July 27, 2012

Olympic Games Get "The Tempest" Treatment!

Can't wait to watch the opening ceremonies for the Olympics tonight (I'm behind the curve, I know, but that's what happens when you live on the West Coast). The theme for the kick-off was Shakespeare's "The Tempest," which already makes the London Olympics the coolest on record. You rock, Danny Boyle.

The "Janes" Get Eroticized? No. Just No.

The Wall Street Journal made me want to cry this morning. Read it and weep.

July 26, 2012

Cloud Atlas Trailer Leaked

At last...

Will David Mitchell's incredible centuries-spanning novel work as a film? Who knows, but the leaked six minute trailer is captivating. Carolyn Kellogg has the scoop while io9 has the trailer. --Kim

July 17, 2012

Recommended: A Summer Take on The Winter's Tale

Amy and I attended Independent Shakespeare Co.'s crowd-pleasing performance of The Winter's Tale in Griffith Park last weekend. On the surface, the play is about a jealous king, Leontes of Sicilia, and his unfairly punished queen, Hermione, but it really seems to be about re-legitimizing Queen Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn, who was infamously executed for adultery by her husband, Henry VIII. I'm a big fan of actor (and managing director) David Melville who stars as Leontes in this production and portrayed Hamlet in the Co.'s intimate indoor production earlier this year. We're also looking forward to catching A Comedy of Errors later this summer. Be sure to check the ISC calendar for more Shakespeare in Griffith Park--all summer long!  --Kim

Photo credit: Lady Jane

July 13, 2012

If "Tess" Ate Vindaloo...

....it would be Trishna, Michael Winterbottom's Indian take on Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, opening in theaters today. Freida Pinto is a humble country girl, the daughter of an auto rickshaw owner, who finds herself tangled up in tragedy after encountering the spoiled son of a wealthy hotelier. 

Thomas Hardy has a way of killing me softly, as Roberta Flack might say, and this novel is my favorite of his, aching and acute, to the point where I want to scream and fling the book across the room when I reach the conclusion. Incidentally, it's not Winterbottom's first take on Hardy's work. He directed the gut-wrenching Jude (Jude the Obscure) and The Claim (i.e. The Mayor of Casterbridge set in the American Gold Rush).

P.S. Winterbottom also gave us the offbeat Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, which was an interesting film-within-a-film attempt at showing why Laurence Sterne's novel is so tough to adapt for film.

July 11, 2012

Farewell, My Queen: The New Marie-Antoinette Movie

I just watched the jaw-droppingly gorgeous trailer for the new French flick, Farewell, My Queen, starring Diane Kruger and Virginie Ledoyen and based on the novel by Chantal Thomas. In honor of the tragic queen, I plan on sneaking champagne and a decadent piece of cake from my local French patisserie into the theater. A pleasure to be savored, indeed. The film opens on Friday. --Kim

July 9, 2012

The Count of Monte Cristo's Myers-Briggs Personality Type

Was there ever a better use of the internet than analyzing the Myers-Briggs Personality Types of your favorite literary characters? I think not. Is Anne Shirley (of Green Gables) an extrovert of an introvert? What are some of Philip Marlowe's attributes? What types are Dr. Watson and Harry Potter? If you're ready to head down this particular rabbit hole, go to Huffington Post.

As an INFP, I'm in good company with Shakespeare, Kant, and Beethoven as well as some of my favorite fictional characters: Wesley Crusher (of Star Trek: Next Generation), Anne of Green Gables, and E.T. (no wonder I sometimes feel like I'm from another planet). --Kim

July 6, 2012

It's All In the Execution: Bring Up the Bodies

"If it be sin to be an evil counselor to one man, what abomination, what devilish and horrible sin is it to be a flatterer or an evil counselor to a prince?" wrote Thomas Cromwell, chief minister of King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540, in a letter to Stephen Vaughan. I recently read Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to Wolf Hall, Mantel's excellent fictional take on the life of Thomas Cromwell. While I very much enjoyed Bring Up the Bodies, I wasn't quite as captivated by Cromwell as I'd been during reading the first book. (Here's my quick review of Wolf Hall from 2009.) But the good news is, while we were on hiatus here at Romancing the Tome, HBO and BBC announced plans to collaborate on a miniseries of Wolf Hall. Meanwhile, Mantel will complete her Cromwell trilogy with The Mirror and the Light. --Kim

Fun Fact: If you've been to one of my favorite museums, The Frick in NYC, you can see the Hans Holbein the Younger portrait of Cromwell (above) facing his arch-enemy Sir Thomas More, also by Holbein. More, Cromwell, and Anne Boleyn were all patrons of Hans Holbein. Hmmm...

July 5, 2012

Something Doesn't Jibe: Question from a Reader about Sailing in Horatio Hornblower

Romancing the Tome reader Mike writes in: "Anyone know who did the actual sailing in the filming of this series? I'm curious why sails were often slack and flapping, when they could have as easily been trimmed."

If anyone knows the answer, please leave it in the comments. Thanks in advance for your help! --Kim

P.S. Also, A&E, if you're reading this: Check out our petition and Bring back Horatio Hornblower!

July 3, 2012

It's Criminal: Vera and The Killing

I'm loving Vera, an ITV adaptation of a series of crime novels by Ann Cleeves. Set in Northumberland and environs and starring Brenda Blethyn as the title character, it's dark, both visually and content-wise. The windswept landscape plays a crucial role on the show and it's rugged and lonely--just like Vera--and dotted with the ruins of ancient castles. Though her young and handsome colleague, played by David Leon, regularly attempts to break through Vera's crusty exterior, he fails more than he succeeds. Season 1 (2011) is available streaming on Netflix. --Kim

P.S. The Killing
It's not a book adaptation, as far as I know, but I watched the first two episodes of the AMC series The Killing and I'm sold. Ignore the cheesy poster art on Netflix--Turns out the show is based on a Danish TV thriller and reminds me of a less quirky Twin Peaks.