Shawntelle Madison’s Favorite Books Made into Movies

SM_Repossessed_375wGuest blog by Shawntelle Madison, author of Repossessed

My latest release, Repossessed , is a zany paranormal romance with urban fantasy elements featuring witches and warlocks. When I wrote the story, I couldn’t help but imagine seeing the Asian actor Bi Rain as Rob and Jessica Alba as Tessa. I’d definitely want a nice special effects budget for the spellcasting and the creatures you’d find in my book.

In the spirit of books to movie adaptations, I thought I’d share my favorites from 2013 and what I’m looking forward to watching in 2014.

  1. World War Z: I loved the movie! Okay, I will admit, I love Brad Pitt, too. Fast-moving zombies are crazy scary, yet awesome. Seeing the way Brad Pitt did anything to protect his family was easy to relate to also.
  2. Catching Fire: I have read all the Hunger Games books. All of them. So I was so excited to watch Catching Fire and I wasn’t disappointed. If you liked the first movie you will like the second. Seeing the book brought to life made me eagerly open my wallet at the theater.
  3. The Mortal Instruments: City of BonesI was initially concerned that this would be another Twilight movie, but the movie was actually entertaining and the special effects were great. If you’re a fan of the series you’ll love the movie.
  4. So what about 2014? In 2014 I want to watch the Maze Runner (I can’t wait! I can’t wait!), Divergent, Gone Girl, and the Fault is in our Stars adaptation. I’m also stoked about Horns from Joe Hill.

So what book adaptations do you want to watch that I didn’t mention?

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment to let me know if you’re a book hoarder. A winner will be chosen on January 28th for a Coveted swag pack.

About Shawntelle:

Shawntelle Madison is a web developer who loves to weave words as well as code. She’d never admit it, but if asked she’d say she covets and collects source code. After losing her first summer job detasseling corn, Shawntelle performed various jobs–from fast-food clerk to grunt programmer to university webmaster. Writing eccentric characters is her most favorite job of them all. On any particular day when she’s not surgically attached to her computer, she can be found watching cheesy horror movies or the latest action-packed anime. She lives in Missouri with her husband and children.

Find Shawntelle Online:
http://www.shawntellemadison.com
http://www.facebook.com/shawntellemadisonauthor
http://www.twitter.com/shawntelle/

Buy: Repossessed (Warlock Repo Man Chronicles) (Volume 1)

Movie Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

A New Prince Full of Beans – Jack the Giant Slayer

With fairy tales being de rigeur at the moment, this marks another big budget fantasy flick with a true romantic story thrown in. Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is as useless as the original fairy tale would have you believe; he prefers to loaf rather than do anything to help his struggling father make enough money to get them through the harsh winter. At the end of his tether, his father tells him to take the cow, Daisy and sell her at the market for some profit, but when he makes his way into town, he swaps his horse for a handful of beans, which he is told are ‘special, magic beans.’

When he gets back home, his dad is furious he made no profit, and scalds him for his actions. Jack, annoyed at being told off drops the beans and they grow almost immediately into a beanstalk that crushes their house. As the beanstalk grows, princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) gets caught up in it, and Jack, who she met at the market earlier decides to help rescue her. The beanstalk also comes complete with a race of giants and their minions, a harp, treasure and other things that are straight out of the fairy tale. The movie has an all star cast with Elmont (Ewan McGregor) a knight (not Jedi this time,) King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) and the dastardly Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci).

The romantic angle in this movie happens when Princess Isabelle is told she must marry in order to fulfill her role as a princess, and when she rebels, the king finds the most unsuitable man possible for her to marry. The princess isn’t a brat, though, she is an independent woman who doesn’t fit in with the ideal of being the perfect princess, and has already decided that she would rather be with Jack even though he is not a prince, or even a noble. But at least he isn’t dastardly. In this his heroism is what could make him a prince without him even knowing it.

There are changes to the original fairy tale and in this one, the beans are mentioned in a book that tells a different tale of their origins from the one we are used to, and a mysterious crown that was forged in order to keep the giants at bay. It’s an exciting romp and one that is great to watch with your other half on the couch.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Jack the Giant Slayer

[phpbay]jack giant slayer, 10, “”, “”[/phpbay]

Movie Review: Man of Steel

man of steel

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Man of Steel – Heart of Gold.

Remember the original Superman movies that had the late Christopher Reeve being sexy as well as super? Then you might like this better than the previous one with Brandon Routh in the starring role. In Man of Steel, Henry Cavill dons the outfit and cape (but not the tight trunks) to become a superhero for today’s generation to marvel at.

Some might remember Cavill from English drama The Tudors as Charles Brandon, the 1st Duke of Suffolk, but it is interesting to see that he has studied Reeve for the role, and also makes his character a stronger role than previously expected. It is easy to be daunted when a new actor comes along and plays a character everyone is familiar with, whether they have seen the other Reeve movies or been a fan of the comic books. Many people form a bond with the actor who plays the character and also form preferences, so prepare to be impressed. Once he is on the screen, he plays Superman like he was made for the role.

He acts out the characters two parts, Clark Kent and Kal el, though in this version Clark doesn’t start off working at the Daily Planet, or meet Lois Lane there either. Instead, Lois tracks him down after discovering he isn’t a normal man, but an alien who crash landed on Earth as a baby and grew up adopted by the Kent family who felt it only fair to let him believe he was human rather than telling him about the alien craft he came in which is now hidden away in the family barn like Dorian Gray’s painting.

While Clark grew up feeling the pain of being different to his classmates, coming to terms with the onset of alien puberty (this is where he discovers his powers) he tries to rise above the ridicule and grow into a tall, buff man who goes from place to place like David Banner, not wanting anyone to find out he has alien powers. Clark isn’t that forward thinking though as General Zod has followed him after his dubious descent into the phantom zone, after vowing to find Kal El to Clark’s original father Jor El’s face. Zod is vague about what he intends to do to Kal once he finds him, but judging from the look of his evil face, he doesn’t want him to be his best friend.

There is a warmth and instant chemistry between Clark and Lois. Clark shows he is more human than alien, and at times goes from mildly annoyed with others to seriously annoyed and able to destroy with a single look. He cares about the humans he lives among even if they do have their own flaws and a serious aversion to aliens. Lois, unlike in the original already knows that Clark and Superman are one and the same so there is not room for a reveal.

Most who have seen it have also mentioned that there’s no red trunks, no changing in fone booths and no juicy reveal, so why should we watch it? I watched it for the full cinema experience of seeing a man who looks like he has worked-out for months to get his uber fit body in shape so he can act like a believable hero. Cavill takes on the role like he was born to play Superman, and like the recent adaptation of Total Recall it is a completely different movie, so it is impossible to compare it with the previous ones.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Man of Steel

[phpbay]man of steel, 10, “”, “”[/phpbay]

Movie Review: The Perfect Wedding (2012)

the-perfect-wedding-posterReviewed by Sharon S.

Title: The Perfect Wedding (2012)
Run time: 82 min
Genre: Comedy
Director: Scott Gabriel
Writers: Suzanne Brockmann, Ed Gaffney, Jason T. Gaffney

Line-Up:
Paul Fowler – Eric Aragon
Gavin Greene – Jason T. Gaffney
Alana Fowler – Apolonia Davalos
Kirk Corbett – Brendan Griffin
Vicki Carabella- Annie Kerins
Zack Gastineau – Sal Rendino
Roy Madigan – Roger Stewart
Meryl Fowler – Kristine Sutherland
Richard Fowler – James Rebhorn

The Perfect Wedding is the story of Paul Fowler (Eric Aragon) and Gavin Greene (Jason T. Gaffney), two young gay men who meet and fall in love over the Christmas holidays.

Charismatic, handsome Paul is a recovering alcoholic, eighteen months sober, but still picking up the pieces of the destruction he’d wrought while drinking. He lives at home with his parents, Richard (James Rebhorn) and Meryl (Kristine Sutherland), and with their support and the help of his AA sponsor Zach (Sal Rendino), Paul is learning how to live one day at a time.

But Christmas is approaching, and Paul’s adopted sister Alana (Apolonia Davalos) is coming home for the holidays. This won’t be just a regular family celebration — she’s recently engaged and the weekend will be spent planning her June wedding. She’s bringing her best friends Roy (Roger K. Stewart) and Vicki (Annie Kerins) home with her, to help with the task.

Problem is, Roy is Paul’s ex-boyfriend, and their relationship was a casualty to Paul’s drinking. In fact, the two young men haven’t seen each other since their very messy breakup. Nervous about seeing his ex again, Roy talks his good friend Gavin into joining him for the weekend, and pretending to be his new boyfriend.

When Paul and Gavin meet, sparks of attraction fly — but Gavin thinks Roy’s still hung up on Paul. And of course, the last thing Paul wants to do is hurt his ex all over again.

Meanwhile, like all families, the Fowlers must deal with bad news as well as good, and we discover that patriarch Richard has been recently diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s. He is essentially symptom-free, but Meryl is terrified of what the future holds and throws herself into planning a lavish wedding for their daughter, Alana. Even though Meryl knows it’s foolish, she wants to create a wedding so big and so beautiful that no one — not even Richard — will ever forget it.

When Paul realizes that his sister’s wedding plans are getting steamrolled by their mom, he gets involved and convinces Alana’s fiancé Kirk (Brendan Griffin) to re-propose to her, asking her to marry him that very day, in a small ceremony at sunset near the water, with only close friends and family attending, just as Alana has always imagined. And with Paul’s help, Richard also confronts Meryl and convinces her to join him in the present instead of living burdened with the uncertainties of the future.

The proposal, the intimate wedding, and Paul and Gavin’s ultimate connection are touching scenes in a warm and funny story about a very real, modern American family.

Review: The above summary pretty much details the entire movie so no sense talking about that. I enjoyed the film despite the over used romantic comedy plot devices. It seemed they tried to include every social issue in the family dynamic. You have adoption, Alzheimer’s, alcoholism, and mixed marriage. The only thing it didn’t do was make an issue of being gay, which was the point of the movie. The creators wanted to make a romantic comedy. It just so happens the two lead characters were men. This story would have worked just as well with a man and woman. The plot is a formula romantic comedy with no twists or turns, and the humor is generic.

Despite all the things I knock the film for I wanted to see Gavin and Paul’s happy ever after. I liked both characters and the actors did a fine job with them. The acting skills for the cast as a whole, wasn’t stellar, with the exception of Kristine Sutherland who played Meryl Fowler (Paul’s mom). She was the most convincing.

This is a nice indie film that will leave you with a smile on your face.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Perfect Wedding

Movie Review: The Hunger Games starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth

Katniss-and-Peeta-Cave-Scene-The-Hunger-Games

Summary: 13 Districts rebelled against the Capitol; 1 was crush, and 12 were forced into submission. The new treaty required that the remaining 12 offer annual tribute to the Capitol each year as penance for their wrongs. The tributes are their kids – 1 boy, 1 girl – destined to fight to the death on live TV as if it were a reality TV show. There can only be 1 victor. We open to the start of the 74th Hunger Games and this time the tributes from district 12 defy all the odds and start a revolution.

Likes: Basically everything. Movie was on fire! ;)

  • Jennifer Lawrence – Perfect as Katniss. She really pulls you into her emotions onscreen. The all over body trembling just before going up into the arena? Wow.
  • Josh Hutcherson – I honestly didn’t think he could pull it off. I like him as an actor but he usually plays the bratty teenage boy. As Peeta though, whew, fans face. I need more Peeta. Let’s leave it at that. Hot.
  • Liam Hemsworth – Is seriously gorgeous. Katniss has a tough decision to make with him in the picture. I like the cutaways to see some of Gale’s reactions during the games. They are well done.

Conclusion? I want to own the movie so I can watch it on repeat. It was so good I ran out to read the trilogy. (Also really good, by the way.) I can’t wait for Catching Fire in theaters!

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Hunger Games

[phpbay]hunger games, 10, 617, “”[/phpbay]

Review: “Mesmerize Me” Short Film Written and Directed by Kate Hackett

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

“Mesmerize Me”
Short Film Written and Directed by Kate Hackett
Starring Natalie Smyka, Cameron Cash
Cinematography by Cat Deakins
Original Score by Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum

Setting: California, 1886

In the opening scene Estella is calling for her fiancée Stephen. Her parents are worried about her state of mind. They go to see a hypnotist named Dr. Daniel Hale. Her mother ends up inviting Dr. Hale to stay with them so that he can help Estella.

As Estella and Dr. Hale walk into town, he asks her about Stephen. She is the only person that seems able to see him and people are becoming worried that she is going mad. But Estella is also strong-willed. Dr. Hale realizes things about her that she doesn’t see herself. The only thing is that Estella thinks he’s a fake.

Doesn’t this sound like some of the historical romances that you read? Maybe it’s one that you’ve heard on tape? Why not go over to http://vimeo.com/36516384 and watch the film. It’s what is considered a short film so it will only take 24 minutes of your time but you will not be disappointed. It is very well done.

You want to watch it all the way until the end otherwise you’ll miss an interesting ending. But you are also left having questions as to what happens next? You won’t be surprised to find out that it has won several awards. If you would like to know more about how this film was made, you should follow this link http://www.perioddramas.com/articles/making-the-short-period-drama-mesmerize-me.php.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Mesmerize Me from Kate Hackett on Vimeo.

Movie Review: Boys Over Flowers starring Hye-sun Koo, Min-ho Lee, and Hyun-joong Kim

What You Need to Know: Boys Over Flowers is a Korean TV romantic drama. It runs for two seasons with a total of 25 episodes. The series is based on a Manga series of the same title which I have not read. There’s been other adaptations of the Manga besides this one with differences.

Recommended: If you like/love/drool over Twilight; if you adore foreign films, especially Asian ones, and can read with ease lots of subtitles or know Korean; if you’re a girl lol—:D; if you like love triangles or if you like YA romances… any one of these and you should see this show; more than 3 of these and you’d be a fool not to see it!

Plot: The story takes place at an elite boarding school where only the top 1% of Korea’s wealthy children attend (and even then some of them can’t get into the school.) Geum JanDi saves a bullied male student from committing suicide while running clothes from her father’s dry cleaning business to the school. Journalists and the public voice are having a field day with it until the school’s president decides to offer a scholarship spot to the girl. From there JanDi runs into the F4, a group of popular boys that run the school, and immediately gets on Goo JoonPyo’s bad side. What follows is a wonderfully complex soap opera full of awesome.

The Love Triangle: (Lots of Twilight references ahead…just because it’s a common base for most to jump from…) It’s so hard to choose because they’re both like Edward Cullen more than Jacob Black.

One of the guys – Goo JoonPyo even has his own crazy hot wild hairdo. It’s curly! It’s adorable. I love it. He’s the possessive one and is basically all of Edward Cullen’s darker qualities, but with a tender streak too. Min-ho Lee who plays Goo JoonPyo has a very expressive face and a really hot body. Yum!

The other guy – Yoon JiHoo is all of Edward’s sensitive artistic aspects combined with his aloofness. Hyun-joong Kim who plays JiHoo is also very hot. I want to go to Korea and date these two boys (seriously! Wow!) JiHoo dislikes all the stupid drama at his school and often rushes to Geum JanDi’s rescue.

The girl – Geum JanDi is a very warm character. She likes to eat, stand up to bullies, and like Bella Swan prefers to stand on her own two feet and not accept monetary bribes or help from the guys. JanDi is played by Hye-sun Koo and the girl is adorable with big eyes. I love how she walks a bike back and forth when she’s not pedaling it – cute!

Final Thoughts: This show has it all – boarding school, school wide bullying/hazing, love triangle, side romances, drowning 3 times? 4 times? something like that, 2 physical disabling incidents, amnesia, lots of fainting and passing out immediately into dead sleeps, faked accidents, fake hospital stays, vacations, backstabbing, revenge, kidnapping, innocents getting setup, getting caught in a blizzard, three proposals, an arranged/forced marriage, estranged family getting reunited, and the kitchen sink in there somewhere too!

Rating: ★★★★★ – Don’t walk, run! Get a copy!

As of December 13, 2011 this is on Netflix (streaming).

Buy: Boys Over Flowers (Season 1), Boys Over Flowers (Season 2)

Buy: Season 1:

[phpbay]boys over flowers vol 1, 5, , “”[/phpbay]

Buy: Season 2:

[phpbay]boys over flowers vol 2, 5, , “”[/phpbay]

Buy: Geum JanDi’s Moon and Star Necklace

[phpbay]boys over flowers necklace, 5, , “”[/phpbay]

Movie Review: The Three Musketeers starring Matthew Macfadyen, Orlando Bloom and Christoph Waltz

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

As a movie this is going over pretty much the same territory as the others. There have been several movie interpretations of Alexandre Dumas’s historical novel. Everyone has a favourite whether it is the 70’s version or the 90’s one. In this 2011 version the director has got certain members of the cast to look like the original 70’s ones. Rochefort (Madds Mikkleson) resembles a dashingly menacing Christopher Lee; Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz) resembles a young Charlton Heston, while D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman) looks like an uncanny Michael York.

If you are one of those who liked the original version, and thought it surpassed even the 90’s version, then you might be disappointed with this one, as it might take a lot more to have it come up to the standards of the original. The set design looks better, and the scope of the movie plus the CGI of the battle scenes far surpasses the technology of the 70’s, but there is very little humour in this one.

If you are 15 to 20 then you won’t even know about the 70’s version, and will watch this with open eyes as if it’s the first movie version you ever saw. If you liked the 70’s version and have an open mind, then you will appreciate the differences of modern movie making and take it for granted that it is an independent interpretation.

Set in 17th century France, young and cocky D’Artagnan sets about being a musketeer due to his father’s wishes, but as he travels through the depths of period France, he blunders his way into three other musketeers who have fallen out of favor with the hierarchy. He keeps annoying the other musketeers without knowing it, and arranges a time for each to have a duel with him. When he does appear for the first one, the other two turn up as well, and he ponders what he will have to do. He doesn’t have long, though, when he and the three of them are ambushed and have to fight their way out. The fact that D’Artagnan fights them off well enough proves he can fight better than they thought. This makes his blunder with the musketeers acceptable, rather than foolish.

The general plot of this movie is to have the evil Richelieu plot with Milady to steal the queen’s necklace and in doing so they plan to infer that King Louis XIIII’s wife is having an affair with the Duke of Buckingham. If this is the case, and the king believes it, he will have to have the cardinal take over his duties, and that’s exactly what he wants. The musketeers have to intervene once they hear of Milady’s plot with him, and get the jewels off her before the queen notices, and with a grand fete at the palace being arranged, the queen will be in big trouble if the jewels aren’t around her throat on the day. Funnily enough, Freddie Fox who plays the king bears a striking resemblance to Ben Barnes of Dorian Gray and Narnia fame. He bungles through the movie and is another one like Orlando who provides some humorous entertainment.

D’Artagnan in turn finds out more from them, and their plight, and it doesn’t take a genius to tell who the culprit is – the dastardly Cardinal Richelieu who wants to get rid of the musketeers for good so he can get a plan in place that’s cunning and deceptive. Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich) is the woman all men are interested in who appears more out of her dress than in it at times, but who ducks and deceives all the way through the movie. She does a good job of it too, but she often breaks men’s hearts once they find out how deceptive she is. One can’t help but think that she is acting as though she is still in the Resident Evil movies due to the energetic fight scenes she manages to pull off as the character. Not to say that she doesn’t act well in this, on the contrary, Jovovich has a powerful magnetic presence as Milady, and manages to hold her own in fight scenes. There is no surprise Jovovich acts as she does though, as this movie is directed by Paul W S Anderson. It is as energetic and action packed as it can get with him at the helm.

For a change, Orlando Bloom plays the bad guy, The Duke of Buckingham, a man he has act a little more camp as it gives the movie an air of comedy it lacks. Buckingham is only in it for a few times but his presence is memorable. For those who have not looked into the movie as a reviewer would, Luke Evans who plays Aramis resembles Orlando so much that it seems Orlando is playing two roles, and it acts as an amusing distraction from the plot.

The romantic element in this is the attachment of Athos to Milady de Winter, and her other suitors as well. She is cruel and manipulative, yet she has the ability to have men falling all over her.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: The Three Musketeers

[phpbay]three musketeers orlando bloom, 10, 617, “”[/phpbay]