Happy New Year, Books on Screen lovers! We’re starting 2014 off strong. While awards season kicks into full gear this month, movies take a bit of a breather from the intensity of the past few weeks. Theaters may be short on the more serious Oscar bait, but there are plenty of high-octane thrillers heating up the screens this frosty winter. Snow money? Snow problem! If you’re stuck inside this month, there’s plenty to see on TV, including a highly anticipated cult-classic adaptation and the return of a whole bunch of vampires.
The action gets going mid-month with the January 17th release of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Chris Pine is the fourth actor to fill Jack Ryan’s shiny black CIA shoes (previously filled by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck), and this time a young Ryan must race against time to stop an imminent terrorist attack --- the future of his country, his career and his marriage hang in the balance. If you're looking for a film that's not quite as action-packed but equally intense and compelling, we suggest Labor Day. Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin star as unlikely lovers and will surely make you swoon.
Speaking of unlikely lovers, Lifetime will be airing the highly anticipated TV movie version of the cult classic FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC. If you weren’t one of the millions of preteens who hid this book under your mattress, it’s about the Dollanganger kids, who are somehow convinced to stay hidden in their crazy grandma’s attic while their mother reclaims the family fortune. Let’s just say puberty is weird for everybody, but especially for siblings locked in a small room with very limited social lives. If watching movies about incest isn’t quite your cup of tea, then be sure to tune in for the return of Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula --- his ruthless obsession with a married woman who looks just like his long-dead wife is way more normal, relatively speaking.
Plus, with Carrie and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 releasing on DVD this month, there’s plenty of small screen excitement for those of us who would rather stay in when the temperature takes a dip.
--- Written and compiled by Emily Hoenig
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Cast: Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh, Keira Knightley
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: January 17th (wide)
Based On: Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy
Based on the CIA analyst created by espionage master Tom Clancy, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a blistering action thriller that follows Ryan from his quiet double-life as a veteran-turned-Wall Street executive to his all-out initiation as a hunted American agent on the trail of a massive terrorist plot in Moscow.
Ryan appears to be just another New York executive to his friends and loved ones, but his enlistment into the CIA secretly goes back years. He was brought in as a brainy Ph.D. who crunches global data --- but when Ryan ferrets out a meticulously planned scheme to collapse the U.S. economy and spark global chaos, he becomes the only man with the skills to stop it. Now, he’s gone fully operational, thrust into a world of mounting suspicion, deception and deadly force. Caught between his tight-lipped handler Harper, his in-the-dark fiancée Cathy and a brilliant Russian oligarch, Jack must confront a new reality where no one can seem to be trusted, yet the fate of millions rests on his finding the truth. With the urgency of a lit fuse, he’s in a race to stay one step ahead of everyone around him.
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Socratis Otto, Jai Courtney, Kevin Grevioux
Director: Stuart Beattie
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: January 24th (wide)
Based On: I, FRANKENSTEIN by Kevin Grevioux
Set in a dystopic present where vigilant gargoyles and ferocious demons rage in a battle for ultimate power, Victor Frankenstein's creation Adam finds himself caught in the middle as both sides race to discover the secret to his immortality. From the co-writer of the hit supernatural saga, UNDERWORLD, comes the action thriller I, FRANKENSTEIN, written for the screen and directed by Stuart Beattie, screen story by Kevin Grevioux and Stuart Beattie, based on the Darkstorm Studios graphic novel I, FRANKENSTEIN created by Kevin Grevioux, and brought to life by a cast that includes Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Socratis Otto, Jai Courtney, Kevin Grevioux, Mahesh Jadu, Caitlin Stasey and Aden Young as Victor Frankenstein.
Cast: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire
Director: Jason Reitman
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: January 31st (wide)
Based On: LABOR DAY by Joyce Maynard
Labor Day centers on 13-year-old Henry Wheeler, who struggles to be the man of his house and care for his reclusive mother Adele while confronting all the pangs of adolescence. On a back-to-school shopping trip, Henry and his mother encounter Frank Chambers, a man both intimidating and clearly in need of help, who convinces them to take him into their home and later is revealed to be an escaped convict. The events of this long Labor Day weekend will shape them for the rest of their lives.
“Flowers in the Attic”
Cast: Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn, Kiernan Shipka, Mason Dye
Air Date: January 18th at 8pm ET/PT
Based On: FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC by V.C. Andrews
Based on V.C. Andrews’s controversial book that quickly became a cult classic, the Lifetime Original Movie Flowers in the Attic weaves the twisted story of the Dollanganger kids who, after the unexpected death of their father, are convinced by their mother Corrine (Heather Graham) to stay hidden in the attic of their wealthy grandparents’ mansion so she can reclaim the family fortune. But as her visits begin to wane after she becomes involved with a new husband (Dylan Bruce), the children endure unimaginable treatment at the hands of their ruthless grandmother Olivia Foxworth (Ellen Burstyn). As years go by and the eldest children Cathy (Kiernan Shipka) and Christopher (Mason Dye) come of age, both emotionally and physically, their family’s sordid past entraps them further as they look to each other for comfort.
Cast: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Jessica De Gouw, Thomas Kretschmann, Katie McGrath, Nonso Anozie, Victoria Smurfit
Season 1 Finale: Friday10pm ET
Based On: DRACULA by Bram Stoker
Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys Meyers ("The Tudors") stars in this provocative new drama as one of the world's most iconic characters. It's the late 19th century, and the mysterious Dracula has arrived in London, posing as an American entrepreneur who wants to bring modern science to Victorian society. He's especially interested in the new technology of electricity, which promises to brighten the night --- useful for someone who avoids the sun. But he has another reason for his travels: He hopes to take revenge on those who cursed him with immortality centuries earlier. Everything seems to be going according to plan...until he becomes infatuated with a woman who appears to be a reincarnation of his dead wife.
"The Vampire Diaries"
Cast: Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Steven R. McQueen, Kat Graham, Candice Accola
Network: The CW
Air Dates: Thursdays at 8pm ET
Based On: The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith
In the tumultuous fourth season of "The Vampire Diaries," the world of Mystic Falls was turned upside down when the beautiful and compassionate Elena Gilbert came face-to-face with her worst nightmare --- life as a vampire. While Elena struggled to control her new powers and the overwhelming thirst for blood, the astonishing news that a cure for vampirism may actually exist reached Damon and Stefan Salvatore, the two vampire brothers who love her. Their search for the cure leads the brothers, along with Elena’s brother Jeremy and her best friends Bonnie and Carol, to a horrifying confrontation with the ancient and all-powerful immortal, Silas, who has been entombed with the cure for more than 2,000 years. But Elena isn’t the only vampire who longs to return to life as a human, and the question of who will take the cure is resolved in the heart-stopping season finale, along with moments of unexpected joy, unspeakable sorrow, and a confession of true love.
The series heads into its fifth season with some characters headed off to college, a newly cured vampire trying to survive as a human, and a shocking Salvatore secret.
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde, Ansel Elgort, Julianne Moore
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Distributor: Sony Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: January 14th
Based On: CARRIE by Stephen King
Carrie is a reimaging of a classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
Cast: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, Kristen Schaal
Directors: Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: January 28th
Based On: CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS by Judi Barrett
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 picks up where Sony Pictures Animation's mouth-watering comedy left off. Inventor Flint Lockwood thought he saved the world when he destroyed his most infamous invention --- a machine that turned water into food causing cheeseburger rain and spaghetti tornadoes. But Flint soon learns that his invention survived and is now creating food-animals --- 'foodimals!' Flint and his friends embark on a dangerously delicious mission to battle hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, hippotatomuses, cheespiders and other foodimals to save the world --- again!