Friday, November 27, 2015

A Look at New Entertainment Trailers in November 2015

It's been another fantastic month for teasers and trailers of upcoming movies, TV shows, and video games. The most buzzworthy seems to be the most recent -- a full trailer for the next Captain America flick which pits the First Avenger and his closest allies against his other superhero friends, led by Iron Man.  The premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is only weeks away, so every new commercial seems to reveal a bit more and raise anticipation for what's to come. Here's a rundown of what's coming up.

The 5th Wave
(Release Date January 15, 2016)
Based on the best-selling novel, after four alien invasions have left the Earth in ruins, a young woman (played by Chloe Grace Moretz) tries to save her younger brother as another attack begins.

Alice Through the Looking Glass
(Release Date May 27, 2016)
Tim Burton directs a sequel to his Alice in Wonderland blockbuster, with Johnny Depp returning as the Mad Hatter.

The Benefactor
(Release Date January 15, 2016)
Richard Gere is a philanthropist meddling in the lives of newly married couples in an attempt to relive his past.

The Big Short
(Release Date December 23, 2015)
Four outsiders in the world of high finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse decide to take on the big banks for their greed. The film stars Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Marisa Tomei, and Steve Carell.

The Boss
(Release Date April 8, 2016)
In this comedy, Melissa McCarthy plays a business leader who is sent to prison for insider trading and then tries to rebrand herself after her release. The rest of the cast includes Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, Kathy Bates, and Cecily Strong.

(Release Date December 25, 2015)
Will Smith plays a doctor who uncovers the truth about brain damage suffered by football players, in this story ripped from the headlines.

Daddy's Home
(Release Date December 25, 2015)
Will Ferrell is a stepdad trying to compete for his new family's affection when Mark Wahlberg, the biological father, returns.

Dirty Grandpa
(Release Date January 22, 2016)
Robert De Niro plays a perverted former Army general on a road trip with his grandson, played by Zac Efron.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant
(Release Date March 18, 2016)
Shailene Woodley plays Tris again as the science fiction dystopian saga continues.

(Release Date December 18, 2015)
When there is no plan to save a former CIA operative who is kidnapped by terrorists, his son tries to rescue him himself. Bruce Willis stars.

Finding Dory
(Release Date June 17, 2016)
Here's a sequel to Finding Nemo.  Lending their voices are Ellen DeGeneres, Idris Elba, Diane Keaton, Dominic West, Willem Dafoe, Ed O'Neill, Ty Burrell, Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy, and more.

The Forest
(Release Date January 8, 2016)
This horror tale is set in the Japanese woods.

Gods of Egypt
(Release Date February 26, 2016)
Director Alex Proyas, who gave us The Crow, Dark City, and I Robot, brings us a fantasy adventure about the Egyptian gods and goddesses.

(Release Date February 26, 2016)
Underrated director Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans, and Now You See Me) helms this story about a spy who teams up with his soccer hooligan brother, played by Sacha Baron Cohen.

The Hateful Eight
(Release Date January 8, 2016)
Quentin Tarantino's latest deals with bounty hunters trying to find shelter during a blizzard. The all-star cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, and more.

He Never Died
(Release Date December 18, 2015)
Henry Rollins stars in this comedy/drama/horror movie.

How to Be Single
(Release Date February 12, 2016)
This romantic comedy stars Dakota Johnson, Alison Brie, Rebel Wilson, and more.

The Huntsman: Winter's War
(Release Date April 22, 2016)
If you wanted a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, here it is, with Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron reprising their roles.

Ip Man 3
(Release Date December 25, 2015)
Here's the third part of the Hong Kong martial arts gangster trilogy.

London Has Fallen
(Release Date March 4, 2016)
In Olympus Has Fallen, former Presidential guard Mike Banning (played by Gerard Butler) is trapped inside the White House and must save the day after a terrorist attack. Now he must save London.

Mass Effect: Andromeda
(Videogame, Release Date 2016)
Explore the galaxy in this science fiction game.

Midnight Special
(Release Date March 18, 2016)
A father and son go on the run after discovering that the child has special powers (starring Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon, and Sam Shepard).

A Monster Calls
(Release Date October 14, 2016)
A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his mother's terminal illness. This fantasy stars Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones, and Sigourney Weaver.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
(Release Date March 25, 2016)
The original was an enormous surprise hit. Can this sequel do the same?

Now You See Me 2
(Release Date June 10, 2016)
The Four Horsemen return for more Robin-Hood style magic spectacles. The cast includes Daniel Radcliffe, Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine.

Rainbow Six: Siege
(Videogame, Release Date December 8, 2015)
Tom Clancy's story of an elite anti-terrorism unit continues as a video game.

The Revenant
(Release Date January 8, 2016)
A frontiersman, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, in the 1820s sets out for revenge after he's left for dead.

Ride Along 2
(Release Date January 15, 2016)
Kevin Hart and Ice Cube return in this comedy sequel.

Shades of Blue
(TV, January 7, 2016)
In this crime drama TV series, Jennifer Lopez plays a single mom FBI agent.

Son of Saul
(Release Date December 18, 2015)
This drama is set in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
(Release Date December 18)
The long-awaited Episode VII is finally here.

Triple 9
(Release Date February 19, 2016)
A gang of criminals and corrupt police officers plan their biggest heist.

A Very Murray Christmas
(Release Date December 4, 2015)
Sofia Coppola directs this comedy musical starring Bill Murray, Paul Shaffer, Michael Cera, George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, Rashida Jones, and Amy Poehler.

(Release Date June 10, 2016)
The fantasy video game series becomes a major motion picture.

(Release Date January 8, 2016)
A mountain lion threatens the community in 1985.

Zoolander 2
(Release Date February 12, 2016)
Ben Stiller returns in this model spoof sequel.

Which will be hits, which will be forgotten?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Seeing the Play SIGHT UNSEEN

When I spoke with my friend Ed Friedman, the director of the free show Sight Unseen, he mentioned how the production is an example of a good business model for independent theater companies.  Produced by M&M Performing Arts Company Inc., it has been traveling to local libraries in New York and Connecticut, delighting audiences and probably seen by more people than if it were playing in one single space. It harkens back to when performers would go out to the public, acting in marketplaces, parks, and squares, invited to gardens and homes, and if they were lucky, even before royalty, instead of just hoping that the public would come to them.  The success of the show is due to the talented cast and crew involved, as well as to the play selection (presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.)

The thought provoking script by Donald Margulies has multiple settings, but lends itself to creative staging that is simple enough for the transitory demands of the production, yet is by no means "bare bones." Various locations are brought to life with economic use of a table, high chairs, a bunk bed, wall screens, and a nice assortment of props. In a small area that never seems cramped, the actors believably transition from a farmhouse in Norfolk, England, to an art gallery in London, to a bedroom in Brooklyn, and to a painting studio at a New York State art college.

Like the playwright's Pulitzer Prize winning Dinner with Friends, this is a fascinating character study.  The story itself delves into broad yet nuanced ideas about art, social class, relationships, and culture clashes, especially regarding the lead characters' religious heritage as it impacts his love life and career. The plot is non-linear, a writing gimmick that can be confusing or annoying in lesser hands, but is handled exceptionally well here thanks to the words on the page and the skills of all involved.

P.J. Glazer as the star artist Jonathan and Robin Gorn as his old flame Patricia both do a convincing job during their emotionally awkward reunion and as younger versions of the characters during the revealing flashback scenes. Steve Plaushin is brilliant as Nick, Patricia's poor British husband, and Nadia Winter is perfectly cast as Grete, the German art critic who interviews Jonathan before his big gallery show debut in the U.K.

It's an engaging drama from beginning to end. The final performance will be this Saturday, November 21, at 2 p.m. at the Greenwich Library in Connecticut.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hollywood Whitewashing

The issue of Hollywood "whitewashing" continues to come up, and it's important to continue the conversation. It refers to the unfortunate habit of movies casting white actors (usually males) in parts that should be for people of color. We're not just talking about what Shaun King mentions in his thought-provoking article in the New York Daily News about the predominance of white heroes in Hollywood movies. It's not just about a lack of diversity or imagination by writers, it's a more serious issue of actually casting Caucasians in roles that were originally written as different ethnicities. Sometimes the term can also be broadly applied to actors from Western cultures (white or not) playing Eastern or Middle Eastern roles.

First let me say that I'm of the opinion that actors are acting, and if they can do a credible job of making the audience believe that they are the characters, they should not be automatically denied an audition for a job, or even the job itself if they are the best and most talented for the part. Al Pacino is a fine example of someone who did memorable work as a Latino character in both Scarface and Carlito's Way. (Granted, some might disagree with me, and the argument still exists that an actual Hispanic actor could have and maybe should have been in the role instead. Plus, another issue is the fact that the lead characters are criminal gangsters, but negative stereotypes of minority characters are a topic for another day.)

The topic made headlines when Asian-American roles in the otherwise critically acclaimed film adaptation of The Martian were rewritten or recast as other races. In the original novel by Andy Weir, the NASA director of Mars operations is an Asian-Indian character Dr. Venkat Kapoor, who is religiously a Hindu. In the film, he is played by the excellent British black actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and his first name is changed to Vincent, plus they make a point to mention that his father was Hindu but his mother was Baptist. A more obvious example is that white, blonde actress Mackenzie Davis plays the book's Korean-American Mindy Park, Mission Control's satellite planner. We're not suggesting that Ejiofor or Davis are not great actors -- they are -- but the question remains, "Why couldn't Asian actors play these roles as originally intended?" Plenty of qualified Asian actors exist.  Director Ridley Scott faced similar backlash in his movie Exodus: Gods and Kings for casting white actors Christian Bale as Jewish hero Moses and Sigourney Weaver as Egyptian Tuya, the mother of the Pharoah Ramsses II.

This is nothing new. Charlton Henson played Moses in The Ten Commandments and a string of Western actors have played Jesus in various productions. Some casting choices are more egregious than others.  While not too many were up in arms about Natalie Wood playing Puerto Rican Maria in West Side Story, it's cringeworthy to see Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

It's hard to imagine that it was considered okay for Orson Welles or Laurence Olivier to play Shakespeare's Moor Othello. (Olivier even received an Academy Award nomination.) From the old days when John Wayne played Genghis Khan in The Conqueror, Elizabeth Taylor starred as Cleopatra, and Ben Kingsley portrayed Ghandhi, to more recent portrayals by Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart, Johnny Depp as Tonto in The Lone Ranger, and Emma Stone as Allison Ng in Aloha, the practice has been widespread. How can we honestly say it's not a problem when we see Justin Chatwin cast as Goku in Dragonball Evolution, Jake Gyllenhaal cast as Dastan in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, or Nicola Peltz as Katara and Jackson Rathbone as Sokka in The Last Airbender?

Again, acting is "make believe," so I'm not suggesting that every role needs to be cast exactly as written, otherwise only Frenchmen could play Frenchmen or only Australian women could play Australian women. That would be ridiculously limiting. Not all "whitewashing" is necessarily an example of racist motives, but it happens enough that casting directors and producers should be aware of it and every effort should be made to avoid it so that movies are not, as Shaun King writes, "a fictional, almost exclusively white world, composed primarily of white heroes, and white romantic leads, with a little color peppered here or there into some meaningless bit roles." It becomes more disheartening when even substantial non-Western characters are portrayed by American or British actors. The conversation about Hollywood "whitewashing" is hopefully opening some eyes so that eventually the stories being told on screen become a better reflection of our multicultural society, not in an effort to censor what stories should be told or what roles certain actors should play, but to more realistically depict all races instead of having it be an Anglo-centric distortion.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Binge Watching The Honeycomb Trilogy

The audacious marathon production of The Honeycomb Trilogy, written by Mac Rogers, will be hard to top. In a spectacular achievement by all involved, Gideon Productions has mounted all three of the plays simultaneously, running on individual nights as well as back-to-back-to-back on select days. Those marathon performances are worth seeing, and I wonder if anyone will be bold enough to do it again this way anytime soon, or as successfully.

This was my first experience with these stories and watching them in chronological order over a span of eight hours was thrilling. I'm sure seeing them out of sequence on different nights can be just as rewarding. Audience members witness the plot points unfold, referencing what came before and what's yet to come, putting the puzzle pieces of the gripping story together bit by tantalizing bit.

The end of the run approaches and enthusiastic reviews have led to sold out performances, but some seats are still available as of this writing for a few of the shows, so do yourselves a favor and catch this while you can. Who knows when you'll have a similar opportunity to be a part of such a theatrical tour de force?
Advance Man
Director Jordana Williams staged all three full productions, a commendable feat. She brings out the best in her talented cast, having them use the entire set seamlessly and naturally, with some truly captivating tableaus.

I must heap praise on Mac Rogers for the imaginative, nuanced, and emotionally charged story.  Like all good science fiction, his trilogy is loaded with exhilarating speculations about the future and keen allegories for our own time.  Every single character is fleshed out and unforgettable.

The cast is superb and I wish I had the skill to give everyone the proper shout out they deserve, since each one has brought Mac's characters to life completely. Although these are plays with specific protagonists and antagonists, no role is wasted as an afterthought, but rather each part is vital to the progression of the story, and each is memorable.

I must also applaud the talented crew for the lighting, sound, and set. The quick transitions from one play to the next during the marathon are beyond impressive. The costumes, the fight choreography, the props -- it's all superb.

Advance Man, the first play, is set in a recognizable time, with a family going through the usual everyday minutia of work and school and shopping, while facing familiar tribulations and suburban First World Problems. Kristen Vaughan is strong and sympathetic as Amelia, who suspects her husband, former astronaut Bill Cook, performed by Sean Williams, might be having an affair. She goes so far as to hire a private investigator, played with solid intensity by Ana Maria Jomolca. The mystery of what Bill and his fellow returned astronauts are doing is an intriguing one that builds up right to the climactic final scene.

The heart of the story in all three plays is the relationship between Bill's children, the soulful Abbie, portrayed by David Rosenblatt and later Stephen Heskett, and the spitfire Ronnie, played to perfection by both Becky Byers and later Hanna Cheek. The surviving crew who went to Mars and back with Bill, (Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy as Valerie, Rebecca Comtois as Belinda, and especially Carlos Martin as Raf) carry the weight of the world (or many worlds) on their shoulders, while trying to maintain the facade that all is normal. Amid all the suspense and drama, Mac Rogers sprinkles in plenty of humor as well to balance it all out, as epitomized by Brian Silliman's Kip, the business man who puts up the money for the astronaut's enterprise -- but to call Kip merely comic relief would be a disservice. As I mentioned, every character is essential with their own moments to shine.

Blast Radius
The middle play, Blast Radius, has some of the most emotional scenes in the whole saga, which is saying a lot, because the entire trilogy is loaded with moments of anger, tears, laughter, and fear. I found myself connecting with all of these characters, like the ones discovered in a great novel that will be cherished forever. Jason Howard is brilliant as Conor, conveying so much with just the smallest gestures, whether it's placing a hand on his chest or casting a revealing glance at just the right time. So many of the strong characters won't soon escape my memory -- Nancy Sirianni as the noble Shirley, Alisha Spielman as the smart and gutsy Clem, Amy Lee Pearsall as the heartbroken but determined Tash, and let's never forget Adam Swiderski as the heroic Peck. Cotton Wright as Willa is delightfully chilling, and Jimmy and Dev, played by Joseph Mathers and Seth Shelden respectively, were fantastic. Fee is probably my favorite, played so well by both Felicia J. Hudson and Yeauxlanda Kay. These characters will be haunting my dreams for months (maybe years) to come.

It all wraps up with Sovereign, a taut, dare I say perfect, conclusion to the ambitious trilogy. It's a post-apocalyptic morality tale with no easy answers to the ethical questions it raises, but the way it all plays out is totally satisfying. Matt Golden as Zander and Lori E. Parquet as Tanya match wits against each other as they try to maintain some semblance of law in a world still in chaos. C.L. Weatherstone's performance as the seemingly dimwitted Budeen during the opening scene nicely sets the tone for what follows. Sharpe (the terrific Daryl Lathon) and Wilkie (the charming Neimah Djourabchi) carry out Ronnie's orders as we're left pondering who's right, who's wrong. Like Star Trek's Kobayashi Maru, the no win scenario, sometimes we have to choose the lesser of two evils, but Mac Rogers deftly shows that many times human beings have difficulty distinguishing which is indeed the lesser threat. We sympathize with Erin Jerozal's Claret, then we fear her, then we sympathize with her again. It's a masterful bit of manipulation of the audience's expectations and reactions, in the end, making us think. Rod Serling of the Twilight Zone would be proud.

It would be a crime to reveal any of the plot twists and revelations in further detail. Go watch it unspoiled and enjoy the story as it was meant to be experienced, live before your eyes. The Honeycomb Trilogy is playing at the amazing Gym at Judson in Greenwich Village through November 14.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Good News and Bad News About Star Trek

The news that CBS is bringing Star Trek back to television was sort of a tease. Yes, a new series has been announced, and yes, the first episode will air on the broadcast network, but then it becomes interesting. The rest of the series will air on its digital platform, CBS All Access. So the new Trek will be streaming online, rather than broadcasting over the airwaves or transmitted via cable and satellite.

It's no secret that television as we've known it is fundamentally changing. People are cutting the cord and watching content on mobile devices. Their big screen TV sets at home aren't just receiving broadcast and cable signals -- the traditional lineups have become a potpourri of countless individual programs delivered through Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Amazon Prime, PlayStation Network, and others. Devices such as FireTV and Chromecast are replacing the old cable/satellite set-top boxes for your Smart TVs.

While some might welcome all this as a cost-saving revolution that breaks up the overpriced cable monopoly, such choice might eventually be just as expensive, if not more so, than the old system. CBS All Access, like HBO Go and others, are skipping the middleman and hoping to attract paying audiences directly. How many different monthly subscriptions can the average TV viewer afford?

If CBS Access costs $9.99 a month, will a new, original Star Trek series be enough to make consumers shell out over a hundred dollars a year for it? It sounds like a bargain compared to current bundle package bills, but not if you add the multiple other content providers out there, which seem to be ever growing.  And if Star Trek is the only product driving you to CBS Access, would 22 episodes or less be worth over a hundred dollars a year to you?

CBS needs to do this though as an incentive for people to adopt its digital platform, which will also offer a library of many other shows from the network's rich history and select movies from the parent company archives.  (National Amusements, Inc., controls Viacom, which owns Paramount and CBS, as well as the Star Trek franchise, not to mention MTV, Nickelodeon, etc. It's a true multimedia behemoth).

Star Trek has been a cash cow for decades. The classic series only lasted three seasons in the 1960s, but it spawned a dedicated fan base that kept interest alive in creator Gene Roddenberry's futuristic vision, able to tell tales that paralleled contemporary issues. When the movie Star Wars burst on the scene in 1977, creating a demand for stories about adventures set in space, the door was open for Star Trek to return in a big way, first with its own motion picture series, then with a string of enormously successful new television shows -- The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. The recent successful rebooting of the franchise on the big screen has attracted new fans, and the return of Star Wars again will surely make any established science fiction property a hot commodity.

Will Star Trek draw masses to CBS Access, or would it have been better for the network to bring the show completely to its broadcast channel, saving the old business model? Maybe this is a sign that the old way is dying and the future of "television" content truly is on streaming video services.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Movies in November 2015

James Bond, Katniss Everdeen, Charlie Brown, Rocky Balboa, Frankenstein -- they're all coming to the big movie screen this month.  Here's a look at the films opening in a theater near you in the weeks ahead.


Spectre (November 6)
James Bond is back again! Judging by the early buzz, this could be Agent 007's best adventure in a while.

Love the Coopers (November 13)
An impressive cast lends some weight to this comedy about four generations of a family coming together for a Christmas celebration.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (November 20)
The conclusion to the saga is here!

The Good Dinosaur (November 27)
Pixar's latest classic-in-the-making is upon us!


The 33
Antonio Banderas stars in this true story about miners trapped underground.

By the Sea
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie star in this 1970s story about a couple growing apart who come closer together when they visit a seaside town during their travels.

The Rocky Balboa saga will never die!

The Danish Girl
Actor Eddie Redmayne vies for another Oscar with this performance.

Cyber bullying on an online social media game ends up horrifying a group of 12-year-old girls.

Tom Hardy plays identical twin gangsters.

The Night Before
Three life-long best friends seek the greatest Christmas party of all time.

The Peanuts Movie
Will this new computer animated version of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang live up to the Charles Schultz legacy?

Secret in Their Eyes
A team of investigators is torn apart when one of their own teenaged daughters is brutally murdered.

An all-star cast tells the true story of how the Boston Globe reported about the child molestation scandal and coverup in Beantown's archdiocese.

Bryan Cranston plays a 1947 screenwriter who's blacklisted for his political beliefs.

Victor Frankenstein
James McAvoy is Victor Von Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe is Igor in this latest reboot of the Mary Shelley classic.


Here's a romantic tale of an Irish immigrant in 1950s New York.

In another 1950s period piece, a department store clerk dreaming of a better life falls for an older, married woman.

An aging comedian tries to revive his career on his way to meet his estranged daughter.

Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words
Here's a documentary that looks behind the scenes at how a young Swedish girl became the international movie star.

James White
A 21-year-old New Yorker facing family challenges tries to take control of his life.

Janis: Little Girl Blue
If you're a fan of Janis Joplin, you'll appreciate this documentary.

Killing Them Safely
This documentary follows the development of a taser gun and its impact on law enforcement and the public.

Kilo Two Bravo
British solders at a dried-out river bed try to survive anti-personnel explosive mines.

Miss You Already
Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette play lifelong girlfriends whose friendship is put to the test when one starts a family and the other becomes ill.

My All American
Aaron Eckhart stars in this football drama.

The Outskirts
In what sounds like a Heathers style comedy, outcasts seek revenge after a humiliating prank.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
This Indian film is loosely based on the story "The Prince and the Pauper."

During World War I, a young Bedouin boy leads a British officer through a desert to his desination.

What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy
In this documentary, a human rights lawyer interviews two men whose fathers were indicted as war criminals for their roles under Adolf Hitler during World War II.

Enjoy the movies!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Book Recommendations -- October 2015

I'm "way behind" on my posting schedule. Sorry that these last two months have been busier than usual. I'll try to pick up the frequency as time allows. If you're swamped too, I still suggest making time to read, and here's a list of some of the many books that were published this past month if you're looking for recommendations.

100 Deadly Skills by Clint Emerson
The SEAL Operative's guide to eluding pursuers, evading capture, and surviving any dangerous situation. Use these tips for good, not evil.

5 Seconds of Summer: Book of Stuff
The pop band compiles a scrapbook of photos and commentary from their year on tour and prepping for their new album.

After Alice: A Novel by Gregory Maguire
The author of Wicked starts a new series set in Wonderland as Ada searches for her friend Alice.

Almost Interesting: The Memoir by David Spade
The former Saturday Night Live comedian talks about his life as a stand up comic and an actor on TV and the movies.

The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire: The World of Dan and Phil by Dan Howell and Phil Lester
YouTube stars "DanIsNotOnFire" and "AmazingPhil" chronicle their journey to success.

Animorphia: An Extreme Coloring and Search Challenge by Kerby Rosanes
The adult coloring book trend is still as strong as ever, so publishers are churning out more as fast as they can. Some of them are crap, so I'll only recommend ones that are worth it, like this detailed, engaging, and artistic one.

Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History by Michael Klastorin and Randal Atamaniuk
I am not the only one who considers this film trilogy to be one of the most entertaining cinematic adventures ever created, and this tome offers a beautifully illustrated look at the three movies.

A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George
Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner try to solve another murder.

Binge by Tyler Oakley
The YouTube personality compiles a series of essays on a variety of pop culture topics.

Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, and Drums, Drums, Drums by Travis Barker and Gavin Edwards
The drummer of punk band Blink-182 discusses the airplane crash that almost killed him, the reality TV show about his troubled marriage, his drug addiction, being a dad, and how music saved his life.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
Written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym, this is the third novel about private detective Coromoran Strike, following The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo's Calling.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
In this fantasy story, we learn about the rise and fall of the chosen one, Simon Snow, "the worst chosen one who's ever been chosen."

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
Set during the blackout of 1977, this mystery novel has been earning excellent reviews.

Days of Our Lives: 50 Years by Greg Meng
Soap operas might by dying, but at least one of them is celebrating half a century of serial TV fiction.

Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell
Medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta tries to solve another crime.

Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Perfect Pet Sitter by Rachel Renee Russell
The tenth book in the series centers on trying to hide seven adorable puppies.

Do Unto Animals by Tracy Stewart, illustrated by Lisel Ashlock
Here is a friendly guide to how animals live and how we can make their lives better.

The Explorers Guide: Volume One -- A Passage to Shambhala by Kevin Costner and Jon Baird, illustrated by Rick Ross
The actor/director tries his hand at adventure fiction writing.

Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music by John Fogerty
The singer/songwriter of Creedance Clearwater Revival shares his memoir.

The Good Dinosaur Little Golden Book by Bill Scollon, illustrated by Michaelangelo Rocco
If you loved all those Little Golden Books, here's the latest to add to your collection, whether you have kids or not. This one retells the latest Pixar story.

Got to Give the People What They Want by Jalen Rose
The NBA player and sports commentator talks about his life through "true stories and flagrant opinions from center court."

Happy! by Pharrell Williams
Following the phenomenal success of his hit song, Pharrell gathers pictures of children from different cultures around the world celebrating what it means to be happy.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay
You've read all the books, now reread the original Potter tale with brand new illustrations.

Home by Ellen Degeneres
The celebrity shares her passion for home design and style.

The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion by Wendy Williams
The journalist and equestrienne tells the tale of one of mankind's greatest animal friends.

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton
Continuing the success of his blog, Stanton shares more stories and photographers of New Yorkers.

I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game, and Glory by Ray Lewis with Daniel Paisner
The legendary Baltimore Ravens linebacker talks about his life and football.

If the Raindrops United: Drawings and Cartoons by Judah Friedlander
The comedian compiles his hilarious sketches.

The Immortal Nicholas by Glenn Beck
I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but Christmas is right around the corner, so enjoy this novel about the true story of St. Nick.

Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue by Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz
A former atheist and a former radical have an important conversation about the misunderstandings and violence surrounding one of the world's most followed religions.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin, illustrated by Gary Gianni
Here is a compilation of the first three prequel novellas of Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" saga, better known as A Game of Thrones.

The Last of the President's Men by Bob Woodward
The intrigue surrounding the Watergate break-in continues to resonate as Woodward reveals another missing piece to the conspiracy that he and Carl Bernstein uncovered and chronicled in All the President's Men.

Little Shaq by Shaquille O'Neal, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III
The former basketball players starts a new children's book series.

Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford
From the creator of Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest comes another adult coloring book masterpiece.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Riordan starts a new series about the Viking myths and the Norse gods.

M Train by Patti Smith
The multiplatform artist shares polaroids and reflections.

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
The activist tells the story of her life through her travels.

The Official Game of Thrones Coloring Book by George R.R. Martin
Here's the newest interesting edition to the adult coloring book trend.

Pete the Cat: Robo-Pete by James Dean
No, this is not a long lost book by the legendary actor who died too young, but it's still a fun new addition to a series of children's books.

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: A New Way of Getting Children to Sleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin and Irina Maununen
Speaking of children's book, this bizarre little curiosity has been on the bestseller lists all month.

The Rap Year Book by Shea Serrano, illustrated by Arturo Torres
The most important rap song from every year since 1979 is discussed, debated, and deconstructed.

Raw: My 100% Grade-A, Unfiltered, Inside Look at Sports by Colin Cowherd
Love him or hate him, the ESPN radio host's opinions always spark discussion.

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
Grisham's latest character works from a bullet-proof van and protects clients that other lawyers wouldn't go near.

Saturn Run by John Sanford
This latest science fiction tale is about what happens when a spaceship is discovered approaching planet Saturn.

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
This novel tells the story of King David through the eyes of the prophet Natan and others around him.

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
Mixing technology and magic, the fantasy writer continues his Mistborn series.

Slade House by David Mitchell
From the author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks comes this ambitious haunted house story.

Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song by Sara Bareilles
Here's an inspirational memoir by the artist who gave us the hit song "Brave."

Steven Universe: Guide to the Crystal Gems by Rebecca Sugar
If you love the cartoon, you'll love the book.

The Survivor by Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills
Flynn might be gone (may he rest in peace), but Mills delivers another adventure with his greatest character Mitch Rapp.

This Book Loves You by Pew Die Pie
YouTube stars are making their mark in publishing, and this collection of inspirational sayings by one of the online video platform's biggest stars is the latest example.

The Tournament at Gorlan by John A. Flanagan
Here's the first in the Ranger's Apprentice prequel series, "The Early Years."

Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello
Fans of the musician will love this memoir.

Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life by Michael Strahan with Veronica Chambers
Anyone who's met Strahan can attest to his positive attitude and inspirational charm, and now he discusses his philosophy in this new memoir.

The Walking Dead Compendium, Volume 3 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard
Just in time for the new season of the TV adaptation, the zombie comic book's issues 97-144 are collected here.

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
From the makers of the podcast of the same name comes a novel about a small town where ghosts, aliens, angels, and government conspiracies are commonplace.

Wildflower by Drew Barrymore
The actress and producer doesn't want to call this a memoir, but rather a portrait of her life.

The Witches: Salem 1692 by Stacy Schiff
From the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Cleopatra, here's a historic look at the Salem Witch Trials.

If you can think of any others that I should have mentioned, I always welcome your feedback.  Thanks for reading!