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.

Warmth for Warm Bodies

What makes us human? Is it our ability to think and act, to live and laugh, or feel and love. This question and the later likely answer is surprisingly one of the themes to Warm Bodies – the ZomCom featuring Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer, in theaters now.

Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer star in Now I dubbed it ZomCom because 1) it’s the genre most used to describe the book by Isaac Marion that inspired the movie, and 2) I think its just one of a handful of romantic comedies featuring zombies coming our way because now that Twilight is over, teens need some new walking dead being to swoon over. I mean hello, check out one of the movie images left –  Twilight anyone?  Even the so called big actors like Brad Pitt are getting their zombie on, with the soon to be released World War Z. That’s not a romantic comedy, but you get the drift. Zombies are the next big business for studios.

I’ve never been into zombies. Ever. 28 Days Later and its sequel 28 Weeks Later scared the hell out of me. There’s something about the dead walking around in a decomposed, brain eating state that’s never sat well with me. But apparently zombies are en-vogue. Guess if I watched Walking Dead I’d know better. That show is fever pitch. But I digress….

I saw Warm Bodies this weekend and while it wasn’t my first choice (sometimes that darn Fandango is hard to navigate, i.e. I screwed up on the movie times!), I liked it. It was for the most part a comedy, but there were a couple of moments that made you think beyond the lunacy and blatant mockery of the teen targeted supernatural love genre films, and ponder with a little more seriousness about the importance of the human connection.

Nicholas Hoult’s narration of main character R is comical , but it also (if you are in the mood to read beyond the first crush premise) gives the viewer a serious glimpse at what it means to be human – to have hopes and dreams and thoughts and fears and ask the question what, more than anything, at the end of the day, makes us human? The answer – love. The notion of love, the ability to love, and being in love.

I’ve always liked Hoult. He was incredible on Skins — the original version on the BBC, not the self indulgent, train wreck version MTV introduced most American audiences to — and I hope we see more of him in years to come. It looks promising in that department, with Hoult starring in films getting a lot of marketing push in 2013, including Jack the Giant Slayer, Mad Max: Fury Road, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. And Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four) wasn’t completely insufferable as R’s love interest Julie. Of the younger actresses out there I can actually stand watching her and she and Hoult make a good looking couple. I hear he and Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence broke up. So maybe…

Another surprise was the soundtrack, which wasn’t filled with indie tracks, as has been the case with recent teen supernatural franchises, but classics like Guns n’ Roses “Patience,”  Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart,” the always classic “Missing You” by John Waite, Bob Dylan’s “Shelter from the Storm,” and M83’s “Midnight City” to name a few.

While the film is yet another “Romeo and Juliet” twist — Shakespeare should get some kind of post humous kick back for how many plot lines his plays have inspired in the supernatural love story genre — it was a fun flick that wasn’t too serious after a pretty heavy week, and made me laugh out loud more than once. For that, I recommend it. You can probably wait until it hits video, but I like supporting little movies that could.

Since the moment it debuted M83’s “Midnight City” has been a favorite on my playlist.  So, what better way to wrap up my review than by sharing the official video for the hit, not to mention one fun note for Hoult fans: the song comes at a great moment in the movie. Hoult in the shower. You’re welcome.

The Adjustment Bureau and my infinite curiosity about destiny

I hate the idea that our lives are predetermined. That we travel a path created for us, with every decision we face part of a larger master plan. What happens when we deviate from that path? Make a choice that wasn’t ours to make to begin with? Do choices we make that take us away from that path lead to chaos and confusion or peace and happiness?

The subject of destiny was the inspiration for  my first novel Aberration and one that I continue to explore as I work on edits to its sequel (coming 2013!)  No matter the extensive research I do on the subject and no matter the conclusion the characters in my stories come to, I always come to the same one: no one chooses our destiny but us.

As William Shakespeare so wisely said, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”  It is we who hold the key to our happiness. To our success and failures. And to the doors that open for us on the life we set out on.

Sometimes  when movies get it right, they really get it right and The Adjustment Bureau for me, when it comes to the subject of destiny, was just such a flick. I saw it awhile ago and loved it then, and catching the last few minutes of it recently, liked it just the same.  I’ve liked Emily Blunt since first seeing her in The Devil Wears Prada and will always have a soft spot for Matt Damon, despite some questionable flicks in recent year, and their pairing along with the film’s quick pace, and the Mad Men-esque vibe of the folks that work for The Bureau, make it a fun watch.