Weekly Spotlight On…2013 Books into Movies

movie reelSeveral of the most popular movies this year were based off of a book (Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, The Hobbit, Cloud Atlas and so many more).  There is something about a well-told story that compels people to put the images they see in their heads up for all to see on the big screen.  While the movie occasionally outdoes the novel, I believe that this is rarely the case.  Take, for example, 2012’s movie version of Cloud Atlas.  The movie was considered to be a flop for American audiences, but the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell rose to the top of the bestseller list when the movie was released.  According to an article found on Squidoo, on average, Hollywood releases more than two dozen movies based on books a year.  In 2013, read the book before you see the movie.  Here is a selected list of upcoming movies based on books:

John Dies at the EndJohn Dies at the End (Release Date: January 25th, 2013)

This was originally a 2009 novel of the same name written by David Wong.  A gross–out horror book infused with humor (which actually manages to increase the terror of the reader), Paul Giamatti makes an appearance in this movie most likely to appeal to lovers of cheesy sci-fi or horror movies.  Fans of last year’s Cabin in the Woods won’t want to miss this one.

warm bodiesWarm Bodies (Release Date: February 1st, 2013)

Based on the 2011 novel of the same name written by Isaac Marion, this movie will put a new twist on the romantic comedy by using one of most popular trends in American culture today: zombies.  The story is fairly simple, focusing on a single zombie, R, who yearns for a better life and ends up falling in love with a human girl.  Hijinks ensue.  This one will most likely appeal to the teen demographic.

admissionAdmission (Release Date: March 22nd, 2013)

This comedy, starring comedic heavyweights Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, is based on a 2009 novel of the same name by Jean Hanff Korelitz.  Tina Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer who is up for promotion when she takes a professional risk after she meets a college-bound alternative school kid who just might be the son she gave up years ago in a secret adoption.  The book was very well received when it came out, being hailed as, “Strongly plotted, crowded with full-bodied characters and as thoughtful about ‘this national hysteria over college admissions’ as it is about the protagonist’s complex personality.  A fine, moving example of traditional realistic fiction.” (Kirkus Reviews).

the company you keepThe Company You Keep (Release Date: April 5th, 2013 (limited release))

This thriller directed by and starring Robert Redford is based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Neil Gordon.  The story is centered on centered on a former Weather Underground activist who goes on the run from a journalist who has discovered his identity.  The film has a lot of big names attached to it, including Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Chris Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Terrence Howard, Nick Nolte, and Sam Elliott.  Library Journal calls the book an “upscale literary thriller” and it was a 2003 New York Times notable book.

the great gatsbyThe Great Gatsby (Release Date: May 10th, 2013)

This Baz Luhrmann adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel was originally scheduled to be released in the winter of 2012.  While it is usually not a great sign when a movie’s release date is pushed back, Luhrmann’s directorial vision, as demonstrated in films such as Moulin Rouge! and Strictly Ballroom, will at least ensure it’s originality and daring.  The cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as the heart-breaker Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire as the narrator Nick Carraway, is also promising.  But everyone should still try the book first.

world war zWorld War Z (Release Date: June 13th, 2013)

Continuing in the zombie trend, Brad Pitt will star in this movie based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks.  While the previews make the movie look like a fun ride (if you’re into the zombie thing), the book is a worthwhile read not necessarily for the zombie fun but for the humorous way Brooks approaches contemporary politics, politicians, and foreign policy.  The novel is ultimately an alternate history that asks the question: how would the world really react to a zombie outbreak?  Hopefully the movie didn’t miss this mark.

carrieCarrie (Release Date: October 18th, 2013)

Did Stephen King know when he wrote his very first novel that it would continue to engage audiences far into the future?  Perhaps not, but Carrie has withstood the test of time and there is something about a Stephen King story that begs to be represented visually (again…and again…and again).  Skeptics abound concerning this remake, but it does have promising elements: directed by Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don’t Cry) and starring Chloe Grace Moretz (Let Me In) as Carrie and Julianne Moore as her psychotic, controlling mother, this has enough promise in it to get me to the movie theaters come Halloween.

ender's gameEnder’s Game (Release Date: November 1st, 2013)

Based on the classic science fiction novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card, this movie stars Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, and Asa Butterfiel (Hugo) as Ender.  70 years after a horrific alien war, an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion.  The book is the winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards and has withstood the test of time–it is still one of the bestselling science fiction books in the world today.  The novel is great reading for adults and for teens, especially younger boys.

Publisher’s Weekly also recently came out with a great list of the 10 Most Anticipated Movies From Books. Another great resource to find out what movies are coming out based on books is EarlyWord.  This site gives a comprehensive list instead a few select titles.  Enjoy, and stay tuned for more Weekly Spotlights and staff recommendations!

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