teenager on a sleuthing mission to determine who murdered his neighbor's poodle; An entertaining and insightful read. -- Amy

Recommended Reading

"I am not so sure I should like the facts of life, but I have got over the bitter disappointment I felt when I first heard about them, and one obviously has to try them sooner or later." -- Cassandra Mortmain

A cross between a Jane Austen novel and "Are You There God? It's Me Margaret," Dodie Smith's "I Capture the Castle" is a charming novel about a girl's coming of age in a ramshackle English castle in the early part of the 20th century. There's a film version, starring Romola Garai, but I highly recommend checking out the novel as I don't believe the movie could ever capture the young narrator's endearing inner voice quite so well as the book does.

Thanks, Meg, for the recommendation...

January 11, 2005

Tastes Great, Less Filling

The adaptation of Rex Pickett's novel Sideways is a critical success, garnering seven Golden Globe nominations. Here Karla Peterson explains that if you loved the movie, the book is a perfect complement. --Kim

January 5, 2005

Bawdy Bard's Tales to be Told on BBC

TiVo Alert: BBC will present four modern adaptions of stories from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, beginning Saturday night with The Wife of Bath. Details are here.

January 3, 2005

What's your favorite adaptation of the novel Les Liasions Dangereuse?

Valmont with Colin Firth, Annette Bening, Meg Tilly, Fairuza Balk, and Henry Thomas

Dangerous Liaisons, which starred John Malkovich, Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer, Keanu Reeves, and Uma Thurman

or Cruel Intentions starring Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon, and Selma Blair

Forthright Firth

In this month's O Magazine, Colin Firth (Pride and Prejudice, Valmont) writes about "Books That Made a Difference." Here's his list:
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, Rainer Maria Rilke
The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene
The Leopard, Guiseppe di Lampedusa
Preston Falls, David Gates
Saint Maybe, Anne Tyler
Light in August, William Faulkner
The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen