Tag Archives: Books To Film

Is Anyone, or Has Anyone, Been Watching ‘The Slap’?

I thought I would ask as I have and yet I haven’t seen much discussion about it and I think its quite a good adaptation. I am not saying it’s perfect, but then what adaptation is, but it’s got some great characters playing some really dislikeable characters really well. What say all of you?

I’ve realised that I never wrote about the actual book of ‘The Slap’ by Christos Tsiolkas as it was a longlist contender for The Green Carnation Prize last year, I have always felt funny about writing about long or short listed books if I have read them after they have been submitted. I am wondering why it hasn’t made one of the main channels here (its on BBC Four) as the book has been huge, maybe it’s the subject matter. Any readers in Australia can tell me how its gone there, big success? What about in the rest of the world?

I could almost be tempted to pick it up again after watching the show, but that would mean I would be reading it for the fourth time in just over a year which might be overkill. I did read ‘Loaded’ this year and am quite keen to read ‘Dead Europe’ any thoughts on those?

So have you enjoyed ‘The Slap’ on the telly? What did you think of the book? What about his other books? What other adaptations have you enjoyed of late, which ones have you really not? Just thought would throw all that out there.

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Dorian Gray – The Movie

I mentioned the other day that myself and the delightful Novel Insights were off to see the movie Dorian Gray which I was quite shocked so few of you had heard was out, maybe just for once they have released a movie in Britain before anywhere else? Why is it we always get the movies last over here? So off we pootled to the cinema with brimming bags of popcorn and sweets (or in Novel Insights case cheese twists) and prepared ourselves to be whisked away in Victorian times through the medium of cinema. I thought this would be additional visual back ground for The Sensation Season.

I have to admit, before I go any further, that though we were both excited to be going to the cinema together and to see the movie; we had also heard that it had received some quite harsh reviews from certain ‘literary quarters’ and yet also been raved about by some of the movie magazines, I don’t read them it just says so on the posters ‘a terrific gothic romp’ etc. So we were both excited but slightly dubious all in one. We decided to just sit back and let the movie take over.

The first thing that I will say is that though this film ‘is inspired by’ The Picture of Dorian Gray and isn’t actually an exact retelling which is why when Dorian arrives in London having inherited a huge mansion and looking very innocent and knowing no one I was a bit confused. “That’s not how it started in the book” I almost grumped, but these are film adaptations and you have to simply not compare them to the book however hard it is.

Though I liked the book, I utterly loved the movie. Maybe it was my current obsession with all things sensational and the era of 1870 – 1900? Maybe it’s the fact I have immersed myself in all things Victorian and this embodied it all. It’s a very dark film, the way I would actually describe it (sorry of this sounds poncey) is like a rich decadent yet dark velvety thriller. But enough of that lets get back to the movie and the story… 

After the success of the showing of his newly found friend Basil’s portrait of him Dorian becomes the talk and desire of London.  One minute you are thrown into the glitz and glamour of society as Dorian (a brilliant Ben Barnes) makes his way first innocently and then falls into the path of Lord Henry and everything gets seedier and much, much darker. From then on its all about ‘youth and beauty’, getting what you want in life and a dark pact made with the devil inspired by Lord Henry that takes the tale into the darkest parts of Victorian east end (which of course I loved) and the darkest parts of the mind. I don’t want to give too much away in case you haven’t read the book or seen the film. If you have read the book I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the movies ending.  

I thought the acting by Ben Barnes was superb, after seeing him as Prince Caspian I have to admit that I was quite dubious he could pull it off. As innocent Dorian on arrival in London I thought ‘no this won’t work’ but as the darkness of the character crept in I was so impressed with the way he played it, some could say he was near on a perfect Dorian in fact. For me though, no offense Ben, but Colin Firths portrayal of Lord Henry Wotton was utterly superb and any scene in which he was simply got stolen from who he was playing against. He had the leer, the gluttony, the rapacious appeal and the beguiling nature of Henry down to a fine art and you cannot stop yourself watching him.

Sadly the girls let the film down a bit for me. I wouldn’t go as far as to say wooden, that would be slightly unfair, maybe the way the plot was devised they just weren’t given enough time but the whole Sybil Vane affair was done too quickly and neither leading lady had enough time to grow on you or show you why Dorian, who could have anyone, would want them.

The costumes were wonderful (I need a cape for winter and a long sweeping velvet coat, I currently have the shaped beard and some new boots so am almost dressing Victorian already ha) and had slight modern twists of the Victorian era in terms of making the film real but unreal which I liked, it in some ways felt slightly Tim Burton-esque. The sets were wonderful Victorian London at its finest, most lavish and darkest. Highgate Cemetery (the star of Audrey Niffenegger’s new book) made a guest appearance which has only made me more desperate to visit. The film was also surprisingly scary!

All in all a wonderful way to spend a few hours of your evening deeply embroiled in the Victorian underworld with a few spooky happenings along the way. I utterly loved it. If you want to see more you can go to the website here, see if that wets your appetites any further. I do think I might get Dorian’d out though as The Converted One after not wanting to see it now is desperate to (and I will happily see it twice) and also soon I am off to see this in a few weeks too!

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This Evening, When You Read This…

…I shall be stuffing my face, full of popcorn and chocolates with the delightful Novel Insights by my side whilst we both watch this…

After reading the book recently I am actually really looking forward to the film. I also think its the perfect film for the Sensation Season and so how could I not go and see it on the big screen? I will of course be letting yuo know what I thought over the next day or three…

Has anyone else seen it (I have actually set this post to go when am sat in my seat phone off in case anyone says it was rubbish – I like you all to be honest) at the cinema yet? Is it on peoples ‘must see’ or ‘must avoid’ list of films?  Can films ever manage to be as good as the book was in your head?

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Julie & Julia – The Movie

I don’t normally blog about books to movies on the whole, and didnt after I saw The Time Traveller’s Wife, however I had to blog about this one! Last night in a big break from the Sensational Season (in tomorrow’s post you will see that I had a very, very sensational weekend in more ways than one) and went with The Converted One to see one of the few movies I have been very excited about this year…Julie and Julia. I will admit before I go any further that I haven’t read the book yet so I can’t compare and contrast. This is also shocking behaviour for me as I tend to always read the book first. This time though my copy of Julie Powell’s book is almost at the top of my TBR however I simply couldn’t wait.

The story of the movie is that Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is in a job she finds both emotional and dull, dealing with insurance after 9/11 and moving from Brooklyn to Queens with her husband to an area good for him and slightly remote for her. All her friends at ‘the cob salad social’ who she was at school with are high fliers in various fields, one who is a journalist and one who starts a successful blog while Julie, herself once an editor who temped to write a novel for 8 years, remains a frustrated writer. So she decides to start a blog… she will cook all the recipes in culinary legend Julia Childs (we don’t really know her in the UK, she is like a Delia or a Nigella, I now have to get this cookbook though) ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking. That’s 524 recipes in 365 days.

Meanwhile we get to see the story of Julia Child (Meryl Streep) arriving in Paris where she is tall, loud knows barely any French but loves food… and devours French food. Getting bored while her husband works she gives up bridge lessons and hat making to learn French cookery and though she has no knowledge (“what’s a shallot”) she does have determination and flare. I found the love between Child and her husband so touching and so well portrayed it was so, so sweet. I won’t give anymore away other than to say the two women’s lives parallel on occasion and we then follow their stories.

I loved the movie (so did The Converted One who at once wanted to know more about my blogging, and simultaneously felt happy that there are other people out there who come second to their partners blogs – no comment). I actually left wanting to watch it all over again. Fortunately we went to the last showing on Sunday and so we couldn’t, had we been able to I would have been in there like a shot. It’s just one of those delightful feel good movies where you laugh, in parts you sort of want to have a little weep (though I was crying with laughter at Meryl Streep’s wonderful performance – Oscar worthy, you watch) with joy in places. I left with a spring in my step and all geared up for the week ahead, even if I did want to stay up and whizz up a soufflé.

The interesting thing with the film is that I now feel less inclined to read Julia Powell’s ‘Julie and Julia’ straight away (but must as The Converted One is eyeing it up dangerously) which I am still excited about but in the film the modern part of the tale seems somewhat flatter. Then again they say films are never as good as the books so that means I now have two fabulous books to read. I am simply chomping at the bit to get my mitts on ‘My Life in France’ by Julia Childs.

Has anyone else seen the film? Ever cooked one of the recipes from Julia Child’s acclaimed book? Have you read ‘Julie and Julia’ and is it fab? What about the latest novel from Julie Powell ‘Cleaving’ – which am not sure about? Have you read ‘my Life in France’? Or are you just not bothered about it all?

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