First there were vampires, then zombies, and now fairy tale adaptions seem to be the new entertainment trend. The newest film adaptation of “Sleeping Beauty,” Maleficent, scored big at the box office and has added momentum to the fairy tale fad. Studios hoping to capitalize on this are already planning live-action versions of “Cinderella” and more than one “Beauty and the Beast.” I have been a fan of fairy tale retellings since childhood and have spent my life reading and watching them so, obviously, the renewed interest in fairy tales recently has been right up my alley. Although I wasn’t crazy about Maleficent (I think it took the bite out of an otherwise fantastic villainess), I was pleased to see one of my favorite fairy tales getting revamped.
Archive for the ‘Television’ Category
When I heard CBS was doing a modern day Sherlock Holmes set in New York, my response was pure, unmitigated outrage. Yes, I tried to be moderate and keep an open mind; yes, I understood that any resemblances to the BBC Sherlock would be highly unlikely; and yes, it stars Jonny Lee Miller, who can’t really be a bad thing, ever. But my biggest apprehension came with the news that they had cast a female Watson, as personified by Lucy Liu. (more…)
Recently we’ve seen a spate of books made into movies – Ender’s Game, Catching Fire and The Book Thief being three of the most recent. Which got me to thinking about romance novels I think would make excellent films or TV series. Books that I feel contain enough grit and depth to appeal to a wider audience while still containing the kind of luscious love stories that romance fans adore. I’ve added some casting hints just in case Hollywood needs the help. Here’s my list:
1. Nobody’s Baby but Mine – Susan Elizabeth Phillips – The story: Football hero and brainy scientist meet in the most unusual of ways. I can totally see Emma Stone as the brainy, feisty Jane. Cal is a bit harder but I can picture Mathew Fox (or a younger, hotter version of him) delivering the cereal killer line with aplomb. This sweet tale of a brainy gal and the jock she brings to his knees would make a terrific rom com. (more…)
Unless you’ve been on an extended vacation to the Planet Krypton, you’re probably aware that a new Superman movie is opening today. Man of Steel stars the dashing Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent and everyone’s favorite girl-next-door Amy Adams as Lois Lane. You can safely bet a large bucket of double buttered popcorn that I will have seen this movie before the end of the weekend.
For some time I’ve mistakenly considered myself a Superman fan. I say mistakenly because when you look at the facts, I’m really only a poseur. I have seen every Superman movie made, and I religiously watched every episode of both Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Smallville. But I’ve never read a single Superman comic in my life.
To be honest, of all of the superheroes out there, I find Superman to be somewhat mundane. After all, he’s practically indestructible so there’s little risk to his personal safety when he undertakes his acts of derring-do. I never have any doubt he’ll save the day. He’s kind of a goody-goody. And I’ve never been fond of the gym-rat over-muscled physique. If pressed to name a favorite, my superhero of choice would be a toss up between Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man.
No, when it comes down to it, I’m a fan of the romance between Superman and Lois Lane. My favorite incarnations of the story are the ones in which Clark Kent is the real man, Superman is his hidden identity, and the focus is on his relationships with the ladies in his life rather than his efforts to save the world from destruction. (more…)
The other day I happened to catch an episode of the TV show Monday Mornings in rerun, and one of the characters mentioned deus ex machina. What caught my attention was how he pronounced it – DAY-oos eks MAH-kee-nah. I realized, then, that I didn’t recall ever having heard that phrase spoken out loud before and that all of this time, I’ve been mentally pronouncing it incorrectly. My high school and college French had me thinking it as dus oh mah-SHEEN-a. I felt really stupid at my mistake but also very educated because now I can jauntily throw that phrase about with the correct Latin pronunciation. Bonus: spelling it is now a piece of cake. (more…)
If you like reading contemporary romance, I bet you’d enjoy watching Nashville. It’s got all the ingredients one often encounters in contemporary romance. There’s a strong woman torn between the love of her life and the man she left him for. There’s a conniving yet sympathetic younger woman determined to win the old lover for herself. There’s a secondary romance between a good girl who is slowly learning that a good guy is better than a bad boy. There are family issues galore. The sexual tension starts hot and, as the season progresses, gets hotter. And, all of these plot elements are designed with women viewers in mind. Oh, and though this isn’t found in contemps, there’s kickass music on every show. I love it. So does my sixteen year old daughter and (yes!) my husband.
It’s a great show in part because–like many a great romance novel–the plot is written by a successful woman with a knack for tapping into the psyche of the American female: Callie Khouri. Ms. Khouri is the writer of the iconic film Thelma and Louise as well as the writer of Something to Talk About and The Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. In Nashville, as she did in those films, she gives viewers complicated, nuanced women who struggle to balance love, work, and family. (more…)
Decisions, decisions…. – If you haven’t voted yet, don’t forget that our Annual Reader Poll runs through Sunday, January 20, 2013. I’ll admit that I’m one of those still procrastinating over my ballot. My votes for some of the categories jump out at me right away: The Siren was definitely the most unforgettable erotica I read this year and nothing was as much a tear-jerker for me as The Sleeping Night. However, it’s very hard for me to vote for just one book in some of the other categories.
So, what books are you all thinking about as you go over the poll this year? (more…)
For my last book club meeting, we all read biographies – any biography. While I had enjoyed some biographies in the past (I loved David McCullough’s biography of John Adams), I don’t really gravitate toward them; usually if I am reading one it is because someone else chose it for book club. I hemmed and hawed over my choice until I spotted a book that caught my eye: The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure. It’s more of a memoir than a biography, but to me it was close enough to be on topic. Better yet, it was of high interest to me because it was essentially someone else talking about her reading life.
That was, in fact, the main draw for me. Almost as much as I like to read, I like to talk about reading, hear about reading, and read about reading. And discussions of childhood reading are probably my favorites. I like to know what drove other people to read what they did, and why they loved their favorite childhood books. (more…)
The other day on After Hours, I blogged about my love for the TV show Sherlock, and remarked it’s basically the only TV I watch, and like. This is not the first time I’ve made the remark, online or in person, and 99% of the time, people probably look at me like I’m nuts, pompous, or both.
I once had a conversation with my friend about True Blood (I flatter myself that I converted her to the books, even though I haven’t read them), and we had this conversation about me not watching TV. “Wait – you don’t watch TV, I accept it, even if I don’t get it (because there are some damn good shows on TV, Jean, and you’re missing out, but never mind because you’re weird). But you haven’t read the books? How can you read romance and not read the Sookie Stackhouse series?”
Good question, Eva. And looking through my bookshelf, reading history, and preferences, I think I’ve narrowed it down. It’s not series that I don’t do, per se – it’s the serialized, episodic, plot and character development surrounding a central cast of characters over a long period of time that I can’t stick with.
Before we had the tormented Carpathians, and the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not to mention Edward of the Twilight series, many people grew up watching Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows. No doubt the show paved the way for the acceptance of romantic vampires today. Yet many of today’s tormented vampires can’t hold a candle to Barnabas. In fact, Barnabas was all about the candles. Candles, eerie music, cobwebs, fierce storms, crypts and graveyards. And unlike many vampires today, he was a true anti-hero.
Unlike many people from my generation, I didn’t grow up watching Dark Shadows all the time. I never seemed to get home at the right time, so I watched Captain Chesapeake instead. Still, although I was a scaredy-cat, I managed to sneak in a few episodes now and then.
When I heard that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp were working together on a Dark Shadows movie, my first reaction was “Perfect!” I couldn’t wait to see it. Then I realized that many fans were upset with the trailer because the movie comes across as a send-up. They are not amused. Or as my sister-in-law pointed out to be, fans took the show very seriously.