Friday, March 5, 2010

Books into Film - upcoming ones to watch for

With Maureen's post yesterday on Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island and its current film version, it got me thinking that it's time once again to look to a few upcoming film releases that are based on books.

Beyond Shutter Island, the big one everyone is talking about these days is the Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. The stills from the production, as well as the trailer, make this film look like the adventure it ought to be. It makes me want to revisit the Lewis Carroll stories that inspire the film as well - which I read numerous times as a child. Rosemary blogged about this interpretation of the Alice stories back in January, and offered some other Alice related reads for fans. Alice is Wonderland it already getting tonnes of talk, so lets turn our attention to some films based on books that might be getting slightly less attention, but whose release dates are fast approaching.

Green Zone has a March 12th release date - and with Matt Damon in its starring role, it's sure to get a lot of attention. It's based on the nonfiction title Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone by American journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran. The book is an account of Chandrasekaran's time observing the workings of the American Coalition Provisional Authority set up in Baghdad following the American liberation of Iraq, and was received as a scathing indictment of misguided American policy in an occupied country. The film is being billed as a thriller in a one-man-versus-the-establishment vein. Can't help but feel like this one is taking a broad interpretation of adaptation but a read of the book might make for interesting comparison to the film.

I often wonder if the late Steig Larsson could have imagined the popularity that his crime thriller Girl with the Dragon Tattoo would achieve. The three books in the series have all become bestsellers, the third installment is due out in May in the US and Canada, but fans have reportedly been ordering the already released UK edition in droves. In the first book, a journalist and a young (tattooed) computer hacker investigate the decades old disappearance and assumed murder of a member of a powerful business family. The Swedish adaptation of the film Män som hatar kvinnor (which translates to the ever more menacing "Men Who Hate Women ") is being given a limited release in the US starting March 18th. Reviews of the film - which was released in Europe back in 2009 - have been positive. Fingers crossed that we'll have a chance to see it in theaters here - Canadian film company Alliance have reportedly picked the film up but there is also talk of an American remake being in the works.

One author who is well aware of the popularity of his writings has to be American novelist Nicholas Sparks. The Last Song is Sparks' latest to be adapted to a big screen film. The story of a teenage girl coping with the divorce of her parents, and a summer spent living with her father in a quiet town on a island in Georgia. The film stars Miley Cyrus as the 17 year old daughter and is sure to gain even more fans for an author already well known for his emotional stories of love and loss. Other adaptations of Sparks' novels include Dear John - which itself was just released - and The Notebook. Sparks is the author of more than 15 titles.

Comics fans may be pleased with the April 23 release of The Losers, based on the comic book series by Andy Diggle. It's the story of the disgruntled members of a CIA Special Forces unit. The CIA tried to have them killed, but they survived and now they're looking for revenge.

And with the Oscars coming up this weekend - it seems only worth reminding that 4 of the 10 best picture nominees are based on print publications. If you haven't had time to see the film you might want to check out the original books of The Blind Side, An Education, Precious (based on the novel Push by Sapphire), and Up in the Air. Oh, and as an aside, there has been talk amongst fans of the Sci Fi author Poul Anderson about the similarity in the plot of an old story of his - Call Me Joe - and the James Cameron Oscar nominated box office smash Avatar. Whenever something is as popular as Avatar has been, it seems inevitable that people will make such claims. If you want to investigate the story for yourself, it can be found in the library in a book called Masterpieces: the best science fiction of the century.

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