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REDUX

by Moe - 1 Comment(s)

If it worked once it can work again is Hollywood’s Golden Rule. Often it seems impossible to find a movie that isn’t a prequel, a sequel, a ‘re-imagining’ or just a plain old let’s see if we can make some more money off this and to heck with anything else. And with all such things a few, but not many, are better, some are equally good but in different ways, some just make it , some don’t and some completely miss their mark and may be responsible for killing off their franchise for good.

Here are three new CPL acquisitions that for me have varying degrees of success.

H&G:The Witch HuntersHansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters starring currently ‘see him everywhere’ Jeremy Renner (Mission Impossible, Marvel's The Avengers, Bourne Legacy) and Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans and Prince of Persia). It’s not great, but it’s entertaining enough. In the movie, Hansel is diabetic as a result of his childhood experience in the gingerbread house. In the original script, Gretel was also supposed to have an eating disorder as a result of her childhood trauma, but it was cut from the final version. Talk about trying to make something current.

Oz the Great and Powerful is the prequel to The Wizard of Oz. Now Oz is a movie I have never been able to get behind. Considered a classic by millions and appearing on more must see lists than you can shake a wand at, it just never did a thing for me. Perhaps it is the flying monkeys which still haunt my dreams; perhaps it is the cowardly lion who just drives me up the wall. It certainly isn't Judy Garland! So I am always on the lookout for a ‘re-imagining’ of the tale that might suit my tastes better. This film is visually stunning, and the story line is okay, but this didn’t work for me either. Perhaps it is James Franco smirking through the entire film. You would be hard pressed to see three more beautiful witches in Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Mrs. James Bond, Rachel Weisz. As I say, not for me, but many will enjoy.

A Good Day to Die Hard should have been the franchise killer that I was talking about, but Die Hardest (the 6th) is slated for 2015. The Die Hard’s have been popular since the first release in 1988 and have been consistently watchable. Over the top action, entire city blocks blowing up, a bloody but unbowed John McLane running barefoot over broken glass—what’s not to like? Sadly, they lost the thread here and it really didn’t work. But don’t feel too bad for Bruce Willis. Collectively, he has appeared in films that have grossed in excess of $2.5 billion USD placing him in the top ten stars in terms of box office receipts. And that is enough to save the franchise.

Another Great British Mystery Series

by Melanie - 0 Comment(s)

If you are a Wallander, Morse or Prime Suspect (Helen Mirren) fan, you'll enjoy this set of longer mysteries based on Ann Cleeves' mystery novels featuring detective Vera Stanhope. Like her predecessors, Vera's a driven and somewhat unhappy figure. Her job is to seek justice not "to make people happy" as she notes in one episode. She's humorous and lovingly chastises her sidekick, as Morse does. Vera, the series, has great camerawork, as Wallander does. Not Sweden, but what is it about gloomy Northumberland? George Gently is filmed in part there also. Looking forward to more...

And why not adapt Cleeves' Jimmy Perez character too? He's another great character and setting. Is anyone listening there in tv land?

In the meantime, checkout Ann Cleeves' novels.

Mrs. Gaskell

- 0 Comment(s)

Hormah, the outreach librarian at Louise Riley recommended North and South, the British mini-series starring Richard Armitage (the best looking spy from the recent seasons of tv series MI-5).

Based on Elizabeth Gaskell's novel, it's the now classic Victorian scenario of misunderstanding and stubbornness ending in romance (remind anyone of Austen's Pride and Prejudice?). A minister's daughter relocates to Milton, an industrial town rife with poverty and conflict. Gaskell herself lived in Manchester and was married to a minister and was best known in her time for her biography of Charlotte Bronte (see the Britannica Encyclopedia in our E-library).

We also have the adaptation of Gaskell's Wives and Daughters--a little more comic but it also deals with making choices about how to live and with whom. We also have a popular adaptation of Gaskell's Cranford, starring Judi Dench, which Hormah also recommended.