[Book Watching] Upcoming Movies – New Divergent trailer

The official Divergent trailer has hit the internet last week, and the canaries are all a-twitter. Set to hit the big screen in March 2014, we still have a bit of a wait, made only slightly more bearable by the upcoming October 2013 release of the Allegiant, the third book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.

The trailer has that Hunger Games/Distopian vibe, so I look forward to seeing what director Neil Burger will bring to the table. You might recognize his name from his fantasy-real-world crossover thrillers like Limitless and The Illusionist. The cast features the largely unknown lead actress Shailene Woodley as Tris, Kate Winslet as the ruthless Jeanine Matthews, and Theo James as Four, everyone’s favorite love interest.

More to the point, I want to see how the book’s impossible premise – all people are just one specific personality – plays out in the movie medium. Veronica Roth will also be speaking at this year’s National Book Festival, so I look forward to hearing about her upcoming novel and the movie.

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[Small Chirps] Books on the January Big Screen

This month’s book-inspired set of movies sure are a violent lot – but with stories that are as intriguing as they are graphic. From LA gangsters to shotgun-toting fairy-tale characters, this month has a lot of exciting movie fare to offer.

Gangster Squad

Release Date: January 11

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/03/Gangster_Squad_Poster.jpgA cast doesn’t get much more star-studded than this. Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Nick Nolte and Sean Penn round out the cast of this gangster-sort-of-buddy-cop movie based on an eight-part LA Times series written by journalist Paul Lieberman, who expanded his true-life story in the book, Gangster Squad. The movie takes place in 1950s, when the streets of LA were overrun by gang wars. To combat the illegal underground, LAPD created their own gangster squad, cops where selected to work outside the law in order to bring peace back to the City of Angels.

I expect from the trailer alone that it will be a fairly violent film (how could it not be with a plot like that?), but for anyone who loves LA Noir or hardboiled detective novels like those of Dashiell Hammett, this movie should be right up your alley. Continue reading

[ Small Chirp ] Making a comeback–Artemis Fowl

I was in line at a coffee shop when I got a book-reading tip from my dino-headed canary friend. There was an eighth Artemis Fowl book coming out,  the text message informed me.

“Whaaaat?” I said.

“Your coffee, ma’am,” the guy at the register explained, but that did nothing to clear up my confusion. An eighth book? I thought the Artemis story arc was over with the seventh book?

Then excitement set in. The Artemis Fowl series had it all–wit, adventure, brilliant and vivid characters, and a fun dose of plot action. And now, the series just might be making a comeback with Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian (July 2012). Continue reading

TV Tuesday: Castle, with a side of Heat Wave

In an interview published just before Castle first premiered four seasons ago, creator Andrew Marlowe delightedly told eager fans that the protagonist’s name may have chosen specifically because when it’s shouted loud and fast, it sounds like a choice piece of profanity.  Any show that has that level of levity built right into the title was surely meant to be a winner.

Four seasons later, and Castle remains one of Monday’s highest ranking shows. This is in no small part to the leads,  the fierce Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) and the endlessly-charming  Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), who have created the best will-they-just-go-make-out-already pairings this side of Boothe and Bones.  Add in a stellar supporting cast (I have a special place in my heart of Ryan and Espisito-centric shenanigans), and this lighthearted cop drama is one of the best studies in character development out there.

Castle-lovers, here are our reading picks for you… Continue reading

[Small Chirp] Making an Impression: Beauty in The Hunger Games

First off, I cannot give Suzanne Collins enough kudos for creating Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist of the Hunger Games trilogy. It’s like the woman went to Mary Sue Academy and made a point of reversing everything. Katniss is strong, interesting, and flawed all over the place: she’s not particularly friendly or charming, resists being thrust into place as a political symbol, is uncomfortable with guys liking her, and (gasp) isn’t even particularly pretty. Just about the only thing going for her is she’s not clumsy, right?

I kid, I kid. Katniss is gutsy and devoted and actually takes the time to think about whether what she does is justified or justifiable, and I love her.

What I was curious about, though, was how the filmmakers would treat the issue of beauty–and lack of it–in their adaptation.The books make a special point of paying attention to appearance. The superficiality of the Capitol comes out through outlandish fashion and extravagant food, and the brutality of the Games is even creepier in light of it. And of course, as I mentioned, the fact that neither Katniss nor Peeta is gorgeous is incredibly refreshing in the piles of books about pretty girls and their attractive crushes.  I tend to be out of the loop on trailers and such, so the only image I had of Jennifer Lawrence and the other actors going in was a movie poster I saw that was all moody and cheekbone-y. Great, I thought. It’s going to be The Help all over again, where the costumers for Emma Stone read “uncontrollable frizz” and decide to go with “flawless corkscrew curls that I would kill to have.” Continue reading

[ Book Watching ] The Hunger Games, from Book to Movie

Warning: This review will contain spoilers for both the book and movie versions of The Hunger Games.

One of the greatest challenges of taking a story from book to screen is figuring out what to change. A movie’s narrative needs to stand on its own, working under the assumption that there will be people in the audience who have not read the source material.

In recent years, we’ve seen this done to varying degrees of success. Atonement is a great example of an adaption done right: the end of the movie is completely different than that of the book (for good reason), but the endings had the same thematic feel and impact. And early this March, our Pirate Canary told us about the successful plot-pruning and adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Safran Foer.

Of course, then there are the oft-maligned Harry Potter adaptations (past about movie four), in which one too many subplots were left on the editing room floor and the narrative started to get shaky for anyone who wasn’t familiar with the books.

And then we have The Hunger Games, undoubtedly the most-anticipated movie so far in 2012. Would it succeed in capturing the harrowing, break-neck pace of Suzanne Collins’ blockbuster books? Or would it fall victim to too much cut, too little left? Continue reading

TV Tuesdays: Supernatural, and a few books to hunt down

Every Tuesday we spotlight a current television show–and the books that you just might like if you watch it. Here are this week’s reading suggestions based on…

Supernatural:

With openings that regularly scare the bajeezus out of me, Supernatural follows the life of two brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester, who hunt supernatural beasties for a living. Even as each episode drops us into a different life-death-undeath mystery, the long-term plot trajectories pull me (and the Winchesters)  into tense stand-offs against demonic powers, soul-stealing devil deals, Armageddon-hungry angels, and ancient pagan gods.

Well into its seventh season, the show maintains a great balance of kick-butt action, character growth, development, and angst (yes!). More than that, the show isn’t afraid of flat out making light of itself in between the heavy doses of loss, disillusionment, and self-deception.

So if you watch Supernatural, here are a few books you just might wanna stock up on for the coming apocalypse: Continue reading