Friday, January 7, 2011

Coming Soon - Books into Film

December saw the release of two films that caught my interest - both of which are based on books. The first one is a bit unfair of me to mention, as it is a Japanese film that hasn't yet made it to North America other than for film fest screenings. Norwegian Wood is the adaptation of the wildly successful novel of the same name by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The film has a UK release in early 2011, we'll have to keep our eyes peeled for a wide North American release: I loved the book, I'm excited to see the movie some day!

The other movie is True Grit, the latest Cohen Brothers film,which is based on the novel of the same name by Charles Portis. I have to admit I knew all about the film except the fact that it was based on a book. Not sure how I missed that bit of info, but it got me thinking that it was time for another books-into-film post to see what's on tap for the first couple months of the new year.

Barney's Version: based on the novel by Canadian author Mordecai Richler, there are big name actors attached to this film including Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Minnie Driver. The films' director is Richard Lewis, who is known mostly for television work, with the exception of his award winning first feature film, 1994's Whale Music, which was also adapted from a Canadian novel. The film has already done the festival circuit and is currently playing in Toronto and Montreal. I loved the book - the hilarious misadventures of Barney Panofsky - and I'm curious to see what the film does with it.

The Way Back: starring Colin Ferrell and Ed Harris, this is another film with big name power. Adapted from the nonfiction book The Long Walk, this is the story of World War II soldiers who escape from a Siberian prison and trek across country to British India.

From Prada to Nada: billed as a Latina Sense and Sensibility, I'm pretty excited by the idea of this movie. I always love to see how classic novels can be adapted to modern settings. As Clueless did for Emma, and Cruel Intentions did for Les Liaisons Dangereuses, such re-imaginings often draw the attention of a new group of readers to the source material.

Gnomeo and Juliet: speaking of re-imaginings, I'm not sure that this new animated feature will get people reading Shakespeare again, but I really liked the pun in the title, so I felt inclined to mention it. (It's about ill fated love in the world of garden gnomes). If you're interested in Romeo and Juliet, but don't feel like reading a play, this new graphic novel adaptation might interest you.

The Eagle: based on the 1950's novel The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, The Eagle is a tale of adventure set in 2nd Century Roman Britain. Although the novel is considered a children's or youth classic, the film seems to be geared toward adults. Fans of historical adventure take note!

I am Number Four: another film based on a novel for youth, this time in the science fiction realm. The book (also called I Am Number Four) tells the story of nine aliens who have come to earth to live among us but who have been discovered and are being hunted down one by one. Numbers one through three have already been killed ... number four is next.

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