Tuesday, February 2, 2010

All About the Movies. . .

So the Oscar nominations were announced today (yawn) and while I'd love a world in which An Education would take best movie, Meryl Streep would win for Best Actress and Colin Firth for Best Actor - well, we all know that's not going to happen.

Still it's that time of year when I like to read all manner of film-related books. I've just finished William Bell's funny new YA novel, Only In The Movies. It's the story of Jake, a teenager who loves films, especially Casablanca. His dream is to become a screenwriter, much to the chagrin of his father who wants his son to join him in the family carpentry business. He nevertheless helps Jake get into the York School of the Arts where his skills are put to good use building theatre sets. Jake makes friends with a quirky, large-nosed, poetry-writing student named Vanni but falls in love with Alba, a beautiful, budding actress. He enlists Vanni's help in composing love letters to Alba (yes, if the nose didn't give it away, this story contains shades of Cyrano, albeit with an added comic twist) but Alba is in love with the dim-witted but dishy Chad. Lots of teenage angst in this one, but it's an entertaining and quite charming read. Jake works out his problems through writing screenplays, portions of which are scattered throughout the novel, and there's a particularly funny one in which he enlists the help of Humphrey Bogart himself.

For something a little more adult, I'm looking forward to reading Arthur Japin's new novel Director's Cut, out next week. Penelope Cruz nabbed a Best Supporting Actress nod today for her role in Nine, the Rob Marshall musical based on Fellini's iconic film 8 1/2 (and it's worth seeing if you like musicals - it's not as good as Chicago, but I always enjoy watching Daniel Day-Lewis, in pretty much any role he's in and Judi Dench steals the show; her musical number involves the longest feather boa I've ever seen - enough to wrap up all the Dewey Divas and then some!) Japin's novel is based on the last love affair of a director very like Fellini and promises a nice romp through the world of Italian cinema.

Also on deck is a galley of Chuck Palahniuk's new novel Tell-All which is coming out in May. Now, I've never read anything by him before - he frankly scares the heck out of me - but his new book is supposedly a retelling of All About Eve, which is one of my favourite movies (and deservedly won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1950). I have no idea what to expect but I'm fastening my seat belt; it may be a bumpy ride!

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