Beautiful Creatures Review (Robert Harding)

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Directed by Richard LaGravenese

Starring Alice Englert, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson

Move over Sabrina, there’s a new teenage witch in the house.  But is she on the side of the dark or light? To find out, you’ll have to watch the movie. Beautiful Creatures is based on the novel of the same name written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl which is the first book in the Caster Chronicles series.

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Ethan is much too intelligent for his small town and is looking forward to the day where he can leave its sheltered borders for something bigger. When a mysterious new girl named Lena moves to town he is immediately drawn to her despite her families sordid past. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their families, themselves and their town.

Beautiful Creatures is geared towards the young adult crowd with a heavy leaning towards the female gender so it’s very easily compared to Twilight.  Both films involve a supernatural love story but Beautiful Creatures does a much better job of selling the relationship. While still feeling a little rushed, Beautiful Creatures establishes a previous attraction between the two main characters. This allows them to be drawn to each other above and beyond the normal sense and when you add the fact that both are outsiders of a sort, it just makes the relationship all that more plausible.

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Where the story weakens is in the films “breakup.” When a movie devotes time to  bringing two characters together so that the audience believes in the relationship you would expect that when something tears them apart  there would be a big emotional reaction. But the most expected and recognised responses are not what we’re given. In fact, there isn’t much of a reaction at all. This eventually results in a climax that lacks the potential impact it could have otherwise had.

Aside from the breakup, the film does a decent job of telling the story. It could have been a little longer in length and fleshed out the subplots a little better but they weren’t exactly necessary to tell the overall story. The lack of explanation with regards to the various subplots meant that the film feels a little rushed and it tends to jump from one point to the next without a smooth transition.

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I did enjoy the casting in this film. Filled with mostly unknowns and giving almost everyone a down to earth look instead of trying to use sex to sell the film meant that it had a more realistic tone (at least for a supernatural witch movie). Of course this might seem odd for a film called Beautiful Creatures but all is not lost for those looking for a little sex appeal. Emmy Rossum playing the role of Ridley Duchannes not only looks fantastic but does her fair share of adding a little eroticism to an otherwise “Christian” film.

Beautiful Creatures isn’t perfect and is likely missing a great deal of detail from the novel but it was much better than expected. Learning from previous films aimed at the same audience, it has a more believable love story all while tossing some FX heavy scenes into the mix to add some thrills to the drama.  The film may not fulfill all expectations but it does justice to enough of them to entertain. And like all good films of this nature, Beautiful Creatures leaves a little something come the end. Just enough to tease the audience. Sequel? There are more novels to pull from aren’t there?

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Breaking Dawn Part 2 Review (Paolo Kagaoan)

Breaking Dawn Part 2 Poster

Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012)

Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Dakota Fanning, Michael Sheen, Mackenzie Foy, Peter Facinelli, Billy Burke, Jackson Rathbone, Maggie Grace and Jamie Campbell Bower

Directed by Bill Condon

Nadia Sue Sandhu and I have endured The Twilight Saga or The Kristen Stewart Lip Quiver Saga in one drunken night. Or no, I’ll admit it, I actually enjoyed the movies for different qualities other than the ones you judge real good movies on. That said, I can’t speak on her behalf. Anyway, since we already watched all of those movies we might as well watch Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Stewart doesn’t necessarily sustain an energy throughout the movie. And she still doesn’t know what to do with her mouth, a part of her face that she lost control of ever since she signed on to starring in this saga. But, and I realize that I might be judging her by lowered standards, she does make for a convincing mother. She also knows how to be campy. Watch that animated face throughout the film. This is especially true when telling Jacob that he stinks, inhabiting the xenophobia that ‘vampires’ – read: white people – have against ‘werewolves’ – read: Natives or people of colour. Although I will say that this movie’s main plot arc of ‘Bella and Edward’s (Pattinson) Daughter Reneesme (Foy) Is Not An Immortal Child World Tour’ takes away a lot of the racism and criticisms of racism against the movie.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN-PART 2

To flashback from the previous installments of the saga, the only reason the Cullens are alive is because the Volturi think that Bella has turned into a vampire. Now they think that both vampires have conceived an immortal child although Reneesme is just a half-breed. An immortal child, in the Twilight Saga Universe, is a child by two vampires and thus have powers so uncontrollable that he or she can raze a village with a tantrum. Those children and the coven who conceive them have to be burned by the Volturi for their mistakes, a fate the Cullens want to avoid.

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Back to Stewart’s campiness. Waking up as a vampire makes her a capable stand-in for the audience who, just like her, is taking in all the movie’s stimuli like a high person, slithering like Catwoman in the movie’s Northwestern woods. She knows how to do angry, dragging Jacob out of the house and yelling at him for ‘imprinting’ Renesmee and nicknaming her after the Loch Ness Monster. There’s also a scene when she has convinces her father (Burke) that she’s the slouchy human instead while equally convincing us that she’s the well-postured, quick-footed super-vampire that she has become. Her latest infidelity scandal makes us think twice about her former shy tomboyish self, and she’s playing along with this new persona both in life and in the movie. And when she’s not having these glorious moments, the cast have theirs as their characters, some more diluted than others, prepare for an epic battle with the most ridiculous twist ending.

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