Adaptations

the girl with the dragon tattoo

In addition to being admittedly subjective, the idea of ranking the best or worst book-to-film adaptations is a fruitless effort for at least one other reason: there’s nothing consistently being judged when making this determination. Most list-makers seem content simply picking the best/worst movies that happen to have been based on a book (or short story, novella, etc.), but that has no bearing on the quality of the actual adaptation. For example? Spike Jonze’s aptly-titled Adaptation, with a script by Charlie Kaufman, is an absolutely brilliant film, but you’d be hard-pressed to call it a good adaptation of Susan Orlean’s non-fiction book, “The Orchid Thief.” Even acknowledging that movies and books are different entities, it would be a ridiculously loose interpretation of the word to say it’s a success on that front. To a similar but lesser degree, you could make the argument that Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a classic of atmospheric horror while at the same time being a poor adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. This has been a roundabout way of introducing the latest attempt to rank adaptations, one that finds a slightly different angle while simultaneously introducing some new wrinkles. The UK’s Total Film has posted “50 Movies That Were Better Than The Books,” and ignoring the fact that the title implies these movies are no longer better than the books, the list is chock-full of head-scratching hilarity. Of course, this is the same site that ran a list a few months back of “50 Movies That Are Longer […]

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Iron Man 2 Novel

Three things have happened this month that really solidify our culture of cannibalizing art in one form and spitting it out into another. First, Connie Britton announced that Peter Berg had given her the finished script for a Friday Night Lights movie. Another one. That means that in its life as a story, a real life situation spawned a book which became a movie which became a TV show which could potentially become a movie again. That Berg is involved at every step only adds to the confusion, but the ultimate take-away here is just how malleable pieces of art are. So malleable that they can be squeezed into a different medium within a certain boundary of practicality (“Friday Night Lights: The Painting” seems like a stretch). This one story now exists in several different forms. Second, Patrick Healy over at the New York Times shrewdly broke down why Hollywood studios are turning their most iconic pictures into Broadway productions. Third, director David Lowery and company announced a graphic novel version of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. That’s more of a surprising cherry on top than a complete culture-defining sundae (the most delicious kind), but it’s at least a little bit funny that an intimate Sundance drama is getting its own comic book. More and more it feels like everything’s adapted.

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Dolphin Boy

And now for something entirely different. Variety reports (via ComingSoon) that Walt Disney Pictures have picked up the film rights to Dani Menkin and Yonatan Nir‘s 2011 documentary Dolphin Boy in order to turn it into a narrative feature. Dolphin Boy, you say, that sounds charming! A boy and his dolphins! Swimming free! Free Willy with dolphins, nature’s smartest aquatic creature! Aww! Wrong. The synopsis for the original film doesn’t shy away from tossing out terms that we might necessarily associate with the House of Mouse – terms like “violent attack,” “before hospitalization in a mental institution,” “devastating havoc that human violence can wreak upon the human soul,” and more! I’m devastated just reading about this film. If you’re into having your soul pulled out through your throat, the doc’s full synopsis reads as such: Morad – a teenager from an Arab village in the north of Israel disconnects himself from humans following a violent attack that he experienced. As a last resort before hospitalization in a Mental Institution, he is taken by his devoted father to be treated with Dolphins in Eilat. Morad starts speaking again after months of silence, but he erases his past and refuses to go home to his awaiting mother. This documentary about the devastating havoc that human violence can wreak upon the human soul, and about the healing powers of nature and of love, was filmed over the course of the past four years. Not wrenching enough for you? Check out the trailer for […]

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Remaking a movie is a tall order, and transitioning a story from another medium to film is even tougher. So it’s no surprise that details frequently get changed to accomodate a new era of filmmaker or the different “beats” associated with a feature-length movie. It becomes a problem, however, when one of the things cut to accomodate an extra action scene turns out to be vitally important to the plot, leaving the movie with a scene or detail that only makes sense if you’re familiar with the original. Things like…

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as holeinmyshower and RepWeiner08 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the two wonder whether fans should educate themselves before hopping into a movie. Can the movie-going experience be made better by a little research before getting our ticket ripped or should we be able to go blindly into the darkness and expect great entertainment?

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There aren’t many things that we know for sure about Baz Luhrman’s upcoming adaptation of “The Great Gatsby.” The man won’t even admit in a straightforward way that he is making the movie. There have been rumors that it would be in 3D, but who can say? The one thing that has seemed to be locked in pretty securely, however, has been the cast. Leonardo Dicaprio has always been set to play the title character Jay Gatsby. Carey Mulligan seems to be locked into playing the lead female role of Daisy Buchanan. And Tobey Maguire is reportedly on board to play the story’s observer and narrator Nick Carraway. Well now one more actor is in talks to join Luhrmann’s sure to be gaudy retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tale of big mansions and romantic revenge, Armageddon’s Ben Affleck. Reportedly, Affleck is looking to sign on as Daisy’s husband, and Jay Gatsby’s chief romantic rival, Tom Buchanan. I approve of this casting. While I like Affleck much more as a writer and director than I do as an actor, when I try to imagine the jerk that would be married to and cheating on the girl I love, Affleck’s face fits in the scenario very easily. I’m sure people will have a very easy time rooting for DiCaprio to take him down and win young Ms. Mulligan’s hand. But, how I feel about a director as wildly stylistic as Luhrmann taking on such dry source material is still way up […]

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There is a new script for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty floating around Hollywood, and Ben Stiller wants to make it his next film. Or maybe that’s just a heroic daydream. A lot of people have been trying to get an adaptation of the James Thurber short story made in recent years, but mostly it’s just been tossed back and forth through development hell. Most of the biggest stars in Hollywood have had looks at this role, including Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, and Will Ferrell. Huge names in the directing world have also almost made this movie before. Steven Spielberg, Gore Verbinski, and Ron Howard have all given it a look. But this time is different. This time Walter Mitty has two big reasons why it’s more likely to actually get made than it did during all those other go-arounds. Firstly, the reason why nobody has been confident enough to really push this thing through before is reportedly that there were problems with the script. This time the script they’re looking at is completely different from all those other drafts. Steve Conrad, writer of The Weather Man and The Pursuit of Happyness, has reportedly started from scratch and written a treatment of the story that works a whole lot better than anything that’s been out there before. Secondly, while all of those other actors that have been involved with the project are big names, Ben Stiller is maybe the hardest working comedic actor in Hollywood. He produces things, he […]

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Remember when X-Men: The Last Stand had to be haphazardly thrown together because Fox and Bryan Singer had some sort of disagreement on the scheduling, so then he left to make Superman Returns instead, and Fox got Brett Ratner to jump in for a quick fix on The Last Stand, and then they both turned out to be pretty lame? Long story, but it happened, swear to God. And even worse, they made another franchise prequel after The Last Stand called X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and it ended up being an even bigger mess, had a bunch of horrible takes on new characters like Deadpool, and seemed sure to be the death knell of the entire X-Men franchise. And this came after they called one of the movies The Last Stand. Remember that? Fox did, because instead of continuing on with that series of films, they totally recast the roles, totally rebooted the story, and have made Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class. Probably we’ll have to see if audiences are receptive of this new reboot to see if there will be more X-Men movies, right? Right? Nope, the new issue of Empire Magazine, which sports several X-Men: First Class themed covers, has some quotes about the upcoming direction the franchise is going to take. Apparently I was wrong in thinking The Last Stand needed a reboot, or that it was some sort of last stand, because sequels to that film are in the works. Longtime X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner is […]

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Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, and Sir Ben Kingsley in The Three Stooges

My battle to avoid printing this story comes to an end with me losing. Johnny Depp and Sean Penn are rumored for The Three Stooges. Probably not. But maybe. But probably not.

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Really? We

Remakes and sequels usually come from mild to giant success. Now, filmmakers can officially claim massive failure as a reason to bring back a character.

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Hurting for some good science fiction on the big screen? Us too. So we decided to dig into some good books and find ten great reads for Hollywood to adapt and amaze us with epic space battles and post-apocalyptic awesomeness.

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Now that it’s optioned, can an indie film maestro solve the problems of bringing Palahniuk’s horror tale to the screen? I remain skeptical.

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Ridley Scott Goes Back to Sci-Fi

It’s been almost 25 years since Joe Haldeman’s novel’s debut, but Ridley Scott may finally bring it to a theater near you.

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We already knew del Toro was going to take on Frankenstein. We didn’t realize he’d be keeping his clothes on for it.

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With all the buzz surrounding other Palahniuk projects like Invisible Monsters and Survivor, no one seemed to notice that the Lullaby adaptation is already casting.

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George Clooney to Blow Up Goats

In the Senationalist Headline department today, we’ve received news that the embodied reincarnation of Hollywood’s Golden Age is going to challenge the limits of an audiences patience by staring at a goat on screen for two hours.

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Warner Brothers Picks Up Hyperion Cantos

Warner Brothers has picked up the rights to the Hyperion Cantos series of books by award winning author Dan Simmons. Producer Graham King has had the rights for some time, but the complex nature of the Hyperion series made it difficult to move forward.

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With Frank Darabont’s film version of Stephen Kings The Mist set to roll into theaters soon, plans are already spinning in the Green Mile director’s head about his next project.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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