August 21, 2013 at 7:47 pm #109168
It looks really goodAugust 21, 2013 at 8:09 pm #109169
I watched Sophie Nelisse in Monsieur Lazhar. Nice to see her again, and working with some of the best. Hoping for good things for the cast and crew. I liked what I’ve seen of DT Abbey (Brian Percival), and it looks like my type of filmAugust 22, 2013 at 4:34 am #109170
Geoffrey Rush looks great in this. He could potentially be a contender in Supporting Actor (assuming he doesn’t go Lead).August 22, 2013 at 8:23 am #109171
Geoffrey Rush looks great in this. He could potentially be a contender in Supporting Actor (assuming he doesn’t go Lead).
He definately looks like he is going to be great in this movie. I read the book a while ago and his character was by far my favorite.August 22, 2013 at 4:10 pm #109172
Boring.October 5, 2013 at 9:06 pm #109173
BumpOctober 5, 2013 at 9:13 pm #109174
Looked for a previous thread, the search engine didn’t locate it – this should be retitiled just The Book Thief
It might be for real:
Can 20th’s Under-The-Radar Entry ‘The Book Thief’ Steal A Spot In The Oscar Race?
By PETE HAMMOND | Saturday October 5, 2013 @ 6:51pm PDTTags: 20th Century Fox, Emily Watson, Fox 2000, Geoffrey Rush, Markus Zusak, Mill Valley Film Festival, The Book Thief, The King’s Speech
Could The Book Thief come out of nowhere to pull off a heist in this year’s Oscar race?
While distributor 20th Century Fox seems to be putting most of its marbles on this weekend’s New York Film Festival launch of their big Christmas Day release, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, the studio has concurrently picked another festival , the lower profile but respected 36 year-old Mill Valley Film Fest, to World Premiere their stealth entry into awards season, The Book Thief. It played to a huge standing ovation at its Thursday night unveiling on the Northern California fest’s opening night. Tonight co-star Geoffrey Rush will be the subject of a tribute there. Based on Markus Zusak’s #1 best selling novel the story, set during World War II Nazi Germany , finds a young girl seeking refuge in the world of books while her family hides a young jewish man in the basement of their modest German home. As they did earlier today with Mitty, Fox has had simultaneous screenings on their lot for bloggers and critics which is where I caught it yesterday.
To be honest this one has totally flown under the radar for me. A Fox 2000 production it is the rare serious family drama going out through a major studio, and the even -rarer non-animated film the whole family can – and should – see. Fox may think they have bigger fish to fry in the Oscar race but this one could be a real sleeper. I see definite Academy appeal in this story (beautifully directed by first-time feature filmmaker Brian Perceval of Downton Abbey) if Fox campaigns it smartly and gets it seen. They have hired publicity firm 42 West to aid in the cause. This kind of smaller quality non-star driven drama is usually more the fodder of Fox’s specialty division Searchlight or a Sony Classics. But last year Fox 2000 produced challenging material with another beloved book, Life Of Pi and delivered stellar results -both awards-wise and at the boxoffice.
In addition to another Oscar-worthy performance from Rush (he already has one for 1996′s Shine) playing an ordinary German father who has not yet bought into the Nazi regime, there is a fine turn from the ever-reliable Emily Watson and a breakout leading role for Canadian actress Sophie Nelisse as the title star. Coming from the studio which found a lot of awards success in 1959 with another WWII Nazi horror story about a young girl and a book called The Diary Of Anne Frank, this one is equally moving and memorable. Originally it was thought to be planned for 2014 but apparently Fox took a look and decided to move it into prime time for Awards flicks with a November release.
“We only wrapped on it in May or June (on location in Germany). And John Williams is still tweaking the score but it played beautifully here on Thursday night at the official premiere,” Rush told me when he spoke to me earlier today before his Mill Valley tribute. “I hadn’t seen any of it apart from a little bit during looping so it’s always a little exciting and unnerving at the same time. You have 600 strangers sitting around and you can gauge that their level of involvement was very, very nice. It got a standing ovation and I’m told that is not part of the Mill Valley norm. Sometimes people leap to their feet in certain contexts or Broadway – it’s part of the ritual – but they said ‘no, that’s a really deserved accolade’. It was exciting for us.” Ironically Rush had missed the Sundance debut of his Oscar winner Shine 17 years ago and caught it for the first time when it played Mill Valley. That worked out okay so maybe this is a good luck fest for him.
Rush hadn’t read the book, despite the fact the author is a fellow Australian. But when he got the call he did and found it to be an astonishing piece of literature. His 19- year old daughter and her friends had all read it and told him it changed their lives, so he thinks the film should have great appeal for younger audiences, more than usual for this type of film. “It’s good that such difficult and complex subject matter has that appeal for a younger generation. It’s a pretty powerful journey , it doesn’t pull any punches on the first page of the novel or the screenplay, ” he said about the challenging material but is hopeful the studio will find a way to get an audience for it. “I think Fox 2000, I don’t quite know what their charter is. They did The Devil Wears Prada, then Life Of Pi and now this. I can’t quite pick up the house style. I think they are very excited though by what they’ve got and we’re loving now that it’s out and people are going to get a chance to see it.”
A big plus is the score by 48-time Oscar nominee and 5-time winner John Williams. It will likely bring him his 49th nomination. He does very few scores now outside of work with Steven Spielberg or the occasional blockbuster. But Rush tells me this is a job the composer actually sought himself. “I think I am right in saying that he contacted the producers and said ‘I read this book and I know you are making a film and I would really like to write the music for it’ , so I think they took that as a plus,” he said.
Rush,who was most recently Oscar-nominated for his role in the Best Picture winner The King’s Speech (which also had a sneak attack on the 2010 race), is no stranger to festivals or the pace of an awards season. He flew in from Sydney and Thursday and goes back Sunday , a quick trip but he wanted to be there for the World Premiere of this one. And his tribute. “It should be nice. They told me they have put together a ‘sizzler’ for the tribute, that’s a word I’ve never heard. I hope they don’t throw a steak at me,” he laughed.October 5, 2013 at 9:19 pm #109175
Odd how your duplicate thread simply vanished after I closed it. I’ll try to edit the title of the thread.October 5, 2013 at 9:25 pm #109176
It vanished because I did the logical thing and deleted my initial post, which apparently under GD format deletes the entire thread. So nothing odd at all. Just being a good member here and doing my bit to make things more orderly.October 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm #109177
First review on metacritic is a 70 from Variety.November 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm #109178
I got to see this about a week or two ago. It feels kind of like the love child of “The Reader” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” with the borrowed import of Nazi Germany from the first and the slightly cloying sentimental children from the second.
I actually didn’t hate it. I think it’s passable, but too warm, fuzzy, and sanitized for a movie with this kind of subject matter. What’s funny is that it misses a big opportunity to be something more. Roger Allam narrates the film as Death, and that point of view gives the story an entirely new kind of perspective. Problem is there isn’t enough of it. The narrator points in from time to time and then drops out for long stretches, which makes it feel more like an underdeveloped gimmick. Either that narration should be taken out completely, or it should be the prevailing voice of the film.
Not sure if that came from the book, but it’s a really compelling idea for telling a story about World War II.November 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm #109179
This is a weird awards contender – it has been screened heavily for the last couple weeks, but there has been a review embargo until nowsuggesting Fox is scared about them. This is virtually unheard of for a film that is getting a platform release before its wider run over Thanksgiving. It loooks like they are depending on familiarity of the book and their marketing to overcome what looks like mixed at best critical response.November 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm #109180
Well, it’s a good idea in theory but the book is pretty much everything Daniel M says the movie is, so not surprised.November 7, 2013 at 11:04 am #109181
Read story at TheWrap
‘The Book Thief’ Review: Death and Plucky Tween Find Their Voice in Holocaust Tale
Movies | By Diane Garrett on November 7, 2013 @ 9:00 am
The Grim Reaper proves an unwelcome narrator in well-intentioned adaptation of Markus Zusak’s popular World War II novel
Death won’t stop talking in “The Book Thief.”
The narrative device, carried over from Markus Zusak’s popular novel, quickly wears out its welcome in the movie: Yes, the Grim Reaper had his hands full during Nazi Germany, but do we really need to hear his recurrent voice-over musings about death? It verges on creepy to hear middle-aged Death (voiced by British stage actor Roger Allam) explain how special he knew young Liesel (Sophie Nelisse) was from the moment he first saw her.
Especially considering how family-friendly this well-intentioned survival story is meant to be.
Death comes knocking early in “The Book Thief,” when Liesel’s younger brother dies en route to their new foster parents’ home. Liesel’s mother has murky reasons for giving them up, although school kids later deride her as a communist.
In any event, Liesel is deposited with her new foster parents, the kindly Hans (Geoffrey Rush) and prickly Rosa (Emily Watson). Hans soon discovers that Liesel can’t read and that she has swiped the gravedigger’s manual because she would like to remedy the situation.
He sets about teaching her while friendly next-door neighbor Rudy (an impossibly Aryan-looking Nico Liersch, right) tries to draw her out of her shell amid escalating violence against Jews. Before long, there’s another, more covert, addition to their household: Max (Ben Schnetzer), the son of the Jewish man who saved Hans during World War I.
Liesel now has even more reason to be wary; if the wrong people found out who was hiding in their basement, the whole family would be in danger.
And to make matters worse, the family is barely scraping by on money Rosa earns from doing laundry when the burgermeister catches Liesel reading with his wife in their library and stops giving Rosa work.
The movie, rated PG-13, does a credible job depicting the escalating climate of fear in the town. It shows anti-Semitism and violence against Jews without getting overly lurid about it: There are scenes of smashing windows during Kristallnacht, a book burning in the square, and a forced march by Jews with yellow stars.
But there are also jaunty scenes of Liesel and young Rudy frolicking, Disney-esque music swelling, as they have their light-hearted tween moments. These moments do not mix well with Death’s voiceovers, which have a way of popping up again when you’ve nearly managed to forget about them.
There is no irony in “The Book Thief,” which gets its name for Liesel’s penchant for “borrowing” books, first from the unknown gravedigger and later the burgermeister’s wife. Over the course of the movie, Liesel also learns to find her voice through words, and, from her “Papa” Hans’ example, how to stand up for that which she believes. It’s all very positive role-modeling for younger viewers old enough to handle a troubling period in European history.
Nelisse and better-known co-stars Rush and Watson all acquit themselves well in “The Book Thief,” and Schnetzer is compelling as the secret boarder in the Hubermann household. But it’s not clear how much appeal this well-intentioned tale will have beyond families with older kids and fans of Zusak’s novel, which was marketed in the U.S. to young adult readers.
Fox 2000 is marketing the movie adaptation as a survival tale on the order of “Life of Pi,” the wildly successful lit adaption about survival it released last year. But “Life of Pi” had fantastical elements and dazzling visual effects going for it; this movie, directed by “Downton Abbey” director Brian Percival, does not.
Teens and those older will likely roll their eyes at some of the YA elements in “The Book Thief.” Others will just wish that Death would shut up.