IT AIN’T ALL DARK AND IT AIN’T ALL LIGHT

beautiful_creaturesBEAUTIFUL CREATURES (2013)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

Based on the first novel of the Caster Chronicles series created by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert star as Ethan and Lena, an ordinary boy and a girl from a line of Casters, who fall in love despite the extraordinary circumstances. It is dark time for the couple because Lena is to be claimed on her 16th birthday, her true nature will decide if she becomes a Light or Dark Caster.

Well, I really wished every marketing team would stop comparing each new novel-to-movie adaptation as the new Twilight because it is getting old.

I enjoyed this movie though I’m not a particular fan of witches/Casters/people who use spells. What makes this enduring is the chemistry between the leads and how Alden Ehrenreich actually makes you believe every word he says even though he is a mere mortal sucked into a world of Casters. Emmy Rossum is deliciously evil as Dark Caster/cousin Ridley Duchannes and her costumes are really va-va-vooom!

Ethan Wate: No! I’m sick of listening to your family. I have been chased, spun, hypnotized, paralyzed, and damn near killed by your family. I have been going out of my mind for the past two weeks, then your mother shows up on my door step and damn near gives me a heart attack but you know what I don’t care about them, about the curse, you are not going dark and you are not losing me! No matter what they do, no matter what they do to me, I’m still here.

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THE WORST DAY

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE (2011)
– 4 out of 5 stars

Based on the book by Jonathan Safran Foer, it centres around Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn), a boy who lost his father on 9/11 and starts an adventure on his own when he finds a mysterious key in his father’s belongings. He tries to find out more information about the key – where does it fit, what does it open and to whom does it belong to – and slowly finds closure.

Finally, a book-to-movie adaptation which I have read the book! While reading the book, I was actually more interested in the Renter – brilliantly portrayed by Max von Sydow, who captured an audience without words. To those who didn’t read the book, he may seem like the comic element with “Yes” and “No” tattooed on his palms but his back story was actually quite tragic. The book itself was another marvel – filled with written notes and pictures. I’d definitely recommend the book though the movie isn’t too bad.

At the end, when you find out what the mother (Sandra Bullock) did for Oskar and you can’t help but laugh/cry at the same time because it seems like the first time mother and child connected after the death of Oskar’s father (Tom Hanks). I liked the scrapbook that Oskar did all the people he met while finding out the truth about the key and the final scene when his mother pulls the tag in the opposite direction was slightly hopeful.

MINNY’S DELICIOUS PIES

THE HELP (2011)
– 4 out of 5 stars

Emma Stone stars as Eugenia ‘Skeeter’ Pheelan, an aspiring writer in the 1960s who decides to write a book from the point of the help – African-American maids who work for white families.

I’m really glad I managed to catch this show before the end of its run because I don’t think I can find time to finish this book-bricks of book-bricks. It really showcased the strength of these women; how much they had to endure under white supremacists, the pride they had to swallow and their sacrifices. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer were brilliant as Aibileen and Minny (especially Minny’s chocolate pie!). The story of how Constantine left Skeeter’s household was really sad and particularly so because these maids were the ones who brought up their employer’s kids while their own kids were left under the care of others.

DON’T MENTION IT

DOUBT (2008)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars

Doubt is set in the 1960s and revolves around a nun who tries to confront a priest after suspecting him of abusing the only black student in the school. In times of change, the priest aka Father Flynn tries to change some of the school’s strict traditions and is met with some fierce opposition in the form of Sister Aloysius. Some of the lighter moments involve the hoo-ha about ballpoint pens, sugar cubes, light bulbs and some of the quotes by Sister Aloysius herself. Great acting by Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.