LIFE OF PI
Movies based on books are always fraught.
They come loaded with so many expectations about whether they will match the tone and feel of the book – which is unfair since books and movies are two wholly different storytelling mediums and hence a movie must by definition differ from the book on which it is based – that many people have made their mind up about whether the filmed version is worth seeing before it has even reached the cinema.
I would argue that that kind of rush to judgement shouldn’t be entertained in the case of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. Yes there is good reason to be cautious since it is a lushly metaphorical book where much of the narrative is driven by the protagonist’s interior monologues but handled properly it could be one of those achingly beautiful movies that draw you in so completely you forget you are watching a movie.
Given that Ang Lee is in charge of proceedings, who is the same man who delivered the beautifully nuanced movies Brokeback Mountain and Hidden Tiger, Crouching Dragon, and he is using a screenplay by David Magee (Finding Neverland, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day), I have great hope that the cinematic version of this gorgeous book, due in cinemas in November this year and realised in the vivid hues of 3D, will be every bit the equal of the book.
I, for one, cannot wait to be entranced by this magical tale of survival, on the big screen.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Let’s face it – being in high school sucks for most people.
While some people will wistfully reminisce about the glorious days they spent in the bosom of the secondary school system, most of us are happy to leave those days behind us, and move on to a world that hopefully rewards us for who we are, and not who an opinionated elite thinks we should be (and should we fail to meet their arbitrary standards will punish us for it).
That’s why I think this movie, starring the actress who brought Harry Potter’s Hermione (Emma Watson) so vividly to life, is going to strike a profound chord with many people. Based on the epistolary novel of the same name (a book whose events are told via letters or documents, or these days texts and emails) – yes another movie daring to interpret a much loved book – by Stephen Chbosky, who also wrote the screenplay, it tells the story of Charlie (Logan Lerman) who relays events in his life via letters to an anonymous person he has never met.
In these letters he pours out his sense of disenfranchisement and isolation as he struggles to find someone, anyone to be his friend following the suicide death of his only real friend Michael. He belatedly finds them in the form of Sam (Emma Watson) and her step-brother Patrick (Ezra Miller), both of whom feels as outcast as Charlie.
This is the end of all his pain and angst of course but it does trigger a significant time of growth for him, and the movie looks it has deftly captured the themes of the book, which is pleasing since not all authors succeed in translating their books to the big screen.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower should be well worth the price of admission.
This must rank as one of the most stirring movie trailers of all time.
By the end of it, not only did I have tears in my eyes, and goosebumps aplenty, but I knew I had no choice but to see this movie.
It’s hardly surprising that it has that reaction since Les Miserables (or The Glums as some have mischievously tagged it) is a powerful musical, based on an 1862 novel by Victor Hugo that tells the story of gross injustice, pain and suffering and ultimately some form of redemption, however imperfect it might be.
It’s been a long time coming to film, but thanks to Working Title films (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shaun of the Dead) and director Tom Hooper (John Adams, The King’s Speech), the story of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his search for a new place in society, and the intersection of his story with the upper and lower echelons of nineteenth century France is finally coming to the big screen in December 2012.
Starring the immensely talented Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as his nemesis Inspect Javert, and with Anne Hathaway as Fantine, whose soaring rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” gives the trailer such an emotional punch, and Amanda Seyfried as her daughter Cosette, this is one movie that is bound to leave you stirred down to the deepest reaches of your soul and reaching for your hankies.
I will be lining up for this one.
We’ve all been there.
Journeying through life, trying to make our mark and feeling like we’re failing miserably.
That’s how Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano), a one time successful novelist with severe writer’s block feels, in this romantic comedy from directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, as he sits with his psychiatrist fruitlessly trying to find a way to get his life back on track.
His psychiatrist, played by Elliott Gould, suggests he imagine someone who might like Calvin’s dog Scotty, who Calvin merely finds annoying, which leads to a vivid dream featuring a woman he names Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan) who becomes the central character in his new novel …
… and then mysteriously his life when he magically springs to life for all to see, and I mean, all. It’s not just Calvin who can see her but all his friends, family and even his fans.
She is a real flesh and blood person and transforms Calvin’s life.
Of course being a rom com it is full of emotional ups and downs but it has all the charm you’d expect of an indie film and a depth that is rare in the genre.
This could be the movie that restores my somewhat dented faith in romantic comedies.
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Another romantic comedy but again this one is grounded in enough of real life – well as much as romantic comedies are allowed to get down and dirty on their inevitable path to true love – as Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), both recovering struggling to emerge from dark periods in their life, meet and began a tentative romance.
It’s complicated by the fact that neither Pat is increasingly delusional about the state of his marriage to Nikki (Julia Stiles) after being released from the mental clinic he was consigned to after almost beating his wife’s lover to death, nor Tiffany, afraid of engaging with anyone following the death of his husband, are really in any place to start a relationship.
But that looks like the joy of this movie. Life keeps happening whether you’re ready or not, it does come along in neatly constructed packages, nor when it suits us perfectly and thank god there is a romantic comedy that finally acknowledges this and doesn’t overly sugarcoat this.
Of course there will have to be some sweetness – there has to be; look at the genre Silver Linings Playbook inhabits – but it promises to be a movie firmly rooted in the authentic reality of everyday life and not afraid to deal with some unpalatable darkness on its way to a big heartwarming helping of light.
Pass me the popcorn please while I fall in love all over again …
So which movies can’t you wait to see? Will any have you camping outside the cinema?