Movie Reviews

Beautiful Creatures

Slightly spoilerish:
Wow. After viewing this movie, I was really surprised at the sheer number of people in the book that were left out of the movie. Ethan's father is mentioned but never seen (really, you can't spare the man five seconds worth of screen time?). There were no aunts (The Sisters), mentioned or seen (really?). No Boo Radley (seriously?). No Marian-Amma was the town's librarian in the movie (what?). No Reece or Ryan (c'mon?). And, Larkin's character was hardly there and with no snakes of any kind. Needless to say, there were considerable changes made to the cast, and additionally, some to the storyline. I understood why on some of it (not enough time, need to streamline), but then as the movie neared the end, I was like, "What the heck!" A plot device was used that was definitely not in the books, but after giving it some further contemplation, it wasn't all that terrible. It was just different and totally out of left field.

The positives: All of the strong lead actors: Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson and Emmy Rossum, raised the bar on this movie. I even enjoyed watching the young man that played Ethan. He had such great facial expressions, such effervescence. Although, his Southern dialect was way too pronounced, and he looked as if he was already twenty-seven, instead of a high school kid-what with his perpetual five o'clock shadow. He wasn't what I envisioned Ethan looking like, but nonetheless, there was some likable quality about him that drew me. The young girl that played Lena did a decent job and did look like, for the most part, what I pictured Lena as looking. Lots of wit between Lena and Ethan leave the movie with some memorable moments.

The negatives: The guy that played Linc was all wrong, though. All wrong. Looked absolutely nothing like the Linc in my mind. And, where was Linc's band? That was totally cut from the movie. On the whole, the Southern dialects were not good, either. I'm sorry, but all of these English and other regional actors that are hired to play Southerners, need more dialect/vocal training. I found myself cringing at times, particularly when Ethan's got too pronounced (think Paula Deen, drop it down a few octaves, and then multiple that a few times). Sometimes, I just want to know why a studio can't hire a true Southerner. The best Southern accents that I've heard, from non-Southerners, come from the cast of True Blood and The Walking Dead. Sometimes, you can hear them slip in and out, but at least there is a continuous, concerted effort (and maybe a redo or two). The special effects looked a little on the low-budget side, at times, but it wasn't horrible. 

Overall, an enjoyable movie, and if a sequel was ever made, I would definitely go, but would hope that some improvements were made between now and then. 

Beautiful Creatures - 3.5 stars out of 5!

Reviewed by Susannah;)

Safe Haven

Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! If you enjoy reading Nicholas Sparks, you've got to see this movie. I enjoyed it more than Dear John, Message in a Bottle, Nights in Rodanthe, and even last year's, The Vow (not a Nicholas Sparks movie, but similar). You don't have to be the best actor/actress in the world, for me to like his books-turned-movies. If I really liked the book, it's a safe bet that I will like the movie. Definitely wouldn't mind seeing this one again. Now, I just want to go get my hair cut like Julianne Hough's hair in the movie. Very cute cut. 

Safe Haven - 4.5 stars out of 5!

Reviewed by Susannah;)

The Host

I recently decided I was just going to review movies based on books. In keeping with that promise to myself, here is my review for the movie, The Host. 

Despite the trailer looking decent, I went into this movie with mixed-to-low expectations. Let me say that I was pleasantly surprised, and by far, this movie exceeded those initial expectations. For a YA book-to-movie, it was much, much better than Beautiful Creatures, which I saw not too long ago. There are over 600 pages in the book, so they had a lot of source material to work with, and I had my doubts that it would remain, for the most part, true to the book. Thankfully, I was wrong. Granted, the story is broader and with some more depth, and there are some noticeable changes (i.e., Seekers attire and appearance are wrong), but on the whole, they did a good job remaining true to the storyline. The romance does feature pretty prominently, but I figured as much, and as a fan of YA romance books, I don't have a problem with that. In fact, with this movie, I'm their target audience and proud of it. With niche movies such as this one, I tend to take the negative reviews, posted by movie critics, with a grain of salt. Moreover, I would much rather know what people who like this genre think, as opposed to someone who has no vested interest because they haven't even read the book. 

In regards to the acting, it was good. Ronan, Hurt and Kruger all gave great performances. Additionally, for those not quite as interested, Hurt and Kruger's performances help pare down the romance angle. And, Max Irons...from here on out, can he just be the lead in every YA movie? There is just something about him that I find so appealing, and its not just his good looks (Ha!). He does vulnerability quite well, hence, he does a good job portraying Jared. Perhaps, that's something that he picked up from his acting father? As for Ian, well, let me start by saying that I couldn't stand Jake Abel in I Am Number Four and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, but I do like him more in this movie. And, I'm not that big of an Ian fan, to start, but he does do a good job with that role. To me, he kinda looks like a cross between a young Kevin Bacon and Matthew Lilliard of Shaggy fame. Seriously, if they wanted to be in keeping with the older live action movies, he really should play Shaggy in the next Scooby-Doo one. 

Couple the great actors and actresses involved with some decent visual effects and amazing locations, and I really enjoyed this movie. Sure, there a couple of requisite cheesy moments/dialogue, but nothing that I thought that was particularly cringe-worthy. My main complaints were that there were a couple of scenes that must have fallen victim to an editor's cut because the scene probably looked completely random to someone who hadn't read the book, but it was more so that the scene was just rushed through and/or incomplete. And, the communication back and forth between Melanie and Wanda and Melanie's voice-over, I felt it could have been more purposeful at times, a little more hard-hitting and the voice-over, a little better worked. But, then again, what do I know about voice-overs? Absolutely nothing. So, there may not have been a viable alternative.

As for the ending, I thought it concluded on a high note, and set things up quite nicely for a sequel, if there is one. My advice: if you're reluctant to see this movie because the Twilight movies left a bad taste in your mouth, don't be. The quality of the acting alone is phenomenally much better. Not to mention the effects, the camera work, the original storyline, and just, the overall cinematic experience.

The Host - 4.5 stars out of 5!

Reviewed by Susannah;)

Warm Bodies

So, I finally watched Warm Bodies, and I know that you're waiting for me to say something profound here about the movie, but alas, my reaction was more of a...meh (shrugs shoulder). I don't know, it seemed rather short. Did it seem short to you? Admittedly, there were some funny scenes, and I found myself chuckling a few times, but honestly, it just didn't live up to what I had envisioned in my mind. I did like Nicholas Hoult in this movie as R, however, I felt that the girl who played opposite him as Julie gave a somewhat lackluster performance...she just didn't stand out for me. 

This movie is just basically cute zombie fluff. It wasn't really gory, and it wasn't as dark and spooky as the book (the bonies were so spooky to me in the book). In fact, my eleven-year-old watched it with me, and he wasn't scared at all, even when they were eating people's brains. A lot of that was off camera, too. Probably the most scary thing about the movie was the bonies. Whereas the book felt geared more towards adults, I felt that this movie was geared more towards a teenage audience. So, my two cents on Warm Bodies is: it was a cute zom-com (get it rom-com/zom-com-Ha!) and that's about it. 

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