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Review of Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter ascending poster

The other night I went to see Jupiter Ascending, a movie that I hadn’t heard all that much about. Truth be told, I didn’t have high expectations for the film given most blockbusters don’t typically open in February. I was pleasantly surprised however and found the film to a fun and satisfying sci-fi adventure.

The Story

Jupiter Ascending tells the story of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), a young unassuming Chicago maid who becomes the target of the Abraxis family, a powerful and ruthless monarchy from a distant galaxy. On the verge of being killed by one of their hitmen, she is rescued by Caine (Channing Tatum), a dangerous genetically engineered lycantant wearing flying boots, who swoops in just in the nick of time and whisks her off to safety. Thus begins her adventure. She is subsequently kidnapped and taken to another planet where she eventually, she learns the royal family’s horrible secret – a secret that threatens not only her life but the entire human race. She also discovers that she is not the simple woman she originally thought but is much, much more.

In this action-filled space opera, we learn of an entirely different reality – an alternative universe with technology advanced enough to create human-like lifeforms from animal DNA such as Caine (wolf) and Stinger (bee) as well as the ability to live milleniums without aging. But as we learn in the film, such technology comes at a steep price.

The plot is akin to a classic sci-fi fairytale – it’s the good guys against the bad guy and for the most part and it worked – although I felt that the story did get a bit bogged down at times by especially lenthy fight scenes.

The Performances

Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum gave, in my humble opinion, excellent performances and the chemistry between them worked well on the screen. Given that the two main characters are easy on the eyes, it’s not surprising that we saw several scenes featuring a shirtless Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in skimpy, revealing outfits.

As the central character, Mila Kunis did an excellent job of portraying Jupiter Jones – a normal everyday girl who is forced by elements out of her control into a situation for which she was completely unprepared. Her character was likeable, sometimes sassy but always engaging. Likewise, I felt that Channing Tatum was quite convincing in the role of the heroic and athletic Caine, as was Sean Bean who played the role of Stinger, Caine’s rugged and reliable former comrade-in-arms.

The antagonists in the movie stood out due to their stellar performances – the enigmatic Abraxis family. Handsome and talented Douglas Booth played the hedonistic and shrewd Titus with expertise. Tuppence Middleton (seen recently in “The Imitation Game”) was quite evoquative in her portrayal of the extremely vain and eternally-youthful Kalique and Eddie Redmayne (who recently protrayed Steven Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”) gave an over-the-top performance in his portrayal of Balem, the power-hungry main antagonist. While his larger-than-life chilling performance as a vilian was effective, I found the back and forth between him whispering..and then shouting…and then whispering again a bit strange and off-kilter.

Breathtaking Visuals

Spaceship fights, explosions, flying boots, hoverboards, buildings blowing up, impressive new worlds, breathtaking cities, edge-of-your-seat chase scenes – there was no lack of eye candy in this fast-paced film. The visual effects as well as the CGI in the movie were top notch and eye-catching. Visually, this film was beautiful. While watching it, I regretted not being able to see it on our local theater’s super-large Ultra Screen because the effects were simply amazing.

Verdict

Jupiter Ascending was simply a fun movie! Though a tad over the top at times, the premise of film was believable and well-developed. The setting was breathtaking, the acting excellent and the exciting actions scenes got my blood racing and I found myself literally sitting on the edge of my seat. There were funny moments, riveting moments as well as moving, heartfelt scenes (the scenes with Jupiter and her family as well as several tender scenes between Jupiter and Caine come to mind).

If you enjoy fun sci-fi adventures or action films with a touch of humor – and perhaps a bit of tongue-in-cheek as well, then Jupiter Ascending is definitely worth a view. Recommended!

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Dracula Untold – The Origins of Count Dracula

Dracula untold posterI’m a sucker for a vampire movie, especially one having to do with our not-so-friendly Count Dracula. When I was a kid, I saw all of the Dracula movies with Bela Lugosi, Jack Palance, Christopher Lee and others. I subscribed to the monthly comic book “The Tomb of Dracula” and later on, the short-lived Dracula Magazine entitled “Dracula Lives”.

But there was always something missing – and that was the origin story of our Count. Nobody ever delved into his past, what he was like before he became a vampire. Not until now, that is. Needless to say, I was excited when I heard that the new film directed by Gary Shore, Dracula Untold was just that – the story of how and why Vlad Tepes became a vampire.

Truth be told, I was a tad hesitant because some of the reviews I’d read were on the lukewarm side. I personally loved the film and felt that the writers came up with a very good Dracula origin story.

The Story

In the 15th century, Vlad Tepes, played by Luke Evans, and Vlad’s young family live in Transylvania, where he rules as a Prince. We learn that as a child, he was given to the Turkish Sultan and was tortured, trained and then forced to kill in the sultan’s army, during which he became known as Vlad the Impaler. Given his freedom, he has been allowed many years of peace between the two kingdoms.

Then one day, things turn to hell. Messengers from the new Sultan, played by Dominic Cooper, turn up and demand a thousand boys – including Vlad’s own son – for the Turkish army. Vlad refuses, knowing that this decision will ultimately lead to war between the two kingdoms – with the enormous Turkish army and Vlad’s non-existent army.

Out of desperation, the kind-hearted prince Vlad makes a decision with a dark and ancient supernatural force in order to protect his kingdom…and we all know how that turns out.

The Acting

I couldn’t think anyone more suited for this role than Luke Evans. Dracula Untold is not a happy film and Evans’s dark and brooding yet sophisticated portrayal of Dracula was more than impressive. The prince’s struggle to protect his kingdom and his family – and his willingness to tamper with a terrible, dark power in order to do so was brilliantly portrayed, as was his transformation from hero to anti-hero.

During the movie I sympathized with the prince’s plight – and cringed as the situation worsened for him. Evans’s performance was not only believable, it was smooth and brilliant, and I felt that he was the perfect embodiment of the character of Vlad Tepes. He also did an excellent job at balancing his human and monster characteristics.

The chemistry between Vlad and his wife, played by Sarah Gadon, was outstanding as well and added a touch of sweet romance to this otherwise dark, angsty tale.

What We Didn’t Get

Many people who were disappointed in this film expected a classic vampire story, complete with the maniacal count drinking blood and attacking young maidens.

This was not the purpose of the film. This is not a vampire film. This is not even a horror film. Rather, it portrays the agonizing decision that Vlad had to make in order to protect his kingdom – and the price he had to pay for such a decision. It was about one man’s transformation from being good…. to being…not quite so good.

While the battle scenes were brutal, they were not gory. There was very little bloodletting and needless gruesome violence. That’s not what this film was about. Rather, it’s an origin story of the infamous Count Dracula, how he lost everything to save his kingdom and the ultimate sacrifice he had to make to save his family.

The Visuals

The story was dark as were the visuals (alas, no sparkly vampires here!). The effects were quite good however (loved the bats!), with the battle scenes appearing realistic without unnecessary gore. Rather, the director took an artistic approach to this film leading to some quite stunning visuals.

I felt this reboot of the Dracula story was beautifully executed with the visuals successfully drawing in the audience into the story. The film’s pace was perfect, with a nice mix of action scenes and slower, contemplative scenes.

The Verdict

Loved it! This stylish, well-plotted, innovative film was a delight to watch and provided a fresh perspective on Vlad the Impaler aka Count Dracula. This original story reinvents the evil Count Dracula as a tragic hero who loved and lost, a tale of hope versus despair. All in all, I felt it was an excellent story and left me wanting more.

The ending of the movie left an opening for a sequel so perhaps we will get more. If so, I’ll be first in line.

Recommended!

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Review of The Maze Runner

Maze runner movie poster

Last weekend, I went to see The Maze Runner film, which is based upon a best selling novel of the same name by James Dashner. To be truthful, I had not read the book before seeing the film and up until the release of the movie, I hadn’t even heard of it. What attracted me to the film was when I learned that Dylan O’Brien, one of my favorite actors in the Teen Wolf series (yes, I’m a “wolfie”). was playing the lead. Teen Wolf is one of the few television shows that I watch so hearing that Dylan was in The Maze Runner immediately put the film on my radar. I’m also a fan of Dystopian films so I was excited to see what The Maze Runner was all about.

The Setting

A young man named Thomas wakes up in what appears to be a rusty freight elevator with a group of boys looking down at him. He has no memories of where he is or what happened to him. Initially, he couldn’t even recall his own name.

Alby (played by Aml Ameen), the group’s leader, tells Thomas that he is now in a place that they call “The Glade” – a colony consisting of several dozen boys. Alby explains to him that the exact same thing happened to every one of them: they woke up one day in the elevator, remembering nothing except their own name. Every month, a new boy arrives in the “The Box”, with the first arriving three years before.

Thomas also learns that his new home is completely surrounded by a intricate and dangerous maze in which lives enormous and deadly mechanical spider-like creatures called “Grievers”. Nobody has ever survived the sting of a Griever.

The Runners

Among the group of boys are a few chosen “Runners”. Once a day, these Runners race through the maze, learning it, memorizing it and looking for a way out. The Runners only have the day to explore the maze because each night the entrance to the maze closes and the layout of the maze changes.

It is of upmost importance that the runners make it out of the maze before the entrance closes because, as we learn, nobody has ever survived a night in the maze.

Things Begin to Change

Once Thomas arrives, things begin to change in The Glade. For the first time, the Grievers have stung one of the Runners in broad daylight, something that’s never before occurred. Until that point, the Grievers only entered the maze at night (hence the reason why nobody has ever survived a night in the maze). Thomas begins to question the self-imposed rules that this brotherhood of boys lives by.

He then makes the decision to enter the maze (breaking the “only runners can enter the maze” rule) just as the entrance is closing to rescue Alby, who has been stung by a Griever. Thomas and Minho (plalyed by Ki Hong Lee), the chief runner, hide Alby as they prepare themselves to face the night in the maze. As predicted, the Grievers arrive but using his quick wits, Thomas manages to kill one of the them. Thomas and the Runner spend the rest of the night hiding.

The maze entrance opens the next morning and to the shock of the rest of the boys, Minho and Thomas, along with an injured Alby, appear at the doorway alive.

The Spark of Rebellion

Up until now, the boys had accepted their lot – that they are stuck on the Glade. But Thomas has given them hope – hope that there might be a way out. He becomes one of the chosen Runners and along with Minho, discovers that there just might be a way out.

The news of a possible escape from The Glade is not welcome by everyone in the colony however. Some of the boys are so afraid of the Grievers, that they believe that their current self-imposed rules must not be violated – and that above all else, the ultimate goal is to protect each other. The boundary between them and the Grievers must be respected in order to remain safe.

However, for the first time, some of the other boys have latched onto hope. This is where the brotherhood splits into two different camps, very reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, with half the boys following Thomas and the other half following Gally (the movie’s antagonist, played by Will Poulter), who believes that Thomas’s actions are jeopardizing everyone’s safety.

Questions, Questions & More Questions

All through the movie, there are several questions that the viewer asks him or herself:

Just where is the Glade, exactly?
Who runs the Glade and the Maze?
Why are the boys there?
Why can’t they leave?
What happened to them?
Where do the Grievers come from?

These questions all get answered in time – but I won’t spoil anything for you.

Verdict

It’s a tense, dramatic thrill-ride of movie which I felt was well-plotted and well-executed. The movie is in no way predictable and concludes with a surprising and unexpected ending, opening the way for a sequel. This film definitely succeeded in keeping me interested and on the edge of seat wondering when (or if) my questions would be answered and whether the boys would escape – or end up getting killed by the nightmarish Grievers.

The acting in the film was strong and I felt that the lead and secondary characters were believable, strong and well-developed.

The Maze Runner is definitely worth a view and I am already looking forward to the Maze Runner 2. I give it strong B+.

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Review of The Hundred-Foot Journey

The hundred foot journey image

Awhile back, I saw a preview for the movie The Hundred-Foot Journey and I was intrigued yet hesitant. Intrigued because I used to be a French teacher and the film takes place in France – and hesitant because I had neither heard nor read anything about this film beforehand. But I decided to take a chance the other night and give it a try. I was more that pleasantly surprised by this well-constructed, heartwarming story.

The film follows an Indian family who flee India after a tragedy and wind up in a small, French town when their vehicle breaks down. Papa Kadam (the father) played by Om Puri, notices a vacant building and decides it would be a perfect place to open an Indian restaurant. There is one problem however – and that would be Madame Mallory, played Helen Mirren, who is the owner of high-brow one-star Michelin restaurant (who is trying to get her second star) situated across the street – literally one hundred feet away, hence the title of the movie.

Needless to say, Madame Mallory is none too happy that an Indian joint is opening across from her haute-cuisine restaurant so she attempts to foil their plans, resulting in a culinary battle between the two establishments. The result is some delightfully comical scenes. Helen Mirren and Om Puri are adversaries most entertaining and it’s a treat to watch as the chemistry develops between them.

There is a second theme to this movie which centers on the son and the main chef of the Indian restaurant, Hassan Haji, played by Manish Dayal. We learn that he is much more that a mere cook but rather possesses an extreme talent and passion for cooking, a talent and passion not seen in most chefs. We witness his journey as he learns the fine art of French cooking (much to the chagrin of Papa) and eventually becomes a critically acclaimed chef. But Hassan’s journey is not always an easy one and some difficult decisions must be made.

On a basic level, the film depicts a familiar story of the clash between two cultures, French and Indian, but in this case, centered on cooking. But it is more. This beautifully-filmed movie is also filled with all the joys and sorrows, ups and downs, triumphs and disappointments that accompany life but with wonderful humor interweaved into the story.

The Hundred-Foot Journey has everything that I might want in a film: comedy, drama, a touch of romance, succulent delicious-looking food, excellent acting and a happy ending. It’s a feel good movie without being sappy that will delight the senses. I found the acting, directing and plot to be first-rate in this gem of a movie.

If you get a chance, go see it, especially if you enjoy movies about food. I guarantee you’ll be hungry afterwards.

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Film Review: The Giver

The Giver image

When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong. Every single time.” ~ Chief Elder

My bookclub recently read the book The Giver by Lois Lowry which resulted in an interesting and lively discussion, so I was quite excited when I heard that the book was being made into a movie. I saw the movie the other night and I absolutely loved it! This was not one of those movies that was completely true to the book as there were a good number of differences between the two but overall, I was pleased with the director’s interpretation.

The Setting

The Giver takes place in a colorless utopian society where there is no inequality, competition, anger, pain, hunger, war, fear, lust, sexual attraction, or different races. It is a place where the safety of sameness is the aim and differences of any kind are not tolerated. The community operates on a strict set of rules and not following them results in being released to Elsewhere. Everything is gray, sterile and orderly but nobody seems to unhappy. In fact, the community citizens seem quite content with their emotionless day to day lives.

The Hero

The story centers on Jonas, a young man seemingly satisfied with his place in the community. During the yearly ceremony where those graduating are told what their life’s work shall be, Jonas is set apart from the rest of his classmates. Rather than given a typical occupation, is told instead that he has been chosen to become the community’s next Receiver of Knowledge, an honor that is rarely bestowed as there is ever only Receiver in the community. Jonas is to begin his training immediately with the current Receiver, played by Jeff Bridges. In the book, Jonas is 12 years old, the age where each person in society is given his or her official occupation; that is to say, the role they are to play in the community for the rest of their lives. In the movie however, the character of Jonas is played by Brenton Thwaites who appears to be about seventeen or eighteen years old (I don’t recall if they mentioned Jonas’s actual age in the film), as do Jonas’s friends, Fiona and Asher. Jonas’s age in the movie is quite a departure from the book and from what I’ve heard, some people took issue with the change. Truth be told, while I was reading the book, I had a difficult time believing that Jonas was only twelve years old, especially given the enormous responsibility laid on his shoulders and the level of maturity he displayed. Portraying Jonas’s age closer to that of a high school senior makes more sense to me.

Enter The Giver

The Receiver (or Receiver of Knowledge) is the sole keeper of all of the community’s memories. Nobody, including the governing elders, knows anything about human history or their ancestors’ past – all memory of it has been erased from their minds. The Receiver is the only individual in the community who retains all of the memories from the past and using those memories, he is called upon from time to time assist the elders in making difficult decisions. Since Jonas has been designated the society’s new Receiver, the current Receiver then becomes “The Giver” and his role is to pass on all of his memories to Jonas, which he does by touch. The film starts out in dim black and white but gains more color as Jonas gains an understanding of real life. As Jonas receives more and more memories from The Giver, he begins to question the wisdom in removing all those memories and emotions from everyone’s mind – and once he begins to receive some of the more painful memories from The Giver (and the painful emotions that go along with them), his questions become even more profound. On some level, he understand why his ancestors did away with all the painful emotions, memories and even colors – but he begins to think that the sacrifice in attaining a safe society wasn’t worth what humanity has lost in the process. He starts to comprehend all too well what shutting down emotions and memories did to their community – everyone had stopped truly living. Once he learns his society’s secrets and darker truths, Jonas’s sense of morality grows, and with it, his need to see things restored to the way they should be. Finally he and The Giver, in a race against time, embark on a plan to set the community back to the way it once was – complete with memories, emotions and colors. It is time to right the wrongs.

Racing Agaist The Clock

The ending of the movie includes some aspects that were not included in the book which I felt worked well. For instance, the movie raised the stakes of Jonas’s success – and it becomes a matter of life and death, not just for him but his friends as well. I liked the extra suspense that the movie added to the story and I thought Jonas’s relationship with the Head Elder (played my Meryl Streep) was expertly handled. There seemed to be much more depth to the character of the all-powerful Chief Elder in the movie than in the book, no doubt helped by Steep’s stellar performance. On the opposite end however, I felt that the movie did leave out some important details – details that helped to support the central themes of the book

The Conclusion

Though there were several changes to the details from the book to the movie, the director left the conclusion/denouement of the film idential to that of the book so much so that with the exception of the age of Jonas, the ending of the movie was nearly exactly what I had pictured in my head while reading the book. Sure, several of the events leading up to the ending changed in the movie, but the actual ending stayed true to Lowry’s novel. What is interesting, is that at first glance, the film’s ending seems cut and dry. But there is more than one possible interpretation of what really occurred, which by the way, led to quite an interesting and emotional discussion during my bookclub’ meeting’s discussion of the story. What are these two interpretations or understandings of the ending you might ask? You shall have to watch the movie (and perhaps read the book as well?) to find out.

The Verdict

I was amazed by the lukewarm response that this movie received. While the film certainly could have perhaps delved a bit deeper into the main ideas of the book, I still thought it was an excellent interpretation of the original story with well-developed characters and superb acting. The Giver is not a light, fluffy movie given that it deals with topics such as a freedom, liberty, totalitarianism, what gives life meaning, conformity, freedom of expression and even murder. The Giver is also not an action-packed thrill ride. What it is, is a film that illustrates big ideas – ideas that cause us to contemplate, wonder and ponder. It’s a haunting movie that will stay with you long after the film is finished. Recommended! Note for True Blood fans: Alexander Skarsgård (Erik Northman in True Blood) plays Jonas’s father.

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Review of the movie G.B.F.

Gbf

I just viewed a fun & wacky indie YA comedy called G.B.F. and I loved it! Unfortunately, this film didn’t receive a lot of press and as such, only played in select theaters. If you wish to see it, you may have purchase or stream it on Amazon.

Jockeying For Position

G.B.F. stands for Gay Best Friend and takes place in a suburban high school. Here we are introduced to three female divas all of whom are battling each other for supremacy of the school. Each one decides that in order to the queen bee, she needs obtain for herself a gay best friend. Not an easy task, considering that there are no out gay students at the high school. But that’s all about to change.

Who’s Out & Who’s Not?

Flamboyant Brent (played by Paul Iacono) is hungering to be popular and sees this as his opportunity for school stardom. But his plan backfires and instead of outing himself, his shy best friend, Tanner (played by Michael J. Willett) ends up being the one who is outed. The three wanna be school queens spend the rest of the movie vying for Tanner’s attention and jump through outrageous hoops to obtain him as her exclusive new GBF.

Stereotypes for Days

The movie pokes fun at many high school stereotypes which some people may or may not find offensive. For instance, the cattiness and vindictiveness of the three young school divas during their quest to have Tanner be their own personal GBF made me think of the sterotypical high school mean girls. The movie also poked fun of those religious folk who do not walk their talk; such as ‘Shley (Andrea Bowen), a mormon who likes to drink and have sex and her mormon boyfriend ‘Topher (Taylor Frey) who has a bad habit of trying to seduce his gay classmates.

Witty Dialogue

In addition to poking fun at stereotypes, the film was rife with witty, fast-paced one-liners and jabs and I found myself roaring with laughter many times throughout the movie. The scene where Brent and his mother (played by Megan Mullally, who played Karen on Will & Grace) watch Brokeback Mountain together was hysterical. At one point, she says in regards to the movie, “Oh Heath, it’s freezing. Swallow your pride and go into the tent. Well, I guess necessity is the mother of invention.”

But it’s Serious, too

While this film certainly can be classified as trite, silly, wacky fun, there is also a serious element to it. This is not simply a story about three stuck-up girls who use a young gay student as a fashion accessory; it is also a tender best-friends love story with an emotional depth that renders it heartfelt. It’s an inspiring film that treats the subject of choosing between popularity and friendship with emotion and humor. This is fast-paced story filled with laugh-a-minute dialog, love, hope, friendship and some angst, that will touch anyone’s heart. And though Tanner and Brent go through some real turmoil, they experience real growth and change – and they come out in the end better people for it.

If you get a chance to see it at your local theater, I recommend you do so (it’s always great to support independent films). It’s a delightful tale of school popularity and friendship that doesn’t disappoint. You can also get it from Amazon HERE. Recommended!!

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Robocop Mini-Review

Robo

Went to the movies last night to see Robocop. I saw the original way back in 1987 when it came out and recall that I enjoyed it at the time, although I don’t remember too much of the plot. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the 2014 version as often, I’m disappointed with remakes (with Carrie being a prime example). But I ended up enjoying the movie much more than I thought I would. While there indeed was a lot of shooting, I seem to remember the 1987 original as being much more violent — but perhaps time has affected my memory.

The year is 2028. OmniCorp, a center for worldwide robot technology, has succeed in placing robot drones on the streets as peacekeepers in many countries, with the United Stated being the exception. In the US, a law prohibits the use of drones. Just when it looks like OmniCorp’s latest attempt to instill drones in the US will fail, Alex Murphy, a Detroit Police Officer played by Joel Kinnamon, is critically wounded in an explosion after investigating some possibly corrupt officers on his force.

The CEO of OmniCorp played by Michael Keaton, seizes this opportunity and uses what’s left of Office Murphy to create a half-man, half-robot police officer called Robocop (actually, he’s more robot – not to much left to him beside brain, heart, lungs and one hand). He is put on the streets and almost immediately, crime in the city is reduced by 80%. But there is a lot more going on here, from corrupt police officers to evil corporate maneuvers — and of course, one key fact that the scientists and corporate monkeys seem to have forgotten: it is still a man inside the machine, complete with fears, anxieties, love and a thirst for vengeance.

While there were several clichés present in the movie such as “one man stands alone against the evil corporation”, I enjoyed the film. It was fast-paced with well-orchestrated action scenes and great acting all around. Samuel L. Jackson (he’s been in everything lately) does an fantastic job as a pro-drone over-the-top game show host and Gary Oldman who plays Dr. Dennett Norton, the scientist responsible for Murphy’s transformation from man to machine, is convincing as his portrayal as the corporate scientist with a heart.

While the 2014 movie might not be as bloody as the original, there were a couple of cringe-worthy scenes, one during which the machine is stripped from Office Murphy and we see how little of Robocop is actually a man — all that’s left of Murphy is his exposed brain, heart, lungs and right hand — an eewww moment for sure. Speaking of his hand, I thought it amusing that when he was first revealed, it was his left hand that was human but later on in the movie it was his right. Whoop….little continuity problem there. But confused hands aside, I enjoyed the movie and feel that it’s worth a view.

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The Geography Club – The Movie

Geography Club Movie image

A few years ago, I read a delightful YA coming-of-age novel by Brent Hartinger called The Geography Club which I really enjoyed. I recently learned that the book had been made into a movie. I saw the movie last night and loved it – thought it was really well done. I couldn’t say if it was true to the book though as it’s been a few years ago since I read it.

Here is the editorial blurb:

16-year old Russell is going on dates with girls while nurturing a secret relationship with star quarterback Kevin, who will do anything to prevent his teammates from finding out. Min and Terese tell everyone that they’re just best friends. And then there’s Ike, who can’t figure out who he is or who he wants to be. Finding the truth too hard to hide, they decide to form a Geography Club, thinking nobody else would want to join. However, their secrets may soon be discovered and they could have to face the choice of revealing who they really are.

Russell (played by Cameron Deane Stewart) the main character is an attractive high-school student who is questioning his sexuality and discovers that the school’s football star, Kevin (played by Justin Deeley) is gay – but closeted. Russell meets a few other gay kids who had formed a secret Gay & Lesbian support group at school called The Geography Club, figuring that the name was so boring nobody would want to join. In this way, they would meet without drawing attention to themselves.

Eventually, Russell’s secret comes out and the rest of the movie deals with the fallout. I enjoyed the movie as much as I recall enjoying the book. Even though the book was written ten years ago, I found the movie especially relevant today as each day we read about more and more athletes publicly coming out of the closet. I personally remember all to clearly what it was like being gay in high-school – the fear, the shame, the peer-pressure, the desire to be “normal”. I felt that this movie did an excellent job at portraying how difficult this period of life can be for a gay teen.

This family-friendly film was well-done from the cinematography and storyline to the acting. It’s available in some theaters now and is scheduled to be released on DVD on March 11th. If you think you might enjoy a heartfelt young adult film with fun, colorful characters that portrays the value of friendship and life of a gay teen in high school, then this movie is definitely worth a view.