New adaptation of Romeo & Juliet set to hit theaters…and the trailer is THAT good

“These violent passions can have violent ends.”
One of the most epic lines ever written to an English major. And now thanks to “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes, looks like a new generation will soon be introduced to it and more from Shakespear’s epic love story Romeo & Juliet ,as a new adaptation of one of the most beloved love stories of all time prepares to hit theaters.
I just stumbled upon the trailer today and at first, I will admit, I groaned. I wasn’t sure if the world was ready for another take on the story that has been told, copied, and retold countless times over the years. It’s been seventeen years since Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film adaptation  (starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes) and in my mind, it could be another seventeen because no screen adaptation could ever compare to Shakespeare’s original work. But I will admit, the new trailer did its job and now this movie is on my To Watch list.
There is no US release date yet, but the trailer is already creating buzz, thanks to a Twitter campaign of #FORBIDDENLOVE, and an emotionally charged track by the ethereal Zola Jesus called “Skin.” If the tune sounds familiar don’t be surprised. It was recently featured on my favorite show, “Vampire Diaries” (season 4, episode 11). And, I may have introduced you to Zola last year when her track “Trust Me” was the soundtrack to the book trailer for “Rapture”, the conclusion to Lauren Kate’s “Fallen” series.  Her sound is raw and for me,  always good for those moments when I am writing and need to sink into a moment and really feel the emotion of a scene. Check out the track and trailer and let me know what you think of both. And for goodness sake, if you’ve never read Romeo & Juliet, please do so. Now.
Romeo & Juliet stars Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth, as well as “Homeland” star Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, “Gossip Girl’s” Ed Westwick and Stellan Skarsgard.

Book Review: Dracula in Love by Karen Essex

If you have ever read Bram’s Stoker’s Dracula, then you know it is a great work of literature. WImagehen I first read it I knew nothing of the themes of which it addressed. For me, it was simply an incredible story of an immortal being that would serve as the basis for every vampire characterized in movies and novels for years to come.

When Francis Ford Coppola made the movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula it was a few years after my first reading of the novel. In it, I saw an entirely new version of the story. Gone were the messages around the roles of women in Victorian culture and in their place an intense love that defied reason and time – a love that would never die.

When I saw Karen Essex’s book a few month back I was intrigued. It offered a new take on the story of Dracula by telling the story from Mina Murray’s perspective, and I loved this idea. What had we ever really known about the character of Mina other than she was a food source for Count Dracula’s manipulative game with Jonathan Harker? I was intrigued at the possibility of a story that dug even deeper than that of the one Francis Ford Coppola tried to tell in his movie. A book that flipped the entire bloodthirsty legend on its head and gave Mina power. I couldn’t wait to dive in.

But soon after diving in, I stopped.

Then picked it back up.

Then stopped again.

Sadly it went that way for months. Something about the writing felt forced – the language flowing in and out of that used in Victorian England and today’s society, unnatural. But eventually one day I did push ahead, thanks to a backup in the MUNI tunnel. So when forced to continue reading I found the book finally pick up.

So I began again.

And as I read, I began to grow curious about the past lives of Mina and Count Dracula – about the connection they shared over many lifetimes. But the story didn’t answer my curiosity. It didn’t show me a love that carried the reader from century to century, showing glimpses of the life they had with one another in each. Rather, it told a story of an incredibly pent up Victorian lady who, despite the societal confines of her time, loses her mind whenever a thousand year old immortal touches her. And when Essex did finally deliver on the back story of Mina’s lineage, I completely lost interest. She was a Sidhe, fairies from Irish Mythology. LAME!

Now, if you know anything about Karen Essex, you know she is anything but unaccomplished. Among today’s writers, she ranks up there as one of the best, frequently sourced for screenplays and other writing. But sadly, this book fell flat for me and I was disappointed.

Movie Review: What’s Your Number

When I first saw the trailer for this movie I figured it would be a renter. It had all the elements of a movie I’d put on when It was chick flick night, including the most essential — eye candy — which in this case came via Chris Evans. But while it wasn’t exactly chick flick night, I did end up liking and laughing and well, swooned a bit, as if it were.

Like “Friends with Benefits,” I was pleasantly surprised with “What’s Your Number?” Given its premise — a girl who is desperate to reconnect with the 19 men she’s slept with to determine if one of them could be “the one” — I actually laughed throughout the whole movie. And, like Friends, I found the story to be a fun telling of the “guy meets girl, guy falls for girl, girl is a bitch and ignores the way she feels for the guy therefore dumping the guy, only to seek him out at the end” story.

Anna Farris is absolutely adorable as lead character Lilly Darling and Chris Evans (despite his usual wooden acting), is perfect opposite her as hunky next door neighbor/musician/secret good guy Collin. Their chemistry is great and almost instantly, you feel as if they are two of your own friends – a pair so obviously perfect for each other you wonder when they will see it, too.

“What’s Your Number?” is currently on PPV and IMHO worth the $5.99. Check it out and don’t be surprised if you find yourself traveling down the path of main character Lilly, remembering your own past loves (or in some cases, one night stands or three date break ups). It’s hard not to in this movie that can’t help but remind you of every guy (or girl) you’ve ever kissed. But if you want my advice, skip your own tallying and stick to a movie snack instead. 😉