Tag Archives: adaptation

Movie Review: ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ Proves Faithful

1 Sep


cinemagrade b Robert Schwentke’s adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s sci-fi drama The Time Traveler’s Wife both improves and dillutes its source material in almost equal measure. The result is a good movie–probably working better for starry-eyed romantics than logic-based sci-fi fans–that eludes greatness by playing it just a little too safe. However, navigating Niffenegger’s tangled and thought-provoking melodrama couldn’t have been easy and I’m grateful that the German director drew from it this sweet, sensitive and occassionally beautiful little movie. Continue reading

Movie Review: ‘The Half Blood Prince’ is a worthy succesor

23 Jul


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (PG) 153 min.


cinemagrade A-Okay, I’ve been sitting on this one awhile. Being incredibly busy and having a ton of films to write-up, I haven’t gotten much chance to post lately and wanted to be able to hit several at once. So, consider this the first of a flood of new reviews rolling out over the course of today and tomorrow. And there is no better place to start than with David Yates’ newest inclusion in the Harry Potter series.

I saw HP6 last Thursday and it took me a few days to parse exactly how I felt about it. Admittedly, it took me a little while to warm up to this new Harry. I have enjoyed all of the Potter movies, including the two that jump-started the series, and I’ve read all of the books. In particular, I remember devouring Half-Blood Prince shortly after returning from my honeymoon; sitting curled up next to my wife in our small but cozy apartment, caught up in this tale of the ‘Boy Who Lived’ and his growing battle with ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’. Continue reading

‘Alice’ Looks Curioser and Curioser! A trailer for Wonderland finally arrives!

23 Jul


July 23rd–

Fantasy seems to be in the midst of it’s second wind here in America, finally recovering from the glut of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter imposters; not completely though, afterall what WAS that new Chris Columbus trailer in front of Potter 6?  Part of this new re-birth includes a return to stories and ideas that while fantastical, are a little more difficult to translate to screen. Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are looks to be one of the best movies of the year, but I don’t see any kind of epic structure there. Alice is like that too. The trailer is full of recognizable imagery, especially if you are a fan of the books and not just the Disney film, but the actualy story is rather loose when it comes to narrative. Will Burton work around that by focusing on the characters and the creatures of the world, and letting Alice play tour guide? It looks that way so far. Hey, Im just glad that  we  have a Cheshire Cat that isn’t just Whoopi Goldberg’s face in Zoobilee Zoo make-up. Continue reading

A trailer for The Road arrives!

15 May


A few days ago Esquire ran an a review by critic Tom Chiarella for John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s post apocalyptic drama, The Road. The word then was good, and now the first trailer for the film, starring Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron,  is now up over at Yahoo! Movies.

What do I think about it? Well, outside of the obvious marketing gimmick at the opening which attempts to make the movie look like some Roland Emmerich disaster epic, it looks pretty good. The sense of the bleak and barbaric that the book evoked is present in the cinematography and the production design.

It’s clearly going to be a visually enthralling movie, but there isn’t quite enough here to know whether or not they captured the book’s heart. Of course, that’s not something we can know until the film hits on October 18th. The movie was always going to be a hard sell, and it doesn’t look like they compromised the harder aspects of the story. So far, so good.

Check out the trailer HERE

First review for The Road pops up over at Esquire

13 May


“When it was light enough to use the binoculars he glassed the valley below. Everything paling away into the murk. The soft ash blowing in loose swirls over the blacktop. He studied what he could see. The segments of road down there among the dead trees. Looking for anything of color. Any movement. Any trace of standing smoke. He lowered the glasses and pulled down the cotton mask from his face and wiped his nose on the back of his wrist and then glassed the country again. Then he just sat there holding the binoculars and watching the ashen daylight congeal over the land. He knew only that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.”

— an excerpt from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road

At long last, the film version of  The Road has a new release date and the first review has popped up online. And so far, the word is good. Very good. Great even.

That’s a relief. I’m a big McCarthy fan and I consider The Road to be easily the best thing the man has ever written. In fact, it might just be one of the best American novels I’ve ever read.  Telling the story of one man and his son making their way across a bruised, battered post-apocalyptic America, The Road was both a smaller novel and a more straightforward narrative than most of McCarthy’s other works. But it hit like a sledgehammer to the stomach.

Grueling, grim and sometimes breathtakingly bleak, the novel also featured the first real hints of hope and optimism from McCarthy. Through the darkest and most dire trials the questing duo face, the father soldiers on for the sake of his young son. Despite it’s vision of a nation and a planet struggling through what could be their final days, the book is ultimately a testament to unconditional love and familial strength.

It was so amazing, I didn’t want to see a film version muck it up. The casting of Viggo Mortensen was a plus, and the addition of australian director John Hillcoat (The Proposition) ensured that the film would mirror the book’s bleakness. But then the film’s release date kept getting pushed back–originally from November 2008–and any hopes I had became clouded by suspicions that the film might be floundering. Now, we have a solid date for the film, October 18th, and the first actual review has surfaced.

So, what have they done with it? Well, according to Esquire, it’s “the most important movie of the year”. Go here to read the review: