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August 2013

Books on Screen

August 2013

It seems we made it through the heat of July and will be rewarded with a cooler August (although you won't catch me holding my slightly-less-scorching breath). But while things are cooling down offscreen, we can look forward to some hot end-of-summer releases this month --- and I'm not just talking about the Bret Easton Ellis-penned The Canyons. 

In theaters we have The Spectacular Now, so far a critical darling starring the precocious Shailene Woodley alongside equally talented newcomer Miles Teller. Austenland opens mid-month, and is about an Austen-obsessed woman on the prowl for a Mr. Darcy of her very own --- and can you blame her? Joseph Finder's PARANOIA finally makes its way onto the screen this month, and has an all-star lineup, which includes Hollywood heavy-hitters Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Richard Dreyfuss, as well as Liam Hemsworth and Amber Heard, who may not have résumés as long but are certainly easy on the eyes. And towards the end of the month, we'll get Summer 2013's answer to The Hunger Games: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which will bring Lena Headey, who plays our favorite evil TV queen, Cersei Lannister, to the big screen --- and I smell another YA-book-turned-major-Hollywood-franchise!

There's also plenty to watch at home this month. STARZ's new series, "The White Queen," based on Philippa Gregory's The Cousins' War series, looks like a historical fiction crowd-pleaser, with plenty of political intrigue and steamy plot twists. If you're looking for something a little more contemporary, you don't want to miss the first season finale of "King & Maxwell," airing mid-month on TNT. And speaking of finales, tune in to HBO to kiss (but keep your teeth to yourself!) Sookie Stackhouse and all her vampire friends goodbye --- "True Blood" can always be counted on to deliver a mind-blowing, cliffhanging season ender. Also, be sure to catch up on A&E's "Longmire" before the second season is arrested on August 19th (see what I did there?).

Although there's no such thing as too much to watch, we're awfully close this month. So without further ado, here are your Books on Screen for August.

--- Written and compiled by Emily Hoenig


In Theaters: 

The Spectacular Now
Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Director: James Ponsoldt
Distributor: A24
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: August 2nd (limited)
Based On: THE SPECTACULAR NOW by Tim Tharp

The Spectacular Now is the story of Sutter Keely --- high school senior, effortless charmer, and self-proclaiemd “life of the party" --- and of how he unexpectedly falls in love with the “nice girl" Aimee Fineky. While Aimee dreams of the future, Sutter lives in the now. And yet somehow, they’re drawn together. What starts as an unlikely romance becomes a sharp-eyed, straight-up snapshot of the heady confusion and haunting passion of youth --- one that doesn’t look for tidy truths.


Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Cast: Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Jake Abel, Douglas Smith, Stanley Tucci
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: August 7th (wide)
Based On: THE SEA OF MONSTERS: Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book Two by Rick Riordan

Based on the publishing phenomenon, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters continues the young demigod’s epic journey to fulfill his destiny. To save their world, Percy and his friends must find the fabled and magical Golden Fleece. Embarking on a treacherous odyssey into the uncharted waters of the Sea of Monsters (known to humans as the Bermuda Triangle), they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate Evil.


Cast: Keri Russell, JJ Field, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge
Director: Jerusha Hess
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: August 16th (wide)
Based On: AUSTENLAND by Shannon Hale

30-something, single Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young woman with a secret: her obsession with all things Jane Austen. But when she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become more real than she ever could have imagined.


Kick-Ass 2
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Jim Carrey
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: August 16th (wide)
Based On: KICK-ASS 2 by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.

When we last saw junior assassin Hit Girl and young vigilante Kick-Ass, they were trying to live as normal teenagers Mindy and Dave. With graduation looming and uncertain what to do, Dave decides to start the world's first superhero team with Mindy. Unfortunately, when Mindy is busted for sneaking out as Hit Girl, she's forced to retire --- leaving her to navigate the terrifying world of high-school mean girls on her own. With no one left to turn to, Dave joins forces with Justice Forever, run by a born-again ex-mobster named Colonel Stars and Stripes.

Just as they start to make a real difference on the streets, the world's first super villain, The Mother F%&*^r, assembles his own evil league and puts a plan in motion to make Kick-Ass and Hit Girl pay for what they did to his dad. But there's only one problem with his scheme: If you mess with one member of Justice Forever, you mess with them all.


Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, Amber Heard, Harrison Ford, Lucas Till, Embeth Davidtz, Julian McMahon, Josh Holloway, Richard Dreyfuss
Director: Robert Luketic
Distributor: Gaumont
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: August 16th (wide)
Based On: PARANOIA by Joseph Finder

The high stakes thriller Paranoia takes audiences deep behind the scenes of global success to a deadly world of greed and deception. The two most powerful tech billionaires in the world are bitter rivals with a complicated past who will stop at nothing to destroy each other. A young superstar, seduced by unlimited wealth and power falls between them, and becomes trapped in the middle of the twists and turns of their life-and-death game of corporate espionage. By the time he realizes his life is in danger, he is in far too deep and knows far too much for them to let him walk away.


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Lena Headey, Kevin Durand, Aidan Turner, Jemima West
Director: Harald Zwart
Distributor: Unique Features
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: August 21st (wide)
Based On: CITY OF BONES: The Mortal Instruments, Book One by Cassandra Clare

Set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray, discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother, Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures.



On TV:

“The White Queen”
Cast: Rebecca Ferguson, Max Irons, Janet McTeer, James Frain, Amanda Hale, Faye Marsay, Aneurin Barnard, David Oakes, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ben Lamb, Tom McKay
Network: STARZ
Series Premiere: Saturday, August 10th at 9 PM ET/PT
Based On: The Cousins' War series by Philippa Gregory

“The White Queen” is a riveting portrayal of one of the most dramatic and turbulent times in English history. A story of love and lust, seduction and deception, betrayal and murder, it is uniquely told through the perspective of three different, yet equally relentless women --- Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville. In their quest for power, they will scheme, manipulate and seduce their way onto the English throne.

The year is 1464, before the Tudor dynasty ruled the country, and war has been ravaging throughout England over who is the rightful King. It is a bitter dispute between two sides of the same family, The House of York and The House of Lancaster.

The House of York's young and handsome Edward IV is crowned King of England with the help of the master manipulator, Lord Warwick "The Kingmaker." But when Edward falls in love with a beautiful Lancastrian commoner, Elizabeth Woodville, Warwick's plan to control the throne comes crashing down.

A violent, high-stakes struggle ensues between Elizabeth, her most fierce adversary, Lancastrian Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville, the pawn in her father's power game --- each woman vying for the crown.  


"King & Maxwell"
Cast: Jon Tenney, Rebecca Romijin, Ryan Hurst, Michael O'Keefe, Chris Butler
Network: TNT
Air Dates: Mondays at 10pm ET
Season 1 Finale: August 12th
Based On:  The King and Maxwell series by David Baldacci

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell aren’t your typical private investigators. Both are former Secret Service agents, and their unique skills --- not to mention their razor-sharp chemistry --- give them a leg up on conventional law enforcement. Maxwell is a former elite athlete who uses her brains, beauty and Beltway connections to solve cases. King's career in the Secret Service ended when the presidential candidate he was assigned to protect was assassinated, sending him on a downward spiral. Today, King has added a law degree to his arsenal of skills, allowing him to navigate the system in ways a typical private investigator never could. Along the way, King and Maxwell clash over everything, from her garbage-strewn car to his love of wine over beer.


"True Blood"
Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley
Network: HBO
Air Dates: Sundays at 9:00pm ET
Season 6 Finale:August 18th
Based On: The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris

Thanks to a Japanese scientist's invention of synthetic blood, vampires have progressed from legendary monsters to fellow citizens overnight. And while humans have been safely removed from the menu, many remain apprehensive about these creatures "coming out of the coffin." Religious leaders and government officials around the world have chosen their sides, but in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps, the jury is still out.

Local waitress Sookie Stackhouse, however, knows how it feels to be an outcast. "Cursed" with the ability to listen in on people's thoughts, she's also open-minded about the integration of vampires --- particularly when it comes to Bill Compton, a handsome 173-year-old living up the road. But at the service of Bill's less virtuous vampire associates, Sookie is drawn into a series of catastrophes that will put their love to the test.


Cast: Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bailey Chase, Cassidy Freeman. Adam Bartley
Network: A&E
Air Dates: Mondays at 10:00pm ET
Season 2 Finale: August 19th
Based On: Walt Longmire Mysteries by Craig Johnson

Walt's reign as Sheriff hangs in the balance as he fights for re-election against rival, and his own deputy, Branch Connally. Walt's right hand deputy, Vic Moretti is visited by the ghost of a past she'd rather forget. Walt's daughter Cady searches for answers about her mother's murder, while Walt's possible connection to the death of his wife's killer threatens to sweep his loyal friend Henry Standing Bear into the mix. As the open skies darken and the winds kick up, Walt and his deputies plunge head first into the storm... confronting the question: how will each react when it hits?

In the season premiere episode of "Longmire," a prison transfer goes awry and Walt urgently pursues a serial killer and his fellow escapees, who have taken hostages, up a mountain. Facing an impending storm with very limited resources, Walt's mettle is put to the test and hypothermic hallucinations force him to face his past.


“Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove”
Cast: Andie MacDowell, Dylan Neal, Teryl Rothery, Bruce Boxleitner, Barbara Niven, Brennan Elliott, Sarah Smyth, Paula Shaw
Network: Hallmark Channel
Air Dates: Saturdays at 8pm ET
Based On: Cedar Cove series by Debbie Macomber

In "Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove," Andie MacDowell plays Judge Olivia Lockhart, whose Cedar Cove Municipal Court is the professional milieu and social microcosm of issues the judge will face in her own day-to-day life with family and friends. Jack Griffith, the editor of the Cedar Cove Chronicle, is a new friend and potential love interest for Judge Lockhart.

In the series premiere, Judge Lockhart is overjoyed to hear that her name is being put forth for appointment to a Federal judgeship in Seattle by her longtime friend, Senator Pete Albertson. Olivia asks that her family keep the news a secret. In the meantime, Jack Griffith, desperate for a meaningful news story, corners Olivia’s mother who inadvertently tells the editor about everything in her daughter’s life --- including the possible appointment.
Suddenly, Olivia (much to her chagrin) is front page news. How will her family, and the rest of the town, react to the potential changes in Olivia's life?


"Under the Dome"
Cast: Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Dean Norris, Natalie Martinez, Britt Robertson, Alexander Koch, Colin Ford, Nicholas Strong, Jolene Purdy, Aisha Hinds
Network: CBS
Air Dates: Mondays at 10pm ET
Based On: UNDER THE DOME by Stephen King

"Under the Dome" is based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel about a small town that is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by a massive transparent dome.


Cast: Jennifer Carpenter, Michael C. Hall, Desmond Harrington, Lauren Velez
Network: Showtime
Air Dates: Sundays at 9:00pm ET
Based On: Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay

He's smart, he's good looking, and he's got a great sense of humor. He's Dexter Morgan, everyone's favorite serial killer. As a Miami forensics expert, he spends his days solving crimes, and nights committing them. But Dexter lives by a strict code of honor that is both his saving grace and lifelong burden. Torn between his deadly compulsion and his desire for true happiness, Dexter is a man in profound conflict with the world and himself.


"Rizzoli & Isles"
Cast: Angie Harmon, Sasha Alexander, Lorraine Bracco, Lee Thompson Young, Bruce McGill, Jordan Bridges
Network: TNT
Air Dates: Tuesdays at 9:00pm ET
Based On: Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen

Jane Rizzoli is a tough-as-nails Boston police detective, and Maura Isles is a smart, impeccably dressed medical examiner from a privileged background. Despite being complete opposites, the two women share an offbeat chemistry and strong working relationship that has helped them bust some of Boston’s most notorious criminals.


"Pretty Little Liars"
Cast: Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Troian Bellisario, Shay Mitchell
Network: ABC Family
Air Dates: Tuesdays at 8:00pm ET
Based On: ThePretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard

Rosewood is a perfect little town. So quiet and pristine, you'd never guess it holds so many secrets. Some of the ugliest ones belong to the prettiest girls in town --- Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily, four estranged friends whose darkest secrets are about to unravel.

One year ago, Alison, the Queen Bee of their group, disappeared and the girls swore they'd never tell what really happened that night. They thought their secrets would bond them together, but just the opposite is true. Then again, who's to say what the truth is in Rosewood. It seems everyone in town is lying about something.

Now, as the mystery surrounding Alison's disappearance resurfaces, the girls begin getting messages from "A" saying --- and threatening --- things only Alison would know. But it couldn't be Alison. Could it? Whoever it is, they seem to know all the girls' secrets, and seem to be watching their every move. The girls are friends again, but will they be there for each other if their dark secrets come to light?




The Company You Keep
Cast: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Susan Sarandon
Director: Robert Redford
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: August 13th
Based On: THE COMPANY YOU KEEP by Neil Gordon

Jim Grant is a public interest lawyer and single father raising his daughter in the tranquil suburbs of Albany, New York. Grant's world is turned upside down,when a brash young reporter named Ben Shepard exposes his true identity as a former 1970s antiwar radical fugitive wanted for murder. After living for more than 30 years underground, Grant must now go on the run. With the FBI in hot pursuit, he sets off on a cross-country journey to track down the one person that can clear his name.

Shepard knows the significance of the national news story he has exposed and, for a journalist, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. Hell-bent on making a name for himself, he is willing to stop at nothing to capitalize on it. He digs deep into Grant's past. Despite warnings from his editor and threats from the FBI, Shepard relentlessly tracks Grant across the country.

As Grant reopens old wounds and reconnects with former members of his antiwar group, the Weather Underground, Shepard realizes something about this man is just not adding up. With the FBI closing in, Shepard uncovers the shocking secrets Grant has been keeping for the past three decades. As Grant and Shepard come face to face in the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, they each must come to terms with who they really are.


Cast: Pål Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Odd-Magnus Williamson, Gustaf Skarsgård
Director: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: August 27th
Based On: KON-TIKI: Across the Pacific in a Raft by Thor Heyerdahl

On the 28th of April 1947, Thor Heyerdahl leaves his wife and children behind to cross the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft called ‘Kon-Tiki’, with five inexperienced crew members. The Norwegian anthropologist and adventurer travels on the raft from Peru to Polynesia to prove that people from South-America settled in Polynesia instead of people from Asia, as was believed at the time. The crew did not pack any modern technology on board of the raft, except for a simple radio, and were companied by only each other and a parrot. With the world media watching, the crew navigates the Kon-Tiki across the Pacific Ocean using the stars and being driven by the currents and wind.

While taking on thunderstorms, sharks and the dangers of the wide open sea, it’s six brave men against nature trying to get the Kon-Tiki across to the Polynesian shore. After gambling all he has, including his marriage, Heyerdahl is determined to succeed.