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November 2011

Books on Screen

November 2011

On November 18th, the long-awaited next installment of The Twilight Saga will finally be released. Although BREAKING DAWN concludes the book series, all you “Twihards” out there know that this final novel will be split into two different films. In Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Bella Swan and Edward Cullen are finally married, but an unplanned pregnancy sets a deadly chain of events in motion. And hitting the big screen on the 23rd is Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese and based on Brian Selznick’s THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. Hugo is a young orphan boy who is secretly living inside the walls of a busy Paris train station in the 1930s, and a mysterious mechanical man draws him into a thrilling adventure.

In a different part of Europe, an isolated young actress hires an ex-con named Mitchel as her bodyguard in London Boulevard, based on the novel by Ken Bruen. But when Mitchel falls in love, he also falls into a direct confrontation with one of London’s most vicious gangsters. Set in another era of London, Killing Bono, based on the memoir by Neil McCormick, tells the story of two ambitious brothers longing for rock and roll fame, but falling into the shadow of their schoolmates --- the founding members of U2.

In A Dangerous Method, adapted from the book by John Kerr, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud have an intense relationship, complicated by an unstable but powerful young woman, which leads to the birth of psychoanalysis. And another scandalous story is told in My Week With Marilyn, based on Colin Clark’s controversial memoir. The film centers on the tense relationship between Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during production of The Prince and the Showgirl.

Another dramatic story unfolds in The Descendants, adapted from the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings. Wealthy landowner Matt King has his life upended when his wife, Joanie, is involved in a boating accident. King struggles to reconnect with his two daughters as the three of them take a journey to deliver the news of Joanie's imminent death to the man with whom she was having an affair.

Debuting on the small screen this month is Certain Prey, a made-for-TV movie on the USA Network based on the novel by John Sanford. Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Lucas Davenport has to face off against a lethal hit woman and a vicious and cunning killer determined to hunt him down.

'Tis the season for another inspirational film based on Debbie Macomber's bestselling holiday-themed novels. This year, Hallmark Channel airs Trading Christmas. Will Christmas travel calamities lead to cross-country romances? Or have there been one too many surprises already?

What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together? This very question is explored in the ABC Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Have a Little Faith, in which a charismatic African-American preacher and a feisty, funny rabbi profoundly affect author Mitch Albom each in their own way.

And as part of TNT's Mystery Movie Night, the cable channel will feature six TV movie specials --- all based on novels --- in November and December. The event kicks off with Scott Turow's Innocent on November 29th, about a judge charged with the murder of his wife and struggling to hide a secret affair from his past. The next night brings Ricochet, based on Sandra Brown's thriller, in which two homicide detectives find their careers --- and lives --- on the line when they get caught up in a case of murder and betrayal in high-society Savannah. Keep an eye out for the continuation of this major movie event next month!

Meanwhile, ABC's "Castle" and "The Walking Dead" on AMC continue their respective seasons.

A plethora of DVD releases kicks off the holiday season this month as well. Atlas Shrugged: Part 1, Conan the Barbarian, The Devil’s Double, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2, An Invisible Sign, One Day, Sarah’s Key, Seven Days in Utopia, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Water for Elephants all will be released in November for your viewing (or gifting) pleasure.

In Theaters:
Cast:  Krysten Ritter, Ben Barnes, Robert Sheehan
Director: Nick Hamm
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
U.S. Release Date: November 4th (limited)
Based on: KILLING BONO: I Was Bono's Doppelganger by Neil McCormick
Neil McCormick always knew he'd be famous. A young Irish songwriter and budding genius, nothing less than a life of rock n' roll stardom will do. But there's only room for one singer in the school band The Hype, and his friend Paul has already bagged the job. So Neil forms his own band with his brother Ivan, determined to leave The Hype in his wake. There's only one problem: The Hype have changed their name. To 'U2'. And Paul has turned into 'Bono'.
Naturally there's only one option for Neil: become bigger than U2. The brothers head to London in their quest for fame, but they are blighted by the injustices of the music industry, and their every action is dwarfed by the soaring success of their old school rivals. Then, just as they land some success of their own, Ivan discovers the shocking truth behind Neil's rivalry with U2, and it threatens to destroy everything.
As his rock n' roll dream crashes and burns, Neil feels like his failure is directly linked to Bono's success. Is he the yin to Bono's yang? Is he forever destined to live in the shadows of superstardom? And what if the answer lies in... killing Bono?
Cast: Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone
Director: William Monahan
Distributor: IFC Films
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: November 11th (limited)
Based on: LONDON BOULEVARD by Ken Bruen
An ex-con hired to look after a reclusive young actress finds himself falling in love, which puts him in direct confrontation with one of London's most vicious gangsters.
Cast: Kristin Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene
Director: Bill Condon
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: November 18th (wide)
Based On: BREAKING DAWN by Stephenie Meyer

In the highly anticipated next chapter of the blockbuster The Twilight Saga, the newfound married bliss of Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen is cut short when a series of betrayals and misfortunes threatens to destroy their world.

After their wedding, Bella and Edward travel to Rio de Janeiro for their honeymoon, where they finally give in to their passions. Bella soon discovers she is pregnant, and during a nearly fatal childbirth, Edward finally fulfills her wish to become immortal.

But the arrival of their remarkable daughter, Renesmee, sets in motion a perilous chain of events that pits the Cullens and their allies against the Volturi, the fearsome council of vampire leaders, setting the stage for an all-out battle.

Cast: George Clooney, Judy Greer, Matthew Lillard
Director: Alexander Payne
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: November 18th (wide)
Based on: THE DESCENDANTS by Kaui Hart Hemmings
From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning "Sideways,” The Descendants, set in Hawaii, is a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King, an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family's land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries.
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen
Director: David Cronenberg
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: November 23rd (limited)
On the eve of World War I, Zurich and Vienna are the setting for a dark tale of sexual and intellectual discovery. Drawn from true-life events, A Dangerous Method explores the turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung, his mentor Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein, the beautiful but disturbed young woman who comes between them.
Sensuality, ambition and deceit set the scene for the pivotal moment when Jung, Freud and Sabina come together and split apart, forever changing the face of modern thought.
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Johnny Depp, Jude Law
Director: Martin Scorsese
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: November 23rd (wide)
Based On: THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick
An orphaned boy secretly lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station and looks after the clocks. He gets caught up in a mystery adventure when he attempts to repair a mechanical man.
Cast: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne and Kenneth Branagh
Director: Simon Curtis
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: November 23rd (limited)
Based on: MY WEEK WITH MARILYN by Colin Clark
In the early summer of 1956, 23-year-old Colin Clark, just down from Oxford and determined to make his way in the film business, worked as a lowly assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, the film that united Sir Laurence Olivier with Marilyn Monroe, who, whilst shooting, was also on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Arthur Miller. 

Nearly 40 years on, his diary account "The Prince, the Showgirl and Me" was published, but one week was missing, and this is the story of that week: an idyll in which he escorted a Monroe desperate to get away from her retinue of Hollywood hangers-on and the pressures of working. When Arthur Miller makes a brief trip to Paris, the coast is clear for Colin to introduce her to some of the pleasures of British life.

On TV:
Cast: Mark Harmon, Lola Glaudini, Tatiana Maslany
Network: USA
Air Date: Sunday, November 6th at 9:00 pm ET/PT
Based on: CERTAIN PREY by John Sanford
John Sandford's Certain Prey centers on Lucas Davenport, the Deputy Chief of Police for the city of Minneapolis. Davenport doesn't need his job; he could have retired long ago with the money he made designing computer simulations. But Davenport loves what he does just as much as he loves nice suits, fast cars and women. When a cop is shot after witnessing the murder of the wife of a local real estate lawyer, Davenport is called to the scene. The cops quickly zero in on the husband as the prime suspect until a team of FBI agents (or "feebs" as Davenport describes them) descends on Minneapolis with evidence linking the crime to elusive hit woman Clara Rinker.
Taking charge of the investigation, Davenport suspects that Clara is not working alone and sets his sights on Carmel Loan, a high-powered attorney with an intense obsession with the real estate lawyer. As Carmel and Clara try to cover up their crimes, the body count grows and Davenport does what he does best --- break all of the rules to nab this deadly duo.


"Debbie Macomber's Trading Christmas"
Cast: Tom Cavanagh, Gil Bellows, Faith Ford, Gabrielle Miller
Network: Hallmark Channel
Air Date: Saturday, November 26th at 8:00 ET/PT
Based on: TRADING CHRISTMAS by Debbie Macomber

Emily misses her daughter Heather, who is attending college in Boston. Since her father died, Heather is sensitive to her mom’s dependence on long-standing holiday traditions. This Christmas, Heather has planned a trip to Phoenix with her boyfriend, but tells her mother she is staying on campus to study.

After Emily arranges a house-swap with Charles, an English professor from Boston who wants Washington State’s solitude in order to finish his novel, Emily hops on a flight to Boston to surprise Heather for Christmas. Unaware of the house swap, Emily’s best friend, Faith, walks in on Charles at Emily’s house, and in Boston, Ray, Charles’s brother responds to a 911 call only to find Emily at Charles’s condo. Will Christmas travel calamities lead to cross-country romances? Or have there been one too many surprises already?

"Mitch Albom's Have a Little Faith"
Cast: Lawrence Fishburne, Bradley Whitford, Anika Noni Rose, Martin Landau, Mykelti Williamson
Network: ABC
Air Date: Sunday, November 27th at 9:00 pm ET/PT
Based on: HAVE A LITTLE FAITH A True Story by Mitch Albom

Henry Covington was a Detroit preacher who overcame --- along with his wife, Annette, a life mired in drugs and crime. Mitch Albom met the reverend-in-recovery when he wrote newspaper columns about homeless people and homeless shelters. Covington's I Am My Brother's Keeper Church provided food and a place --- on the church floor --- where homeless people could sleep.

The other central character in Albom's book and movie is New Jersey Rabbi Albert Lewis. "The Reb," as Albom calls him, asks Albom --- who had briefly attended the rabbi's synagogue as a child --- to write his eulogy.

On the surface, these two larger-than-life characters, the charismatic African-American preacher and the feisty, funny rabbi, could hardly be more different. But they each in their own way profoundly affect the writer. It's a story about life's purpose --- losing belief and finding it again --- and about the divine spark inside all of us. One man's journey is really everyone's story.

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.

The Walking Dead”

Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jon Bernthal, Norman Reedus
Network: AMC
Air Dates: Sundays at 9:00 pm ET/PT
Based on: THE WALKING DEAD by Robert Kirkman

AMC’s critically acclaimed original series, "The Walking Dead," is back with its much anticipated second season. When we last left the "The Walking Dead," the characters were in the midst of a high-intensity struggle to survive, fleeing the CDC as it burst into flames. In Season 2, they are still on the move, facing more threats and obstacles than ever.


Cast: Bill Pullman, Marcia Gay Harden, Alfred Molina, Tahmoh Penikett, Richard Schiff, Callard Harris, Mariana Klaveno
Network: TNT
Air Date: Tuesday, November 29th at 9:00 pm ET/PT
Based on: INNOCENT by Scott Turow
Bill Pullman stars as Rusty Sabich, a judge charged with the murder of his wife, a situation that comes 20 years after he was cleared in the death of his mistress. During this latest trial, a secret affair from Rusty's recent past threatens to hamper his defense and fracture his relationship with his son. Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden plays Rusty's wife, while Alfred Molina is his friend and defense attorney. Tahmoh Penikett is hot-headed prosecutor Jim Brand. Emmy winner Richard Schiff, Callard Harris and Mariana Klaveno also star. 
Cast: John Corbett, Gary Cole, Julie Benz, Kelly Overton, Kadeem Hardison, Haaz Sleiman
Network: TNT
Air Date: Wednesday, November 30th at 9:00 pm ET/PT
Based on: RICOCHET by Sandra Brown
Two homicide detectives find their careers --- and lives --- on the line when they get caught up in a case of murder and betrayal in high-society Savannah. Emmy nominee John Corbett stars in this atmospheric tale based on the book by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown. He plays Det. Sgt. Duncan Hunter, who is investigating a corrupt judge, played by Gary Cole, while also becoming romantically involved with his wife, played by Julie Benz. Kelly Overton plays Det. Deedee Bowen, Hatcher's blue-collar partner; Kadeem Hardison is Detective Bob Worley; and Haaz Sleiman is drug dealer Robert Savich.

New on DVD:
Cast: Jessica Alba, Chris Messina, John Shea, J.K. Simmons
Director: Marilyn Agrelo
Distributor: IFC Films
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
DVD Release Date: November 1st
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.
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
DVD Release Date: November 1st
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.
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz
Director: Francis Lawrence
Distributor: Fox 2000
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: November 1st
Based On: WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen
Water for Elephants is the touching story of Jacob Jankowski, a 93-year-old man, who is reminded of his colorful past when a circus sets up next door to his assisted-living center. When Jacob overhears a man at the assisted-living center claim to have been a water boy for the elephants on a circus, Jacob knows the man is lying because Jacob himself once worked as a vet on a traveling circus. The lie causes Jacob to spend much of his time remembering his colorful past, wishing he could move back in time and return to those days of camaraderie and excitement. It is a story of coming of age, of facing the realities of death, and living despite it all. Water for Elephants is an adventure for all ages.
Cast: Taylor Schilling, Grant Bowler, Matthew Marsden, Edi Gathegi, Graham Beckel
Director: Paul Johansson
Distributor: Rocky Mountain Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: November 8th
Based On: ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand
Dagny Taggart runs Taggart Transcontinental, the largest remaining railroad company in America, with intelligence, courage and integrity, despite the systematic disappearance of her best and most competent workers.
She is drawn to industrialist Henry Rearden, one of the few men whose genius and commitment to his own ideas matches her own. Rearden's super-strength metal alloy, Rearden Metal, holds the promise that innovation can overcome the slide into anarchy. Using Rearden Metal, they rebuild the critical Taggart rail line in Colorado and pave the way for oil titan Ellis Wyatt to feed the flame of a new American Renaissance.
Hope rises again, when Dagny and Rearden discover the design of a revolutionary motor based on static electricity --- in an abandoned engine factory --- more proof to the sinister theory that the "men of the mind" (thinkers, industrialists, scientists, artists and other innovators) are "on strike" and vanishing from society.
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
DVD Release Date:  November 11th
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.
Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Niels Astrup, Melusine Mayance, Frédéric Pierrot, Michel Duchaussoy
Director: Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: November 22nd
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.
Cast: Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Rose McGowan, Said Taghmaoui,
Director: Marcus Nispel
Distributor: Lionsgate
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: November 22nd
Based On: The Conan characters created by Robert E. Howard
A quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior soon turns into an epic battle against hulking rivals, horrific monsters and impossible odds, as Conan realizes he is the only hope of saving the great nations of Hyboria from an encroaching reign of supernatural evil.
Cast: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Mimoun Oaissa
Director: Lee Tamahori
Distributor: Lionsgate
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: November 22nd
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.

One Day
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Stott, Romola Garai, Rafe Spall
Director: Lone Scherfig
Distributor: Focus Features
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: November 29th
Based On: ONE DAY by David Nicholls
After one day together --- July 15, 1988, their college graduation --- Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew begin a friendship that will last a lifetime. She is a working-class girl of principle and ambition who dreams of making the world a better place. He is a wealthy charmer who dreams that the world will be his playground. For the next two decades, key moments of their relationship are experienced over several July 15ths in their lives. Together and apart, we see Dex and Em through their friendship and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears.
Cast: Lucas Black, Robert Duvall, Melissa Leo, Deborah Ann Woll, Brian Geraghty, Jerry Ferrera, Joseph Lyle Taylor, KJ Choi, Kathy Baker
Director: Matthew Dean Russell  
Distributor: Visio Entertainment
MPAA Rating: G
DVD Release Date: November 29th
Based On: GOLF’S SACRED JOURNEY: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia by David L. Cook
Luke Chisolm is a talented young golfer set on making the pro tour. When his first big shot turns out to be a very public disaster, Luke escapes the pressures of the game and finds himself unexpectedly stranded in Utopia, Texas, home to eccentric rancher Johnny Crawford. But Johnny is more than meets the eye, and his profound ways of looking at life force Luke to question not only his past choices, but his direction for the future.