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May 2016

May 2016

Welcome back, Books on Screen readers! It seems things are finally starting to warm up --- if not outside, then at least on screens big and small alike. 

If you're blessed with a heartier constitution and aren't already suffering from or susceptible to Superhero Fatigue™ --- case volume always seems to multiply exponentially this time of year --- check out Captain America: Civil War, now in theaters. Bland hunk Self-aware dude Chris Evans leads a star-studded cast in another superhero movie that examines what happens when heroes are held accountable for the collateral damage of their heroics. Spoiler alert: They turn on each other!

And with all these good guys fighting each other, the villains are freed up to plot world domination...or see Love & Friendship, Whit Stillman's latest romp based on a cheeky Jane Austen story. Sounds right up the Purple Man's alley, to be honest. And let's not forget Alice Through the Looking Glass, starring Mia Wasikowska, Lemonade enthusiast Anne Hathaway, and "apologetic" dog smuggler Johnny Depp, and the woefully short on Hugh Jackman X-Men: Apocalypse, both out at the end of the month. 

For those of you who aren't holding your breath coast-to-coast for "Game of Thrones," set your DVRs this month for the remake of "Roots," an eight-part miniseries that will premiere on three different networks at 9pm on Memorial Day. If the stellar cast and gorgeous, harrowing trailer don't do it for you, nostalgia for the classic late '70s series should be enough to reel you in. And if you're not already watching "The Night Manager" --- AMC's stylish adaptation of the John le Carré thriller --- be sure to check it out. Come for Hiddleston in a well-cut suit, stay for the smart writing and fast-paced story.

May may be the month of the modal verb, but I say get your action verb on and go forth to this month's Books on Screen! 


---Written and compiled by Emily Hoenig


In Theaters:

Captain America: Civil War
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 6th
Based on: Captain America comic books by Jack Kirby

Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow and Hawkeye must pick a side.


Love & Friendship
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel
Director: Whit Stillman
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
MPAA Rating: unrated
Release Date: May 13th
Based on: LADY SUSAN by Jane Austen

Beautiful young widow Lady Susan Vernon visits to the estate of her in-laws to wait out the colorful rumors about her dalliances circulating through polite society. Whilst ensconced there, she decides to secure a husband for herself and a future for her eligible but reluctant daughter, Frederica. In doing so she attracts the simultaneous attentions of the young, handsome Reginald DeCourcy, the rich and silly Sir James Martin and the divinely handsome, but married, Lord Manwaring, complicating matters severely.


Manhattan Night
Cast: Adrien Brody, Yvonne Strahovski, Jennifer Beals, Campbell Scott
Director: Brian DeCubellis
Distributor: Lionsgate Premiere
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: May 20th
Based on: MANHATTAN NOCTURNE by Colin Harrison

Manhattan Night tells the story of Porter Wren, a New York City tabloid writer with an appetite for scandal. On the beat he sells murder, tragedy and anything that passes for the truth. At home he is a model family man, devoted to his loving wife. But when a seductive stranger asks him to dig into the unsolved murder of her filmmaker husband Simon, he can't resist. In this modern version of a classic film noir, we follow Porter as he is drawn into a very nasty case of sexual obsession and blackmail --- one that threatens his job, his marriage and his life.


Alice Through the Looking Glass
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Anne Hathaway, Alan Rickman
Director: James Bobin
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: May 27th
Based on: ALICE IN WONDERLAND: Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Alice Kingsleigh has spent the past few years following in her father's footsteps and sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London, she comes across a magical looking glass and returns to the fantastical realm of Underland and her friends the White Rabbit, Absolem, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, who is not himself. The Hatter has lost his Muchness, so Mirana sends Alice on a quest to borrow the Chronosphere, a metallic globe inside the chamber of the Grand Clock which powers all time. Returning to the past, she comes across friends --- and enemies --- at different points in their lives, and embarks on a perilous race to save the Hatter before time runs out.


X-Men: Apocalypse
Cast: James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Oscar Isaac, Sophie Turner
Director: Bryan Singer
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 27th 
Based On: X-Men characters that appear in the Marvel Comics series

Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel's X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto, to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven,with the help of Professor X, must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.



On TV:

Kenneth Branagh, Richard McCabe, Jeany Spark
Network: PBS
Air Dates: May 8-22 at 9pm ET
Based On: Inspector Wallander mystery series by Henning Mankell

A gritty crime drama about a morose police detective who investigates murders. Based on Swedish crime author Henning Mankell's book series.


Malachi Kirby, Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose, Anna Paquin, Tip "T.I." Harris, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Matthew Goode
Network: A&E, History, Lifetime
Air Dates: Premieres Monday, May 30th at 9pm ET
Based On: ROOTS: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley

An adaptation of Alex Haley's ROOTS, chronicling the history of an African slave sold to America and his descendants.


“Game of Thrones,” Season 6
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aidan Gillen, Natalie Dormer, Liam Cunningham, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams
Network: HBO
Air Dates: Sundays at 9pm ET
Based On: A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin

While a civil war brews between several noble families in Westeros, the children of the former rulers of the land attempt to rise up to power. Meanwhile a forgotten race, bent on destruction, return after thousands of years in the North.


Cast: Nathan Phillips, Britne Oldford, Mark Coles Smith
Network: Syfy
Air Dates: Mondays at 10pm ET
Based On: The Alien Hunter series by Whitley Strieber

The disappearance of a decorated FBI agent's wife leads him to a secret government unit assembled to hunt a group of ruthless terrorists --- shadowy figures that may or may not be from this world.


“The Night Manager”
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman
Network: AMC
Air Dates: Tuesdays at 10pm ET
Based On: THE NIGHT MANAGER by John le Carré

A night manager of a European hotel is recruited by intelligence agents to infiltrate an international arms dealer's network.


Cast: Stephen Amell, Colin Donnell, Katie Cassidy, David Ramsey, Willa Holland, Susanna Thompson, Paul Blackthorne
Network: The CW
Air Dates: Wednesdays at 8pm ET
Based On: DC Comics character Green Arrow created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp

After defeating his most formidable foe to date and riding off into the sunset with longtime flame Felicity Smoak, Oliver Queen (aka The Arrow) left Starling City with the hopes of beginning a new life. But will Oliver ever truly be able to leave behind his past as the Arrow, and, if so, what becomes of the team he has worked so hard to assemble? Will Diggle, Thea and Laurel be left to continue Oliver’s crusade without him? And with Malcolm Merlyn having ascended to the top of the League of Assassins as the new Ra's al Ghul, is anyone really safe?


"Legends of Tomorrow"
Cast: Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Arthur Darvill, Ciara Renée, Franz Drameh, Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, Casper Crump
Network: The CW
Air Dates: Thursdays at 8pm ET
Based On: DC Comics characters

A time-traveling rogue assembles a group of heroes and villains to prevent the world's destruction.


“Outlander,” Season 2
Cast: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies
Network: Starz
Air Dates: Saturdays at 9pm ET
Based On: The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

“Outlander” follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire's heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.




A Perfect Day
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Tim Robbins, Olga Kurylenko
Director: Fernando León de Aranoa
Distributor: IFC Films
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: May 17th
Based on: DEJARSE LLOVER by Paula Farias

It's just another day on the job for a band of badass war zone rescue workers as they defy death and confront war's absurdities. The setting is 1995, "somewhere in the Balkans." Over the course of 24 breathless hours, Mambrú, leads his team of humanitarians --- including hard-bitten, wisecracking veteran B and new recruit Sophie --- as they deal with a most unexpected crisis, layers of bureaucratic red tape and the reappearance of Mambrú's old flame. Through it all, the group handles the less-than-glamorous realities of life in a combat zone the only way they know how: with selfless bravery and a healthy dose of irreverent humor.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Douglas Booth, Bella Heathcote, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Lena Headey
Director: Burr Steers
Distributor: Sony Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 31st
Based on: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES by Seth Grahame-Smith

A zombie outbreak has fallen upon the land in Jane Austen's classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th-century England. Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is a master of martial arts and weaponry and the handsome Mr. Darcy is a fierce zombie killer, yet the epitome of upper class prejudice. As the zombie outbreak intensifies, they must swallow their pride and join forces on the blood-soaked battlefield.