Top 10 Films of 2017

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2017 was a big year for film, and I had so many movies on my most anticipated list that I’d planned to watch. Thanks to having a Cineworld card, I saw SO many of those films and more so now I’m going to count down my favourites of the year.

10.

Murder on the Orient Express

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When a murder occurs on the train he’s travelling on, celebrated detective Hercule Poirot is recruited to solve the case. – from IMDb

A lot of Poirot Purists weren’t fans of Kenneth Branagh’s latest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s mystery, Murder on the Orient Express. I, personally, happened to really enjoy seeing Johnny Depp stabbed twelve times, especially by a handful of women, so I rated it quite highly. I did, however, agree that Branagh’s Lorax-style moustache was a bit much.

9.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe. – from IMDb

What’s not to love? A slick science fiction film that aims to entertain and, in my case, succeeds. I can’t comment on whether it was loyal to the original source material, but I did enjoy watching it. Again, another film that didn’t seem to be very popular, except with yours truly.

8.

The Greatest Showman

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Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. – from IMDb

Again, another thoroughly entertaining film that captures the hearts of the audience and pulls you along for the ride. The musical numbers are electric and toe-tapping, and the team of Circus “Freaks” are inspiring to watch and listen to. A really great, family friendly film.

7.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

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The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. – from IMDb

Another slick sci-fi flick that hauls you along for the ride, exciting you from beginning to end. Slightly soap opera-y in places, but the drama and drive of this movie has projected it into my top ten. I can’t wait for volume three to come out! (Spoiler alert: this isn’t the last Marvel movie on my wrap up!)

6.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares for battle with the First Order. – from IMDb

I think 2017 has been the year for sci-fi films! I’ve seen so many amazing ones that have really entertained me, and The Last Jedi is no different. Again, lots of hardcore Star Wars fans didn’t like the newest instalment of the series, but I loved it!

5.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City. – from IMDb

To be honest, when I first heard they were remaking Spider-Man AGAIN, I was worried. We’ve already had Peter Parker’s origin story made twice, but then us Marvel fans discovered that the newest instalment in MCU was to continue with the incarnations of Spider-Man we had already seen. Thank goodness for that! And it was a bloody grand effort if you ask me. Funny, charming and witty, there was nothing I didn’t love about this coming of age tale!

4.

Beauty and the Beast

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An adaptation of the fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love. – from IMDb

Another film that I was sceptical about at first, because I love the original so much, but of course I was pleasantly surprised. The remake was true to the original and had a great cast, and included all the songs we loved. It didn’t try to make it better, it just tried to honour an already brilliant film, in the same way you’d celebrate an anniversary.

3.

Call Me By Your Name

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In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen-year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape. – from IMDb

This film was beautifully written, beautifully shot and beautifully acted, and all in all was downright BEAUTIFUL. That’s the only way I can describe this film. This film wasn’t on my radar at all, but because my sister wanted to go and see it, and asked me along with her, I went and thoroughly enjoyed myself!

2.

Paddington 2

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Paddington is happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr Gruber’s antique shop and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief. – from IMDb

When Paddington 2 was released, I heard rumours that it was even better than the first one… a rumour I can confirm is true! This film made me laugh, made me cry, gave me heartache and stitch all in one afternoon. It was beautiful. The Paddington movies continue to charm and shows that everyone is different and so everyone is welcome.

Drum roll, please…

1.

Thor: Ragnarok

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Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization. – from IMDb

I liked the first Thor movie… I didn’t like the second… but the third I LOVED! The comedy, the pace, the story, Hemsworth and Hiddleston are a duo like no other. Thor Ragnarok was by far my most favourite film of 2017. Bring on Infinity War!

So, this concludes my top ten list of films from 2017. Are there any on this list that you loved? Or do you disagree with my rankings? Let me know in the comments!

Most Anticipated Films of 2018

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2017 was a big year for film, but more about that in a few weeks time. I want to talk about the upcoming films of 2018 that I’m looking forward to seeing.

1.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

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Release Date: 26th January 2018

Young hero Thomas embarks on a mission to find a cure for a deadly disease known as the “Flare”. – from IMDb

Ever since The Scorch Trials adaptation came out, I’ve been waiting and waiting for The Death Cure to drop. Unfortunately, due to the star Dylan O’Brien being injured on set, the release date was pushed back nearly a year! We’ve had a three-year drought since the second movie was released, but now it seems like we finally will be getting the third movie in the franchise! Hurrah!

2.

Avengers: Infinity War

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Release Date: 4th May 2018

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe. – from IMDb

We have been building up to Avengers: Infinity War for years now. Every Avengers film that gets released, there is some reference or credit scene that pieces the puzzle together for the final showdown for the Avengers. With an all-star cast and most of the characters coming together, this is set to be an amazing film!

3.

Mary, Queen of Scots

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Release Date: 2 November 2018

Mary Stuart’s attempt to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, finds her condemned to years of imprisonment before facing execution. – from IMDb

As you all know, I love Mary, Queen of Scots (thanks to Reign, tbh) and I’m fascinated by her and her place in history. Reign interpreted Mary’s life very differently to the biography I recently read by Margaret George, so I’m excited to see what take director Josie Rourke has on her life.

4.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

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Release Date: 16th November 2018

The second installment of the ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ series which follows the adventures of Newt Scamander. – from IMDb

I have to preface this selection. I WAS excited about seeing the second Fantastic Beasts movie. Then, I heard that the studio had chosen not to re-cast Johnny Depp in light of his domestic violence against his then-wife Amber Heard. JK Rowling posted a very vague response to his continued involvement in the franchise, and whilst there may be legal injunctions to prevent her from speaking about certain things, the fact remains that Grindelwald had another face (Colin Farrell) for ninety percent of the first Fantastic Beasts film, and it would be easy to re-cast with another actor and write into the script that Grindelwald had changed his face yet again. Contractual obligations can be broken, for example, Kevin Spacey was fired from House of Cards due to sexual abuse. It can be done. Anyway, we’ll see what happens between now and when the film is released. But as of right now. I’m not happy.

5.

Mary Poppins Returns

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Release Date: 25 December 2018

In Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. – from IMDb

The original Mary Poppins film is one of my absolute favourite films of all time. I adore it. It fills me with so much joy, and when Saving Mr. Banks came out a few years ago I loved it even more. Now, Mary Poppins Returns, with Emily Blunt in the title role, (perfect casting by the way), and Lin-Manuel Miranda as a chim-chiminy cheerful chimney sweep, I can’t wait to watch this film next year and have the Mary Poppins legacy live on!

So these are the movies I’m looking forward to in 2018. Are you looking forward to any of these? Or have I missed a few good ones off the list? Let me know in the comments!

My Unpopular Bookish Opinions

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When you read as much as I do, you’re bound to develop some opinions that others might not agree with. In fact, it happens quite a lot, so I’ve rounded up some of the most unpopular opinions I have on books. Quick disclaimer, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If you disagree with me, that’s great, but please respect my opinion just as I vow to respect yours. Now, let’s get under way!

Please beware, this post may contain spoilers.

  • I did not like the Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare.

I’d heard so much about the Mortal Instruments Series before I had even read it. It was an equal amount of good and bad feedback, so I can’t say that it swayed my mind either way before I picked it up, but it was definitely a series that people were talking about. I was apprehensive at first, because books with a crazy amount of hype can sometimes end up being disappointing, but after I saw the movie, I thought I’d give it a go. Never the less, I read the first two books and ultimately felt as though the series wasn’t for me. At the grand old age of 25, I can’t help but think I’m not exactly the target audience anyway.

  • I liked Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

I would like to lay a foundation before I go into my explanation of this. The Cursed Child is a play, not a novel, and therefore should not be compared to Rowling’s original works, as it is a completely different medium to the Potter books. Not only is it a different medium, scripts are supposed to be bare and factual, because the play comes to life when you see it performed, with costumes, lighting, staging and props etc. You’re really only getting a fifth of the experience when you read a play. I have been fortunate enough to see The Cursed Child performed live and enjoyed it much more than I did when I read it, because I was getting the whole experience, the whole vision that Rowling has co-created. Finally, the point I would like to finish on, is that the any spin offs from the Harry Potter series will be destined to be unpopular. We’ve spent ten years theorising what happened after Harry said goodbye to his children at King’s Cross, and the result of whatever JK Rowling created next would not please everyone. I’m just thankful we have more produce from the Potter-verse to get excited about.

  • I liked that Tris died at the end of the Divergent Series. 

Everyone I have spoken to about the ending of Allegiant has been up in arms about Roth’s decision to kill off Tris Prior, rather than go for a happily ever after ending that we craved for her and Four. With the Divergent series, Roth has never been about sticking to the status quo when it comes to the Young Adult genre, for example, her books don’t include a love triangle for the main character, which has been one of the most overused tropes in the genre. Tris dying at the end of Allegiant fits with the character arc that Roth set up for Tris since the start of Divergent. Tris had been searching since the day of the Aptitude Test what it meant to be “selfless”, something which she struggled with on a daily basis being born and raised in the Abnegation faction. Ultimately, Tris released that selflessness and bravery aren’t all that different. So Tris sacrificing herself for the good of Chicago, so that others may live free from the Bureau, is the perfect send off for the character, and brings Tris’s arc, quite literally, to a close.

  •  I thought The Maze Runner films were better than the books.

I read all three of The Maze Runner books and have seen the two films that have currently been released, and it’s safe to say, I prefer the films. I know that sentiment is practically book-lover blasphemy but it’s the truth. I think a lot of what was weak about the original books was erased or changed in the films, and I think that Wes Ball, who directed both The Maze Runner film and The Scorch Trials film, made, not only great adaptations, but also great science fiction and dystopian films.

  •   I like John Green’s books and style of writing.

John Green was the first author I read before heavily getting into the YA genre. I read Looking for Alaska back in 2011, and then read The Fault in Our Stars in 2012 along with Paper Towns, and Abundance of Katherines and Will Grayson, Will Grayson in quick succession. I found his writing, although at times repetitive in themes and structure, to be very poetic, lyrical and philosophical, which is just my taste. I’ve noticed in reviews that a few readers have found him to be pretentious, which I can understand, but for me, his writing really speaks to a part of my soul, and I’ll always treasure his books as they opened the door to the YA genre, and widened my reading tastes.

So these are my unpopular bookish opinions! Do you agree with me on any of these points? Or do you disagree? I’m happy to start a judgement free civil conversation in the comments!

Top 10 Films of 2016

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Continuing my end of year traditions of wrapping up my favourites finishes with my top ten films of this year. I’ve rated these films on the ones I’ve enjoyed the most, not on what I think objectively makes it a good film because I’m sure my ideas on what makes a good film differs to the next persons, and besides I am not a film expert. So let us get into the top ten films I loved this year!

10

Deadpool

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A fast-talking mercenary with a morbid sense of humor is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers and a quest for revenge. – from IMDb

I thought Deadpool was hilarious. Although I don’t like gruesome films (and Deadpool has plenty of it) I managed to look past it and really enjoy myself! Ryan Reynolds is absolutely hysterical.

9

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

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Two hard-partying brothers place an online ad to find the perfect dates for their sister’s Hawaiian wedding. Hoping for a wild getaway, the boys instead find themselves out-hustled by an uncontrollable duo. – from IMDb

Once again, another comedy that got me in absolute hysterics. Anna and Aubrey, coupled with Zac and Adam was just a recipe for success. I laughed out loud for the majority of this film, and the actors natural chemistry together was just infectious.

8

Nerve

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A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of “watchers.” – from IMDb

From doubling over with laughter to something slightly more sinister. I had never heard of Jeanne Ryan’s YA novel Nerve before I heard it was to be adapted, but once I saw the trailer for this film I knew I had to see it. Thrilling is the only word I can use to describe this, and the relationship between Emma Roberts’ character and Dave Franco’s character was just so sweet to watch.

7

X-Men: Apocalypse

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After the re-emergence of the world’s first mutant, world-destroyer Apocalypse, the X-Men must unite to defeat his extinction level plan. – from IMDb

I understand that a lot of die-hard X-Men fans didn’t like this film. But as someone who first came into the X-Men franchise with First Class, I liked it as an exciting action packed movie, and still really enjoyed myself. I think all of the recent X-Men movies are really exciting, and this one is no different.

6

Bridget Jones’s Baby

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Bridget’s focus on single life and her career is interrupted when she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch … she can only be fifty percent sure of the identity of her baby’s father. – from IMDb

It was the film we had all been waiting for! Finally the third Bridget Jones film was released and boy did it not disappoint. In fact, I’m glad they waited so long, because I feel as though the production really made an effort to get it right rather than make something heartless that they knew would do well at the box office. Bravo!

Now let’s see what movies have made my top five!

5

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing population of zombies. – from IMDb

Yes, you read that correctly. Pride and Prejudice AND ZOMBIES. And yes, it is absolutely as nuts as it sounds. But it’s nuts in a good way, and the cast of this movie really bring the characters we love so much to life. And there are also zombies, which is quite a massive departure from the classic period drama pieces we’re used to.

4

The Divergent Series: Allegiant

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After the earth-shattering revelations of Insurgent, Tris must escape with Four beyond the wall that encircles Chicago, to finally discover the shocking truth of the world around them. – from IMDb

This entry is more of a personal one for me, as Allegiant wasn’t quite the finished product we were expecting. I absolutely adore the Divergent Series but Allegiant has confirmed the declining status of the franchise. I won’t go into detail about Ascendant possibly becoming a TV movie, but I will say I have fond memories of this movie just because I love the series so much.

3

Now You See Me 2

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The Four Horsemen resurface and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet. – from IMDb

This was on of my most anticipated films of this year and WOW did it live up to my excitement. I think this film was better than the first (obviously not considering the sad departure of Isla Fisher) and really went bigger and better with the tricks / backstory / character arcs. I’m really hoping they make a third!

2

Star Trek Beyond

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The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test. – from IMDb

When they announced this movie, I could not have been more excited. I adored the first two Star Trek movies and I hoped and prayed that Beyond would be just as awesome. Guess what? It’s the best of the three! I didn’t expect that!

And my number one movie of this year is of course:

1

Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them

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The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. – from IMDb

This was my MOST anticipated film of this year, and now will be the most anticipated film of next year and the year after, and the year after that. I absolutely adored this film, with all the creatures and the characters too. I’m even more proud that Newt Scamander is a HUFFLEPUFF! #HufflepuffPride!

Anyway, this concludes my top ten films of 2016. Did I list on of your favourites? Or have I missed out one of the best? Let me know down in the comments!

Most Anticipated Films of 2017

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2016 was a great year for films! I saw well over 30 thanks to Cineworld and their Unlimited card, which meant that I got to see a lot of good trailers for the films coming out 2017. Here are the ones I am most excited for!

These films are in no particular order.

1

Beauty and the Beast

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An adaptation of the Disney fairy-tale about a monstrous prince and a young woman who fall in love. – from IMDb

Disney are going through a new phase of adapting all of their old animated classics into live action movies. It started with Alice in Wonderland, then Maleficent, and then was followed by Cinderella and the Jungle Book. I’m certainly not complaining, I love Disney movies, and this means I can relive the magic in the cinema all over again!

2

La La Land

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 A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. – from IMDb

Ryan Gosling. Emma Stone. Musical. LA.

Need I say more?

3

King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword

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Feature film version of the classic King Arthur story. – from IMDb

This one looks like an awesome action/adventure story reminiscent of Disney’s The Sword in the Stone, also a retelling of King Arthur, with Guy Ritchie directing and a screen writing credit. Ritchie most recently directed the Sherlock Holmes duology, two of my favourite films.

4

Power Rangers

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A group of high-school kids, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world. – from IMDb

You might think this is just another opportunity to exploit the nostalgia that has driven Marvel and DC to bulk release many films, with overpowering CGI and thin plots. You MIGHT think that. I personally love a good action/adventure film, especially when they involve a gang of misfit teenagers.

5

Before I Fall

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February 12 is just another day in Sam’s charmed life until it turns out to be her last. Stuck reliving her last day over one inexplicable week, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s in danger of losing. – from IMDb

Basically anything that Zoey Deutch touches, I’m there. I’m hoping this is going to be an awesome mash up between If I Stay and The Lovely Bones. This has been slated for release for a while, but I’m so glad we’re finally going to get a chance to see it!

So here are my top five films that are on my most anticipated list of 2017. Most of the ones that have been announced are within the first three to six months, so hopefully as we come into the beginning of 2017 there will be lots more announced.

Have I missed out one you’re excited for? Or is there a film on this list that gets you excited as me? Let me know in the comments!

Top 10 Young Adult Book to Movie Adaptations

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I’ve already counted down my favourite YA standalones and series, so it only seems fitting to count down those that have been made into films. Most successful YA authors usually sell the rights to their books pretty quickly, but some get shelved for years before production gets underway. Having said that, the popularity of adapting YA has increased in the recent years. Some we can see why, and some we probably wished had stayed shelved.

It would be very easy to examine which films were closely adapted from page to screen, but using that template sometimes doesn’t always make a good film. I’ll be trying to take into account not only the “adapting” part of the film process, but also what makes the end product a great film in it’s own right.

I’m also deciding not to include the Harry Potter films in this list because they would take up eight of the ten! Don’t forget, I’ll only include films I’ve seen and can vouch for.

These are the books that have gone from page to screen, counting down from ten to one.

10

How I Live Now

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An American girl, sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives, finds love and purpose while fighting for her survival as war envelops the world around her. – from IMDb

As with most adaptations, a lot from the book gets lost/cut in the translation. Osbert was written out, and a certain character death was added in, but these are small prices to pay for seeing our beloved books getting worldwide success. How I Live Now is an excellent film, and a brilliant re-imagining of the original.

9

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

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As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance. – from IMDb

As I said in my 2015 film wrap up, I had a few issues with the final Hunger Games film. In my opinion, the film was too closely adapted from the book (which I wasn’t a fan of), and a lot of things didn’t make sense. Having said that, it was a brilliant action movie and good installment to a fantastic series!

8

Insurgent

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Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side. – from IMDb

Once again, as I said in my 2015 film wrap up, Insurgent was a difficult book to adapt. It’s so fast paced which allows the reader to fly through the narrative, but on film can look messy. A lot of changes were made to try and accommodate the nature of the book. Some say it worked, some disagree. For me, it was still pretty exciting to see my favourite book from the series be adapted into film.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

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Katniss Everdeen is in District 13 after she shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage. – from IMDb

For some, this may be the least popular Hunger Games film, but for me it perfectly captures the calm before the storm. Katniss spends a lot of time underground with District 13, and for me this is where the real revolution begins and we see Katniss, not only have a personal journey, but also she her turn from tribute to victory to Mockingjay!

6

Paper Towns

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After an all night adventure, Quentin’s life-long crush, Margo, disappears, leaving behind clues that Quentin and his friends follow on the journey of a lifetime. – from IMDb

Another one I’m repeating from my 2015 wrap up is Paper Towns, John Green’s second venture into the world of cinema. I really enjoyed the adaptation, and I loved that the production decided to stay true to the themes of the book and not give into Hollywood. Bravo! The chemistry between all the actors and actresses that worked on the film really made it special to watch.

And now for my top five:

5

The Hunger Games

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Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a televised competition in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to fight to the death. – from IMDb

Yes, the original Hunger Games movie starts off the top five with a bang. It’s a wonderful adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s book, who puts Katniss in the arena for the first time to fight for her life.

4

The Fault in Our Stars

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Two teenage cancer patients begin a life-affirming journey to visit a reclusive author in Amsterdam. – from IMDb

The first John Green adaptation that got the ball rolling for Paper Towns. I don’t think this film could have been more perfect, the casting, the narrative, the soundtrack, everything. I came away feeling incredibly satisfied.

3

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem. – from IMDb

I know what you must be thinking. Why is the second Hunger Games movie higher than the first? For me, Catching Fire is the best Hunger Games movie. I know it draws similarities from the first film, as we see Katniss and the gang go back into the arena, but for me, everything was bigger and better.

2

Divergent

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In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late. – from IMDb

When Divergent dropped, many people wrote it off as a Hunger Games Wannabe, but after the movie was made, it established Roth’s faction-based dystopia in it’s own right. I absolutely loved the book and film version of Divergent, and the adaptation between the two was seamless.

1

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world. – from IMDb

Perks is my number one book to movie adaptations. I’m not sure whether it’s because Stephen Chbosky wrote the book and the screenplay, or if it’s because Charlie’s story is one that touches us all right in the feels. But there’s something about this book/film combo that speaks to all the wallflowers inside of us.

And that concludes my top ten list of young adult book to movie adaptations. Do you agree? Have I left any off the list you would consider worthy of a title? Let me know down in the comments.

My Top 10 Movie Musicals

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The “movie musical” is a genre that has become increasingly popular over the years. With West End shows more popular than ever, it seems every director is jumping on the all-singing, all-dancing bandwagon. Recently, classics such as Les Miserables and Into the Woods have taken the leap from Stage to Screen starring big names like Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep. I’ve watched a fair few myself, taking pride of place in my illustrious DVD collection, so I’ll be ranking my favourites from ten to one. As always, I’ll only include films I’ve seen and can vouch for, and I’ll only include titles that have appeared on both the stage and the screen.

10

Sweeney Todd

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The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, AKA Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical. – from IMDb

The Burton/Depp/Bonham-Carter conglomerate has been a bit hit and miss (let’s not talking about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), but Burton definitely got a hit with his re-imagining of the Tale of Sweeney Todd. The cinematography is sufficiently creepy, with fantastic performances from Sacha Baron Cohen as Pirelli, Jamie Campell Bower as Anthony, Ed Saunders as Toby, and Alan Rickman (RIP) as Judge Turpin.

9

Les Miserables

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In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker’s daughter. The decision changes their lives for ever. – from IMDb

One of the more recent movie-musicals to hit the screen, and one of the most incredible all-star casts since Love Actually. The only reason this film doesn’t chart higher on the list is because it’s so long! The stage musical itself is generous in length, but I often don’t watch the DVD because I don’t have time to watch it in it’s entirety. Anne Hathaway and Samantha Barks give standout performances, and it’s interesting to observe these stars singing live, which has never been done in a movie-musical before.

8

The Sound of Music

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A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower. – from IMDb

On paper, this film shouldn’t work. Singing nuns, seven children, clothes made out of curtains, yodeling, goats and Nazis! But there’s something familiar and warm about the Sound of Music, and Julie Andrew’s portrayal of the naive and feisty Maria. In my house, it’s practically tradition to watch this ever Christmas.

7

Love Never Dies

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10 years has passed since a fire broke out in Paris – leaving only a mask behind… As the love story continues in Coney Island, NY. – from IMDb

This musical is my guilty pleasure. It seems like someone has turned Phantom of the Opera into a sticky soap-like fan-fiction, and is loosely based off of The Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsyth, the unofficial sequel to the original novel by Gaston Leroux. I’m not quite sure what Andrew Lloyd Webber was on when he wrote this musical, but there’s something beautifully bizarre that keeps me coming back.

6

Billy Elliot

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A talented young dancer has to learn to fight for his dream despite social and parental disapproval. – from IMDb

So this is a slight cheat here. Billy Elliot the original film had music in it, but wasn’t necessarily a musical. It was adapted to stage in 2005 and most recently, the live production was streamed out to hundreds of cinemas around the country, and was released on DVD. I’ve seen Billy Elliot in London four times, and I love having a piece of it to watch at home.

5

The Phantom of the Opera

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A disfigured musical genius, hidden away in the Paris Opera House, terrorizes the opera company for the unwitting benefit of a young protégée whom he trains and loves. – from IMDb

Okay, slight cheat numero dos. I haven’t ever seen The Phantom of the Opera film starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum (can you blame me? I’ve only heard bad things), so I prefer to watch and listen to the 25th Anniversary Live performance with the Holy Trinity (Karimloo/Boggess/Fraser). I know some parts were tweeked from the stage version normally shown in London, but I really enjoy watching the Holy Trinity at their best.

4

Into the Woods

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A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree. – from IMDb

This film was my most favourite of 2015, with another all-star cast, all of whom had fantastic voices and an imaginative reworking of Sondheim’s classic tale. Meryl Streep’s performance as the Witch particularly stands out, and Corden and Blunt’s chemistry leaps off the screen, perfectly complimented by Anna Kendrick as Cinderella. The list is endless for reasons why I love this film.

3

Rent

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This is the film version of the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical about Bohemians in the East Village of New York City struggling with life, love and AIDS, and the impacts they have on America. – from IMDb

This film was what kick-started my love for Rent. I know this ensemble doesn’t contain entirely the original cast, but having most of the originals there made it so much more special. The screenplay was also written by one of my favourite writers Stephen Chbosky who famously wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower (book and screenplay).

2

Jersey Boys

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The story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. – from IMDb

My Jersey Boys obsession has been a recent discovery, as last year I saw the musical for the first time when it came nearby on tour. There’s something so electric and charming about these four guys and their dynamic that keeps their story timeless. The movie is directed by Clint Eastwood and instead of casting well known actors in the roles, Eastwood decided to cast actors who had played the roles on the stage, including John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for his performance as Frankie Valli on Broadway.

1

Mary Poppins

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A magic nanny comes to work for a cold banker’s unhappy family. – from IMDb

Mary Poppins is probably one of the greatest musicals ever written. Originally adapted from the book written by PL Travers, into the Disney Classic we know and love today. The story was then adapted onto the stage, starring a young Carrie Hope Fletcher, and closely resembled the book, rather than the sugary-sweet practically-perfect Mary that we were closely affiliated with. To me, Julie Andrews is at her best in this role and is my all time favourite movie-musical.

What do you guys think about my top ten? Have I missed any out? And do you agree or would you rather see a different film take the top spot? Let me know in the comments.

Book Adaptation List: Movie Edition

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Books being adapted into movies is so common these days that I often assume that new cinema releases are based on a preexisting idea, whether that be a remake, an adaptation or a reboot. I personally love and loathe the ‘adaptation’ in equal measure. I love it because it allows me to see a favourite books of mine come alive on the big screen, which is always exciting. I also hate it, because it means that original scripts are being produced less and less, as there is no guarantee of a film’s success unless it already has a preexisting audience.

Having said that, there are some books that I (and the rest of Tumblr) often fantasize about being adapted, casting headcanons, creating manips and movie posters. So I thought I’d let you in on my top five books that I REALLY, REALLY want to be adapted into movies! (Unless they’re going to rubbish in which case, you’re alright.)

These films are in no particular order.

1

Looking for Alaska

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Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. – from Goodreads.com

Okay, so the good news is: LOOKING FOR ALASKA THE MOVIE IS HAPPENING. Bad news is, we don’t actually know when exactly it will be happening. BUT IT WILL BE HAPPENING. I have wanted and not wanted this movie to be a thing in equal measure. Looking for Alaska was my first John Green book, it made me realise WHY I wanted to be a writer and it’s still my all time favourite book nearly five years later.

2

Thirteen Reasons Why

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Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier. – from Goodreads.com

Apparently this is book is due to become a TV series (more on that topic later) which would also be awesome, but if it never gets off the ground I think this book would make a fantastic movie. With flashbacks, Hannah’s chilling voice over from the cassettes, I may just write the screenplay myself!

3

Belzhar

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If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English. But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead. – from Goodreads.com

Derived from Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Meg Wolitzer paints a vivid picture of The Wooden Barn where Jam Gallahue is residing after the death of her boyfriend Reeve Maxfield. I think this book would make an excellent adaptation, especially since Jam is an unreliable narrator.

4

We Were Liars

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A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. – from Goodreads.com

An idyllic island off the coast of Maine and another unreliable narrator makes for a perfect film in my eyes. In fact, it’s another book-to-movie adaptation that is reportedly in development and I can’t wait!

5

Cinder

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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. – from Goodreads.com

Not only would I love to see Cinder be made into a movie, I want Scarlet, Cress and Winter to be adapted too! After the success of Into the Woods and Disney’s Live Action retellings, I’m sure a production company will snap up the rights in no time.

Let me know down in the comments the books you want to see being made into movies. Have I missed any good ones? Let me know.

Which Harry Potter film is my favourite?

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Picking your favourite Harry Potter movie (or book) is like trying to pick your favourite child. I don’t take the decision lightly, hence why it has taken me SO LONG to write this post. Whichever film is left last, I immediately feel guilty for, and to be honest, each film has their strengths and weaknesses, which makes the decision even harder. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to rank them. Finally.

I would just like to take a moment to say that just because your favourite doesn’t come near the top, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the film or think it’s good. I love all of the Harry Potter films dearly, but my reasons for ranking them in this order is down to my own personal taste. With that in mind, let’s get underway.

8

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Order of the Phoenix marks David Yates’ debut on the Harry Potter franchise, and unfortunately he was met with a difficult task. Order of the Phoenix is the largest book in the series, and so trying to condense the plot into a streamline film was going to be challenging for any director. Couple that with the fact that this was David Yates’ first Harry Potter film, I find Order of the Phoenix to be the weakest.

Scenes I Love: Dumbledore’s Army practicing in the room of requirement, watching their friendship develop and grow stronger. The Order at Grimmauld Place, especially Christmas with the Weasleys.

7

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

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I know, I know. The climax of the Harry Potter franchise charts so low on the list? Yes, but only because I cannot bear to watch my beloved characters die in the final battle. It is an amazing action film, with incredible special effects, moments of humour, and it completely charming – but I have to mentally prepare myself before I put the DVD on!

Scenes I Love: Dumbledore’s Army camping out in the room of requirement, led by the silver trio Neville, Ginny and Luna. Neville generally being a bad-ass beauty in his cardigan. Ron and Hermione FINALLY getting together. Lupin, Sirius, James and Lily walking with Harry into the Forbidden Forest. Narcissa betraying Voldemort!

6

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

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The film that kick-started it all. Watching the young golden trio is just a delight, and it’s so comforting to revel in the pure innocence of the Wizarding World before Voldemort’s return. Christopher Columbus managed to make the first film timeless, and no Christmas is complete without watching this film by a roaring fire and wearing a Weasley jumper.

Scenes I Love: Hagrid putting the Dursleys in their place. Harry’s first experience of Diagon Alley. Harry meeting Ron and Hermione on the train. Harry standing up to Draco (multiple times). The gold trio sleuthing around the castle figuring out the mystery.

5

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Prisoner of Azkaban stands out, not just visually, but as the turning point of the Harry Potter franchise. Alfonso Cuarón creates a stunning film, that sees the trio not only come into their adolescence but also gives the collection a mature tone. It’s a shame that Alfonso Cuarón didn’t stay on for more Harry Potter films, as his vision was something that was universally loved by all of the fans. 

Scenes I Love: Hermione being rubbish at Divination, yet mastering all of her classes by using a time turner. The introduction of the Mauraders, and seeing Remus and Sirius come to life. Ron and Hermione going on “dates” in Hogsmede as Harry can’t visit without permission.

4

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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The second film, also directed by Chris Columbus, steps up a gear with the Chamber of Secrets. Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts with more knowledge of Voldemort, the Wizarding World and the dangers that surround Hogwarts. With Hermione being petrified for a portion of the film, we see Harry and Ron haphazardly try and navigate their way through the next mystery, and ultimately (without realising it) destroying a Horcrux.

Scenes I Love: The introduction of Dobby. Dobby is free! The Weasleys rescuing Harry from the Dursleys. Spending time at the Burrow. The Weasley’s in general. Harry’s derp moment trying to get to Diagon Alley. Lockhart being inept throughout the whole film.

3

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

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A lot of people were opposed to splitting up the Deathly Hallows book into two films, and I can understand why. From a business perspective, it would seem as though Warner Brothers wanted to make more money by issuing two separate films, but had they not made that decision, we would not have had Part 1 in all it’s glory. I know lots of people think that the “calm before the storm” films are boring, as I heard lots of complains about Mockingjay Part 1 as well as the first Deathly Hallows film. Personally, I absolutely adore this installment. There are so many moments of light and shade, and comedy mixed with fear as the final battle looms ever closer. The dynamic between the trio strengthens as their friendship is put to the test, and even though we’re out of our usual Hogwarts setting, we’re still left with the amateur sleuthing that the trio partake in throughout all the books and films.

Scenes I Love: The flight of the seven Harrys. Preparing for the Wedding at the Burrow. The return of Dobby and Kreacher. Camping in the Forest. Harry and Hermione dancing together. The silver doe. Ron returning, destroying the Horcrux, admitting his deepest fears and feelings, and Hermione giving him hell. Ron and Harry making up and talking in the tent. The tale of the three brothers. Basically any romantic Ron/Hermione moments.

2

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Trying to decide between my number two and number one was THE MOST difficult decision ever and to be honest I switched these around a number of times. Probably by the time this post goes live I will have changed my mind again. When the Goblet of Fire DVD first came out, I watched it over and over again, so I probably know the film inside out. Mike Newell created a fantastic film, and I’m sad he didn’t stay on for more films after Goblet of Fire.

Scenes I Love: The entire Quidditch world cup sequence. Harry falling for Cho Chang and Cedric and Harry looking out for each other, despite the fact that Cedric is dating Cho. The Yule Ball sequence. Ron and Hermione arguing. Cedric’s funeral and Dumbledore’s speech. The ending with the golden trio watching Durmstrang and Bauxbatons leaving Hogwarts.

1

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Half-Blood Prince is my favourite Harry Potter film, (although closely followed by Goblet of Fire). David Yates, who tackled the task of adapting the remaining Harry Potter movies, really hit his stride with this film. Once again, this film is the calm before the storm, as we see Harry and the gang return to Hogwarts after the events of Order of the Phoenix. This also marks the last time Harry is at Hogwarts before the Final Battle.

Scenes I Love: Harry and Dumbledore out on their adventures. Harry trying to flirt with the waitress. Harry returning to the Burrow and flirting with Ginny. The trio taking potions classes and Hermione getting frustrated at Harry because he is better than her (thanks to the Half-Blood Prince). Ron being rubbish and then awesome at Quidditch. Hermione and Ron fighting, flirting, trying to get back at each other. Ron being under the influence of a love potion. Harry being under the influence of Felix Felicis. And so many more!

That concludes my ranking of the Harry Potter films. Do you disagree with my choices, and think a different film should be number one? Or do you agree with me? Let me know in the comments.