Movie Trailer of the Week: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2

As much as I can’t wait for this movie, another big part of me can’t wait for it to be over so that I can focus on one YA big blockbuster franchise at a time. When this is all over, I can thus give my heart, unequivocally, to Allegiant Parts 1 & 2, thank you very much.

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“Divergent” Is About Lot of Things, Especially Crossfit

(WARNING: IF YOU HAVE YET TO SEE THE MOVIE BUT YOU’VE READ THE BOOK, DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER IN READING THIS. THIS IS YOUR SPOILER ALERT WARNING!) 

 

I’m a tad behind on my “Divergent” review, but that’s only because I found myself in a few privileged predicaments, as I like to call them. Nonetheless, I’m so glad that I was able to contribute my dollars to the opening weekend of the movie because it was well worth watching to see Four and Tris rendered on the big screen. Even before the movie premiered, “Insurgent” and “Allegiant” were given the greenlight to be produced as films also and with good reason- this trilogy has a HUGE fanbase. I’m not sure if it’s on the level as “The Hunger Games”, but this will be the only time I will compare the two anyway. Divergent resonates with audiences today, especially young adult and adult readers, because it’s an interesting look into human personality, psychology, the idea of ‘groupthink’ and the choices that we make as humans when given the opportunity to show our true selves. What would you do if you were asked to choose what side of yourself you identify with most, knowing that you would have to live with others you have known since birth, or taking advantage of moving in with strangers whose principles you’ve felt more of a kinship with from afar ? Are you Amity(peaceful)? Candor(honest)? Erudite(intelligent)? Abnegation (selfless)? Dauntless(brave)? Factionless? Or Divergent, a blend of several ideologies?

Veronica Roth’s book made me think of those quizzes I used to ponder over in teen magazines. The ones that are based on your personality, due to how you would answer the questions compiled just for you and every other teenage girl in the universe. I always had a hard time picking just one or two answers, because I easily saw myself as an A and B, or A and C, etc. I could be both kind and smart, the girl who planned ahead and the girl who likes to be spontaneous. I’m both Carrie and Charlotte, with a dash of Samantha and a sprinkle of Miranda. Do I really have to be just one type of person? If I were a part of Roth’s post-apocalyptic world, I would be Divergent, hands down, because I know who I am. But what if I were born into a family dedicated to serving honesty or intelligence? Would I be so certain that I could be both or would I stay in the same lone faction until the day I died? It’s harder to tell knowing that information.

Having read the book before seeing the film, I went to the movie theater with some expectations. I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to be 100% sold on Shailene Woodley playing Tris (I was… 200%). I wanted to see if Eric would be appear just as terrifying on brought to visual life as much as he was through Roth’s imagination and my own (he sure was!). I wanted to revel in Peter and his motley gang hell-bent on making Tris suffer (more on this later…). Overall, I was very pleased and cannot wait for “Insurgent” to be released. But here are some key differences between the book and the movie that I wish could have been rectified:

 

THINGS THAT MADE ME GO HMMM:

– Christina, Eric, and the chasm: In the book, this scene feels excruciatingly long. Also, from what I recall, there is water and lots of it. I didn’t feel like Christina’s life was really in danger in this part of the movie. In the book? I was holding my breath.

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-Peter’s gang:  For the sake of the film’s length, I knew, like with many book-to-movie adaptations, that some characters and events would be sacrificed. I just wish that Drew and Molly’s weren’t. Just like Peter in Roth’s novel, Drew and Molly were abhorrent characters. In the movie, Drew was not present and Molly was, but aside from having to fight Tris, Molly ends up thinking that Tris is cool after she stands up to Eric during the now famous knife throwing incident. I wanted to see Peter, Drew, and Molly go all out and make Tris cry for at least one moment.

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-The physical struggle of Marcus and Andrew as they head to the Dauntless compound: I wanted to see these two huffing and puffing, trying to keep up with Tris on the way to Dauntless headquarters, as it’s imagined in the novel, but there is no way that Tony Goldwyn is unfit and Ray Stevenson looks buff, so there went that idea.

 

 

THINGS I TRULY LOVED ABOUT THE MOVIE:

-Tori: Tori, played by Maggie Q, is dope. Maggie Q is dope. The casting for this character is sublime.

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-Casting: In fact, the casting for “Divergent” is A+. I know of some folks out there who were not too keen on Miles Teller as Peter, but I honestly don’t know who else could have played this character better. I thought that Peter would have been meaner in the movie, because he is an absolute terror in the book, but Miles injected his own take of Peter, which fit in perfectly with his surroundings and the imaginary circumstances made real. Anything more might have been on the hokey side.  I’ve also read about how some people were upset about Shailene being cast as Tris, due to physical reasons, but seriously, she kills it in this part. She bring the right amount of strength and gravity to Tris and carries the whole film through and then some. It is amazing to watch. Plus she has major chemistry with Theo James (Four).

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-Tony Goldwyn and Ashley Judd as Tris and Caleb’s parents: This is another nod to casting. They exuded selflessness to a T, just as they were supposed to. Plus, they both have a warmth to them that was lovely to see, especially when interacting with their children. When they had the chance to hug Caleb and Tris, it was moving and touching and made me smile.

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-Seeing the “fearscapes” realized: They weren’t cheesy and added another element to how I envisioned Tris and Four’s nightmares since reading about them.

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-Diversity: This is one of the most diverse casts (including the extras!) in a young adult movie I’ve ever seen thus far. I was very impressed.

-Kate Winslet as Jeanine: Call it “against type” casting, but I loved seeing Kate Winslet as a Big Bad. She was calculating, smart, and a villain whose ideas made sense. A scary thought for a scary character.

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-The tattoos: !!!!!!

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The questions that “Divergent” raises are very important and relevant. They are questions that young adults begin to think about as they try to navigate between school, parents, friends, teachers, and enemies. Then there’s the idea of the factionless, the castoffs of society who were either once  who do the jobs that no one else would do, not just because they don’t want to, but because being factionless means to not belong, just the same as being divergent. Would you rather belong with people who are just like you, or be different, risking your life or your pride in the meantime? Like Four, I would want to have the qualities of all five factions- to be kind, selfless, intelligent, honest, peaceful, and brave. Wouldn’t we all?

“Divergent” dives into these themes and more head first and if they don’t make sense to you, I urge you to read Veronica Roth’s book. Unlike other book to movie adaptations I’ve seen, this one left me wanting more. Bring on “Insurgent”!

 

p.s. Watching “Divergent” made CrossFit appear less intimidating. My fear of heights and roaming around in the phobias that reside in my psyche is a much, much worse proposition.

Photo Courtesy Of The Hollywood Reporter/GotCeleb.com

THR’s Latest Feature Article On Shailene Woodley Is A Wonderful Read

I couldn’t wait to get my physical copy of the next Hollywood Reporter in the mail; I just had to read their latest feature article on Shailene Woodley. I love her vibe, her talent, and the love that she continues to bring into the world. You don’t have to know her personally to see through her interviews (both on video and in print) and her acting that she is so in tune with nature and being true to herself. I ADORE THAT! 

‘Divergent’ Star Shailene Woodley: The Next Jennifer Lawrence?

http://youtu.be/wwwXuBlg8MI 

 

It’s Official- “Divergent” Is The New “Twilight”

I don’t even think “Hunger Games” fans went this nuts for the premiere of the first installment to the movie series.”Divergent” fans are going CRAZY/ CRAY/ BONKERS! I wonder what goes on in the heads of the security guards during events like these.

I should have never watched this video, because it’s making me yearn for the 21st more than ever before:

The “Divergent” Soundtrack Looks and Sounds Like Perfection

“Divergent” is almost here (!!!!) and this past Monday its original motion picture soundtrack list was revealed. I’ve listened to the Ellie Goulding M83, and Snow Patrol songs, which are perfect for this movie, and I have to add that “Dream Machines” by Big Deal (a past “Song of the Day” on this blog) encapsulates the themes of youthful angst, confusion, restlessness, and finding one’s self within “Divergent” to a T. Could this soundtrack be any more flawless?!

The Next List: A 2014 Megapost (Part 1)

WHEW…it’s been three weeks since I’ve written to you all with newly curated bits and bobs for your everyday life. New, exciting gigs and opportunities have sprouted up and I’m dedicated to seeing that 2014 is even brighter than 2013.

Having said that, so much has happened in the past three weeks leading up to the new year. From Paul Walker’s unfortunate death to Obamacare, we will go forth into 2014 with the same hopes and dreams for a better life, not only for ourselves but for others, and a greater understanding about this mad, mad, mad world we live in.

So here I am looking towards the future with Part One of my 2013 end-of-year mega list. From entertainment to social issues, here is where I am putting forth my predictions of who and what you should look out for and get riled up about in 2014:

Visual Albums and Interactive Music Videos 

Granted, music videos have been around for a few decades and Michael Jackson was the first artist to make the music video as a short film into an event (“Thriller”, “Moonwalker”, “Remember the Time”), but it was only inevitable that the visual album would be the next step for a generation who doesn’t know a lick about pay-per-music video view TV (The Box channel anyone?). Music artists are experimenting more with their music videos, which are becoming epic short films that could premiere at Sundance or Tribeca Film Fest. Lana Del Rey’s NSFW “Tropico” is one of this year’s leaders in the hybrid genre and is a music video which I highly recommend for viewing pleasure.

Then Beyonce came out with her visual album and killed whatever chance any other recording artist had for saying goodbye to 2013 with an effervescent bang. Hailed as a “full-blown work of art“, this secret album came out of nowhere and raised the music video game bar for next year.

There goes Yonce, killing it yet again

There goes Yonce, killing it yet again

Bob Dylan also came out with an interactive video this year for his song “Like A Rolling Stone”, which will blow your mind. You can legitimately spend hours playing around with the features, as it offers a musical version of “Choose Your Own Adventure”. This video is the future.

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Danny Brown, as featured in Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” Interactive Music Video

Awards Season 

In the past five years, American award shows have made me felt hollow and I found myself having more fun Tweeting and reading others’ tweets during the live affairs. I’ll still tweet and retweet during the Grammy’s and Oscars, but in 2014 things will be different because the nominees and potential nominees for the lot give me hope. I’ve never been more excited for a group of films, actors, actresses, singers, producers, albums, and directors as I am right now since the ’90s. There is a high potential for history to be made during the Oscars, because let’s face it, “12 Years A Slave” is going to reap at least one award that night. As for the Grammy’s, I tip my hat off to artists that I predict have nowhere else to go at this point, if they stay focused, but up such as Mack Wilds, Sara Bareilles, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, and Kacey Musgraves. Then there are the Emmy Awards and the Golden Globes and People’s Choice Awards, both to be hosted by funny women I adore:

Actors and Actresses To Watch

Every year there are a handful of “I know them from somewhere” faces who are dubbed the next big things. Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, i-D, and Nylon, in my opinion, are some of the leading publications and websites that are spot on when it comes to knowing the “ones to watch”. But I’ve compiled my own list, using my powers of comprehensive reading, obsessive IMDB stalking, diligent movie watching, and above all, instinct. The pictures and names you will find below represent those who I feel have worked immensely hard, are naturally gifted, enigmatic, and are capable of their stars rising to the next level. 2014 just may be their year of reckoning.

Dane DeHaan

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Adele Exarchopoulos

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Michael B. Jordan

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Imogen Poots

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Shailene Woodley

shailene woodley

Lupita Nyong’o

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Fan Bingbing

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Brie Larson

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Ansel Elgort

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Theo James

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Miles Teller

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Keke Palmer

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The Silver Screen and Boob Tube

2014 is bringing a lot of goodies, whether you want to believe it or not. Television fan favorites like Pretty Little Liars, Downton Abbey, and Girls are all coming back and if you haven’t fallen in love with My Mad Fat Diary, catch up on the first season on your computer before the second season premieres in February. I have a burning hunch that you will also hear more about sleeper hit shows such as Broadchurch, Rectify, Orphan Black, The Returned, and Top of the Lake before the start of 2015. Also on my radar lies HBO’s Looking, starring Jonathan Groff, Joseph Gordon Levitt’s hitRECord creative project to premiere on Pivot in January, Gogglebox, which is bloody addictive and being adapted for American television screens, Finding Carter, starring Skins UK’s Kathryn Prescott (“Emily F%$#ing Fitch!”), and Bravo’s Blood, Sweat and Heelswhich, judging from the trailer, reminds me of VH1’s cancelled The Gossip Game.

Looking

hitRECord on TV

Blood, Sweat and Heels

Gogglebox

As for the movies, there is SO much to look forward to and I know that the media has been proclaiming the death of film for some time now, but film will never die. A small shortlist of movies that I am highly anticipating are:

Neighbors

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fault in our stars movie poster

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Sin-City-A-Dame-to-Kill-For-2014-Movie-Poster

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x men days of future past

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"Big Eyes"