Should you head to the multiplex or just hit the books? We give our take on ''Infamous,'' ''Tideland,'' and ''Little Children''

October 13, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Should you head to the multiplex or just hit the books?

George Plimpton (paperback)
Auteur Douglas McGrath’s Infamous adds a romance between Capote and one of the In Cold Blood murderers as well as testimony from Harper Lee (who’s MIA in Plimpton’s interviews).
Last Word
Plimpton’s colorful stories from ”friends, enemies, acquaintances, and detractors” create a more compelling portrait.

Mitch Cullin (paperback)
Director Terry Gilliam applies his usual visual histrionics to this surprisingly faithful take on Cullin’s 2000 Southern gothic novel about a fantasy-prone child, her junkie parents, and her four severed dolls’ heads.
Last Word
Cullin’s freaky fable is better left to the imagination than filtered through Gilliam.

Tom Perrotta (paperback)
Perrotta coadapts his own ’04 novel, the satiric tale of a stay-at-home dad, his extramarital lover, and other suburban parents behaving badly, to near perfection. But the ending is radically different and some minor characters get short shrift.
Last Word
While auteur Todd Field’s absorbing vision is a must-see, the novel is more intricate.

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