Posted in Fantasy Movies, Movies, Romance Movies, Teen Movies, thriller, Uncategorized

Nerve (2016)


So, I’m not going to lie, I became a little obsessed with this movie. I don’t know if it just hit a particular nerve for me (no pun intended), but I really thought this movie was fantastic. I read one review where someone said the characters were stereotypical and flat, but I agree only as far as they are the everyman. The characters were people we know all too well: the smart girl who gets overshadowed by the more flamboyant friend, the flamboyant friend who pushes to be liked too hard, people like that. The story was a large, progressing journey that kept the watcher (again no pun intended) interested and engrossed as it shifted and changed into different dynamics.

The story is about Vee, a senior in high school who has lived a reserved and safe life thus far. With her adult life at her doorstep she finds her teetering on the edge of what she wants to do and what is expected by her mom, but finds herself lacking in the courage to face her fears and tell the truth about her dreams. A new game online called Nerve (a Truth and Dare – high risk game – without the truth) is the furthest thing from her mind, but one last push from an embaressing encounter in front of her friends and her crush sends her headlong into the questionable game. Her first dare to kiss a stranger lets her meet Ian, another player. The Watchers push them to team up and, at first, Vee starts seeing a different side of herself. But things start shifting in the game and it soon becomes clear that this game has a much darker side to it.

So, for most people the first thing that comes to mind is the comparison to the new Pokemon Go app. It’s not hard to see how a game like this could actually happen; in fact, many of the responses I saw in the theatre were the same as the Watchers in the movie. The message is clear and laid-out: be careful of getting obsessed with the digital world and the dangers it can pose. Besides that I thought that the chemistry between the two leads was exemplary. The film itself was pure art; the play between camera shifts (from ‘hand-held’ first person to normal) and then the interactive graphics that let the audience feel like they were one of the Watchers in the movie at times. It really made for a fun film. I’d highly suggest this movie.

Posted in Fantasy Movies, Movies, Teen Movies

Alice: Through the Looking Glass


Alright, so this movie was highly anticipated for me. I loved the first Tim Burton film and I couldn’t wait to see the continuation. Despite the course reviews I had skimmed that claimed the movie was “without plot” and just a jumble of high-end graphics, I have to disagree thoroughly. The plot was clear and had a firm moral setting for life (just like the first) and the graphics were STUNNING. Mia Wasikowska does not disappoint as Alice and it is her beautiful and honest acting that takes the audience from one story to the next.

I don’t want to give too much away about the plot, but the story is based on the book, “Through the Looking Glass”. How much so and how much it differs, I don’t know; I haven’t gotten the opportunity to read the Alice books yet. In this story, Alice returns to Underland to save the Hatter. She must face off with Time, itself, and a familiar foe: the Red Queen. Can Alice stop Time or is it all inevitable?

Some of the best things about this movie is the stunning graphics and the return of my favorite characters. Perhaps the very direct moral point of the story can be somewhat cheesy to some, but I think it’s refreshing. Most of the directors today are so determined to be new and fresh that they go out of their way to be complicated with large interweaving stories and tons of characters with no clear purpose to the movie, except the large climax at the end. Through the Looking Glass is a fun, exciting tale about accepting and understanding Time as we get older.

Posted in Fantasy Movies, Movies, Teen Movies, Uncategorized

Jungle Book (1994)


This live-action rendition of the book is a marvel. It has wonderful characters and a story that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. Anyone who has seen the animated Disney story will see all the small nods towards it in this film, but it stays its own story. The CGI and green screens are the only noticeable things in this that aren’t up to par; it’s noticeable but not so bad that it takes away from the movie.
In this version of Jungle Book, Mowgli is a young boy who ends up in the wild jungles of India after his camp is attacked by Shere Khan, the Tiger King. He and his pet wolf are taken in by a family of wolves. He grows up under the Jungle Law (only kill to eat) away from humans when he suddenly meets a young British woman. She, after much persuading from her father, brings Mowgli to their home to teach him the ways of being Human, but not everyone is pleased by this strange wild man nor is he convinced that the Human Laws coincide with the ways he was taught in the jungle.
This movie is a personal favorite. It really demonstrates how pure and innocent the animal world is and how the jungle is a place deserving of respect. I really liked how this movie is set when Mowgli is older because there is a certain level of darkness that can be demonstrated better that way. I also have to say that the guy who plays Mowgli is just amazing. The things he manages to demonstrate with just body language is amazing. I wish I could say go watch it, but that’s actually pretty hard. Disney has stopped making this film, so copies of it go for almost 200 dollars online. I chanced upon it at a pawn shop recently, so I was lucky.

Posted in Fantasy Movies, Hunger Games Saga, Movies, Teen Movies, Uncategorized

Mockingjay Part Two


So, this film is very turbulent. The war has gotten serious and the lines on both sides have been crossed. I think this film was still a great ending to the saga, not only because they stayed true to the book, but because they did a great job on balancing everything. I know that the ending seems odd to some, but that’s how it was done in the book. If you don’t understand the reasoning behind it then I’d suggest reading Mockingjay which perhaps better expressed it.
The fourth film finds Katniss in emotional turmoil. She tried so hard to get Peeta back, but he’s been brainwashed and tortured by the Capital until he barely resembles the man she knew. She’s struggling to continue to be the face of the Rebellion realizing now how much strength Peeta had given her all this time. The war’s atrocities continue to rise and Katniss begins questioning what lines should be crossed, but she’s helpless to stop anything as she realizes that she’s just a pawn. The Girl on Fire has to decide whether to stay and do what she’s told or follow her instincts and do what she believes is right.
The sheer scale of this film is amazing and the tone is so different compared to the first two films. Which, in my opinion, was necessary; it wasn’t a game anymore. The sheer level of war is terrifying and I think the director showed that. War has different aspects: the planning and discussions over a table in safety, the hurry up and wait moments and the battles where things are messy and plans are tossed out the window. It’s also in the moments when the characters have to just forgive and let go of things that happened in the heat of battle because they can’t do anything else. One mistake could turn the tables on the war and staying alive was like nothing they saw in the games, because there was seemingly no end.


Posted in Fantasy Movies, Hunger Games Saga, Movies, Teen Movies, Uncategorized

Mockingjay Part One


I already know that a lot of people did not like part one at all. It was too boring and too slow… so many things like that. I have to whole-heartedly disagree though. If you’re looking for a series that’s all about the action and main stream entertainment then you are looking at the wrong group of movies. From the very beginning Hunger Games has been about more than just action and a strong female lead. It has a very strong moral point to it; it’s about people and what they do to each other, how they are affected by war, and how people can change into either heroes or monsters.
Part One of Mockingjay finds Katniss in the mysterious District 13 where she finds the heart of the rebellion. Peeta, along with two other Victors, have been taken by the Capital. Katniss decides to be become the face of the Rebellion after finding out her home has been destroyed with only one main demand: the Rebellion must make an attempt to rescue Peeta and the other victors.
I know that this movie moves very slowly, but I think it was necessary. If the two film had been put together a lot of the little nuances would have been lost and it would have become way too convoluted. I think it was important that this film addressed the changing world and the part that Katniss was going to have to play in this war. Without the subtleties of motion and pacing that they used in this film I think the emotional and moral point of the story would have been lost in a whirlwind of activity. And I know I’ve said this a lot, but it’s the emotional turbulence through the eyes of Katniss that readers loved; it was through her eyes that they got to see the Capital and their atrocities. Also this film really needed to address the different facets of the building war so that people could understand everything that was going on. One film wouldn’t have been able to do all that.

Posted in Fantasy Movies, Hunger Games Saga, Movies, Teen Movies

Catching Fire


Catching Fire is by far my favorite out of the quartet of movies; it’s the only time when the girly part of me goes ga-ga over the relationship between Katniss and Peeta. As a fan of the books I really like how the director was able to recreate the story in such an exciting and wonderful way. I remember that the second book seemed so intermediate (no pun intended) compared to the others, but in the movies it’s by the far the best. It has the best of the first and last films all put together in a nice, neat 2 plus hour package.
In this film, it’s a year after the Hunger Games. Katniss and Peeta have somewhat returned to their old lives and are both attempting to forget the painful memories of what happened; Katniss more than Peeta. Now the time has come for them to return to the Capital as Victors and to be paraded around the Districts as examples of how ‘great’ the Capital is, how ‘wonderful’ their mercy. But things aren’t as happy as they may seem: rebellions are breaking out across the districts and President Snow’s patience is wearing thin with the ‘Girl on Fire’ whose acts during the Hunger Games have thrown the world into a frenzy. As the 75th Quarter Quell grows closer, Snow calls for the unthinkable: this year’s Hunger Games contestants will be drawn from the existing pool of Victors.
It’s hard not to go on and on about the story, because it is just so tantalizing. There have been great stories in the past, but not as many that draw in the reader with a feeling of anguish, indignation and fiery injustice. The stories by Suzanne Collins aren’t just about some upstart heroine fighting against a big baddie; it’s about people and what they can do to each other. Catching Fire demonstrates this as the audience gets to see the aftermath of the Hunger Games and how the tributes are affected (PTSD for one).

Posted in Fantasy Movies, Hunger Games Saga, Teen Movies

The Hunger Games

Hunger Games

So, this film is one of my favorite fantasy films and I think most people would agree with me. Yes, it’s main stream, but at the same time the story is daring and harsh. I absolutely love Jennifer Lawrence in this and I think it was really well directed and produced. It’s also one of the few movies based on books that had the author so involved in the process which kept it true to the original story and feel.
The story is about Katniss Everdeen, a young woman, who lives in a future post-apocalyptic world where the bulk of the civilization is separated into ‘Districts’. The Capital of Panem regulates these Districts and keeps them in check by hosting a competition called the Hunger Games where two young adults (12 to 18 year olds) are chosen from each district to fight to the death. Katniss volunteers in place of her younger sister along with another young man, Peeta.
While this movie is awesome, I have even a greater respect for it after watching the behind the scenes. It was great to see how much the book meant to the director, producers, actors and others involved in the film, because they tried so hard to keep true to it. I personally think they did great on all accounts. The production team gave a great homage to the original, but also created their own cinematic masterpiece. Everything was thought through in amazing detail from the costume and set design, the stylistic use of the cameras and the balance of CGI, stuntmen and the actual realistic usage of the actors and the surroundings.