As much as many of us love our classic novels, there are often problematic elements that were not considered to be problematic at the time of publishing. It is only in hindsight (and modern eyes) that we can see that these elements require a second look.
I enjoyed this book. Kiste takes two characters who have been written off by most readers and have given them the voice that they were initially denied. Granted, the original texts were written in the 19th century, when women lived more restricted lives than they do today.
What sold it for me was that Bertha and Lucy are more the victims that they were made out to be. Kiste has given them agency, and the will to survive when their individual trauma could have easily destroyed them.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Reluctant Immortals is available wherever books are sold.
In our fiction-crazy world, there are narratives that may seem like they are miles apart. The truth is that with a little tweaking, they can coexist beautifully together.
The 2004 horror/action-adventure film, Van Helsing, uses Dracula and Frankenstein as a narrative base while adding new flavors and colors that do not exist in the original texts. The title character, Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is not the old man who some of us may remember from Dracula.
He is a monster hunter whose newest job is to stop Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh) from using Dr. Frankenstein‘s (Samuel West) research and a werewolf for dangerous purposes. Joining him is Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale), who has her own reasons to prevent the Count from seeing his plan to completion.
This is one of those summer popcorn movies that does not require a lot of brain cells. But that’s ok. It is fun, entertaining, and takes characters that we think we know in new directions.
There are certain cultural shorthands that we all know, even if we are unaware of the deeper context of the specific reference. When we talk about Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, he is symbolic of a romantic ideal that many aspire to, even if that aspiration is far from reality.
I loved this book. The author creates a nice balance of academic authority and adoring fandom without veering too heavily in either direction. It was a fascinating deep dive into this man who has become both a romantic icon and a character type for many a romantic male lead since 1813.
Over the past few years, actor and playwright Kate Hamill has adapted several beloved novels into stage plays.
Her most recent adaptation is Dracula. Based on the Bram Stoker novel, the play adheres to the narrative in the book. Jonathan Harker (Michael Crane) is sent on a business trip to help sort out the business affairs of the mysterious Dracula (Matthew Amendt). But there is something off about Jonathan’s host.
Back in England, a mysterious illness starts to affect the residents of the coastal town of Whitby. With the help of Doctor Van Helsing (Jessica Frances Duke), Jonathan’s wife, Mina (Kelley Curran) has to solve the mystery of this illness and the appearance of what may be an unholy visitor.
I’ve been of Hamill’s for the last few years. Her adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Little Women were fantastic. This adaptation is no less fantastic than it’s predecessors. I went in with the question of how she was going to adapt Dracula. Unlike her previous works, this book is not exactly what one would label feminist. But Hamill adapted it in such a way that the play retains the narrative of the book while highlighting the issues of women during the 19th century and in our time.
I absolutely recommend it.
Dracula is playing at the Classic Stage Company in New York City until March 8th. Check the website for showtimes and tickets.
When a film is adapted from a comic book, it must two serve purposes and two masters. It must please the comic’s core fanbase while appealing to new fans. It must also, as best as the creative team can, full transplant the narrative and characters from the page to the screen.
In 2003, the film adaptation of the comic book The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen hit the big screen. In an AU (alternate universe) Victorian era, a group of heroes from famous novels must come together to save the world. The group includes Tom Sawyer (Shane West), from the classic Mark Twain novel, The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer, and Mina Harker (Peta Wilson) from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Led by Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) from H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, this band of adventurers and heroes must save the world from a villain known as the Fantom.
Bear in mind that I have never read the comic book and when I saw the movie, I was unaware that the source material comes from a comic book. As a standalone movie, it’s ok. It’s just the run of the mill film adaptation of a comic book that is top-heavy on special effects and light on both character and narrative.
Maximillian (Eddie Murphy) is the lone survivor from a race of vampires who once lived on a Caribbean island. He must find a mate and produce children, otherwise the line will cease to exist upon his passing. Aware of a child born to a vampire father and a human mother, Maximillian travels to Brooklyn, NY to find her. Detective Rita Veder (Angela Bassett), does not know that her father was a vampire. All she knows is that her mother died in an asylum and she is having strange, vivid dreams.
After finding Rita, Max set’s his sight on seducing her and bring her vampire side out. But Rita’s partner, Detective Justice (Allen Payne) has feeling for Rita that go beyond the professional realm. Will Max bring out Rita’s vampire self or will Detective Justice speak up before it is too late?
Loosely based on Bram Stoker’s classic novel, Dracula, the film tries put an Afro-Caribbean twist on the novel that we all know.
Were the critics wrong? The movie is not totally bad, the plot for the most part, adheres the plot in the novel. It’s nice to see actors of color continue to stretch their wings. And unlike Mina in the original novel, Rita is a strong and capable woman. But even with those qualities and the late Wes Craven in the director’s chair, the film is sadly teeters between half decent and bad.
Were the critics wrong? To answer the question, no.
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