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Opening this weekend is the big screen adaptation of Lois Lowry’s The Giver. The 1993 Young Adult novel has quickly become a favorite among readers in the 20 years since it’s been published. While the adaptation is getting mixed reviews, there have been a number of stellar film adaptations that have surpassed readers’ expectations. With that in mind, we oriented our Netflix streaming guide around the best of book-to-film transformations.
Of Total Film’s 50 Greatest Book Movie Adaptations, we found 10 options worth streaming, plus a bonus: The Hunger Games — a film that relates purely based on the idea of being a dystopian novel turn big budget movie starring pretty young things.
Total Film’s greatest change from book to film: “Different story threads are told in the novel by a variety of characters, whereas Renton is »
- Stacy Lambe
Since I’ve previously indulged in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting on numerous occasions, happily stumbling through my very first drug-fueled Irvine Welsh adaptation, Filth isn’t exactly a surprising endeavor by any means. Granted, it’s an absolutely bonkers character study injected with heaping mounds of Columbia’s finest and enough sexual expression to make Hugh Hefner blush, but this is signature Welsh material. Filth isn’t a Danny Boyle flick though, so questions surrounding relative newbie Jon S. Baird’s ability to capture the same “controlled” insanity immediately arise – which he confidently dismisses after a raucous introduction.
Filth is far more than a Scottish dark comedy about the most crooked cop in history, as Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) slowly reveals an entire army of inner demons over the course of this sinisterly tragic downward spiral. Everything starts out cheekily enough when Robertson reveals his plan to sabotage every other »
- Matt Donato
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Tom Hardy stars as a construction foreman who's driving to London to attend the birth of his child. You really shouldn't have stressful conversations on your cell while driving, but Ivan (Hardy) doesn't care. He has to make sure his big job tomorrow goes as planned, confess to his wife that he cheated on her with a co-worker, and coaching the aforementioned co-worker through the premature birth of their baby. Yikes.
Why We're In: Hardy is more than capable of commanding the screen for the entirety of the movie. Although you hear other characters' voices, it's all Hardy, all the time. Who could argue with that?
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"Love Streams" (Criterion)
- Jenni Miller
My first thought on how to describe Filth, which opens Friday for a nightly late-night run at Violet Crown, was that it felt something like Trainspotting meets Fight Club. Then I saw the credits and learned indeed it was based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, who also wrote Trainspotting. (I watched the movie before seeing any publicity materials that clearly indicate this fact.) That it stars James McAvoy (who bears some resemblance to Ewan McGregor) following a self-destructive path of crime and debauchery plays into this comparison.
Filth begins with a murder, which Bruce (McAvoy) is assigned to investigate. Success will lead to a promotion, which Bruce is hell-bent on achieving in hope of winning back the love of his estranged wife and eliciting the return of her and their child. Possessed of a mean streak, however, he spends more time pranking his fellow police in hope of ruining »
- Mike Saulters
Written for the screen and directed by Jon S. Baird
Attention all aspiring writer and directors: do not, under any circumstances, adapt a novel with an unreliable first-person narrator. It rarely works. And if for some reason you do want to give it a try, please use the source material as a loose guide, and resist the urge to strategically hit certain major plot points, because important setup material will be lost – especially when it comes to a character’s back story. Sure, you can throw in all the voice-over you want, and you can present scenes from the perspective of the protagonist, but it will be pointless if you do not provide enough evidence for the protagonist’s outlook.
- Griffin Bell
Written for the screen and directed by Jon S. Baird
Though infused with an infectious anarchic energy, Filth confuses rudeness with rebellion. Even the gleeful excesses can’t save the film’s muddled script as it loses its narrative steam and plummets into melodrama. The wickedness feels less like provocation and more like a diversion to hide the wafer-thin story. In other words, Filth is all talk and no shock.
Adapted from the Irvine Welsh novel of the same name, Filth plunges us into a poisonous world of sex, drugs and the rottenly droll. Desperate characters lurk around every corner, some fueled by fear and others by addiction. An intoxicating mix of nihilism and ambition makes everyone corruptible in Welsh’s Edinburgh, especially the police. And if anyone is drunk on nihilism and ambition, surely it’s Detective Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy).
It seems that Bruce is bucking »
- J.R. Kinnard
A hallucinatory, fragmented, bizarre adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s hallucinatory, fragmented, bizarre novel, Filth is a fascinating puzzle of a movie – one without much of a solution, it seems. It involves the depraved machinations and inner torment of a Scots police detective, played by James McAvoy, as he seeks a promotion, plots against his colleagues, attempts to solve a murder case, tries to win back his family, and makes his way through mountains of drugs and sex. How much of what he’s seeing and experiencing is real, the movie leaves up to us. There’s no hand-holding here. Watching the movie is at once electrifying and maddening.The electricity comes mostly from McAvoy himself, finally living up to the promise of parts like those he played in Atonement and The Last King of Scotland. Here’s a movie star whom we’ve all suspected could do a lot more. »
- Bilge Ebiri
This week sees the premiere of Jon S. Baird's Filth, an adaptation of the novel by Irvine Welsh, him of Trainspotting fame. The film stars James McAvoy as a corrupt and addicted police detective, who screws everything and everyone to get his shot at a promotion. But as one of the supporting actors, we see the great Eddie Marsan pop up, and he will be the subject of this quiz! Eddie Marsan is one of those actors who you've seen plenty of times, often without being able to put a name to the face. Which is a bit surprising, as he has a very remarkable and recognizable face, leprechaun-ish even. And he's not exactly a bland actor either. When necessary, he melts into his role,...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
If you consider James McAvoy to be a heartthrob, get ready to have your heart broken. In Jon S. Baird's extremely dark comedy "Filth," based on a novel by "Trainspotting" writer Irvine Welsh, the "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "Atonement" star plays Bruce Robertson, a detective you don't want to cross. When he's not doing his job (which is barely ever), Robertson beds minors, does every drug imaginable, and partakes in some seriously kinky sex with women who can stomach the guy. The role marks a huge leap for the Scottish actor in a direction his fans probably never saw coming. Robertson is as unleashed as characters come, and McAvoy doesn't hold back in bringing Welsh's grotesque creation to the screen. You have to see it to believe it. Indiewire spoke with the actor about the career-redefining performance. "Filth" opens May 30 in select theaters and is currently available to view on video-on-demand platforms. »
- Nigel M Smith
“Filth” lives up to its name.
I knew what kind of performance I wanted to give. It’s the best script I’ve ever read, bar none. And I was not certain if we would pull it off. Even less challenging things fall by the wayside during filming.
Did the director think of you?
When I met Jon [S. Baird], I thought they had come to me. But I found out a couple months ago that my agent went to them, to which they replied, “Nope!” I’m not obvious casting for the part. I didn’t audition. I just chatted. I understood the character, and they offered me the part that afternoon.
Do you feel like you’ve been typecast? »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Bad Detective: Baird Adapts Welsh for (Sometimes) Outrageous Effect
Danny Boyle’s 1996 classic Trainspotting set the bar for Irvine Welsh adaptations (Boyle is apparently at work on a sequel), and several filmmakers afterward have followed in his footsteps without the same success. But director Jon S. Baird’s sophomore film, Filth comes close to the same wild energy and outrageous affection with the help of a notable cast and an uncomfortable turn from a sallow James McAvoy. Certainly, the film isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, a loosely followed plot frittered away on episodic craziness that only becomes more compounded as the film progresses. But despite the crassness, the degradation, and various other offensive counts that rightfully earns the story title, there’s an undeniably enduring quality to Baird’s adaptation as something you won’t be soon to forget, filled with moments that, by the surprisingly pithy final frames, »
- Nicholas Bell
James McAvoy knows not to trust the British tabloids. While flogging his grotty drama Filth, based on the Irvine Welsh novel about a coke-addicted, double-crossing cop, they breathlessly reported that the Scottish actor had dived so deep into method acting that he'd convinced a German hooker to punch him in the face.
See also: Filth movie review
"That's not true!" insists McAvoy with a laugh. The German was an actress, though she did pack a wallop. While director Jon S. Baird kept the cameras rolling, McAvoy tilted his mouth away from the lens and secretly begged her to hit him in the face. Finally, sh »
One thing we resolved early on, having read around on the subject a little: to try, try, try to get through just the first sentence of our review of “Filth,” the Jon S. Baird-directed adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel, without mentioning “Trainspotting.” So, obviously, we’re pretty disappointed with ourselves. But disappointment is somewhat the order of the day, unfortunately, as it’s a comparison that occurred to us, not often to the benefit of "Filth," throughout our viewing of the film. However, Danny Boyle’s modern classic doth bestride the world of the Irvine Welsh adaptation like a colossus, its shadow seemingly impossible to escape from, so there is a glass-half-full way of looking at it: “Filth” is undoubtedly better than also-rans “The Acid House” and “Ecstasy.” In fact, when it comes to capturing some of the gonzo, amoral, substance-fueled verve that Welsh’s novels can display, »
- Jessica Kiang
I imagine that, like many moviegoers this summer, you might be excited to see Bryan Singer's "X-Men: Days of Future Past." And you should be. It's a pretty great installment of a franchise that has seen its ups and downs, and at its center, actors Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy make for a brilliant combination. But, uh — pssst! — McAvoy has another movie coming out this summer, and it features his most electrifying, committed and passionate work as an actor to date. That movie is called "Filth," and it's sitting there waiting to be watched via video-on-demand services if you're eager to see it now. It'll make its way to theaters a week after "X-Men" if you prefer the big screen, but however you manage to view it, you're going to be met with a creative and daring burst from director Jon S. Baird (adapting a novel by »
- Kristopher Tapley
Plot: Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) is a detective in Scotland investigating a racially motivated murder while attempting to gain an important promotion at work. However, Bruce leads a double life. While he pretends to be an upstanding officer, he's actually a raging drug addict who uses his powers as a cop to score drugs, gain sexual favours, and generally wreak diabolical havoc on his friends and colleges (which he calls, .The Games.). Review: Scottish writer Irvine Welsh is a »
- Chris Bumbray
It’s Memorial Day weekend — the unofficial start of summer — and the holiday’s top movies at the box-office will likely be X-Men, Godzilla, and Adam Sandler’s Blended, with Spider-Man 2 still swinging through multiplexes. Ever since Jaws sunk its teeth into the sweltering months of 1975, summer has been blockbuster season, and studios now jockey years in advance to lock up the best dates between Memorial Day and Labor Day for their big-budget blockbusters. A few of them turn out to be quite good, but just about all of them tend to be very, very loud.
Perhaps your eyes »
- Jeff Labrecque
Though most of the chatter about James McAvoy this week will be in regards to his role in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, the actor actually has another film releasing this month as well. Expanding on May 30th (it’s already begun its limited run), Jon S. Baird’s Filth is a far cry from 20 Century Fox’s superhero outing, but it’s an equally impressive film that features the Scottish actor like you’ve never seen him before.
In Filth, which is an adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s (the man who wrote Trainspotting) novel of the same name, James McAvoy plays Bruce Robertson, a “bipolar, bigoted junkie cop” who is just about the most repulsive man you’ll ever meet. Choosing to spend his time dabbling in drugs, alcohol and sexually abusive relationships, the film follows his attempts to receive a coveted promotion to Detective Inspector »
- Justine Browning
Catch the scurrilous black comedy Filth half-price before it does a runner out of Sky Store. When Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh's scabrous tale of the world's worst copper got the movie treatment, you knew it wouldn't be pretty. But little can prepare for you this coke 'n' booze-fuelled blast through the Christmas period of James McAvoy's particularly unwell policeman Bruce Robertson. »
To judge by the opening credits and marketing, Filth is supposed to be a dark comedy about Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy), a "bad lieutenant" (he's actually a detective, but I figured I'd get the comparison out of the way early) in a Scottish constabulary who's manipulating his peers as he jockeys for a promotion to Detective Inspector. To go along with that he's a drug addict and sexual deviant with violent tendencies. Going in, I know I'm supposed to see this as darkly comic, the fact I didn't find it funny at all pretty much sums up my experience. Writer/director Jon S. Baird, adapting the Irvine Welsh novel, may have something comical for the first 5-10 minutes, but once the actual plot gets underway this is a dark psychological drama that gets bogged down in tonal issues, resulting in tedium. Given the fact it's adapted from a Welsh novel, »
- Brad Brevet
Way back in 1998, Chris and Roberta Hanley’s Muse Prods. was at the center of a Cannes fest casting brouhaha that involved Leonardo DiCaprio and their film version of Bret Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho.” Leo didn’t wind up in the picture, but the Mary Harron-helmed film helped launch Christian Bale into the acting stratosphere, so there’s your happy Cannes ending.
This year, the indie filmmakers have outdone themselves attention-wise, first aided by James Franco’s Instagram attacks on their “Spring Breakers: The Second Coming” project, which is being actively promoted here by Wild Bunch, then courtesy of talks about talks for roles in the film with members of the Russian dissidents/music artists group Pussy Riot.
Pussy Riot issued a statement denying any knowledge of the talks or interest in the project, but as is so often the case with the Hanleys, their ambitions and associations in »
- Steven Gaydos
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