Movie Review: Divergent

Divergent-movie-poster-4After reading Divergent I was really excited to see the movie because the story seemed perfect for a film adaptation. I’m sad to say, however, that they really missed the boat on this one. So many aspects of the book were left underdeveloped that the movie ended up a shallow, formulaic adaptation of a solid young adult novel.

Problem number one for me was that the whole movie felt rushed. Instead of cutting some subplots out in order to do justice to the overall story, the makers tried to cram in every single thing that happened in the whole book. Unfortunately this left a story line that, while inclusive of all plot points, felt disjointed. The jump from climax to climax also left no time for character development. In the end we are left with a list of events that read like bullet points, executed by characters with no time to do anything but jump on trains and punch each other in the face.

Some more minor problems I had with it were:

1) Shailene Woodley was OBVIOUSLY wearing makeup!  I know we all know that actors are always wearing makeup, but they could have made it a little more subtle.  If her original faction won’t even look in a mirror, I”m pretty sure they’re not going around caking on the mascara.

2) They neglected to kill several of the people who were killed and/or severely hurt early on in the book.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just itching for more blood and gore in entertainment.  It’s just that when you omit all these deaths, you lower the stakes of the whole story.  You change fundamentally the world in which the characters are living, and I just don’t like that.

This movie was a missed opportunity.  I’d definitely still recommend the books though!



A Scared Girl’s Take on American Horror Story

american horror story

I am a huge scaredy-cat. I have no problem admitting it because it is undeniably true. I had nightmares for weeks after viewing The Ring. When I was little The Nightmare Before Christmas scared me so much that I made my parents put the VHS in a sealed box in the back of the attic. I can still barely leave a shower curtain closed or a fridge door lingering open while I browse for a midnight snack. Poltergeist almost sent me to therapy. So how I got roped into watching American Horror Story, I have no idea.

Given my history with scary cinema, it may come as a surprise to hear that I really, truly enjoyed the show! I’m only through the first season, but I can confirm to you that not only is it creepy, haunting, and very very bloody, but it is also surprisingly enthralling! It dodges the trap most horror entertainment falls into, which is trading character depth and plot development for disturbing imagery and easy pop-out scares. The thing that kept me coming back (even though I am a scaredy-cat and really didn’t want to) was that the characters were so intriguing. Jessica Lange steals the show as the creepy-demented but at times sympathetic 1950s beauty-queenish single mom neighbor (enough descriptive terms for you? My fifth grade english teacher would die if she saw that sentence). My personal favorites were Violet and Tate, played by Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters.  An enthralling and sad love story paired with some great acting really left me wanting more of these star-crossed teens.

Overall, I’d recommend this show to anyone.  If I can watch it without being irreversibly terrified, then so can you!


PS – Hated the intro.  Only bad thing about the show.

On Talking Raccoons and Exceeding Expectations

guardians_poster_via_marvelSo I saw Guardians of the Galaxy today. Let me just say, when I first saw the commercial for this movie, I thought it was going to be a huuuuuge bomb. Like, Green Lantern or John Carter level bomb. I mean, a talking raccoon? A tree creature that only repeats the same three words? Pink and blue and green aliens? Yikes.

Turns out, this is one of the best ensemble superhero movies they’ve made yet. All my concerns were thrown right back at me like a pie to the face. IT WAS HILARIOUS! I laughed out loud so many times! That talking raccoon, Rocket, could’ve been really (and I mean really) cheesy, but I have to say Bradley Cooper and the animators were ON POINT with it. Rocket and Groot almost stole the show. Almost. But how could anyone really steal the show from Chris Pratt? I just love that guy.  He totally carried the movie with his boyish charm, the same kind that won me over instantly with Andy on Parks and Rec. I don’t know what it is–there’s just something about him that makes you really like the guy!

But the thing that really made this movie work was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. Every time it approached a point where things might get too cheesy, or too dramatic, or too grandiose, they slipped in just enough humor to remind you that they knew just how goofy it all was.

I could say more, but this post is getting pretty long. So I’ll leave it at this: Chris Pratt, adorable tree creature, AMAZING SOUNDTRACK, pretty impressive CGI, great themes about the power of friends, and abundant laughs.

Go see it!