Divergent: Movie Review

Divergent movie poster

 Movie: Divergent

Director: Neil Burger

Writers: Evan Daugherty & Vanessa Taylor

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ½

Shailene WoodleyShailene Woodley as Tris

Theo James Theo James as Four

Kate Winslet Kate Winslet as Jeanine

Read the book review!

Remind me what it’s about…
Tris lives in a society divided into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave) and Erudite (the intelligent). When children come of age they have to pick a faction to join, they are free to choose any faction they want but once you pick a faction there’s no switching. And if you pick a faction you weren’t raised in, you’re likely to never see your family again. No big deal.

After Tris’ Choosing Ceremony, she begins her initiation and meets Four who is a major babe. Because there’s always a major babe. Major Babe is a mysterious, strict and intimidating trainer/coach for the initiates. His job is to teach the newbies what they need to know about their new faction and look beautiful while doing it. Tris struggles at first but she’s determined to be successful and she just might make it with Major Babe’s help.

What did you think?
Shailene and Theo’s beauty combined is brighter than the noontime sun. I love looking at pretty things, so I was pleased anytime Shailene Woodley, Theo James or Kate Winslet were on screen. But I loved the whole cast for more than just their pure beauty. They were all close to how I imagined them to be when I was reading, which impressed me.

But, Divergent was the tinsiest bit cheesy and predictable at times; mostly concerning a few cookie cutter characters. There was the all knowing mother, the stereotypical arrogant punk who was a jerk for the sake of being a jerk, the endearing speaks-before-she-thinks best friend, and of course the beautiful and strong heroine who doesn’t realize how strong or beautiful she really is and the dangerous, mysterious and beautiful love interest. While not necessarily the most original characters, they appear in movies/books all the time because they work. They make make for a fun and exciting story that people want to immerse themselves in.

The biggest flaw was the music. There were certain scenes that were going well, I was really getting into it and then Ellie Goulding would start playing and it totally took me out of the zone. It was distracting and felt very out of place.

Was it a good adaption?
Yeah, there definitely some things missing and some changes from the book but no movie will ever be exactly like the book. I think the changes were all justified and the movie still stayed true to the book. The only thing that really bothered me adaption-wise was that some things felt a little rushed. Certain things took a lot longer to develop in the book than in the movie but I know that there’s not much you can do about that. The movie is already 140 minutes long, if anything was any less rushed no one would sit down long enough to watch the whole thing.

Should I watch it?
Was it ground-breaking and Oscar worthy? No. Was it fun and did I enjoy watching it? Absolutely. It won’t be the greatest movie you’ll ever see but you should definitely watch it. Find a showtime at a theater near you here.

Here’s the trailer:

The Spectacular Now: Movie Review

The Spectacular Now movie poster

Movie: The Spectacular Now

Director: James Ponsoldt

Writers: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

Rating: ♥ ♥ ½

Miles TellerMiles Teller as Sutter Keely

Shailene WoodleyShailene Woodley as Aimee Finicky

Read the book review!

Remind me what it’s about…
Basically Sutter Keely is a pretty cool kid but he has no future. He loves fun, parties, drinks, girls and not much else. After his girlfriend dumps him, he drinks too much and ends up on a stranger’s lawn where Aimee finds him. She’s his classmate but they’ve never met because she’s a bit of an outsider to the social scene. Sutter decides to help her out by taking her to a party but things don’t quite as he planned.

What did you think?
I liked it. It was really well cast and I especially loved Teller as Sutter. Teller and Woodley were really cute together in the movie and I loved their chemistry. They’re even an adorable couple IRL (see: #17). But other than that the movie was only okay. Much like the book, it was a pretty average but not unenjoyable.

Was it a good adaption?
Yes. There’s always more details in the books that movies can’t capture, but overall the movie was very true to the book. There were of course things that happened in the book that were cut out of the movie, but that’s expected; if the movie included everything in the book, it would be way too long. I think the writers did a really good job of deciding what to keep and what to leave out of the movie.

The biggest difference between the book and the movie is Sutter. It’s always hardest when the book is written from the first person perspective. It’s so much harder to convey Sutter’s motivations and reasoning in the movie, whereas in the book he straight up tells you. When you can get inside Sutter’s head, he’s a much more interesting character. While he’s unguided and frustrating in both, he felt a lot more vanilla to me in the movie. Even if I didn’t always agree with Sutter, when I was reading I at least understood where he was coming and that wasn’t always clear to me in the movie. But maybe I’m just being nit picky.

Should I watch it?
I wouldn’t try to dissuade you from watching, but I wouldn’t urge you to watch it either. Not worth a big investment but not a waste of time either, it’s on the fence.

The Fault In Our Stars: Book Review

The Fault In Our Stars book

Book: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Publisher/Year: Dutton Books/2012

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ½

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Shailene Woodley (The Secret Life of the American TeenagerThe Descendants)
Ansel Elgort (Carrie)
Willem Dafoe (The Boondock Saints, Green Goblin from the first Spider-Man)
Laura Dern (Jurassic Park)

When can I watch it?
It hits theaters June 6. TOO LONG TO WAIT.

What’s it about?
Life and love and the unfairness of it all. Hazel (Woodley) is terminally ill with cancer and needs an oxygen tank to breathe, but she doesn’t let it get her down. She’s accepted her fate and is determined to live however much life she has left on her own terms. She’s settled into an antisocial, stay-at-home kind of life until she meets dreamboat Augustus “Gus” Waters (Elgort) at her Cancer Kids Support Group. Hazel is determined to not get close with Gus and instead continue living the life of a hermit in her little remaining time, but Gus has different plans.

What did you think?
So many feels. Just so many feels. It was like John Green reached inside my soul and molded my heart into anything he wanted like it was play-doh. He just has a way with words that hit home and his writing really makes you think. He’s written a lot of other popular books (Looking for AlaskaAn Abundance of KatherinesPaper Towns) and I’ve already added them to my reading list. John Green is so much fun (and heart-wrenching) to read, he also has a great video blog series on YouTube.

Anyway, back to the book.

I love Hazel’s blunt and sarcastic attitude. While she can be cynical, she’s mostly just a realist; she knows what life has dealt her and she’s not going to sugar coat it. Hazel doesn’t believe in placing hope in a hopeless situation and she accepts everything for what it is. Next to her wit, this is my favorite part about Hazel. Some people may see her attitude toward life and label her a Debbie Downer, but I think she’s wise to not put a happy spin on tragic scenarios. Hazel’s also funny, smart, brave, guarded and charming — she’s pretty much just the coolest girl ever.

The witty banter between Hazel and Gus alone is worth reading this book. They reject almost anything that’s standard or traditional and march to the beat of their own drum. They’re two truly unique individuals who make a perfect pair. Their love of the unorthodox is both refreshing and endearing. While their relationship is unconventional and flawed, it’s equally beautiful and perfect for them. Is it clear that I’m absolutely obsessed with them? Good.

Here’s the trailer and I’m a puddle of emotions. (Although if you haven’t read the book I would recommend not watching the trailer just yet, I always think trailers give away too much.)

Should I read it?
Yes! It’s pretty short and an easy read, you can finish it in no time. But keep in mind it’s YA and not the most dense or complex book out there, so if you can’t get off your high horse then trot away from this one. But if you’re a cool person, you can get a copy here or here.