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Movies Based on Books 2013

Beautiful Creatures, release date February 14, stars Alice Englert as Lena, Emmy Rossum as Ridley Duchannes and Alden Ehrenreich as Ethan, along with heavyweight stars of stage and screen Emma Thompson, Viola Davis and Jeremy Irons.  The huge fan base for Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl should be enough to give this film a nice ride, certainly on DVD and BluRay.
I love the original book cover - hate the movie poster
with the characters squeezed in and slapped on.

Also released February 14th, Safe Haven, the Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough film based on Nicholas Spark's book. Cobie Smulders, Robin on How I Met Your Mother is Jo in the film. I'm looking forward to seeing Smulders grow in the coming years; she deserves a lead, rather than supporting role. Smulder has a Vince Vaughn project The Delivery Man and They Came Together with Paul Rudd in post production. Plus she's filming Captain America: The Winter Soldier right now playing Maria Hill.

Disney has the splashy spectacle OZ:The Great and Powerful slated for March 8. The film, directed by Sam Raimi isn't based on a particular book from Frank L. Baum's series but it's inform-ed by them as well as the MGM 1939 classic we all know and love. It's an origin story on how the wizard came to be the wizard. James Franco is Oscar Diggs (the wizard in question) with Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis also starring. From what I hear, the  scenery and Finley the Flying Monkey (voiced by Zach Braff) and China Doll (voiced by Joey King) steal the show.

Also on March 8th, in the UK, the film Broken starring Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy, newcomer Eloise Laurence and Rory Kinnear. Based on the acclaimed book by Daniel Clay, Broken won the BIFA for Best Independent British Film of 2012. It's an amazing and painful book - you can check out my take on the book here and my interview with Daniel here

Update: On the Road will open March 22, 2013. On the Road was supposed to get wider distribution in March but the film was so poorly received by  both the critics and the public, I doubt that will happen. Garrett Hedlund is Dean Moriarity and Sam Riley is Sal Paradiso with Kristin Stewart playing a uncurly-headed,  non-blonde version of MaryLou. Watch for it on DVD and BluRay if it doesn't make it to your town's movie multi-plex. I curious to how it compares with Jack Kerouac's seriously rambling, semi stream of consciousness novel.

Saiorise Ronan keeps growing up before our eyes! She is no longer that gangly girl in 2009's Lovely Bones, she kicked ass in Hanna in 2011 and this March 29th, the nineteen year old will be carrying The Host, on her young shoulders. The screen adaptation is based on Stephenie Myer's best selling YA novel; Myer's The Host website includes a playlist - kinda cool, eh?

Admission, based on the novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz             comes out on March 22. It's the story of "A Princeton admissions officer who is up for a major promotion 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." Early reviews haven't been great but it looks sweet and funny, and I predisposed to like the film based on the actors. It stars Tina Fey as the admissions officer, Paul Rudd is an old one-time lover, Lily Tomlin plays Fey's mother. Paul Weitz, (About a Boy, In Good Company, Being Flynn) directs. You can read my take on the Being Flynn book here.

April 5 is when I get to see my old crush, Robert Redford in The Company You Keep. Based on Neil Gordon's book about a former 'weatherman' type activist on the run AND trying to reconnect with his daughter when a reporter starts investigating and gets a little too close for comfort. The film has a truly stunning cast: Shia La Beouf is the reporter, Jackie Evancho is Redford's young daughter, Anna Kendrick, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Brit Marling, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Sam Elliot, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins and Julie Christie fill out the cast. Mr. Redford directs.

Odd Thomas, a film based on the first book in Dean Koontz' "Odd" series is supposedly coming out April 5th as well. It's the story of a psychic short order cook living in a California desert town. Anton Yelchin is Odd Thomas himself, with Willem Dafoe seemingly perfectly cast as the " mysterious man" Thomas meets, Wyatt, who has a link to dark, threatening forces. I haven't found a trailer or movie poster anywhere so I'll be anxious to see if the April 5th date will actually fly. We'll see. Yelchin starred in Like Crazy along with Felicity Jones and this year's IT GIRL, Jennifer Lawrence.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist based on the novel of the same name from Mohsin Hamid is due out on April 24th. It's the story of a young Pakistani man trying to find Wall Street success while finding himself in conflict between his ambitions, a hostage crisis and his homeland. Riz Ahmed is the Pakistani, Liev Schrieber, Kate Hudson and Keither Sutherland round out the cast.

And then we get to May, the fabulous month of May, and the movie we've all been waiting for - The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Toby Maguire. In 3D and quite  probably set to a contemporary music score ala Moulin Rouge also directed by Baz Luhrman. I'm marking my calendar for May 10th. Hell, I'll probably get tickets to the midnight show!

Also sometime in May, What Maisie Knew an updated version of Henry James' novel of  divorce, according to Entertainment Weekly reports. I've been watching for the movie ever since I saw the trailer. Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgard, Steve Coogan star with Onata Aprile playing Maisie, the daughter shuttled back and forth between ex-spouses.

Tiger Eyes, based on Judy Blume's YA eponymous novel - and adapted by Blume herself along with her son Lawrence Blume - comes to select screens and VOD on June 7th. Lawrence Blume also directs the film about the teenage girl who moves to New Mexico with her mother and little brother after her father is killed. A young native American helps her find her inner strength. The cast includes Willa Holland, Amy Jo Johnson and Tatanka Means as the young man.
Read my take on the movie; I loved it.

Set for release on June 21st: Much Ado About Nothing is the modern retelling of Shakespeare's comedy of crazy mixed up love - you might even call it the first RomCom. Joss Whedon has said he shot the film in one week and three weekends. Using his own home as the location, he gathered his best friends, who coincidentally happen to be actors, and away he went. Clark Gregg known for playing the affable agent Phil Coulson in the Marvel universe of films,  is Leonato, the father of the bride. I know and love him as Julia Louis-Dreyfuss ex-hubby in The New Adventures of Old Christine, one of the few shows that can actually have me laughing with tears rolling down my cheeks. Alexis Densiof who was also in The Avengers, is Benedick. Kenneth Branagh's 1993 version was a solid hit; will Whedon's version be as well-received?

Set to start off the summer box office in a sensational way, World War Z opens on June 21. The fan base for Max Brook's novel is huge with a mostly younger male demographic salivating to see this movie version of this Zombie apocalypse; not that it matters but I doubt that even Brad Pitt's starring presence will get me in a seat.

The film Broken starring Tim Roth, Cillian Murphy, newcomer Eloise Laurence and Rory Kinnear finally hits the states on July 19th. Based on the acclaimed book by Daniel Clay, Broken won the BIFA for Best Independent British Film of 2012. It's an amazing and painful book - you can check out my take on the book here and my interview with Daniel here

The Spectacular Now is based on Tim Tharp's YA novel of the same name. The story of a hard partying high school senior (Miles Teller) who hooks up with 'nice girl' Shailene Woodley. Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the same pair that brought us 500 Days of Summer, this looks like one to watch in a nice cool dark theater on a hot summer afternoon; The Spectacular Now which also stars Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Mary Elizabeth Winstead opens August 2.

Austenland, the randy send-up of Pride & Prejudice fanatics based on Shannon Hale's eponymous novel is set for release August 16th here in North America, with fall opening on tap for the UK. Keri Russell of Felicity fame stars as a P&P fan so dotty with amor for Mr. Darcy - specifically as portrayed by Colin Firth in the BBC miniseries - that she wangles a vacation at a Jane Austen themed resort - period costumes, actors chatting you up, sheer fantasy for the romantically inclined. The book was good fun, there's a chance the film will be successfully quirky, Jerusha Hess who co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite with brother Jess Hess, co-wrote Austenland with Hale and also directs. Jennifer Coolidge promises to be in top silly form as Miss Elizabeth Charming but Jane Seymour as Mrs. Wattlesbrook, cattily casting aspersions this way and that, I'd like to see. The cast also includes Georgia King, Bret McKenzie, JJ Field, James Callis and Ricky Whittle.

Fans of Cassandra Clare's series of Mortal Instruments books have been waiting for the screen adaptation of City of Bones, the first of the series. Set for an August 23rd 21st release date, the movie stars Lily Collins (Snow White in Mirror Mirror) as Clarissa known as "Clary", who is supposed to be a teensy, green-eyed redheaded artist 'ShadowHunter' in this YA sci fi flick. Is it just me or does "Clary" sound derivative of the author's name? And did Clare deliberately create a main character who shares her green eyes and red hair? ok, I'm saying it - is Clary Cassandra Clare's alter ego?

October 4 is the release date for Paranoia starring Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Liam Hemsworth - the hunky one from The Hunger Games (imho). Based on the novel by Joseph Finder, Paranoia is the story of an entry level employee (Hemsworth) whose corporate success is tied in to spying for his boss. There's no poster this far in advance but look for it to feature this trio of actors and maybe Amber Heard who was last seen in 2011's book to movie bomb, The Rum Diaries.

OldBoy is Spike Lee's film based on a series of 'manga' comic books, which doesn't usually interest me as source materials - I don't read graphic novels - but for those of you whose boat it floats, the film has a solid cast: Josh Brolin, Samuel L. Jackson and Elizabeth Olsen. It hits theaters October 11th. Oldboy is a far-fetched sounding story of a corporate executive (Brolin) imprisoned for something like 20 years before finally being mysteriously released. He finds his freedom is no better than his imprisonment. The previous adaptation by Korean filmmaker Chan Wook-Park in 2003 has a mega cult following giving Spike Lee some very big shoes to fill.

Originally scheduled for a spring release - as you can see in tiny print on the bloody poster from imdb.com - the studio guys decided (wisely) that October was a much better month to intro a horror film; the highly anticipated remake of Brian DePalma's Carrie hits the movie houses on October 18th. Chloe Grace Moretz (Hugo, 500 Days of Summer) takes on Sissy Spacek's iconic Carrie role, with Julianne Moore as her abusive mother, Margaret White (played by Piper Laurie in the 1976 original) and Judy Greer as Miss Desjardins. In the 1976 horror classic Betty Buckley played the part, renamed as Miss Collins. The director behind this one doesn't have DePalma's rep; her scant credits include TV's The L-Word, Boys Don't Cry and Stop-Loss.  I am always glad to see a female rising in the ranks in this male dominated field; I just hope she pulls this off. Pretty ambitious!

WOW! Julianne Moore is having a busy year! And a horrifically busy October with The Seventh Son also set for release on October 18th. I wonder if that will change??? Like Carrie, The Seventh Son is also a horror tale which plays well in October though. As best as I can make out, the story is based on a Joseph Delaney book (The Spook's Apprentice)- NOT to be confused with Orson Scott Card's novel The Seventh Son. I am completely perplexed by the strange choice of title! A period piece set in the 1800's  it's the story of Thomas (Ben Barnes) an apprentice learning to fight evil spirits who takes on Mother Maylick (Moore), a powerful force bent on escaping her 'confinement'. Jeff Bridges takes the role of Master Gregory, the master spook who oversees Tom.
I don't know about reading the book but the movie sounds like great scary-ish fun.

Yet another film set for the 18th of October is the Robert De Niro starrer The Family (formerly Malevita) based on the book by Tonino Benaquista. De Niro is Giovanni Manzoni, head of a Mafia family relocated to France under the name of Fred Blake as part of a witness protection progam. Michelle Pfeiffer is De Niro's wife, "Maggie". Tommy Lee Jones is attached as the FBI handler. French writer/director, Luc Besson, (La Femme Nikita, Leon:Le Professional,  The Fifth Element) wrote the screenplay and directs the film which sounds like more farce than thriller; Martin Scorese signed on in February to executive produce. It's going on my watchlist for certain.

No poster yet! Check out imdb.com
Later in the month on October 25th,  Baggage Claim lands in theaters. Based on David Talbert's novel, the movie stars Paula Patton(Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol)as Montana Moore, a 35 year old flight attendant who gives herself one month and 30,000 miles to nab a husband. Talbert (First Sunday)is directing from his own screenplay. It's primarily an African American cast featuring gorgeous Taye Diggs probably as Patton's love interest with Octavia Spencer rumored as attached - she's not listed on imdb as of this writing. Adam Brody is on board and, according to Variety will play a flamboyant flight attendant who works alongside Patton and Octavia Spencer's character. If that's true, I see giggles in the air... Djimon Housou (he's also in The Seventh Son) Jill
Scott and Terrence Jenkins also appear, check out the entire cast at Baggage Claim's  imdb.com page.

Mmmmm. I don't know that anyone can match young Leo's lovely performance as Romeo in the 1996 adaptation of Shakespeare's most famous love story. Douglas Booth (Great Expectations) will try although I think he's a little too 'beautiful' if you will. American (uh oh) Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) will take on Juliet (Clare Danes in the 96 version) Can't wait to see what Julian Fellowes, scripter of Downton Abbey and Gosford Park, does with this newest version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  James Horner has done the score. Horner who has been working in the business since the late 70's has a tremendous track record ranging from It's a Beautiful Mind to Avatar. Horner also penned the score for the next film in this roundup, Ender's Game. The film comes out October 25th in England, no word yet on when it hits theaters here in the states.

November 1st delivers the long-waited Ender's Game based on the beloved book by Orson Scott Card.  Asa Butterfield (Hugo) is Ender, Harrison Ford is the colonel in this story about the highly gifted boy sent off to a military training school.
The stellar cast also includes Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley and Hailee Steinfeld.

I'm not going to bother to read Jordan Belfort's memoir The Wolf of Wall Street but the Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort is another matter entirely. The story of this sleazy Wall Street stockbroker has what it takes to make a good morality tale, especially in the hands of Scorsese who has rounded up quite a good cast: Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau and Jean Dujardins. Australian Margot Robbie (Pan Am, About Time) is one of the few female faces in the male-dominated cast. Fitting if you think about the male-dominated world of the stock market anyway. The Wolf of Wall Street opens November 15th.

Also on Friday the 15th: Julian Assange is the focus of The Fifth Estate, the movie partially based on Daniel Domscheit-Berg's book Inside Wiki Leaks. I rarely read nonfiction (is that awful?) and I won't read this but Assange's life does seem to be the stuff that drama is made of. Benedict Cumberbatch is perfectly cast as Assange and the rest of the cast is solid too: Dan Stevens (Matthew Crowley in Downton Abbey), Daniel Bruhl (Inglorious Basterds), Laura Linney, Carice Van Houten (Game of Thrones), and Anthony Mackie.

Wow, Friday the 15th is shaping up to be a huge opening day. The Book Thief, Bryan Percival's adaptation of Markus Zusak's novel was set for 2014 but the filmmakers are so pleased with the movie they're releasing it in time for Oscar noms. The film stars Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson as Hans and Rose Hubermann with Liesel portrayed by rising French Canadian star Sophie Nelisse.

The big Thanksgiving holiday weekend sees the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on November 22. which will be humungous, no doubt about it considering the popularity of Suzanne Collins' book series and the mega success of the first film. Jennifer Lawrence tops the cast which brings back Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland and oh, the list is endless. Here's hoping director Francis Lawrence meets the high standard set by The Hunger Games director, Gary Ross.

On November 28th A Most Wanted Man is set to debut in in Denmark and then? Currently US distribution rights haven't been secured at this writing - hopefully that will be worked out soon. The film based on John LeCarre's thriller tells the tale of a illegal Muslim Chechin immigrant in Germany who gets caught up in the international war on terror. Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright and Willem Dafoe star along with the master, Philip Seymour Hoffman. If the movie gets close to reaching the perfection of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy I'll be thrilled. Anton Corbijn (The American) directs.

In time for the Christmas  winter holiday season, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens on December 13.  According to Entertainment Weekly, part two of Peter Jackson's trifurcated telling of Tolkein's The Hobbit  is expanded from the book via information Jackson gleaned from 120 pages of Tolkein's appendices. I can't imagine Tolkein fans will be disappointed. Jackson directs all the usual subjects: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Evangeline Lilly, Christopher Lee, Billy Connolly and Andy Serkis. And will probably make over one billion bucks, just like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has already!

Daniel Craig, 
The Monuments Men is set for release on December 18th during the lively movie-going pre-Christmas weekend. Based on the nonfiction book of the same name from Robert M. Edsel, George Clooney stars and directs using a screenplay he co-wrote with partner, Grant Heslov.
The true story of a group of American and British museum directors, curators and art historians who worked together to recover priceless works of art stolen by the Nazis before Hitler can destroy them.  Along with Clooney the film's cast includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban and Jean Dujardin. My moment of bummed-outness came when I learned that Daniel Craig, who was previously in the mix, had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts. Since there's no poster as I write this, I'm sticking with this picture of George Clooney and Daniel Craig for now; it would have been heaven to have them on the same screen.

This is a bit of a cheat but I couldn't resist including Saving Mr. Banks, set for release on December 20. The movie about the making of the Mary Poppins movie based on the book Mary Poppins by PJ Travers is no light-hearted Disney fare but a solid period drama. Tom Hanks is Walt Disney, Emma Thompson is P.J. Travers, the pen name of Helen Lindon Goff, who resisted having her book adapted, fought with Disney every step of the way and was ultimately not at all happy with what he did to her nanny stories. Collin Farrell takes the part of Travers' alchoholic father - generally considered to be the Mr. Banks of the book.

Christmas Day has Jack Ryan in theaters. The film starring Chris Pine, Kevin Costner and Keira Knightly is based on Tom Clancy's iconic character rather than a particular Clancy novel. I've included it for fans of the book series with the question; does Chris Pine make a decent Jack Ryan because he looks pretty good to me! I'll put up the poster to the December 25th release when it comes out.

Also set for Christmas, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a new adaptation of James Thurber's short story about a daydreamer. Anyone old enough to recall the original starring Danny Kay? In this version directed by Ben Stiller, Stiller himself is Mitty, a magazine photo manager; opposite his leading lady, very funny woman, Kristin Wiig. That's a pairing I can't wait to see.

Josh Brolin on set of Labor Day
TBA It's coming but I'm not sure when! Ivan Reitman has directed another screen adaptation. This time it's Joyce Maynard's Labor Day starring Kate Winslet as Adele, the long-divorced mother of a lonely 13 year old boy, Henry. Together they offer a ride to a wounded man, taking him in. And that's where the plot thickens. 13 year old Henry is played by green eyed cutie pie Gattlin Tadd Griffith, affectionately known as Getty??? There's also a Henry at 16 - Dylan Minette - and Dylan grown up (Toby Maguire). Josh Brolin is Frank, the wounded man hiding out; James Van Der Beek is a detective on the case.

In the process of being updated ....