The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, a British mathematician who helped break Nazi codes during World War II. Andrew Hodges' biography Alan Turing: the Enigma is the basis for the film. You'll find the book at BT688H.
The much anticipated adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken has had lots of publicity, in part because Angelina Jolie directed it but also because of the man whose experiences are the subject of the film. A favorite of the Library's Non-Fiction Book Group, Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic track star/ World War II Army pilot/ Japanese prisoner of war. If you haven't read the book, I recommend you do. As the book group concluded, "they don't make many like Zamperini anymore." And Hillenbrand is a terrific writer. Her earlier book Seabiscuit was also adapted into a great film. If you haven't read Unbroken, the Library has several copies. You'll find it in hardcover and audiobook at 940.5472 H642u.
Another book group favorite was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Strayed decides to hike more than 1000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail as a way to deal with her mother's death, a divorce, and some self-destructive behaviors. Her lack of experience and training make for some funny moments, while some encounters with fellow hikers are suspenseful. You'll find this story of self-discovery and redemption at 796.51 S913w. Friends who've seen the movie liked it and say it's true to the book.
That's not the case with Foxcatcher, the movie about John duPont's murder of Dave Schultz. Dave and his brother Mark were Olympic gold medalists in wrestling. DuPont had established a wrestling facility at his Foxcatcher Farm estate in Newtown Square, inviting the Schultz brothers to make his dream of creating a world-class wrestling team come true. After seeing the movie and liking it, I wanted to learn more, so I read Mark Schultz book Foxcatcher: the True Story of My Brother's Murder, John duPont's Madness, and the Quest for Olympic Gold. All that did was lead to more questions. In the book the relationship between duPont and Mark Shultz plus the implied motivations for duPont's actions are not as clear as those in the movie. Foxcatcher can be found at 796.812 S388f
American Sniper had a limited opening on Christmas Day. Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle, whose autobiography is the basis for the film. Kyle, the most lethal sniper in US military history, served tours from 1999 to 2009. You'll find the book at 956.7 K99a.
So what's with the torture, murder, and angst? Where are Will Ferrell and Adam Sandler? Why so many dark movies in this season of light? According to Bruce Nash, there may be three reasons:
- The Oscars. To qualify for the next awards, a film must be shown in a commercial theater during the 2014 calendar year. A Christmas screening is just under the wire.
- Christmas on Thursday. That's not a big opening day. These films are intended to be seen well into 2015 so no Christmas themes.
- Recouping an investment. For maximum profit, a Christmas-themed movie will come out earlier. Just like decorations and urgent reminders to get your gift shopping done, the Christmas-appropriate movies may be out as early as November.