Books into Movies- Fall 2009

Fall movie season is here!!! After a summer of big budget blockbusters, we’re entering into a whole different atmosphere in the theaters. From movies based on children’s classics like Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are to books based on Young Adult Novels like the much anticipated New Moon, and finally to some serious adult fare like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, there is something for everyone this fall!  Let’s hope for a great season!

October

Whip It
Cast: Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Jimmy Fallon, Daniel Stern, Alia Shawkat
Director: Drew Barrymore
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: October 2nd
Based on: WHIP IT by Shauna Cross

The directorial debut of Drew Barrymore stars Ellen Page as Bliss, a rebellious Texas teen who throws in her small town beauty pageant crown for the rowdy world of roller derby. Marcia Gay Harden plays Bliss’s disapproving mother while Kristen Wiig and Juliette Lewis play roller-derby stars. (From BookReporter.com)

Where the Wild Things Are
Cast: Catherine Keener, Max Records, Benicio Del Toro, Forest Whitaker, Catherine O’Hara, Paul Dano, Lauren Ambrose
Director: Spike Jonze
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: October 16th
Based on: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak

Inside all of us is… everything we’ve ever seen, everything we’ve ever done, and everything we’ve ever loved.

If you never read the Caldecott award winning children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak when you were a kid, come by the library and check it out. It is a beloved children’s book that is only 10 sentences long that has become a beloved classic since it was first published in 1963. At first I was skeptical as to whether it would be possible to turn a 200 word children’s book into a successful feature length film, but after reading this article, which describes the author’s involvement in the project, I am really beginning to get excited. Speaking of the film at this summer’s Comic Con Sendak said, “I’ve never seen a movie that looked or felt like this.” Of Spike Jonze, the director, he added, “He’s a real artist that lets it come through in the work. So he’s touched me.”

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee
Cast: Robin Wright Penn, Julianne Moore, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Alan Arkin, Monica Bellucci, Blake Lively, Maria Bello, Ryan McDonald
Director: Rebecca Miller
Distributor: Screen Media Films
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: October 23rd (limited)
Based on: THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE by Rebecca Miller

At fifty, Pippa Lee seems just fine. The devoted wife of a brilliant publisher thirty years her senior, the proud mother of successful twins, and a lovely and adored friend and neighbor, she seems to glow with feminine serenity. But when her husband spontaneously decides they should cast off Gramercy Park for Marigold Village retirement home as a “preemptive strike against his decrepitude,” Pippa finds her beatific persona unraveling in alarming ways: the truth is that the gracious woman of the present day has seen more than her fair share of the wild side. By seventeen, Pippa had lived with a Dexedrine-addicted mother, felt the first stirrings of sexuality with a school girlfriend, had an affair with a teacher, and run away from home, set adrift on a course littered with broken hearts—until she seemingly found love and security in a family of her own. And now that established world, too, is in danger. In Pippa Lee we have an unforgettable heroine, and a quirky and acutely intelligent portrait of the many lives behind a single name. (From the Publisher)

The Vampire’s Assistant
Cast: Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Ken Watanabe, Josh Hutcherson, Chris Kelly, Patrick Fugit, Jane Krakowski
Director: Paul Weitz
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: October 23rd
Based on: The Cirque Du Freak series by Darren Shan

The Vampire’s Assistant is a fantasy-adventure about a teenager who unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires. Pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks and grotesque creatures of the night, one teen will vanish from the safety of a boring existence and fulfill his destiny in a place drawn from nightmares.

Sixteen-year-old Darren was like most kids in his suburban neighborhood. He hung out with his best friend, got decent grades, and usually stayed out of trouble. But when he and his buddy stumble upon a traveling freak show, things begin to change inside Darren. That’s the exact moment when a vampire named Larten Crepsley turns him into something, well, bloodthirsty.

Newly undead, he joins the Cirque Du Freak, a touring sideshow filled with monstrous creatures from a snakeboy and a wolfman to a bearded lady and a gigantic barker. As Darren flexes his newfound powers in this dark world, he becomes a treasured pawn between the vampires and their deadlier counterparts. And while trying to survive, one boy will struggle to keep their brewing war from devouring what’s left of his humanity. (From BookReporter.com)

November

The Box
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Frank Langella, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Michele Durrett, Kal Thompson
Director: Richard Kelly
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release Date: November 6th
Based on: The short story “Button, Button” by Richard B. Matheson

What if someone gave you a box containing a button that, if pushed, would bring you a million dollars. but simultaneously take the life of someone you don’t know? Would you do it? And what would be the consequences?

The year is 1976. Norma Lewis is a teacher at a private high school and her husband, Arthur, is an engineer working at NASA. They are, by all accounts, an average couple living a normal life in the suburbs with their young son…until a mysterious man with a horribly disfigured face appears on their doorstep and presents Norma with a life-altering proposition: the box. With only 24 hours to make their choice, Norma and Arthur face an impossible moral dilemma. What they don’t realize is that no matter what they decide, terrifying consequences will have already been set in motion. They soon discover that the ramifications of this decision are beyond their control and extend far beyond their own fortune and fate. (From Book Reporter.com)

Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Cast: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright Penn, Cary Elwes
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Release Date: November 6th
Based on: A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens

I love Charles Dickens! This story was written 166 years ago in 1843 and is still beloved today. We all know the story; Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future to help him realize the true magic of Christmas. The interesting thing about this adaptation is that it is done in digital 3-D and the cast is amazing! Jim Carey as Scrooge and a supporting cast that includes Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Robin Wright Penn. This is definitely a movie worth seeing in the theatre, what a great way to get into the Christmas spirit with your children!

Precious
Cast: Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Gabourey Sidibe
Director: Lee Daniels
Release Date: November 6th (limited release)
Based on: PUSH by Sapphire

Push has been a pretty popular novel at our library. The author, Sapphire, was born in 1950 and spent her first twelve years on army bases in California and Texas. She eventually ended up in Harlem after earning a degree from City College in New York and an MFA from Brooklyn College. She has taught reading and writing to teenagers and adults and is also a performance poet and the author of a collection of poetry and prose, American Dreams.

Set in Harlem in 1987, Precious is the story of Claireece “Precious” Jones, a 16-year-old African-American girl Relentless, remorseless, and inspirational, this “horrific, hope-filled story” (Newsday) is certain to haunt a generation of readers. Precious, who is pregnant by her father with her second child, meets a determined and highly radical teacher who takes her on a journey of transformation and redemption.

Sounds dark and gritty but also inspiring and uplifting. Fans of African American fiction should appreciate this film adaptation

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Cast: Owen Wilson, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Angelica Huston, Michael Gambon
Director: Wes Anderson
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures
MPAA Rating: Not yet rated
Release Date: November 13th (wide)
Based on: FANTASTIC MR. FOX by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is the author of many popular children’s books including: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and Fantastic Mr. Fox

Mr. and Mrs. Fox live an idyllic home life with their son, Ash, and visiting young nephew, Kristopherson. But after 12 years, the bucolic existence proves too much for Mr. Fox’s wild animal instincts. Soon he slips back into his old ways as a sneaky chicken thief and in doing so, endangers not only his beloved family, but the whole animal community. Trapped underground and with not enough food to go around, the animals band together to fight against the evil Farmers — Boggis, Bunce and Bean — who are determined to capture the audacious, fantastic Mr. Fox at any cost. (From BookReporter.com)

The Blind Side
Cast: Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Ray McKinnon, Sandra Bullock, Kathy Bates
Director: John Lee Hancock
Release Date: November 20th
Based on: THE BLIND SIDE: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis

A poor, undereducated 344-pound African-American teenager in Memphis, whose father was murdered and whose mother was a crack addict, is shuffled through the public school system, despite his low grade point average and absenteeism. But his tremendous size and quickness attracts the interest of a wealthy white couple who take him in and groom him both athletically and academically to become one of the top high school football prospects in the country. (From BookReporter.com)

The Twilight Saga: New Moon
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Dakota Fanning, Chaske Spencer
Director: Chris Weitz
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Release Date: November 20th
Based on: NEW MOON by Stephenie Meyer

Based on the second book of the Twilight saga of the same name, New Moon is one of my most anticipated movies of the fall. New Moon follows Bella Swan after the abrupt departure of her vampire love, Edward Cullen. But she finds solace in her friendship with Jacob Black. Things become complicated as Jacob begins to have feelings for Bella and also realizes that he is part of a werewolf tribe who are the ancestral enemies of the vampires, and finds her loyalties tested.

The second movie to be released based on the Twilight Saga has a new director and a bigger budget. My top pick this fall!!!

The Road
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Robert Duvall, Garret Billahunt
Director: John Hillcoat
Release Date: November 25th
Based on: THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy

Based on Cormac McCarthy’s bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Road is the epic post-apocalyptic tale of a journey taken by a father and his young son across a barren landscape that was blasted by an unnamed cataclysm that destroyed civilization and most life on earth.


December

The Lovely Bones
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Michael Imperioli, Saoirse Ronan
Director: Peter Jackson
Release Date: December 11th
Based on: THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold

Susie Salmon, a young girl who has been murdered, watches over her family — and her killer — from heaven. She must weigh her desire for vengeance. This movie should be interesting, despite the haunting storyline, the book is an affecting coming of age story narrated from heaven where Susie keeps watch over her family. Publisher’s Weekly said that “Sebold has taken a grim, media-exploited subject and fashioned from it a story that is both tragic and full of light and grace.” Susie’s narration provides warmth and her observations and memories area a “reminder that life is sweet and funny and surprising”. Don’t let the trailer’s fool you, this is a story about a little girl who was murdered, but it is so much more than that.

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