Thursday, October 2, 2008

Upcoming Movies Based on Books -- Fall Edition


Welcome to the first of three installments of a popular feature that we have been doing for the last year which features best selling books turned into movies. Since I've been keeping track of the number of books that are turned into movies each season I have been astonished by amount that are. This fall season, however, is even busier than normal with several movies based on books opening on the same weekend head to head.

By Alicia Erian
Published March, 2005 by Simon & Schuster

The year is 1991. When Jasira's mother finds out what has been going on between her boyfriend and her thirteen-year-old daughter, she has to make a choice -- and chooses to send Jasira off to Houston' Texas, to live with her father. A remote disciplinarian prone to explosive rages, Jasira's father is unable to show his daughter the love she craves -- and far less able to handle her feelings about her changing body.

Bewildered by extremes of parental scrutiny and neglect, Jasira begins to look elsewhere for affection. Saddam Hussein has invaded Kuwait, and high school has become a lonely place for a "towelhead." When her father meets, and forbids her to see, her boyfriend, it becomes lonelier still. But there is always Mr. Vuoso -- a neighboring army reservist whose son Jasira babysits. Mr. Vuoso, as Jasira discovers, has an extensive collection of Playboy magazines. And he doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with Jasira's body at all.

Painfully funny, tender, and sexually charged, Towelhead is that rare thing: a gloriously readable novel unafraid to take risks. The story of a girl failed by her parents and by a conflicted America, Towelhead is an ultimately redemptive and moving work that none of us can afford to ignore.

The Movie

Release Date: September 12, 2008
Starring: Summer Bishil, Aaron Eckhart, Toni Collette, Maria Bello
Director: Alan Ball


By Amanda Foreman
Published Jan, 2001 by Modern Library Publishing

She was the most prominent British woman of her day. Whatever she wore became instantly fashionable, and her parties were the ones to attend. Royals, aristocrats and politicians sought her opinion, for she was as influential as she was beautiful. Princess Diana? No, her great-great-great-great-aunt, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806). A bestseller in the U.K. and the winner of the 1999 Whitbread Prize for Best Biography, Foreman's debut is captivating not just because of Georgiana--whose insecurity, demented love life and gambling addiction made her personal life even more dismal than Diana's--but also because Foreman's portrayal of high society in late-18th-century Britain and France is so remarkably vivid. Foreman gives readers the aristocracy fighting for control over Parliament, King George slowly losing his mind, his love-struck son ill-prepared to take the throne, and more bed-hopping than on a TV soap opera. Georgiana, who bore an out-of-wedlock child with politician Charles Grey, knew that her best friend was her husband's mistress, but that was the least of her problems. Prone to drinking, drug-taking and eating disorders, she also racked up gambling debts equal to $6 million in today's dollars. Foreman's combination of exhaustive research and storytelling skill make Georgiana's story at once lurid, sensational and touching.


The Movie

Release Date: September 19th, 2008
Title: Has been changed to a more dramatic choice, "The Duchess"
Starring: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Hayley Atwell, Charlotte Rampling, Dominic Cooper
Director: Saul Dibb


Original Brazilian Title: Elite da Tropa
By: Luiz Eduardo Soares, Andre Batista, Rodrigo Pimentel
Published 2006 by
Objetiva

This work written by two ex Brazilian police officers was translated into English for the first time in 2008. The book focuses on the Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais an elite squad that makes up the Rio de Janeiro's Military Police. Full of violent and allegedly true stories the book and the movie have become controversial.





The Movie


Release Date: September 19th, 2008
Starring: Wagner Moura, Caio Junqueira, André Ramiro
Director: José Padilha






By Yiyun Li
Published September, 2005 by Random House

A beautifully executed debut collection of 10 stories explores the ravages of the Cultural Revolution on modern Chinese, both in China and America. "Extra" portrays the grim plight of Granny Lin, an elderly widow without a pension, whose job as a maid at a boarding school outside Beijing leads to a surprising friendship with one of her young charges, Kang. Li deftly weaves a political message into her human portraits: young Kang, the son of a powerful man and his now "disfavored"
first wife, is an "extra"—that is, as useless in the new society as Granny Lin has become. A hollowed-out recluse in the collective apartment block of "Death Is Not a Bad Joke If Told the Right Way," Mr. Pang—once denounced by his work colleagues as being "a dog son of the evil landlord class"—still appears daily at a job where he is no longer even paid, and spends his home life counting grains of rice on his chopsticks. Even the charmed fatherless boy of "Immortality," his face so like Chairman Mao's that he's chosen to be the dictator's impersonator after Mao's death, falls from favor eventually, ending his days as a self-castrated parasite. These are powerful stories that encapsulate tidily epic grief and longing.

The Movie

Release Date: September 19th, 2008
Starring: Yu Feihong, Henry O, Vida Ghahremani, Pasha Lychnikoff
Director: Wayne Wang

By Robert B. Parker
Published June, 2005 by Putnam Adult

In his second Western novel Parker writes about two Old Western law men, the chief one is Virgil Cole, new marshal of the mining/ranching town of Appaloosa (probably in Colorado); his deputy is Everett Hitch, and it's Hitch who tells the tale, playing Watson to Cole's Holmes. The novel's outline is classic western: Cole and Hitch take on the corrupt rancher, Randall Bragg, who ordered the killing of the previous marshal and his deputy. Bragg is arrested, tried and sentenced to be hung, but hired guns bust him out, leading to a long chase through Indian territory, a traditional high noon (albeit at 2:41 p.m.) shootout between Cole's men and Bragg's, a further escape and, at book's end, a final showdown. Along the way, Cole falls for a piano-playing beauty with a malevolent heart, whose manipulations lead to that final, fatal confrontation. With such familiar elements, Parker breaks no new ground. What he does, and to a magnificent degree, is to invest classic tropes with vigor, through depth of character revealed by a glance, a gesture or even silence. A consummate pro, Parker never tells, always shows, through writing that's bone clean and through a superb transferal of the moral issues of his acclaimed mysteries (e.g., the importance of honor) to the western.

The Movie

Release Date: September 17th, 2008
Starring: Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renée Zellweger, Jeremy Irons, Lance Henriksen
Director: Ed Harris


By Jose Saramago
Published September, 1998 by Harcourt

Well known Portuguese author Jose Saramango's previous works have rewritten the history of Portugal, reimagined the life of Christ and remodeled a continent by cleaving the Iberian peninsula from Europe and setting it adrift. Here, Saramago stalks two of our oldest themes in the tale of a plague of blindness that strikes an unnamed European city. At the novel's opening, a driver sits in traffic, waiting for the light to change. By the time it does, his field of vision is white, a "milky sea." One by one, each person the man encounters?the not-so-good Samaritan who drives him home, the man's wife, the ophthalmologist, the patients waiting to see the ophthalmologist?is struck blind. Like any inexplicable contagion, this plague of "white sickness" sets off panic. The government interns the blind, as well as those exposed to them, in an abandoned mental hospital guarded by an army with orders to shoot any detainee who tries to escape. Like Camus, to whom he cannot help being compared, Saramago uses the social disintegration of people in extremis as a crucible in which to study the combustion of our vices and virtues. As order at the mental hospital breaks down and the contagion spreads, the depraved overpower the decent. When the hospital is consumed in flames, the fleeing internees find that everyone has gone blind. Sightless people rove in packs, scavenging for food, sleeping wherever they can. Throughout the narrative, one character remains sighted, the ophthalmologist's wife. Claiming to be blind so she may be interned with her husband, she eventually becomes the guide and protector for an improvised family. Indeed, she is the reader's guide and stand-in, the repository of human decency, the hero, if such an elaborate fable can have a hero. Even after so many factual accounts of mass cruelty, this most sophisticated fiction retains its peculiar power to move and persuade.

The Movie

Release Date: September 26th, 2008
Starring: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Gael Garcia Bernal, Danny Glover, Alice Braga
Director: Fernando Meirelles

By Chuck Palahniuk
Published - 2001

Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk's controversial and blazingly original debut novel, introduced a fresh and even renegade talent to American fiction, one who has retooled the classic black humor of Terry Southern and Kurt Vonnegut for the lunacy of the millennial age. In his new novel, Choke, he gives readers a vision of life and love and sex and mortality that is both chillingly brilliant and teeth-rattlingly funny.

Victor Mancini, a dropout from medical school, has devised a complicated scam to pay for his mother's elder care: Pretend to be choking on a piece of food in a restaurant and the person who "saves you" will feel responsible for the rest of his life. Multiply that a couple of hundred times and you generate a healthy flow of checks, week in, week out.
Between fake choking gigs, Victor works at Colonial Dunsboro with a motley group of losers and stoners trapped in 1734, cruises sex addiction groups for action ("You put twenty sexaholics around a table night after night and don't be surprised."), and visits his mother, whose anarchic streak made his childhood a mad whirl and whose Alzheimer's disease now hides what may be the startling truth about his (possibly divine?) parentage. An antihero for our deranging times, Victor's whole existence is a struggle to wrest an identity from overwhelming forces. His creator, Chuck Palahniuk, is the visionary we need and the satirist we deserve.

The Movie

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Angelica Huston, Kelly MacDonald, Brad William Henke
Director: Clark Gregg
Release Date: September 26th, 2008



By Nicholas Sparks
Published September, 2002 by Warner Books


Nicholas Sparks logs more miles on the winding high road of romance with the story of two middle-aged people who meet by chance in the small North Carolina coastal town of Rodanthe. The impassioned but doomed romance seems to owe much to Robert James Waller's The Bridges of Madison County. Once again, a housewife who has focused on everyone but herself indulges in a brief, intense, secret affair with a stranger who changes her life forever. As the story begins, Adrienne Willis is 60, the divorced mother of three grown children. To help her troubled daughter cope with the untimely recent death of her husband, Adrienne tells her the tale of her love affair, which took place 15 years before. At the time, Adrienne was an uptight matron whose ex-husband had just left her for a younger woman. This rejection colors her entire life, and Sparks realistically portrays a vulnerable and isolated woman who throws herself into raising her children to escape her despair. Paul Flanner, her paramour, is a surgeon and an obsessive workaholic with no genuine connection to his wife or son, whose world completely falls apart when one of his patients inexplicably dies. Sparks builds a taut, plausible relationship between his protagonists, but even fans may be irked by the obviousness of their story and the inevitability of their fate.

The Movie

Release Date: September 26th, 2008
Starring: Diane Lane, Richard Gere, James Franco, Scott Glenn, Christopher Meloni, Mae Whitman
Director: George C. Wolfe

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