Monday, August 2, 2010

Books Into Film - Summer/Fall 2010

Summer blockbuster season is upon us, so it seems like a good time to revisit our semi-regular books into film post and see which of your favourite books is hitting the big screen in the near future (or which of your soon to be favourite films is based on a book).

Charlie St. Cloud (July 30) stars Zac Efron in the lead role and is based on the book by Ben Sherwood. As a young teen, the title character causes a car accident in which his brother is killed, and 13 years later is still holding true to his promise to never leave the young boy behind. Charlie works as a caretaker at the cemetery where his brother is buried and through his abilities to see the dead, plays catch with the little boy each night. Booklist Magazine's review said "Uniquely lyrical, Sherwood's story of a devotion so strong it transcends death is mystical, magical, and moving".

The Extra Man (July 30). Based on the book of the same title by American author Jonathan Ames, this film has already done the festival circuit and has a limited release this summer. "Louis Ives, the narrator of The Extra Man, fancies himself a young gentleman fashioned after his heroes in the books of F. Scott Fitzgerald. He dresses the part -- favoring neckties, blue blazers, and sport coats. But he also has a penchant for women's clothing, a weakness that causes him to lose his job as a teacher at a Princeton day school after a bizarre incident involving a colleague's brassiere. Thrust out of Princeton, he heads to New York where he rents a cheap room in the madly discombobulated apartment of Henry Harrison, a failed but brilliant playwright who dances alone to Ethel Merman records, sneaks into Broadway shows, and performs with great style the duties of a walker -- an escort for the rich widows of the Upper East Side." (Publisher's Description) Ames is the author of several books and also the creator of the HBO television series Bored to Death.

Twelve (August 6) also has a limited release and so we may not see it here in Halifax right away, but the film stars a number of big name actors, so it will likely draw it some attention. Based on the book by Nick McDonell, the plot sounds simple: "a novel that tells the story of a drug called Twelve and its devastating effects on the beautiful, rich, and the desperate poor of New York City." (publisher's description) but the tale is powerful. Twelve was the author's first novel, and he wrote it when he was 17.

This summer's biggest blockbuster event has to be Eat, Pray, Love (August 13), staring Julia Roberts and based on the already hugely popular book by Elizabeth Gilbert, it seems like perfect summer fare. Gilbert's memoir follows her year traveling around Italy, India and Indonesia contemplating life and love.

It's not just Haligonians who are abuzz about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (August 13), based on the graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, who lived in Halifax for a number of years. Comic book fans across North America have been getting ready for the film version of the tale of a young musician and his battles with the ex-boyfriends of his enigmatic new girlfriend. Trivia alert! The titular Scott Pilgrim is named after a song by former Halifax band Plumtree.

There's a certain kind of star power surrounding George Clooney that made me wonder when I recently saw the trailer for his next film The American (September 1), if it really even needed the promotion. Honestly, I think all future George Clooney movies could simply be called "New George Clooney Movie" and people would go see them. That said, I was intrigued to find out that The American—which, to be fair, looks both interesting and cool, George Clooney aside—is based on A Very Private Gentleman, Martin Booth's "brilliantly creepy psychological suspense novel" (Publishers Weekly) about a man living quietly in an Italian village while hiding a secret and dangerous true identity.

And finally, look in September for Never Let Me Go (September 15) based on the book by Kazuo Ishiguro. The story of three adults who spent their youths at an exclusive private school in the British countryside -- but where something was clearly not as it seemed. The book was nominated for several major book awards, including the Booker Prize, which Ishiguro won for a previous book The Remains of the Day (which was also made into a film).

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