The story of Beauty and the Beast is familiar one. It’s therefore, understandable that many writers have tried their hand at adapting the story.
In the 1998 Lifetime TV movie, Beauty, the eponymous Beauty is Alix Miller (Janine Turner). A portrait painter by trade, Alix has followed her father into the family business. When her father gets sick and is unable to take the next job, Alix takes his place. The client or Beast is the reclusive writer Lee Compton (Jamey Sheridan). Lee has been disfigured by a disease and has chosen to withdraw from the rest of the world. This piece of information is unknown to Alix until she takes the job, but being the professional that she is, she goes on with her work. Their relationship shifts from painter and client to potential lovers, but Lee’s anxieties may keep them apart.
As Lifetime movies go, this television movie is not bad. I also appreciate that this adaptation is a stripped down, bare bones narrative that gets the core of Beauty and the Beast without relying on the more traditional aspects of the fairy tale genre.
I recommend it.
For many a young and old literary nerd, Little Women is treasured classic.
2018 is the 150th anniversary of the release of Louisa May Alcott‘s classic novel of four young women coming of age in the mid 19th century.
The new book, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, by Anne Boyd Rioux, tells the story of how Little Women impacted both American and worldwide culture over the past 150 years.
Little Women was a smash when it hit bookshelves on September 30th, 1868. Since then, the book has become ingrained into the public consciousness. In her book, Ms. Rioux explains how each era viewed Little Women. She also writes about how modern feminism and modern female writers have used pieces of Little Women when creating their own works. Specifically, Ms. Rioux explains how Little Woman lives today in new characters and narratives. Belle from Beauty and The Beast, Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series and Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls all have something in them from Little Women.
I will warn that this book is not for the virgin Little Women fan. It requires the knowledge that only comes via multiple reading and multiple viewings of the various adaptions. I really enjoyed this book. It could have turned out to be just another dry academic book detailing the history of Little Women and Louisa May Alcott. Instead it is lively, entertaining and reminds its readers why Little Women continues to be relevant 150 years after it was initially released in bookstores.
I recommend it.
Truth in politics has always been fuzzy. But since November of 2016, truth in politics is has become almost unintelligible.
This morning on Meet The Press, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, was interviewed on Meet The Press by host Chuck Todd. When he was questioned about Russia investigation by the special counsel, Mr. Giuliani stated the following:
When you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, well, that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth. Not the truth,”
If it’s not the truth, it’s a lie. Someone is lying to the American people. A person who is guilty acts one way. A person who is innocent acts another way. I may be biased, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the country is being lied to and those who knew the truth prefer to not speak out solely to save their own skins.
Only time will tell, but I my hope and prayer is that the truth comes out and those are guilty of lying to American people are given their day in court.
Until then, we have Rudy and The Beast, courtesy of Randy Rainbow.
At it’s heart, Beauty and The Beast is a tale of two outsiders who find the companionship and affection that is missing from their respective worlds. That narrative quality alone opens the door for new and interesting interpretations of the classic fairy tale.
In the new movie, Beast, Moll (Jessie Buckley) lives with her family on the island of Jersey. Put upon by her family and more specifically, her overbearing mother, Hilary (Geraldine James), Moll externally goes along with everyone, but internally, she is screaming for a way out. Enter Pascal (Johnny Flynn), a rough around the edges outsider who may be the man responsible for a series of unsolved murders of young girls. Pascal is one of a few suspects who is being investigated by Clifford (Trystan Gravelle), a family friend who works as a police officer and has been assigned to the case of the murdered girls.
While the movie was a little too long, the narrative was fantastic. This dark and twisted fairy tale is neither simple or predictable. Writer/director Michael Pearce keeps the tension thick, always making the audience question if Pascal is really the killer or if he is being targeted because he is an outsider. He also smartly ended the film in the most un-fairy tale way possible, with just enough narrative leeway for the audience to ask questions about the future of these characters.
I recommend it.
Beast is presently in theaters.
After The Holocaust, the world said never again. Never again would we let our brothers and sisters be slaughtered because they are different from us.
Unfortunately, never again has become again and again.
During the Rwanadan genocide in the spring and summer of 1994, approximately 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandan citizens were murdered. The lucky survivors (if you want to call them lucky) were forced to become refugees.
Clemantine Wamariya is one of those survivors. She recounts the harrowing experience of being a refugee from mass slaughter in her new memoir, The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After. Co-written with Elizabeth Weil, Ms. Wamariya was a young girl when the killing began. She escaped Rwanda with her elder sister, leaving the rest of her family behind. The narrative jumps between two timelines: her life in America living with an Anglo-American family after receiving a visa to enter the United States and her life as a refugee, living as best she could.
While this book is a little difficult to read, both because of the subject matter and the timeline jump in the narrative, it is an important read. It’s important because we are still killing each other over minute labels instead of finding a way to coexist and respect our differences.
The latest addition to Donald Trump’s legal team is former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. Like the rest of the team surrounding Trump, he seems to be opening more cans of worms than helping to govern the country.
Randy Rainbow’s latest video, RUDY and the BEAST – Randy Rainbow Song Parody, is the perfect parody of this political relationship that may go down in flames like the other political relationships.
Giuliani has revealed quite a few truths that, frankly, I am not surprised about. The only question is, which truth will be the final nail in the coffin that gets Trump out of the office?
Beauty And The Beast is one of those fairy tales. Every writer who has picked up their pen or turns on their computer has a different perspective on how to tell the story.
In 2014, another reboot hit theaters. Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel play the title roles. Unlike other adaptations, the narrative of the film is closer to the narrative of the original fairy tale. Belle is the youngest daughter of a once wealthy merchant who has taken on her father’s debt to the Beast. The Beast is a prince who was cursed and can only return to his human form once he has the love of a woman.
I wanted to like this film, I really did. While most of the Beauty and the Beast adaptations of recent memory have moved away from the original narrative, this film clings pretty closely to the source material. The problem is that I was underwhelmed and the lead actors lacked the chemistry to make me believe that they would hopefully have their happily ever after.
Do I recommend it? Not really.
2017 is nearly up. Surprisingly, it was a good year for the movies. Below, without further a due, is my top ten list of movies that premiered in 2017.
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The next chapter in the ongoing saga of the rebellion against the empire was nothing short of perfection.
- The Post: The story of the revelation of The Pentagon Papers is as relevant today as it was in 1971.
- Beauty And The Beast/The Shape Of Water: Both the live action adaptation of the 1991 animated Beauty And The Beast and The Shape Of Water proves once more that love wins over hate and only through tolerance and respect of others, can we create the world we wish to have.
- Darkest Hour: Gary Oldman is sure to win multiple awards playing Winston Churchill, who must decide to negotiate with Germany or go to war.
- Lady Macbeth: In 19th century England, a young lady is forced into marriage and has an affair with one of the estate workers.
- Lady Bird: A gripping and realistic coming of age story set in Sacramento in the early 2000’s.
- Thor: Ragnarok: When Thor’s previously unknown sister Hela returns to Asgard, he must save his land and his people from his sister.
- Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman finally receives a proper film adaptation. Starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins, this film, well is, a wonder.
- The Lovers: Tracey Letts and Debra Winger play a married couple who are openly seeing other people, but somehow find the spark has returned to their marriage.
- Battle Of The Sexes: The true story of the tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King is as much a story about tennis as it is about feminism.
- The Big Sick: This unconventional romantic comedy hit both the comedy gut and the heart.
- The Women’s Balcony: When a new Rabbi takes over an Orthodox temple in Jerusalem, the women stage a coup to get their husbands and their temple back.
Beauty And The Beast is a story that has been told many times in many different ways over the years. The question is, how does a writer distinguish their version from the previous versions?
In Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay, Isra is the last living member of the royal family. Blinded from a young age, she knows that at some point in near future, she will have to sacrifice herself for her city and her people. Gem is from the desert people known as Monstrous. For an untold number of generations, Isra’s people, known as the Smooth Skins, have fought with the Monstrous people. But Monstrous are dying of starvation. To save his people, Gem steals an enchanted rose from Isra’s garden. Captured before he can escape, he becomes a prisoner.
Isra is curious about him and asks for his help. Their relationship begins to change from Queen and prisoner to something more. Not only will their relationship forever change the course of their lives, it will change everything that Isra was taught to believe.
I really enjoyed this book. It was so engrossing that I had to finish it before going to bed. Ms. Jay blends politics, social issues, myth, science fiction and the traditional Beauty and The Beast narrative into a novel that is engrossing, extremely readable and extremely enjoyable.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.