Category Archives: movie

Top 10 Tuesday #100

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Top 10 Socially Awkward Characters

I don’t know why, but socally awkward characters are probably my favorite.  Maybe because I’m just like them…hmmm.  When I stumble across a book with these characters, I find that I end up empathizing with them on a much deeper level than most other characters.

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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Movie Review

mortal-instruments-leadI wanted to see this movie.  I mean, I had read the book three times, so you could say it’s a favorite. And of course, to see it brought to life on the big screen was just something that I couldn’t pass up.

Initially, I was unimpressed with the casting.

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Top 10 Tuesday #82

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I LOOOOOVE a good series, if it’s done right, of course. I like the series that are organically meant for something more, unlike a couple I could name that were meant to be a single story but then stretched out into four books (*cough* Twilight *cough*).  So here are the books that maybe should have series because I love the world so much and don’t want to leave or I feel there was more to say.

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Movie Review: World War Z

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What the heck is World War Z about? Well, we know it has Brad Pitt fighting to stop some kind of global outbreak but in the trailer they never really say what exactly the outbreak is.

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Top 10 Tuesday #78

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Hosted by the girls @ The Broke & The Bookish, today’s question:Top 10 Best/Worst Film Adaptations

Best:

1. Harry Potter – Though, obviously, there was some tweaking of the book, a lot of things were left out that should have been included (Voldemort’s family, for one), and some things were included that didn’t make any sense (the burning of the Burrow). There were things that they completely left out that were important to me, but…overall, it was a very faithful adaptation while at the same time, it kind of made it’s own world.  And the cast is perfect in every way.

2. Perks of Being a Wallflower – This movie was directed by the author and I actually liked it better than the book because you could see how people reacted to Charlie (Charlie being a pretty unreliable narrator).  It was just amazing. I could gush all day, but go ahead and read my review.

3. Sense & Sensibility – Such a beautiful movie. Hugh Grant as a shy, quiet man of God? That’s good casting.  Emma Thompson as a 20 something spinster? Totally pulled it off though she must have been at least 15 years too old. Alan Rickman as a good guy and the love interest for someone half his age? Phenomenal.  Everything about movie is amazing.

4. The Notebook – I haven’t read the book, but Kristina says the adaptation was very well done and even though the book ended differently, she preferred the movie ending.

5. Bridget Jones Diary – I loved this book. I thought Bridget was a little off her rocker because there was no way she was fat according to her diary entries, unless she was a lilliputian, and I think the movie made her bigger than she was supposed to be for comic effect, but the casting was spot on. I think Renee Zellweger is unattractive, but when she gained the weight for the movie, her face was comically hideous. I don’t see how either Colin Firth or Hugh Grant would have been attracted to her, but it made for a fantastic movie.  Colin Firth, in particular, was spectacular casting because Colin Firth is actually mentioned in the book, which I’m not sure many people caught.  And Colin made Mark Darcy more sympathetic, when in the book, he seemed more like a dick. Though it is an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, which is probably what Helen Fielding was going for.

6. Pride and Prejudice – Kristina will say she loves the Kiera Knightly version, but I’m married to the 5 1/2 hour BBC adaptation that really captures the book so much better.  The KK version was visually very pretty and the cast was pretty good, but I was more sympathetic to the BBC version.  The characters were much more refined and it was harder to tell the differences in their social classes, so their social standing was harder to define, which I think is the point. In the BBC version, you see Longbourne, the Bennet’s home and think what a beautiful, expensive place that surely must house a very rich family, but then you see Pemperly and Longbourne looks like a chicken shack.  I think in the KK version, the vast difference in the two houses is comically overdone (what with the farm animals running around and Elizabeth playing on a swing).  Also, I think that Jennifer Ehle did a much better job of portraying Elizabeth as a proud, respectable woman who could have graced Pemperly’s halls and she had a subtlety to her rebelliousness, whereas Kiera Knightly was more in your face rebellion, and I don’t think that is a very accurate portrayal.  Though Matthew Macfadyen is hot and did a superb job of being the somewhat dispassionate Mr. Darcy.

7. Hunger Games – Okay, granted, some of the casting had us scratching our head before we actually saw the movie.  The dark haired Katniss & Gale are portrayed by blonds, the actor cast as a blond Peeta is a natural brunette.  But this is easily overcome with hair dye.  But the rest of the cast is impeccable, particularly President Snow. The setting is also very well done, especially District 12.  The setting in the book was did not really stick out in any way to me, but when I saw it rendered on film, I suddenly understood, especially in contrast with The Capital. Just wow. But the acting and the additions to the movie that we weren’t privy to in the book (the directing of the action in the arena, Seneca Crane’s punishment) really added to the movie. Let’s hope that Chasing Fire is just as well done, though I’m not worried.

8. Anne of Green Gables – This movie made me fall in love.  I saw it the summer I was 13 and when school started I had to find and read the book. Such a beautifully rendered adaptation. There is so much about it that I love, but the tone and the characters are just right. I particularly loved Matthew Cuthbert.  And Gilbert. I fall in love again every time I see it. And I cannot just watch the first part, I have to watch all three, until Anne realizes that Gilbert is who she should be with.

9. To Kill A Mockingbird – I had to add this because this is the standard by which all movie adaptations should be measured. Everything about it is perfect, though I wish they would have/could have added more story to the movie, which I am sure had to be cut for time. If they added everything, it would be hours long. But the casting is impeccable and the tone is JUST RIGHT.

Worst:

10. One for the Money – I liked the movie, but it wasn’t entirely faithful to the book.  I didn’t like that they took out the attempted rape of Stephanie, though I can understand why, I just think it would have made Benito Ramirez more scary.  I liked Katherine Heigl as Stephanie & Daniel Sunjata as my man Ranger, but I think Jason O’Mara, though he did a very good job, was not Joe Morelli. This is a case of the actors not fitting the images in my mind of my beloved characters. Kristina didn’t like the movie.  I just think it could have been done better. If I hadn’t read the book, I think I would have been confused.

11. Twilight – The first film is SOOO BADLY DONE. I blame it entirely on the director, Catherine Hardwicke.  I don’t know what the hell that woman was thinking in regards to what the characters, particularly the Cullins, looked like.  To me, they looked like they painted themselves every morning. And don’t get me started on my boy Jasper’s hair.  I think, also, with the exception of Charlie (who was perfect in every way), most of the cast was chosen for their looks (ahem, the Cullins). Again, I blame Hardwicke because I know these people can act, I’ve seen other movies they’ve been in.  But here, they look constipated.  Though both Kristina & I agree that Breaking Dawn pt. 2 was very well done, as much as it could be, especially considering the “surprise” that really blew my mind. I am glad they added that because it made the whole movie and it would have been difficult to understand why the Vulturi suddenly turned around and left if they hadn’t added it. It was unexpected, to say the least.  I gasped out loud in the theater.

Honorable Mention (because we haven’t seen it yet)

City of Bones – Kristina & I agree that the casting in this seems to be the best that we’ve seen in a while.  At first, we were both very against Jamie Campbell-Bower for Jace, but seeing the previews, I completely rescind my first opinion (his voice alone, gah). And I cannot wait for this movie.

Movie Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

I listened to the audio of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and while I liked it and appreciated how it could resonate with so many people, it was merely a B+ for me.  This probably has less to do with the actual book than my tendency to not really connect as much when I listen to an audio.  Regardless, I wanted to see the movie, probably more to check out how Hermione Emma Watson did as the worldly object of protagonist Charlie’s desire.

Logan Lerman as Charlie is an understated genuis. Charlie is a high school freshman whose best friend has killed himself months before.  Charlie spent the summer in a mental institution and is very very (very) socially awkward (I think these days he would probably be diagnosed with some kind of personality disorder).  He befriends this senior Patrick, and his step-sister Sam and, along with his new English teacher Mr. Anderson (who encourages Charlie to read and become a writer) begins a journey to self-discovery that ultimately ends in him remembering things that he’d buried, but also learning to accept himself.  Charlie may be part of the most beautiful family in the world (Dylan McDermott was hilarious a Charlie’s uncommunicative dad, Mom was a very subtle Kate Walsh, and if there is ever any proof that 1980’s clothes will make anyone look dumpy, it is Nina Dobrev as Charlie’s sister Candace).  Logan is a very good looking guy (who, even though he’s 20, still looks like he’s 16, HE DOES NOT AGE), but I think I pictured Charlie as someone who could kind of blend into the background.  Logan manages to really convey a broken quality, someone uncomfortable and ill at ease in his own skin.  When he says “I don’t think anyone noticed me,” you believe it.  Logan looks like the kind of kid that would have been one of the most popular in my school, he looks like he oozes charisma and self-confidence, but he manages to embody Charlie’s awkwardness and express a lost but determined look that makes Charlie so magnetic to Patrick and Sam.

Ezra Miller plays Patrick, the senior friend who finally accepts Charlie for himself.  Ezra is entirely not how I pictured Patrick in my head, but I think he was born to play this part, he was so perfect.  And he is one of the most physically beautiful people I’ve ever seen (he looks like the lovechild of Keanu Reeves and Vanessa Marcil, a coupling I could wholeheartedly get behind).  Despite that, Ezra was Patrick.  He was silly and smart and playful, which I guess I must have missed in the reading.  But he was also sympathetic and played really well off both Emma and Logan.  The three of them really made the movie believable.

Sam, the girl of Charlie’s dreams, is played by Emma Watson.  I was really curious to see how she’d do.  She is, of course, known for being in the Harry Potter movies and not much else, so she had to overcome this expectation from the masses that would only ever see her as Hermione.  And I have to admit, initially Hermione was all that I could see.  I even mentioned to my husband that you could still sort of hear her English accent.  But as the movie progressed, I forgot about Hermione and really started to appreciate her as Sam.  She brought an ernestness and empathy to Sam in regards to Charlie.  Sam in the book seemed to be sort of above it all in the sense that high school was just a way station  to her real life where she could be herself without fear of judgment.  What you couldn’t see in the book was how Sam looked at Charlie and that’s when I really understood that Sam was not merely tolerating Charlie (like a sister letting her little brother tagalong), but she liked him and liked spending time with him.

Overall, I liked the movie much better than the book.  The book is told from Charlie’s (admittedly limited) point of view whereas the movie lets us see what all the characters can see.  A look from Sam here, Patrick’s heartbreak there, Mary Elizabeth’s fiesty personality, Ponytail Derek’s douchebaggery, Candace’s love for her brother…it makes it all so much easier to understand.  This movie does not suffer from moving from the library to the theater because it’s directed by the author.  That’s right, Stephen Chbosky actually directed (and wrote the screenplay to) his own book.  He does such a phenomenal job.  Admittedly, he REALLY understands the material and he makes a great case for authors directing their own work and writing their own screenplays.  Imagine how much better the entire Twilight Saga would have been if the movies were done from Stephenie’s point of view (if she, indeed, had the talent that Stephen does).  Or, to use a better example, if Jo Rowling wrote the screenplay for Harry and let Ron keep all his great lines and not gave them to Hermione.

Pecans:  5/5

Casting Call — The Fault in Our Stars

Our weekly attempt to cast some of our favorite books, along with our friends: 

Tee @ YA Crush

Candice @ The Grown-Up YA

Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide

Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks

The Fault in Our Stars is about a girl and a boy who fall in love.  They both happen to be dying at the time.  It also just happens to be one of my favorite books in…I’m gonna go with FOREVER.  If you haven’t read it, please do yourself a favor & get it immediately. 

The Fault in Our Stars

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

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Isabelle Fuhrman, Clove in The Hunger Games

Kaitlyn, played by Isabelle Fuhrman–one of Hazel’s only friends leftover from her school days, Kaitlyn is described as “extremely sophisticated twenty-five-year-old British socialite stuck inside a sixteen-year-old body” and is supposed to have a slight English accent.  I think if TFiOS does get made (it was optioned in February), this part is so small, it would probably get cut or at the very least, I don’t think Kaitlyn would be British.  I like Isabelle because she’s actually a teenager and she’s pretty without being beautiful and this picture shows she can do sophisticated.

Diane Lane, who will soon be playing Superman’s mom

Diane Lane as Mrs. Lancaster–Hazel’s mom, Mrs. Lancaster, is supposed to be Hazel’s best friend.  She takes every opportunity to turn an event into a celebration, including Bastille Day and Hazel’s half-birthday.  She was also in the Peace Corp, where she met her husband.  I think Diane Lane embodies empathy, compassion, and motherly support.  She can play a background character and be a very giving actress, which is one of the reasons I like her so much.  I think she would do a fantastic job as Mrs. Lancaster.

So what do you think of my choices?  Leave me a comment to let me know who you think would make a better Mrs. Lancaster or Kaitlyn.  And when you’re done with that, head over to the Casting Call sister sites and see who they chose.

Tee @ YA Crush

Candice @ The Grown-Up YA

Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide

Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks

~*dixie*~