My Week in Movies, 2015 Week 20

My first full week back at work (and heck of a work-week at that) and having a houseguest for a week too predictably cut into my effective movie watching and reviewing, but at the last minute I managed to claw in one review that prevented me from losing one of those hard-striven green ticks. No new ones this week, but I’m working on at least oen more for next week, fear not. Here’s what I watched this week: Continue reading

Top 10 Films Adapted From Books (That I’ve Read)

This week I saw The Great Gatsby, something I’ve deeply regretted ever since. You can expect a less-than-complimentary review in the bear future, brace yourselves. I was thoroughly disappointed with the film, mostly because I’d read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel last year in preparation for the film, and really rather enjoyed it. This got me thinking about the best films adapted from books. However, the potential candidates for such a list would include roughly half of all films ever made, if not more, so I slimmed it down somewhat in the only manner I knew how, by making it about myself. Therefore, this is a list of my favourite films adapted from books that I’ve actually read, a list of books nowhere near long enough in my opinion, but with so many films to watch how can I hope to find the time to read more?

Anyway, the list is comprised of books I read before the films came out, some I was drawn to by the film, and others I read upon finding out the film was to be released, as was the case with Gatsby.

Honourable MentionJurassicParkAs much as I’d love Jurassic Park to be on this list, at present I’m only halfway through Michael Crichton’s so far excellent novel, so alas the best I can do is say the first half of Jurassic Park is my Honourable Mention. In terms of complete books, there are some adaptations that have done a stellar job in maintaining the themes and style of their source material – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is impenetrable and muddy, The Time Traveller’s Wife is bland and queasy, Touching The Void is gripping yet informative – whereas others have differed greatly from where they began – There Will Be Blood covers only a fraction of Upton Sinclair’s Oil!. I think I’ll settle upon Fight Club as my official honourable mention, and it remains the book I’ve read the fastest – in one sitting at that – and quite possibly in the same amount of time as it would have taken to watch the film. It is a rather slim book, you see, but well worth a read if you’re even a passing appreciator of the film.
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No Country for Old Men

In this most bleak and convoluted offering from the Coen brothers you rarely witness a characters ultimate destiny, although they are hinted at enough to make a fair assumption. Josh Brolin’s Llewelyn Moss, a welder out hunting deer in south west Texas, stumbles upon a botched drug deal and, finding a suitcase full of money, goes immediately to the authorities before returning home to his wife and living a largely uneventful life. No, of course not, he legs it, instigating a game of cat and mouse with Javier Barden’s Anton Chigurh, a ruthless, near robotic hitman with an unusual and extreme set of morals, himself pursued by Tommy Lee Jones’ small town sheriff Ed Tom Bell. Featuring a stellar supporting cast including Woody Harrelson, Stephen Root and Kelly Macdonald, some incredible scenery, lensed by Oscar winning regular Coen cinematographer Roger Deakins and highly memorable dialogue lifted directly from Cormac McCarthy’s seminal novel of the same name, this is a truly inspirational and unique film. Bardem in particular completely embodies his character, becoming one of the most iconic villains to grace our screens in modern times. Brolin however strikes me as an actor from the ranks of Shia LaBoeuf and Sam Worthington, snapped up and promoted by big name directors without having the talent to back up the expectations, flooding the cinemas with frankly mediocre acting ability.
Choose film 8/10