Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snowy day playtime

Yes, dear friends, cotton ball snowflakes and slushy roads can't keep us from selling you books! We are absolutely open today, even if it's the perfect kind of day for building blanket forts and watching marathons of movies (Harry Potter 1 through 6, anyone?). I've found all sorts of fun news to entertain you, whether you are in that blanket fort or your office...or the blanket fort in your office.

The most exciting tidbit of today: the 90 Second Newbery Film Festival! Word of this contest has spread like...Sweet cupcake frosting on a sweet cake...in kidlit blogland, and I am so extremely excited about it that I might have to 1) enlist my aspiring independent filmmaker friend to make one with me (we're sort of kids, right? At least, I do know kid actors), and 2) brave traveling to the Big City for the actual festival showing. The festival is being orchestrated by James Kennedy, author of The Order of Odd-Fish, in collaboration with the New York Public Library and blog Fuse #8. The rules seem a bit flexible, but the aim is for kids or teens to submit a 90 second film condensing the plot of a Newbery winner or honor book, or possibly a smashup of two books or pop culture references. I definitely would like to see Kennedy's suggestion of a Lego stop motion Good Masters, Sweet Ladies!

My roommates have been gleefully comparing notes on Baz Luhrmann's latest project, an adaptation of Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby: possibly shot in 3 D. The cast I've heard of so far include
Carey Mulligan as Daisy, Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as the narrator, Nick. Did anyone else watch Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet for English class, maybe right after Dead Poets Society? Mr. Hickey, wherever you are, you are an incredible teacher and have great taste in films. I don't see any talk of a release date yet, but you can bet I'll be seeing that in the theaters. Maybe our store's book club will consider rereading it and seeing it together?

That Gatsby article from the UK's Guardian mentions another exciting film on the (possibly 3 dimensional) horizon: Martin Scorcese adapting Brian Selznick's Caldecott winning Invention of Hugo Cabret. Over at /Film: First Look you can see actors Chloe Moretz and Asa Butterfield in costume as Isabelle and Hugo! Again, there is no set release date, but we'll be watching out for it.

If you have not yet declared your thoughts on the Hunger Games movie casting, there are various websites to make yourself heard. I am most amused by Reelz Channel's Cast-o-Rama, but some of the voter's lists make me feel out of the loop - I don't recognize a single possible Peeta actor. When I did get to be a grown-up? I was also intrigued by an article about director Gary Ross's decision to make the Hunger Games PG-13, rather than R rated. Certainly this would make it more accessible to or easier for younger teens to see it, but how exactly can one avoid the violence without losing the urgency and meaning of the Games? Excessive violence in movies, books, and games already stands the risk of desensitizing viewers to its injustice; predetermining the appropriate level of viewer age/violence sounds to me more like looking for a wider consumer range than an effort to be true to the art. Then again, it's not as if we put "parental advisory" stickers on books for teenagers (yet. But you can ask us what exactly happens in books). We'll just have to see how it pans out in theaters!

Speaking of appropriateness for teenagers, stills from the first part of Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn have been released, including a honeymoon bedroom scene! Risque. For a good laugh, watch this clip of MTV interviewing Robert Pattinson at the Golden Globes, in which he says posing for kissing scenes is a bit like "playing Twister." I can't decide if I'm more amused at the actual words Pattinson manages to get out, or his inability to stop giggling about it. (Note: This was my first time on TwilightGuide.com, I swear!). Breaking Dawn part one will be released this November, with the second part scheduled for November 2012.

How can I talk about children's books turned movies without mentioning Harry Potter?! I saw the first installment of the Deathly Hallows for the second time this weekend, and I must say it is even better after another viewing. The cinematography and soundtrack are beautiful, the pacing and mood are remarkably well done, considering that this part of the book is mostly setting up for the final battle at Hogwarts. This time, I managed to refrain from rereading the book to know what happens next, but I am already itching to see the conclusion this July. In the meantime, I will have to settle for entertaining myself with the motorbike escape game...


James Kennedy said...

Hi, this is James Kennedy (the co-curator of the "90-Second Newbery" film festival, and the author of The Order of Odd-Fish). Thanks for spreading the word about the video contest!

I noticed that you have a young adult book club. Interested in having an author Skype in on one? Since it is by Skype, I won't make a mess on your floor, and no one will be bitten. Well, I can hire someone in Boston to bite you, but everyone complains that's not the same as getting bitten by a real live author.

How often is it that a Newbery award winner Skypes in on your book club? For The Order of Odd-Fish is the true winner of the 2009 Newbery. Even Neil Gaiman will admit this, even if only after too many gin-and-teas, or whatever it is English people drink.

Michelle said...

Thanks, we always try to spread word about any children's contests or festivals, especially if they sound as exciting as the 90 Second Newbery!

We haven't had any authors yet at our bookclub (illustrators, librarians, yes). We could certainly try to set up Skype for you to join in! This month we'll be talking about Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels. Let me know if you'd like to join.

James Kennedy said...

It's funny you should mention Margo, because we dated from 1998-1999 and it went horribly awry. I'm told most of the details can be found in Tender Morsels, which I have not read on principle. I mean, really, Margo? This kind of kiss and tell makes me embarrassed for her.

That said, I'd be delighted to Skype in for a discussion of Odd-Fish, which, I am proud to say, has nothing to do with Margo Lanagan (who still owes me $53.17 for that bus ticket).