Movie Review: Allegiant (The Divergent Series)

Full disclosure: I read the book before seeing the movie. Sometimes that doesn’t make much of a difference. However, this time it did.

Going into the movie I expected some differences. It’s hard to take the complexities in a book like Allegiant and adapt them to the screen. What I did not expect was for them to largely ignore the depth of the book in favor of action. Huge parts of the book were left out – characters who had major roles in the book were reduced to tiny parts. Some of the heavy interpersonal relationships and tensions disappeared. We lost a lot of character development.

Speaking of the action, some of the green screens were just terribly obvious. I get that there are limitations when trying to create the torn up landscape of a war-torn Chicago. But this was… poor. The fighting scenes were fairly well-done, but the larger placement shots were not good.

The pace of the movie is very fast. Two hours goes by in a whir. I assume some of that pace is because they skipped the character and story development. Those would definitely have slowed down the progress of the movie. I don’t know if it was worth the cuts, though. I suppose if I hadn’t read the book, I may not have noticed.

Overall, it comes across as very superficial, with so-so visual effects. I would probably still see the movie, just so I could feel that sense of completion. Just don’t expect a lot.

Movie Review: The Intern

The Intern

Went to see this one yesterday with some friends of mine. With leads like Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway it’s pretty hard to go wrong. Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated, The Holiday, Something’s Gotta Give) doesn’t veer too far from her norm, but why should she? What she does is working.

Ben (DeNiro) is a widowed retiree looking for something to do with his days. Jules (Hathaway) is the head of an online clothing company who is in a bit over her head. The company recruits senior-aged interns to bring experience to the very young company. Against Jules’ wishes, Ben is her intern.

The movie is a lot more complex and nuanced than the previews suggest. Jules has a lot going on in her life aside from her work. Like so many successful women these days, she’s trying to find balance. The movie highlights a lot of the double standards so prominent in American home life these days. It also contrasts the old way (Ben worked at a company that printed phone books for 40 years) and the new (an entirely online clothing store).

Will this movie win any awards? Probably not. It’s not a particularly novel concept, but it’s well-acted and heartwarming. The supporting cast turns in excellent performances as well. (It’s weird to see Adam DeVine – Bumper from Pitch Perfect – not busting into song but his character is pretty similar. The score and soundtrack are also quite good.

If you’re looking for a feel-good movie, this is definitely one to see.

Dose of Lyndsy: Approved

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Review: Hotel Transylvania 2

Hotel Transylvania Poster
(source)

I’m a big fan of animated movies. It helps that these days the people who write them are adding in content aimed at amusing adults since they generally aren’t just leaving kids at the movies by themselves.

If you’re not familiar with the first movie, Hotel Transylvania is about the vampire Dracula (Adam Sandler) who runs a hotel (clever title, no?) for monsters. A human, Jonny, (Andy Samberg) finds his way in and ends up falling in love with Dracula’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez). Obviously Dracula isn’t cool with this, but finds his way to acceptance by the end of the movie.

Hotel Transylvania 2 pretty much picks up where the first movie leaves off. The movie starts with Mavis and Jonny getting married and speeds through to them having a kid, Denisovitch, and focuses on Dracula’s obsession with whether his grandson is a vampire.

There weren’t a lot of people in the theater with me, which may have explained why I was the only person laughing most of the time. It could also just have been some cultural differences because there are a lot of American pop culture references. Either way, I thought the movie was hilarious.

The storyline is pretty classic so don’t expect anything surprising or particularly new. It’s basically “Can someone accept something they’re not familiar with?” But, I don’t think we’re always looking for something new and enlightening every time we go see a film. Sometimes you just want to be able to laugh at something silly for an hour and a half. If you’re in the mood for something light, with or without kids, check it out.

Dose of Lyndsy: Approved

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Movie Review: Inside Out (2015)

Movie Review

(Clicking the star will take you to the trailer)

I know I’m super late to this party. However, in this part of the world Ramadan was happening when the movie first came out. During Ramadan, no new movies start playing. Then I was in Brazil for a month and the movie was only offered dubbed in Portuguese. My Portuguese is just not that strong. Fortunately it was still playing here when I got back to the sandbox.

Because everyone saw it before I did I knew I would cry. And  did. Multiple times. The main characters of the movie are the emotions of an 11-year old girl named Riley who is uprooted from her home in Minnesota and planted in San Francisco. The emotions are Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). I don’t think they could have picked better voices for these emotions.

Like any Disney * Pixar movie, there is a lot thrown in just for the adults. I was the only person in the theater laughing a few times, but since I don’t embarrass I’m okay with that. At one point Sadness breaks down entirely and starts crying. Joy is concerned about the effect Sadness is having on Riley so she tries to make her stop. Sadness replies, “Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.” It makes you laugh because if you don’t you’ll cry.

The movie really forces the adults who watch it to think back about their own lives some. I wondered a lot where my imaginary friends went or if I even had them in the first place since I can’t recall them at all. It made me wish I spent more time in my imagination and in a place where more things seem possible and not like I’m trapped on a set path.

I remember reading that there wasn’t really a villain in the movie and it turned out to be true. Our emotions are a core part of us and what the movie ultimately shows is that while we may not want them around, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust play complex roles in our lives. They weave together to create lives that are rich and full of meaning.

Like with Toy Story 3, I am sure that I will cry every time I watch it. But it’s a joyful sadness.

If you haven’t already seen it, rent it when it comes out. It’s a really good reminder that we can get our emotions to work for us instead of allowing them to work against us.