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Books on Screen

Each month, our Books on Screen feature spotlights movies, television shows, miniseries and specials that are based on books of various genres --- including novels, memoirs, comics, children's books, short stories and poetry --- along with the latest DVD releases.

August 2015

We’re entering the dog days of summer, Books on Screen readers. What does that mean for us? I’m not sure! And judging from August’s batch of releases, I’d bet the studios aren’t either. Let’s talk about it!

The big disappointment this month is the un-fantastic Fantastic Four. And I don’t just mean star Miles Teller and his…um…unflattering profile in Esquire; the resounding consensus is that FF is kind of a mess, and not the hot kind (sorry, Human Torch). The good news is that if you’re looking for a bit of action, Insurgent is now available on DVD --- if you’re on the fence (or, er, wall) about it, check out this clip featuring author Veronica Roth and the cast discussing adapting the book into a movie. Plus, Ansel Elgort is basically Miles Teller-lite, so you won’t be missing out on any summer fun.

One movie that’s getting rave reviews (which we featured in our Books on Screen bookshelf) is The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s frank, heavily autobiographical novel, it’s the story of a precocious 15-year-old girl’s sexual awakening, set in 1970s San Francisco. The film got great early buzz when it debuted at Sundance, and it’s a must-see for anyone interested in honest, avant-garde storytelling. And if you’re interested in the visually stunning, check out the gorgeously animated The Prophet, which intersperses Khalil Gibran's elegant poetry within breathtaking animated sequences, and tells the story of an exiled poet who must find his way home. I was sold on the trailer alone.

The big TV news this month is that David Simon, creator of the universally acclaimed “The Wire,” is returning to HBO with “Show Me a Hero,” a nine-part miniseries based on the true story of young mayor Nick Wasicsko’s fight for the desegregation of Yonkers’ public housing --- and the bitter battle fueled by fear, racism, murder and politics it incited. And if all you’re looking for from your summer watching is some entertaining escapism, be sure to catch “The Astronaut Wives Club” on ABC and “Pretty Little Liars” on ABC Family.

All in all, it’s been a pretty mediocre summer for Books on Screen! We may not have hit any high highs or low lows, but we did see thoughtful teen movies (and some less thoughtful), a small-scale yet surprisingly affable Marvel movie, dinosaurs! (and I don’t just mean Michael Douglas) and some uncharacteristically literary summer fare.
 

---Written and compiled by Emily Hoenig

July 2015

‘Tis the season…for sun-soaked blockbusters, sweet and sour superheroes, and thunderous sound effects. It’s also the time when we get those more somber summer movies, the kind that hum along gently and are as quietly refreshing as air conditioning on a mid-July day. Unless your unit is as loud as mine, in which case the metaphor is moot --- unlike my AC. Still with me? Here are this month’s books on screen!

June 2015

Hold on to your butts! June is here, and, like the dinosaurs in Jurassic World, movies this month are bigger, faster and full of strange sound effects. As it turns out --- in a plot twist so predictable it could be straight out of Jurassic Park III --- the rest of our books on screen happen to be a more genteel bunch. Cue the classical music, Spielberg!

May 2015

I have a serious question about April showers: Wouldn’t it make more sense to take showers in a hotter month, like July or August? Just a thought for 2016. Luckily, it’s still only May, and there are plenty of Books on Screen to watch in air-conditioned rooms!

April 2015

Hello, Books on Screen lovers! We all know it’s officially spring because Hollywood is already hyping its summer movies. But before all the boom and bluster of the hot-weather blockbusters hit theaters, we can sit back, relax and enjoy April’s simpler offerings. Oh yeah, and “Game of Thrones.”

March 2015

Well, loyal Books on Screen readers, we’ve made it through another awards season and are one more entertainment year wiser.

February 2015

Breaking news: Love is no longer the aggresive, beating heart of February! Or at least you wouldn’t know that it is just by considering the movies coming out this month. Whereas in past Februarys (Februaries?), we cinephiles have been bombarded with all manner of romantic films --- comedies, dramas, classics and otherwise --- this year Hollywood seems to have given us a much-needed break. So unless you consider Fifty Shades of Grey a love story for the ages (no judgment), there is neither a lovestruck heroine nor a grand romantic gesture in sight. It looks like we dodged a heart-shaped bullet this year...at least until March!

January 2015

Warm winter greetings, Books on Screen lovers! And while warm might be looking like a frozen pipe dream as we gear up for the chillier winter months, we at the very least can distract ourselves with the season’s various award shows --- broadcast from the only warm physical place on the planet right now: Hollywood! Or, if you need more immediate relief, just Google “Channing Tatum in a tux.”

December 2014

Between the Sony hack and cheesy award bait, movie magic seems harder to come by this holiday season. Fortunately, we have a great roundup of books on screen to keep you spellbound until the new year!

November 2014

The weather outside might be getting colder, but the Oscar race is just warming up! Can you feel it? No? Maybe you should be seeing more movies (or, at the very least, spending more time skimming entertainment blogs)!