Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March DVD Spotlight: Page to Screen

It's often said that the movie industry is lacking in original ideas for films, but you can't ignore the fact that countless great films have been based on books and plays, including this year's Oscar winner for Best Picture, Moonlight.  With this is mind, we're highlighting some of the numerous literary adaptations from our DVD collection all through the month of March.  We've got classic and contemporary gems based on novels (There Will Be Blood, A Clockwork Orange), plays (Hamlet, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), and even comic books (American Splendor).

Featured titles include:

Adaptation (2002)
Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman struggled so much in adapting the best-selling non-fiction book The Orchid Thief that he wrote himself into the script.  The result is a wholly original look at the process of adaptation itself, with stellar performances from a cast that includes Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, and Nicolas Cage (as Kaufman and his fictional twin brother).

Beauty and the Beast (1946)
This gorgeous and inventive French telling of the classic romantic fable is pure cinematic magic, featuring incredible make-up, set design, and special effects that bring the Beast's castle to vivid life.

Jackie Brown (1997)
Quentin Tarantino's adaptation of the great Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch, about a middle-aged flight attendant caught between a gun runner and two federal agents, is at once a taut, funny crime thriller, a nuanced, character-driven romance, and an homage to the 70s-era blaxploitation films that launched the career of the film's star, Pam Grier.  It's a perfect pairing of filmmaker and source material, and makes you wish Tarantino would try his hand at adaptations more often.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
In this Oscar-winning classic, Jack Nicholson gives a towering central performance as R.P. McMurphy, a psychiatric ward patient whose rebellious nature pits him against the oppressive head nurse, Miss Ratched.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
This adaptation of a Stephen King novella, about the friendship that develops between two inmates in a Maine prison, is one of the best and most beloved films of the past few decades.

Throne of Blood (1957)
The great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa adapted a number of works from western literature for his films, and Throne of Blood, a retelling of Shakespeare's Macbeth, may be the best of the bunch.  Set in feudal Japan, the film tells the story of a samurai lord who murders his master and usurps his power in fulfillment of a witch's prophecy.

Check one out today!

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