Teen Book Talk features book, movie, and local event reviews written by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of a new movie, currently out in theaters: Dunkirk. As mentioned, the movie is still currently in theaters, so there are no copies available at the library at this time.

Teen reviewers select which books and movies they’d like to review, and also which local events to attend and review. All opinions are those of the reviewers. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

Name of Movie: Dunkirk

Release Date: July 13, 2017

MPAA Rating: PG-13

My rating: 3 stars

Genre: Drama, suspense, thriller

Acclaimed director Christopher Nolan’s highly-anticipated WWII thriller, Dunkirk, is a complex and harrowing tour de force, full of concrete details and visceral thrills. The film is based on the evacuation of 330,000 Allied troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940 after the German advance into France. As with his other films, Nolan deliberately experiments with time in Dunkirk; the narrative is told through three parallel storylines on land, sea, and air which eventually merge.

Dunkirk features the perspectives of several figures with critical roles in the evacuations, including a young British soldier (Fionn Whitehead), a civilian boat captain (Mark Rylance), a British officer suffering from PTSD (Cillian Murphy), two RAF pilots (Tom Hardy and Jack Lowden), and a naval officer (Kenneth Branagh). These perspectives are intricately interwoven amidst the intense action sequences; however, this can all be confusing to viewers unfamiliar with “Nolan Time”. The frequent explosions, along with Hans Zimmer’s forceful score, drowns out the minimal dialogue, making the film difficult to follow.

Nolan’s repeated attempts to disrupt the natural rhythm of the film with his time-bending tricks leave it feeling somewhat hollow and disjointed. Although Dunkirk is undoubtedly technologically well-crafted and visually impressive, its lack of emotional resonance and a cohesive storyline mars the spectacle.

 

Advertisements

Teen Book Talk features book, movie, and local event reviews written by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of a new movie, currently out in theaters: Marvel’s Spider-man: Homecoming. As mentioned, the movie is still currently in theaters, so there are no copies available at the library at this time.

Teen reviewers select which books and movies they’d like to review, and also which local events to attend and review. All opinions are those of the reviewers. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

Name of Movie: Spider-Man: Homecoming

Release Date: July 7, 2017

MPAA Rating: PG-13

My rating: 4 stars

Genre: Action, superhero, fantasy

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a surprisingly refreshing reboot of one of Marvel’s most enduringly popular characters. Set a few months after his debut in Captain America: Civil War, 15-year-old Peter Parker (Tom Holland) struggles to navigate the challenges of high school in his hometown of Queens, New York, as he gradually comes to terms with his newfound identity as Spider-Man. Ever-convinced of his abilities, Peter is desperate to prove himself to be more than just your “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man”, much to the chagrin of his hawk-eyed mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). His opportunity finally arrives in the form of the evil Vulture (Michael Keaton), who threatens everything Peter holds dear.

The film actively avoids delving into Spider-Man’s traditional origin story; it focuses on achieving a balance between fast-paced CGI action sequences and warm-hearted scenes of regular high school life. Director Jon Watts manages to breathe new life into a franchise on the verge of exhaustion, shifting towards a primarily teenage demographic in an effort to make Spider-Man more relatable to that age group. The cast brings diversity and incredible charisma to the narrative. Newcomer Tom Holland, in particular, delivers a breakout performance in his double identity as the awkward adolescent turned crime-fighting webslinger, Peter Parker. The film isn’t altogether perfect: there are a few weak points in the plot, especially during the exposition. However, despite initially being met with skepticism, Spider-Man: Homecoming succeeds in recapturing the youthful appeal of this beloved character, making it an enjoyable and entertaining film.

 

Teen Book Talk features reviews by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of another movie, Wonder Woman, which was newly released in theaters this past weekend. 

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

Name of Movie: Wonder Woman

Release Date: June 2, 2017

MPAA Rating: PG-13

My rating: 5 stars

Genre: Action, superhero, fantasy, sci-fi

 

The latest installment in the DC Extended Universe, Wonder Woman is an exhilarating and empowering superhero adventure that serves as the origin story for one of the comic book giant’s most popular characters. The film, directed by Patty Jenkins, is the first female-led superhero film in more than a decade, and was recently reported to have had the biggest opening ever for a female director.

On the hidden Amazon island of Themyscira, a young Diana desperately wants to be trained as a warrior, but her mother, Queen Hippolyta, initially forbids her to begin training. The queen eventually capitulates, and Diana (Gal Gadot) quickly becomes the strongest Amazonian warrior on the island, wholeheartedly embracing her mission of protecting humankind against corruption by Ares, the god of war.

As a young woman, Diana rescues British spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from a plane crash, and the Amazons combat the German troops who pursue him. When Trevor describes the millions of civilian deaths and destruction due to the ongoing Great War, Diana is convinced it is her responsibility to help end the conflict. She travels to London with Steve to thwart Ares’ plan for the destruction of humanity, in a quest for justice and peace.

 Wonder Woman has prominent themes of courage, selflessness, and compassion: it features a talented ensemble cast, dazzling special effects, and a compelling storyline. Gadot’s charismatic portrayal of the titular character is definitely the film’s greatest strength, complete with a rousing theme by Hans Zimmer which alludes to both Diana’s moral conviction and might. Jenkins chooses to focus on both the character’s vulnerabilities and strengths, immortalizing her as a truly endearing heroine for a new generation of young girls.

 

Teen Book Talk features reviews by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of another movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The DVD is now available to place on hold at the library (there is currently quite a long hold list!)

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

Name of Movie: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Release Date: November 18, 2016

MPAA Rating : PG-13

My rating : 4 stars

Genre : Fantasy, action, thriller

Set roughly seventy years before the timeline of the Ha rry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first entry in a five-part series of prequels that will focus on the events leading up to the climactic duel between Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore. With a screenplay penned by J.K. Rowling, F anta stic Beasts is directed by David Yates, and produced by David Heyman and Steve Kloves — all of whom worked on the original Harry Potter film ser ies. The film follows the adventures of British magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), after he arrives in 1920s New York City with a briefcase filled with magical creatures.

Newt finds himself directly in the midst of the sudden chaos and turmoil that wreak havoc on New York streets; the mayhem gradually reveals the longstanding tension and deep distrust between the American magical community and the “No-Majs” (non-magical people, the equivalent of Muggles). Although Newt evidently prefers the company of the beloved creatures he carries with him, he encounters demoted Auror Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), her Legilimens sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), and Jacob Kowalski, a No-Maj (Dan Fogler), all of whom help him in his quest to save the American Wizarding World from total anarchy.

Each of the actors deliver superb performances; Oscar-winner Redmayne, in particular, perfectly captures the charisma and charm of Newt. While not quite as emotionally powerful and gripping as on the page, Rowling’s talent still shines through her screenwriting; she expertly conveys the developing relationships between the characters through memorable lines of dialogue.

The thrilling, fast-paced action sequences are supplemented by a lilting score courtesy of James Newton Howard ( The Hunger Games, T he Dark Knight, Maleficent), who incorporates snippets of John Williams’ classic “Hedwig’s Theme” along with refreshingly original elements. However, a few scenes in the middle of the film seem a bit too drawn out, and the magical creatures — which were promoted as the core of Fantastic Beasts — are quickly forgotten in the midst of the action. Nevertheless, Fantastic Beasts makes for an entertaining fantasy adventure sure to enchant audiences; moreover, its underlying commentary about the dangers of intolerance and paranoia is just as riveting as it is deeply unsettling.

Teen Book Talk features reviews by local teen writers. This week, we’re sharing a review of a movie, Beauty and the Beast. This is a review of the newly-released live action film, not the animated version.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Siri P., Teen Reviewer

Name of Movie: Beauty and the Beast 2017

Release Date: March 17, 2017

MPAA Rating: PG

My Rating: 5 Stars

Beauty and the Beast 2017, starring Emma Watson, is the latest version of the previous Disney movie. It was released on March 17 and I watched it the day it was released. It is rated is PG, recommending parental guidance. The movie setting takes place in a small village and a large castle. In short words, Beauty and the Beast is about a young and alluring women who has a heart that is made of kindness and how she gets in the hands of a beast. I would like to recognize Dan Stevens (the beast) for his acting skills. This movie is full of humor, suspense, romance, and galore! I give it 5 stars!

The plot has a shocking twist to it so if you are a Disney fan, you should still see this version, even after viewing the animated versions. Unlike some other movies, it is not predictable at all!

If you are completely new to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, I very much suggest you watch it. This movie is well-written and you do not need to watch the previous version to understand it.

This movie is interesting for adults, teens, and younger children, so feel free to bring your family! I want to let you know that it has some violence, but overall, it contributes to the suspense and intensity of the plot. The beast may look frightening at first to your younger siblings. However, I took my younger sister and her friends (aged 5-8) to watch the movie at the theater and they simply loved it.

Is this a typical “Happily Ever After” movie? Many people in the audience were in tears – and no, I will not tell you if it was tears in sadness or happiness…

If you are the type of person who stays up all night watching Disney movies, Moana is another PG movie that is also highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

 

Teen Book Talk returns! After a short hiatus, teen book talk is back, with all new reviews, written by local teens. This week, we’re sharing a review of the film, Rogue One: a Star Wars Story.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

Name of Movie: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Release Date: December 16, 2016

MPAA Rating : PG-13

My rating : 4.5 stars

Genre : Science-fiction, action

The latest installment in the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One serves as a prequel to 1977’s A New Hope, and follows the Rebel Alliance’s mission to steal the plans for the Death Star – crucial to its later destruction by rebel fleets led by Luke Skywalker.

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is the estranged daughter of the Empire’s lead engineer for the Death Star, Galen Erso, who holds the key to its destruction. Jyn must join forces with veteran Rebel pilot Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), an Imperial spy, a reprogrammed droid, and other resistance fighters to fulfill the Alliance’s mission. However, things take an unexpected turn when Imperial Commander Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), desperate to please Emperor Palpatine and Lord Vader, begins to freely demonstrate the Death Star’s destructive potential.

Although it was an unexpected addition to the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One certainly delivers, filling in the missing pieces from A New Hope. The film, directed by Gareth Edwards, boasts stunning visuals and fast-paced action sequences, deftly weaving both together into a compelling narrative with messages of loyalty, bravery, and familial love. It features a diverse yet talented cast, and introduces a new strong female protagonist in the form of Jyn Erso, who joins the ranks formed by Rey and Princess Leia. Missing are the familiar rolling title graphics in the beginning, supplemented by John Williams’ iconic theme; instead, the film features a new score composed by Michael Giacchino (who previously worked on Up, Inside Out, and Jurassic World, to name a few). Rogue One draws upon elements of the original Star Wars trilogy for nostalgia’s sake, but is noticeably darker and grittier; it blends together old and new, with a result that is truly satisfying.

 

Teen Book Talk returns! After a short hiatus, teen book talk is back, with all new reviews, written by local teens. This week, we’re sharing a review of the film, Hidden Figures.

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Written by teen reviewer, Neha H.

Name of Movie: Hidden Figures
Release Date: December 25, 2016
MPAA Rating : PG
My rating : 5 stars
Genre : Biographical drama

A poignant, inspiring tale of perseverance, determination, and courage in the face of oppression, Hidden Figures is the true story of three brilliant African-American women who worked at NASA in the 1950s and 1960s as “human computers”, and helped the Space Task Group send astronaut John Glenn into orbit around Earth.

Katherine Goble Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) all work in the segregated West Area Computers division of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. When the director of the Space Task Group, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) requests for a theoretical mathematician to help NASA outstrip the Russians in the Space Race, Katherine is assigned to his team. Katherine struggles to have her contributions recognized and accepted by the team; meanwhile, Dorothy teaches herself the FORTRAN programming language and works toward becoming the supervisor of her group, and Mary pursues an engineering degree from graduate school.

Hidden Figures memorializes the vital, yet widely overlooked contributions of these three women during a crucial period of American space history. The film combines dazzling cinematography and standout performances by Henson, Spencer, and Monáe, to create an engaging, heartfelt masterpiece. This uplifting, feel-good film should not be missed!