Earlier this week, Avi Steinberg wrote a profile on Maurice Sendak’s final publication — the posthumous My Brother’s Book, which was released last month. In his essay for The New Yorker, Steinberg also tells the story of Sendak’s first unpublished book that was written when Sendak was seven. They Were Inseparable was a collaboration with the author’s 12-year-old brother, dedicated to their 16-year-old sister whom they idolized dearly. The early Sendak tale may never see a standalone release, which led us to wonder about the numerous manuscripts by famous authors floating somewhere in the ether. After the jump, we briefly examine 10 unpublished works by well-known writers. What others belong on the list? … Read More
The 2012 Sundance Film Festival drew to a close over the weekend with a flurry of additional distribution deals, as well as a Saturday night awards ceremony. The fest’s out-of-nowhere buzz hit Beasts of the Southern Wild was among the big winners, nabbing not only the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize, but the US Dramatic Excellence in Cinematography award. The Documentary Grand Jury Prize went to The House I Live In, an examination of the war on drugs from director Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight). The Israeli film The Law in These Parts won the World Cinema Jury Prize for Documentary, while the Latin American musical drama Violeta Went to Heaven won the Dramatic World Cinema Jury Prize.
True to my history of excellent scheduling judgment, your humble correspondent saw not one of those films during my eight days in Park City, though I did take in — and greatly enjoy — the US Audience award winners The Invisible War (Documentary) and The Surrogate (Drama); the latter film also won a richly-deserved US Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting. My favorite film of the fest, Mike Birbiglia’s warm, winning comedy Sleepwalk With Me, won the Best of NEXT Audience Award; another favorite, the wry time-travel comedy/drama Safety Not Guaranteed, won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. … Read More
In 1965, the legendary Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson scored his first big break. As an assignment for The Nation, Hunter lived with the most notorious motorcycle gang in the United States. Random House published Hells Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs in 1966. Hunter’s year with the club ended in a “stomping” — the Angels beat him up, allegedly when his editor wouldn’t share the profits from the story.
Check out some casual shots of the outlaws setting off for a ride, dusted in brutal bravado and motorcycle exhaust, taken by Hunter himself. Observe Hunter’s self-portrait with his Hell’s Angels black-eye. Then, take a short trip to Big Sur in picturesque California, where the literary rebel worked as a security guard and penned The Rum Diary after returning from Puerto Rico and his long jaunt as a traveling journalist working for US publications abroad. These are just a few pages from the icon’s storied existence, but they’re pretty exciting. … Read More
With David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hitting theaters today and Spielberg’s Hergé-inspired The Adventures of Tintin arriving at the movies tomorrow, we have book adaptations on the brain. It’s no secret that we’re avid readers here, but we can also appreciate great cinema inspired by books and other printed sources. You’ll often hear people discussing why a page to screen translation doesn’t work. That’s understandable since Hollywood often appears to be out of original ideas, turning to the shelves in order to make a fast buck. When it is successful, however, most lit fiends are thankful for filmmakers that show reverence to the source material, but made smart sacrifices that make sense for a visual narrative. We looked back at several of the year’s book to movie adaptations and ranked them in order from best to worse. Let us know your picks below. … Read More
The facts are these: Last weekend, The Guardian ran an interview with Johnny Depp, promoting the European release of his Hunter S. Thompson adaptation The Rum Diary. Decca Aitkenhead’s profile begins with the line “In the weeks leading up to this interview, I began to think there must be some law that makes it illegal not to love Johnny Depp,” which has turned out to be an ironically specious statement, since this very piece has ended up pissing off an entire Midwestern city. … Read More
“The best research for playing a drunk is being a British actor for 20 years,” says Michael Caine. That hasn’t stopped plenty of American actors from giving it a shot. This week, Johnny Depp appears in The Rum Diary, based on a typically boozy (not to mention druggy) book by Hunter Thompson. Even if you try to ignore the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Depp has had years of experience to hone his on-screen stagger. But he’s not the first – and definitely not the craziest – actor to bring the party to work. Below, we revisit some of the best drunken performances committed to film. … Read More
1. In what many UK papers are calling “the real Slumdog Millionaire,” 27-year-old Sushil Kumar, a poor government clerk from Bihar, has become the first person to win 50 million rupees (worth over $1 million), on an Indian game show. [via Guardian]
2. Earlier in the week, Keith Richards and Johnny Depp played… Read More
This week Bruce Robinson’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel The Rum Diary opens across the country. Based on an early novel by the good doctor of gonzo journalism, the role of Thompson’s stand-in, journalist “Paul Kemp,” is being played by Johnny Depp — who has, with this film, pretty much planted is flag for good on the island of “cinematic portrayals of Hunter S. Thompson.” After the jump, we’ll take a closer look at Depp’s ongoing onscreen personification of the late Thompson, and nine more actors who became the cinematic avatars for distinctive writers and filmmakers. … Read More
Ah, fall. The fall movie season is when we film lovers do our very best to shake off a summer’s supply of Transformers, ‘80s remakes, and wilted comic book heroes, and open our arms to the “prestige pictures”: the smart movies for grown-ups that studios trot out as close to Oscar time as possible, so that they can pretend like these are the kind of movies they make all year long.
Of course, those studios still have bills to pay, so it would be a mistake to presume that quality and intellect will be the sole flavor of the season. Too often, your fall movie previews tend to focus on the most promising releases, as though Oscar bait is all we’re going to see this autumn. Make no mistake: there will still be plenty of dumb comedies, mindless action, and copious amounts of 3-D. So in order to present the most complete picture of fall 2011 at the cinemas, we’ve assembled a comprehensive list of the major fall releases, good and bad alike. Of course, that’s quite a big list of movies, so we’ve boiled our comments down to the basics: who’s in it, what it is, who it’s for, and if we’re in or out. Break out your calendars and join us after the jump. … Read More
Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. This week, we’ve got an even dozen trailers for you, and most are for the kind of prestige pictures that the end of the summer movie season usually has us salivating for. Not to worry, though, fans of things that are awful: there’s also a new Ghost Rider. Check ‘em all out after the jump. … Read More