Live By Night: Book Review

Live By Night stamp wait for the movie

Live By Night book cover Book: Live by Night by Dennis Lehane

Publisher: William Morrow and Company

Year: 2012

Genre: Crime/Drama

Pages: 402

Rating: ☆☆☆ – Above average

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Ben Affleck (Matt Damon’s bff, every movie in Boston ever made)
Zoe Saldana (Sci-fi goddess: beautiful blue babe in Avatar, beautiful green babe in Guardians of the Galaxy, beautiful human babe in Star Trek)
Scott Eastwood (Clint Eastwood’s fine son, The Longest Ridethe cop in Suicide Squad)
Elle Fanning (Dakota’s little sister, Princess Aurora in Maleficent)

When can I watch?
January 13.

What’s it about?
Mobsters in the 1920s. The story starts during Prohibition in Boston. Joe Coughlin, the son a Boston Police Captain, makes a career of breaking the laws his father enforces and is becoming deeply entrenched in organized crime. One day Joe and his two buddies rob a Albert White’s (a rival mob boss’s) gambling room where Joe meets the beautiful Emma Gould. Emma is involved with Albert but begins an affair with Joe, obviously.

One thing leads to another and Joe finds himself in Tampa, Florida. He becomes involved in the crime ring there and builds his own (very) successful business. In Tampa, he meets the beautiful Graciella Corrales. Joe finds trouble in old mob bosses, the government, local spiritual leaders and his own love life.

What did you think?
I liked but not as much as I hoped to. Boston and old school gangsters are two of my favorite so I thought this would the perfect book for me when I first heard about it. But part of my disappoint lies in how little of the book actually takes place in Boston. While Boston is Joe’s home, the plot quickly moves into Florida and remains there for most of the story. Nothing against Tampa, I just like everything better when it’s happening in Boston.

Overall I liked but wasn’t blown away. The plot was a little slow in some parts for taste, not something I would call a “page-turner.” I was easily able to put it down and sometimes forgot about it for a while, but when I did pick it up I was interested and was never completely bored by the story– just never completely hooked either. This is one of the few books that I think will have a better movie counterpart. Since movies always have to cut out parts of the book anyway, I think I’ll like watching only the best and most exciting parts of the story on screen rather than reading the whole thing. I’m basically hoping the the movie is a “Best of Live By Night.” Also the movie will have Ben Affleck and Zoe Saldana so it’s a win.

Should I read it?
I don’t think it’s for everyone. If you’re really in crime/the mob then I would definitely recommend. If not, I hate to say it but i might just wait for the movie. 😳

Here’s the Live By Night trailer.

Scorch Trials: Movie Review

Scorch Trials movie posterMovie: The Scorch Trials

Director: Wes Ball

Writers: T.S. Nowlin who only skimmed the book

Genre: Action, Sci-fi, Thriller

Length: 2 hours 11 minutes

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ – Very good

Read The Scorch Trials book review and The Maze Runner movie review!

Stars:
Dylan OBrien
Dylan Bæ’Brien
as Thomas

 

 

Ki Hong Lee

 

Ki Hong Lee
as Minho

 

thomas brodie-sangster
Thomas Brodie-Sangster
as Newt♥

 

 

kaya scodelario
Kaya Scodelario
as Teresea

 


Remind me what it’s about…

At the end of The Maze Runner, the Gladers get out of The Maze and think they finally escaped WCKD. But we know that The Maze was only Phase I and our poor Gladers are still in WCKD’s hands and about the enter Phase II. That’s about where the similarities between the book and movie end – before the movie starts. In the movie, the Gladers try to escape from WCKD into the  Scorch to reach a rebel group in the mountains, the Right Hand.

But really both The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials books and movies can be summed up in these two gifs:
The Maze Runner Thomas no
The Maze Runner

What did you think?
I really liked The  Scorch Trials (speaking strictly as a movie, I’ll talk more about how it’s vastly different from the book later) and not just because my boyfriend Dylan O’Brien makes looking dirty look so good. He also makes getting clean look so good. Also I will love any movie that features my angel baby prince Newt and my bad-ass best friend Minho.

But I promise I liked more than just the cast/characters. The movie was exciting, suspenseful and fun. Is it going to win any Oscars? No. Is it entertaining and a good way to spend two hours? Yes! There’s a good mix of exciting action sequences and less intense, plot-driven scenes. I hate when movies are just action action action and there’s no lull for me to catch my breath. While Scorch Trials is far from slow-paced, it’s not so fast-paced that it’s overwhelming.

Also cranks are scary. 😱

Was it a good adaption?
LOL no. Here’s what I imagine happened:

Wes Ball/T.S. Nowlin: *reads The Maze Runner*
Wes Ball: What a great book!
T.S. Nowlin: Let’s make a movie!
Wes Ball/T.S. Nowlin: *makes The Maze Runner movie*
Wes Ball: Boy did that go well! We should make the sequel!
T.S. Nowlin: Yes! Have you read the book?
Wes Ball: …
T.S. Nowlin: …
Wes Ball: No.
T.S. Nowlin: Me neither!
Wes Ball: Great, let’s do it!
Wes Ball/T.S. Nowlin: *jumping high five*

The movie is such a departure from the book that I didn’t know what was going to happen next for most of it and I read the book twice. I said in my Scorch Trials trailer breakdown that I thought the movie would be different, but I didn’t anticipate quite how different it would be. There were pretty much only two scenes in the movie that stayed fairly true the book. After watching the trailer (hundreds of times) I thought the movie would start very differently but meet back up with book my the middle/end. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was so incredibly different that it astounds me. I don’t even know what’s going to happen in Death Cure. Everything is different.

One of the things that bothered me most about the changes was Brenda. While the book and movie were both really different, I still enjoyed both of them (maybe even the movie a little more?). But one thing I definitely liked more in the book was Brenda. Soon as I saw the way Brenda was cast and styled I could tell I would be disappointed. Rosa Salazar was bad-ass and tough, but not as flirty and sassy and book Brenda.

Should I watch it?
Yes! If you haven’t read the book (WHY HAVEN’T YOU?!) you will love it. If you have read the book, pretend you haven’t and that the movie is something brand new that you don’t know anything about.

Find Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials playing at a theater near you!

Here’s the trailer which still looks dope AF even after seeing the movie

The Fault In Our Stars: Movie Review

TFIOS stamped

The Fault in Our Stars movie posterMovie: The Fault In Our Stars

Director: Josh Boone

Writers: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (The Spectacular Now(500) Days of Summer)

Length: 2 hours, 6 minutes

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ ½ – Great

Stars:
Shailene Woodley
Shailene Woodley
as Hazel Grace Lancaster

 


Ansel Elgort

Ansel Elgort
as Agustus Waters

 

 

Read the The Fault In Our Stars book review!

Remind me what it’s about…
Young love, life and the Literal Heart of Jesus. Hazel is terminally ill with lung cancer is content to live out the rest of her days reading and binge watching America’s Next Top Model reruns on Lifetime. That is, until she meets Augustus “Gus” Waters in the Literal Heart of Jesus. ~*~babe alert~*~ After meeting the dazzlingly charming Gus, Hazel is conflicted between getting to know him better and limiting the people she hurts in her inevitable death.

What did you think?
Hold on while I dry my tears. *grabs mop*

I love this movie and I love Shailene Woodley and I love Ansel Elgorgeous and I hate John Green for writing such beautiful characters I can’t befriend and date in real life. It’s engaging, it’s funny, it’s painful, it’s smart, it’s beautiful, it’s real and it gives a new meaning to “okay.”

But I will say The Fault In Our Stars isn’t for everyone. This is a great movie if you are a (probably female) tween/teen/young adult. It’s definitely a girl’s night/chick flick kind of movie (sorry for being horribly sexist). But if that’s what floats your boat, then this is the movie for you. TFIOS made me laugh, cry, contemplate life, laugh again, then cry a lot. I went through an infinite amount of emotions in a limited time.

Was it a good adaptation?
Definitely; it’s one of my favorite adaptations. Woodley and Elgorgeous bring Hazel and Augustus to life in the most (emotionally and physically) beautiful way imaginable. When John Green writes unrealistically perfect characters (like Hazel and Gus), it’s no small task to fill that role. Fortunately for us, Woodley and Elgorgeous were actually born from the heavens to be Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. They’re charming, captivating, they’re chemistry is enviable and I can’t imagine anyone else playing these parts.

There’s always some differences but they were pretty minor and I don’t think they affected the story/themes at all. The main advantage the book had over the movie was the cheese factor. Augustus’ spiel about his cigarette metaphor and his declaration of love (and half the things from Augustus Waters’ mouth) read better than they were heard. It’s easier to get away with cheese and drama in written word than it is in spoken word. Some things just sound a little too much when said out loud.

But I don’t think the movie as a whole was cheesy, just that it is TFIOS‘ one minor flaw. Overall, it was great movie and a nearly perfect adaptation.

Should I watch?
Yes, with a box of tissues on standby.

Here’s The Fault In Our Stars trailer:

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: Movie Review

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day movie posterMovie: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Director: Miguel Arteta (Cedar Rapids)

<Writers: Rob Lieber

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ½ – Good

Stars:
Steve Carell Steve Carell as Ben Cooper

Jennifer Garner Jennifer Garner as Kelly Cooper

Ed Oxenbould Ed Oxenbould as Alexander Cooper

Dylan Minnette Dylan Minnette as Anthony Cooper

Kerris Dorsey Kerris Dorsey as Emily Cooper

Read the Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day book review!

Remind me what it’s about…
A Daniel Powter kind of day. Alexander feels like he’s cursed with bad luck and is never as successful as the rest of his family. Until one terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day when Alexander’s family gets a taste of what it’s like to be him every day.

What did you think?
It’s a perfect family film — it has great slapstick/physical comedy for kids and more witty jokes for adults (or 22-year-olds who are not adults). The movie silly and over-the-top in the perfect, laugh out loud kind of way. Steve Carell is exactly how you want Steve Carell to be in a fun, family flick and Jennifer Garner is a perfect and beautiful mother on- and off-screen.

Was it a good adaption?
Considering that they turned a book that takes less than 5 minutes to read into an 81 minute film; definitely. Even though there obviously were additions to the story, it stayed as true as it could to the original story (which was fairly simple). It was a bad day.

I loved how they incorporate Australia into the movie and how the additions didn’t feel forced or excessive. Although I never read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, I know one the complaints I hear the most was how much they changed and added to story — taking away from the original beloved book. But the additions in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day made sense for the story and for the movie. Thankfully, I don’t feel cheated out of one my favorite childhood books.

Should I watch it?
Only if you like hilarious family-fun movies. You can buy it on Amazon or rent it at Redbox.

Here’s the trailer if you need more convincing.

Gone Girl: Movie Review

Gone Girl movie posterMovie: Gone Girl

Director: David Fincher

Writer: Gillian Flynn

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ¾ – Yes, I made a new rating for the movie just like I did for the book.

Stars:
Ben Affleck American Legend Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne

Rosamund Pike Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne

Neil Patrick Harris Neil Patrick Harris as Desi Collings

Tyler Perry Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt

Read the Gone Girl book review!

Remind me what it’s about…
Amy Dunne (Pike) has gone missing and no one can tell if her husband Nick (Batfleck) had anything to do with it or not. The movie goes back and forth between Amy and Nick’s marriage before the incident and following present-day Nick as the case unfolds. There’s more twists in this plot than a pretzel it’s fabulously exciting.

What did you think?
It’s so good.* There are few things in this world greater than a well executed plot twist (one of them is ice cream). It’s one of the best crime/mystery/thriller books/movies out there and the plot twists are bona fide twists that will genuinely surprise you. Just when you think you know what’s coming, something entirely new and out of left field comes into play; it will keep you on the edge of your seat. 

Rosamund Pike is an amazing Amy (that’s a joke for those of you who have read the book/seen the movie) and Boston icon Ben Affleck perfectly portrays the brooding and bumbling Nick. The admirable Affleck wouldn’t even don a Yankee cap for the film, because understands some things can’t be sacrificed for art (like his soul).

*But the ending is horrible and anguish inducing.

Was it a good adaption?
Unfortunately, it was a perfect adaption. It was too good of an adaption. BEN AFFLECK LIED RIGHT TO MY FACE. Ben looked me right in the eyes and promised me that ending of the movie was going to be different than the book. That couldn’t be less true. The ending of the book sucked and the ending of the movie was exactly the same — horrendous. I have never complained about a movie being so accurate to a book, never before have I wished so deeply that a movie would have strayed so far from the book. Alas, here I am with a perfect book-to-movie adaption and horribly unsatisfying ending.

Should I watch it?
It’s kind of a tough call, because 95% of the movie is fantastic but the last 5% might ruin it for you. I would say yes, just prepare to be disappointed. You can watch it on Amazon.

Here’s the Gone Girl movie trailer.

The Maze Runner: Movie Review

The Maze Runner movie posterMovie: The Maze Runner

Director: Wes Ball

Writers: Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers & T.S. Nowlin

Genre: Sci-fi,  apocalyptic, action

Length: 1 hour 53 minutes

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ½ – Great

Stars:

Dylan O'Brien Dylan O’Brien as Thomas

Kaya Scodelario Kaya Scodelario as Teresea

Will Poulter Will Poulter as Gally

Thomas Brodie Sangster Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt♥

Read The Maze Runner book review!

Remind me what it’s about…
Thomas (love of my life O’Brien) wakes up in some kind of cargo elevator (called The Box) that takes him up to an open field and he is greeted by Gally (Poulter) who is surrounded by other young/teenage boys. Their leader Alby (Aml Ameen) tries to tell Thomas that he is in a place called the Glade but Thomas is freaking out because he doesn’t remember anything about himself or his past, not even his name. So, they lock him up in DIY prison until he can get a hold of himself. Once Thomas gets his shit together, Newt♥ (Brodie-Sangster) takes him on the tour of The Glade and explains how they keep The Glade running and that each boy does his part. Thomas also finds out that The Glade is actually the center of giant maze that they can’t escape.

The next day The Box comes up again. Normally The Box only comes up once a month, so the Gladers curiously gather around to see what came up so quickly. They were even more shocked to find that it was a girl (Scodelario). ~MyStErIoUs~

What did you think?
I LOooOOooOVED IT. It was spectacular and definitely was worth staying up too late and getting 4 hours of sleep that night to see the premiere. The utterly adorkable Dylan O’B(ae)rien perfectly wears his dirty blue button-up shirt captures Thomas on the silver screen. His curious, rebellious and good hearted spirit was spot on. This glowing review is not affected by my undying love for the swoon-worthy and charming ways of Mr. O’Brien off screen. No, but really. He was a great Thomas. The whole cast was great. Although Thomas Brodie-Sangster is a little littler than I wanted Newt♥ to be, how you can you be disappointed with a face like this?

The Maze Runner runs (hehe) almost two hours long but goes by in a flash. It’s exciting, and thrilling but not overwhelming. There’s a perfect balance of fast-paced action and slower, more-detailed plot advancement. The movie was interesting, suspenseful, funny and wonderful.

Was it a good adaption?
It was a perfect adaption of the book. It wasn’t all directly from the words of James Dashner, but every change made sense for the movie and made it better. Despite the changes the movie still stayed true to the story, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything majorly important. It eliminated some of the more supernatural aspects of the book which helped the story seem a lot more realistic which I loved. One of my favorite changes is Teresea, I didn’t care about her character in the book but she’s a crazy BAMF in the movie and I love her.

All the details and changes were actually improvements to The Maze Runner.  Not to say that I think that the movie is better than the book, you still get so much more from the characters and the story in the book, just that the changes that were made were good ones. The only thing that I feel like I missed from the book, was Newt’s limp. But I’m trying not to be nit picky.

Should I watch it?
Yasss bish yass! Buy or rent The Maze Runner from Amazon right now.

Here’s the trailer, if you’ve read the book you’ll see that it’s perfect and if you’ll understand how perfect it is:

Insurgent: Movie Review

Insurgent Movie Poster Movie: Insurgent

Director: Robert Schwentke (REDThe Time Traveler’s Wife)

Writers: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman and Mark Bomback

Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopia, Romance

Length: 1 hour 59 minutes

Rating: ♥ ♥ ½ – Average

Stars:
Shailene WoodleyShailene Woodley as Tris

Theo James Theo James as Four/Tobias

Kate Winslet Kate Winslet as Jeanine

Miles Teller Miles Teller as Peter

Ansel Elgort Ansel Elgort<3 as Caleb

Read the Insurgent book review!

Make sure you see Divergent first.

Remind me what it’s about…
In the aftermath of Jeanine’s (Winslet) attack on Abnegation, Tris (Woodley), Four/Tobias (James), Caleb (Elgort) and Peter (Teller) seek refuge in Amity. There, they regroup and come up with a plan to find the remaining loyal Dauntless. But when traitor Dauntless soldiers arrive in search of divergents, they must quickly change their course of action. Yet again on the run, Tris and Tobae-as search for safety while they strategize a plan of attack on Jeanine and the traitor Dauntless.

What did you think?
As 10 Things I Hate About You philosopher Chastity would ask: “I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” If we were in Europe, I would say that I was exactly “whelmed” by Insurgent. I didn’t love the book, so I wasn’t expecting to love the movie either and sadly I was right. It was enjoyable but there was nothing really special about it and I’m not dying to see it again despite it’s stellar and gorgeous cast.

To be completely Candor, the cast is the best thing about the movie. Insurgent was casted to perfection; not only do the actors perfectly portray the characters but just about everyone is absolutely gorgeous. I’m clearly not cut out for Abnegation because I’m so vain that I simply enjoy watching beautiful people be beautiful for two hours. Not that the rest of the movie was bad — it was entertaining, but it didn’t excite me in anyway.

Was it a good adaption?
Not really… It started off fairly true to the book but then took a sharp left into Imaginationville and changed quite a bit. The overall plot line and end result remained pretty on point with the book, but the path to the end was very different. Oddly, this didn’t offend me as much I would have thought. I think it’s my lack of investment. I felt meh about the book, so I didn’t have high hopes for the movie. Somehow the movie managed to be about as good as the book (not that good) but in a totally different way.

Should I watch it?
Eh. I wouldn’t advise you pay to see it in theaters, but might be worth a night of watching it online/renting it from RedBox once it comes out.

Here’s the trailer.