Maze Runner – Movie

20130910_190959

James Dashner’s book, The Maze Runner became a movie this year.  Way to go James!

 

All Thomas knows is that he wakes up in a world he is unfamiliar with.  He is surrounded by other male teens and is welcomed to the Glade.

The Glade?

The Glade, as he learns is a walled in community that protects the group from the Maze.  The Maze is a world of walls and changing routes and creatures that come after anyone who dares to go into the Maze.  Thomas learns that a box appears every 30 days with a male teen in it, Thomas is the latest arrival.  A few, called runners, go into the Maze during the daylight hours (safer than nightfall), looking for a way out of wherever they are.

As Thomas becomes familiar with the surroundings and engages with the other boys, things in the Maze start to change.  Some blame Thomas, saying he is not like them … and Thomas has no idea what that means, he knows as much as they do about The Glade and that is not much.

Then… another person arrives in The Glade.  The box is early… it has not been 30 days and this time it is not a male teen…

it is a girl.

And with her is a note, “This is the last one”.

 

 

I read The Maze Runner a couple of years ago after I met James Dashner in New York and found him to be delightfully funny.  I enjoyed the book very much, yet for some reason I never continued on with the series.  Now, after watching this movie, I will be pursuing the rest of the books… I am hungry to know more.

Author James Dashner and I - New York 2012
Author James Dashner and I – New York 2012

The Maze Runner movie is done very well.  I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed it.  Definitely recommend the book, the movie… and the author.  😉

Mockingjay Book VS Movie

2

Mockingjay, the third and final book in the Hunger Games series came out published by Scholastic in 2010.  As I looked back on my review of this book I had to laugh as I reviewed it three days after it was released…. hmmmm…. anxious to see how it all was going to end?

The Book…

As I mentioned I read the book over 4 years ago.  I did enjoy the book but openly admit it was my least favorite of the three books, mainly due to all the politics that were involved in this final installment.  I am not a fan of politics.That said, I did still enjoy the book very much – author Suzanne Collins does not take mercy on any character and all are dispensable… it was truly a powerful read that left me thinking about it well beyond that final page.

 

The Movie…

I was very excited to watch the movie.  My son had warned me that it wasn’t the most exciting of movies as it is a lot of information that is necessary to prepare us for the part 2 of this movie that will come out in 2015.  I have to say I disagree with my son (sorry Justin).  I did find the movie engaging and perhaps even came to feel more real and explained better to me than the book came through.  I think Jennifer Lawrence plays the part of Katniss perfectly.  On screen she shows such emotion she brings me to tears for the cause.  If you are a fan of the series, definitely take time to see the movie – all the movies.

Bonus note – in the movie Katniss sings a song that is haunting.  Jennifer Lawrence sings the song and I looked it up when I came home and found out Susanne Collins wrote the song.  (WOW!)  I have now heard the song by another artist but prefer Lawrence’s.  Here it is:

Book vs, movie… the winner of this dynamic duel is….

 

The Movie.

While this is a close battle, I think because of my personal struggle with the politics of Mockingjay the visual of the movie worked better for me.  I will definitely be owning this one.

 

Have you seen the movie yet?  Have you read the book?  Do you plan to?  If so do you have a preference of book or movie?

If I Stay Book vs. Movie

18217_300

 

Synopsis:  Mia Hall is a gifted cellist.  She is quite possibly on her way to Julliard and is making hard decision with her boyfriend Adam who plays in a successful band.  Stay or go seem to be the decisions that Mia struggles with.  She has wonderful loving parents and a little brother she adores… there is so much to stay for.  Then one snow day her family takes a drive and is in a terrible accident that leaves Mia in a coma.  Mia has an out of body experience as she sees herself in the hospital.  As everything crumbles around her Mia and only Mia can make the decision if she should stay or if she should go.

 

The Book

I reviewed this book on my birthday in 2011.  Side note.. my reviews are kind of funny then… for myself I rated the book an average read.  It was good and I liked it but it was not over the top WOW.  We reviewed this as a group for my book club and we actually had a wonderful discussion over it, which I talk about in the review.

 

The Movie

I recently watched the movie of If I Stay that came out this year.  I did not think it would be “theater worthy” so I waited for it to come out for rental.  I have to admit I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the movie.  Mia played by Chloe Grace Moretz was wonderful.  I teared up several times during the scenes where she experiencing the pain of seeing what is happening around her.  Adam, played by Jamie Blackley was also exceptional.  Maybe I was just in the right mood for this kind of movie but whatever it was it really touched my heart.

Knowing that time and distance from the reading of the book may have to do with my decision her today I am going to have to say the winner of this Book vs Movie is…

 

Movie.

See it… read it… but if you are going to choose one or the other I think the movie came off as more powerful and emotional.  Dang… it was GOOD.

Movie Review: Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Nighcrawler movie

My synopsis:  Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhall) is desperate for a job.  In a “rainman” style he becomes a bit overly obsessed with whatever he is pursuing.  ON his way home one evening he witnesses a car accident.  When he pulls over he is fascinated by the van that pulls up and takes footage of the accident.  When Lou inquires about what they do with the footage, the driver says that they sell it to the highest bidder.

Lou starts researching how to take great pictures, and as he has no conscience, he has no problem going a step further that the average crime photographers, stepping in a little closer and getting the shots that bring in the money. He starts a working relationship with a news station manager, Nina Romina (Rene Russo).  When she tells Lou that they pay for the shots described as “girl running down street screaming with throat cut”, Lou does his best to bring in the darkest video.


My thoughts:  Smoking good creepy movie!   Most frightening and fascinating is the fact that most of what these paparazzi type camera persons do is legal as long as they do not get in the way of the police and rescue crews.  Of course in the movie, Lou does go too far… WAY too far.  His obsession that leads to the perfect shots, as well as his obsessive interest in Rene Russo’s character, drives him to do the unthinkable…

or is it?

 

 

High action, major car crash scenes, a few gory close-ups…. adventure movie enthusiasts should find this movie both disturbing and good – and like a car crash…. hard to look away.  I personally would probably not pursue seeing it again, however I would rent it for my husband as he has not seen it yet and I think he would enjoy it as I did.

Gone Girl – Book VS. Movie

1a

Woo hoo!  Finally, 10 days after the opening of the movie, I made it to see Gone Girl!  The movie made from the book whose spoiler page has become by far my all time most popular post on Book Journey.  Seriously, here are the stats since I wrote the post in 2012:

Months and Years

Oct Nov Dec Total
2012 6,028 5,790 6,922 23,741
2013 2,993 2,578 2,299 40,138
2014 140,912 264,276

 

* I eliminated most of the months as this graph was just too big to fit into the post. 

So lets discuss the book.  I read Gone Girl in July of 2012.  It was my first Gillian Flynn and it blew me away with all of its twists and turns.  I LOVED it, and I had a lot to say about it, which is why I wrote the spoiler page.  Gone Girl is a book that had me thinking one way, and then I was wrong, and then I thought another way… and I was wrong again.  I gushed in my review of the book!  I was so impressed with Gillian’s talent to write characters that can drive you nuts!

 

The Movie…

As a disclaimer, I must say that I read the book in July 2012, and seen the movie on October 13th, 2014.  I had hoped to read the book again before the movie but there just was no time to get it done.  That said, I cautiously approached the movie that sat at 2 hours and 35 minutes long.  That, on the front end, seemed longer than necessary, as it turns out after seeing the movie, there is nothing I would cut out out to make it shorter.

Gone Girl the movie starred a well played Ben Affleck as Nick, and Rosamund Pike made for a perfect Amy.  Honestly, the movie played out extremely well and had a nice running compatibility with the book.  I went to the movie with two friends, one who had read the book and one who has not.  The one who had not was a lot of fun to watch as she was shocked by what was happening on the screen.  I found myself chuckling softly to the game playing between Nick and Amy and hung on to the ending credits.  Then we were the last ones in the theater as we sat and discussed the movie.

 

The Verdict of Book Vs. Movie….  (possible spoilers)

 

The book.  The book is so filled with high energy twisty turns that I feel it comes across better to be read and get the initial buzz through the pages.  The movie missed a couple of “what I felt to be important” points:

1.  Nick’s dad, and when found wondering around from his retirement home in the book is quite verbal about his negative feelings towards Amy, thus giving you the impression that he may be involved in her disappearance.  In the movie, while the dad is found wondering away from his home, shows no emotion about Amy one way or another… this making his appearance in the movie feel a little useless.

2.  In the book, it is explained well how Amy’s parents have used her for the books her mom wrote, Amazing Amy and you fully understand the pressures that Amy had on her to live up to an animated character of herself.  While the movie mentions these pressures a little… I am not sure if it is enough for the watcher to get the full picture of what that type of perfection caused.

Now, I would by no means rule the movie out.  The movie was actually very good and I would definitely watch it again and will probably own the movie.  See it.  Even if you have no intentions of reading the book, I think you will find the movie to be just a fun crazy insane ride!

 

Update:  The spoiler page for the book is picking up a pot of movie discussion so I am going to open up a spoiler page here for the movie.  This page will be for those who have seen the movie and open for discussion if you have read the book or not.  Enter below!

2aaaaa

 

This Is Where I Leave You….Book VS. Movie

4

By now you have probably heard the hype…Jonathan Tropper’s book This Is Where I Leave You was made into a movie!

I love it when books are made into movies!  I love to see the director’s vision of the story compared to mine… honestly, I think in recent years the movies made from books are pretty good.  So lets begin with looking at my thoughts on this book… and then the movie.

6

Recently I read and reviewed This Is Where I Leave You.  When I heard the movie was coming out, I knew I had to read the book first.  (1 point for movie, as that is why I read the book).  I really enjoyed the book.  It was witty and laugh out loud funny at times.  The opening scene of Judd finding his wife on her birthday…. seriously, horribly funny… I could not wait to see that scene in the movie, I knew it was just going to be fantastic!

Book received 5 shiny points for being a page turning-laugh out loud-tell your friends about it-kind of read.  That’s right, a page turning-laugh out loud-tell your friends about it-kind of read.  I loved it, I gushed about it, I passed it to a friend and she gushed too.

Then, me and my gushing invited girls from my book club to go and see the movie… and…

 

The movie starring the funny Jason Bateman as Judd, and also funny Tina Fey as Wendy his sister AND Jane Fonda as the mom looked to be a great line up.  I had my popcorn and I was ready to laugh and laugh…

and I really didn’t laugh too much at all.

That opening scene I could not wait for, was there and it wasn’t.  The funniest part of that whole scene was not in the movie.  Then, the movie felt forced.  I found myself thinking how the acting did not seem natural, it felt like they were acting – which I know, I know, they are… but usually you can fall right into the movie and feel like it happened.  This one – not so much.  (I take away 1 shiny point from the movie for not keeping to the opening scene).

Overall, the movie was ok, but not great.  The book club gals that were with me all agreed.  The movie fell flat.  I may have been a bit critical because I had just finished reading the book, but I think it is more than that.  Watching it kind of felt like this:

20130910_163823

and afterwards I felt like this:

20130910_185502

The winner of this battle is….

The Book.

Read the book.  If you want to see the movie, wait until you can pick it up at Redbox.  You will thank me for saving you the box office price, the annoying person talking on their phone in the row behind you and the popcorn kernel that will no doubt get stuck to the roof of your mouth and distract you from really paying attention anyway.

 

Have you read the book?  Have you seen the movie?  What are your thoughts?

The Great Gatsby Movie (Movie From A Banned Book)

Gatsby movie

The Great Gatsby:  is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession for the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.

 

The Great Gatsby is on my TBR for Banned Book Week, but honestly I do not know if I will get to it this week… it is the last one on my list.  Last night I rented this movie for three reasons… 1) I had not seen it yet.  2) If I can not get to the banned book, I can watch the movie based off the banned book, 3)I needed a good look at the parties… there is a little something up my sleeve I am thinking about.

 

The movie is powerful.  Having never read the book, I was looking up information on the story online while the movie was on.  It is an incredible love story, which is normally not my thing but I was caught up in this one.

I found it sad to learn that the original printing of this book the book sold only 20,000 copies.  Published in 1925, Author Fitzgerald did in 1940 feeling the book was a failure… sadly, he never knew what it would become…

During WWII the book had new life breathed into it.  It became high school curriculum and went on to stage and film adaption.

My take away is that this is a beautiful telling and I personally am anxious to read the book.  I recommend you take the time to experience this movie made from a remarkable classic.

 

So why the banning? 

1aAccording to the American Library Association, The Great Gatsby was: “Challenged at the Baptist College in Charleston, SC (1987) because of ‘language and sexual references in the book.'”

The elements that have been cited for reasons for challenging or banning the book in the past are also essential to Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age setting. (Apparently some feel the 20’s best be forgotten…)  Jay Gatsby is a bootlegger, bad boy.

Her – The Movie (my thoughts on loving your phone ;) )

Her, Joaquin Phoenix, Book Journey, movie

Futuristic 2025:

Theodore Twombly is a relationships nightmare.  He spends his days at his job where he write letters for those who have the inability to write beautiful things to give to their loved ones – ie… anniversary, birthday, romance, break ups, etc…   As Theodore is going through a divorce, his evenings are then spent with fast food and a virtual game that he is fully engaged in.  Everywhere he goes, everyone is engrossed in themselves through their own conversations with their phones.  Talking to other people seems to be a thing of the past.

One day he sees an ad for an artificial intelligence “assistant” who will manage your appointments through your phone and basically make your life easier.  Theodore signs up and then goes through a series on prompts including choosing the voice of his new assistant….

Meet Samantha (voice by Scarlett Johansson).  Theodore is impressed that Samantha will become more intelligent as she learns what he is like… she picks up on his habits, reads his emails to him and responds to them if he asks, she cleans up old computer files in a snap, reminds him of appointments, and becomes a companion when he is alone or just wants to talk.  The more they talk… the more Samantha’s intelligence grows.

As Samantha starts to take over Theodore’s world, they seem to fall in love.  Samantha is always there for him, engaging him, prompting him to be better…. what more could Theodore want?  As their fondness for each other continues, Samantha finds it harder to accept that she can not be a physical presence in Theodore’s life, wishing she had a body that he could physically touch and that of course, she would be able to touch him as well.

Of course – a relationship with a piece of software is…

complicated.

Theodore’s soon to be ex-wife finds out about Samantha and accuses Theodore of being someone who can not handle real human emotion so of course he would date his computer.  Theodore is left conflicted, wanting a physical relationship, yet wanting it to be with Samantha.

 

My thoughts….

I was never really interested in the movie Her.  The previews seemed weird…. yet I have to admit a bit of intrigue mainly because I could actually imagine this really happening.  In today’s world of electronic assistants, on-line calendars, and reminders, talking to our phones for information on restaurants, directions, what a word means, etc… really – how far off from this “companionship” could we be?

It was friends telling me the movie was actually good, that brought to renting this movie on a cool evening where I did not want to sit on my deck with my coffee and a book… and so, I watched it.

So….

first up…

what is with the men’s pants?

1aaa

 

Seriously?  They all had these high wasted “comfy pants” like stretch material.  And none of the guys in 2025 are good-looking…NOPE.   in fact it looks as though the style has gone backwards and it almost has a seventies feel to it.  If this was the choice of men in 2025 my relationship status would be SINGLE.

I am off topic.

The movie held my attention but I by no means loved it.  I never “bought” the romance between Theodore and Samantha, and even through what was considered the emotional parts… I never connected with the love for ones phone.

In fact, as the movie ended… I felt that I had more emotions when Tom Hanks lost Wilson in the movie Castaway…

 

 

 

Wilson!!!!  Yup…still makes me tear up.

 

So overall… I am glad I rented this one from Redbox and paid a buck and change to see it rather that an $8.50 movie ticket plus soda and popcorn.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Did you see Her?  What did you think? 

Is it freaky crazy to think that this could really be in our future? 

Is it freakier still to think that this could happen in present time? 

Don’t we already connect to artificial intelligence through video games, and our computers and phones now? 

How far off are we from thinking these created voices and people are real to us? 

The Fault In Our Stars Movie

The Fault In Our Stars, John Green, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Certainly by now you must have heard of The Fault In Our Stars by Author John Green.  And if not the book, surely the movie.  I was told that whatever the first John Green book I read would be my favorite.  I will never know if that is true because my first John Green book was The Fault In Our Star and is my favorite.  And while I have read all of his books (and enjoyed them), I can not imagine that if I had read any of the others first that they would have trumped my experience with this book.

I can not even put into words where this book took me… to attempt to understand, you would have to read my review of the book from April of this year; or my review of the book from July 2012.  Yes I have read and reviewed it twice.  I liked it THAT MUCH. 🙂

This week, on June 6th the movie was released (SQQQUUEEE!!!) and myself and my wonderful friend Amy went to see it:

I…

loved it.

Shailene Woodley who plays Hazel (and also plays Beatrice in Divergent!) is fantastic.  She is witty and sickly and plays her role well.  Ansel Algort (also in Divergent!) makes for a wonderful Augustus as well.  Truly, these two just make a wonderful team.

IMO, the movie played close to the book. There are some lines that just made my heart leap because I knew them from the book.  Of course, as in all book to movie renditions, there are always slight changes or leaving out, and I sadly missed a scene from the book where Hazel and Isaac are playing the video game at the end after Isaac can no longer see and the voice commands they shout at the game.

 

My thoughts?  See the movie but read the book first.  The book is of course where you fall in love with these amazing damaged characters; the movie… will just reinforce your love.

Our book club is reading this book now and will be reviewing this week. I look forward to hearing their thoughts on the book and yes, even though I have reviewed it twice here, I will review it again from a Book Club perspective.

 

Movie up people… do not miss out on this one.

Movie Review: Monument Men

20130904_195022

Last weekend for Valentine’s Day Al (hubby) and I went to the movie Monuments Men.  While normally anything has to do with war would be a thumbs down for me, the great movie trailer and the all-star cast had me curious.  It also helped that I had recently read about the Monuments Men while readingThe Roses Underneath by C.. Yetmen).  I am ashamed to say, prior to that reading, I didn’t know such a  group existed.

Monuments Men is about the very real group of Men that were tasked during WWII to go into war-torn areas and save the most important pieces of art and culture of our time.  As said in the movie,

If you destroy their achievements, their history, it’s like they never existed.

"The Monuments Men" - Los Angeles Photo Call

If you are thinking Monuments Men was a cushy job (in reality or in the movie) think again.  These men put their lives at risk right alone side others who fought in the war.  Lives were lost and art was saved….  all in all a brilliant enlightening movie.

 

Now… Monuments Men is not getting the best rating.  Said to be an “aw shucks buddy” type comedy, directed and acted in by George Clooney, it is falling into some poo ratings.  My husband while liking the story of the Monuments Men, was not as impressed with the movie as I was.  Honestly, I may be an easy sell… teach me something new and I want to know more.  Now I want to read the book, Monuments Men by Robert Edsel.

I hope you will give this movie a try.