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July 31, 2015

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Kent Turner

About Kent Turner

Kent Turner (kturner@mediasourceinc.com) edits SLJ's DVD reviews and is the editor of Film-Forward.com

Manic Pixie Girl Rising | “Paper Towns” Movie Review

Quentin (Nat Wolff) and Margo (Cara Delevingne)  in Paper Towns (Photo: Michael Tackett)

Quentin (Nat Wolff) and Margo (Cara Delevingne) in Paper Towns. Photo by Michael Tackett

The box office success and the generally well received critical response of the first film adaptation of a John Green novel, The Fault in Our Stars, provides ample evidence that there is an audience to be found for somber, darker YA subject matter that has nothing to do with lottery killings or armed insurrections. Although the filmmakers of the new Paper Towns, based on Green’s third novel […]

Heartbreak 101 | “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” Movie Review

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Author Jesse Andrews judiciously prunes and adds some quirk to the smirk in his screen adaptation of his 2012 debut novel. The result is an amicable, lively enhancement of his book, which in numerous ways it surpasses.

The Fast and the Feisty | “Insurgent” Film Review

Theo James and Shailene Woodley in The Divergent Series: Insurgent (Photo credit: Andrew Cooper)

After the heavy plot lifting in the first film based on Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” trilogy (HarperCollins) viewers are in for a smoother ride in the adaptation of her second installment, Insurgent. It speeds past intricate intrigues and sketchy characterizations, moving like a sleek roller coaster ride, free from clunky exposition.

Witches, Weapons, and Warfare | “Seventh Son” Movie Review

Julianne Moore as Mother Malkin (Photo Credit: Kimberly French)

Like a magic potion, the big budget, special effects extravaganza Seventh Son, based on Joseph Delaney’s The Last Apprentice takes a dash of this and a pinch of that for a concoction that’s more mild than potent. It’s the perfect formula for a B-movie on a wintry afternoon.

Paddington Finds a Home on the Big Screen | Movie Review

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Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that this frisky and good-natured take on Michael Bond’s beloved bear was produced by David Heyman of the “Harry Potter” film series. Both adaptations plant a big wet kiss on bustling, inclusive London.

SLJ’s Top 10 DVDs 2014

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School Library Journal DVD reviews editor Kent Turner selects the top picks out of the more than 250 DVDs reviewed in SLJ this year. The following are memorable works that will enhance curricula with their strong educational and entertainment appeal.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Betrayals, Battles, and Bilbo Baggins | “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Review

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The final installment of Peter Jackson’s expansive (some might say bloated) adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit begins immediately right where The Desolation of Smaug left off, leaving those coming in cold to fumble in the dark.

‘Katniss and Mouse’ Game in ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1’| Film Review

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The hit “Hunger Games” film series has become more assured in its latest installment, with Katniss Everdeen returning as a teen embracing the role of rebel leader and engaging in a lethal game of “Katniss and Mouse” with President Rose.

‘If I Stay’ Needs a Pulse | Film Review

If I Stay

The screen adaptation of Gayle Forman’s ‘If I Stay,’ which hit screens on August 22, is a watered-down version of the hit YA book. The characters on film lack the focus and edge of the book’s incarnations.

The Long-Anticipated Film of Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’ | Movie Review

BRENTON THWAITES and ODEYA RUSH star in THE GIVER

The film adaptation for Lois Lowry’s 1993 dystopian middle-grade novel The Giver is almost 20 years in the making, starting when actor Jeff Bridges bought the book option back in 1995. Fans of Lowry’s book have long waited for the book’s screen release coming to theaters this Friday, August 15.

Break Out Your Hankies: ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ | Film Review

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SLJ reviews John Green’s page-to-screen hit adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars, which opens June 6.

Film Review: The Nonstop Action of ‘Divergent’ Dominates

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Veronica Roth’s film adaptation of her dystopian YA novel Divergent is an action-packed narrative with a brave, young heroine and handsome love interest that diverges enough from The Hunger Games with some familiar overlap.

Into the Dragon’s Lair | SLJ Reviews ‘The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’

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Multiple beheadings, one impaling, and an omnipresent necromancer—these are just three indications that director Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s 1937 adventure/fantasy The Hobbit has taken a dark turn. The short novel has been expanded into what might amount to a nearly nine-hour-long trilogy—turning what seems a fireside yarn in print into an overlong saga on the screen.

Smoldering Glances and Hot-and-Humid Heroics | SLJ Reviews ‘Catching Fire’ Film

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence)

In this second foray into Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy, the filmmakers approach Catching Fire’s dystopian derring-do with deadly seriousness. Though a new director, Francis Lawrence, has taken over the franchise from The Hunger Games’s Gary Ross, it has been a smooth transition.

Death Comes to the Multiplex | SLJ Reviews ‘The Book Thief’ Film

Liesel (Sophie Nelisse) sneaks into a neighbor's well-stocked library to pursue her love of reading.

How does a filmmaker adapt Markus Zusak’s bestseller The Book Thief, written in Death’s candid point of view? Director Brian Percival tackles that question and more in this atypical family movie set in Nazi Germany. Starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nélisse, the adaptation expands to theaters nationwide in the coming weeks.

Kissing Cousins, Killing Fields | SLJ Reviews ‘How I Live Now’ Film

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For those who can’t wait two more weeks to see Catching Fire, relief is at hand. The taut How I Live Now offers a slimmed down dystopian world at its most bucolic—a survival tale meets hot-and-heavy first love with a punkish swagger. The screenwriters have tweaked the snarky-but-soft-hearted narration of Meg Rosoff’s absorbing novel (Random, 2004), but given the heroine a still-defiant voice.

Kids in Space, Trained to Kill | SLJ Reviews ‘Ender’s Game’ Film

ASA BUTTERFIELD stars in ENDER'S GAME

There are moments in the sleek-but-not-too-flashy adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game when the film takes flight. It feels like child’s play, and the audience forgets briefly that the on-screen kids, the smartest in the world, are being groomed to kill at a Battle School in space. The screenplay hews closer to the book than a potential franchise template.

Bedeviled, Besotted, and Bewildered | SLJ Reviews ‘City of Bones’ Film

Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) tells (Lily Collins) about his childhood in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Photos courtesy of Constantin Film and Unique Features.

The first movie adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s popular series, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, is out in theaters on August 21. Lily Collins as Clarissa “Clary” Fray and Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace star in the action-fantasy, which provides the thrill of the chase and a sprinkling of the romance for its core audience.

Olympian Family Matters | SLJ Reviews ‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’ Film

Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) engages in a fiery battle. Photo by Murray Close/20th Century Fox Film Corp.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Sea of Monsters comes roaring into theaters on August 7. SLJ reviews this page-to-screen adaptation of the second installment of Rick Riordan’s ultra-popular series.

A Fraught First Love, Straight Up | SLJ Reviews ‘The Spectacular Now’ Film

Aimee and Sutter

Director James Ponsoldt’s sharp take on Tim Tharp’s 2008 novel (Knopf) gives The Spectacular Now a higher level of maturity and complexity than most young adult book-to-movie adaptations. The film, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, arrives in theaters on August 2.