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April 2016

Books on Screen

April 2016

Happy “Game of Thrones” month, Books on Screen readers! Can you feel it in the air, as thick as Jon Snow’s hair? That’s not early spring humidity; it’s excitement! It feels like a lifetime ago that the season five finale aired, and now we’re finally going to learn the fates of our favorite characters (JON SNOW JON SNOW JON SNOW), come hell or Ramsay Bolton. I was strictly told that I couldn’t devote this entire column to “Game of Thrones,” but --- as someone who, against all odds, was able to write about GONE WITH THE WIND in every single ninth grade English paper --- there are always loopholes. So welcome to Books on Screen, Thrones Edition! And sorry in advance, Tom.

In theaters this month is The Jungle Book, a technical marvel of CGI and the magic of Disney that elevates the classic boy-raised-by-wolves story to soaring new heights. Mowgli is an orphan who must learn to navigate the jungle --- a place both wondrous and cruel, and as infested with snakes as King’s Landing. A Hologram for the King, also out this month, is not the story of how Elon Musk resurrects Jon Snow, although you wouldn’t be crazy for thinking that. It’s actually based on the Dave Eggers book about a desperate man seeking a last-ditch opportunity on foreign shores. Get that man a disappointed father and an idealistic queen, and his Jorah Mormont arc is complete. And be sure to check out High-Rise on VOD this month, based on the J. G. Ballard thriller about the residents of an ultra-modern high-rise building’s descent into tribal warfare --- a dystopian nightmare straight out of Cersei Lannister’s dreams.

On TV this month is “Game of Thrones,” if you hadn’t heard, but also other things to be genuinely excited about. “Outlander” is back for its second season, and it’s bringing Claire and Jamie to Paris, and the luscious court of King Louis the XV, where they preen and plot to prevent the Jacobite uprising. If you thought Jamie looked braw in a kilt, wait ‘til you seem him in all that rococo finery. It’s almost enough to take my mind off GoT, but not quite. We’ll also be losing some fan-favorite shows to season finales this month, including the stellar “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” the tenacious “The Magicians,” and the fresh-faced "Shadowhunters." As they say in Essos, “valar morghulis,” roughly translated as all TV shows must die for 10 months or so.

Spring is coming, people, and with it winter. Winter, of course, means Walkers and wights --- which is really just a euphemism for the zombie state “Game of Thrones” fans revert to when their show is back on the air. Good luck out there! Now, where did I park my dragon?


--- Written and compiled by Emily Stark Hoenig


In Theaters:

Kill Your Friends
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, James Corden, Tom Riley, Georgia King, Ed Skrein, Rosanna Arquette
Director: Owen Harris
Distributor: Attitude Film Entertainment
MPAA Rating: N/A
Release Date: April 1st (limited)
Based on: KILL YOUR FRIENDS by John Niven

An A&R man working at the height of the Britpop music craze goes to extremes in order to find his next hit.


The Adderall Diaries
Cast: Amber Heard, James Franco, Christian Slater, Ed Harris, Wilmer Valderrama
Director: Pamela Romanowsky
Distributor: A24
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: April 15th (limited)
Based on: THE ADDERALL DIARIES: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder by Stephen Elliott

Based on the bestselling memoir by Stephen Elliott, The Adderall Diaries is the gripping and complex story of how an author's fascination with a high-profile murder case leads him to come to terms with his troubled past while embarking on a potentially life-changing romance in the present.


The Jungle Book
Cast: Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken
Director: Jon Favreau
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: April 15th
Based on: THE JUNGLE BOOKS by Rudyard Kipling

An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear and a black panther.


Cast: Alexander Ludwig, Julia Stiles, Anthony Hopkins, Lindsay Williams, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Distributor: Electric Entertainment
Release Date: April 22nd
Based on: GO WITH ME by Castle Freeman, Jr.

An ex-logger comes to the aid of a woman who returns to her hometown in the Pacific Northwest and finds herself harassed and stalked by a former cop turned crime lord.

A Hologram for the King

Cast: Tom Hanks, David Menkin, Tom Skerritt, Sarita Choudhury, Tracey Fairaway, Alexander Black
Director: Tom Tykwer
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: April 22nd
Based on: A HOLOGRAM FOR A KING by Dave Eggers

A failed American businessman looks to recoup his losses by traveling to Saudi Arabia and selling his idea to a wealthy monarch.

Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, James Purefoy
Director: Ben Wheatley
Distributor: StudioCanal
Release Date: April 28th (VOD); in theaters May 13th
Based on: HIGH-RISE by J. G. Ballard

Laing, a young doctor, joins a community in a luxury building in Thatcher's England, who exile themselves from society and gradually divide into violent tribes.

The Family Fang
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Jason Bateman, Christopher Walken, Maryann Plunkett, Eugenia Kuzmina, Linda Emond
Director: Jason Bateman
Distributor: Starz
Release Date: April 29th
Based on: THE FAMILY FANG by Kevin Wilson

After an unlikely accident, a pair of grown siblings are compelled to move back in with their eccentric parents, professional practical jokers whose lifetime of public interventions have alienated their children.


The Man Who Knew Infinity
Cast: Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Stephen Fry, Toby Jones, Jeremy Northam
Director: Matt Brown
Distributor: IFC Films
Release Date: April 29th (limited)
Based on: THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY by Robert Kanigel

The Man Who Knew Infinity is the true story of friendship that forever changed mathematics. In 1913, Ramanujan, a self-taught Indian mathematics genius traveled to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he forged a bond with his mentor, the eccentric professor GH Hardy, and fought against prejudice to reveal his mathematic genius to the world.


On TV:

“Outlander,” Season 2
Cast: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies
Network: Starz
Air Dates: Premieres April 9th; Saturdays at 9pm ET
Based On: The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

“Outlander” follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire's heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.


Cast: Nathan Phillips, Britne Oldford, Mark Coles Smith
Network: Syfy
Air Dates: Premieres April 11th; Mondays at 10pm ET
Based On: The Alien Hunter series by Whitley Strieber

The disappearance of a decorated FBI agent's wife leads him to a secret government unit assembled to hunt a group of ruthless terrorists --- shadowy figures that may or may not be from this world.


“The Night Manager”
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman
Network: AMC
Air Dates: Premieres April 19th; Tuesdays at 10pm ET
Based On: THE NIGHT MANAGER by John le Carré

A night manager of a European hotel is recruited by intelligence agents to infiltrate an international arms dealer's network.


“Game of Thrones,” Season 6
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aidan Gillen, Natalie Dormer, Liam Cunningham, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams
Network: HBO
Air Dates: Premieres April 24th; Sundays at 9pm ET
Based On: A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin

While a civil war brews between several noble families in Westeros, the children of the former rulers of the land attempt to rise up to power. Meanwhile a forgotten race, bent on destruction, return after thousands of years in the North.


“Hap and Leonard”
James Purefoy, Michael K. Williams, Christina Hendricks, Bill Sage, Jimmi Simpson
Network: Sundance
Air Dates: Wednesdays at 10pm ET
Based On: SAVAGE SEASON: A Hap and Leonard Novel by Joe R. Lansdale

A study of the friendship between a white laborer and draft evader and a gay black Vietnam War vet in 1980s East Texas.


“Grantchester” (Season 2)
Cast: James Norton, Robson Green, Morven Christie, Tessa Peake-Jones
Network: ITV
Air Dates: Sundays at 9pm ET
Based On: The Grantchester Mysteries by James Runcie

A detective drama set in 1950s England, in a small village of Granchester near Cambridge, sees Anglican priest Sidney Chambers forge an unlikely partnership with the local Detective Inspector Geordie Keating after one of the vicars parishioners dies in suspicious circumstances. Chambers' more intuitive techniques of coaxing information from suspects forms the unlikely respect with the over-worked Inspector Keating.


“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (limited series)
Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance, David Schwimmer, John Travolta, Selma Blair, Connie Britton, Sterling K. Brown
Network: FX
Air Dates: Tuesdays at 10pm ET; season finale April 5th
Based On: THE RUN OF HIS LIFE: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin

“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” is a limited series that takes you inside the O.J. Simpson trial with a riveting look at the legal teams battling to convict or acquit the football legend of double homicide. Based on the book THE RUN OF HIS LIFE: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin, it explores the chaotic behind-the-scenes dealings and maneuvering on both sides of the court, and how a combination of prosecution overconfidence, defense shrewdness and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African-American community gave a jury what it needed: reasonable doubt.


“The Magicians” (limited series)
Cast: Jason Ralph, Arjun Gupta, Stella Maeve, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Hale Appleman, Summer Bishil, Jade Tailor
Network: Syfy
Air Dates: Mondays at 9pm ET; season finale April 11th
Based On: The Magicians fantasy trilogy by Lev Grossman

A group of 20somethings studying magic in New York discover a real-life fantasy world that poses a great threat to humanity in this drama adapted from Lev Grossman's book series.


Cast: Tom Ellis, Lauren German, Rachel Harris, D.B. Woodside, Lesley-Ann Brandt, Nicholas Gonzalez, Scarlett Estevez
Network: Fox
Air Dates: Mondays at 9pm ET
Based On: LUCIFER by Mike Carey (spinoff of the character first introduced in SANDMAN by Neil Gaiman

When the devil tires of life in Hell, he materializes in the City of Angels, where he aids the LAPD in rounding up and punishing evildoers in this TV-adaptation of the comic book.


“The Flash”
Cast: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Rick Cosnett, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, Jessie L. Martin
Network: The CW
Air Dates: Tuesdays at 8pm ET
Based On: THE FLASH: DC Comics character created by Robert Kanigher, John Broome and Carmine Infantino

Following the defeat of Barry Allen's arch-nemesis Eobard Thawne (a.k.a. Reverse Flash), Team Flash quickly turned their attention to the singularity swirling high above Central City, which fans last saw consuming everything in its path. Armed with the heart of a hero and the ability to move at super speeds, Barry charged into the eye of the singularity, but will he actually be able to save his city from impending doom?


Cast: Katherine McNamara, Dominic Sherwood, Alberto Rosende, David Castro
Network: Freeform
Air Dates: Tuesdays at 9pm ET; season finale April 5th
Based On: THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

On her 18th birthday, a woman discovers that she's an angel-human hybrid who hunts demons. After her mother is kidnapped, Clary must venture into the dark world of demon hunting in order to find clues that can help her find her mother.


Cast: Stephen Amell, Colin Donnell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Susanna Thompson, Paul Blackthorne
Network: The CW
Air Dates: Wednesdays at 8pm ET
Based On: DC Comics character Green Arrow created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp

After defeating his most formidable foe to date and riding off into the sunset with longtime flame Felicity Smoak, Oliver Queen (aka The Arrow) left Starling City with the hopes of beginning a new life. But will Oliver ever truly be able to leave behind his past as the Arrow, and, if so, what becomes of the team he has worked so hard to assemble? Will Diggle, Thea and Laurel be left to continue Oliver’s crusade without him? And with Malcolm Merlyn having ascended to the top of the League of Assassins as the new Ra's al Ghul, is anyone really safe?


"Legends of Tomorrow"
Cast: Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Arthur Darvill, Ciara Renée, Franz Drameh, Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, Casper Crump
Network: The CW
Air Dates: Thursdays at 8pm ET
Based On: DC Comics characters

A time-traveling rogue assembles a group of heroes and villains to prevent the world's destruction.



The Revenant
Cast: Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Paul Anderson
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: April 19th
Based on: THE REVENANT: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke

Inspired by true events, The Revenant is an immersive and visceral cinematic experience capturing one man's epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit. In an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald. Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption.