The Fault in Our Stars

I’m sure many of you have heard about this phenomenon of a book/movie. I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green earlier this year and absolutely loved it. The writing was superb and the emotions run high. Perhaps it was a bit too philosophical for its young protagonists, but still enjoyable. High expectations were given for the film adaptation and they were met when I finally got to see it, along with some annoyance.

The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS) tells the story of sixteen year old cancer patient Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) who is forced to attend a cancer support group. Here she meets the devilishly charming Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort) and subsequently falls in love.

I thought the film was great! Perhaps I am a bit biased because I fall in the film’s young female target audience, but I still thought it was a good adaptation of the book. The actors played their characters perfectly. Shailene Woodley’s performance was beautiful and natural. Ansel Elgort (who fun fact: played Woodley’s brother in Divergent) was simply Augustus. There were so many moments between the two characters were I just felt myself beaming. Their chemistry was palpable and refreshing, as was the story. A few scenes were left out, but you don’t really notice until afterwards. I personally liked the soundtrack as well. There is one criticism I have but it lies outside of the movie.

Practically everyone I know who has seen this film always claims to have cried. It’s a sad story no doubt about it. No, I did not cry (though I did tear up during the book). My lack of emotion during the film can be pointed to two reasons. One: I read the book already so the plot was not much of a surprise to me. “What?”, you say, “How can you have no heart?!”. I know, I know. Seeing some more of the emotional scenes on-screen should have done the trick but nope. My focus was not on the movie but on the large group of crying girls in front of me, reason #2.  I do not cry much during movies anyway but I could not enjoy TFIOS fully with these sobbing girls passing tissues to one another and choking so hard that you would think they too went through the same ordeals. I cannot fathom what it would have been like if I saw this movie opening day. A word of advice to those with little patience who also like silence during a movie: skip the theater for TFIOS and watch it at home.

Aside from that little rant, I truly did like The Fault in Our Stars. I think I need to see it again, by myself, to truly appreciate it more though. It is kind of targeted for young girls but I think its’ abundant warmth and humor can be enjoyed by many. By many, for years to come.

ALL IN ALL: The Fault in Our Stars really has no essential faults and can valued as the Love Story of this generation.

Rated PG-13, 125 minutes

image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/22/Fault_in_our_stars.jpg/220px-Fault_in_our_stars.jpg

 

Catch-up!

Well where has the time gone? Ticket Stub Love has been extremely busy lately and we probably won’t be able to get back into full swing until summer but we’re doing our best to still bring you some reviews.

So I recently went on vacation to Barcelona and on my way there I watched some movies of course. Right when I turned on the little TV in front of me, I got really excited because it was full of pretty up to date ones too!

Now these aren’t full reviews but a few thoughts of some of the movies I watched:

American Hustle (Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner)

I have wanted to watch this for a while so I immediately selected this as my first choice. Got to say though, kinda disappointed. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the cast. Every single actor did a great job but the story was so bland. I enjoyed the beginning where you got introduced to everyone and it went through some of the past cons of Christian Bale’s and Amy Adam’s characters, but when they got into the full Abscam storyline, I quickly lost interest. It got good again near the end, but still a downer.

Gravity (Sandra Bullock, George Clooney)

Sooo remember my trailer review of Gravity back in August where I made fun of the movie (I later too back some of this in follow-up post). Yeah, I was wrong. Dead wrong. Gravity was AMAZING! No wonder it won 7 Oscars! Everything was great: cinematography, score, direction, performances. I mean Sandra Bullock’s character has pretty much everything go wrong on her in space, but the audience is still tethered to her because it’s just that thrilling. I loved this movie and thought it was fantastic!

The Book Thief (Sophie Nélisse, Emily Watson, Geoffrey Rush)

I am a huge fan of the book so I was naturally curious to see how the movie pulled off the movie. Overall I would say it was well done. Nothing compared to the book though because there are some aspects of the book that don’t have the same impact when transitioned to the big screen, such as the narrator being Death-you just can’t do that well on-screen.

 

Divergent

Earlier this year I read the novel Divergent by Veronica Roth and totally enjoyed it! It brought me back to my Hunger Games days and my reading got so bad that I had to tie the book up in a drawer so I could focus on my work.  Naturally when I heard about the movie, I was pretty psyched and I finally got to see it this past weekend. Though there were flaws, Divergent was overall pretty entertaining.

Divergent takes place in a dystopian world where people are divided into factions by human virtues. Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) though discovers that she is Divergent and will never fit into any one faction. Soon she and the mysterious Four (Theo James) learn about a sinister plot looming in their seemingly perfect society and must find out a way to stop it before it’s too late.

As always, I recommend to always read the book first. However, I went to see it with some of my friends who had never before heard about the series, but still understood and enjoyed the movie. Divergent has gotten many mixed reviews and though I agree with most of it, I feel that many people are comparing it to The Hunger Games. Yes both take place in a dystopian society with a strong female lead, but the stories are very different (however I still liked Hunger Games better).

Fans of the book will be disappointed with some aspects of the film such as the nonexistent appearances of some crucial characters and multiple missing scenes. For me, though the film was pretty long (139 minutes), it flew by way too fast and you hardly got to know any of the characters. Shailene Woodley and Theo James (very handsome by the way!) fit their roles perfectly and I enjoyed their screen time, but the supporting cast, many of whom are very important to the plot, were overlooked. Kate Winslet, who plays a faction leader names Jeanine, did great too but her character was much bigger in the film than in the book. I also hated how all the action seemed to take place in the last 20 minutes of the movie. Better timing was needed.

This is a very non significant complaint but I thought the sets could have been more impressive. The Dauntless faction’s compound was described in the book to have this huge underground cavern and ravine, but in the movie, it just looked like an empty warehouse with some boxes and tarps. Many of the sets seemed too drab.

To conclude, the film did feel a bit weak overall, but I still enjoyed it. Teens and some fans of the book would probably like it the most, but it is still worthwhile to see (maybe not in the theater though if you’re an adult).

ALL IN ALL: Divergent, though a bit weak and rushed, is an entertaining film that combines several genres (action, sci-fi, romance) into a pretty satisfying mix.

Rated PG-13, 139 minutes

image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/41/Divergent_film_poster.png/220px-Divergent_film_poster.png

See This, Not That: Rom-Com Edition

So we took a bit of a break after award season concluded, but now we’re back on track! So, Friday nights can be spent a couple of ways, but one of the most popular activities is to watch a movie! Something light and fresh, perhaps a romantic comedy? If you’re in the mood for some laughs and love, stick with us as we review Ruby Sparks and When Harry Tries to Marry.

SEE THIS: Ruby Sparks

My sister suggested this movie to me a long time ago, but I never felt like sitting down and actually watching it. I decided today that I wanted something fun and a bit quirky to watch so I’m glad I remembered Ruby Sparks.

Ruby Sparks is about a writer (Paul Dano) struggling with writer’s block whose fictional character Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan) comes to life.

I really liked this film. It was a bit eccentric like most indie films and had a very creative plot. Dano was exceptional as the lovelorn and secluded Calvin and though her character annoyed me a bit, Kazan portrayed Ruby’s free-spirited attitude with ease. Kazan actually wrote the screenplay and though I praise her ingenuity, I was not a fan of knowing she pretty much created her own character (kind of like the movie ironically). What I liked most about the film was that it rolls numerous genres and aspects all into one:  fantasy, a view on the creative process, a beautiful romance,  the fragility and controlling power of relationships and the male ego, etc. Jam packed, but compelling

ALL IN ALL: Ruby Sparks is a charming and enjoyable film that does an interesting take on love and relationships.

Rated R, 104 minutes


NOT THIS: When Harry Tries to Marry

 

I enjoy British Asian films like Bend it Like Beckham, and though When Harry Tries to Marry is not exactly British, there were similarities with the Indian-American child living in the country the parents immigrated to, kind of like The Namesake as well. However, this film tries to be funny and show a child who is not ashamed of his culture and actually embraces aspects of it even more than his parents. Notice how I said “tried”.

When Harry Tries to Marry tells the story of Indian- American Harry (Rahul Rai) who is cynical about love after his parents’ divorce and desires an arranged marriage, but his friendship with an American friend Theresa (Stefanie Estes) complicates his plan.

Let me start off with pointing out that I could not even finish this movie. I stopped halfway, went against all my film morals and skipped to the end, then immediately turned it off and regretted deciding to watch it in the first place. Yes, it’s that bad. It could have been good, but it failed in so many places! First of all, if you are going to have the main protagonist decide between two girls, you have to give some kind of negative quality to the character he will reject or else your audience becomes confused and does not know who to root for. I disliked Theresa’s character so much, that it just ruined the whole story for me. The characters were unlikable, the plot swerved, and I feel like the story could have worked much better if it was switched around. Perhaps Harry could have been against arranged marriages and then discovered his culture or something like that. Either way, it just does not work.

ALL IN ALL: When Harry Tries to Marry is very very scary, in its attempt to be good.

Rated PG-13, 93 minutes

images from:

Oscars 2014!!!

Yes sadly award season is over :(, but now we can relive the biggest night in Hollywood: THE OSCARS! I thought the show overall was pretty good. Ellen was a great host and though the opening monologue was a bit lackluster, she kept the ball rolling with the infamous selfie, the pizza delivery, etc. If you want to hear more of my thoughts about the show, performances, and winners, check out my Post Oscars podcast with Aimee J : http://aimeej21.com/2014/03/post-oscar-snow-day/

full list of winners and nominees: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/02/showbiz/oscars-2014-winners-list/

THE WINNERS (check mark ✓  and x mark ✗for my predictions being right or not)

    •  Best picture: 12 Years a Slave ✓
    • Director: Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity ✓ 
    • Actor in a leading role: Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club ✓  Yes I wanted Leo so badly, but McConaughey did work hard for his role and his acceptance speech was pretty awesome.
    • Actress in a leading role: Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine 
    • Actor in a supporting role: Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club 
    • Actress in a supporting role: Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave ✓  My favorite moment of the night was when she won! Loved her speech and she deserved the win!
    • Writing (adapted screenplay)12 Years A Slave – John Ridley
    • Writing (original screenplay) : Her – Spike Jonze 
    • Animated feature filmFrozen 
    • Foreign language filmThe Great Beauty – Italy 
    • Music (original song): “Let it Go” – Frozen – Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez 
    • Music (original score)Gravity – Steven Price 
    • CinematographyGravity 
    • Costume designThe Great Gatsby ✗
    • Documentary (feature): 20 Feet From Stardom ✗
    • Film editing:  Gravity Cuaron got this award first, can’t believe this was his first Oscar!
    • Makeup and hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club 
    • Production design:  The Great Gatsby ✗
    • Visual effects: Gravity 
    • Sound mixing: Gravity ✗
    • Sound editing:  Gravity ✗
    • Short film (live action): Helium ✗

So I got 16/24 = 66% I mainly got stuck in some of the documentary and technical categories. Wow Gravity swept those up with a total of 7 wins. Sadly American Hustle got shut out of all 10 of its nominations. Overall I’m happy with all the winners

Now onto the RED CARPET!

My Favorites:

  • Lupita N’yongo in Prada. I understand how the cut can be viewed as unflattering for her, but I think overall she looked beautiful.

  • Sandra Bullock in Alexander McQueen. great color, draping, and hair

  • Amy Adams in Gucci. Another Navy blue, but the fit is perfect and looks exquisite. The earrings are also a nice touch.
  • Camila Alves in Gabriela Cadena

Not So Good:

  • Elsa Pataky in Elie Saab. No you don’t wear that kind of dress when you are pregnant! Something flowy is the best option (see Olivia Wilde and Kerry Washington)

  • Sally Hawkins in Valentino. Pretty but not age-appropriate

  • Margot Robbie in Gucci. Okay so while it’s not thaaat bad, she looks unrecognizable as a brunette! I know she had to do it for a role, but the hair is too harsh on her and the dress is not fitted well. She was one of favs at the Golden Globes too!

I guess this is where we part for award season. :(  Though I am sad it is all over, it was fun so…. until next year!!!

images:

Oscar Predictions 2014

Ahhh it’s my favorite time of year again….THE OSCARS! So while the big show is set for Sunday, here are Ticket Stub Love’s predictions for the big winners!

one again, a link for the full list of nominees and our previous nominations post

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave. If not this then American Hustle, but I would be surprised.

Director: Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity. Gravity is a filmmaker’s achievement and Cuaron deserves it all the way.

Actor in  Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club. I want Leo to win so badly for Wolf Of Wall Street, but McConaughey has been sweeping all the major awards so he is my pick.

Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave. There is a 50/50 chance between her and Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle. Though I get the sinking feeling JLaw might get it, she already won an Oscar just last year so I’m rooting for Lupita.

Original ScreenplayHer – Spike Jonze

Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave – John Ridley

Animated Feature Film: Frozen

Foreign Film: The Great Beauty (Italy)

Best Music (original song): Frozen: “Let it Go” — Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez . Though “Happy” by Pharell, also nominated,  is such a good song!

Music (original score): Gravity – Steven Price

Cinematography: Gravity – Emmanuel Lubezki

Costume Design: American Hustle – Michael Wilkinson

Documentary Feature:  The Act of Killing

Film Editing: Gravity – Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Sanger

Makeup and Hair styling:  Dallas Buyers Club – Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews

Production Design: Gravity – Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard.

Visual Effects: Gravity. I know, I vote too much for Gravity! I just feel like it will win many of the technical awards.

Sound Mixing: Lone Survivor  (I’ve kind of just been guessing at this point..)

Sound Editing:  All Is Lost

Short Film, live action: Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)

Short Film, animated:  Get a Horse!

Documentary Short: Facing Fear

Okay so tune in to see the 86th Academy Awards hosted By Ellen DeGeneres (who everyone loves so I’m sure it will be a great show) on Sunday, March 2nd at 8:30pm ET on ABC. Red carpet coverage will probably start a 7 or 8. HERE WE GO!!!

We will do our Mega Post next weekend!

Frozen

Okay so while many of us here on the East Coast have been snowed in by this huge blizzard, I decided to review a movie with a title very appropriate for the occasion: Frozen! When I think of Disney movies, I automatically think of Disney’s Renaissance era: 1989-1999 that included classics such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King, etc. Disney movies have been declining lately so I was genuinely surprised to hear some critics comparing Frozen to the studio’s past glory. I saw the movie and you know, I might just agree with that but with some reserves.

Frozen tells the story of fearless and optimistic princess Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) who teams up with rugged mountain-man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his pet reindeer, and a cheery but hapless snowman (Josh Gad) to find her estranged sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

Gosh I loved this movie. Honestly, nothing negative to say! I thought the voices were great, the visuals stunning, and the musical numbers were fantastic! I downloaded the whole album and cannot stop listening to it. Finger’s crossed for the film’s most acclaimed song “Let It Go” to win the Oscar for Best Original Song! The last Disney film of this kind that I can really think of is Tangled, and while I really enjoyed it, I don’t really remember any of the songs. For me, I can remember Frozen‘s songs as easily as I can for some classics like Beauty and the Beast and Mulan, which is why I’m guessing most critics are comparing the film to those of the past (get to that later).  The themes in the film are excellent as well. Sisterhood, trust, and finding the right person are all explored and very refreshing when compared to some previous princess movies. Frozen isn’t cliché and it really does have you guessing till the end, with delicious plot twists and surprises. The characters (especially Olaf) were so lovable too!

Despite how awesome Frozen was, I don’t think it should be categorized with the Disney classics. For one thing, those are classics and made a while ago. Frozen has the same story and song quality, but it is primarily done with CGI rather than traditional hand-drawn animation. However, Frozen is one of the best recent Disney films and I definitely see it as a sign of Pixar’s decline. The last films Pixar released were Monster’s University in 2013 and Brave in 2012, both pretty average and nowhere near the greatness of its past films like Up and Toy Story. Frozen is really driving the Disney Revival.

I recommend Frozen for everyone: young and old alike. It’s got comedy,romance, heart; a cool (haha) treat for anyone to watch!

ALL IN ALL: Frozen is an awesome film filled with music and fun for the whole family, a great addition to Disney’s impressive collection.

image from: http://media.comicbook.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Frozen-movie-poster.jpg

The Spectacular Now

One of the many films this year that garnered critical acclaim was The Spectacular Now. It did well at Sundance, it received a 92%  on Rotten Tomatoes, naturally I was intrigued. Then I watched the movie. I’m really confused, was it supposed to be good?

Based on the book by of the same name by Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now tells the story of Sutter (Miles Teller), a charming hard-partying high school senior whose outlook on life changes when he meets Amy (Shailene Woodley), the “not so typical nice girl”.

I know, from that summary, this movie sounds like every other high school movie. However, I felt like the writers were trying too much to make the whole story real. Have it relate to actual high school students and show life as it really is, etc. I, on the other hand, was not pleased with this attempt. The story was weak and did not make sense at times. Not every high school student drinks, parties, and is promiscuous! I understand they were trying to portray this dimension on the character of Aimee but she just turns out to be smart girl who does not seem to have any judgmental common sense. She forgives Sutter for terrible, terrible stuff and depends on him like a drug. I hated her character. She’s also supposed to awkward? Uh Shailene Woodley is a very pretty girl casting people. The climax had a good shock factor but its aftermath left me frustrated. To add to that, the ending left me sitting in my seat, wondering why I even decided to watch the movie in the first place.

The only good thing about this film was the performances. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley did great jobs as their respective characters. Kyle Chandler, who I never even knew was in the film, gave a surprisingly emotional and understated performance as well. After I watched the film, I was very confused of all the acclaim it received. I was actually thinking about watching it again to see if I missed something, but then I figured it would be a waste of my time because if I have to watch a movie more than once to analyze its themes and hidden messages, then it has not done it’s purpose as a film. I did like the portrayal by the main characters of feeling like you are losing time and trying to live every moment, but this seemed to determine all of their decisions. Not too sure if I would recommend The Spectacular Now.

ALL IN ALL: The Spectacular Now is a disappointing film with unlikable characters and a weak story that overshadows the otherwise well done performances.

Rated R, 95 minutes

image from: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/18/The_Spectacular_Now_film.jpg

SAG Awards 2014

So the Screen Actor’s Guild awards were on Saturday and we have some awesome winners!

List of winners:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/18/showbiz/sag-awards-2014-winners-list/

The highlights:

  • Outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture: American Hustle. Interesting, I thought it would be 12 Years a Slave
  • Outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club. yup
  • Outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine. yup
  • Outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club. yup
  • Outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role : Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave. YES!
  • Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama seriesBreaking Bad. yup
  • Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series: Modern Family. okay
  • Outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad. yup
  • Outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey. Hmm totally thought it was going to be Claire Danes for Homeland as always
  • Outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series: Ty Burrell, Modern Family. Hmm I thought Alec Baldwin again for 30 Rock, interesting
  • Outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep. yup

Now on to the RED CARPET!

to see all of them: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/18/sag-awards-2014-red-carpet-photos_n_4590588.html

My Favorites:

  • Anna Gunn in Monique Lhuillier and Irene Neuwirth

  • Lupita Nyong’o in Gucci and Fred Leighton

  • Jennifer Lawrence in Christian Dior, Brian Atwood and Jennifer Meyer. Much better than the Globes JLaw, much better

  • Jennifer Garner in MAX MARA and Brian Atwood. yea it’s simple but I like that

Not So Good (not that many this year)

  • Claire Danes in Vionnet, Jimmy Choo, Tod’s and Forevermark Diamonds. not terrible but not her best either

  • Abigail Breslin. girl, you re only 17

  • Mayim Bialik. I should not be used to this from you!

My favorite moments:

Tina Fey and her daughter are adorable:

Emma Thompson has been the funniest person this awards season:

   

That’s all folks! I guess our next awards post will be for the Oscars!

images from:

Oscar Nominations 2014

Oscar Nominations came out this past Thursday!

complete list: http://oscar.go.com/nominees

Surprises: 

  • Philomena got four Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Actress for Judi Dench, I never really heard about this film before awards season, same with Nebraska which got 6 nominations, but it looks very good
  • Jonah Hill’s Best Actor in a Supporting Role nomination for Wolf of Wall Street. Whaa?? He wasn’t even nominated for the Golden Globe, SAG, etc. Seems very random
  • Dallas Buyers Club and Captain Phillips for Best Picture, I don’t know, I was surprised

SNUBS:

  • Saving Mr.Banks only got nominated for Original Score. What about Emma Thompson or Tom Hanks for Best Actress and Best Actor? Also for Tom Hanks: nothing for Captain Phillips
  • Inside Llewyn Davis only got two nominations for Cinematography and Sound Mixing. This film seemed like a perfect nominee for so many categories especially Original Song and screenplay. Even though it topped many critics list, the Cohen brothers have been almost shut out this year.
  • Monster’s University for Best Animated Feature. I do admit this movie was a little weak but I thought the Academy loved Pixar.
  • Out of American Hustle‘s 10 nominations, it  lost out on a Best Makeup and Hair styling nomination. I feel like half that movie was the hair!
  • Robert Redford for All is Lost, early front-runner too
  • actually a lot of the early front-runners like Lee Daniel’s The Butler (Oprah was awesome!) and Fruitvale Station got no love from the Academy

That’s all I can think of, again check out the complete list for the other nominations! Closer to the actual show on March 2nd, we’ll reveal our predictions!