Tuesday, September 1, 2009

fall movie preview: november (part three)

Welcome to part three of my literary (and often pop cultural) fall movie preview. I take all of the films featured in Entertainment Weekly's fall movie preview and tell you which ones are based on books. We can't all drop our lives everytime a new movie hits the theaters, but I can at least usually say, "I haven't seen it yet, but I did read the book."

November begins with a bang: Nine, written by Anthony Minghella, directed by Rob Marshall, and starring the pickiest (in a good way) actor in the business, Daniel Day-Lewis, as well as Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren, Kate Hudson, and Fergie. It's based on the 1982 Broadway musical of the same name, which was based on the Fellini classic 8 1/2. I love movie musicals, but I really love good ones. I need to rewatch 8 1/2, which I last saw in a film class in college. Plan around Thanksgiving now, folks.

  • Fantastic Mr. Fox - Wes Anderson made a stop-motion-animation version of a Roald Dahl book. I love fall. I don't remember reading this book as a kid, even though I loved Dahl. It's already waiting for me at the library.
  • Broken Embraces - Pedro Almodovar is back with another movie he wrote and directed. Yes, it stars Penelope Cruz too.
  • Planet 51 - a 3-D cartoon not based on a book.
  • The Box - Written and directed by Richard Kelly, but the script is based on Richard Matheson's short story, "Button, Button." I can easily read a short story before the film comes out.
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats - based on Jon Ronson's book of the same name. It's not a novel, but you might think it is. The cast is incredible: Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges. I should read the book, but I will probably see the movie first.
  • A Christmas Carol - It's been done so many times, so what makes this version of the Dickens classic unique? It stars Jim Carrey, and Robert Zemeckis is making it with a more advanced technique than was available for The Polar Express or Beowulf. I'm perplexed why it's coming out so early in November. I love holiday movies, but Nov. 6 seems premature to me.
  • Precious - When I first heard Mo'Nique might win as Oscar for this film, I thought it was a joke. Then I realized it's based on Sapphire's novel, Push. I want to see this film, and I want to read the book first. Sadly, this novel has a tendency to be stolen from the library, so my turn to read it may not come in time. I may have to break down and buy it.
  • 2012 - This film features a brilliantly simple, yet ominous tagline: "we were warned." It's based on the famous Mayan prediction that the apocalypse comes around the winter solstice in 2012. I admit, I want to see it.
  • The Princess and the Frog - I first blogged about this film in March 2007. It's finally coming out. Disney welcomes a black princess. It's based on the Grimm fairy tale "The Frog Prince," which is well-known in pop culture. It's an old story, but it's a twist on an old story: Tiana, the princess character who is actually a waitress in 1920's New Orleans and voiced by the amazing Anika Noni Rose, turns into a frog when she kisses the cursed frog. Of course, I'm curious, and I love Anika Noni Rose, but I have very low expectations.
  • The Blind Side - Yes, it's based on the Michael Lewis bestseller I've been meaning to read since it came out in 2006. I'm adding it to my list.
  • Old Dogs - Bernie Mac's final movie is coming out. He plays a children's entertainer in what sounds like a predictable Disney film.
  • The Fourth Kind -Milla Jovovich continues her reign as sci-fi queen in this film based on true events about alien abductions.
  • Pirate Radio - also known as The Boat That Rocked in England, this film written and directed by Richard Curtis is about a fictitious illegal radio station (on a boat) in the 1960's. The cast is amazing, as per usual with Curtis.
  • Saint John of Las Vegas - This film is somehow based on part Dante's Inferno. Romany Malco plays Virgil. I'm there.
  • Dare- This film is based on the short film of the same name.
  • Red Cliff - This Chinese film is based on the Battle of the Red Cliffs, which occurred at the end of the Han dynasty (around 200). In China, the film was released as two two-hour features, but the international version has been cut to 2.5 hours. Most importantly, it was written, directed and produced by John Woo (there were co-writers and producers.)
  • Women in Trouble - not based on a book.
  • The Young Victoria - This film is a biopic of Queen Victoria. Julian Fellowes wrote the script. I'm thrilled to see Emily Blunt in a starring role.
  • Me and Orson Welles - It's based Robert Kaplow's novel of the same name. I haven't read the book yet, but I will because Richard Linklater directed the film, and it stars Zac Efron in what could be his breakout (of the teen genre) role and Clare Danes. My Thanksgiving weekend looks crowded.
  • Fix -Olivia Wilde stars in this film based on a true events. I like Olivia Wilde, and the premise is interesting. Two documentary filmmakers race around L.A. to take the younger brother of one of them from jail to rehab. They must raise $5000 around town and get him there by 8 p.m. or he goes to jail.
  • Patrik, Age 1,5 - This Swedish film is not based on a book.
I added four books to my pile for November: Roald Dahl's classic Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matheson's short story "Button, Button," the nonfiction book Men Who Stare at Goats, and the nonfiction Blind Side by Michael Lewis. I also plan to rewatch Fellini's classic film 8 1/2.

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