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!

 

This week for Teen Book Talk, we’re sharing a double review! One for the original book, The BFG, by Roald Dahl, and the other a review of the recent movie release by the same name.

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

BFGName of Movie: The BFG
Release Date: July 1, 2016
MPAA Rating: PG
My rating: 4 stars
Genre: Fantasy, adventure
Celebrated director Steven Spielberg teamed up with Disney to bring Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s classic to life with The BFG , released July 1, 2016. Ten-year-old Sophie is understandably frightened when she is plucked away from her dormitory in a London orphanage to Giant Country in the darkness of night, during the “witching hour”. But when she discovers that her twenty-four foot tall captor is in fact benevolent, Sophie dubs him the “BFG”, or “Big Friendly Giant”. She gradually learns that he is a dream-catcher, who captures pleasant dreams in glass jars and gives them to children. However, Sophie’s presence in Giant Country does not go undetected; her scent attracts the vicious Fleshlumpeater and eight other giants, who, unlike the BFG, eat small children. Together, Sophie and the BFG formulate a plan to travel to London and inform the Queen of the evil giants before any more children are eaten.

The BFG is undeniably filled with dazzling imagery and heartwarming humor. Newcomer Ruby Barnhill, as Sophie, gives a lovable and endearing performance. Oscar-winning actor Mark Rylance wonderfully brings the beloved character of the BFG to life, through his emotive facial expressions and state-of-the-art motion capture technology. The audience is presented with several meaningful interactions between the two unlikely friends. Spielberg’s longtime collaborator John Williams provides a musical score as wonderfully riveting as the film itself.

However, Spielberg and Mathison have significantly toned down the macabre darkness characteristic of Dahl’s works, in favor of focusing more on the friendship between Sophie and the BFG. Though Spielberg’s adaptation diverged from the original storyline in many instances, the deviation from the book’s classic ending was by far the most disappointing. Despite the outstanding performances by Rylance and Barnhill, The BFG falls a bit short of expectations by keeping it too nice. It never quite rises to its full potential, and fails to truly capture the impish charm of Roald Dahl’s book.

Jiwon H., Teen Reviewer

bfg bookBook Title: The BFG

Author: Roald Dahl

Format: Book

Year of Publication: 1982

Who will book appeal to?: Young Kids

Rating: 4 stars

The BFG (short for The Big Friendly Giant) is a children’s book written by Roald Dahl in 1982. The main characters are a girl named Sophie, who lives in an orphanage, and a giant. One night, Sophie hears a noise from the street and goes out to the balcony. In the balcony, she sees the giant walking in the street with a suitcase and something that looks like a long trumpet. The giant takes Sophie with him to a place where many giants live, because his existence should not be revealed to people. Later, the giant explains what he does with the suitcase and the trumpet – he blows various dreams he has collected into people while they are sleeping. He tells Sophie that he is called BFG, because he is friendly, and also mentions that there are some giants who are not friendly at all – they are dangerous to people. They go to the Dream Country together and Sophie sees many dreams that BFG has collected. Will she be able to return to the orphanage or will she decide to stay with BFG?

This book is written as a children’s book, so obviously I recommend this book to young kids; the plot is easy to understand and not very long. However, I also recommend this book to readers other than children who like reading fantasy stories. I think readers who like fantasy stories, or young children can try reading this book. Also, the movie, which is based on this book, will give a good representation of overall story line, even though it does not include all the details from the actual book. So, I recommend watching the movie after reading this book if readers think this book is interesting.

 

This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer is writing about a Disney movie, Lemonade Mouth.

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**

Natlie L., Teen Reviewer

lemonade mouthMovie: Lemonade Mouth

Release Date: April 15, 2011

Rating: PG

My Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: Musical, Drama, Comedy

Five students from Mesa High School run into trouble with the school’s authorities, and they all end up in detention. There, they realize that their mutual musical compatibility can lead to the start of a revolution that will overthrow—or at least change—the tyrannical rule of Principal Brenigan, a man who’s obsessed with school sports, sponsorships, and his own reputation. Through their band, Lemonade Mouth, they learn to overcome personal problems, family issues, and foreign obstacles in order to prove to the world that the arts, self-expression, and friendship are all important values that should be upheld.

I’m not a huge fan of a certain dairy product called “cheese,” and it’s a bit unfortunate that this film contains a lot of it. The story itself is just like a pepperoni pizza—very simple and delightful to consume—but the creation of it could’ve used some more pepperoni, not more cheese. By too much cheesiness, I mean much of the plot and characters’ lines are predictable, which made several scenes seem to drag on forever because I already knew how it would end. I credit this lack of suspense to the fact that it’s a Disney film because—let’s face it—Disney productions are always heavy on the cheese, and everyone already knows what that tastes like.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed this film because—cutting out predictability, the fairytale-like ending to romances, and the needlessly tragic backstories—it spreads great messages to its intended audience—little kids. The themes of individuality, self-expression, perseverance and the values of friendship and family are heavily stressed throughout the whole movie. These themes are incredibly important for kids to know because they will always be relevant to real-life situations that kids will encounter in both the near and distant future.

Parents, I say this film is a fantastic way to get your children started on learning about expressing themselves without fear of parental and societal pressures. You can watch with them, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself dancing to the catchy tunes as well!