Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Browsing the library section of the Movie Trailer Park

Now that all of the hoopla surrounding the 3-D release of The Great Gatsby has died down(along with it's box office numbers),we can better focus on other literary adaptations out there.

 Opening up this past weekend,for example, was a new take on Shakespeare's classic play Much Ado About Nothing,from Joss Whedon,who turned his weekend play acting parties with his favorite actors into a major motion picture.

Whedon's actual house in Santa Monica was used for the filming and many of his fans will be amused to spot the likes of Nathan Fillion(Firefly,Dr. Horrible's Sing a Long Blog) and Clark Gregg(The Avengers) amongst the band of jaded folks who find love and a touch of mystery during the course of the story. A special bonus for fans of Angel(yes,the spin-off to Buffy) will be seeing Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker as reluctant lovers,something both of them are amazingly good at:

Also arriving in limited release this weekend was the long awaited adaptation of Tiger Eyes, the first Judy Blume novel to get the big screen treatment. Judy's son Lawrence directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with his mother,making this quite the family affair.

 The story is centered around Davey(Willa Holland) whose family is uprooted from their home in Atlantic City after the sudden death of her father to stay with relatives out in New Mexico. Between dealings with changes at home and blending into the social circles at her new school,her teen angst  has been raised to the next level.

Davey does come across a potential ally, a boy called Wolf who is doing his best for his ailing grandfather and perhaps the two of them can truly help each other. I remember reading this book back in the day and I'm sure many past and present Judy Blume fans will be eager to see this story come to life on film:

Our next two book to film candidates are making their debuts overseas but will probably hit our movie theaters shores sometime soon. The newest edition of Romeo and Juliet takes it's cues from director Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 version which highlighted the romance between the two lovestruck leads by casting actors close to actual age of the characters.

Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth do the honors here,with seasoned performers such as Paul Giamatti,Natasha McElhone and Skellan Skarsgard on board to guide the erstwhile young lovers along. With a screenplay written by Downton Abbey's Julian Fellowes, audiences of all generations are in for a real classically cinematic treat here:

Speaking of Downton Abbey, those who are still mourning the loss of Matthew Crawley will be pleased to see Dan Stevens as one of the leads in Summer in February,based on the novel by Jonathan Smith.

The setting for this period piece is at an artist colony in Cornwall during the early 20th century and Stevens plays Gilbert Evans who competes with his artist friend AJ Munnings(Dominic Cooper) for the heart of Florence Carter-Wood(Emily Browning).

All three of them were real life figures in this circle of bohemians and while their story may not be as well known to American audiences, I'm sure many Masterpiece Classic followers will be on the lookout for this riveting romance:

One good thing about any book adaptation is that no matter how the film turns out,it does get people to take a look at the original source. Of course, most readers would prefer a great version of their favorite story and sometimes, we get just that.

 More often, the results are less than satisfying but as they say, better something than nothing. The best part is when a title that's not a literary blockbuster gets it's moment to shine in the cinematic spotlight, those Slumdog Millionaires or Best Exotic Marigold Hotels(and yes, I know they changed the title of the latter,but,hey it does have a certain verbal flow to it).

Seeing a bestseller on the big screen is great as well but discovering those hidden gems on a bookshelf near you ,thanks to a shiny new movie,is just as exciting. Granted,exciting can be scary as well but if you keep those thrills at a safe distance,even the dangers of The Hunger Games are worth the price of admission and the turn of the page:

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