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The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
Faithful and Detailed Adaptation
I was finally able to see The Fault in our Stars at the theater, and I was beyond pleased with the movie adaptation of a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and reread multiple times. Movie adaptations aren't always faithful or as satisfying as a book, seeing as they are understandably a different medium, and therefore different story than their book counterpart, but The Fault In Our Stars was an adaptation that I felt was complete and matched the novel by John Green very well, while also adding extra details that I felt added to the love, and life, story, of two teenagers who as asserted in the movie, are more than just their illness.
A basic overview rating from me: Casting/Acting- I found casting to be very well done, Shailene Woodley playing a spunky yet sensitive lead, alongside talented Ansel Elgort who played a confident, contemplative, and very romantic Augustus Waters (initially I wasn't too sure if Elgort could pull off this character, but he actually blew me away with his performance and even brought more to the character in my opinion.) I also really liked the parents, along with the fact that the teens in support group were actual cancer survivors.
Cinematically- Costumes were modern and typical to what one would expect to see in today's world: not too "fashion" conscious or anything, but added to the characters personalities. Settings were realistic, and ***SPOILER*** Amsterdam was beautifully portrayed (a favorite cinematic scene of mine being the champagne scene).
I actually didn't cry as much as I expected- although tears were shed, just not always at the "expected" parts. I believe this was due to the fact that I had read the book and knew the story line well prior to seeing the thankfully similar movie. I actually cried some during the scenes between Hazel and her parents- an odd occurrence seeing that I as a teen and not a parent and would typically connect more and pay attention more to the teen characters of the story. However, the actual relationship between Hazel and her parents is swayed based upon how a person reads the book, and in the film the actors portrayal of parent-child relationship was a lot more poignant for me because of actually visually seeing their emotions and actions.
Seeing the film, however, added to my understanding and love of the story. Many visual details and connections could be made through this medium of storytelling that wasn't always as noticeable or possible in print.
****MOVIE SPOILERS BELOW, EVEN IF YOU READ THE BOOK*** The Eulogy scene in the church had me crying- partly for Hazel's speech, but mostly when I saw Gus cry. From the book, and also his comment later, I knew that his tearful reaction was because he was picturing the world without him and Hazel Grace not being together, which he affirmed in his eulogy for Hazel. It was heartbreaking for me to watch some of the anguish a young person has to knowing his time, and subsequent world, is limited.
As soon as Birdy's "Not About Angels" began, the tissues came out of my purse yet again. The connections and implications of this song brought out even more emotion due to its direct lyric connection to Gus's questions on Hazel's beliefs at the restaurant in Amsterdam ("What about God?" her answer being no, along with answers saying she doesn't believe in angels, but she's unsure in an afterlife). In that scene at the restaurant, Hazel states she doesn't believe in angels, but now that Gus has passed, she is considering the question again: "What about angels?". Does she know have faith that Gus could be an angel watching over her?
From every angle, I believe there is a perspective and emotion that every person in the audience is capable of finding in this movie despite its label as a young adult book adaptation. Even though it is a story involving cancer, it does have many cute, romantic, and even funny scenes and dialogue. Parts of this movie will be difficult to watch though: it is a story about two teens suffering from a world of cancer, of course. But in the words of John Green in TFIOS, "Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book." (or in this case, movie). But don't for a second think this movie is only about cancer; it is about life.
Eloise at Christmastime (2003)
Eloise at Christmastime is a Christmas movie my family watches every year, and it's one of the cutest movies. Just like Eloise, "I absolutely love Christmas!". Eloise is a six year old girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel in New York City with her Nanny. In this movie, we get to see Eloise and Nanny prepare for Christmas, a wedding, and Eloise's movie star mother's return home. Many times, people refer to Eloise as a brat, but this movie reveals that Eloise is kinder and more insightful than people give her credit for. As a six year old, she is better at noticing true love, and true heartbreak (in its many forms), before even the adults do. She realizes that not everything is as it seems, as in the case of a grumpy neighbor, and that Christmas should be spent with the people you care about. The scenery and costumes make this movie charming and innocent, just as Christmas for a child should be. Costumes are bright and colorful, the Plaza is decked out with skyscraper sized Christmas trees and twinkle lights galore, and everything is just a bit exaggerated (such as Eloise's wish list and shopping spree), making the movie just as fun and dramatic as Eloise herself.
The Host (2013)
A Unique Movie
I went into this movie without high expectations, and boy was I surprised! The Host is an excellent movie, and I haven't even read the book! The plot of the movie consists of "peaceful" aliens invading earth and having their "souls" implanted in a human body. Usually the mind of the human who has an alien take over their body will fade away. But Melanie Strider, who is one of the few humans left on Earth, isn't giving up the fight just yet. The story revolves around the adventure, struggles, and danger of having both alien and human within one body.
The Host has sci/fi, action, romance, and even a little humor all blended together perfectly. The story is unique and fast paced. All the actors were amazing, especially Saoirse Ronan , who had me completely convinced that she really did have two people within her. The sets and special effects used in this movie are very well created.
I enjoyed this movie very much (it probably helped that I am within the target audience) and would recommend it to friends.
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Better than Expected
I didn't go into this movie with too many expectations because I assumed it was a younger kid movie and I was not within the target audience, but I discovered that I liked this movie more than I expected!
Oz the Great and Power Full gives audiences a look into the story that set up the original "Wizard of Oz" movie (although according to some friends, it is a completely different prequel of the original than portrayed in "Wicked" the musical). Parts of the movie are animated, parts are live action, but most is a combination of the two.
Pros -Many elements (phrases, iconic symbols, characters) were similar to and foreshadowed what occurs in the original "Wizard of Oz" movie. (One of the main reasons I really liked this movie) - Animated parts of the movie were very colorful and visually beautiful -Cast for the most part was able to play their characters well -Loved the way the movie started out black and white
Cons -Costumes fell a little short in my opinion. I felt like more detailed clothing and props could have been used -SPOILER: Where were the ruby slippers? -SPOILER (and opinion) Ending the movie with the house falling on Evanora, ready to pick up right into the original 'Wizard of Oz" film, would have been a way to make the movie even better
I recommend this movie for pretty much anyone, but I believe that people who know the original story of "Wizard of Oz" would enjoy it even more. Some scenes could scare small children, although this is not really a scary movie; there is plenty of humor.
Les Misérables (2012)
A Work of Art
Les Miserables is a movie that will not be forgotten. Anyone who has seen (and enjoyed) the stage production will be engrossed in this cinema portrayal.
The interpretation followed stage productions very well. Casting was phenomenal- especially for Hugh Jackman, who fulfilled my image for Jean Valjean perfectly and Anne Hathaway gave a brilliant performance (along with a wonderful singing voice. The rest of the cast portrayed their characters wonderfully.
The scenery is undeniably a piece of art. The buildings, homes and barricade were amazingly real; costumes were completely true to that time period; makeup on the actors helped tell the story. Details (the sewer scene is an example) are one of the things that makes this movie great.
For anyone who enjoys musicals (I'd guess that about 70% of the movie has dialogue that is sung, yet still easily understood and followed), this movie is a must see. I cried, I laughed (oh, those Thenardiers), and I was moved (especially by the closing scene, which was gorgeous).
Could Not Have Been a Better Ending
Yes, I am giving this movie a 10/10, and not just because I am a fan. Here's the reason it deserved the ranking:
This movie was completely astounding as the end to a series of movies and books. As a Twihard, I was completely satisfied, and then some.
This movie, which is heads and tails above the others in the saga, had many laughs, romance, drama, heart racing action, and even some sweet nostalgia (I teared up at the end, realizing that this was the last Twilight movie I would see on the big screen).
The cast, which has been so criticized for the past movies, was incredible. You could tell that the actors really knew and understood their character and were very comfortable portraying them. Very little to no awkward pauses, dialogue was easy and not forced sounding, and no cringe-worthy lines. As I said before, the story was perfect.
The theater buff in me was also awed. The settings and landscapes shown were absolutely gorgeous. The costumes, although modern, fit the characters so well and aided in the story line. If you followed the other movies, you can tell how the clothing changed with the plot, thus adding to the story visually). Yes, some parts of the CGI and other computer animated elements were a bit cheesy (not as bad as I was expecting based off of some of the trailers), but overall they were very well done. Also, I picked up a lot of makeup tips because there were many closeups.
****SPOILER**** I saw the movie a couple of hours ago, and I am still shaking. For the one scene (and anyone who watched the movie will know which one I am talking about), was I the only one who almost needed to have my heart restarted?? ****END OF SPOILER****
This movie will NOT disappoint those who follow the Twilight Saga! Perfect ending to a history-making story!
Trouble with the Curve (2012)
Well Worth Seeing
Just got back from seeing this movie, and I enjoyed it very much.
I'm not a person who follows sports, and even though baseball terms were thrown around, I had no problem keeping up with the story. The casting was phenomenal; each character was portrayed perfectly by the actors.
The story may be a little cliché, but it was enjoyable all the same. The plot is about a father and grown daughter trying to reconnect over baseball scouting. There is drama, laughs, and even a few tears along the way.
I highly recommend this movie.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
Twilight Fans will Like this Movie
To start off, I'm a Twilight fan. So, if you're one of those "Twilight fans suck!" people, go ahead and hit the "dislike, unhelpful" button, or just stop reading right now. You're most likely going to give my review no chance anyway, just like you didn't give this movie a chance.
Eclipse was a major improvement from the previous two movies in the series. The plot improved, the acting improved, and the scenery was gorgeous and detailed. I especially loved the flashbacks, the scenery and costumes shown were true to the time era and very detailed. Also, yes, the acting may not be the greatest, but based off of other movies these actors/actresses were in, they do have acting abilities. Maybe it was the material they were given to work with, not their acting capabilities that weren't good. I believe that most Twilight fans will enjoy this installment in the Twilight Saga movies.
To all of you saying that this movie is "a cheesy teen movie", I have a news flash for you: of course it is. The entire Twilight series was geared to teenagers. It's not that hard people; if you know you don't like the series, don't watch the movie. If you have your mind already set against the movie before you see it, obviously you aren't going to enjoy it. What really irks me is people that already dislike the movie/series but watch it anyway, then come on here and rate it really poorly, thereby discouraging others to see movie even though they may like the series. Please be more responsible with your movie reviews.
Dark Shadows (2012)
Still Scratching my Head...
Dark Shadows is a comedy...or maybe a horror...then again, it was a romance...or sci-fi/fantasy...yet, it was a drama.
Confused? Yeah, me too.
After seeing this movie, there was only one word I could come up with that would describe it- odd. Maybe it's because I never saw the original soap opera and went into the movie with no background information. Or maybe the soap opera was just as weird. Either way, my reaction as a Dark Shadows novice was speechlessness. I don't even know how to sum up the movie, it was just so weird.
Don't get me wrong, it was not a bad movie. The acting was great, and the old fashion costumes were gorgeous. The sets were pretty amazing as well; they were very detailed. The story line was the thing that baffled me. It was just so "out there" and constantly changing tones. One minute I wanted to hide behind my hands, the next I was laughing, then I wanted to cry, and eventually I sat there thinking "what the heck just happened?".
So, if your a fan of the original Dark Shadows soap opera, I say give this movie a try. Maybe it will make more sense to you than it did for me. If you haven't seen the TV show, be ready for an interesting couple of hours...
The Hunger Games (2012)
As Good as the Book!
I just watched this movie, and I was not disappointed! I read the entire book series, and the first one was my favorite, so I was very excited.I don't usually enjoy science fiction books or movies, however Collin's writing had me hooked. So even if this doesn't sound like the type of book you would enjoy, still give it a try. I recommend reading the book before seeing the movie, because I believe it will enhance the world you discovered through the books, but even if you don't, I think you will be able to follow along for most of the movie. They give a brief explanation of what will be occurring as soon as the movie starts.
What I enjoyed the most about the movie was that the story and events were not altered or changed during the translation from page to screen. I'm not sure how they pulled it off, but they somehow included practically everything that was in the book! I noticed only one change that concerned me due to the plot in the following books, but I'm confident they will find a way to make it work in the later movies.
****SPOILERS BELOW**** There was one scene I really wish they would have included because it was one of my favorites in the book, however I understand they couldn't include everything from the book while still keeping the movie at a reasonable time. I really wish they would have added the cave scene where Katniss tells Peeta she wants to go home. I think this scene would have shown more of each person's character's personality.
****END OF SPOILERS
The costumes and sets were perfect. They were almost identical to what I imagined from the book. The acting was phenomenal; every actor was able to portray perfect emotions as to what was going on. Every person fit perfectly to the character they portrayed.
I would recommend this movie to anyone, but especially those who read the books. I'd say that anyone over 13 would be fine to view the movie.