August 24, 2016

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Alone and Abandoned | “The Little Prince” Movie Review

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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

Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi) and Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley)  in The Jungle Book (All photos: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

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

Shailene Woodley in The Divergent Series: Allegiant (Photos: Murray Close)

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: 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.

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.

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.

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.

‘Tiger Eyes’ Film Stays True to Blume’s Vision

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More than 30 years after it was published, Judy Blume’s YA novel Tiger Eyes has been adapted for the big screen. Directed by Lawrence Blume, the author’s son, the quiet film stars Willa Holland as Davey and Amy Jo Johnson as her mother, both reeling from the results of a tragic shooting. The gorgeous landscape of northern New Mexico serves as a perfect backdrop to the long-awaited adaptation, also available via video on demand. Kent Turner reviews it for SLJ.

‘Beautiful Creatures’ Film Conjures the Spirit of Book But Purists Beware | Movie Review

Photo credit: John Bramley

Girls with supernatural powers, rumors of demon-worshiping, and of course, romance, are all to be found in “Beautiful Creatures,” the film adaptation of the popular YA paranormal series.

Movie Review: The Hobbit

Sir McKellen as Gandalf. Photo credit: Warner Brothers Pictures.

In “The Hobbit,” Peter Jackson’s follow up to his epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Bilbo Baggins begins his journey to defeat the dragon Smaug.

Movie Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn‒Part 2

Photo by Andrew Cooper/Summit Entertainment

In the final Twilight movie, Bella Swan, now a vampire, wields her newfound strength, adjusts to motherhood, and with her vampire brethren face a new enemy.

Movie Review: ‘Fat Kid Rules the World’

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K.L. Going’s engrossing novel “Fat Kid Rules the World” (Putnam, 2003) takes a modest and gritty route to the big screen. Following on the heels of another smart YA adaptation, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” this movie also deserves to find its audience.

Movie Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Emma Watson as Sam (Summit Entertainment)

The ’80s comes roaring back in Stephen Chbosky’s sensitive adaptation of his coming-of-age novel, The Perks of a Wall Flower (1999, MTV Books). Though the book and film take place in 1991, there’s a distinct pre-hip hop, early MTV vibe, thanks to the soundtrack, dominated by the likes of Dexys Midnight Runners and the Smiths.