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New In USA Theaters This Weekend: Polarizing 'Paperboy,' & Winsome 'Wuthering Heights'

by Natasha Greeves
October 5, 2012 3:01 PM
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Get a jump on plans for your weekend.  Two much talked about films are making their USA theatrical debuts today.

First... It feels like we have been talking about the British adaptation of Wuthering Heights forever. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2011.  And now, finally, those in the USA will get to see Andrea Arnold's adaptation of the classic novel by Emily Bronte.

Our interest in the film was sparked when we heard that Arnold decided her Heathcliff would be played by James Howson.  Howson, a young black actor, is the first black actor to have the opportunity to play Heathcliff in a feature film.  

Arnold based her casting on Bronte's description of Heathcliff as "dark-skinned gypsy in aspect" and "a little Lascar."

Here's the project's synopsis:

An epic love story that spans childhood well into the young adult years, the film follows Heathcliff (in Arnold’s version, a black boy), who is taken in by a Yorkshire farmer, Earnshaw. Living in Earnshaw's home on the windswept moors, Heathcliff develops a passionate relationship with the farmer's teenage daughter, Cathy, inspiring the envy and mistrust of his son, Hindley. When Earnshaw passes away, the now-grown characters (played by Kaya Scodelario, James Howson and Lee Shaw) must finally confront the intense feelings and rivalries that have built up throughout their years together.

The film opens today in New York, with a national rollout to follow.

Critics seem to love it, with the film currently scoring an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Here's it's trailer.

The second film is Lee Daniels' much anticpated return to the screen, the southern thriller The Paperboy

The film is also adapted from a novel of the same name, by Pete Dexter. It tells the story of "a reporter and his younger brother as they investigate the events surrounding a murder to exonerate a man on death row.

The Paperboy stars Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, John Cusack, and David Oyelowo

It premiered at the Canne Film Festival to a mixed reception, but recieved much publicity for some controversial content, and behind-the-scenes reports.  

Daniels had this to say about the film:

"I think that you’ll find it very provocative. It’s definitely an unexpected choice after Precious. The reviews have been mixed. They’re the same as Precious, but I’m not here to please you as I did with Precious. With Paperboy, there’s some big stars in it [including Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman] and they were surprised that I got them to do what I got Mo'Nique and Gabby [Gabourey Sidibe] to do. But I think die hard Lee Daniels fans will love the film and those who can’t stomach the truth will be appalled and call it disgusting."

So there you have it; you can decide whether you are among those die Hard Daniels fans he speaks of, when the films opens in theaters today, on 11 screens around the country. Check your local listings to find out if you're close to one of those 11.

Reviews haven't been too kind, with the film currently scoring a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Watch its trailer below:

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More: Lee Daniels, David Oyelowo, James Howson

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  • Tl | October 5, 2012 6:31 PMReply

    You really are pushing this version of Wuthering Heights on us! What makes this movie so very different than other movies with purposeful interracial themes to them. You have a black man potraying the most romantic character in literature----and film. And, his love interest isn't another black woman either. Guess it is easier seeing black men and women fight, curse, and beat one another down than actually express romantic feelings toward one another.

  • AccidentalVisitor | October 5, 2012 9:26 PM

    Actually "you" isn't pushing this movie more than anything else on this site. You know how many films and TV shows get repeated mention on this blog simply because a black person happents to have a role in them? It is delusional to claim that "Wuthering Heights" is getting a special push. Truth it it has gotten less push then "The Paperboy" which shares this writeup. Why not bitch about that movie as well? I can probably guess the answer. By the way have you ever read "Wuthering Heights"? If so you wouldn't claim that Heatcliff is the most romantic character in literature. He has always been a venegeful, cold-hearted manipulative character. Some of that is justified by how he was treated, some of it was not. In many ways he and Cathy are the two most unlikable people to ever make up a couple (or would-be couple) that I can recall. At least that was my impression when I read the novel in college. It is strange to suggest that this movie is insidious in some way because the black male has some type of rosy relationship with a white female compared to a more argumentative relationship that black guys supposedly have with black women in other films (as if there aren't any movies in which black men and black women have agreeable relationships). First of all Heatcliff's relationship with Cathy is not really sweet in the actual book. It is often combatative, disturbing and complicated. According to reviews this movies ratchets up that level of unease even further between them. It is after all a doomed relationship made all the worse by the bitterness that overtakes both protagonists. Nothing warm and fuzzy about that.

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