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Cover Image of For Love by Sue Miller published by HarperCollins (paper)
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Books to Film: January and February 2003

abstract:January is a quiet month for new film releases, but there's still lots to see—and read.  


January 11, 2003
— Since the studios usually release their best films by December in order to qualify for the Academy Awards, there are many good movies in the theaters right now.


Current Releases

  • The Hours is at the top of my list.  The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Cunningham and looks at a day in the life of three women:  Virginia Woolf, who is writing the novel Mrs. Dalloway; Laura, a housewife in 1940s Los Angeles; and Clarissa, a book editor in contemporary New York.  David Hare wrote a brilliant adaptation, and the performances by Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Streep are all first rate.  The movie has inspired me to read not only The Hours, but also Mrs. Dalloway.


  • Jack Nicholson gives a bravura performance in the movie About Schmidt, which is inspired by the novel by Louis Begley.  It's a soul-searching look at the life of a middle-aged man who has to find a new path after he retires and his wife dies.


  • Stephen Spielberg's light and entertaining movie of Frank Abagnale's  fictional autobiography, Catch Me If You Can, treads a very fine and playful line between fact and fiction. Try reading the book to read between the lines!


  • Spike Lees' movie of David Benioff's novel 25th Hour is in an entirely different genre from the books and movies above.  It's dark and gritty, and stars Edward Norton in a day in the life of a man before he gets sent to prison.  Benioff adapted his own book. 


February Releases

Read ahead for these three very interesting films released this month, all thought-provoking and out of the mainstream.


  • Gods and Generals is based on the civil war novel by Jeff Shaara, who is the son of Michael Shaara, who wrote the novel The Killer Angels on which the film Gettybury was based.  In fact, Gods and Generals is the prequel to Gettybury, and the filmmakers are now planning the third installment.  The movie stars Robert Duvall, is directed and written by Ron Maxwell, and opens on February 21.


  • Novelist Nicholas Shakespeare adapted his own novel, The Dancer Upstairs, which is loosely based on his experiences as a journalist tracking down a Shining Path guerilla in Peru in the 1980s.  John Malkovich stars and directs the film, which also stars Javier Bardem, and opens on February 26.


  • Spider is based on the novel and screenplay by Patrick McGrath and stars Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, and Gabriel Byrne.  It's a dark, psychological thriller directed by David Cronenberg and is about a man, just released from a mental hospital, who investigates his past life.  The film will be released on February 28.



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