Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

MV5BMTcxNDI2NDAzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODM3MTc2MjE@._V1_SY1200_CR79, <a href=discount 0, malady 630,1200_AL_” width=”441″ height=”841″ />

Rated:

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material

Directed By:

Francis Lawrence

Based on the Book By: 

Suzanne Collins

Cast:

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Sam Claflin, Julianne Moore and more.

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

When Katniss destroys the games, she goes to District 13 after District 12 is destroyed. She meets President Coin who convinces her to be the symbol of rebellion, while trying to save Peeta from the Capitol.

My Review:

Here’s the thing about Mockingjay. Its my least favorite book in the entire trilogy. I read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire about a month before Mockingjay came out. I remember reading the first two and just being absolutely blown away by it and then just feeling disappointed by Mockingjay. So much potential there but it just felt kind of sloppy, rushed, weird.

BUT, that being said…I was really looking forward to this movie. I liked the first movie well enough but the second movie just completely blew my mind and so I was really looking forward to this one. I went to the premiere and was on a complete high from the red carpet and went into the theater really excited for this movie.

One thing that really impressed me is that Francis Lawrence continues the trueness to the book that he showed us in Catching Fire. I knew what was happening next at every turn because it just felt so true to the book. Scenes that I wanted to happen, lines I wanted to hear, that sort of thing, were all there. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that actual lines from the book were said. That always means a lot to me because the worlds that we show in these movies were created by the words of the author and to use those words in the movie, it means a lot. Those words are important to the reader. We quote those books. So hearing them said by these actors that do SUCH a great job is just fantastic.

I loved that a lot of my favorite scenes were in the movie. I don’t want to say which ones because this is spoiler free but I really loved that the scenes that stood out to me in the books are the ones that ended up on screen.

Julianne Moore as Coin? Loved it. She had a nice balance of kind of weird and untrusting and at the same time, a passion for the rebellion and a control over the people she governs. She really brought that character to life. Natalie Dormer as Cressida? UGH. Love. She’s amazing. I cant wait to see more of her in Part 2.

Sad face every time that Philip Seymour Hoffman came on screen. KILLED me. There is so much of him in this movie, and I just loved it.

Jennifer Lawrence. Liam. Josh. Elizabeth. Donald. Sam. All of them are just so great.

I love where they cut it. Its great. Its kind of what the fandom expected but just a bit more and that’s what I loved. Because they probably assumed the fandom would know where they would logically cut it, it was really cool to see them twist it a bit. Still completely true to the book but just a fantastic end to the movie until we get Part 2. Can we get Part 2 now?

They added SO much action to it. Action that already existed but it really stood out on screen. It felt so real and frightening. The movie was pretty long but it didn’t feel that way because the action of it kept you wrapped up in it the whole time. It was so great to see Katniss really fight, and to see others fighting beside her, especially Gale. We don’t see much of Gale in the first two movies because she ends up in the Games both times so it was great to see more of him. I LOVE Gale as a character, and his passion for the rebellion, no matter the cost, so I loved seeing him fight and stand up for his rights and his thoughts.

There were two added scenes and I loved both of them. I can’t say much more than that. One was completely made up but stayed true to the events taking the place in the novel. Let’s just say my friend, who is a District 7 girl, was like “Yes! District 7! That’s my district!” in the theater last night. It was a really epic addition. The other addition was something that most definitely takes place in the novel but is kind of off screen because Katniss is not involved so therefore we have no perspective on it. I loved that they added it, it was just SO great, and intense and caused me lots of anxiety, even though I’ve read the book a bunch of times and know how it ends.

All in all, I’m massively impressed with this adaptation. Francis really knows what he’s doing. They capture the soul and essence of this book, stay true to the story and the characters but really bring it to life on screen. They take something that is so small in the books and blow it up into a huge, significant and beautiful scene on screen and I was really impressed by that. The performances by all the actors were incredible and I seriously can’t wait to see the second part. I think the movie gave the opportunity to straighten out those things that were messy in the book and I’m eagerly looking forward to the epic finale next fall!

OH! One last thing: my favorite part of the entire film was Jennifer Lawrence singing “The Hanging Tree”. It was SO flippin epic. It gave me total chills, all up and down my body. I need that song in my life. I was really just blown away with how they did that scene. Ugh. Perfection!

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Movie Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner

MV5BMjUyNTA3MTAyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTEyMTkyMjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_

Rated:

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, malady including some disturbing images

Directed By:

Wes Ball

Based on the Book By: 

James Dashner

Cast:

Dylan O’Brien, try Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario.

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.

My Review:

I am SO late with this but hey, I’m eventually doing it. This movie is heading into its second weekend at the theaters so its perfect timing to get you guys out there this weekend to see it!

Here’s the thing about The Maze Runner: I liked the book. I enjoyed it. But I didn’t love it. And I think its because while James Dashner is SUCH a kickass person and a great writer, it was hard to picture a lot of things in the novel. I was confused, bewildered and even my own active imagination had problems keeping up with the world. But I honestly thought that this story would just be so much better on screen. The action, the anticipation, the fear, the maze, the Glade, the Grievers…I felt like it would all just look so good on screen.

I was right.

The things that were so hard to picture in written form exploded on screen. This movie had me on the edge of my seat and this is coming from a person who has already read the book. I already knew what would happen, who would live and die, what would happen next, but I was still clutching the armrests of my seat because it was just so full of action and mystery and anticipation. I love a movie that can build it up and keep you on the edge of your seat and that’s exactly what this movie does.

Plus, its funny. You stick a bunch of teenage boys together to survive and you can either get a rag-tag group of friends that somehow keep themselves alive or you get Lord of the Flies. Thankfully, we don’t get Lord of the Flies. Instead we get a rag-tag society that is somehow working and a bunch of guys that can seriously make me laugh. There were several times that I was laughing, and I think it was mostly the character of Chuck, the youngest member of the group, the caused the giggles.

Which brings me to the casting. They had such a great mix of actors, a mix of known ones and a mix of people I’ve never heard before. You had Dylan O’Brien (from Teen Wolf), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (from Game of Thrones), Kaya Scodelario (from Skins) but there are fantastic performances from Blake Cooper, Aml Ameen and Ki Hong Lee as well, and I’m just impressed by all of them. And watch out for an appearance by James Dashner himself.

I think what really brings this movie together, and guaranteed the release of the sequel (coming to theaters in September 2015) is that it appeals more to both genders than a lot of the YA adaptations have in the past. While I think The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc can definitely appeal to boys, its not going to appeal to the wider audience that The Maze Runner does. Its unique when compared to other YA adaptations and its a majority male cast as well. Its definitely garnered attention from movie goers outside of the normal YA crowd, and that’s the real key to a YA movie succeeded, bringing in a broader audience than just those who have read the book, and it definitely accomplished that. Its full of action, its funny, the eye candy isn’t too bad, there is mystery and a sort of thriller feeling to it, and its just great.

If you haven’t been to theater to see this one yet, whether you’ve read the book or not, I definitely recommend going to see it!

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Movie Review: If I Stay

If I Stay

new-if-i-stay-movie-poster

Official U.S. Release Date: August 22nd, find 2014

Rated:

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some sexual material

Directed By:

R.J. Cutler

Cast:

Chloe Grace Moretz, this Jamie Blackley, Liana Liberato, Joshua Leonard, Jakob Davies, Mireille Enos

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

Mia Hall thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam. But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate.

My Review:

The thing about contemporary novels is that a huge part of what they are is based on emotions. They don’t have the constant action that usually comes hand in hand with a science fiction, fantasy or dystopian novel. They literally have to carry the entire book with emotion, whether good or bad. If I Stay is perfect at doing that…and I had hoped so much that this emotional journey would carry over to the movie.

I was so please to find that it did.

First off, just a shout out in general for making a movie that actually is a good representative of the book. I had just recently reread the book a few days before seeing the movie so it was completely fresh in my mind and I loved recognizing so many scenes in the book. They really made sure to get all of them. Some were tweaked a bit but that was okay, because it made sense for the movie. But they really did a great job at adapting and I don’t often say that.

But what made me so incredibly happy is that I felt the same emotions when watching the movie as I did with reading the book. That book is an absolute emotional roller coaster. One minute, I’m laughing and the next, my heart is racing and I’m envious of the romance between Mia and Adam, and the next, I’m literally sobbing in the middle of the theater. All the characters in the movie felt so real, so genuine that it was so easy to connect with them and believe in their story.

If you’ve read the books, you know that the accident, the loss of her parents, even the loss of her brother, comes very fast and yet, you feel that pain. You connect with all of them so fast, and they accomplish that in the movie as well. But what is absolutely beautiful about it is that the flashbacks make you fall in love with the characters even more, so you’re torn between feeling the happiness at getting to know this extraordinary family and the gut wrenching sadness at the fact that they are already gone. The movie does that, and every flashback is so painful and you know why its so hard for her to stay. Every person who was cast, was cast so perfectly for the role. They played the perfect rocker parents, the little brother, the best friend, the boyfriend, they all did. It was incredible how much I believed every single one of them was that character.

But I think what really makes this movie stand out so much is the music. The music is something that we need to picture ourselves in the book, something that we have to imagine, but in the movie, the music is a character all on its own and I’m just so blown away by that. The music is there through all the emotions, the sadness, the joy, the love, family, friendship, loss, all of it, comes through in that. Music is magical that way and I think having the music that is so central in the book in the movie just makes it that much better. It captures the very essence of the film.

Rating:

5 out of 5 stars

Divergent: Official Movie Review

So today, diagnosis I’m at the Divergent World Premiere in Los Angeles. Well, dosage I’m not there right now. I’m writing this so it publishes while I’m there. I won’t be able to blog while I’m there. You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram or Tumblr in order to keep up with all the Divergent awesomeness. Here is my review of the movie though!

Divergent

Divergent_poster_hq

Official U.S. Release Date: March 21st, 2014

Rated:

Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality

Directed By:

Neil Burger

Cast:

Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Zoe Kravitz, Ashley Judd, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort.

Find the rest on IMDB here.

IMDB Movie Synopsis:

In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late.

My Review:

I am literally blown away at how well they did with this movie. While it wasn’t absolutely perfect, I thought they did a wonderful job with it.

^^That was exactly how I started off my Vampire Academy review and I thought it was quite fitting for the review I’m about to do for Divergent. While watching the movie, I was unsure at times if things were being changed or if I just totally needed to re-read the book. I waited until I did a re-read before I did this review because I wanted to make sure that I did this fairly. Now that I’ve read the book again, I can tell you that I love the movie even more than the first time I saw it and I’m so glad that I saw it and I’m literally going to die until I see it again.

I thought they did a wonderful job taking the book and putting it on the big screen. There were a TON of direct quotes from the book (which is always my favorite) and it flowed nicely. There were small things that they cut but I honestly felt like everything was done f or a reason and it really did such great justice to the book. It really captured what it was about, all that fear and uncertainty and the many realizations that Tris comes through while making her journey from Abnegation to Dauntless. I really thought they captured each faction really well too. We really only see Dauntless and Abnegation and a bit of Erudite but so much of it was exactly like I had pictured. I really felt like the world I had gotten to know so well in the books had come to life on screen.

Which brings me to the characters. When all these characters were being cast, there was really only one casting (Kate Winslet as Jeanine Matthews) that really made me feel comfortable. Of course, I had to see them as the actual characters but I wasn’t sold completely. Well, after seeing the movie, I can’t imagine anyone else playing any of these characters. They all really seemed to understand the person they were playing and portrayed them so well. I was surprised at really seeing Tris and Four and Peter and Caleb and Christina and the rest. I felt that the characters really jumped from the book to the screen. The actors weren’t just portraying characters, they WERE the characters.

I really had fun while watching this movie. The music mixed with the action was absolutely fabulous and I found myself quoting along because there were so many direct quotes from the book. I loved it and I honestly can’t wait to see it again. I saw it about two weeks ago and its already been way too long. I hope that I’ll be able to see it again today at the premiere. Cross my fingers.

I have a lot of hope for this movie. What I really loved about it was that it really highlighted the emotional journeys of these characters but it definitely made sure to capture all the amazing action that is there. I think that’s what can make this a movie that is enjoyable no matter what gender or age. It really has something for everyone, or so I think. I hope that people can get past its “another tween movie” or “another Hunger Games” and really give it a chance because I honestly think it’ll do really well. Its a great book and a great movie and I really hope I can see it again soon!

Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

A Divergent Review…Is Coming!

I know, more about that’s a super weird title.

Forgive me for that.

On Saturday, check I was able to do something that I’ve been looking forward to for a few weeks now, treatment something that made me so extremely happy, something that literally has had a hold on my emotions all weekend long.

I got to see a pre-screening of Divergent.

AGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2014-03-08 15.03.14

Me, before the screening.

My dear friend, Maggie, works for Lionsgate and asked me a few weeks ago if I’d like to go to a press junket screening and I immediately said yes. You guys know that I love Divergent. I don’t have tattoos on my collarbone for no reason ;)

Divergent Tattoo

I was able to bring a friend along with me and I immediately thought of my fangirl BFF, Sylvia from FangirlFeeels.

Now, if you’re looking for a review of the movie, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m going to be reviewing it but not quite yet. I’m writing it up but I don’t want to post it too early. The movie is still two weeks away and I want to post it closer to that. Look for it around the Los Angeles Premiere day (the 18th).

But I will say a few things:

One, Sylvia and I had an awesome time, and we probably were some of the most enthusiastic people in the audience.

Two, the casting of this movie is absolutely phenomenal.

Three, Theo James. Seriously. I can’t…I can’t even handle him as Four. The level of attractiveness of that man is just off the charts. I seriously, I can’t even handle it right now.

Four, you’re seriously missing out if you do not go see this movie on the 21st.

I had a great time, I seriously enjoyed the movie, and I can’t wait to see it again. I’m waiting just as anxiously as those who haven’t seen it for release day because it was just that good. I’m so proud of the team behind this movie. Its going to be so great, and I’m going to see this in the theater so many times.

Thanks to Maggie for being such a doll and getting me into this amazing early screening. I appreciate it more than you know!

Stay tuned for the full review coming soon :)

For now, enjoy the trailer!

http://youtu.be/Aw7Eln_xuWc