– Posted by Alyssa
Director: Josh Boone
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Nat Wolff
The overtone is that of the hipster generation, and Death is just a character who takes up screen time throughout the film. The sadness is juxtaposed with true joy, making every smile and every tear the gut-wrenching kind.
Hazel (Woodley) is living with cancer in her lungs that makes it difficult for her to breathe. She needs oxygen in her nose through a portable machine that pumps the life right into her. It’s devastating to watch this illness overwhelm her in moments of her life including a trip to the Anne Frank museum, where flights of stairs are a plight for her to overcome. Despite her cynicism about the disease (and the clichéd stories about it), Hazel finds herself in a cancer support group due to the wishes of her mother (Dern). At the group Hazel meets the witty Isaac (Wolff) who loses his sight and Gus (Elgort), a charming optimist who lost a leg due to his cancer. Gus and Hazel start a friendship that stares their fate right in the face and soon it blossoms into a romance. Determined to do everything in his power to make Hazel happy, Gus uses his “wish” (Hazel’s was wasted on Disney World, much to Gus’ dismay) to bring Hazel to Amsterdam to meet her favorite author. It’s a race to the heartbreaking finish and during the race tears are bound to shed. However, Hazel and Gus relationship proves that there is value to living each day, like it very well may be their last.
Woodley is the perfect leading lady for this generation, proving her versatility in dramas (The Descendants), action films (Divergent), and romance (The Fault in Our Stars). Elgort, on the other hand, is a newer face, starring alongside Woodley in the Divergent series. He is a charmer who lights up the screen. He’s pretty incredible as Gus and the chemistry between them is undeniable. While I’m still not convinced that it won’t be weird to see Woodley and Elgort as sister and brother in Insurgent, this is a film that pokes at your heart with equal parts devastation and elation
– Posted by Alyssa
Director: Neil Burger
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller
This one has Young Adult, in-the-ballpark of The Hunger Games, career-changing for Shailene Woodley written all over it. The cast is good, Neil Burger takes the source material seriously (excluding some really cheesy lines) and overall the fan base will be ecstatic.
Futuristic Chicago is broken up into five factions that all allude to the personality characteristics and values of their members. Abnegation, where our young heroine Beatrice (Woodley) resides, are the selfless leaders of the community; Erudite, led by the ruthless Jeanine (Winslet) seek knowledge and serve as the scientists, engineers, and teachers of the nation; Amity are the peaceful, agricultural community; Candor are the politicians and lawful ones who value honesty and truth; and finally Dauntless are the brave adrenaline-junkies who are the protectors and soldiers. When a young member of the individual faction reaches the age of sixteen, they take an aptitude test which determines their correct place in the world. After taking her test, it is determined that Beatrice is divergent—she has the result of belonging to three factions: Abnegation, Candor, and Dauntless. On the day of choosing, Beatrice abandons her plain, gray existence for the exciting life of the black-clothed, tattooed Dauntless. During her initiation Beatrice becomes Tris, a warrior who must learn to fight, survive, and conquer her fears, including her fear of her new love interest Four (James) and smart-mouthed antagonist Peter (Teller). However, little does she know that all of this training is leading up to a war that the Erudite are planning to overthrow the current government of Abnegation.
The adaptation of the novel moves naturally onto the big screen and the world Veronica Roth created comes to life. Visually, the movie lacked a bit of boldness in moments of excitement like the paintball scene (which was altered in the movie to bullet-simulating pellets) to Tris and Four scaling the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier. Much of the film stylistically looked clothed in Abnegation wardrobe when it could have used more Dauntless energy. However, the cast is fantastic, the story moves at a good pace, and the world has another franchise on its hands. Here’s to hoping that Shailene Woodley has the same hype as Jennifer Lawrence because she deserves it. It’s nice to see a heroine like Katniss who is able to take herself seriously, fight to survive, and not sit around and brood (I’m talking to you Bella).
He’s adorable and has starred in two of my favorite new age generational films Project X and 21 & Over. Get ready to get to know Miles Teller.
He may have starred in two teen party films, but let’s not limit him to just that genre. The multi-dimensional Teller has also made appearances in the critically-acclaimed Rabbit Hole alongside Nicole Kidman and the Footloose remake alongside Julianne Hough. He’s just getting started.
Next up, The Spectacular Now with the equally-talented Shailene Woodley coming out in limited release August 2nd, the ensemble comedy Get a Job with Anna Kendrick, Bryan Cranston, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Are We Officially Dating? with Zac Efron, the romantic comedy Two-Night Stand, and the action film Divergent with Kate Winslet and Aaron Eckhart.
I’d say that’s pretty good for a wise-cracking scene-stealer.