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HOGWARTS, Twilight not the Only Books-into-Movies

By Jackie Burrell
Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 1:59 pm in Movies.

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OK, yes, we’re counting down the days (hours, minutes, seconds) until the sixth Harry Potter book hits the silver screen on July 15 … 21 days from now. And yes, the second Twilight movie, “New Moon,” brings Edward, Bella and Jacob to cineplexes on Nov. 20. But those aren’t the only kids and teen books to go cinematic in the coming months. Also ahead:

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” a 3-D animated take on Judy and Ron Barrett’s classic children’s book about the town of Chewandswallow, where it rains hamburgers and snows mashed potatoes. In the cinematic version, it’s all the work of a goofy inventor whose little creation first delights townspeople – the school’s flattened by pancakes! woo hoo! – then alarms them. Looks like big fun. And the voices are done by Anna Faris and Bill Hader. Opens Sept. 18.

Where the Wild Things Are,” Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers’ live action and CGI’d interpretation of the Maurice Sendak classic about young Max, monsters, a wild rumpus and the pleasures of home, where someone loves us best of all. Happy sigh. Opens Oct. 16.

Fantastic Mr. Fox,” directed by Wes Anderson. Just as we cheered on Peter Rabbit and booed Mr. McGregor, in this Roald Dahl tale we’re totally on the side of the fabulous, Fantastic Mr. Fox as he outwits three farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Expect stop-motion animated splendors and the voices of George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep. Opens Nov. 13.

Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” is based on E.D. Baker’s “Frog Princess” tween series about a princess whose efforts to turn a frog back into a prince backfire. This take includes the first African-American Disney princess (voiced by Anika Noni Rose from “Dreamgirls”), music by Randy Newman, and a gorgeous setting – New Orleans. Opens Dec. 11.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” based on Rick Riordan’s bestselling YA series about a boy who discovers he’s the son of Poseidon. Now, there’s an epic battle brewing between Greek gods and Titans, and only Percy – short for Perseus, of course – Jackson and his fellow halflings can save the day. The book was awesome and we have high hopes for the movie, which stars Pierce Brosnan as Chiron, Kevin McKidd (from “Grey’s Anatomy” and HBO’s “Rome”) as Poseidon, Uma Thurman as Medusa, Sean Bean as Zeus, and CSI’s Melina Kanakaredes as Athena. Opens Feb 12.

And, as we mentioned earlier this week, a new version of “Alice in Wonderland” opens March 5.

Mmmkay… what looks good to you?

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