One of the most time-honored traditions in cinema--besides overpriced Snocaps and comedians getting hit in the groin--is the film adaptation of a popular book. From Shakespeare to Dickens to the canonical heights of Grisham, there's nothing people enjoy more than watching the book they loved for weeks or years tranformed into a 90-minute movie. Well, that, and the Snocaps. People enjoy those a lot, too.

What is it about allowing a casting director to tell us what a character should look like that so fascinates us? Letting them truncate or alter the story we loved in order to appease the studio or secure a rating or assure a reasonable running time? Why are we never quite satisfied to have had the imaginative and intimate experience of reading? To have decided, in our very own brain-like areas, what the characters looked like, with the implement of our fantasy, that strange paper-filled rectangle sitting on our nightstands or coffeetables, awaiting our return like a lover or a strange rectangular friend?

Sometimes film adaptations go very, very well, and we are given a gift: an entirely separate way to enjoy and appreciate a story we have loved. In times like these, we have films like Jaws, or Jackie Brown, or even Clueless. (You're welcome, Jane Austen.) Other times... we have The Bonfire of the Vanities. Or Mel Gibson as Hamlet.

This week, What to Watch brings you a list of films worth your time and money, more than a couple of which were once available to read in rectangular form.


Blue Jasmine (The Art Theater Co-Op): In this riff on Blanche Dubois, Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) is a wealthy woman married to an Enron-type named Hal (Alec Baldwin). When Hal loses all of his money in an investment and becomes poor, Jasmine is then forced to reexamine her life and reconnect with her “ordinary” sister who lives in San Francisco

Why to Watch: This film subtly answers the question of how would you be affected if you went from having everything to living with nothing. Cate Blanchett has an excellent amount of range on display in this film, owing to the wonderfully witty yet frank dialogue written by Woody Allen. This film will be remembered come Oscar season. Go see it for the wonderful performances and honest storytelling.

Showing @ 5:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., with a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Wednesday and a 9:45 p.m. late show on Thursday.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Savoy 16 IMAX): After her mother disappears, Clary (Lily Collins) learns she is a descendant of a long line of warriors who protect the world from demons. 

Why to Watch: If Twilight had a child with Buffy The Vampire Slayer, that child might be The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. This movie is an adaption of yet another series of fantasy novels where a girl discovers she is meant to do great things. Of course she has a love interest, but, unlike in Twilight, that romance doesn’t seem to be the center of the plot. For that reason alone I think this movie could be something audiences will enjoy. 

Showing in 2D @ 12:50 p.m., 3:40 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 9:20 p.m.; in 3D @ 11:00 a.m., 1:50 p.m., 4:40 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 10:15 p.m.

Kick Ass 2 (Savoy 16 IMAX): Continuing where the original film left off, Kick Ass 2 finds Red Mist plotting to kill Kick Ass and Hit Girl after he blames them for the death of his father. 

Why to Watch: People who love violence and cursing for shock value will love Kick Ass 2. However, the real reason to see this film has to do with the questions of identity raised with regards to Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz). Why does a person keep being a superhero if they are going to continue to be judged for the justice they unleash? Jim Carrey also gives a nuanced performance as Colonel Stars and Stripes that should please audiences.

Showing @ 12:10 p.m., 2:35 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 7:25 p.m., and 9:50 p.m..

Lee Daniels’s The Butler (Savoy 16 IMAX): This film chronicles the 30-year career of White House butler Cecil Gaines. Mr. Gaines was both a living witness to changing times and a person who had to struggle to live though the country's eventual (and difficult) progress.

Why to Watch: At the end of the day I think this film speaks more about the character of one man than the events he happened to witness in a house in Washington D.C. The experiences Mr. Gaines had are some few could ever possibly understand, and this movie will be remembered not because it reminded us a few select pieces of history but because there was a person willing to recount his experiences and life with the rest of America.

Showing @ 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 6:20 p.m., and 9:10 p.m.

Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters (Savoy 16 IMAX): Much like the 2010 film Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, this film is plotted on the fact that the haven for mythical creatures is dying and the Golden Fleece is the only thing that can stop an ancient evil from destroying it. 

Why to Watch: The Percy Jackson films are essentially good for one purpose: they educate children about Greek mythology in a fun way. The target demographic for these films is pre-teens, and kids and parents alike will love this sequel for its adventure and funny characters that fight against the villains of Greek mythology. Plus, watch for an appearance by Nathan Fillion.

Showing @ 11:35 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 4:25 p.m., 6:50 p.m., and 9:15 p.m.

Still Playing

The World's End (Savoy 16 IMAX): The makers of Shaun of the Dead are back for avery different end-of-the-world comedy. But with mostly the same people.

Why to Watch: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Bilbo Baggins...sorry, I mean John Watson...or, rather, Martin Freeman team up for a reunion of sorts, recreating an epic pub crawl from their youth that was sadly interrupted. All is going well on their trip down memory lane...until the apocalypse. This should be great fun as the actors and director from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz complete their genre trilogy. Watch for appearances by favorite British actors (and friends of the trilogy), including: Rafe Spall, Paddy Considine, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Marsan, and Bill Nighy.

Showing @ 11:35 a.m., 2:05 p.m., 4:35 p.m., 7:05 p.m., and 9:35 p.m.

Coming Soon

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Art Theater Co-op): Clint Eastwood shoots and scowls his way through the Old West, which looks a lot like the Italian countryside.

Why to Watch: Sergio Leone's "spaghetti westerns" were lean, bloody hunks of meat, but they had a lot of style. Eastwood's Man With No Name was always a force to be reckoned with, and this film, featuring Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach (as "The Ugly"), is one of the best action-packed offerings of the 70s.

Showtimes TBA. Check the Art Theater Co-op website for more details.