1:The Hobbit’ Trilogy (2012, 2013, 2014)
The first of three fantasy adventure films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1937 novel, The Hobbit, came to life in 2012. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey followed Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) during his journey to Lonely Mountain with a group of dwarves to take back their home from thief Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Outstanding visual effects, makeup and production design snagged the film three Academy Award nominations. Actor Orlando Bloomjoins Freeman and Cumberbatch for the second installment, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (in theaters Dec. 13), which continues Baggins’ journey to reclaim his stolen homeland. Moviegoers awaiting the highly anticipated third film don’t have to wait for long: The Hobbit: There and Back Again is set to be released in 2014.
2:Cloud Atlas’ (2012)
Winner and nominee of multiple book awards, David Mitchell‘s 2004 bestseller,Cloud Atlas got its time on the big screen in 2012. Andy and Lana Wachowski took the imaginative novel and successfully translated it to film, creating one of the most expensive independent movies of all time. The sci-fi blockbuster was well-received and was even celebrated with a 10-minute standing ovation at the the 37th Toronto Film Festival. The biggest change from the book to the highly buzzed about movie is the way the story unfolds. The book consists of six separate storylines in a linear fashion — one plot after the other. In the film, the stories blend together harmoniously to emphasize how one action can flow through to another time. Between the out-of-this-world production value and the star-studded cast — including Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Susan Sarandon — it’s no surprise that the movie received a Golden Globe nomination.
3:’The Hunger Games’ (2012)
Positioned to be the biggest thing in the YA world since Twilight, The Hunger Gameshas everything from a gorgeous cast to a gripping storyline to win over audiences. The first installment of Suzanne Collins’ post-apocalyptic trilogy was finally brought to life in the spring of 2012, starring Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen, the adorable Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and the hunky Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne. The story is about a country divided into 12 districts, which each sends two representatives to fight to the death in an annual televised competition. With only one winner in these games, competition is grisly and fierce. The second installment,Catching Fire, hit theaters on Nov. 22. With a star-studded cast and new director Francis Lawrence in charge, the highly anticipated film made $110.1 million over the Thanksgiving weekend, breaking records and surpassing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
4: The Rum Diary’ (2011)
Johnny Depp played a semi-fictionalized, psychotropic-drug-addled version ofHunter S. Thompson in the 1998 film adaptation of the author’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Thirteen years later, Depp is once again portraying a version of his late literary friend, this time in The Rum Diary. Depp is disenchanted American reporter Paul Kemp, who heads to Puerto Rico in the late ’50s to work for The San Juan Star. He becomes embroiled in a love triangle with a beautiful woman (Amber Heard) and her shady fiance (Aaron Eckhart), and — as the title suggests — drinks lots and lots of rum. Although The Rum Diary was published in 1998, Thompson actually wrote it way back in 1961. As a result, Depp believes the book and film offer a glimpse at a Thompson very different than the one people know. “We all know the Hunter Thompson of theFear and Loathing era — 1971-1972,” he told iVillage recently. “But ’59-’60 he was still searching for himself. He still hadn’t locked into that voice. He still hadn’t found that perfect avenue for the rage.”
5: Schindler’s List’ (1993)
Steven Spielberg is largely credited for the gestation of what is arguably his greatest work to date. But the World War II-setSchindler’s List was in fact based on the 1982 historical novel Schindler’s Ark byThomas Keneally, about a German businessman who saved 1,200 Jews from certain death by employing them in his Polish factories. The film’s black-and-white presentation is indeed polarized. It’s stylized when showing Liam Neeson — giving off the air of a strapping movie star from a bygone era — living his glamorous, privileged life. And it’s stark when chronicling graphic scenes of camp brutality, under the leadership of Ralph Fiennes’ icy commandant, a livewire who could be set off at any moment. Where Keneally drew a mental image of the devastation, Spielberg actually allows us to be a conscious observer, witnessing the horror, but powerless to do anything about it.
BY HARSHVARDHAN SINGH
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