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May 2011

Books on Screen

May 2011

May yields many different struggles --- Thor wielding his hammer against a dangerous villain, the Priest fighting off vampires, a secret love triangle in Something Borrowed, family strife in Bloodworth, and loss, unemployment and alcoholism in Everything Must Go. But, alas, recovery, triumph and peace are also in sight...or at least we hope so!

To start this month off right, two unique superheroes will righteously battle. Thor, an epic adventure inspired by Stan Lee's creative genius, spans from present-day Earth to the realm of Asgard. The Mighty Thor must learn what it takes to be a true hero, after his reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Priest --- based on the graphic novel series by Hyung Min-woo --- sees another legendary warrior beginning a crusade, after a murderous pack of vampires abduct his beloved niece.

But if you're looking for less bloodshed, Something Borrowed, based on Emily Giffin's novel of the same name, is a safe bet, providing unexpected twists of romance and conflict. On a quirkier note, An Invisible Sign focuses on 20-year-old Mona Gray, whose obsession with math serves as an emotional band-aid for dealing with her ill father. And in Everything Must Go --- adapted from a popular short story by master storyteller Raymond Carver --- an alcoholic loses his wife and his job. We have a feeling that, despite the characters' struggles, happy endings are in store for all three films.

For fans of the Deep South and in anticipation of Father's Day, Bloodworth tackles the consequences of E.F. Bloodworth's decision to abandon his wife and sons for 40 years on the road. Another movie that deals with heavy consequences is HBO's Too Big to Fail, based on the bestselling book by Andrew Ross Sorkin that zeros in on the financial crises of 2008, and reveals some startling surprises. If we're talking surprises, there's also The Vintner's Luck, which tells the tale of a peasant winemaker who has three loves --- one of whom is a fallen angel with wings that smell of snow.

If, by the end of all this, your Claritin still isn't kicking in, relax at home with The Green Hornet, The Rite and I Am Number Four, all spotlighted in our Books into Movies on DVD feature.

An Invisible Sign
Cast: Jessica Alba, Chris Messina, John Shea, J.K. Simmons
Director: Marilyn Agrelo
Distributor: IFC Films
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: May 6th (limited)
Based On: AN INVISIBLE SIGN OF MY OWN by Aimee Bender

Mona Gray is a 20-year-old loner who, as a child, turned to math for salvation after her father became ill. As an adult, Mona now teaches the subject and must help her students through their own crises.

Something Borrowed
Cast: Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, John Krasinski, Colin Egglesfield, Steve Howey, Ashley Williams
Director: Luke Greenfield
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 6th (wide)
Based On: SOMETHING BORROWED by Emily Giffin

Rachel is a talented attorney at a top New York law firm, a generous and loyal friend, and, unhappily, still single…as her engaged best friend Darcy is constantly reminding her. But after one drink too many at her 30th birthday party, perpetual good girl Rachel unexpectedly ends up in bed with the guy she's had a crush on since law school, Dex…who just happens to be Darcy's fiancé. When Rachel and Darcy's lifelong friendship collides with true love, it leads to unexpected complications and potentially explosive romantic revelations.

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Ray Stevenson
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 6th (wide)
Based On: Thor, the Marvel Comic series by Stan Lee

The epic adventure Thor spans the Marvel Universe from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

The Vintner's Luck
Cast: Jérémie Renier, Gaspard Ulliel, Vera Farmiga, Keisha Castle-Hughes
Director: Niki Caro
Distributor: Panorama Entertainment 
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: May 6th (limited)
Based On: THE VINTNER'S LUCK by Elizabeth Knox

Set in early 19th Century France, The Vintner's Luck tells the compelling tale of Sobran Jodeau, an ambitious young peasant winemaker and the three loves of his life --– his beautiful and passionate wife Celeste, the proudly intellectual baroness Aurora de Valday, and Xas, a fallen angel who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Sobran that endures for many years.

A fantastical creature with wings that smell of snow, Xas turns out to be an unconventional mentor. Under his guidance Sobran is forced to fathom the nature of love and belief and in the process grapples with the sensual, the sacred and the profane –-- in pursuit of the perfect vintage.

Everything Must Go
Cast: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Laura Dern, Christopher Jordan Wallace
Director: Dan Rush
Distributor: Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: May 13th (limited)
Based On: The short story "Why Don't You Dance" in the collection WHERE I'M CALLING FROM by Raymond Carver

When alcoholic Nick Halsey relapses, causing him to lose his wife and his job, he holds a yard sale on his front lawn in an attempt to start over. He is at the lowest point in his life. However, a new neighbor might be the key to his return to form.

Cast: Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q
Director: Scott Charles Stewart
Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 13th (wide)
Based On: Priest, a graphic novel series by Hyung Min-woo

A legendary Warrior Priest from the last Vampire War now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece's boyfriend, a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess who possesses otherworldly fighting skills.

Cast: Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, Val Kilmer, Hilary Duff
Director: Shane Dax Taylor
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: May 20th (wide)
Based On: PROVINCES OF NIGHT by William Gay

It's been 40 years since E.F. Bloodworth abandoned his loving wife and sons for a life on the road. Now at the end of the line, Bloodworth reappears, forced to reckon with the stale aftermath of his departure. With his ex-wife Julia mentally destroyed, his three sons; Warren, Boyd and Brady soured by years of anger, Bloodworth's only solace is a budding relationship with Fleming, the grandson he never knew. But when Fleming meets Raven, the woman of his dreams, will Bloodworth's presence force history to repeat itself?

Too Big to Fail
Cast: William Hurt, James Woods, Paul Giamatti, Edward Asner
Director: Scott Charles Stewart
Distributor: HBO Films
Air Date: May 23rd at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO
Based On: TOO BIG TO FAIL by Andrew Ross Sorkin

Best on the bestselling book by Andrew Ross Sorkin, HBO Films takes a look at the epochal financial crises of 2008 and the powerful men and women who decided the fate of the world's economy in a matter of weeks. It centers on Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, who was previously head of Goldman Sachs, and goes behind closed doors to examine the symbiotic relationship with Wall Street and Washington.