Based on the Markus Zusak book, Brian Percival’s The Book Thief takes place in Nazi Germany and tells the tale of a young girl named Liesel Meminger (Sophie Nélisse). Liesel and her brother are given up for adoption, but when her brother passes away en route to their new family, Liesel is sent to Hans and Rosa Hubermann (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson) alone. Even though the Hubermanns barely have enough to support their new family of three, they also take in the Jewish son (Ben Schnetzer) of a man who saved Hans’ life in WWI.
Just like Zusak’s book, Percival film adaption will tug your heartstrings until your tear ducts are tapped. However, even though the narrative is a bittersweet tale of a girl who suffers through a vicious cycle of love and loss, Nélisse, Rush and Watson seem to have had wonderful time making the film.
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“The Book Thief” celebrates love and life in one sequence and takes it all away in the next, only to come back around to give your heart yet another bruising, but it always does so with purpose, making the film a well-earned flood of emotion.
After being put up for adoption, Liesel Meminger (Sophie Nélisse) is sent to live with Hans and Rosa Hubermann (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson) in a pre-war German town. Heartbroken over the passing of her brother and her mother’s abandonment, Liesel has difficulty adjusting to her new life until Hans discovers her passion for books and takes it upon himself to teach her to read. Liesel warms up to the Hubermanns and befriends her neighbor Rudy (Nico Liersch), but as the pressure of the Nazi regime bears down on the town, Liesel finds it increasingly difficult to fall in line, especially when the Hubermanns agree to care for the son (Ben Schnetzer) of a Jewish man who saved Hans’ life in the First World War.
Even though Markus Zusak’s book comes with a wealth of cinematic material, “The Book Thief” is a particularly challenging piece to adapt to film. The book takes place over a lengthy period of time during which Liesel begins as a child and winds up a young woman. Nélisse is the film’s one and only Liesel, but thanks to excellent hair, makeup and costume choices, the filmmakers successfully bring her from innocent, frightened girl to knowing young adult over the course of the film’s 127-minute running time.
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At this point, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, must only make due on two things, Johnny Depp starring as Jack Sparrow and recreating the world of the pirates. Well, franchise fans won’t be disappointed as director Rob Marshall and his team delivered just that. On the other hand, anyone looking for the slightest bit more will leave unsatisfied for the series’ fourth film, On Stranger Tides, has absolutely nothing new to offer.
After breaking out of prison, Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) teams up with an old flame, Angelica (Penélope Cruz), to track down the fountain of youth. Turns out, Angelica is Blackbeard’s (Ian McShane) daughter and Blackbeard himself desperately needs the powers of the fountain so as to thwart a prophecy dictating his death. But before the trio can even make their way towards the mystical structure, they must first collect the tear of a mermaid as well as two silver chalices from aboard Ponce de León’s ship in order to unlock the fountain’s magic.
Meanwhile Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is now in cahoots with the British government, employed by the King to claim the fountain for England. With the guidance of Jack’s now imprisoned first mate, Gibbs (Kevin McNally), Barbossa hits the open seas on a ship that sadly isn’t the Black Pearl, for the Pearl was destroyed during a battle with Blackbeard. Then there are the Spaniards who recently had the good fortunate of snatching up a man from the sea, a member of Ponce de León’s crew who should have died years ago. The Spanish King sends a fleet not only to find, but to destroy the fountain of youth so as to preserve humanity.
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When considering the basics of The King’s Speech, there’s really nothing particularly alluring about it. It’s a period piece about a Duke with a stutter. Yes, that’s basically true, but there’s more to this film than can ever be conveyed in even the most detailed synopsis. The combination of spectacular performances and masterful direction turns this story into an all-consuming emotional experience.
Based on a true story, Colin Firth stars as Albert, the Duke of York. As the son of King George the V (Michael Gambon), Bertie (the nickname used by his family) is required to speak publicly quite frequently. The problem is, Bertie has a speech impediment; he stammers. He’s seen a number of speech therapists, but nobody’s been able to fix the issue or get a handle on the Duke’s poor attitude. The only one able to quell is frustration is his wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), who refuses to let him succumb to his stammer.
She finds an Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), whose treatment involves rather unusual methods and decides to put the Duke in his care. The men bump heads right from the start with their first meeting coming to an abrupt end when Bertie blows up and storms out of the room. However, Bertie slowly begins to open up to Lionel and just in time too, for his older brother’s (Guy Pearce) antics will have the Duke in the royal spotlight much more and far sooner than he ever expected.
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Zack Snyder is clearly a master of visuals, but look at 300 and Watchmen. The minimal plot of 300 was completely overshadowed by the masterful imagery and while those unfamiliar with the source material couldn’t quite understand Watchmen, there was no denying that the film was downright mesmerizing. Sadly, it looks as though Snyder has fallen into a similar trap with Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. The film looks gorgeous, but unfortunately it’s also quite evident that he attempted to cram three books into just one film. The story itself is sloppy.
Based on the first three books of Kathryn Lasky’s series, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole follows the adventures of a young owl named Soren (voiced by Jim Sturgess). All his life he’s enjoyed hearing his father’s (Hugo Weaving) stories about the legendary Guardians of Ga’Hoole, a group of owls dedicated to keeping peace throughout the owl kingdom. However, his brother Kludd (Ryan Kwanten) views his father’s stories as just that, tall tales. One day, while practicing a pre-flying technique called branching, both Soren and Kludd fall to the ground, a nightmare of a place for owlets. But before the creatures down below can get a hold of them, something else does, something far worse, the Pure Ones.
The Pure Ones take the brothers back to their lair where they enslave young owls, forcing some to work and others to train to become warriors. Kludd is instantly seen as a potential fighter, but when Soren attempts to defend a tiny elf owl, Gylfie (Emily Barclay), Soren is punished and assigned to be a picker, a worker that must pick through pellets to find special “flecks.” Eventually Gylfie and Soren see an opportunity to escape and take it and that’s when the real adventure begins. Their only hope of freeing the other owlets and stopping whatever scheme the Pure Ones have in the works is to find the Guardians of Ga’Hoole.
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