Several movies hitting theaters this summer are based on terrific books, including spy thrillers, YA bestsellers, and biographies. Get a head start on the theater crowd with this intriguing, vacation-ready reading list.
Snowpiercer: After Earth is turned into a giant, uninhabitable snowball, all that’s left of humanity is aboard this super train. Some live in decadent luxury while an unlucky few are forced to live in squalid conditions in the very last car. This elaborate sci-fi metaphor for class struggle began life as a French graphic novel. The film stars Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, and William Hurt. In theaters now.
Deliver Us From Evil: This horror movie, starring Eric Bana, is based on the real-life investigations of the NYPD’s Ralph Sarchie, who’s spent 16 years in the South Bronx dealing with cases of demonic possession. In theaters now.
A Most Wanted Man: John LeCarré’s 2008 novel, about an idealistic German lawyer who tries to save a mysterious Russian from deportation, was ranked as one of the spy master’s 10 best by The Telegraph. The film is directed by Anton Corbijn (Control, The American) and stars the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, and Robin Wright. In theaters July 25.
The November Man: Former 007 Pierce Brosnan is back in spy mode for this movie, based on the 1993 novel There Are No Spies, the seventh in Bill Granger’s November Man series. Brosnan plays ex-CIA agent Peter Devereaux, (Code Name: November), who must go up against a former protege. “Mr. Granger has combined Ian Fleming, John le Carré, and Trevanian in one heady mix,” raved the New York Times. Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job, The Getaway) directs. In theaters August 27.
Switch: Elmore Leonard’s 1978 comedy crime novel Switch was previously filmed as Ruthless People and has been filmed again as Life of Crime, starring Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband doesn’t want her back. In theaters August 29.
The Giver: Based on the Newberry Medal award-winning 1993 book by Lois Lowry. It’s set in a supposedly utopian society where there’s no pain or war, but also no color, music, or love. Twelve-year-old Jonas is chosen to become the Receiver of Memories of the time before “Sameness,” their current way of life. What he learns from the previous Receiver—known as the Giver—changes him forever. The film stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, and Taylor Swift. In theaters August 15.
If I Stay: This 2009 novel by Gayle Forman follows 17-year-old Mia, who’s trapped between life and death after a catastrophic car accident. Publishers Weekly called it “intensely moving.” The film stars Chloë Grace Moretz. In theaters August 22.
Whitey Bulger: Besides seeing acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger’s documentary, Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger (in theaters and on VOD now), dig deeper with Thomas J. Foley’s Most Wanted: Pursuing Whitey Bulger, the Murderous Mob Chief the FBI Secretly Protected, which details the 20-year pursuit for the legendary Boston gangster, who was finally captured in 2011. A feature film, Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as Bulger, will hit theaters in 2015.
Roger Ebert: Before his untimely death last year, the beloved film critic wrote a memoir, Life Itself, which The New York Times called “candid, funny and kaleidoscopic… This is the best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written.” The documentary based on his memoir has the same name. In theaters July 4.
Bob Ladouceur: In When The Game Stands Still, Neil Hayes profiles the visionary coach who led a high-school football team from Concord, Calif., to 13 consecutive winning seasons. The feature film stars Jim Caviezel as Ladouceur. In theaters August 22.
The Hundred-Foot Journey: The delectable novel by Richard Morais follows Hassan Haji, an young Indian gourmand who finds himself in France, where he engages in a heated culinary war with the local chef, Madame Mallory. The film was directed by Lasse Hallström (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) and stars Helen Mirren and Om Puri. In theaters August 8.
Froth on the Daydream: Boris Vian’s 1947 surreal cult novel L’Écume des Jours (a.k.a. Foam of the Daze) was listed on Le Monde’s 100 Books of the Century. Now the story, about a woman with an illness that can only be cured by surrounding her with flowers, has been made into the film Mood Indigo by director Michel Gondry, starring Audrey Tatou and Romaine Duris. In theaters July 18.
The Futurological Congress: Polish author Stanislaw Lem’s black comedy sci-fi novel of 1971 has been adapted into the partially animated film The Congress by Ari Folman (Waltz With Bashir). The film stars Robin Wright as an aging actress who has a career comeback as an animated version of herself. In theaters August 29.
Photos courtesy of Lionsgate and Sony Screen Gems