Posts Tagged ‘Ender’s Game’

Nearly sixty years after its original release Nicholas Ray’s seminal tean drama Rebel Without A Cause has been given a limited rerelease in cinemas. Made around a decade after the term teenager was coined, James Dean’s Jim Stark probably cinemas most notable adolescent. The template set by that character has endured ever since. From John Bender and Gardner Barnes to Cady Heron and Bliss Cavendar all the notable teenage and young adult charters from cinema have been outsiders in one acceptance within a group.Rebel Without a Cause

This trend is most evident in the glut of children’s and young adult novels that have been adapted into movies in recent years. In the modern cinematic world, being a little socially awkward isn’t enough. While the 80’s may have been the era of the teen movie, today’s films deal with the same angst, but it often disguised with a thin veil of fantasy and the fantastic. Initially not knowing his magical origins and not totally understanding his destiny until the end, Harry Potter (2001-2011) never quite fitted in the Muggle world or magicians world. The same is true of Clary in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013), Lena Duchannes in Beautiful Creatures (2013), Ender Wiggin in Ender’s Game (2013) and “John Smith” aka number 4 in I am Number Four (2011).I AM NUMBER FOUR

Twilight (2008 – 2012) is an interesting addition to the theme. Edward Cullen is an outsider because he is a vampire, he is an outsider within vampire’s because he is a “vegetarian”, but he is already accepted by his family. Jacob Black doesn’t know he is an outsider until he becomes a wolf. Bella Swan is an outsider, simply by being a typicle teenager. This disparate group find their place by their acceptance of each other. Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (2012-2015) is somewhat different, she is human and only extraordinary by her actions, but they are actions caused by the dystopian world in which she lives. So as strange as it sounds, The Hunger Games is closer in this respect to the teen movies of the 80’s than many of the supernatural movies of recent years.The Hunger Games

But this leads neatly onto the latest pretender Beatrice “Tris” Prior in Divergent (2014). Born into a society that where people are divided into factions divined from peoples personalities: Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (truthful), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (brave). When tested Tris is discovered to Divergent, someone who has attributes of multiple factions. This is considered to be a danger to society, a clearly flawed society making her an instrument or catalyst for change. Not satisfied with just finding her place in society, she has a part in shaping it. Following so closely on from The Hunger Games is this the new direction for the genre?Tris Prior

Have writers lost their imagination and need to create a dystopian world for our outcasts to inhabit because they have run out of ideas to make their ideas interesting? Or have we seen it all before and are too cine-literate to be interested in the mundane of real life? I think there is some truth in this, but with well drawn characters and a good script, everyday life can be just as interesting as the spectacular, take: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Igby Goes Down (2002), Easy A (2010) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), all films that could all sit alongside the films of John Hughes. A perfect example of this, is Jennifer’s Body (2009), while I am a fan of and constant defender of the movie, despite the inclusion of supernatural, it isn’t as good as writer Diablo Cody’s previous film Juno (2007) but they both perfectly explore the anxieties and ideas I am talking about.Juno

I could be reading too much into this but ultimately I think the success of films like Rebel Without A Cause, The Breakfast Club and Divergent is that they have all tapped into a fundamental paradox of human nature. As a society we are desperate to fit in but we also want to stand out from the crowd.

For those who are wondering, I am not sure of the origin of the quote "I want to be a nonconformist. Just like everybody else" but first saw it attributed to the street artist Banksy.



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the secret life of walter mittygravityNEBRASKAHBT2-fs-140204.DNGall is lostID_D47_17954.dngSAVING MR BANKSHow I Live NowOldboyEnders Game

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Before I post my top ten movies of the year later in the week here are ten surprisingly good movies:

White House Down: The best Whitehouse home invasion movie of the year and much better than this years entry into the Die Hard franchise.White House Down

Mama: Effective and surprisingly good horror movie with a great performance form Jessica Chastain.Mama

Flight: Denzel Washington is immense and the plane crash scene is stunning.flight

Spring Breakers: A mess of a movie but an interesting an good looking mess.Spring Breakers

Oblivion: Despite the flimsy plot this is still a very watchable sci-fi movie largely thanks to the cast: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko & Andrea Riseborough.OblivionThe Conjuring: James Wan’s horror is reminiscent of 70’s & 80’s horror and is all the better for it.The Conjuring

About Time: Richard Curtis’ time-travel rom-com is both funnier and less sentimental than I expected it to be.About Time

You’re Next: Another surprisingly good horror. It’s a little cheep and some of the acting is a little wooden but it gets away with it.You’re Next

The Counsellor: Don’t believe the reviews this is a great film that will people will come to like over time.The Counselor

Ender’s Game: Forget baggage and mixed reviews it is an entertaining and interesting movie.ENDER'S GAME

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Anyone who has seen Contagion (2011) will know that “Blogging is not writing. It’s just graffiti with punctuation”. but what is film criticism? The most notable difference between a critic and a blogger is what they watch. As a film fan I watch a lot of movies (over 100 a year at the cinema) but the difference between me and a critic is that I only see what I choose to. While we may all love a Kermodian rant the fact of the matter is that Mark Kermode had to sit through all 146minutes of Sex and the City 2 (2010).  Although I have seen some truly terrible movies (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)) but, I have seen them by choice, not obligation.mark kermode

It would be foolish to think professional film criticism has no place in the world of the internet but what is that place? When I first started blogging I saw it as an outlet for my ramblings, I didn’t expect to become part of a community. But that is what has happened, I have become part of a community, as such when I want to know about a film I am more likely to visit the blog of someone whose opinion I have grown to trust than a professional critic. I accept that what I am reading is the opinion of an individual, I understand this and treat the information accordingly. However if the uninitiated wants to know about a film and choose to read the words of a professional critic on a website or in a magazine they expect it to be gospel.  But ultimately, whether it be a blog or a professional critic it is all just opinion. A perfect example of this is Ender’s Game (2013). As reported in my October movie of the month list I kind of liked the movie despite its faults. However two of the nations most respected magazines; Total Film and Empire had greatly apposing views .ENDER'S GAME

Total Film stated that Enders Game: “aims to marry The Hunger Games’ adrenaline rush with brain-teasing philosophical inquiry” its verdict of the film was “Like its hero, Ender’s Game relies on brains more than brute force. An absorbing portrait of Lord Of The Flies-style morality housed in imaginative sci-fi casing” they gave it four stars out of five and suggested: “whatever the icky personal politics of its creator, makes you hope it isn’t game over for Ender after this first round”. Empire on the other hand started by saying of the source novel: “Ender’s Game is a very odd novel” and “barely cinematic” they describes Asa Butterfield’s performance as “generally effective”. Their verdict: “It admirably avoids many of the pitfalls of adapting this book, but seems to have lost some of the life and pace as well”. they gave it a mere two stars out of five.

It isn’t that Matt Mueller from Total Film and Helen O’Hara from Empire are wrong, it is just that their opinion is just that, their opinion.

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Movies seen in October:

Girl Most Likely: A failed playwright finds herself living back home with her exocentric mother and brother. Kristen Wiig is as watchable as you would expect but the film is too thin and lightweight. Similar themes were better explored in Young Adult.Girl Most Likely

How I Live Now: Adapted from a young adult novel of the same name. An American teenager moves to England to stay with her aunt and cousins just as a war breaks out. Atmospheric photography and some interesting ideas make for an interesting film held together by excellent performances from the young cast particularly Saoirse Ronan.How I Live Now

Metallica Through The Never: A mix of concert footage and an esoteric and surreal adventure. In 3D Imax it’s the closet to a Metallica concert other than actually going to a Metallica concert. For fans only but a real treat for them.Metallica Through The Never

Rurouni Kenshin: In 1868 as Japan is in transition from the samurai age to the New Age former assassin Kenshin Himura carries a sword with an “inverted blade” as part of his vow not to kill. His resolve is tested when he comes up against a drug lord. The action scenes are great too few and far between.Rurouni Kenshin

Filth: Adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s supposedly un-filmable novel. James McAvoy is monumental but the movie is a little patchy.James McAvoy and Eddie Marsan in Filth - Jul 2013

Captain Phillips: The true story of Richard Phillips, the Captain of the Maersk Alabama, a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates. Paul Greengrass’ direction is sublime and Tom Hanks gives the performance of his career.Tom Hanks

Sunshine on Leith: Dexter Fletcher’s second movie as a director is musical based on the stage musical of the same name featuring music by The Proclaimers. Largely enjoyable but too saccharine sweet.FILM Fletcher 4

Machete Kills: Danny Trejo is back as the eponymous hero in Robert Rodriguez pastiche of exploitation movies. Sillier than the first movie and without the political message but still great fun. Lots of people will hate it, personally I can’t wait for “Machete Kills Again …In Space”.Machete Kills

Prince Avalanche: Director David Gordon Green finally lives up to the promise he showed in Undertow (2004) with a bizarre road movie starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as a mismatched pair of labourers painting lines on a road in rural Texas.Prince Avalanche

Escape Plan: A security expert who escapes from prisons for a living to help make them more secure until he agrees to test the worlds most secret and secure prison. Forget The Expendables, this is the first proper teaming of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger and I am pleased to report it isn’t bad. Its silly and predictable but, it really isn’t bad. Stallone tries hard to keep it serious and ernest, Schwarzenegger is clearly having a blast as he hams it up. The plot contains a couple of twists that even the most casual of viewers will see coming.THE TOMB

Ender’s Game: Forget the negative publicity surrounding the politically incorrect views of the author of the source novel and take the movie on its own merits. An international military space program are looking for a leader to save the world from a pending alien attack. The young cast includes Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld who impressed in Hugo and True Grit respectively, they are both good here too. Harrison Ford plays Colonel Graff, given his personal Colonel Gruff would be more appropriate. Far darker than you would expect and surprisingly good.ENDER'S GAME

For all the good films I have seen this month, there has only been one great one: Captain Phillips is movie of the month. To take things a stage further, I haven’t always agreed with Tom Hanks’ Oscar nominations/wins but if he wins for this I won’t be disappointed.Captain Phillips Poster

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