Natalie V. Hall Is Already in Love with One Page-to-Screen Adaptation. As for the rest… [FIERCE ANTICIPATION]

Fiercely Anticipating

Game of Thrones

I’ll get this out of the way first. FB@(#$&@(T$Y@PO#FN!!!! My little heart is skipping a beat over this one. But although I feel like one of those long-term, hard-core fans, I actually haven’t been on the Game of Thrones train for that long. I was introduced to the series by an old friend (one Ethan Hova) who finally sold me on it by saying it was “sexy, filthy, and clever.” In my disgusting mind, I interpreted that to mean “there are some good old Clan of the Cave Bear style sex scenes.” I wasn’t disappointed (Daenerys anyone?), but I also got a whole lot more.

I bought the first book last week, and devoured it in two days. What a relief to not have to read “serious literature” for a thousand pages. Just swords, intrigue, incest and OLD SCHOOL ICE ZOMBIES. So I was thrilled when I started watching the trailers for HBO’s mini-series adaptation. Here’s the thing: it looks REALLY GOOD. No stunt casting. And the world really does look fairly close to the world I imagined in my head, with just a few exceptions.

I’m also fairly confident that I’ll like the dialogue – 1: because what I have heard so far sounds VERY close to the book, and 2: because the head writer is David Benioff, whose book City of Thieves I truly enjoyed. (Please Mr. Benioff – THAT would make a fabulous movie.) I would like to take a second, however, to discuss something I always find interesting in historical or fantasy films. The accents. I understand why the fallback accent is British, I do. It’s a perfect collection of regionalisms and class signifiers, which is lacking in other English-speaking accents. It also, for whatever reason, can lend a formality and sense of history lacking in American (rebels!) or Australian (thieves!) accents. But I hate it when it is used irresponsibly or carelessly. What I found surprising in the trailers for Game of Thrones is that clearly quite a bit of thought was put into it. The characters from Winterfell (in the North of Westoros) have distinctly northern British accents. The characters from the South of Westoros (including Catelyn Stark) have southern British accents, although theirs are closer to R.P. than a truly southern regional accent. Now, I will assume that for a production of this scale that the accent work will be slightly spotty, but I am impressed that they tried. (Although, SIDE NOTE: who wants to take bets  that the accents for the barbarian Dothraki horse tribe will have the slightly offensive smell of “native American/vaguely asiatic”?)

Kinda Want to See

Water For Elephants

Alright, I lied. I don’t actually want to see Water for Elephants. At best, I have a feeling of extreme apathy towards it.

Pro: Robert Pattinson is not exhaustingly broody, pale and sparkly. Thanks be to God.

Con: it’s bad news when you keep thinking “I didn’t know Kiki Dunst was in this” but it’s actually Reese Witherspoon. Not a path you want to tread, Reese (sorry Kiki! Love you!).

Pro: It looks pretty! Circus costumes! Olden times! Uhh….suspenders!

Con: I can spy some pretty bad green-screening, and they should at LEAST be able to hide that in the trailer, don’t you think?

Pro: Cristoph Waltz! AKA: the only thing that made the latest Quentin Tarentino j.o. session worth watching.

Con: It was kind of a weak book to begin with. So will I watch it? Probably not. After all, I hate being proven wrong on baseless assumptions. But if you brought over the DVD with some lo mein, I wouldn’t say no.

Wouldn’t Go if you Paid Me


I am a long time Kenneth Branagh lover. Actually, obsessive might be a better term. I used to keep pictures of his broody, lipless face taped on my walls in high school. I watched Hamlet, Much Ado, Henry V and A Midwinter’s Tale on repeat. I started a Shakespeare Company in his honor to while away the hours until I became his muse and child bride. So needless to say I was…confused when I realized that Kenneth Branagh, MY Kenneth Branagh, was directing the upcoming Marvel jizz-fest Thor.

Why? Where did this come from? Was this a mid-life crisis? What had I missed? I mean, OK. I’ll be honest. K Bran has always been an extremely talented man with a questionable taste issue. There was Hamlet’s dry ice forest; there was Wild Wild West.  There was (shudder) Love’s Labor’s Lost. So maybe this was just another misstep into an arena that doesn’t really serve his talents, like tap dancing, or getting Jack Lemmon to convince us that the rotten thing in Denmark didn’t reside in his adult diaper. (Too soon?) Or perhaps Sir Ken was just ready to finally make a shit-ton of money, and I guess I can understand that. None of this really explains why Thor in particular though.

Judging from the trailer, I don’t think anyone else gets it either.  Why are ANY of these people signed on to a major comic book franchise? It couldn’t be further from the rest of Ken’s apparent directorial interests. Natalie Portman just looks confused, as if she had signed a bunch of contracts while sleepwalking and gotten a surprise call to show up on set a year later. (Does anyone else think that’s the way she’s picking her projects now?) And bless poor Chris Hemsworth who is admirably attempting to fulfill the nerd-boys absurdly high requirements, be sexy enough to draw in said nerd-boys’ girlfriends, and emote the right blend of Norse gravitas and modern snark, all while maintaining a hideous blond beard. Basically, I don’t think anyone who worked on this project understands why any of it is happening. If there is any saving grace to this, it will undoubtedly be Tony Hopkins as Odin because he’s hilarious and awesome and was probably cracking up in his trailer every day and doing crossword puzzles.  So no, I will not be seeing Thor. If you’d like to find me, I will be watching a very oily Keanu Reeves shirtlessly fuck up some iambic pentameter.