September 30, 2010

Crimson Petal and the White Cast Includes Romola Garai and Gillian Anderson

BBC put out a teaser for their fall/winter season which provides glimpses of a Crimson Petal and the White adaptation starring Romola Garai, Gillian Anderson, and Richard E. Grant. The season will also include adaptations by Sam Mendes of Richard II, Henry IV part I and II, and Henry V and Top Of The Lake, a drama written and directed by Jane Campion.

Anglotopia has all the juicy details on the fall/winter season and casting for Crimson Petal and the White.

August 20, 2010

Directors, You Can Thank Me Later

Two recent reads that would make great films:

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
I fell for this book like a bodice-ripper heroine falls for a haughty cavalier. I can envision several different scenarios for a book-to-film adaptation, one of them being an Ang Lee Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-style martial arts romance. Swoon.

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
The collective conscious seems pretty obsessed with work right now, whether it's the lack of it, the search for meaning in it, or the just plain sick of it. (Witness the frenzy over the Jet Blue flight attendant's dramatic exit and the "girl quits job on eraser board" fraud.) Much has happened in the eleven years since Office Space. It's time for another look at cubicle life and Ferris's heartbreaking and hilarious novel could serve as inspiration for an up-and-coming indie director.

July 28, 2010

BBC's New Show SHERLOCK, Episode 1

Sherlock and John

UPDATE: I loved the third episode. It was fantastic. Can't wait for more Sherlock.

Last night I watched the "A Study in Pink," the first episode of the new BBC/PBS show Sherlock from Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. The contemporary spin on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective stories stars Benedict Cumberpatch Cumberbatch (love the name) as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman (The Office, UK and Shawn of the Dead) as Dr. Watson. Apparently Matt Smith (Dr. Who) auditioned for the role of Watson, while Cumberpatch tried out for Dr. Who. We're lucky that didn't work out...

Nicotine patches and gratuitous texting are just some of the elements that transport the brilliant consulting detective into 21st century London. The casting and updated characters are compelling, but I didn't feel like the plot was fleshed out enough and a few elements were a bit gimmicky. I won't spoil anything, since it doesn't premiere in the U.S. until October and I'm reserving my full judgment until I see at least two more episodes. For now, my favorite contemporary Sherlock Holmes is still Bill Pullman in The Zero Effect. --Kim

July 24, 2010

Sumptuous TV Epics Are Back!

So says Friday's Wall Street Journal. From Camelot and cathedral building (with Matthew Macfadyen, no less!) to The Borgias and Scorsese's Boardwalk Empire, cable TV (namely Starz, Showtime and HBO) is stepping up its game with big budget, feature-film-worthy costume dramas. 

The trailer for HBO's Boardwalk Empire has me foaming at the mouth. One reason to look forward to Fall!

July 19, 2010

Beat the Reaper to the Movies

On Friday I read Josh Bazell's balls to the wall crime novel Beat the Reaper. It intertwines emergency room drama with mafia vengeance. It's also hilarious, gross, and about to be made into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

July 16, 2010

Upstairs, Downstairs Redux

Kim and I committed ourselves to watching the entire Upstairs, Downstairs series last year, and while we thought it was charming, we never got more than three episodes in.

Luckily, we'll get the Cliffs Notes next year on Masterpiece Classics when a new PBS/BBC co-production offers us another telling in three installments.

From a PBS press release earlier this year: "An enormous success worldwide, the original Upstairs Downstairs won seven Emmys during its run on MASTERPIECE THEATRE in the mid-1970s–including Best Actress for Jean Marsh, who will reprise her role in the new three-part series as Rose, the parlor maid. Dame Eileen Atkins, the co-creator of the original program, will also star. Screenwriter Heidi Thomas (Cranford) is setting the new Upstairs Downstairs in the same house at 165 Eaton Place in 1936, during the period leading up to World War II."

If you enjoyed the original series, you might enjoy seeing some of the cast reunite at this BAFTA awards tribute:

Duds on Display

LACMA's "Fashioning Fashion" costume exhibition opens October 2, featuring approximately 250 examples of fashionable dress and more than 300 accessories for men, women, and children dating from 1700 to 1915. I'm so excited about this someone may need to fetch the smelling salts.

Read this L.A. Times article for more info on the acquisition.

Hotel du Lac

Anita Brookner's novel Hotel Du Lac won the Booker prize in 1984, but to this 21st c. American it could easily have been published and/or set in the Edwardian era--the constricting manners and mores lend it an E.M. Forster feel. It's a dreamy tale about a romance novelist who is banished by her "friends" to a sleepy Swiss hotel where she observes various types of women and how they relate to men, while her own story is slowly revealed. The book was adapted as a televised play by the BBC in 1986.

Balls Out

Recently got to see the newly restored 1963 Italian film, Il Gatopardo, on the big screen. It stars Burt Lancaster, who is surprisingly terrific as movie's aging Sicilian patriarch, despite the fact that all of his lines are dubbed. I was sort of crushin' on him in this movie. Lucilla Morlacchi, as the young romantic love interest, is sheer fabulosity in a coy, over-acted way. Her heaving breasts were an entity unto themselves and ought to have earned an Oscar each.

The movie is epic in terms of scenery and cinematography, but the costumes are moltissimo bella, as they say.  The 45-minute ballroom scene might just be one of the best period-costume smorgasbords I've ever witnessed. It's worth Netflixing for the dance scene alone. Catch a glimpse here.

July 15, 2010

The Homes of Literary Icons

Graphic Designers Emma Straub and Michael Fusco have created a series of posters featuring the homes of Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Eward Gorey, and Flannery O'Connor. I just ordered the Poe poster.

Never Let Me Go and Howl Trailers

Good morning, James Franco! The AV Club accidentally premiered the Howl trailer early. It stars James Franco and you can watch it here. The adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go features Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley. After watching the trailer, I have a feeling it's going to be a three hankie film. --Kim

May 10, 2010

Fencing is a science. Loving is a passion. Duelling is an obsession.

"What is honor?" asks Ridley Scott's The Duellists (1977), starring Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine. Adapted from Joseph Conrad, the film is set throughout Napoleonic-era Europe and it's rather frustratingly beautiful. David Thompson of The Guardian calls it "an extended TV commercial for dark chocolate, fine brandies, and the delights of the Dordogne," but it is also an exercise in patience that, in my opinion, pays off. I'm interested in reading Conrad's story and hope to post a comparison here at a later date.

In the meantime, here's the trailer:

January 26, 2010

Whereabouts: James McAvoy

Romancing the Tome favorite (see also; Whereabouts: James McAvoy 2006) and soon-to-be first time father James McAvoy (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Atonement; Becoming Jane) will star in The Conspirator, a 2010 film about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln with Alexis Bledel and Justin Long (hmm....) as well as Wanted 2 and I'm With Cancer, which are both in pre-production. --Kim

January 4, 2010

Upcoming Masterpiece Classic Schedule

Here's the schedule for PBS's Masterpiece Classic, which begins January 10:

January 10-17, 2010, 9pm
Return to Cranford

January 24-February 7, 2010, 9pm
Emma (with Romala Garai and Jonny Lee Miller)

February 14, 2010, 9pm
Northanger Abbey (Encore Presentation)

February 21, 2010, 9pm
Persuasion (Encore Presentation)

For more details, visit the Masterpiece Classic website.

The Little Indie On My Must See List

Tennessee Williams' The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond stars Ellen Burstyn, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Ann-Margret. Bryce Dallas Howard portrays Fisher Willow, who returns from abroad to 1920s Memphis. Doug Johnson of Alt Film Guide writes:

In Fisher, traces are abundant of female characters ranging from Maggie the Cat to Baby Doll to Alexandra Del Lago, charged characters that brought Academy Award nominations to Elizabeth Taylor, Carroll Baker, and Geraldine Page, the actresses who originated them on screen.

You had me at Maggie the Cat....