Should you see the movie or just buy the book?
THE DA VINCI CODE
Dan Brown (paperback)
The film tones down the heresy and plays up the skepticism of Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) but doesn't improve the novel's weak dialogue. Luckily, Ian McKellen's Leigh Teabing has a sense of humor.
Last Word A thriller relying heavily on word games and flashbacks is more engaging on the page.
THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE
Paul Gallico (paperback)
Plow through 347 pages of high-seas disaster victims saying things like ''Don't be a chowderhead'' in the 1969 novel or spend 98 minutes with Wolfgang Petersen's update, which replaces most dialogue with fiery explosions?
Last Word Factor in Richard Dreyfuss, and the film wins by a nautical mile.
TWENTIETH CENTURY EIGHTBALL
Daniel Clowes (paperback)
For the indie Art School Confidential, artist/screenwriter Clowes adds a noirish murder mystery to his own story about a student artist (Max Minghella) struggling in the wacky art world.
Last Word The Eightball series better conveys Clowes' cynical, hilarious take on twentysomething angst.