Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Film version of "Betsy and the Emperor"

These posts are going to be dedicated to all the potential or announced movies that either are in Pre-Production, or hasn't gotten a release date just yet.

I read this charming book last year, and I'm pretty excited that they're planning to shoot this later this year! Betsy and the Emperor is a great, fun little read about the relationship between Betsy Balcombe and Napoleon Bonaparte, now exiled to Saint Helena. Emma Watson and Al Pacino have been cast as Betsy and Napoleon respectively.

Emma Watson has signed on to star in the period drama Napoleon and Betsy from writer/director Benjamin Ross. Watson, who will always be recognized by millions of Muggles worldwide for her starring role as 'Hermione' in the Harry Potter movies, will play the role of Betsy Balcombe, a young British woman who falls for Napoleon when he's exiled to the island of St Helena.
Scarlett Johansson had been attached to star in the film a few years back, and will remain involved in Napoleon and Betsy as a producer. Filming is expected to take place in Bulgaria later this year.
Watson is currently filming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and will begin work on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last of the Harry Potter books, next year. Warner Bros Pictures opted to split J K Rowling's final book into two feature films to finish up the series.

Now, as far as the cast goes, Emma Watson's a great choice. She seems to have gotten better with each HP movie coming along, and she's a much better choice if you compare her to say Scarlett Johansson who's WAY to old for the part. Emma could pull out a tough teenager and this is clearly a strecth for her after Hermione. : )

Now as for Al Pacino. Have you even SEEN what Napoleon looks like? Compare this:
To this:

Now I'm not a firm believer that the actor has to look EXACTLY like the part, and I see SOME similarities but this is just looks way too different. He can have the acting chops but acting is not all there is in a movie adaptation as we all know. However, Al is a good actor, and he did say that he wanted to play Napoleon for a while, so I'm not griping too much. Plus thanks to some movie magic, he can look a bit more closer to him.
 Definately waiting for this movie to come out! Keep checking for an review of the novel soon!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A short review: Lord of the Flies in 1990

Lord of the Flies
Director: Harry Hook
Cast: Balthazar Getty (Ralph), Chris Furrh (Jack), Danuel Pipoly (Piggy), James Badge Dale (Simon), Andrew and Edward Taft (Sam and Eric), Gary Rule (Roger)
Screenplay: Sara Schiff
Length: 1 hr. 30 min
Verdict: SKIP
Rated: R (Obviously not for children either)
Rating Scale: 30%  (Faithfulness is really missing)

This one is the Americanized/ modernized version of the infamous LOF. Now, seriously, what's the point in doing that? Sir William Golding, who wrote the book, had a point when he made these school children British, NOT American millitary school kids. That took out the whole pleasure of watching this trash. Maybe if it was better made I would have given it an OK, but it's not.
One improvement made on the '63 version (which I liked a lot better even though I had given it a mild RENT) was that Jack was so much scary than that other guy was. The Furrh guy knows scary. Mr. Getty, the Taft guys and Dale are "good" as their roles, and Simon actually looks like a 14 or 13 year old, so that's nice.  The only problem with the acting of the character (more of a screenplay choice than anything) WHY DO YOU GUYS CUSS? There is incessant cussing, 20 or more times they say Sh**, and four times they use the F*** word. I mean, even the little guys cuss! That's not really professional to me, I was giggling every time Jack or someone cusses. Not Hook's point, so not a great choice there either.
Since the beginning, you can really tell that this movie is going to be different from the book which is a real no-no. That might not be so much of a big deal: if they hadn't brought up the almost dead captain of the plane out of the water and make the kids go on wild goose-chases to find him or what not, that was just so ridiculous and unnecessary. Speaking of unnsecesary, there were a lot of thing in this book that was unnecesary, and more important plot points from the book that are so important. We don't need endless conversation between boys saying "I wonder what's on TV right now!" Excuse me, what? Why is that so important?
The savages weren't as scary as they were in the '63 version, they just looked like a bunch of brats face painting themselves and killing people. Plus, with all that hillarious cussing, it took a lot of the scary out of savages.
Overall, a trashy remake, which is incredibly long and stupid. It just goes to show you how sometimes, adaptations that take that many liberties from the book don't always work. So, SKIP IT. You're not missing the gold here.

This version is available on DVD

Steve: Sir, are you the leader?
Peter: Jack is the oldest, but Ralph is the colonel.
[group voices votes for Ralph]
Jack Merridew: I guess you just won the election.
Ralph: It doesn't matter who's in charge. We've just got to work together. First, we build a camp.

Tony: What are we gonna do with thieves when we catch them?
Ralph: We can't have kids stealing and just running wild. We're going to have to have stricter rules and hand out demerits... I guess.

A "Girl with a Pearl Earring," which is less mysterious than the painting

Girl With a Pearl Earring
By: Tracy Chevalier
Setting: Amsterdam (Delft to be more precise)  in 1664-1666
Format: 233 pgs.
Verdict: SKIP IT
Rated: PG-13 (Not anything HORRIBLE, but there are some references to sex and rape. Maids are calling each other names but not anything too riske)

You know that feeling when you read a book that's incredibly popular, but it's so boring you don't get what all the hype's about? Unfortunately, that's what we have here with this book right here. 
Yes, the book which won awards that I can't even count on my own two hands, the book that inspired a movie AND a play! And yet, why? What went wrong? Maybe because it's a story about a poor helpless little maid named Greit who comes to work for the Vermeer's because their father is blind, and they need money. Vermeer is entranced by her beauty and by her understanding of art, and they both develop a relationship. And it goes in so deep that she makes paint for the paintings he paints and she even poses for him when his model is not here. When the evil patron who seduces young maids want to pose for a painting with him, the master yells "Enough!" and together they make this glorious masterpiece, his most famous one to date, to the horror of his wife, he hasn't painted her because she's a shrew of a thing. Rings a bell? Now this could be an interesting story. It could be captivating and inspiring right? What the hell went wrong with this book? Well, partly because it's dull. Dull, dull, dull stuff. 
Let me start with the characters. Catharina is the shrewish wife who needs to be dunked in the river, Pieter, Griet's love interest is the butcher's son who wants to marry her and whom she dosen't love. Vermeer has no personality, he just stares at Griet the whole time. His patron is a nasty, mean villain with no intimidating powers whatsoever, and who likes to "do" maids so that they become prostitutes. Every single one of the characters are stereotypes of other characters. That is, except for Griet, which is not saying much. She's just too shy, too polite, too panicked about certain things. (e.x: *GASP* I don't want him to see my hair because it's ugly and I look like a whore! Uh oh, is *fill in the blank* making me take off my cap?? *panic attack*) She does have flaws and redeeming qualities though, which is nice since every other character is one sided. 
The plot totally did not drag me in from the first page. A book like this should have taken me no time to read, that is a book with an interesting development of plot. There is none here, the plot takes so long to develop it's almost tedious. Half of the book is completely unnecessary. If you're wondering, the book is not developed at all. Now, I don't mind slow paced books. In fact, The Virgin Suicides was a hit for me. Granted apples and oranges don't even begin to describe these two, but at least Suicides was more interesting and thought provoking, and the plot actually went somewhere.  There was only one part of the book which I LOVED, and yet it's not enough.
I did not buy the writing either. Some of it was incredibly well written other timed it didn't impress me. It's really tedious when Griet constantly refers to her master as 'He.' Well, Vermeer isn't God. It's OK for you to say 'My Master'. *shakes head* So sad, I was actually looking forward to the writing in this everyone says it's SOOO GOOD!! Actually, the strongest point in this book was the vivid imagrey of Delft during that time, which Chevalier does such an excellent job in recreating. But the flaws are so huge, it's far from the saving grace of the novel.
There's a lot to admire here, and it's not entirely horrible, but SKIP IT. There's just not enough to win me over.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Up in the Air movie

Up In The Air
Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: George Clooney (Ryan Bingham), Vera Farmiga (Alex Goran), Anna Kendrick (Natalie Keener), Jason Batemen (Craig Gregory), Melanie Lynskey (Julie Bingham), Amy Morton (Kara Bingham), J.K Simmons (Bob), Sam Elliott (Maynard Finch)
Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
Length: 1 hr. 45 min
Verdict: SEE
Rated: R (This is another case of movies being mis-rated. This one deserves PG-13. Still has a mention of sex and cuss words being thrown left and right.)
Faithful Scale: 2% (Faithfulness really went out the window)

This is a rare time when I get to see movies before I read the book. Usually, I hate doing that, I have the characters looks messed up in my head. But my family loves Jason Reitman (he did Juno, which I LOVED!), we couldn't help ourselves. So, here we go:
I went in this movie with an open mind. The good: It's Jason Reitman! He makes fantastic movies!  Plus, it got amazing, glowing reviews (well, for the most part at least), and it's based on a book, which is an automatic given. The bad: My friend went to see this and had said that it wasn't that good, and a few of my fellow bloggers gave it mixed reviews. So I came in with an open mind about this one. And I was not disappointed to say the least. 
The premise: A man who's job is to go around the US firing people for a living, Ryan Bingham (Clooney) leads a very secluded and isolated life. That all changes when a young woman named Natalie Keener, (Anna Kendrick, a.k.a Jessica from the Twilight movies) proposes a plan in which employees stay grounded, to Ryan's outrage. His boss then proposes him to take her around the US to show her how it's better to travel, than to stay grounded. Along the way, he falls in love with another frequent traveler (Vera Farmiga), grows closer to Natalie, comes to terms with his family, and gets his heart broken.
One of the things why I love this movie, is because the plot is unpredictable. You think it's going to go one way, but it totally goes another. Yes, the plot can be uneven at times but when you have three amazing leads, what's not to love? And Anna Kendrick is a doll in this movie I love her! There are two ways to represent her character: stereotypically and annoying or sweet and funny, and she chooses to go sweet and funny, which made me relate to her a lot more than I thought I would. George Clooney is amazing as always, nobody could be better for this role than he is. I found his relationship with Farmiga's character believable. Speaking of her character, she plays the role as if she's seductive and sexy but she's far from annoying. Up In The Air is relatable, not only because it's about the economic crisis in America, but when I watched this movie, I felt a connection to these characters. I could connect with them and that's one of the best things a character can ever do to you.
Now let's admit, it wasn't all glorious and amazing. To me, this movie seemed and felt a little too long and it tried my patience sometimes. This movie could work well as either a road trip or a love story, but not both. Plus I felt that some plot points didn't tie in together quite nicely. However if you're looking for something out of the ordinary, you should definitely SEE IT. It's an amazing movie.

Up In the Air is now on DVD or Blu-Ray

Memorable quotes:

Alex Goran: What a weasly prick.
Natalie Keener: Yeah, but what does that make me? Someone who falls for a prick.
Alex Goran: We all fall for the prick. Pricks are spontaneous, they're unpredictable and they're fun. And then we're surprised when they turn out to be pricks. 

Flight Attendant: Would you like the cancer?
Ryan Bingham: What?
Flight Attendant: Would you like the can, sir? 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Time for some Awards!

A big Thank you to Katy at A Few More Pages for the Stylish Blogger Award! It's so nice to see my young baby blog get recognized! *dances a jig*

So apparently, when someone gets an award from someone else that someone gets to spread the love and give awards five other fellow bloggers right? 

So this award goes to:

-Amelia @: Imagination in Focus
-Muse in the Frog @: Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Frog
-Sarah @: Book Reviews from Inside an Igloo
-Rhiana @: Rhiana Reads
And finally: Melissa @: i swim for oceans

Congrats everyone!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lord of the Flies in 1963

Lord of the Flies  
Director : Peter Brook 
Cast: James Aubrey (Ralph), Tom Chapin (Jack), Hugh Edwards (Piggy), Tom Gaman (Simon), Roger Elwin (Roger), Nicholas Hammond (Robert)
Screenplay: Peter Brook
Distributor: The Criterion Collection
Length: 1 hr. 30 min
Verdict: RENT
Rated: PG-13 (Obviously not advised for children. You know what that means)
Faithful Scale: 95%

I'm giving this one a mild RENT. I'm still a bit conflicted about this version, because there are some pretty bad things, and some pretty good things in there. Problem is I still can't figure out if they over powered each other.  On one hand there are some beautiful moments. On the other, like the book, I still didn't know what was going on at times. One one hand, the savagrey in this adaptation is freaky and scary and well handled. On the other, some kids looked too young to be their characters (especially Ralph and Simon). And the guy who plays Jack, he isn't Jack. Jack is supposed to be scary and freaky and imposing. This Tom Chapin guy looks too... I don't know... soft I guess. I didn't feel scared when he was on screen. The rest did a good job, but what the hell is up with Simon? He looks like he could be eight! Plus I was so confused about who was who, besides Ralph, Piggy (Hugh Edwards is the best thing here) and Samneric of course. 
There were some times when I was watching this and being confused, how the movie jumps from one scene to another is disorganized. The camera work is also messy here, I guess he's trying to make a point or something but it didn't really work for me.The whole time I thought that the guy didn't know how to shoot certain scenes, all that running around with camera going everywhere not focusing on one thing in particular. I understand when somebody gets killed, you don't want to scar the kids for life but there's a point when that's appropriate and other points where it's just plain annoying.
However, it's not totally awful. There are some beautiful and haunting scenes in here and I loved the times where Jack's tribe gets together with the face paint. That's done so beautifully and it shows a definate change within these kids with their chanting and wild faces looking they're ready to kill you, *shudders* Those parts are amazing. The opening montage too is fantastic and brilliant, I don't know why, but it is. I guess this is a take it or leave it type of movie, it IS a classic after all and it's well made. It just dosen't hold up together that well.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love movie adaptation coming soon!

Eat, Pray, Love
August 13th, 2010
Book by: Elizabeth Gilbert

Yes, I am aware that this movie isn't coming SOON. But I know a lot of people like this book and some people are interested in this, so I don't know. Should I or should I not?

From Wikipeidia (or what I could find):
After trying and failing to become pregnant, a woman realizes she is not getting what she wants out of life, and, after a painful divorce, sets on a journey across the world.

I don't find Julia Roberts WONDERFUL butI've been wondering about the book for a while. A To See? Possibly. What do you think?