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Books to movies: the latest flicks

Published: Monday, November 26, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 26, 2012 08:11

Movie releases this season are full of the familiar book-to-movie titles, and this winter’s picks offer moviegoers a wide variety of films to choose from. The Oracle looks at a few recent and upcoming releases.


“Anna Karenina” (Opens Nov. 30 in Tampa)
Based on Leo Tolstoy’s late 1800s classic, Joe Wright’s adaptation of “Anna Karenina,” which opened in the U.S. on Nov. 18 and will open at the Tampa Theatre on Nov. 30, is bound to offer a good watch — at  130 minutes, it won’t feel nearly as long as the almost-1,000-word book.

The film captures the tale of a prominent Russian aristocrat’s wife, played by Keira Knightley, who has an affair with a count, and explores the meaning of marriage, love and human emotion.

While Jude Law plays the role of the cuckold aristocrat with emotional delivery that appears to be believable, it is Knightley, whose role appears similar to her roles in her other works with Wright (“Atonement,” “Pride and Prejudice”), who shines. 
According to a Rolling Stone review, “The story has been filmed many times, but never with this kind of erotic charge. Knightley is glorious, her eyes blazing with a carnal yearning that can turn vindictive at any perceived slight.”


“Life of Pi” (Opened Nov. 21)
Based on the Booker Prize-winning 2001 novel by Canadian author Yann Martel, “Life of Pi” centers around a 17-year-old Indian boy, played by newcomer Suraj Sharma, who is stranded on a small boat with a tiger who he learns to befriend after they survive a shipwreck.

The boy recounts his story years later as an adult, played by Indian actor Irrfan Khan, when he tells his story to a writer. The boy’s adventure explores spirituality, religion, human nature and friendship.

While the book leads the reader to further introspection with a somewhat ambiguous end, the film appears to choose a more definite path that still leaves the viewer with much to ponder after leaving the theater.

The film, which features excellent cinematography and an uplifting soundtrack composed by Mychael Danna, is running in most theaters.


“Rise of the Guardians” (Opened Nov. 21)
The feel-good DreamWorks production “Rise of the Guardians” is based on the children’s book series “The Guardians of Childhood.”

The 3D animation features a star-studded vocal cast — Hugh Jackman as the Easter Bunny, aka “Bunnymund,” Alec Baldwin as Santa Claus, or “North” and Jude Law as the Boogeyman, or “Pitch Black.”

When Pitch Black threatens to rule the world by fear and darkness, the Guardians of Childhood — the Easter Bunny, Santa, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy and the Guardian-hopeful Jack Frost — join forces to protect childhood innocence and stop Black.

Though the PG-rated film is a safe bet for younger relatives visiting over the holidays, the film is not a complete washout for older audiences, who can take away nuggets of  wisdom and inspiration carefully buried in the feel-good holiday film.


“Killing them Softly” (Opens Nov. 30)
Based on George Higgins’ 1974 novel, “Cogan’s Trade,” “Killing them Softly” offers viewers a chance to see Brad Pitt at his studliest
Hired after a card heist goes wrong, Pitt steps in to restore order to the criminal economy, which has since fallen apart.

The film should offer much to those looking for a crime thriller or those seeking deeper analysis of a nation in strife. 
Though the 1974 novel was written long before the recent recession, the film, set in New Orleans, offers many parallels and is expected to make political statements about the need for economic regulation.

 

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