Tuesday Top Ten-Movies to Look Forward to in 2014

Hello everybody! How are we doing this week? We’re now a few weeks into the year, approved and a new year brings so much: new year, pills new goals, new you, new books, new movies!

I get excited every year around new year because I think…oh all those movies I’ve been waiting for are now closer than ever!

There are a TON of great movies hitting the theaters this year, and I’m excited for them. Here are my top ten:

10. The Giver

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August 15th

I’m not going to lie, this movie makes me incredibly nervous. I love this book. This book was the first dystopian novel that I ever really read and that was when I was twelve years old. This novel has definitely stuck with me, and I’m hoping that when it hits the big screen, it’ll be as beautifully filmed as it was written. The fact that there are all these big names makes me nervous because none of the people who are being cast seem to fit what I’ve imagined. I’m also not happy that Taylor Swift has any part of this movie. I mean, I can’t even handle my disappointment in that. But I’m holding out hope that despite that, and despite the most random of an ensemble cast, it’ll be the script from a beautiful book that makes this a great movie.

9. Maleficent

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May 30th 

It seems to be the hippest thing now to do fairy tale retellings now. And I’m totally okay with that. I love Disney movies, and have loved them since I was a kid. All these retellings just make it so that I can enjoy those favorite stories again and again as an adult, in a new way. I’m not an Angelina Jolie fan, honestly, she kind of bothers me. I was telling my friend that if she wasn’t such a good mom (or at least she appears to be), I would probably really dislike her. However, I think she’s an absolutely perfect pick to play the scary Sleeping Beauty villain and I think it’ll be a great movie. It already looks super great, and I’m really really really looking forward to it. The teaser trailer is just enough to make me want to watch.

8. Love Rosie

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No Release Date…Yet 

I literally have such little knowledge on this movie, its ridiculous. I know that its based off a book, but most movies are, so that wasn’t hard to conclude. But it has two of my favorite people in the world in the movie: Lily Collins and Sam Claflin. Both of whom I’ve met too! Which I just thought of and totally made me happy. But this was being filmed around the promotion time for City of Bones so it came on my radar and I’m excited to see it. There is no real release date for it because I think its super indie but I definitely want to see it, and hopefully read it, as well. I think Lily Collins is a great actress who hasn’t quite caught her break yet, and I adore Sam, who ROCKED Finnick in Catching Fire. Its bound to be a good movie, in my head.

7. X-Men: Days of Future Past

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May 23rd 

I wasn’t a huge fan of the “original” XMen trilogy. The first one was decent and the other two were just a yawn. They just didn’t impress me much. So when the prequel came out, I honestly didn’t have a huge desire to see that at all. Eventually I did watch it and I was blown away. I think the prequel was infinitely better than the original trilogy and I loved the cast immensely: James Mcavoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, January Jones and so on. I loved it so much. I would say they made one mistake in casting someone else for Banshee instead of sticking with their original choice of Robbie Sheehan. But that’s just because I’m biased and love Robbie. But because that first movie was absolutely incredible, I am DEFINITELY looking forward to the sequel. I think its going to be just as good, maybe better, and they got rid of Rogue and I’m SO okay with that.

6. The Maze Runner

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September 19th 

I really am looking forward to seeing this movie for several reasons. First off, I adore Dylan O’Brien. I wish that Teen Wolf would have grabbed me more than it did because he is SO great. So being able to see him as the main character of TMR is something I’m very excited about it. I’m also excited because it really was a good book. James Dashner is a great writer, and The Maze Runner is an incredible novel. Its also a really weird, bizarre novel, which leads to another reason I’m looking forward to seeing this movie: maybe things will make a little more sense to me when I can actually see them. Maybe seeing the maze and the Grievers and all that. I also think that its a very action-y book so it’ll work really well on the big screen. Thomas and his fellow Runners are constantly risking their lives to find a way out and I think that will translate SUPER well onto film.

5. The Fault in Our Stars

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June 6th 

Despite the fact that the fans of The Fault in Our Stars is kind of starting to get on my nerves and I’m starting to push more indie, unknown or underrated authors now, instead of just always John Green, I am looking forward to this movie. I enjoy John Green’s books and I did really like TFiOS a lot so I’m eager to see this movie. I also have a soft spot for Ansel, and I swear, it has nothing to do with his abs ;) I’m also excited because Ansel and Shailene will play brother and sister in another highly anticipated movie this year (look below!) and so I’m eager to see how they do both of them. They obviously have a chemistry on screen enough to be in two different movies together. I wish my favorites of John Green, like An Abundance of Katherines or Will Grayson, Will Grayson, on the big screen but there’s no way it’ll ever happen. So this is the next best thing. Let’s see how well they translated this book to the work of film.

4. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

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November 21st 

Duh. I mean, do I really need to go into detail with this? When I first saw The Hunger Games, I definitely enjoyed it. Its a great movie, but it wasn’t…perfect, you know? There were things wrong with it, and I liked it but it wasn’t a huge favorite. When I saw Catching Fire though, it blew my mind. Its not perfect because a movie will hardly ever be as perfect as the book but it was pretty damn close. I wanted to stand up and tackle Francis Lawrence and all the brains behind CF with hugs and kisses because it was SO SO good. I was only partly looking forward to CF because HG was just okay. Now I’m dying to see Mockingjay because I have high hopes for it. I honestly think its going to be just amazing, and the casting they have been doing for it is great and I want to do fan camp again. The whole Catching Fire experience pulled me so much back into The Hunger Games world and I’m dying to see the first part of the finale. I still don’t know why its split into two parts but whatever. Let’s just enjoy it.

3. Vampire Academy 

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February 7th 

This is only a few weeks away which makes me incredibly excited. I just read the books within the last six months but they have quickly become favorites of mine. The title and the idea of it sounded awful but Richelle Mead blew me away. Its an incredible series so I can’t wait to see it on the big screen. I’m so freakin excited. Plus I have huge crushes on both Zoey Deutch and Danila Kozlovsky and I want to see their chemistry as Rose and Dimitri. I am a bit nervous because it seems very “mean girls” but then I see a clip or a still of Zoey kicking ass and I get excited all over again. She’s super beautiful and perfect for the casting of Rose and I think its going to be a really fun movie. And I hope to get my butt down to the premiere so I can fangirl again and again over Zoey and Danila.

2. The Hobbit: There and Back Again

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December 17th 

I wasn’t overly impressed with The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug but I still feel like I need to go back and re-read the book and then rewatch the movie so I can really see whether I like it or not. It just didn’t effect me as much as the first one did. That one was just so amazing to me, the fight scenes and the elves, and Rivendell and the riddle scene with Gollum. Agh. But I’m hoping with the conclusion, it’ll comes together nicely. The end of The Hobbit is great, and a whole lot goes down so I’m ready to see that. I’m ready to see Smaug destroy the town, and I’m ready for Bard and I’m ready for Thorin to kind of go crazy and I’m ready for Bilbo to become an even bigger badass than he already was. I have some seriously high hopes for this movie (I mean, it is number 2 on the list) so I hope I am not disappointed.

1. Divergent

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March 21st 

I can hardly contain my excitement for this movie. When they first started casting for it, I admit, I was nervous. I was not a fan of Shailene Woodley. All I had ever seen her in was The Secret Life of An American Teenager and…no, just no. But the more I saw her transformation into Tris, the more I felt comfortable with her as Tris. Then I saw The Spectacular Now with my boyfriend at a special screening and it was SO good, and she really impressed me. She did such a great job. That, combined with the casting of Theo James as Four, made me more excited about the movie. I mean, have you seen Theo James. I need a bucket of cold water to the face every time I see him. Since then, we’ve gotten a TON of stills, really amazing trailers and I am just so excited for this movie. Once I saw the first full length trailer, I really thought, “wow, this could be good”. I love these books, I feel like I’m one of a small group that absolutely loved the ending and I can’t wait to see my favorite Divergent characters come to life in March. And to hopefully be at that premiere because, come on, its Divergent!

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So there you have it! My Top Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2014! Check in next week to see my top Ten reasons why I want to be an author :)

What are some movies that you are looking forward to in 2014? Share in the comments! 

A Defense of Tauriel: Fan Reaction

So yesterday I posted an opinion piece on Evangeline Lilly’s character, viagra Tauriel, in the Hobbit movie. To say that I got a visceral response would be an absolute understatement.

But I love that. Look, I tend to have unpopular opinions and I’m used to that. Just the other day, I pointed out that while I think John Green is a fantastic writer, I do think that he gets overrated a lot, and that there are tons of authors that are way better than him.

That didn’t go over too well.

So because of that, I feel like I’m more open to differing opinions than most because I’m usually the one with the different opinion. A dear friend of mine (one of my BEST friends though we’ve never met in person) and follower of this blog, Chloe, wrote her own response to what I wrote (which you can read here). She was so worried I’d be offended but honestly, I loved it. I could see the points she made, and while I still stick to my own opinion, I do love hearing others opinions, mostly when they back it up.

I’m posting Chloe’s response to my post today, because its fun, and its a different opinion than mine and I think that’s awesome. So enjoy!

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THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (2013)EVANGELINE LILLY

Ahh this is one of my favourite topics for discussion – females in fantasy, the concept of female hero versus heroine. I have no real firm opinion on the matter, but I do enjoy discussing it. I do see your point Sara, but I think there’s more to it than that.  Tauriel as a created character, yes. One could easily see her as being a purely commercial creation, since she is involved in a love triangle and happens to be amazing eye-candy. However…

However, I find it equally annoying to have female characters who are basically men with long hair and female names. Captain of the Guard would usually be a male role – making the role female for no reason is not really doing anything for feminism, in my opinion. It’s just creating a token female to make a lazy attempt at avoiding being labelled sexist.

I’m not saying that female characters should not be able to have martial skills, but I think real feminist characters are ones that still have ‘feminine’ qualities that are represented as strengths, rather than weaknesses. Everyone knows women can be as physically skilled as men. That’s nothing new. But not every woman is physically strong, and that does not make her any less of a worthwhile human being than a strong man. I think what we need now are more female characters who use classically feminine qualities and traits as strengths.

For example Luthien, an Elvish woman featured in the Lay of Leithian (and mentioned in Lord of the Rings) escapes from a prison by weaving her long hair into a rope. Long hair and weaving are both female traits, but are here used as strengths. Bam! Awesome character.

If this was an original movie not based on a book then I would have no issue with it being populated with more female warriors. But it is a book, and Tauriel is a deviation from the original. Creating a character like this is a significant dramaturgical choice, and I am certain that the writers and Peter Jackson, being the wonderful storytellers that they are, were well aware of the fact. There has to be a reason for making this character a female other than commercial interests. Take away Tauriel’s love interest and she’s basically a male. She would add nothing to the story but a female who can kick-ass. Good, but it’s not enough. Tauriel is a warrior, but she is also a woman.  She is a woman who allows herself to love (female trait) , and allows her love to overtake her pride (usually a male, warrior trait). Her femininity is a strength, as I will explain.

You said that Tauriel “knew what the right thing to do was, whatever her king said.”

 Is letting giant spiders go off to multiply in other lands when Tauriel and her fighters have the skills to protect these other people really the ‘right’ thing?

Is letting a dwarf go off to die when Tauriel has the skills to save him really the ‘right’ think to do?

In this day and age people resist the idea that a monarch is absolutely correct in everything, and that anyone who does anything apart from displaying unquestioning, blind loyalty is a traitor. Thranduil is not a perfect king. That is made quite clear. He is calculating, cruel and interested only in protecting his own, yet feels happy to allow the dwarves to go off and risk waking a dragon if he can take a share in the treasure.

Tauriel uses her love – a trait usually presented as female and often as a weakness – to allow her to see and do (what I would consider to be ) the right thing.

I think it’s worth noting that Legolas goes through much the same thing as Tauriel. He only follows Tauriel because of his fondness for her, much as Tauriel follows the dwarves for her fondness for Kili. Is it a weakness in him? I would rather argue that Legolas’s love for Taurie and Tauriel’s love for Kili is what allows them both to see what the ‘right’ thing. Previously both Legolas and Tauriel had used their loyalty to their king as an excuse to hide away from the world that they could help, to take the coward’s way out. Here, love is presented as a positive quality. Legolas is given love, a female trait, and it makes him a better person.

This is also explored when Fili and Oin stay behind from their mission to try to help Kili. The love their share makes them forget their pride and their lust for wealth. They will gain nothing by staying behind, but they do because they love Kili.

Are these men’s actions, which are the product of love, weakness? Or is it nobility? Why then is a female allowing romantic love to drive her – as opposed to a male being driven by familial or romantic love – a weakness?

Selfishness is a large theme in this film – selfishness and a lust for wealth. The love-triangle is not an isolated, tacked on addition to the film. I see it as another aspect of the exploration of these themes.

Is Tauriel necessary to the story? Is her romance necessary to the story? No, not really. But then again since when have movies ever been about economic storytelling? This film is much more than a simple narrative, and Tauriel’s charcter, her sub-plot and her influence on other characters are all part of what makes it so rich and beautiful.

I’m sure some people with have issues with this discussion. I am NOT saying that love is feminine and pride is masculine, for one thing. I would just argue that this is often how they are presented in literature, especially sword and sorcery fantasy. I am also not saying that there is no other way that Tauriel could be an awesome strong character without having a love interest. I am simply saying that this is how I see her as working within the plot to provide a strong, female character, and that having a love interest is not intrinsically anti-feminist. I also hope that this post will make people realise that there is more to being a feminist and being a worthwhile woman than possessing physical strength.

Thanks for reading my discussion, and I’d love to hear some responses!