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April 2012

Books on Screen

April 2012

With the arrival of spring, you may be tempted to spend all your time enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. But when April showers hit, have no fear --- plenty of great movies are releasing this month that will provide you endless indoor entertainment!

The Lucky One, based on Nicholas Sparks’s novel of the same name, hits theaters on the 20th. It follows a U.S. Marine Sergeant as he goes in search of a girl he doesn’t know, whose photograph he found during his tour of duty in Iraq. But when he finally finds Beth, he can't bring himself to reveal his secret.

Jo Nesbø’s work comes to life on the big screen for the first time with the April 27th release of Headhunters. Here we are introduced to Roger Brown, an accomplished headhunter who risks everything to obtain a valuable painting owned by a former mercenary.

In The HunterMartin, a skilled and ruthless mercenary, travels into the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for a tiger believed to be extinct. And another adventurer takes to the high seas in The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Pirate Captain may not be as successful a world terror as he would like, but he’s about to embark on an epic adventure to beat his longtime rivals, Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz, to obtain the coveted Pirate of the Year Award.

Meanwhile, in The Moth Diaries, Rebecca is suspicious of Ernessa, the new arrival at her boarding school. But is Rebecca just jealous of Ernessa's bond with Lucie, or does the new girl truly possess a dark secret?

The Eye of the Storm introduces viewers to Elizabeth Hunter, who has always been in control of everything in her life --- society, her staff, her children. But the once great beauty will now determine her most defiant act as she chooses her time to die.

And speaking of death, The Raven is about a serial killer who bases his methods of killing on Edgar Allan Poe’s stories (beginning with The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Pit and the Pendulum and working his way through other stories). Poe himself is called in to help solve the crime.

If you're looking for something not quite as gritty, consider Think Like a Man. When four women buy Steve Harvey’s relationship book, THINK LIKE A MAN, the men in their lives unite to use the book to their advantage and teach their ladies a lesson of their own.

On the small screen this month, a special documentary called "Harper Lee: Hey, Boo" airs on PBS. If you loved TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD like millions of others, be sure to check it out. Based on interviews and never-before-seen photos and letters, the documentary sheds light on Harper Lee's life, provides a history of the Deep South at the time MOCKINGBIRD was published, and examines the book's ongoing legacy and its impact on influential leaders and public figures from the 1950s through today.

Meanwhile, PBS is also airing several movie events based on classic books, including Great Expectations, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Birdsong.

“Game of Thrones” has begun its second season, in which the struggle for the Iron Throne resumes. “Castle," "The Firm" and "GCB" continue their respective seasons, and War Horse and We Bought a Zoo are both new on DVD.

In Theaters:
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Frances O'Connor, Sam Neill
Director: Daniel Nettheim
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
MPAA Rating: R                                                           
Release Date: April 6th (limited)
Based On: THE HUNTER by Julia Leigh  
Martin, a skilled and ruthless mercenary, travels into the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for a tiger believed to be extinct. Hired by an anonymous company that wants the tiger's genetic material, Martin arrives in Tasmania posing as a scientist. He proceeds to set up a base camp at a broken-down farmhouse, where he stays with a family whose father has gone missing. Usually a loner, Martin becomes increasingly close to the family; however, as his attachment to the family grows, Martin is led down a path of unforeseen dangers, complicating his deadly mission.
Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis, Charlotte Rampling
Director: Fred Schepisi
Distributor: Sycamore Entertainment Group, Inc.
MPAA Rating: Not rated
Release Date: April 20th (limited)
Based On: THE EYE OF THE STORM by Patrick White
In the Sydney suburb of Centennial Park, two nurses, a housekeeper and a solicitor attend to Elizabeth Hunter as her expatriate son and daughter convene at her deathbed. But in dying, as in living, Mrs. Hunter remains a powerful force on those who surround her.
Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson
Director: Scott Hicks
Distributor: Warner Bros.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: April 20th (wide)
Based On: THE LUCKY ONE by Nicholas Sparks
U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault returns from his third tour of duty in Iraq, with the one thing he credits with keeping him alive --- a photograph he found of a woman he doesn’t even know. Learning her name is Beth and where she lives, he shows up at her door, and ends up taking a job at her family-run local kennel. Despite her initial mistrust and the complications in her life, a romance develops between them, giving Logan hope that Beth could be much more than his good luck charm.
Cast: Scott Speedman, Sarah Bolger, Sarah Gadon, Lily Cole
Director: Mary Harron
Distributor: IFC Films
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: April 20th (limited)
Based On: THE MOTH DIARIES by Rachel Klein
Adolescence is and always will be a time of intense emotional confusion, especially if you spend it in a closed environment. That's the case with Rebecca, a young girl haunted by her father's suicide, who is a student at an exclusive female boarding school. She pours her heart out in a diary, much of it focused on Lucy, her beloved roommate. Their relationship changes drastically with the arrival of a mysterious new student, Ernessa. As Lucy abandons her for this new girl, Rebecca becomes consumed with thoughts of jealousy and suspicion --- Ernessa is dangerous, evil, a vampire. Is there any truth to all this or is Rebecca slipping into insanity?
Cast: Michael Ealy, Kevin Hart, Romany Malco, Jerry Ferrara, Taraji P. Henson, Gary Owen, Meagan Good,  Terrence J, Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall, Jenifer Lewis, Chris Brown
Director: Tim Story
Distributor: Screen Gems
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: April 20th (wide)
Based on Steve Harvey's bestselling book, Think Like a Man follows four interconnected and diverse men whose love lives are shaken up after the ladies they are pursuing buy Harvey's book and start taking his advice to heart. When the band of brothers realize they have been betrayed by one of their own, they conspire using the book's insider information to turn the tables and teach the women a lesson of their own.
Cast: Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Martin Freeman (voices)
Director: Peter Lord
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: April 27th (wide)
Based On: The first two books in Gideon Defoe’s The Pirates! series
In The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Hugh Grant stars in his first animated role as the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain --- a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side, and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award. It’s a quest that takes our heroes from the shores of exotic Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Along the way they battle a diabolical queen and team up with a haplessly smitten young scientist, but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure! 
Cast: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans
Director: James McTeigue
Distributor: Relativity Media
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: April 27th (wide)
Based On: The life of Edgar Allan Poe
When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's works, a young Baltimore detective joins forces with Poe to stop him from making his stories a reality.
Cast: Aksel Hennie, Synnøve Macody Lund, Nicolaj Coster-Waldau
Director: Morten Tyldum
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: April 27th (limited)
Based On: HEADHUNTERS by Jo Nesbø
Roger Brown is Norway's most successful headhunter. The unscrupulous Brown leads a life of excess and finances his extravagance by way of dangerous art thefts. When he meets the Dutchman Clas Greve he sees the chance to become financially independent and starts planning his biggest hit ever. But soon he runs into trouble --- and it's not financial problems that are threatening to bring him down this time.

On TV:
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Emilia Clarke, Michelle Fairley, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Kit Harington, Harry Lloyd
Network: HBO
Air Dates: Sundays at 9 pm ET
Season Two Premiere: April 1st
Based On: A CLASH OF KINGS: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2 by George R.R. Martin
Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plots, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men...all will play the "Game of Thrones."
Cast: Gillian Anderson, David Suchet, Ray Winstone, Douglas Booth
Network: PBS
Air Dates: April 1st and 8th at 9 pm ET
Based On: GREAT EXPECTATIONS by Charles Dickens
An orphan boy meets an escaped convict, a crazed rich woman, a bewitching girl, and grows up to have great expectations of wealth from a mysterious patron on "Great Expectations," Charles Dickens's remarkable tale of rags to riches to self-knowledge.
Cast: Matthew Rhys, Julia MacKenzie, Tamzin Merchant, Freddie Fox
Network: PBS
Air Date: April 15th at 9 pm ET
Based On: THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD by Charles Dickens
An adaptation and completion of Charles Dickens's last novel left unfinished at his death, The Mystery Of Edwin Drood is a psychological thriller about a provincial choirmaster's obsession with 17-year-old Rosa Bud.
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Clemence Poesy
Network: PBS 
Air Dates: April 22nd and 29th
Based On: BIRDSONG by Sebastian Faulks
Birdsong is an adaptation of Sebastian Faulks's novel about lovers torn apart by World War I. Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Wrayford, whose pre-war affair with Isabelle Azaire has an enduring effect on him as he fights in the trenches.
Cast: Tom Brokaw, Oprah Winfrey, James Patterson, Alice Finch Lee
Network: PBS
Air Dates: April 2nd at 10:00 pm ET
Based On: The life of Harper Lee and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

One of the biggest bestsellers of all time, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1960) is the first and only novel by a young woman named Nelle Harper Lee, who once said that she wanted to be South Alabama’s Jane Austen. Lee won the Pulitzer Prize and became a mystery when she stopped speaking to the press in 1964.

Cast: Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Jon Huertas, Seamus Dever, Tamala Jones, Molly C. Quinn, Susan Sullivan, Penny Johnson Jerald
Network: ABC
Air Dates: Mondays at 10:00 pm ET/PT
Based On: The career of author Richard Castle (current bestseller: HEAT RISES
Castle is a one-hour witty drama based on a famous mystery novelist who helps the NYPD homicide department solve crimes.
Richard “Rick” Castle is a bestselling mystery author who was investigated by the New York City police department when the victim of a murder matched the description of a victim in one of his novels. At the time, Castle was suffering writer’s block, having just killed off the main character, Derrick Storm, in his successful series of novels. During the investigation, Castle is inspired by his run-in with the beautiful Detective Kate Beckett, and through his connections with the Mayor, he gets permission to hang out as a consultant at the precinct to do research for his book.
During season one, we see the team get to know each other while working to solve a new case each week. We learn about Castle’s endearing relationship with his teenage, oddly responsible daughter, Alexis, and his slightly crazy mother, Martha, who has moved in with them. The season ends on a cliffhanger after Castle confesses to Beckett that he had been looking into the mystery behind her mother’s death, something she specifically asked him not to do.
In season two, we find Castle trying to work his way back into Beckett’s good graces. With new writers joining the team, there are some engaging and unpredictable cases to be solved. We also look a little deeper into the lives of the supporting characters.
Cast: Josh Lucas, Molly Parker, Natasha Calis, Callum Keith Rennie, Juliette Lewis, Tricia Helfer, Shaun Majumder
Network: NBC
Air Dates: Saturdays at 9:00 pm ET/PT
Based On: THE FIRM by John Grisham
Based on the blockbuster feature film and bestselling novel by world-renowned author John Grisham (THE PELICAN BRIEF, THE CLIENT), "The Firm" continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere and his family 10 years after the events of the film and novel. As a young associate, McDeere brought down the prestigious Memphis law firm of Bendini, Lambert & Locke, which operated as a front for the Chicago mob --- and his life was never the same. After a difficult decade, which included a stay in the Federal Witness Protection program, Mitch and his family now emerge from isolation to reclaim their lives and their future --- only to find that past dangers are still lurking and new threats are everywhere.
Cast: Leslie Bibb, Mark Deklin, Kristen Chenoweth, Miriam Shor, Annie Potts, Marisol Nichols
Network: ABC
Air Dates: Sundays at 10 pm ET/PT
Based On: GOOD CHRISTIAN B*TCHES by Kim Gatlin
"GCB" is a funny, sassy and heartwarming drama that begs the question: Can you go back home to a place where no one seems to have grown up?
When former mean girl Amanda Vaughn moves back to Dallas 18 years after high school, former unpopular teen-turned-diva-of-Dallas Carlene Cockburn gets a major dose of PTSD. To top it off, Amanda’s living across the street from the Cockburns with her feisty mother Gigi Stopper! Amanda has changed for the morally, better but Carlene and her other victims --- the GCBs --- have their doubts. The GCBs now rule the school that is Dallas society and are about to settle the score with Amanda Vaughn.

The other fabulous GCBs include the shrewd, distinguished CEO Cricket; the endearing, consummate housewife and mother, Sharon; and the self-made, always-single-but-on-the-prowl Heather.   

Behind every great GCB (except Heather, of course), is a great husband, which includes Carlene’s Ripp, a devoted hunk with a secret or two; Cricket’s Blake, her gorgeously fabulous better half; and Sharon’s Zack, a good-time guy and former pro athlete.


New on DVD:
Cast: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis
Director: Steven Spielberg
Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: April 3rd
Based On: WAR HORSE by Michael Morpurgo
War Horse is a tale of loyalty, hope and tenacity set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War. It begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets --- British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter --- before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man’s Land.
Cast: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church
Director: Cameron Crowe
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: April 3rd
Based On: WE BOUGHT A ZOO by Benjamin Mee
WE BOUGHT A ZOO, a memoir by Benjamin Mee, tells the true account of how the author and his family used their life savings to buy a dilapidated zoo, replete with 200 exotic animals facing destruction, in the English countryside. Mee, along with his children, had to balance caring for his wife, who was dying of brain cancer, with dealing with escaped tigers, raising endangered animals, working with an eclectic skeleton crew and readying the zoo for a reopening.