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March 2012

Books on Screen

March 2012

The Oscars may be over, but have no fear! The big screen is more packed than ever this month, with everything from wild adventures through fantasy worlds to family dysfunction. No matter what your mood, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your cinematic craving.

After the worldwide phenomenon of The Hunger Games trilogy, the first book in the series makes its on-screen debut on March 23rd (or, for the die-hard fans, March 22nd at midnight!). In a bleak future, the United States has been reduced to a dictatorship with 12 districts. Every year, in order to prevent uprisings, the ruling Capitol forces one boy and one girl from each district to fight each other to the death in a nationally televised arena --- and only one will survive.
On a much lighter note, Dr. Seuss’s classic, The Lorax, is now in theaters --- and in 3D! Twelve-year-old Ted wants more than anything to win the affection of Audrey. One day, Audrey tells him that everything in their town of Thneed-Ville is artificial, and that the one thing she’s always wanted is to see a real, live tree. So Ted sets out on an adventure to find her one.
For more dramatic adventures, John Carter is transported to Mars and becomes tangled in the conflicts raging between its inhabitants. And the Evil Queen in Mirror, Mirror is scheming for control over orphan Snow White’s throne and the attention of a charming prince. But when Snow White wins the prince’s heart instead, the Evil Queen banishes her to a dark forest where boundless terrors await her.
Back in the realm of reality, Being Flynn explores the relationship between Nick Flynn, a struggling young writer, and his estranged father, who he hasn’t seen in 18 years. Meanwhile, in The Trouble with Bliss, 35-year-old Morris Bliss and his father are anything but estranged. They are still sharing an apartment, and Morris wants more than anything to work, travel, and have a life of his own. But a strange relationship with the 18-year-old daughter of one of his former classmates will unexpectedly unravel his life.
Another unusual family situation is the basis of Goon. A bouncer, who is treated as an outcast by his brainy family, overcomes the odds to bring a misfit semi-pro hockey team to victory. On another passionate mission is an old visionary sheik in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, who is trying to bring the pastime of salmon fishing to the desert. When consultant Harriet approaches fisheries expert Dr. Alfred Jones for help with the cause, the unlikely team unites in unexpected ways.
On the small screen this month, HBO airs Game Change, a dramatization of John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate. And "GCB," a new show about former high school mean girl Amanda Vaughn’snot-so-warm welcome back to her Dallas home 18 years later, premieres on ABC.
In Theaters: 
Cast: Robert De Niro, Paul Dano, Olivia Thirlby, Lili Taylor, Wes Studi, Julianne Moore
Director: Paul Weitz
Distributor: Focus Features
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: March 2nd (limited)
Nick Flynn is a young writer seeking to define himself. He misses his late mother, Jody, and her loving nature. But his father, Jonathan, is not even a memory, as Nick has not seen the man in 18 years.
Jonathan Flynn has long defined himself as a great writer, “a master storyteller.” After abandoning his wife and child, Jonathan scrapes through life on his own terms. Despite the occasional grandiose letter to his son, he has remained absent from Nick’s life.
Suddenly facing eviction from his apartment, Jonathan impulsively reaches out to Nick and the two come face-to-face.
Cast: Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Betty White, Rob Riggle, Jenny Slate, Nasim Pedrad
Directors: Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG                                                         
Release Date: March 2nd (wide)
From the creators of Despicable Me and the imagination of Dr. Seuss comes the much anticipated feature Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, a 3D-CG adaptation of the classic tale of a forest guardian who shares the enduring power of hope. The animated adventure follows the journey of a 12-year-old as he searches for a real Truffula Tree, the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To get it, he must find the story of the Lorax, the acerbic yet charming character who fights to protect his world.
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Thomas Haden Church, Willem Dafoe, James Purefoy
Director: Andrew Stanton
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: March 9th (wide)
Based on: A PRINCESS OF MARS by Edgar Rice Burroughs
From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton, John Carter is a sweeping action adventure set on the mysterious and exotic planet of Barsoom (Mars). Based on the classic sci-fi novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the film tells the story of John Carter, who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris. In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter discovers that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands. 
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas
Director: Lasse Hallström
Distributor: CBS Films
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: March 9th (limited)
Based on: SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN by Paul Torday
A visionary sheik believes his passion for the peaceful pastime of salmon fishing can enrich the lives of his people, and he dreams of bringing the sport to the not so fish-friendly desert. Willing to spare no expense, he instructs his representative to turn the dream into reality, an extraordinary feat that will require the involvement of Britain's leading fisheries expert who happens to think the project both absurd and unachievable. That is, until the Prime Minister's overzealous press secretary latches on to it as a "good will" story. Now, this unlikely team will put it all on the line and embark on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible, possible.
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland
Director: Gary Ross
Distributor: Lionsgate
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: March 23rd (wide)
Based on: THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins
Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the nation of Panem forces each of its 12 districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. Part twisted entertainment, part government intimidation tactic, the Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which "Tributes" must fight with one another until one survivor remains.
Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Cast: Michael C. Hall, Chris Messina, Brie Larson, Brad William Henke, Sarah Shahi, Peter Fonda, Lucy Liu
Director: Michael Knowles
Distributor: Variance Films
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Release Date: March 23rd (limited)
Based on: EAST FIFTH BLISS by Douglas Light
Thirty-five-year-old Morris Bliss is clamped in the jaws of New York City inertia: he wants to travel but has no money; he needs a job but has no prospects; he still shares an apartment with his widowed father; and, perhaps worst of all, the premature death of his mother still lingers and has left him emotionally walled up. When he finds himself wrapped up in an awkward relationship with the sexually precocious, 18-year-old daughter of a former classmate, Morris quickly discovers his static life unraveling and opening up in ways that are long overdue.
Cast: Seann William Scott, Jay Baruchel, Liev Schreiber
Director: Michael Dowse
Distributor: Magnet Releasing
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: March 30th (limited)
Labelled an outcast by his brainy family, a bouncer overcomes long odds to lead a team of under performing misfits to semi-pro hockey glory, beating the crap out of everything that stands in his way.
Cast: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane
Director: Tarsem Singh
Distributor: Relativity Media
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: March 30th (wide)
Based on: SNOW WHITE by The Brothers Grimm
A wicked enchantress schemes and scrambles for control of a spirited orphan's throne and the attention of a charming prince. When Snow White's beauty wins the heart of the prince that she desperately pursues, the Queen banishes her to the forest, where a ravenous man-eating beast hungrily awaits. Rescued by a band of diminutive highway robbers (the seven dwarves), Snow White grows into an indomitable young woman determined to take back her realm from the treacherous Queen.
On TV:
Cast: Julianne Moore, Ed Harris, Woody Harrelson
Network: HBO
Premiere Date: March 10th at 9PM ET
Starring Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson and Ed Harris, HBO Films’ Game Change follows John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, from his selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate to their ultimate defeat in the general election. Harrelson portrays Steve Schmidt, McCain’s senior campaign strategist.
Based on the bestselling book GAME CHANGE by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the film is directed by Jay Roach and written by Danny Strong.
Cast: Leslie Bibb, Mark Deklin, Kristen Chenoweth, Miriam Shor, Annie Potts, Marisol Nichols
Network: ABC
Air Dates: Sundays at 10 pm ET/PT
Based On: GOOD CHRISTIAN B*TCHES by Kim Gatlin
"GCB" is a funny, sassy and heartwarming drama that begs the question: Can you go back home to a place where no one seems to have grown up?
When former mean girl Amanda Vaughn moves back to Dallas 18 years after high school, former unpopular teen-turned-diva-of-Dallas Carlene Cockburn gets a major dose of PTSD. To top it off, Amanda’s living across the street from the Cockburns with her feisty mother Gigi Stopper! Amanda has changed for the morally, better but Carlene and her other victims --- the GCBs --- have their doubts. The GCBs now rule the school that is Dallas society and are about to settle the score with Amanda Vaughn.

The other fabulous GCBs include the shrewd, distinguished CEO Cricket; the endearing, consummate housewife and mother, Sharon; and the self-made, always-single-but-on-the-prowl Heather.   

Behind every great GCB (except Heather, of course), is a great husband, which includes Carlene’s Ripp, a devoted hunk with a secret or two; Cricket’s Blake, her gorgeously fabulous better half; and Sharon’s Zack, a good-time guy and former pro athlete.

Cast: Josh Lucas, Molly Parker, Natasha Calis, Callum Keith Rennie, Juliette Lewis, Tricia Helfer, Shaun Majumder
Network: NBC
Air Dates: Saturdays at 9:00 pm ET/PT
Based On: THE FIRM by John Grisham
Based on the blockbuster feature film and bestselling novel by world-renowned author John Grisham (THE PELICAN BRIEF, THE CLIENT), "The Firm" continues the story of attorney Mitchell McDeere and his family 10 years after the events of the film and novel. As a young associate, McDeere brought down the prestigious Memphis law firm of Bendini, Lambert & Locke, which operated as a front for the Chicago mob --- and his life was never the same. After a difficult decade, which included a stay in the Federal Witness Protection program, Mitch and his family now emerge from isolation to reclaim their lives and their future --- only to find that past dangers are still lurking and new threats are everywhere. 
Cast: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz
Network: Showtime
Air Dates: Sundays at 10:00 pm ET/PT
Charming, fast talking Marty Kaan and his crack team of MBA-toting management consultants are playing America's one percent for everything they've got. They put the con in consulting as they charm smug, unsuspecting corporate fat cats into closing huge deals, and spending a fortune for their services. Twisting the facts, spinning the numbers, and spouting just enough business school jargon to dazzle the clients, there's no end to what this crew won't do to and for each other, while laughing all the way to the bank.
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.
During season one, we see the team get to know each other while working to solve a new case each week. We learn about Castle’s endearing relationship with his teenage, oddly responsible daughter, Alexis, and his slightly crazy mother, Martha, who has moved in with them. The season ends on a cliffhanger after Castle confesses to Beckett that he had been looking into the mystery behind her mother’s death, something she specifically asked him not to do.
In season two, we find Castle trying to work his way back into Beckett’s good graces. With new writers joining the team, there are some engaging and unpredictable cases to be solved. We also look a little deeper into the lives of the supporting characters.
Cast: Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Troian Bellisario, Shay Mitchell, Sasha Pieterse
Network: ABC Family
Air Dates: Mondays at 8:00pm ET/PT
Based On: Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard
A month has passed on "Pretty Little Liars" since Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer were arrested and a lot has changed in Rosewood, and with the girls. No longer the mighty four best friends, the Liars are at each others' throats and Emily has been iced out completely. But what could have divided them so severely? Has "A" finally won the game of divide and conquer? With Emily now truly on her own, is she ripe for "A's" picking?
New on DVD:
Cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Toby Jones, Mackenzie Crook, Daniel Mays, Gad Elmaleh, Joe Starr
Director: Steven Spielberg
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: March 13th
Based on the internationally beloved and irrepressible characters created by Hergé, the story follows the unquenchably curious young reporter Tintin and his fiercely loyal dog Snowy as they discover a model ship carrying an explosive secret. Drawn into a centuries-old mystery, Tintin finds himself in the sightlines of Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, a diabolical villain who believes Tintin has stolen a priceless treasure tied to a dastardly pirate named Red Rackham. But with the help of his dog Snowy, the salty, cantankerous Captain Haddock and the bumbling detectives Thompson & Thomson, Tintin will travel half the world, outwitting and outrunning his enemies in a breathless chase to find the final resting place of The Unicorn, a shipwreck that may hold the key to vast fortune…and a ancient curse.
Cast: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne and Kenneth Branagh
Director: Simon Curtis
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: March 13th
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.
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara
Director: David Fincher
Distributor: Music Box Films
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: March 20th
Based on: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson
Hoping to distance himself from the fallout of a libel conviction, journalist Mikael Blomkvist retreats to a remote island in Sweden's far north where the unsolved murder of a young girl still haunts her industrialist uncle 40 years later. Ensconced in a cottage on the island where the killer may still roam, Blomkvist's investigation draws him into the secrets and lies of the rich and powerful, and throws him together with one unlikely ally --- tattooed, punk hacker Lisbeth Salander.
Cast: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: March 20th
Based on: TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY by John le Carré
Based on the classic novel of the same name, this international thriller is set at the height of the Cold War years of the mid-20th century. George Smiley, a disgraced British spy, is rehired in secret by his government --- which fears that the British Secret Intelligence Service, a.k.a. MI-6, has been compromised by a double agent working for the Soviets.
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen
Director: David Cronenberg
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date:  March 27th
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: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock
Director: Stephen Daldry
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: March 27th
Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close tells the story of one young boy’s journey from heartbreaking loss to the healing power of self-discovery, set against the backdrop of the tragic events of September 11th. Eleven-year-old Oskar Schell is an exceptional child: amateur inventor, Francophile, pacifist. And after finding a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, he embarks on an exceptional journey --- an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. As Oskar roams the city, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity, who are all survivors in their own ways.