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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Read before your see


Monte Carlo, a new film released July 1 stars SelenaGomez, Cory Monteith, Leighton Meester, Andi MacDowell, is loosely based on the book Headhunters by Jules Bass about four middle-aged women from New Jersey who are bored and looking for husbands and decide to vacation in Monte Carlo posing as wealthy women. Wearing rented designer clothes and jewels, they enter the world of the rich and famous and are immediately surrounded by 4 handsome, suave men. Predictably the men are looking the same thing. In the film,however, the characters are 18-year old girls sent to Europe as a graduation gift. The trip soon proves to be disastrous when one of the girls is mistaken for a British socialite and whisked off to Monte Carlo for a charity ball, auction, and the chance for international romance. However, when a million-dollar necklace goes missing, they must scramble to find it before the auction is ruined and their identities are exposed.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan written by Lisa See opens July 15 and stars Bing Bing, Gianna Jun, Vivian Wu, Hugh Jackman. A beautiful book with rich images that tells the story of Lily and Snow Flower and their lives in 19th-century rural China exposing the practice of foot-binding and how women communicated through nu shu, a secret language that helped them deal with the rigid cultural norms imposed on women. While marriage drew them apart, the women remained close exchanging messages written on a fan. In the end, Lily who is 80, has outlived her dear friend, her husband and her children and quietly watches the next generation of women in her home struggle to maintain the intimacy of childhood friendships in the face of demanding careers, complicated love lives, and a relentlessly evolving Shanghai.

Sarah’s Key written by Tatiana de Rosnay opens July 22 and stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Aidan Quinn Melusine Mayance. The story is told in two time frames. In present day, an American-born journalist is working on a magazine story about the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations of thousands of Jewish families and discovers Sarah, whose family was among those deported to the camps. During this period, the Vichy government, collaborating with the Nazis, arrested 77,000 Jews sending them to the atrocious Velodrome d'Hiver detention facility in Paris then on to Auschwitz. Both the book and the film, through the story of Sarah and her brother Thomas, exposes this little know event called Vel’ d’Hiv Police Roundup.


Plant of the Apes, originally written by Pierre Boulle, has been re-released as a film with yet another twist. We all remember the 1968 film staring Charlton Heston about a space ship that landed on a planet inhabited by apes.. The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, scheduled to open Aug 5, stars James Franco and John Lithgow. This version centers around a medical team working on a cure for Alzheimer's. Their first test subject Caesar, a lab ape, undergoes the "cure" that genetically modifies his way of thinking creating a new breed of ape with human-like intelligence. Caesar learns rapidly, but human authority continues to be his nemesis. Breaking free, Caesar releases the cure to the other apes. Millions of apes begin to rally and revolute and soon war breaks out between humans and apes. There is only one who is able to stop the revolution. This is not quite how the original book and film went but it is a modern twist on an old classic.

The Help written by Kathryn Stockett, due out Aug 12, stars Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mary Steenburgen, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Cicely Tyson and Sissy Spacek. This long await film adapted from the novel is set in Mississippi during the 1960s. When a southern society girl returns home from college determined to become a writer, she turns her friends' lives as well as the town upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families thereby exposing the unspoken code of rules and behavior of the old south.

One Day by David Nicholls out Aug 10 starring Anne Hathaway. Patricia Clarkson, Jim Sturgess. Nichols wrote both the book and the film script about a young couple who spend their college graduation night together, and over the next two decades, key moments of their relationship are experienced over several July 15ths. This long timeline allows us to explore various different pop-culture eras and the thrust of the book is similar to When Harry Met Sally. A working-class girl of principle and ambition dreams of making the world a better place while the wealthy charmer dreams that the world will be his playground. Through friendship and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears they realize that what they are searching and hoping for has been there for them all along.


  1. Excellent post Ann...I'm sharing this with our patrons at Saxton B.

    I'm looing forward to Sarah's Key and think I'll have to see Planet of the Apes; those eyes have captured me!

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