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January 2013

Books on Screen

January 2013

It's cold outside, and what better time to snuggle up with a book? Or, perhaps, a movie based on a book. As we all know, January is an exciting time in Tinseltown --- the Golden Globe Awards are given out and Oscar nominations are announced. Lots of book adaptations have been recognized by the Academy this year, including big screen versions of Yann Martel's LIFE OF PI, Doris Kearns Goodwin's TEAM OF RIVALS, Victor Hugo's LES MISERABLES, and Matthew Quick’s SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. But this month also brings a new crop of film and TV releases with print origins. Among them are Gangster Squad, “The Carrie Diaries,” John Dies at the End, and Parker, based on a character made famous by Donald E. Westlake when he wrote as “Richard Stark.”


In Theaters:

Gangster Squad
Cast: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Distributor:  Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: January 11th (wide)
Based On: GANGSTER SQUAD: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles by Paul Lieberman

Los Angeles, 1949. Ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and --- if he has his way --- every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians who are under his control. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop...except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara and Jerry Wooters, who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart.


Struck by Lightning
Cast: Chris Colfer, Rebel Wilson, Christina Hendricks
Director: Brian Dannelly
Distributor: Tribeca Films
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: January 11th (wide)
Based On: STRUCK BY LIGHTNING by Chris Colfer

After a high school student is killed by a bolt of lightning, flashbacks chronicle his exploits as he blackmails his classmates into contributing to a literary magazine he's publishing.


Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: January 25th (wide)
Based On: "Hansel and Gretel" by The Brothers Grimm

After getting a taste for blood as children, Hansel and Gretel have become the ultimate vigilantes, hell bent on retribution. Now, unbeknownst to them, Hansel and Gretel have become the hunted, and must face an evil far greater than witches...their past.


John Dies at the End
Cast: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones, Daniel Roebuck
Director: Don Coscarelli
Distributor: Magnet Releasing
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: January 25th (wide)
Based On: JOHN DIES AT THE END by David Wong

It's a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can't.


Cast: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez
Director: Taylor Hackford
Distributor: FilmDistrict
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: January 25th (wide)
Based On: FLASHFIRE by Richard Stark (Donald Westlake)

Parker is a professional thief who lives by a personal code of ethics: Don't steal from people who can't afford it and don't hurt people who don't deserve it. But on his latest heist, his crew double crosses him, steals his stash, and leaves him for dead.

Determined to make sure they regret it, Parker tracks them to Palm Beach, playground of the rich and famous, where the crew is planning their biggest heist ever. Donning the disguise of a rich Texan, Parker takes on an unlikely partner, Leslie, a savvy insider, who's short on cash, but big on looks, smarts and ambition. Together, they devise a plan to hijack the score, take everyone down and get away clean.



On TV:

"The Carrie Diaries"
Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Richard Kohnke
Network: The CW
Series Premiere: Monday, January 14th at 8pm ET/PT
Based On: THE CARRIE DIARIES by Candace Bushnell

It's 1984, and life isn't easy for 16-year-old Carrie Bradshaw. Since their mother passed away, Carrie's younger sister Dorrit is more rebellious than ever, and their father Tom is overwhelmed with the responsibility of suddenly having to care for two teenage girls on his own. Carrie's friends --- sweet, geeky Mouse, snarky Maggie and sensitive Walt --- make life bearable, but a suburban life in Connecticut isn't doing much to take her mind off her troubles. Even the arrival of a sexy new transfer student named Sebastian only reminds Carrie that she spent the whole summer grieving rather than moving on with life.

So when Tom offers Carrie the chance to intern at a law firm in Manhattan, she leaps at the chance. Carrie's eyes are opened wide at the glamour and grit of New York City --- and when she meets Larissa, the style editor for Interview magazine, she's inspired by the club culture and unique individuals that make up Larissa's world. Carrie's friends and family may have a big place in her heart, but she's fallen in love for the first time with the most important man in her life --- Manhattan.


Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Lucy Liu
Network: CBS
Air Dates: Thursdays at 10pm ET/PT
Based On: The Sherlock Holmes Mysteries by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In a modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes, the iconic detective is taking on New York. Just out of rehab, he's been assigned to live with his worst nightmare-sober coach, Dr. Joan Watson. Holmes's unsurpassed skills of deduction and Watson's medical expertise come together to create a dream team for solving the NYPD's most impossible cases.




Cast: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton
Director: David Cronenberg
Distributor: eOne Films
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: January 1st
Based On: COSMOPOLIS by Don DeLillo

New York City, not-too-distant-future: Eric Packer, a 28 year-old finance golden boy dreaming of living in a civilization ahead of this one, watches a dark shadow cast over the firmament of the Wall Street galaxy, of which he is the uncontested king. As he is chauffeured across midtown Manhattan to get a haircut at his father's old barber, his anxious eyes are glued to the yuan's exchange rate: it is mounting against all expectations, destroying Eric's bet against it. Eric Packer is losing his empire with every tick of the clock. Meanwhile, an eruption of wild activity unfolds in the city's streets. Petrified as the threats of the real world infringe upon his cloud of virtual convictions, his paranoia intensifies during the course of his 24-hour cross-town odyssey.

Cast: Karl Urban, Lena Headey, Olivia Thirlby
Director: Peter Travis
Distributor: Lionsgate
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: January 8th
Based On: Judge Dredd comics by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra
The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One --- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called "Judges" who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge --- a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of "Slo-Mo" experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.
Cast: Martin Sheen, Stephen Rea, Trystan Gravelle
Director: Thaddeus O'Sullivan
Distributor: Tribeca Films
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
DVD Release Date: January 8th
Based On:  STELLA DAYS by Michael Doorley
Father Barry's hopes of reappointment to Rome are dashed by tenacious Bishop Hegarty, whose sole objective is to control the "hearts and minds" of the dwindling population by building modernist churches designed to dominate horizons around the country. Roped into raising funds for a venture he views with scepticism, cinephile Barry seizes the opportunity to open the Stella Cinema, which will hopefully have a civilizing influence while hastily generating necessary profits.
The Paperboy
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack
Director: Lee Daniels
Distributor: Millennium Films
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: January 22nd
Based On: THE PAPERBOY by Pete Dexter
A directionless young man helps his reporter brother investigate the possible wrongful conviction of a man on death row, and in the process, falls for the woman whom the convict has been romancing through prison correspondence.