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November 22, 2014

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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

tigereyes 2

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’

EH_FatKid_Marcus

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.