Skip to main content

July 2011

Books on Screen

July 2011

There's no shortage of big-screen offerings this month, but we know what most moviegoers are anticipating: the final Harry Potter movie! In this epic ending, the battle between good and evil in the wizarding world will escalate into all-out war. The stakes have never been higher, as Harry draws closer to a showdown with Lord Voldemort. You won't want to miss a second of it!

But if you're still plowing through the books and need to shield your eyes from this finale, there are plenty of other films that will up your heart rate. The First Avenger: Captain America  is an action-packed, fantastical adventure where good must also prevail. Cowboys and Aliens is a true nail-biter --- a stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into a hard desert town that lives in fear. And in Good Neighbors, a serial killer stalks a Montreal neighborhood in 1995.

Several multicultural films will also take you back in time, to lands you may never have seen. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, based on the acclaimed book by Lisa See, brings us to 19th-century China, where seven-year-old girls Snow Flower and Lily are bound together for eternity. Sarah's Key, an adaptation of Tatiana de Rosnay's novel of the same name, begins in Paris in 1942 when 10-year old Sarah is taken by the French police simply for being Jewish. Life, Above All  takes place in a dust-ridden village near Johannesburg, where a rumor destroys 12-year-old Chandra's family. And The Devil's Double  tells the true story of Iraqi army lieutenant Latif Yahia, who was ordered to become the body double to Saddam's son, the notorious "Black Prince."

If you're looking for some lighthearted summer fun instead, Monte Carlo,  starring Selena Gomez, leads three women on a quest for international romance and a hunt for a stolen necklace worth a million bucks. And of course, let's not forget that, on July 15th, Winnie the Pooh and friends return to the big screen for the first time in over 35 years. In Winnie the Pooh,  Owl sends the whole gang --- Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga, Roo and Eeyore --- on a wild adventure to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit. All Pooh wanted to do was find some hunny, but it looks like it's going to be a very busy, perhaps even blustery, day instead!

Our Books into Movies on DVD feature is currently spotlighting four films: Desert Flower, Limitless, The Lincoln Lawyer and Miral. So in case you missed these movies the first time, you can now enjoy them from the comfort of your own home.


Monte Carlo
Cast: Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy, Andie MacDowell, Luke Bracey
Director: Tom Bezucha
Distributor: Fox 2000
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: July 1st (wide)
Based On: HEADHUNTERS by Jules Bass

While on a trip to Paris with her best friend and soon-to-be-stepsister, Grace is mistaken for a British socialite, resulting in all three young women flying to Monte Carlo for a charity ball, auction, and the chance for international romance. However, when a million-dollar necklace goes missing, Grace and her friends must scramble to find it before the auction is ruined and their identities are exposed.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Brendan Gleeson, Rhys Ifans, Jason Isaacs, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman
Director: David Yates
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: July 15th (wide)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 is the final adventure in the Harry Potter film series. The much-anticipated motion picture event is the second of two full-length parts.

In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher, and no one is safe. But it is Harry Potter who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort.

It all ends here.

Life, Above All
Cast: Khomotso Manyaka, Lerato Mvelase, Harriet Manamela, Harriet Lenabe, Keaobaka Makanyane
Director: Oliver Schmitz
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: July 15th (limited)
Based On: CHANDRA'S SECRETS by Allan Stratton

Just after the death of her newly-born sister, 12-year-old Chanda learns of a rumor that spreads like wildfire through her small, dust-ridden village near Johannesburg. It destroys her family and forces her mother to flee. Sensing that the gossip stems from prejudice and superstition, Chanda leaves home and school in search of her mother and the truth.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Cast: Li Bingbing, Gianna Jun, Vivian Wu, Hugh Jackman, Archie Kao, Wu Jiang, Angela Evans, Jennifer Lim, Christina Y. Jun
Director: Wayne Wang
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: July 15th (limited)

In 19th-century China, seven-year-old girls Snow Flower and Lily are matched as laotong --- or "old sames" --- bound together for eternity. Isolated by their families, they furtively communicate by taking turns writing in a secret language, nu shu, between the folds of a white silk fan.

In a parallel story in present-day Shanghai, the laotong's descendants, Nina and Sophia, struggle to maintain the intimacy of their own childhood friendship in the face of demanding careers, complicated love lives, and a relentlessly evolving Shanghai. Drawing on the lessons of the past, the two modern women must understand the story of their ancestral connection, hidden from them in the folds of the antique white silk fan, or risk losing one another forever.

What unfolds are two stories, generations apart, but everlasting in their universal notion of love, hope and friendship.

Winnie the Pooh
Cast: Jim Cummings, Bud Luckey, Craig Ferguson, Jack Boulter, Jim Cummings, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Travis Oates, Wyatt Hall, John Cleese
Director: Stephen Anderson and Don Hall
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Distribution
MPAA Rating: G
Release Date: July 15th (wide)
Based On: The Winnie-the-Pooh series by A. A. Milne

Walt Disney Animation Studios returns to the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie the Pooh, the first big-screen Pooh adventure from Disney animation in more than 35 years. Owl sends the whole gang --- Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Kanga, Roo and Eeyore --- on a wild quest to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit. It turns out to be a very busy day for a bear who simply set out to find some hunny.

The First Avenger: Captain America
Cast: Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Neal McDonough, Derek Luke, Stanley Tucci, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Kenneth Choi
Director: Joe Johnston
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: Not yet rated
Release Date: July 22nd (wide)
Based On: Captain America, the Marvel Comics series by Ed Brubaker

Steve Rogers volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes and Peggy Carter to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull.

Sarah's Key
Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Niels Astrup, Melusine Mayance, Frédéric Pierrot, Michel Duchaussoy
Director: Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: July 22nd (limited)
Based On: SARAH'S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a 10-year old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard --- their secret hiding place --- and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released. Sixty-seven years later: Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own romantic future.

Cowboys & Aliens
Cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde
Director: Jon Favreau
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: Not yet rated
Release Date: July 29th (wide)
Based On: COWBOYS AND ALIENS by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg

1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde. It's a town that lives in fear.

But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known.

Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation.

The Devil's Double
Cast: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Mimoun Oaissa
Director: Lee Tamahori
Distributor: Lionsgate
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: July 29th (limited)
Based On: THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE and I WAS SADDAM'S SON by Latif Yahia and Karl Wendl

Summoned from the frontline to Saddam Hussein's palace, Iraqi army lieutenant Latif Yahia is thrust into the highest echelons of the "royal family" when he's ordered to become the "fiday" --- or body double --- to Saddam's son, the notorious "Black Prince" Uday Hussein, a reckless, sadistic party-boy with a rabid hunger for sex and brutality. With his and his family's lives at stake, Latif must surrender his former self forever as he learns to walk, talk and act like Uday.

But nothing could have prepared him for the horror of the Black Prince's psychotic, drug-addled life of fast cars, easy women and impulsive violence. With one wrong move costing him his life, Latif forges an intimate bond with Sarrab, Uday's seductive mistress who's haunted by her own secrets. But as war looms with Kuwait and Uday's depraved gangster regime threatens to destroy them all, Latif realizes that escape from the devil's den will only come at the highest possible cost.

Good Neighbors
Cast: Scott Speedman, Emily Hampshire, Jay Baruchel, Sean Lu, Anne-Marie Cadieux
Director: Jacob Tierney
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: July 29th (limited)
Based On: CHERE VOISINE by Chrystine Brouillet

Neighbors Spencer and Louise have bonded over their fascination with a recent string of murders terrorizing their community. When a new tenant named Victor arrives in the building, all three quickly hit it off. But as they soon discover, each of them has their own dark secret. As the violence outside mounts, the city retreats indoors for safety. But the more time these three spend together in their apartment building, the clearer it becomes that what they once thought of as a safe haven is as dangerous as any outside terrors they could imagine.