Finally! A proper trailer has surfaced for Andrew Dominik's new film Killing Them Softly based on the novel Cogan's Trade by the late-great treasure of American letters George V. Higgins (head over to Hardboiled Wonderland for a link to the trailer). Man, it's hard to believe that only once before has a feature film been made from Higgins' material - Friends of Eddie Coyle which featured Robert Mitchum as the fat man with all the extra knuckles and Peter Boyle at his hang-dog best, and it's Peter Yates' best film (yes, I'm aware that he also made Bullitt).
Six months ago I listed five book to film adaptations due in 2012 that had my attention and Dominik's film was right up there (along with Oliver Stone's adaptation of Don Winslow's excellent book Savages - which I did get a chance to see and was, for the most part, pleased with... till the final five minutes anyhow. It's worth seeing, and the novel's prequel The Kings of Cool is one of the best books of the summer too!). The list needs updating, though. So -
Most Anticipated Book to Film Adaptations in the second half of 2012
Alex Cross - Directed by Rob Cohen, adapted by Marc Moss and Kerry Williamson from the novel by James Patterson. Would I claim that previous film versions of Patterson's juggernaut franchise Kiss The Girls and Along Came a Spider were flops? No, but the books' popularity didn't translate into an equally huge film franchise. So, what suggestions for re-imagining an iconic character have you got? Ooh, I know, replace Morgan Freeman's oozing moral gravity with that cross-dressing comedian. No, not Milton Berle (though I'd totally see that), I mean Tyler Perry. Kind of wish it were called Madea's House of Pain, but the curiosity factor is high with this one.
Argo - Directed by Ben Affleck, adapted by Chris Terrio from the article by Joshuah Bearman (Also read the account by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio). Stranger than fiction thriller about one of the weirdest rescues in history. CIA agents posing as film producers scouting locations in 1979 Iran attempt to free American Guests of the Ayatollah. The story is a major draw here, but so is Affleck, whose previous films Gone Baby Gone and The Town (also taken from books - by Dennis Lehane and Chuck Hogan respectively), have revealed him to be a movie maker of huge appeal, making highly entertaining flicks for adult sensibilities - can't get enough of that.
Cosmopolis - Directed by David Cronenberg, adapted from the novel by Don Delillo. For everything that could go right with this (or any of these) project(s), a hundred obstacles arise to strike down the best intentions... but we can hope, right? I mean, a movie about a bored gazillionaire riding around in his limousine, looking for a haircut doesn't have to be an exercize in naval gazing, does it? Not when you've got a director like Cronenberg playing with subtext that's his bread and butter (blending the frontiers of flesh and technology for instance), and not when there's also an assassin on the trail of our hero. Please, oh, please let this be a good film. Long live the new flesh.
Gangster Squad - Directed by Ruben Fleischer, adapted by Will Beall from the novel by Paul Lieberman. It's been pulled from the fall line-up in the wake of uncomfortable parallels to tragic current events, and last week I made some book and film suggestions for folks disappointed they'll have to wait till next year for the film re-cut with new footage.
Jack Reacher - Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, adapted from the novel by Lee Child. Lemme just say that the casting of Tom Cruise as the ten-foot-tall man with the white hat doesn't even weigh-in on my interest or dis-interest in this film. He's an actor, folks. If Warren Oats can act handsome, Cruise can act tall. No, what makes me take notice here is McQuarrie and his single other title as director - a little thought-about film that I'd say was the single best picture of 2000 Way of the Gun. What's on his credits? Top Gun 2, The Tourist? Don't care. I will go see whatever he directs next after Way of the Gun. He's bought at least that much good will. Yeah, I'm there.
Killer Joe - Directed by William Friedkin, adapted by Tracy Letts from his own play. Matthew McConaughey is having a good year. Prominent roles in films by Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike), Richard Linklater (Bernie), Lee Daniels (The Paperboy - which is still one of the most anticipated book-to-film adaptations of 2012 - Pete Dexter, baby!) and William effing Friedkin. And Friedkin, the guy behind French Connection, Sorcerer and To Live and Die in L.A. made his most engaging, frightening, intense picture in years when he adapted Letts' play Bug (Ashley Judd's most impressive role - I'll just say that). So bring writer and director together again, cast the under-utelized McConaughey and then refuse to cave to pressure from the MPAA to tone down the intensity and violence for an 'R' rating, just go ahead and release it as 'NC-17' and I'll go see your movie.
Lawless - Directed by John Hillcoat, adapted by Nick Cave from the novel The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant. I have not yet read Bondurant's novel, but I'm keen to on the recommendation of some cats I trust. No, it's the Cave/Hillcoat writing/directing team that have my attention. Hillcoat helmed the film version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but it's his first feature from an original script by Cave - The Proposition - that's the legacy maker on his sheet. Cave, as a songwriter, has explored crime as myth and reality in his music for more than thirty years, and the opportunity to take on backwoods prohibition-era conflict just sounds perfect for his sensibilities. Shia LaBeouf oughtta lend, what I hope is as hard-hitting a drama as its heritage suggests it could be, some mainstream appeal.
What's on your radar?
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