Book to Screen: Why THE GIVER Movie Is Nothing Like Lois Lowry’s Novel

by     Posted 5 days ago

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I’ve covered a lot of young adult book-to-film adaptations over the years, and I’ve always made a point of assessing the film as a standalone entity when writing a formal review – but this is not a formal review.  Initially, this piece was intended to be a rather straightforward book/film comparison, but considering Phillip Noyce’s The Giver bears almost no resemblance to Lois Lowry’s award-winning and beloved source material and suffers severely for it, all there is to discuss are differences and the problems they cause.

Hit the jump to read about what the film version of The Giver did different – or rather, did wrong.  [This article contains spoilers for both the book and the movie.] 

THE GIVER Review

by     Posted 12 days ago

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Trends come and go in Hollywood with varying degrees of success, and one of the genres that appears to be “in” at the moment is the YA adaptation—specifically films with a dystopian bent.  The Hunger Games and Divergent both dealt with young protagonists rebelling against oppressive, authoritarian governments, and while at first glance The Giver may look like a simple cash-in on the trend, the source material predates the current dystopian craze by over a decade.  The road to a feature film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel has been long, but it now finally makes it to the screen with producer Jeff Bridges taking on the titular role.  However, though the film is surprisingly deft at handling some of the deeper questions raised by the book and boasts a pair of strong lead performances, the adaptation fails to flesh out other aspects of the story, resulting in a rather mixed bag.

Jeff Bridges Talks THE GIVER, Its Long Road Into Theaters and the Legacy of THE BIG LEBOWSKI

by     Posted 13 days ago

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There’s a deep well of sadness at the center of The Giver, loss and regret circling from within. Most YA adaptations (e.g. The Hunger Games & Divergent) have the veneer of grittiness, but underneath their dystopian features lies a fairly upbeat ‘rah-rah’ tale of the little men rising up against their fascist over-bearers. The Giver may seem like another notch on this belt (despite predating the lot of these books); but underneath there’s a far more subversive agenda at work: what if overthrowing the fascists wasn’t all it was made up to be?  What if the only way to preserve humanity was to curb its very self?  Anchoring such dispiriting notions is the welcome sternly presence of Jeff Bridges, his shrunken eyes and ragged face instantly conveying the deep emotional turmoil of such a compromising vision.  He’s the beating, withering heart of the picture, adding an immediate sense of gravitas without even having to utter a line.

In the following interview with the actor, he discusses why it took eighteen-years to bring The Giver to the big screen, his penchant for playing melancholic characters and the enduring popularity of ‘The Dude’ from The Big Lebowski.  For the full interview, hit the jump.

THE GIVER Clip: Hologram Taylor Swift Plays Piano

by     Posted 17 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has released a new The Giver clip from director Philip Noyce’s adaptation of the Lois Lowry novel, this time featuring Taylor Swift.  I’m still not sure what to make of the film as a whole.  I read the book as a kid and enjoyed it immensely, but it’s been marketed heavily as a kind of Hunger Games riff.  I’m not sure if this is simply a case of getting audiences into the theater or if the trailers are really indicative of the film, but I’m hoping it’s a more introspective piece in line with Lowry’s novel.  For those unfamiliar, the story takes place in a utopian society where all memories of the past reside with a sage figure known as “The Giver”.  This new clip shows Jeff Bridges’ Giver character talking about the previous recipient of his memories (Swift), revealing a musical hologram of the two.

Hit the jump to watch the new The Giver clip, and if you missed our Comic-Con panel recap click here.  The film also stars Brenton Thwaites, Meryl StreepAlexander SkarsgardKatie Holmes, Cameron Monaghan, and Odeya Rush.  The Giver opens in theaters on August 15th.

New THE GIVER Trailer: Meryl Streep Rules in Black and White

by     Posted 83 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has released a new The Giver trailer for director Philip Noyce’s (Salt) adaptation of the beloved Lois Lowry book.  The sci-fi thriller takes place in a utopian society where all memories of the past reside with a sage figure known as “The Giver”.  Jeff Bridges plays the titular character and Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent) plays a young boy who has been selected to be the new Giver.  This is the first trailer to actually make the film stand out from the similarly themed Hunger Games and Divergent franchises (which is ironic, since Lowry’s source material predates both), as it appears that Noyce is keeping the black and white aesthetic from the book—at least at the beginning of the film.  The clip also gets a boost from Clint Mansell’s Requiem for a Dream score, but overall I’m now a bit more interested in seeing what Noyce has put together.

Hit the jump to watch the new The Giver trailer.  The film also stars Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift, Cameron Monaghan, and Odeya RushThe Giver opens in theaters on August 15th.

THE GIVER Character Posters and Images Featuring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Taylor Swift

by     Posted 95 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has released a slew of The Giver posters and images from director Philip Noyce’s adaptation of the Lois Lowry novel.  The story takes place in a utopian society where all memories of the past reside with a sage figure known as “The Giver”.  Jeff Bridges plays the titular character and Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent) plays a young boy who has been selected to be the new Giver.  These character posters introduce the main cast, which also includes Meryl Streep, Alexander SkarsgardKatie Holmes, and a brunette Taylor Swift.  I still don’t have a solid hold on what Noyce’s take on the material entails, but I imagine the film will become more clear as we approach the release date.

Hit the jump to check out the The Giver posters and images.  The film also stars Cameron Monaghan and Odeya RushThe Giver opens in theaters on August 15th.

Go Behind the Scenes of THE GIVER with New Featurette

by     Posted 137 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has released a new behind-the-scenes featurette for director Philip Noyce’s (Salt) adaptation of the Lois Lowry novel The Giver.  The story takes place in a utopian society where all memories of the past reside with a sage figure known as “The Giver”.  Jeff Bridges plays the titular character and Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent) plays a young boy who has been selected to be the new Giver.  In this featurette, Lowry explains the inspiration that led to her writing the book as we also get a look at new footage from the film.  It’s been a long time since I read the novel, but I don’t particularly remember the world being so blatantly science-fiction-looking.  It makes sense that The Weinstein Company would want the marketing to mirror a film as successful as The Hunger Games, but it risks making oblivious audiences think The Giver is a ripoff instead of a book whose publication precedes The Hunger Games by 15 years.

Hit the jump to watch the new The Giver featurette.  The film also stars Meryl StreepAlexander SkarsgardKatie HolmesCameron Monaghan, and Taylor Swift.  The Giver opens August 15th.

First Trailer for THE GIVER Starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Brenton Thwaites

by     Posted 160 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has released the first trailer for director Phillip Noyce’s (Salt) adaptation of the Lois Lowry novel The Giver.  The story takes place in a utopian society where all memories of the past reside with a sage figure known as “The Giver”.  Jeff Bridges plays the titular character and Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent) plays a young boy who has been selected to be the new Giver.  This trailer really wants the movie to look more like The Hunger Games and Divergent even though Lowry’s novel 21-year-old book won the Newbery Medal.  It makes sense that they’re trying to sell the dystopian angle even though I’d like to see more of Bridges.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Cameron Monaghan, and Taylor SwiftThe Giver opens August 15th.

First Images from THE GIVER Starring Jeff Bridges and Brenton Twaites

by     Posted 215 days ago

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After nearly 20 years, the film adaptation of Lois Lowry‘s novel The Giver will finally reach theaters this year.  Jeff Bridges has been attached to the project for so long that originally he wanted his late father Lloyd Bridges to play the title character.  Now, Bridges will play the mysterious figure who holds all of the memories of an emotionally sterilized community.  The first images from the film have been released and they show Bridges alongside newcomer Brenton Twaites, who play Jonas, the 16-year-old in the community assigned to receive the memories.  “The past is considered to be potentially polluting,” director Phillip Noyce explains to EW. “This is a world where complications are eliminated. Jonas himself goes on a journey as he finds out what’s missing. He starts to investigate what’s causing it. And that’s the beauty. That’s what makes the book so popular, it’s an investigation in ways of living.”

Hit the jump to check out the images and for more details on the plot.  The film also stars Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, and Taylor SwiftThe Giver opens August 15th.

Comic-Con: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes and Kit Harington Talk SEVENTH SON, Surprises During the Shoot, Adaptations, and a “Wild” Day on Set

by     Posted 1 year, 34 days ago

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While at Comic-Con for a presentation in Hall H, co-stars Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes and Kit Harington talked to press about their fantasy action-adventure film Seventh Son.  When an evil is unleashed that will reignite the war between the forces of the supernatural and humankind, Master Gregory (Bridges) must train his new apprentice (Barnes) to fight a dark magic unlike any other.

During the interview, the actors talked about what interested them in the project, what surprised them most during this shoot, how people react to the changes when a book is adapted to film, and a particularly wild day on set.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

Comic-Con: SEVENTH SON Panel Recap; Jeff Bridges Says the Fantasy Film is “Chock Full of Myth”

by     Posted 1 year, 37 days ago

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The reaction to the Seventh Son trailer was lukewarm at best, but it’s a big fantasy movie we haven’t seen in a while, and I want to remain positive on it.  I’m a huge fan of star Jeff Bridges and antagonist Julianne Moore.  Still, it’s going to be a tough sell, and everyone’s itching for a big show when you’re the lead-off panel on the biggest day of Hall H.  They didn’t have a lot of time in the crowded Warner Bros./Legendary presentation, but the crowd responded well, and they made a case not to simply write this off as another January write-off like this year’s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Hit the jump to for my recap of the panel.  Seventh Son opens January 17, 2014.

Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges Talk R.I.P.D., Childhood Memories, On-Set Injuries, Creating Roy the Cowboy, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 42 days ago

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Sometimes you die and go to heaven, but sometimes you die and try to hang out on Earth.  That’s why there’s the Rest in Peace Department.  Based on Peter M. Lenkov’s graphic novel, R.I.P.D. stars Ryan Reynolds as Nick Walker, a top Boston detective who eats a bunch of bullets while on the job.  But, after passing on, rather than meeting his maker, he comes face to face with Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker) in the Rest in Peace Department. Nick is paired up with R.I.P.D. veteran and resident wise-cracker, Roy (Jeff Bridges), and the duo is tasked with tracking down the dead who refuse to leave Earth, known as Deados, and ensuring the afterlife and actual life remain separate.

Ahead of the film’s Friday, July 19th wide release, Reynolds and Bridges sat down for a press conference to discuss the details of joining the R.I.P.D..  Hit the jump to check out what the duo had to say about Reynolds’ mischievous childhood, the physical challenges of making the film, the lessons Bridges learned from his father, Lloyd Bridges, and loads more.

Three Clips from R.I.P.D. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker and Marisa Miller

by     Posted 1 year, 47 days ago

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Three new clips have debuted for director Robert Schwentke’s R.I.P.D. adaptation that stars Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges as law enforcement officers tasked with keeping the dead in line.  Newly-deceased recruit Nick Walker (Reynolds) learns the ropes under the instruction of veteran officer Roy Pulsipher (Bridges).  The duo quickly find that their everyday job has grown into a last-ditch effort to prevent an all-out apocalypse.

Also starring Mary-Louise Parker, Marisa Miller, James Hong and Kevin Bacon, R.I.P.D. opens July 19th.  Hit the jump to watch the three clips.

First Trailer and Poster for SEVENTH SON Starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, and Julianne Moore

by     Posted 1 year, 47 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for director Sergey Bodrov’s fantasy-adventure film Seventh Son.  The plot follows mystical knight Father Gregory (Jeff Bridges) and his apprentice Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) and their fight to defeat the evil witch, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) and her followers.  The VFX-heavy trailer promises a large-scale entry into the fantasy genre and a goofy Jeff Bridges performance, but despite the impressive cast (and Big Lebowski reunion), it’s tough to tell whether this one will be a winner.  The genre is a tough one to crack, and it’s unclear if Warner Bros. has something more substantial than recent flops like Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters or The Brothers Grimm in store for audiences.  The pic’s release date was recently moved (again) from this coming October to January due to delays in the visual effects process, but a push to January is rarely the best of signs.  Here’s hoping Seventh Son proves to be a pleasant surprise.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer and to check out the poster.  The film also stars Kit Harington, Alicia Vikander, Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Williams, and Antje Traue.  Seventh Son opens on January 17, 2014.

New Featurette for R.I.P.D. Starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds

by     Posted 1 year, 49 days ago

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Universal has released a new featurette for the action-comedy R.I.P.D. The film stars Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds as two deceased lawmen who now work for the “Rest in Peace Department”, and are tasked with apprehending the souls of dead criminals that refuse to face final judgment.  The featurette has got some new footage, and keeps making the flick look like it could be a fun ride, especially with Bridges basically playing a cartoon cowboy.

Hit the jump to check out the featurette, and be sure to enter our giveaway for the movie.  The film also stars Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Bacon, Marisa Miller, and James HongR.I.P.D. opens in 3D on July 19th.

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