A couple of funny comic strips brought in by valued GRG'er Kathleen R.!
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, film/tv adaptations of books are hot right now and the Genre Reading Group met last evening to tackle this genre!
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, film/tv adaptations of books are hot right now and the Genre Reading Group met last evening to tackle this genre!
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, September 29th at 6:30pm and the topic up for discussion will be diet, nutrition, and fitness. I make no promises, but I’ll try to have some healthy snacking options available at that meeting. It’d be awkward otherwise…
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
(powells) The Remains of the Day is a profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world in postwar England. At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving "a great gentleman." But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington's "greatness" and graver doubts about his own faith in the man he served.
(rottentomatoes) Filmed with the usual meticulous attention to period and detail of films from Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, The Remains of the Day is based on a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. Anthony Hopkins plays Stevens, the "perfect" butler to a prosperous British household of the 1930s. He is so unswervingly devoted to serving his master, a well-meaning but callow British lord (James Fox), that he shuts himself off from all emotions and familial relationships. New housekeeper Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson) tries to warm him up and awaken his humanity. But when duty calls, Stevens won't even attend his own dying father's last moments on earth. The butler also refuses to acknowledge the fact that his master is showing signs of pro-Nazi sentiments.
Disillusioned by Hitler's duplicity, the master dies an embittered man, and only then does Stevens come to realize how his own silence has helped bring about this sad situation. Years later, regretting his lost opportunities in life, he tries once more to make contact with Miss Kenton, the only person who'd ever cared enough to seek out the human being inside the butler's cold veneer. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
The Martian by Andy Weir
(powells) Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
The Martian (WOOHOO!!! THE RELEASE DATE HAS BEEN MOVED UP FROM THANKSGIVING TO OCTOBER 2, 2015!!! MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!! JUST FOR GOOD MEASURE!!!!)
(rottentomatoes) During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring "the Martian" home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney's safe return. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, THE MARTIAN features a star studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover. (C) Fox
The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham
(amazon) After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. But Tilly decides to stay, and though she is still an outcast, her lush, exquisite dresses prove irresistible to the prim women of Dungatar. Through her fashion business, her friendship with Sergeant Farrat—the town’s only policeman, who harbors an unusual passion for fabrics—and a budding romance with Teddy, the local football star whose family is almost as reviled as hers, she finds a measure of grudging acceptance. But as her dresses begin to arouse competition and envy in town, causing old resentments to surface, it becomes clear that Tilly’s mind is set on a darker design: exacting revenge on those who wronged her, in the most spectacular fashion.
The Dressmaker (not available on DVD yet)
(rottentomatoes) Based on the best-selling novel by Rosalie Ham, this bittersweet, comedy-drama is set in early 1950s Australia. Tilly Dunnage, a beautiful and talented misfit, after many years working as a dressmaker in exclusive Parisian fashion houses, returns home to the tiny middle-of-nowhere town of Dungatar to right the wrongs of the past. Not only does she reconcile with her ailing, eccentric mother Molly and unexpectedly falls in love with the pure-hearted Teddy, but armed with her sewing machine and incredible sense of style, she transforms the women of the town and in so doing gets sweet revenge on those who did her wrong.
Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters andVirginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love by Thomas Maier
(powells) BeforeSex and the City and Viagra™, America relied on Masters and Johnson to teach us everything we needed to know about what goes on in the bedroom. Convincing hundreds of men and women to shed their clothes and copulate, the pair were the nation’s top experts on love and intimacy. Highlighting interviews with the notoriously private Masters and the ambitious Johnson, critically acclaimed biographer Thomas Maier shows how this unusual team changed the way we all thought about, talked about, and engaged in sex while they simultaneously tried to make sense of their own relationship. Entertaining, revealing, and beautifully told, Masters of Sex sheds light on the eternal mysteries of desire, intimacy, and the American psyche.
(rottentomatoes) The lives of sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson are depicted in this critically acclaimed drama. Season 1 begins with Masters (Michael Sheen), a successful gynecologist at Washington University in St Louis, conducting a secret study of human sexuality. Soon, he meets Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), a former nightclub singer who is now part of the hospital secretarial staff. He enlists her help with his study, and she quickly proves to be an asset to Masters's work. Together, they delve deeper than anyone before them into the science of sex and later become participants in their own research, which takes an unforeseen toll on Masters's married life.
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
(powells) In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years in the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele — Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles — as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary.
Kaysen's memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a "parallel universe" set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery."Poignant, honest and triumphantly funny. . . [a] compelling and heartbreaking story." --Susan Cheever, The New York Times Book Review
(rottentomatoes) In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, Susanna Kaysen was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder-an affliction with symptoms so ambiguous almost any adolescent girl might qualify-and sent to a renowned New England psychiatric hospital where she spent the next two years in a ward for teenage girls. There, Susanna loses herself in an OZ-like nether world of seductive and disturbed young women: among them Lisa, a charming sociopath who stages a disastrous escape with Susanna, Daisy, a pampered girl with a predilection for rotisserie chicken, and Polly, a remarkably kind burn victim. Ultimately, assisted by the hospital's head psychiatrist, Dr. Wick, and a no-nonsense ward nurse, Valerie, Susanna, like Dorothy, resolves to leave this Oz and reclaim her life.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
(amazon) Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!
(rottentomatoes) Promoted as a family musical by Paramount Pictures, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is more of a black comedy, perversely faithful to the spirit of Roald Dahl's original book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Enigmatic candy manufacturer Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) stages a contest by hiding five golden tickets in five of his scrumptious candy bars. Whoever comes up with these tickets will win a free tour of the Wonka factory, as well as a lifetime supply of candy. Four of the five winning children are insufferable brats: the fifth is a likeable young lad named Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum), who takes the tour in the company of his equally amiable grandfather (Jack Albertson). In the course of the tour, Willy Wonka punishes the four nastier children in various diabolical methods -- one kid is inflated and covered with blueberry dye, another ends up as a principal ingredient of the chocolate, and so on -- because these kids have violated the ethics of Wonka's factory. In the end, only Charlie and his grandfather are left. Ostensibly set in England, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was lensed in Germany (as revealed by the film's final overhead shot). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
(rottentomatoes) Director Tim Burton brings his unique vision and sensibility to Roald Dahl's classic children's story in this lavish screen interpretation. Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) is the secretive and wildly imaginative man behind the world's most celebrated candy company, and while the Wonka factory is famously closed to visitors, the reclusive candy man decides to give five lucky children a chance to see the inside of his operation by placing "golden tickets" in five randomly selected chocolate bars. Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore), whose poor but loving family lives literally in the shadow of the Wonka factory, is lucky enough to obtain one of the tickets, and Charlie, escorted by his Grandpa Joe (David Kelly), is in for the ride of a lifetime as he tours the strange and remarkable world of Wonka with fellow winners, media-obsessed Mike Teavee (Jordan Fry), harsh and greedy Veruca Salt (Julia Winter), gluttonous Augustus Gloop (Philip Wiegratz), and ultra-competitive Violet Beauregarde (AnnaSophia Robb). Over the course of the day, some of the children will learn difficult lessons about themselves, and one will go on to become Wonka's new right hand. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also stars Christopher Lee, James Fox, and Noah Taylor; the book was famously adapted to the screen before in 1971 under the title Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, with Gene Wilder as the eccentric candy tycoon. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Marvel’s Ant Man Prelude by Will Corona Pilgrim
(powells) Get ready for Marvel's next smash-hit film with this all-new official prequel! Before Scott Lang becomes Marvel's shrinking sensation, his predecessor, Dr. Hank Pym, will pull on the Ant-Man helmet and leap into action on a death-defying mission that will take him into the icy heart of Cold War East Berlin! Then, thrill to an all-new Infinite-style adventure set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as explosive new details in the history of the astonishing Ant-Man are revealed! But can the lessons of his past prepare him for the trials he is about to face? Plus: Experience Scott Lang's comic-book transformation into Ant-Man and the first chapter in his all-new adventures, and witness a dramatic change for the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym! The action-packed buildup to Marvel' Ant-Man begins here, so get on board now!
Ant Man (not available on DVD yet)
(rottentomatoes) The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios' "Ant-Man." Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world. -- (C) Marvel
Shrek! by William Steig
(powells) Before Shrek made it big on the silver screen, there was William Steigs SHREK!, a book about an ordinary ogre who leaves his swampy childhood home to go out and see the world. Ordinary, that is, if a foul and hideous being who ends up marrying the most stunningly ugly princess on the planet is what you consider ordinary.
(rottentomatoes) Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ornery ogre named Shrek whose precious solitude is suddenly shattered by an invasion of annoying fairy tale characters. There are blind mice in his food, a big, bad wolf in his bed, three little homeless pigs and more, all banished from their kingdom by the evil Lord Farquaad. Determined to save their home--not to mention his own--Shrek cuts a deal with Farquaad and sets out to rescue the beautiful Princess Fiona to be Farquaad's bride. Accompanying him on his mission is wisecracking Donkey, who will do anything for Shrek... except shut up. Rescuing the Princess from a fire-breathing dragon may prove the least of their problems when the deep, dark secret she has been keeping is revealed.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
(powells) The year is 1945 and Claire Beauchamp Randall, a former British combat nurse, is on holiday in Scotland with her husband, looking forward to becoming reacquainted after the war's long separation. Like most practical women, Claire hardly expects her curiosity to get the better of her. But an ancient stone circle near her lodgings holds an eerie fascination, and when she innocently touches one of the giant boulders, she's hurtled backward in time more than two hundred years, to 1743.
Alone where no lady should be alone, and far from the familiar comforts of her other life, Claire's usual resourcefulness is tested to the limit. The merciless garrison captain so feared by others bears an uncanny resemblance to the husband she has just left behind. Her own odd circumstances expose her to accusations of witchcraft. And the strands of a political intrigue she doesn't understand threaten to ensnare her at every turn.
But of all the perils her new life holds, none is more disquieting than her growing feelings for James Fraser, the gallant young Scot she is forced to marry for her own protection. Sworn by his wedding vows to keep her from harm, Jamie's passion for Claire goes beyond duty. As she struggles with the memories of another lifetime, she is forced to make an agonizing and fateful choice, and learns ultimately that a man's instinct to protect the woman he loves is as old as time.
(rottentomatoes) While on her second honeymoon, World War II combat nurse Claire Randall, played by Irish actress Caitriona Balfe, is mysteriously transported back in time to 1743 Scotland. After an encounter with a British soldier, she's kidnapped by a group of Scottish Highlanders whose ranks include an injured young man named Jamie.
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
(powells) Rebecca Bloomwood just hit rock bottom. But she's never looked better....
Becky Bloomwood has a fabulous flat in London's trendiest neighborhood, a troupe of glamorous socialite friends, and a closet brimming with the season's must-haves. The only trouble is that she can't actually afford it — not any of it.
Her job writing at Successful Savings not only bores her to tears, it doesn't pay much at all. And lately Becky's been chased by dismal letters from Visa and the Endwich Bank — letters with large red sums she can't bear to read — and they're getting ever harder to ignore.
She tries cutting back; she even tries making more money. But none of her efforts succeeds. Becky's only consolation is to buy herself something ... just a little something....
Finally a story arises that Becky actually cares about, and her front-page article catalyzes a chain of events that will transform her life — and the lives of those around her — forever.
Sophie Kinsella has brilliantly tapped into our collective consumer conscience to deliver a novel of our times — and a heroine who grows stronger every time she weakens. Becky Bloomwood's hilarious schemes to pay back her debts are as endearing as they are desperate. Her "confessions" are the perfect pick-me-up when life is hanging in the (bank) balance.
(rottentomatoes) In the glamorous world of New York City, Rebecca Bloomwood is a fun-loving girl who is really good at shopping--a little too good, perhaps. She dreams of working for her favorite fashion magazine, but can't quite get her foot in the door--until ironically, she snags a job as an advice columnist for a financial magazine published by the same company. As her dreams are finally coming true, she goes to ever more hilarious and extreme efforts to keep her past from ruining her future.
The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre
(powells) Frightening, heartbreaking, and exquisitely calibrated, John le Carré's new novel opens with the gruesome murder of the young and beautiful Tessa Quayle near northern Kenya's Lake Turkana, the birthplace of mankind. Her putative African lover and traveling companion, a doctor with one of the aid agencies, has vanished from the scene of the crime. Tessa's much older husband, Justin, a career diplomat at the British High Commission in Nairobi, sets out on a personal odyssey in pursuit of the killers and their motive.
A master chronicler of the deceptions and betrayals of ordinary people caught in political conflict, le Carré portrays, in The Constant Gardener,the dark side of unbridled capitalism. His eighteenth novel is also the profoundly moving story of a man whom tragedy elevates. Justin Quayle, amateur gardener and ineffectual bureaucrat, seemingly oblivious to his wife's cause, discovers his own resources and the extraordinary courage of the woman he barely had time to love. The Constant Gardener is a magnificent exploration of the new world order by one of the most compelling and elegant storytellers of our time.
(rottentomatoes) When a British diplomat's wife -- a socially-conscious lawyer -- turns up dead in Kenya, he sets out to find the truth surrounding her murder. In the process, he finds out that his wife had been compiling data against a multinational drug company that uses helpless Africans as guinea pigs to test a tuberculosis remedy with unfortunately fatal side effects. Therefore, those who may have had the most reason to silence her are closer to home than he ever imagined.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre
(powells) The man he knew as "Control" is dead, and the young Turks who forced him out now run the Circus. But George Smiley isn't quite ready for retirement—especially when a pretty, would-be defector surfaces with a shocking accusation: a Soviet mole has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal cadre, Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla—his Moscow Centre nemesis—and sets a trap to catch the traitor.
(rottentomatoes) Based on the classic novel of the same name, the international thriller is set at the height of the Cold War years of the mid-20th Century. George Smiley (Gary Oldman), a disgraced British spy, is rehired in secret by his government - which fears that the British Secret Intelligence Service, a.k.a. MI-6, has been compromised by a double agent working for the Soviets. -- (C) Focus Features
(amazon) "Marvelously riveting" --The New York Times "Scintillating, seductive" --The Washington Post
The thrilling sequel to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tell Max it concerns the Sandman…
Both had supposedly outlived their usefulness to the Circus, the British Secret Intelligence Service: George Smiley, the retired head of espionage, and General Vladimir, an aging informant who reported to him. When the general walks into a bullet after sending an urgent message to his old handler, the Circus asks Smiley to "tidy things up." But Smiley hears Vladimir’s message as a call to arms against his nemesis, the Soviet super spy Karla, once again tantalizingly within his grasp.
Alec Guinness reprises the role of British spymaster George Smiley in this gripping sequel to the television masterpiece Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Filmed on location in London, Paris, Hamburg, and Berne, Smiley’s People also stars Eileen Atkins, Anthony Bate, Bernard Hepton, Michael Lonsdale, Beryl Reid, Patrick Stewart, and Bill Paterson.
What are YOU reading and watching?