Archive for the ‘Adaptation’ Category

Adaptations

July 5, 2018

I’m struggling lately keeping up with my viewing. Next week I leave for a week’s vacation so July will be lighter posting than normal. I’ll do my best to keep up for the next week until I fly out on Friday, July 13. Meanwhile, I was thinking about adaptations. I’ve been enjoying more pleasure reading this past decade. And wonder if a movie can ever really hold its own next to a book? For the most part, I say no. But there are some stunning exceptions:

The Heiress
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Merchant Ivory adaptations are all glorious, particularly these four:
Howards End
Maurice
The Remains of the Day
A Room with a View

What about Mr. Potter?
Harry Potter films

And the recent YA novel turned film:
Love, Simon

Agree? Disagree? Have any to add to this list?

The Heiress

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Love, Simon

June 16, 2018

Ah, a new generation’s coming out film. Only this time the film goes from indy to wide theater release with celebrities renting out movie houses for kids and their parents to see the film. We can and need to enjoy the progress while continuing the fight for full equality for all. The Greg Berlanti adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s gorgeous YA (Young Adult) novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda lives up to the hype. Before you watch, read the book. Newly crowned, Love, Simon, Berlanti’s film captures the simple, every-teen existence of Simon Spier navigating high school and his uncertainty about coming out in his picture postcard life. Simon has an easy life. What he doesn’t understand is why he has to come out and no one else does. Love, Simon becomes accessible by striking a balance between the characters. Yes Simon is white and privileged and male, but his story is universal and his friends are straight and many shades other than white. I realize it can be frustrating seeing yourself only in supporting roles. So I’m not minimizing that issue. I’m simply saying there’s power in telling these coming out stories to a wider audience using images society is comfortable with… cis white males and then absolutely following that up with stories about women, people of color, gender non-conforming, etc. I thought Simon worked on many levels and part of that was the accessibility of this film to straight white America. I live in a town with very little diversity so I understand the importance of visibility. Simon also excels at accessibility because the story stays simple and easy-going. No one gets beat up or threatened. Simon doesn’t lose his family’s love. But there’s still drama and angst which fuels the teen drama in familiar ways. I absolutely enjoyed Love, Simon and understand why it got such love when it was released. It’s out on DVD and streaming. Love, Simon will make you happy we live in a world where progress has been made. There’s still tons of work to do, but it’s nice to be able to take a break and enjoy how far we’ve come. Love, Simon is a tender reminder of the good things the world has to offer LGBT kids today. 4 out of 5.

Queer as Folk: Season 5, The Final Season (take >3)

June 9, 2018

I laughed, I cried, I swooned, I moped when it ended. Click on the image below to see my updated review of the classic television series, Queer as Folk: Season 5: The Final Season.

The Waltons

June 8, 2018

Yes, that The Waltons – the 1972 television series created by Earl Hamner, Jr. about growing up during the Depression, poor and full of love. It’s back, all nine seasons thanks to Amazon Prime Video. I wondered if time would be kind to this sweet show which bucked the odds during the kooky and crazy 1970’s. Time has been kind to the kinder Walton family. The show overflows with sincerity, simplicity, and love. I watched one episode so far. I can imagine revisiting The Waltons when I’m in the mood for something sweet and endearing. I still can’t believe Will Geer who played Grandpa is the same Will Geer who was a socialist and long-time lover of Harry Hays, the founder of the modern gay rights movement. Wish I would have known that fact back then. It would have saved me a lot of soul-searching for gay male role models. Still, hugs to The Waltons. I’m glad you still hold up after all these years. 3 out of 5.

Queer as Folk: Season 4 (take >3)

May 27, 2018

Fall in love all over again with the cast of Queer as Folk as they navigate life in 2004. 14 years: so much has changed and yet in many ways we are still fighting the same battles. Click on the image below to read an updated review of Queer as Folk: Season 4.

 

Queer as Folk: Season 2 (take >3)

May 5, 2018

Continuing my comfort food cuddle with Queer as Folk. Click on the image below to read an updated Season 2 review for this still topical and always lovely series.

Queer as Folk: Season 1 (take >3)

April 30, 2018

Re-watched the second half of the American Queer as Folk Season 1. Click on the image to read Reel Charlie’s updated review of this classic television series. Queer as Folk currently streams on Netflix.

‘Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City’: Ellen Page Joins Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis in Netflix Sequel (The Hollywood Reporter)

April 28, 2018

Outstanding news from The Hollywood Reporter,

It’s official: Netflix is reviving Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City as a 10-episode limited series.

The streaming giant on Tuesday confirmed the 10-episode sequel to the Showtime/PBS take on the LGBT-themed novel. Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis are confirmed to reprise their roles as Mary Ann Singleton and Anna Madrigal, respectively, from the original series. Barbara Garrick also will return as DeDe Halcyon Day. The Netflix take also has enlisted Ellen Page, who will play Shawna. Lauren Morelli (Orange Is the New Black) has joined the production and will serve as writer and showrunner.

Based on the books by Maupin, Tales of the City follows Mary Ann (Linney), who returns home to San Francisco and is reunited with her daughter (Page) and ex-husband Brian 20 years after leaving them behind to pursue her career. Fleeing the midlife crisis that her picture-perfect Connecticut life created, Mary Ann returns home to her chosen family and will quickly be drawn back into the orbit of Anna Madrigal (Dukakis) and the residents of 28 Barbary Lane.

From the description, seems to me this adaptation emerges from the book, Mary Ann in Autumn. I’m a little sad they didn’t start out with Michael Tolliver Lives, which would give them a 3-season arc to work with, but I’ll take what I can get. It will be interesting to see if the hair and make-up people femme up Page for her role as bisexual Shawna Hawkins. I think she has the potential to create an iconic character for herself, like Dukakis did with Anna Madrigal. I’m also very excited to find out who they cast as Jake, the transman gardener and who they get to play Ben, Michael’s husband. The script tease shows a scene with MaryAnn and her Darien, CT husband which makes no sense. He stayed off-stage in the books, referred to but never seen. Lots of questions for this Maupin fan.

Read the full article on The Hollywood Reporter.

NW

April 17, 2018

Zadie Smith’s 2012 novel, NW gets the BBC treatment starring Nikki Amuka-Bird (Luther), Phoebe Fox, O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale, The FiveLooking), Cyril Gueï, and Jake Fairbrother. All the components of a stellar issue-driven drama were in place – council flats girls make good, people of color having to be perfect to succeed, pressure to do what is expected, lives broken by systemic poverty and drug use. The actors did their job. In the end, the stories didn’t mesh. It felt like the writer bit off more than she could chew in 90 minutes. Too bad because NW could have been great. Riddled with too many disparate moments which didn’t mesh, I’m giving this a 2 out of 5. Next.

Steel Magnolias

April 12, 2018

Watching Steel Magnolias nearly 30 years after its release makes me wonder. The closing shot of all the Easter egg hunt participants running after the truck carrying Daryl Hannah’s water just broke pregnant character and her husband to the hospital makes me wonder: is Steel Magnolias the whitest film ever made? Maybe that’s why when they did a remake in 2012, it was with an all-black cast. When I’ve thought of the 1989 version over the years, the words iconic and classic come to mind. Certainly it is comfort food watching this glorious female cast command a film. But the perfection in my mind as I remember my original feelings about Steel Magnolias fades a bit as I watch it in 2018. Julia Roberts’ and Sally Field’s accents ebb and flow. Tom Skerritt annoys me, but I’m wondering if that doesn’t happen more often than not when he’s in a film. Dylan McDermott feels pretty flat as Roberts’ husband. The positives that have stood the test of time: Daryl Hannah’s awkward Annelle is a little piece of heaven, Dolly Parton played Dolly Parton and we’re always happy to have more of that in our lives, Sam Shepard was understated and sexy and we’re always happy to have more of that in our lives, and finally the comedic team of Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis continue to be a master class in acting as the two powerhouses carry every scene they’re in, each and every time. I still love it. I just didn’t luuuvvvve it. It’s worn down a bit since 1989. But it’s still a fun watch. 4 out of 5 because of Hannah, MacLaine, and Dukakis. More women-centered films please.


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