My favorite time to go to the movies is in the fall and winter, when it's so cozy to sit in a dark movie theater and watch a story unfold. Now that it's September, I thought I'd preview some of the biggest book-inspired fall movies, from blockbusters, to foreign films, to indie flicks that you may have to wait and catch on Netflix, depending on where you live. There's a lot to look forward to . . .

10 BIGGIES:

Alex Cross
Based on: Cross by James Patterson (2006)
Release: October 19
In a nutshell: Morgan Freeman may have played Patterson's D.C. detective-psychologist in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, but Tyler Perry is Alex Cross in the latest adaptation.

Anna Karenina
Based on: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)
Release: November 16
In a nutshell: Keira Knightley and Jude Law star in the newest adaptation of Tolstoy's classic. Director Joe Wright is no stranger to literary adaptations (or working with Knightly); he directed Pride & Prejudice and Atonement.

Cloud Atlas
Based on: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (2004)
Release: October 26
In a nutshell: It's hard to imagine a film version of Mitchell's novel, described in BookPage as "a tour de force." Our reviewer wrote, "The novel crosses continents and decades with six completely distinct but equally entrancing narrative voices." However, the movie—with a large cast that includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant and many others—received a long standing ovation at its Toronto Film Festival premier. Could it be an Oscar contender?

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Based on: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)
Release: December 14
In a nutshell: Were you sad when Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings series concluded? Never fear—his upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit is only part one of three! Martin Freeman stars as Bilbo Baggins.

Jack Reacher
Based on: One Shot by Lee Child (2005)
Release: December 21
In a nutshell:  Tom Cruise plays Lee Child's iconic character—a military-investigator-turned-drifter. Word on the street is that Reacher fans have mixed feelings about this casting, especially because Child's hero is 6'5!

Les Misérables
Based on: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (1862) . . . and a little musical you may have seen on Broadway.
Release: December 14
In a nutshell: What is there to say about Les Mis? This musical drama stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert. The all-star cast also includes Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter.

Life of Pi
Based on: Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2001)
Release: November 21
In a nutshell: Yann Martel's beloved allegory/adventure tale comes to life in 3D, as directed by Ang Lee. I know I'm not the only one who can't wait to see Pi Patel and a Bengal tiger face off on a lifeboat.

On the Road
Based on: On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)
Release: December 21
In a nutshell: It's a right of passage to read On the Road as a teenager; who among us hasn't scrawled the famous "the only people for me are the mad ones" quote in a notebook while plotting an escape from high school? But will the movie adaptation—which stars Twilight alum Kristen Stewart—live up to expectations? Early reviews have been mixed, although Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty is rumored to be a highlight.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Based on: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
Release: September 20
In a nutshell: Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller star in an adaptation of Stephen Chbosky's well-loved coming-of-age story. Chbosky also directs.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2:
Based on: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (2008)
Release: November 16
In a nutshell: Director Bill Condon completes the blockbuster movie adaptation of the Twilight saga. Most readers will fall strongly into one of two camps: You wouldn't be paid to see this movie, or you will have a heart attack if you don't see it on opening day!

5 NOTABLES:

British author and Nobel Laureate Patrick White's 1973 novel The Eye of the Storm is now a movie of the same title, directed by Australian director Fred Schepisi. About a dying matriarch, the film is now in limited release.

Brad Pitt stars in an adaptation of Cogan's Trade by George V. Higgins, a crime novel published in 1974. Called Killing Them Softly, the movie is about a heist that takes place during a mob-protected poker game. It hits theaters on October 19.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in an adaptation of David O. Russell's The Silver Linings Playbook, which will be released on November 21. The story is about a hapless man who is released from a mental institution then tries to win back his wife.

Peter Cameron's novel Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You gets the big-screen treatment in a film of the same name. Though it stars big names like Marcia Gay Harden and Lucy Liu, the movie—a coming of age story compared to The Catcher in the Rye—will have a limited release in October.

British filmmaker Andrea Arnold adapts Emily Brontë's beloved Wuthering Heights. Released in the UK a year ago, The Guardian called Heathcliff as played by James Howson "a puzzle, a tornado of resentment whirling destructively across the bleak and intimidating landscape." Look for it in the U.S. in October (limited release).

Whew! That's a lot of book-inspired movies for one season, huh? Which are you most excited about? Are any of these movie releases inspiring you to read the book first?

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