There are a quite a few movies coming out this month that are based on existing novels.
The source novel for this Jennifer Lawrence-starring film was written by former CIA agent Jason Matthews, so his insights into the world of espionage and spycraft should be given some weight. That book came out in 2013, before we were all talking about actual, real-time intelligence operations being carried out by Russian forces, so the story of a beautiful spy and the agent she seduces has some increased relevance.
Based on the novel Blue Angel, the movie follows a college professor and frustrated author as he goes down the dangerous path of becoming infatuated with a female student in one of his writing classes, with disastrous consequences for his personal and professional life.
This is actually the second feature version of Brian Garfield’s 1972 novel, with Bruce Willis taking on the role originally handled in 1974 by Charles Bronson. Interestingly, the original story specifically seemed intent on tracking how a “liberal” individual could be pushed past the point of tolerance by violence against his family, something that seems specifically designed as a reaction to the hippies of that era. The story continues to be just as problematic today.
A Wrinkle In Time
Ava DuVernay directs this adaptation of the beloved Madeleine L’Engle book that was required reading for generations of grade school students. This big-budget version brings an all-star cast to the story of Meg, a brilliant girl whose father disappeared years ago under mysterious circumstances. Turns out there are cosmic forces at work that, with the help of a few mystical allies, Meg must confront in order to save both her father and the universe.
The Leisure Seeker
Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren star in this adaptation of Michael Zadoorian’s novel about a long-married couple who are both facing significant health issues. Determined to live what life they have left together to its fullest, they escape from out under the thumb of their concerned adult children and take their beloved RV out for one last adventure.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was the debut novel from writer Becky Albertalli and now it’s a film from director Greg Berlanti. The story follows Simon, a high school student who hasn’t yet admitted to anyone – his parents, his friends – that he’s gay. A series of circumstances at school lead to that coming out, meaning Simon has to deal with the reality of his situation.
Ready Player One
Earnest Cline’s novel of a dystopian world where citizens escape into the virtual reality world of The OASIS was pretty divisive when it was released, with some calling it a wonderful pop culture artifact and others calling it a thin derivative product of the culture it seeks to celebrate. Either way, the adaptation comes to the screen under the directorial guidance of the master of pop culture himself, Steven Spielberg.
Lean on Pete
Charlie Plummer stars in this adaptation of Willy Vlautin’s novel of the same name as a teenager who winds up willing to do anything for the horse he befriends while working with a trainer. The movie is a travelogue of his adventure with Pete, the horse, as he seeks out relatives who can help him and gets in over his head by those who would take advantage of him.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.
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