Made into movie

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Can it ever be morally acceptable to sacrifice one life to save many? That is one of the questions you will find yourself considering as you read The Lifeboat, by Charlotte Rogan. In the summer of 1914, Grace elopes with Henry Winter. After a stay in London the young couple is returning on an ocean liner to America to announce their marriage to Henry’s family. A mysterious explosion on board leads to the sinking of the ship. Henry sacrifices his own safety to secure a place on one of the lifeboats for Grace. There are 39 people on the lifeboat, and it becomes very clear early on that the boat is overcapacity.

5 Classic Films with Zombies

Bela Lugosi in White Zombie

With the success of the TV series The Walking Dead, zombies are now considered one of the most popular monsters in pop culture. People who just recently became interested in zombie-related works may be surprised to learn how long zombies have existed in the public’s imagination. The following films provide plenty of thrills and chills featuring the undead:

Superman on Screen: A History of Superman Movies

Christopher Reeve as Superman

Superman is perhaps the longest lived of the classic Golden Age superhero characters to remain in the public imagination, and, in addition to a 75-year history of comic book publication, the character has also had a long career on the silver screen.  Unlike many other superheroes, Superman has an extensive history of being utilized as a film character, and his film appearances have influenced his portrayal in comic books in many fascinating ways.  

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

R is a zombie. He can’t remember his name so he is down to one letter. R lives in an old airplane and collects pieces of his crumbling civilization.  He loves Frank Sinatra and the Beatles and listens to them on old vinyl records. He reminds me of Pixar’s Wall-e. R is in the early stages of decay so he doesn’t look too bad, but he does eat brains. He grunts and groans, he shrugs, and he shuffles in classic zombie fashion. A typical male, he is a man of few words. Although it is hard to be a fan of the walking dead, Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies charmed me and also made me think about what it means to be human. We sometimes need monsters to remind us of our humanity.

Les Misérables: A Diamond of the First Water

Les Miserable movie poster featuring Anne Hathaway

Taking Victor Hugo's novel, Les Misérables, and transforming it first into a play and then into a movie is like selecting from among the finest of crown jewels and crafting them into a beautiful brooch.  Having seen the stage play many years ago and having read the book many, many years ago, I found the movie eminently satisfying, indeed beautifully done.

I had misgivings.  They had, I thought, studded it with Hollywood stars just to draw the audiences.  Nevertheless, it is very well cast.  It was some time before I recognized Hugh Jackman since his first appearance was as the imprisoned Jean Valjean with grubby face and closely-cropped hair.  It was not until he emerged as the respectable Mayor and beneficent factory owner that he was easily recognizable.  Valjean's crimes had been the stealing of a loaf of bread and the subsequent breaking of his parole for which he is relentlessly pursued by the dogged Inspector Javert, played by Russell Crowe. 

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

What Lyra enjoyed most was scrambling across the rooftops of Oxford, committed to the serious fun of war that raged amongst the children of all the colleges and the townies in between. There were pummelings with armfuls of rock-hard plums, mud fights, and even the occasional kidnapping. Yet for all of her wild behavior, Lyra was not an ordinary child. She was a lonely, genius child with aristocratic blood in her veins, and every so often some unfortunate young Scholar would be dispatched by the Master of the College to round her up for a hot bath and tedious lessons at the start of The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman.

Tales from Tolkien: A Retrospective on Film Adaptations of Middle Earth

It has been over a decade since the first of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations, The Fellowship of the Ring, was released.  This film was greeted with both critical and audience acclaim upon its debut, and became a definitive cinematic event of the early 21st Century.  On December 14, 2012, Jackson’s long-awaited adaptation of the prequel to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, will be released.  Jackson’s films have become regarded as classics to the point that many fans may become unhappy with anyone other than Peter Jackson making a cinematic Tolkien adaptation, and it may come as a surprise to them that some film adaptations of Tolkien’s mythic cycle had already been made prior to Jackson’s! While waiting for the release of the first film in Jackson’s Hobbit adaptation, let’s take a look back at some prior cinematic versions of Tolkien’s works, and at Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

A James Bond Retrospective

A James Bond Retrospective

Having been around ever since Dr. No was released in 1962, the James Bond series is one of the oldest film franchises that has continued to the present day.  Over its 50-year history, the Bond films have seen six different actors play 007 and have had many stylistic changes over time to adapt to changing tastes.  With the long-awaited release of a new Bond movie, Skyfall, this month, let’s go back and take a look at some pivotal points in the history of the series.

Being Flynn by Nick Flynn

Being Flynn by Nick Flynn

Nicholas Flynn’s life has been a motley assortment of personal loss, substance abuse, inertia, and petty crime, but that hasn’t stopped him from trying to write his way to clarity and perspective. Despite the seemingly endless barrage of set-backs, Flynn has been able to craft his experiences and thoughts into an intense, complex memoir – Being Flynn.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Hazel was young and strong and a bit clever.  His best friend, however, was a runt no one thought much of.  But Hazel knew something about Fiver that made him respect the little fellow. Fiver was gifted with the Sight. He somehow could tell in advance what might be coming, and just then Fiver was terrified to the very marrow of his bones.

Rabbits such as Hazel and Fiver who live in the English countryside usually lead a pretty nice life. There are predators, sure. Foxes, hawks, and even stray dogs might grab an unwary rabbit. But rabbits are sociable creatures, living in cozy warrens underground, usually staying in the same place for years at a time. They eat together, play together, and follow a leader. And so it was at Sandleford warren.

Rabbits are usually rather biddable beings of habit so when Fiver, with Hazel backing him up, tries to convince their chief rabbit Threarah  that death and disaster are coming—and soon—it’s a losing situation.  After all, "The Threarah doesn't like anything he hasn't thought of for himself."  His Owsla guards don’t believe them, either, and it is against the rules of the warren to leave it without permission.  But they’re going to do it anyway.