November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

‘Wonder’ Movie Review

Author R.J. Palacio’s voice is heard loud and clear in the exceptionally sharp movie version of her popular 2012 novel.

‘Wonderstruck’ at the Movies

Fans of Brian Selznick’s book will have little to complain about in this often enthralling adaptation.

‘The Big Bad Fox’ and ‘The Breadwinner’ Movies Premiere

Two book-to-screen adaptations recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Romance with a Twist: The New “Everything, Everything” Movie

Nicola Yoon’s acclaimed YA novel Everything, Everything comes to the big screen, starring Amandla Stenberg.

Are We There Yet? | “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” Movie Review

The film series of Jeff Kinney’s wildly popular books returns to the screen after a five-year hiatus.

Baby Brother Blues | “The Boss Baby” Movie Review

Author/illustrator Marla Frazee’s titular tyrannical tot from her acclaimed picture book waddles onto the big screen, wreaking his own brand of mayhem.

A Tween and His Tree | “A Monster Calls” Movie Review

Director J.A. Bayona unleashes the destructive, tough-talking, and tale-spinning colossal, based on author Patrick Ness’s 2011 novel.

Screening The 13th: Questions to ask yourself #SJYALit

I recently heard about how “video visits” were growing in popularity with prisons. As the details unfolded, my initial impression of interest (“Oh that’s nice – families could maybe see their incarcerated loved ones more often or from greater distances.”) turned to revulsion. The strategy is being used largely by local jails as a way to […]

Grumpiness, Gumption, and Gratitude | “The Great Gilly Hopkins” Movie Review

The film remarkably retains the book’s essence, even though the main character is a few years older on screen, as played by Canadian actress Sophie Nélisse.

Island of Misfit Boys (and Girls) | “Miss Peregrine” Movie Review

At first glance, the pairing of Ransom Riggs’s macabre 2011 coming-of-age novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and director Tim Burton would seem like a match made in movieland heaven.

Savvy Survivor | “Queen of Katwe” Movie Review

This is a quietly triumphant adaptation of Tim Crothers’s nonfiction account of a Ugandan teenage girl from the slums who becomes an international chess champion.

Alone and Abandoned | “The Little Prince” Movie Review

The new animated feature film of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella premieres on Netflix.

Mowgli, Mischief, and Music | “The Jungle Book” Movie Review

Disney’s new version of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 classic returns to the murky and mysterious Indian jungle.

New Horizons, New Villains | “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” Movie Review

After the world-building in the first two movies of “The Divergent Series,” the emphasis shifts toward straight-on action. Fans of the books will be able to keep up with the intrigues and conspiracies, but those now jumping into the saga will be left behind.

Teen lives in documentaries

Teens live amazing lives. We know that, but we don’t always see it. These eight documentaries peek into the complicated, emotional, thought provoking lives of teens. Magic Camp It looks a little like Hogworts, and the greatest magicians of our time have emerged from its doors. It’s Tannen’s, a summer camp for aspiring magicians. Maidentrip […]

Manic Pixie Girl Rising | “Paper Towns” Movie Review

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.