September 30, 2008

Down the Rabbit Hole

Check out some pictures from the set of Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland." I love the Victorian costumes! That's relative newcomer Mia Wasikowska as Alice, by the way. Burton's better half, Helena Bonham Carter, is supposedly in the movie, too. She'd make a killer Queen of Hearts, if that's who she's playing. I'm reading that the film's going to start out live action then switch to CGI once Alice lands in Wonderland (presumably the animals, etc.) As we reported below, Johnny Depp will play the Mad Hatter.

September 29, 2008

A Modern Day (British) deTocqueville

Stephen Fry visited the 50 states (driving a black London cab) for a book and television series, which will air in England in October.

Here's an excerpt

The overwhelming majority of Americans I met on my journey were kind, courteous, honourable and hospitable beyond expectation. Such striking levels of warmth, politeness and consideration were encountered not just in those I was meeting for on-camera interview, they were to be found in the ordinary Americans I met in the filling-stations, restaurants, hotels and shops too.

Read more here and check out Stephen's blog!

Also, if you've never seen him play Mybug in the 1995 adaptation of Stella Gibbons' Cold Comfort Farm, you're missing a real treat. Add it to your Netflix queue!

The Better the Book, The Worse the Film?

That's the conclusion this L.A. Times article comes to, anyway.

September 27, 2008

'It's all on account of the war'

Christopher Hitchens on Brideshead Revisited the novel and the newish adaptation in The Guardian.

September 25, 2008

Higgins Hottie Showdown

Brad Pitt and George Clooney both want to play Professor Henry Higgins to Keira Knightley's Eliza Doolittle in a new adaptation of My Fair Lady. Oh my God! This is like Sophie's Choice!!!!

What's your vote? I'm gonna have to go with Clooney.

Lit Lover's Ephemera

For the Romancing the Tome reader who has everything:
Felted Soft-Collar Duchess
Soldiers Egg Cup
Vintage Typewriter Keys Necklace

Cajun Queen

Disney Animation will release "The Princess & the Frog" next Christmas. Oprah Winfrey will reportedly lend her voice to the lineup, which will feature Disney's first ever African-American princess. I'm digging the setting: New Orleans' French Quarter during the Jazz Age!

Welcome Back...

For those of you fortunate enough to be on your way to Versailles anytime soon, The Petit Trianon is open again for business!

From the Associate Press:
The Petit Trianon, the mini-chateau at Versailles that French queen Marie Antoinette used as her refuge, reopened Wednesday after a yearlong, $7.34-million renovation funded by Swiss watchmaker Breguet, which once made a timepiece for the queen.

Among other improvements, electric wiring was fixed, more rooms were opened to the public, and a garden pavilion was refurbished.

Curators said they wanted to avoid a stuffy museum feel and instead sought to make it seem as though the 18th century French queen and her entourage had just stepped away for a moment.

September 24, 2008

Depp Goes Nutso for 'Mad Hatter'

Johnny Depp is set to star in yet another Tim Burton flick--this time it's a live-action/cg-animated version of the classic Alice In Wonderland. Our scruffy friend will play the eerie Mad Hatter in the Disney production. More here.

Jeeves & Wooster

Last night Kim and I watched the first three episodes of the P.G. Wodehouse series and loved it. Hugh Laurie and Stephen Frye are adorable. We both agree that we would love a shrewd and discerning valet to draw our baths, serve us breakfast in bed, tactfully let us know when our wardrobe choices are abominable and generally keep us from bungling social conundrums. Also, we wish that, like Bertie, we could "think about" working, but not actually have to work. Here's a highlight from last night's viewing:

September 23, 2008

The Most Godawful Movie Ever?

I love Shakespeare, and I love Bollywood...(I actually take Bollywood dance classes). So you'd think melding the two would send me into fits of rapture. Not so, after reading this Guardian review of The Last Lear. Too bad. Guess I'll have to stick with Bride & Prejudice.

Don't Call Me Ishmael

A new adaptation of Melville's tome, Moby Dick, will take Ishmael's narration out of the picture and make Ahab "more charismatic." Is nothing sacred?

See full story in Variety

September 22, 2008

Brideshead Lingering

"Enough with the Brideshead Revisited!" I hear you all screaming. But really, since the film doesn't open in the UK until October 3, I say that gives me carte blanche to continue blogging about it...especially when I read this delightful interview in The Guardian with Matthew Goode where he talks about his manly bits and makes fun of celebrities who attend award ceremonies when they're not even nominated.

Plus, well, he's just a looker, isn't he?

September 15, 2008

Lifetime's Coco Chanel

Having my interest stirred at the news that Audrey Tatou would soon play Coco Chanel in a feature film, I thought I'd whet my appetite this weekend and watch the heavily promoted Lifetime version of the designer's life, featuring Shirley MacLaine as Coco in her later (more grumpy) years. Frankly, all the Shirley stuff bored me. Her complete lack of an accent threw me off and they kind of lost me with the Scarlett O'Hara/Maria Von Trapp (take down the curtains!) scene. Luckily, MacLaine's scenes were only a fraction of the overall movie.

Otherwise, I give Lifetime some modicum of credit for bringing a costume-film to their network, even if it was apparent they were working with a limited budget. (So much more interesting than that "She Fought Alone" crap they normally do.) I actually didn't mind Barbora Bobulova as the younger Coco, and although some of the love scenes bordered on Velveeta and the signature "bob" seemed wrong--It made her look like Kate Jackson circa Charlie's Angels or the main chick from Saturday Night Fever-- I couldn't take my eyes off her fabulous attire, including those hats. Oh my God! Those hats!

In summation: I'd say catch it in repeats when you can (God knows they'll air the hell out of it) just to see the hats.

September 12, 2008

Once More With Feeling: I, Claudius

First the epic Brideshead Revisited miniseries gets a facelift. Now, the same thing's happening to the 1976 Masterpiece Theater classic, I, Claudius. (Which I never watched, incidentally, because I was two at the time...but my aunt has raved about it.) Relativity Media and director Jim Sheridan (My Left Foot, In the Name of the Father) are giving the Robert Graves book a new adaptation to highlight the stuttering, handicapped Roman emperor and his ilk. Based on the production value of the BBC version (see photo, exhibit A), I'm thinking an update is long overdue. But for those of you who've seen the 10-part series, is this news welcome or woeful?

See full story from The Hollywood Reporter

September 10, 2008

"Elephant" Flies

Sara Gruen's "Water For Elephants" spurred a bidding war, with Fox 2000 taking home rights. Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) is said to have signed on to direct. I'm a little stumped on who they should cast, but we'll keep you posted.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Proust Questionnaire as Answered by Jane Austen

How might Jane answer the Proust Questionnaire?

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.

What is your greatest fear?
The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love.

What historical figure do you most identify with?
We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.

Which living person do you most admire?
My sister Cassandra.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle.

What is the trait you most despise in others?
Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief.

What is your greatest extravagance?
For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn?

On what occasion do you lie?
Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
To look almost pretty is an acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain for the first fifteen years of her life than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive.

Which living person do you most despise?
The Prince Regent

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"Love" and "money"

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What wild imaginations one forms where dear self is concerned! How sure to be mistaken!

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Nobody who has not been in the interior of a family can say what the difficulties of any individual of that family may be. It is better that way.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My darling child, Pride and Prejudice.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
A single man in possession of a good fortune.

Who are your favorite writers?
Samuel Richardson, Cowper, Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
The girls... still prefer Don Juan; and I must say that I have seen nobody on the stage who has been a more interesting character than that compound of cruelty and lust.

What is your most treasured possession?
If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.

Where would you like to live?
Anywhere but Bath.

What is your most marked characteristic?
My height.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
General benevolence, but not general friendship, made a man what he ought to be.

What is your greatest regret?
There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.

If there is a Heaven what would you like to hear God say when you arrive?
I would not presume to put words in God's mouth, but perhaps "You have delighted them long enough."

(Inspired by Lux Lotus)

September 5, 2008

Darwin Biopic Planned

Real-life married couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly will play Mr. and Mrs. Charles Darwin in "Creation," a movie about the evolutionary revolutionary and his uber-religious missus. Jeremy Northam, Toby Jones and Benedict Cumberbatch also factor in.

September 4, 2008

Director Talks "Duchess"

Video: Saul Dibb, director of Keira Knightley in The Duchess, discusses with the Guardian his hopes and fears for the movie. The intro clip from the movie looks extremely promising!

There are more video clips of the actors from the premiere discussing their experiences on the set and the celebrity culture of the 18th century.

del Toro Goes Canon Crazy

According to Variety, Guillermo del Toro is apparently going to keep this blog in business for the forseeable future, what with the slew of literary adaptations he's hankering to make, including Tolkien's The Hobbit,Dan Simmons' Drood (supposing what might have prompted Charles Dickens to write The Mystery of Edwin Drood), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, among others.

September 3, 2008

The Return of Movie Night!

Several years of living in separate cities brought a sad demise to the weekly "movie night" that Kim and I used to delight in, complete with ever-changing varietals of red wine and dark chocolate (usually feasted on in lieu of actual dinner because Kim had no cooking implements whatsoever in her apartment). As a result, the "film review" aspect of our blog has suffered considerably in recent years, what with our involvement with men who, though supportive, would rather not be the only dude sitting in a theater for the latest Joe Wright/Andrew Davies costume-drama-palooza.

But like Jane Eyre's eventual return to Thornfield Hall, Kim has moved back to the City of Angels, thus sparking the joyous recommencement of the official Romancing The Tome movie night.

Expect a slew of new posts on adaptations, some old-standbys and others more obscure. As we ready the Netflix queue for our endeavors, we've got a list that stretches for miles of films we can't wait to watch or re-watch. Got any suggestions for movies we MUST add to the list? By all means, drop us a line!

Coming soon: Jeeves and Wooster Season 1, starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. I'm told it's fairly epic.

September 2, 2008

Regretting the War of Independence

Had the American colonies not revolted from the Motherland, would we Yanks get to watch BBC1's new production of Tess of the D'Urbervilles this month along with everybody else? I hate having to wait!!!

This is probably my favorite Thomas Hardy novel, and based on the preview, it looks like it won't disappoint. Hans Matheson looks fetching indeed, even if he is the baddie. If anyone can figure out when PBS will see fit to air it here, please let us know!

Here's an article from the Guardian about a 17-year-old arsonist destroying the film's priceless period costumes. He should be flogged soundly.

September 1, 2008

Austen Gets the Frankenstein Treatment?

From the Telegraph:

The questing pioneers at ITV's programming laboratory have noted that both Pride and Prejudice and Life on Mars are popular with the public, and decided to fuse the two, to form one bold, innovative, and utterly preposterous new whole.

The premise of Lost in Austen is that a young woman from present-day London suddenly finds herself travelling back in time to the early 19th century, where she becomes a character in Pride and Prejudice. (Read the rest of the article.)