Multimedia Monday: TIFF presents the Books on Film series

Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children. Photo Credit: TIFF Film Reference Library
Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children. Photo Credit: TIFF Film Reference Library

Part of the fun of being a book lover in a city like Toronto is that there’s never a shortage of bookish events to attend. One of the most exciting and thought-provoking of the year is the Books on Film series, presented by Toronto International Film Festival at the Bell Lightbox.

As you may know, I love the intersection of literature with other media, seeing interpretations of great books as movies, tv series, ballets, plays, and more. Over the course of six evenings that explore great films that were inspired by great books, the Books on Film series is presented in association with Random House of Canada. Each evening features a different book-to-movie with a different guest expert, and the series’ host is near and dear to many a reader’s heart: Eleanor Wachtel, of CBC’s Writers and Company.

Subscriptions to the series are available for $153 for TIFF Members or $180 for non-members (prices include tax). Based on availability, single tickets may be released closer to the event. The first 100 subscribers will receive a complimentary copy of each book featured, courtesy of Random House of Canada.

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Multimedia Monday: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey movie review

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, and Andy Serkis; featuring Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, and Christopher Lee.

Every year or two, I take a day to watch the entirety of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended editions, of course), back-to-back-to-back, immersing myself completely in its vast, beautiful, bleak, bright world. From its epic battles to its fleshed-out characters, its deep wells of emotion and its timeless themes, I think they’re wonderful adaptations that deftly cut and rework the source material to make strong films.

I was excited when The Hobbit was first announced, but apprehensive at the news that the film would be split into first two and then three films. The Hobbit, after all, is about half the length of each of the volumes of the Rings cycle. It doesn’t have a whole lot of source material to draw from for three films.

Certainly, An Unexpected Journey starts out promisingly, with Ian Holm reprising his role as the elder Bilbo on the day of his eleventy-first birthday party. Continue reading “Multimedia Monday: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey movie review”

Multimedia Monday: The dreamy, terrifying world of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi movie review

Starring Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Rafe Spall, Tabu, Adil Hussain, Shravanthi Sainath, Vibish Sivakumar, and Gérard Depardieu.

Opening November 21st, 2012

Read the review of Life of Pi, the novel, here.

Certain books are considered unadaptable to film.  Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, always been one of them. Two thirds of the book take place in a lifeboat, after all, following the survival of young Pi Patel and the tiger he is trapped with after a shipwreck claims the lives of his entire family and a host of zoo animals. Taking on the Everestian challenge to adapt the book because it is there to be adapted is director Ang Lee, possessed of remarkable vision and intuitive grasp of the nature and importance of storytelling. And what an incredible story he tells.

Lee maintains the novel’s narrative framework, introducing a nameless writer (Martel himself, in the book) who has been trying (and failing) to write a novel in India. He arrives at the home of Pi Patel on the advice of a friend he made in Pondicherry: if the writer wants a story, the friend promises that his nephew in Montreal has one that will make the writer believe in God. As Pi fixes lunch, he tells his tale. He begins with the origin of his name, adventures from his childhood, his growing fascination with world religions, and life as the youngest son of a zookeeper.

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A watchable, beautiful failure: Review of Cloud Atlas, the movie

Starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Wishaw, James D’arcy, Xun Zhou, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant.

Opening October 26th, 2012

Cloud Atlas, the film, is a sprawling, stunning, ambitious effort that manages to impress and disappoint by turns. Because the film is based on the novel by David Mitchell, one of my all-time favourite books (so much so that you can read along section by section with me here), I made sure to be in attendance for an advance screening at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend.

Cloud Atlas has been consistently referred to as one of the most unadaptable-to-the-big-screen books out there. How, then, to adapt it? Continue reading “A watchable, beautiful failure: Review of Cloud Atlas, the movie”