Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Month by Month Guide to the Movies Based on Books 2014


Welcome fellow bookish film fans. 

Pack up your book bag and toss in some treats; we're going to the movies. I've compiled a month by month guide to this years films based on books; I'm 1000% sure it's incomplete. What have I missed or generally messed up? I'm counting on those of you in the know to clue me in. The list is organic and changeable, I'll continue to add and make corrections as new movies get release dates throughout the year 

Last updated: 7/29/2014   Under the Skin, Heaven is for Real, out on blu-ray, dvd.
Tweet me at @simcarter or email me at simcarter@prodigy.net 


January 14: Lone Survivor
One I won't be seeing. I haven't heard anything much about this one and it takes a lot of good, nay, great buzz to get me into a war film. Mark Wahlberg is Marcus Luttrell, a Navy SEAL ambushed in Afghanistan while hunting a Taliban terrorist. Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch and Eric Bana co-star. 
Update: A lot of people liked, even loved it. 
Still not for me.


January 17: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Not a true adaptation so Clancy fans may love or hate this original story about a young Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) as a CIA agent trying 
to stop a terrorist attack designed to take out the US economy. The cast includes Kevin Costner as a CIA head, Keira Knightley as Jack’s fiancĂ©e, Cathy, with director Kenneth Branagh also onboard as Viktor Cherevin. 



January 20: White Bird in a Blizzard
Making its debut at Sundance, Shailene Woodley and Eva Green star in this indie about a young woman whose life is turned upside down when her mother goes missing. Based on Laura Kasische's best seller, the cast includes Christopher Meloni, Angela Bassett, Shiloh Fernandez as Phil and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious). I'm a sucker for Shailene in anything.
January 31: Labor Day
Josh Brolin plays an escaped convict, taken in by single mother (Kate Winslet) and her 13 year old son over the long holiday weekend. Director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Young Adult) wrote the screenplay, based on Joyce Maynard’s novel. The film which was originally set to open December 25th has received mixed reviews which may be why the studio shifted it quietly to January except for a small award-qualifying run in L.A. My son saw it and loved it. My take.

February 7: The Monuments Men
Here's another one that was pushed from its' original date. Based on Robert M. Edsel’s book about the real-life World War II group assigned to save some of the world's greatest works of art from Nazi thieves, The Monuments Men stars George Clooney (who also directed and co-wrote the screenplay), Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Jean Dujardin, Cate Blanchett, Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, and Hugh Bonneville. Daniel Craig was onboard early on, sadly he dropped out.


February 14: Winter’s Tale
I've got to read Mark Helprin’s love story about thief Peter Lake (Colin Farrell), and his timeless love for Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay). Russell Crowe plays gangster Pearly Soames and Matt Bomer plays Peter's father. Huh? Oh, I really need to read this book to understand that casting. Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) wrote the screenplay based on Helprin's novel and directed.
UPDATE: 3/9/14 LOVED the book, the movie was
mostly meh.

February 14: Vampire Academy
Richelle Mead’s best-selling series about a secret boarding school for good vampires and their half-human, half-vampire guardians. Sorry, currently clueless on this one. Please, please feel free to fill me in and I promise to study up, haha!







February 21: In Secret
Based on Emile Zola's classic Therese Raquin about a  beautiful sexually-repressed young woman (Elizabeth Olsen) trapped into a loveless marriage to her cousin by her controlling aunt, Madame Raquin (Jessica Lange). Therese's life is staid and predictable until she meets a friend of her husband's, the luscious Laurent,(Oscar Isaacs) and then, well let's just say things don't end well. Oscar Isaacs was an absolute surprise in Inside Llewyn Davis; I'll be in line for this one.


*March 7: A Long Way Down
This is one of the big ones for me; I adored the book. Based on Nick Hornby's darkly comic novel, the story of four suicidal people - Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots - who meet on a rooftop on New Year's eve. 90% sure that Rosamund Pike plays Brosnan's ex-wife. Here's my take on the Nick Hornby book, the film stars Toni Collette, Rosamund Pike, Pierce Brosnan and Aaron Paul.  *United Kingdom

March 21: Enemy
Enemy made its' debut last year at TIFF; this is the film's first theatrical release here in the states. Based on Jose Saramaga's The Double, Jake Gyllenhall stars as Adam Bell, a man who searches for his double after spotting him in a movie. Canadian director, Denis Villeneuve and Gyllenhall worked together on the very thrilling Prisoners; this sounds like another winner.

March 21: Divergent
Shailene Woodley, the girl most likely to give Jennifer Lawrence a run for her money, stars as Tris Prior in the adaptation of Veronica Roth's popular trilogy. Kate Winslet as Jeannine Matthews and hunky Theo James as Four costar. Ansel Elgort who plays Gus to Woodley's Hazel Grace Lancaster in Fault in Our Stars appears here as her brother, Caleb and Woodley's costar in The Spectacular Now plays Peter. 



April 4: Under the Skin
Under the Skin made its premiere at Telluride last summer; this is the movie's first real release date. Faber's sci fi novel and the movie are discoveries for me. Scarlett Johansson - sans her blond locks - is an alien seductress who preys on hitchhikers in Scotland. Helmed by former commercial directorJonathan Glazer who gave us the controversial Birth(Nicole Kidman) and Sexy Beast(Ben Kingsley); some complain it doesn't meet the novel's loftier heights.


*April 11: Before I Go To Sleep
Another one I can't wait for. Nicole Kidman plays Christine, a woman who wakes up every day with absolutely no memories due to a trauma in her past. Colin Firth and Mark Strong play her husband and doctor, respectively. If you're interested in what I thought of the book you can read my take on SJ Watson's thriller here.

* Sweden


April 16: Heaven is for Real
Greg Kinnear plays dad to a boy who sees heaven after undergoing lifesaving surgery for a ruptured appendix. Todd Burpo's real life tale about the things his son Colton sees and hears in heaven sounds like a story guaranteed to make you sob; no wonder the inspirational book has sold a gazillion copies. Director Randall Wallace previously gave us Brave Heart and Pearl Harbor.




May 9: God's Pocket
A guy named Micky Scarpato (Philip Seymour Hoffman) gets in over his head when he tries to cover-up the accidental death of his stepson. John Slattery - the Mad Men actor - makes his feature directing debut with the movie based on the Pete Dexter book - Slattery had directed five episodes of Man Men. In Gods Pocket also stars Christina Hendricks, John Turturro and Richard Jenkins.


June 6: The Fault in Our Stars
This has got to be one of the most highly anticipated screen adaptations in recent memory. So many of us fell hard for John Green’s darkly comic, tear-jerker of a tale about two cancer-ridden teens who fall in love 'slowly, then all at once' and all of us are bringing our high expectations and tissues to the theater. Director Josh Boone gave us the lovely Stuck in Love and the writing team of Scott Nuestadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer, The Spectacular Now) wrote the screenplay. No pressure but I'm prepared for The Fault in Our Stars to be a beautiful poignant movie with Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as Hazel and Gus. Visit the TFIOS File.


June 6: Edge of Tomorrow
In another theater, action and 'mangia' fans can watch Tom Cruise as a soldier battling aliens in this adaptation of the Japanese graphic novel All You Need Is Kill. Directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) the movie costars Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton. I'm reserving judgment, I know I won't read the book though. Any of you All You Need is Kill fans care to comment on its behalf?




August 8:  The Hundred-Foot Journey
An intriguing small film starring Helen Mirren as Madame Mallory, a chef at a restaurant in the French Alps and an Indian boy who becomes her apprentice. Directed by Lasse Hailstorm (“Chocolat”) from the novel by Richard C. Morais, the film has both Oprah Winfrey and Steven Speilberg listed as producers. I don't see a poster design yet; I'll try to remember to post it when it lands. 
August 15: The Giver
Based on Lois Lawry's Newbery Medal-winning novel, The Giver stars Jeff Bridges as the titular character in a society where pain and suffering have been eliminated. As the Giver, he must teach the new Giver the ways of the world and here's where book fans may freak out. Director Phillip Noyce has cast Brentan Thwaites to play the young boy, Jonas, changing his age from thirteen to sixteen. So maddening. The Giver costars Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, and Taylor Swift.

August 22: If I Stay
Chloe Grace Moretz is Mia, the 17 year old musician forced to examine her life when a fatal accident leaves her comatose and changes everything. Mirielle Enos and Joshua Leonard star as Mia's rocknroll parents, Jamie Blackley is Adam, the boyfriend Mia adores.

I'll share the poster when it lands.

August 22: When The Game Stands Tall
It's a familiar theme; the turn around of a losing sports team into a winning powerhouse. But it's one we find irresistible and with a winning streak that lasts 12 years, the story of Bob Ladoucer leading the De La Salle High School Spartans to consistent victory, should continue the tradition. I'm crossing my fingers this turns out to be the Money Ball of football movies. Henry Cavill stars as Ladoucer with Laura Dern as his wife and Michael Chiklis as  assistant coach.


September 1: Dark Places
The first of two Gillian Flynn thrillers do out this fall! Gone Girl follows in October. In Dark Places Charlize Theron stars as Libby Day, a woman who survived the horrific massacre of her family when she was a child. Working with a murder crime solving-obsessed club, she comes to question the guilt of her brother, serving life in prison based on her testimony as a seven year old. Corey Stoll plays her incarcerated brother, Ben; Tye Sheridan is Ben at fifteen. 


September 12:This Is Where I Leave You
Tropper's book was so amazing; I can not wait to see film with Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll as the grown children who return home to sit Shivah upon their father's death. Especially with Jane Fonda as their wacky shrink mom. The solid cast includes Connie Britten,Rose Byrne,Timothy Olyphant and Dax Shepherd. Blogged about it here.


September 18: Serena
Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are back yet again in this Depression-era period piece about a timber tycoon whose life gets complicated when he learns his wife can't bear children. Haven't read the book yet but it sounds like he's thinking about an heir to the family fortune. 


*Netherlands    

October 3: Gone Girl
I've been watching the evolution of this one closely. At this point I'm still at odds about the casting of Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne in the film version of Flynn's thriller - I can't help it; he just feels too old But I can't think the story about Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), who goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary will be anything less than thrilling. David Fincher directs. 



October 10: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Breaking my own rule about family movies but I loved reading this book to my son. And I can't resist Steve Carrell who plays Alexander's dad.
Jennifer Garner plays mom.





October 17:  The Best of Me
What's a year without an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel? The Best of Me focuses on a pair of former high school sweethearts who return to their small hometown for the funeral of a friend.  The under-used Michelle Monighan stars, no word on who plays the beau. Oh would that it were another The Notebook!






November 21: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
As if you needed this list to remind you; Jennifer Lawrence is still what they used to call 'the it girl', Catching Fire was a massive hit, no doubt this will be too. Most of the usual suspects are back: Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Clafin, Jena Malone, Philip Seymour Hoffman plus the addition of Julianne Moore as President Coin. Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence is back too.


December 12:  Paddington
Breaking my rule about family films yet again but come on, it's Paddington and he's speaking to my inner Brit. Colin Firth is the voice of the beloved bear while Nicole Kidman and Hugh Bonneville are the very kindly Mr. and Mrs. Brown in this live action film based on the Michael Bond classic childrens' book.
December 17: The Hobbit: There and Back Again
Wow; the never ending saga finally ends. The final episode in director Peter Jackson's telling of The Hobbit has Bilbo and the dwarves trying to reclaim Erebor and the treasure. Expect the expected including more sets that look like hybrids of video games, diaramas and Pirates of the Caribbeanesque theme park attractions. Yes, Martin Freeman is back as Bilbo; thank God the filming schedule didn't stop him from playing Dr. Watson in Sherlock!


December 25: Unbroken
Quite a few handsome young male up and comers * in the Angelina Jolie-directed film based on Laura Hillenbrand’s book about Louis Zaperini, an Olympic runner taken prisoner by the Japanese during World War II. Hope Jolie does as good a job with this one as the filmmakers did with Hillenbrand's Seabiscuit. * Jack O'Connell is Zaperini, the cast includes Garret Hedlund, Tai Courtney, Domhnall Gleeson and Alex Russell.


TBD, 2014: Far From the Madding Crowd
Carey Mulligan stars as Bathsheba Everdene, the independent-minded young woman who finds herself involved with a trio of men and a series of adventures. Scripted by David Nicholl's who gave us One Day (both the moving novel and the mediocre film), Far From the Madding Crowd also stars Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel Oak, Michael Sheen as William Boldwood and Tom Sturridge as Sergeant Troy.
TBD, 2014: The Railway Man
Colin Firth stars as Eric Lomax, held captive by the Japanese during WWII and forced to work on the construction of the Thailand-Burma railway. Brutally tortured, Lomax survives but never escapes his inner torment. Decades later, still haunted by horrible memories, he returns to confront his tormentor. Nicole Kidman plays Firth's wife, Stellan Sarsgard, a fellow prisoner of war. Jeremy Irvine is the young Lomax.


TBD, 2014: A Most Wanted Man
The Anton Corbijn directed film of this non-Smiley LeCarre novel set in Germany stars the late and truly great Seymour Phillip Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe and a new to me actor, Grigorly Dobrigin. While the film made its debut at Sundance in January, I'm surprised they haven't set a US release date yet.  Haven't been able to find a poster yet; let me know if you run across one.


TBD, 2014: Wild 
The Reese Witherspoon starrer based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir doesn't have a release date yet but it's slated for sometime this year. So excited to see this one with its' physically and emotionally demanding strong woman's part! It would be great to see a female in the director's chair but with Dallas Buyer's Club director Jean-Marc Vallee at the helm I'm not complaining! I'll move Wild into the schedule when they announce the release date. 


TBD, 2014: Inherent VIce
Back in the hazy days of Los Angeles in the 1970's, Detective Larry "Doc" Sportello investigates the dis-appearance of a former girlfriend. The Paul Thomas Anderson film has an amazing cast including Joaquin Phoenix as Doc Sportello with Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Jena Maloney, Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, Maya Rudolph and more. This one looks far-out, man.

Some of the films I'm most excited about don't have a US release date yet but surely they will! I've included them, marked with an * along with the international release date for the convenience of readers around the globe. CHEERS, and remember, if you've got news I can use about an upcoming book to movie project, I'd love to hear all about it.

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