Film adaptations of books worth seeing

One of the most popular ways to write a screenplay for a film is to adapt the material from a book.

Some of my favorite movies, such as “The Godfather,” “No Country For Old Men” and “A Beautiful Mind” have been adapted from popular books. Fall is movie season, and with some of the best efforts at filmmaking to be released in the next couple of months, it’s interesting to see which ones were previously in paperback.

On Dec. 11, “The Lovely Bones,” directed by Academy Award-winner Peter Jackson, will be released. The film, which stars such actors as Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Saoirse Ronan, is based on Alice Sebold’s novel of the same name.

This best-selling novel took a nontraditional approach to telling a teenage girl’s story of her life before (and after) her violent murder. Jackson directed the successful “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and brought groundbreaking visual effects to those films8212;adapted from the beloved books of J.R.R. Tolkien. “The Lovely Bones” should follow suit as his vision of heaven will surely be a visual treat.

Last January at the Sundance Film Festival, “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” won several awards and started the Mo’Nique Oscar talk. This is a heavy film, focusing on a teenage girl who deals with issues of abuse and incest. Heralded by Oprah Winfrey and powerhouse filmmaker Tyler Perry, this film is set to be released Nov. 6.

Although delayed until February, “Shutter Island” looks to be Martin Scorsese’s next highly successful film. The novel, written by Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone”) focuses on the escape of an inmate at an isolated mental hospital in 1954. Starring Scorsese favorite Leonardo DiCaprio, this film promises to be an intense ride with unpredictable twists.

Next time you see a movie you really like, see if it is adapted from a book. The adage of “the book is always better” usually proves true.

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