The Fault In Our Stars

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TFIOS

Pain demands to be felt.

And oh boy was it felt in the tear-jerking teen romance story, The Fault In Our Stars. This film is an adaptation of John Green’s book of the same title. I did read the book before I watched the movie, as I usually do, but it didn’t help me prepare for the river of tears I cried anyway.

Hazel Grace Lancaster has cancer, and cancer sucks. Augustus Waters, a devilishly handsome boy in remission, meets her in group therapy. But all Hazel wants to do is push everyone possible away to “minimize the casualties”. Augustus won’t have it. After much resistance on Hazel’s part, they fall in love.

It’s a beautiful story about love, loss, and sickness. Being an avid fan of the book, I found this to be one of the most faithful book to film adaptations of a story. I had re-read the book a few days before and couldn’t believe how much came straight from the book. Director Josh Boone took a story that had a large following, knowing that fans would be highly critical, and didn’t disappoint.

Casting here was strange for me, only because Shailene Woodley(Hazel) and Ansel Elgort(Augustus) were recently portrayed as brother and sister in a different book adaptation, Divergent. However, their chemistry on screen was undeniable. They’re both a little awkward, but cutely so. Woodley did a fantastic job of portraying what it’s like to die, without knowing what dying feels like. Elgort’s character was also solid, and as cool and collected as he was in the book. After watching, I couldn’t think of better casting myself.

Boone made some tweaks to the story, but they were minor. I did miss some of the smaller details, but if you haven’t read the book, you won’t miss them. In fact, I love what Boone did with the cancer support group. All of the members of the support group were cancer survivors, which was a fantastic touch. Mike Birbiglia(Patrick) did a great job of being the comic relief with his “literal heart of jesus” as the leader of the support group, and we were even given a more detailed description of him than in the book through flashbacks, which was nice.

This movie had me crying way before I should have, but that was because I knew what was coming and those moments where they were together and happy had more weight to them. So if you’re heading to the theatre or reading this in the future and planning on renting, one word of advice, BRING TISSUES! I give a 9/10

-Jess

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Maleficent

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Anyone who knows me knows that I love anything Disney. In fact, I didn’t even know how to pronounce “Maleficent” until I started working there, and Sleeping Beauty was never one of my favorites. She often got skipped at the Princess Fairytale Hall, so one day I decided to watch the movie again so I could be more attuned to her story. It’s a good thing I did, because a year later Disney decided to center a film around the movie’s iconic villain.

 

I’m a really big stickler for movies paying homage to whatever preceded it, whether it be a book, a broadway play, or a comic. So the fact that this movie stayed pretty true to what happened in Sleeping Beauty was a blessing for me. Director Robert Stromberg kept a lot of the visual representations that were created in Sleeping Beauty, with a few modern tweaks. Flora, Fauna and Merryweather all got name changes, Maleficent has wings and is a fairy, and her crow is constantly being turned into things other than a crow. But otherwise, there were a lot of similarities drawn between the two, which was great for anyone who enjoyed the animated film.

 

Jolie and Stromberg made a great pair. I never once was upset with Jolie’s performance. She didn’t have an easy task, considering her character is at battle with herself for most of the movie. Commendations to the wardrobe and makeup department, who created a strikingly scary yet somehow gorgeous depiction of what a real life Maleficent would look like. Elle Fanning(Aurora) played an overly optimistic and bubbly Aurora, dissimilar to the animated version, where Friar Rose was a little more reserved and a little more sneaky as well. I wasn’t entirely put off by it, since it created chemistry between her and Jolie; they made it look easy.

 

The film itself wasn’t spectacularly beautiful. I always am able to point out the “money shot” (the scene that costs the most money, you pervs) easily, because it is an establishing shot with a lot of beautiful waterfalls, colors and light, but also is completely computer generated. Even that scene wasn’t particularly spectacular to me, considering nothing will ever beat Frozen’s money shot where they show the frozen waterfalls and ice covered trees complete with ice chandeliers coming from the branches. The theme was always dark around Maleficent when she was filled with revenge, and a bit lighter and more colorful when she wasn’t.

 

All in all I was happy with the adaptation. The ending made sense and created a little bit of wonder when you left the theatre. The acting was great and the comedy was a good relief from the dark tone of the film. I’d give it a 7/10.

 

-Jess