The 9 Best Books Made Into Films in 2014 | WIRED

This weekend may not have been the biggest box office hit of the year, but it was notable for at least one reason: Three of the four wide releases: family reunion drama this is where I’ll leave you, action flick Liam Neeson’s Taken 5 A Walk Between the Tombstones and the Maze Runner—were adapted from best-selling novels. Obviously, that means it’s about time we take a look at the books Hollywood has been using (and occasionally abusing) in 2014. It’s not a complete list; Too much digital ink has already been spilled on all things young adult (sorry, maze runner), and we won’t be responsible for endorsing another nicholas sparks (looking at you, best of me) production, but here are nine noteworthy book-to-film adaptations this year.

film: the monuments menpremiere: February 7

You are reading: Books into movies 2014

monumentsmenIs there no World War II property safe from the Hollywood machine? Apparently not in 2014: a full third of the books on this list are set during that war. With Robert M. Edsel’s account of the men and women who tried to save “degenerate” works of art from the Nazis, George Clooney probably had the trickiest task, and turned in an uncharacteristically flat adaptation of a much more colorful book.

movie: a long way downpremiere: June 5

alongwaydownFour lost souls meet atop a London building; all there to jump, suicidally, to their death, but the serendipity of their meeting convinces them to form a kind of un-suicide pact. June’s adaptation, which starred an unlikely quartet of actors—Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, and Aaron Paul—explored themes of, ya know, mortality and stuff.

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film: the edge of tomorrowpremiere: June 6

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alluneedIf you’re one of the people who still believes in Tom Cruise’s star power, you might’ve thought the movie, in which Cruise keeps reliving the same day in a war against aliens, was a (pretty darn decent) sci-fi remake of Groundhog Day. In fact, the source material was a 2009 combat novel by Japanese writer Hiroshi Sakurazaka. We get that the original title wasn’t great, but “Edge of Tomorrow” is possibly the most generic choice since that Lady Gaga song.

movie: this is where I leave youpremiere: September 19

thisiswhereileaveyouLast year, in its search for the next great family reunion drama, Hollywood turned to the stage—but August: Osage County didn’t quite connect. This year, it’s back to the books. In Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You, a crisis similar to August’s forces a family back together, with predictably boisterous results. Middle-class white families, you so crazy!

film: a walk among the tombstonespremiere: September 19

awalkamongthetombstonesIn crime writer Lawrence Block’s 10th Matthew Scudder book, the cop-turned-private eye investigates the kidnapping and murder of a client’s wife. Which obviously means you cast Liam Neeson, serial avenger of violence against women. (It’s Scudder’s second outing at the movies, after Jeff Bridges’ turn in 1986’s 8 Million Ways to Die.) Per Block’s noir-ish source material, Neeson gets to frown and brood and say stuff like “I do favors for people” with gravelly conviction—perfect for his particular set of skills .

movie: lost girlpremiere: October 3

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gonegirlHollywood loves a hit, and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl was that rare literary thriller so hot its journey to the multiplex was inevitable. Arriving just two years later, the movie from director David Fincher, with Ben Affleck starring as the guy who may or may not have murdered his wife (Rosamund Pike), looks to be as slick and unsettling as the book. Much less discussed, but at least as intriguing, is the adaptation of Flynn’s second novel, Dark Places**, also due out this year.

film: serenapremiere: November 12

serenaThere’s a strong sense of foreboding that pervades Ron Rash’s Depression-era tale of a passionate marriage undone by jealousy and betrayal. It’s set in the mountains of North Carolina, which helps. So is Susanne Bier’s adaptation, and you could say she’s achieved a kind of Rashian foreboding as well, but for quite a different reason: Despite being shot back in 2012, with no less an It Girl than Jennifer Lawrence (opposite kinda-It Guy Bradley Cooper), it only just recently found an American distributor—which makes its fate seem kinda bleak, not unlike a night in the North Carolina wilderness.

film: the imitation gamepremiere: November 21

theenigmaWritten in 1983, almost 30 years after Turing committed suicide, Andrew Hodges’s biography remains a classic of the genre. (The “enigma” of the title refers not just to the brilliant, tortured mathematician, but also to the German code he helped crack during WWII.) In November’s Imitation Game—the second adaptation of the book, after a TV version in the ’90s—he’ll be played by Benedict Cumberbatch, whose career has been its own kind of imitation game (he’s been Stephen Hawking, Julian Assange, and now Turing). In Hodges, a mathematician himself, Turing got the biographer he deserved. Another 30 years later, Cumberbatch seems like the perfect guy to bring him back to life.

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film: uninterruptedpremiere: December 25

unbrokenSuch is the pretty dismal gender breakdown of our list that we’re compelled to mention this small bit of redemption: here’s a book that wasn’t just written by a woman, but is being adapted by a woman as well. Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 insta-classic book, charted the real-life journey of Louis Zamperini from boyhood delinquent to Olympic runner to WWII POW. OK, fine, it’s yet another made-for-Hollywood WWII epic, but the exquisite Angelina Jolie is directing, and she’s probably been rocking that eye patch from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow on her set, so for now we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

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