Movie Review: The Sun Is Also A Star (2019)

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR
Summary: A hopeless romantic ambivalent about his future in medical school falls for a hard-luck young woman who doesn’t believe in love.
I was excited for this movie because I love love love the book. I feel kind of let down lol.
Read the book review here.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. We meet some other characters just barely, like Natasha’s family (though her brother never talks) and Daniel’s family. Also, a friend of Daniel’s and a lawyer but as they’re not really that important in the movie I’m not going to go into them.
  • Charles Melton as Daniel Bae.Daniel is preparing for his interview with Dartmouth as his parents want him to become a doctor as he is first generation in America and a lot is expected of him. However, he wants to be a poet because he’s a hopeless romantic and puts his feelings out through his words. He feels an enormous amount of pressure but when he sees Natasha in the train station, he is immediately taken and believes in destiny. Once they meet, he works to prove to her that love exists and that she could fall in love with him in that one day. I like Daniel a lot, he’s just a kind person who is trying to figure out what he wants but he also thinks of his family because he knows what his choices means for them. Charles Melton is too old to play Daniel, I thought so when he was cast and I thought so while watching the movie, however, I actually liked him. I clearly loved this girl from the moment he laid eyes on her and I truly believed that throughout the film. If there’s anything he can do well, is be in love lol. He also has a natural charisma that works for the character but he just registers too old for the part.
  • Yara Shahidi as Natasha Kingsley.I will have some other things to say about her later, but Yara Shahidi has an uneven performance. I know she was the first choice but she was also miscast but sure. Natasha is desperate to stay in America as she has spent most of her life here and she doesn’t want to get deported for something they can’t control. ICE did a random check and all that. So, she’s really stressed out, desperate and emotional but when she meets Daniel, she manages to find some break from all that. When they’re playing off each other, she does well. All the scientific stuff that Natasha talks about and when she’s sharing her thoughts on those things, it works for her. She’s also so beautiful. They zoom in on her face a lot and I’m just like “This girl is gorgeous” lol.
Beautiful Cinematography. Autumn Durald does the cinematography and I think the movie has a very nice look to it. It has this dreamy quality to it which fits for the nature of the story. There a LOT of shots of New York and it’s beautiful to look at while the movie was basically transitioning.
Character Chemistry. I could tell from the trailers that Shahidi and Melton had nice chemistry and I think that’s one of the highlights of the movie is that while I have issue with the acting and other things, they managed to make me believe they were really falling for each other.
Idea of the Story. As I love the book, I love the story and I do not normally like romance novels. In the movie, Natasha has a day to try and prevent her family from being deported while Daniel is supposed to going to his interview for college. He ends up saving her from being hit by a car (*rolls eyes*) and they go sit down and they talk about love once she finds out he’s a poet. He declares he can get her to fall in love with him and he has a scientific way to prove it, since she’s very much into science and facts and love cannot be proven. I like the idea of their separate stories as they both have the future to think about, albeit different futures, but the future nonetheless and I like the idea of it stressing them both out but they have found a moment to be free from that worry. All of that is nice.
The Karaoke Sequence. One of my favorite sequences from the movie is the karaoke scene. Daniel takes Natasha to this Asian karaoke bar and he sings for her and we get a flash forward of Natasha thinking of what their life could be like if she gives in to this feeling. I thought it was really sweet, especially with the music choice.
Cons:
Inconsistent Acting. I was already skeptical because I wasn’t really into this casting for either of the lead characters. Natasha is Jamaican and Yara Shahidi does not even look like the rest of her family. I thought it was a bit weird and a missed opportunity to cast a darker skinned actress in a leading role, especially for a YA movie. As for Charles Melton, I’d only see him in Riverdale and he’s fine as Reggie (he doesn’t get much to do anyway) but I just thought he was too old and seemed to physically fit Daniel’s brother more than Daniel. Sorry, I got off topic lol, but I think the acting isn’t that great mostly from Shahidi. I don’t watch either of the shows she’s been on so this was my first time seeing her act and I don’t think she’s that great, particularly at the emotional scenes. Natasha has a lot going on in this one day, a lot of emotions she’s going through and I don’t think they hit the way they should have due to her not seeming to make it convincing.
Too Long. This movie is 100 minutes long, which isn’t really that long but this movie felt so long which is a problem. I think I read the book in a day, so I would imagine that with this movie being about an hour and some change would be fine, but it felt like nothing was really happening for the movie to be taking as long as it was. I checked my watch a few times. It has a lot of shots of New York and people doing New York things while some kind of pop song is playing and it just felt like padding.
Movie Flow. I was trying to think of why I found myself not liking the movie the way I wanted to. The movie has a lot of padding and it seems like there isn’t really a story with how they shoot it. It’s like we have moments of them separately, then a lot of shots of New York and music, then they meet and some dialogue then again, more shots of New York and its people and the music. The movie just feels like they didn’t have enough plot to show so they filled it in with transitional shots and music.
Overall, I wanted to like The Sun is Also a Star more than I did as I loved the book. I think it starts off really slow and it’s really only when Natasha and Daniel meet that it gets better, but not by that much. There are some positive things, like the characters are generally fine and the acting is okay, mostly with Charles Melton being the better out of the two leads. I really liked the karaoke scene and I think the two leads had great chemistry. Also, the idea of the story is fine. With that said, the acting is inconsistent throughout the film from almost everyone who gets to really talk but mostly from Shahidi. It’s too long, or it feels like it’s too long and the flow of the movie doesn’t work as it feels like it’s taking forever with NOTHING happening.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The Sun is Also a Star? Did you read the book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
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Movie Review: The Darkest Minds (2018)

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Summary: Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control of their future.
Pros:
Pretty Good Acting. I like Amandla Stenberg. I don’t think there has ever been a movie that I didn’t like her in. The movie might not have been great, but I usually always enjoy her. I think she had an interesting character in this movie in that Ruby has some baggage and trauma that she deals with, not to mention being afraid of her abilities. It’s something we’ve seen before but it’s still interesting because we don’t know the extent her powers and nor does she. Amandla manages to show all of that. I do acknowledge that she makes some funny faces but that’s just her face lol and it doesn’t bother me, nor do I count it against her. Harris Dickinson as Liam was also pretty good, he’s a leader in their runaway group and it’s clear he really cares about those in his group. He’s very passionate and it shows. I also enjoyed Skylan Brooks as Chubs, and while she didn’t have any dialogue Miya Cech as Zu was also cute.
Character Skeletons. I didn’t want to go through each character and actor like I normally do because I don’t think the characters are that interesting overall, but we got some interesting character skeletons. Even with Ruby being the main character, she wasn’t fleshed out enough for me to care about her, BUT I thought there was enough setup for interesting characters. I liked that each one of our runaways had a different ability and that they viewed themselves like a family. The villain was also interesting, but he was so random that it didn’t work overall.
The Story. I haven’t read the book, so I am not going to be comparing this at all. I did read the first two or three chapters and it was interesting. The idea is that 98% of the children die in the US leaving the survivors with abilities. The government wants to cure them, so they put them into these camps. Their abilities are rated on a color scale from harmless to lethal.
Green- High Intelligence
Blue- Telekinesis
Yellow- Electrokinesis
Red- Unknown (I mean I know but it’s kind of cool to find out)
Orange- Mind Control etc.
That’s all cool and stuff and I would like to know just how they planned on curing these kids or if they would rather use them as weapons. Plus, there are three books so I’m sure they planned on making two more movies, which I would have been interested in watching but ya know it did terribly, so I doubt it. Anyways, the fact that Ruby managed to survive in the camps pretending to be a green was interesting and I would have liked to know just how she managed to survive for so long. Not to mention, when she met up with Liam, Chubs and Zu, they escaped from the camp they were in and were on the run, but what next at the end ya know? I thought there was the makings of a cool and immersive story.
Cons:
Dull and Boring. Ya’ll this movie is so dull. Nothing happens. I mean, stuff happens but nothing happens, and it was very anticlimactic. I really wanted the end to be more interesting than it was because you have all these kids with powers in one place and none of them thought to use their powers to help?? I mean, listen, if I had telekinesis (which is the power I always choose) then I would be fighting. Besides, I can’t imagine anyone not catching on to that “twist” at the end. Also the little dust thing where Ruby is like disappearing or whatever you always see… so disappointed in that lol. I get it but BOO. Disappointed.
Use of Abilities. A big missed opportunity was how the powers were used. I think it makes sense that Ruby’s powers were a bit of mystery because she didn’t really know how to use them herself so that’s fine. However, the others should have had some better use of their powers. For one, I feel like the Greens having high intelligence is just so passive in the world where the others aren’t. I felt like they should be able to control or connect with technology, be technopaths or something like that. We see Zu use her powers maybe three times and each time she had to touch wires or something, which is cool to give it limitations but is that it? Is that why she always had to wear the rubber gloves? As for the telekinesis which can also be called “Psychokinesis” is a powerful power which is why I was so shocked it was considered “less dangerous” considering how they can not only move things with their mind, they can move people, create force fields, I guess depending on the limitations of that power. Missed opportunity because Liam was already considered a powerful “blue”, but that power is powerful in general. I just wish we got to see more of the powers used overall in more than just the usual ways.
Unfocused. It was allllll over the place. Sure, it had a through line, the kids had somewhere they wanted to go and Ruby ultimately wanted to go home but being that it’s a dystopian ya film, it kind of has the same tropes that all the others have (The Hunger Games, Divergent, The 5th Wave), and they wanted us to be interested in so much that they didn’t flesh out the stuff that really mattered. Why didn’t we get the chance to really know just how close Liam, Chubs and Zu were? They told us they were, they said it, but other than the fact that they seemed stuck with each other, we didn’t really get to know them as a unit. Then there’s the stuff with Mandy Moore’s character and that was just here and there. THEN the stuff with Gwendolyn Christie who seemed like an interesting character but that was just brushed aside. It was all over the place ya’ll.
Romance Aspect. Listen, I don’t have a problem with romance in movies, but sometimes it’s hard to accept that people are falling in love while the world is ending, or their lives are in danger. I can’t say it’s unrealistic because ya know teenagers, but it’s so ridiculous sometimes. There’s a part where Zu insists Ruby put on this red dress, and she does, and she walks around in this fancy red dress… why? So random. She and Liam also clearly are going to be interested in each other, sure, but how long were they together? They don’t really know each other and they’re just like making decisions about each other and I’m like ‘but Ya’ll don’t know each other’ not to mention, something happens with another person at the end, and while I get it to an extent, YOU ALSO DON’T KNOW THIS GIRL!
So Many Questions. I was interested, and I think I’ll read the books now because I feel like the movie didn’t do the justice it probably deserved. We’ll see. But I had a lot of questions. For example, where did the disease come from? Why is it only kids that are affected? What happens to the survivors with the abilities once they are no longer kids? Will they maintain these powers or lose them? If that’s the case, why not allow them to live their lives (maybe keep a close eye on those Reds and Oranges) until they’re 18 or whatever? How did Ruby managed to stay hidden for so long? Did she just mind control people who got suspicious of her? Why didn’t the government conduct the “white noise” procedure often? They seemed to only do it a few times but if it was me, I would do it at the end of the year or every six months or so just in case someone slipped through defenses. Is the eletrokinesis only if they touched things that held a current, or could it be from the body directly? What about the telekinesis… since that’s kinetic energy, they should be able to do a lot more than what was continuously showcased. What about the Greens? They only have high intelligence? Why not use them instead of making them do stupid grunt work? ALSO, what happened to Lady Jane??? lol so many questions and the movie wasn’t doing a good job at answering any of them.
Overall, The Darkest Minds was a mess and I feel bad for it to be honest. I feel like there was some good stuff there but being in a movie format didn’t help the movie at all. Adding this one to the YA books that should have been a TV show. The acting overall is good, I don’t think anyone was bad and Amandla I think is always likable no matter what she does. The characters had an interesting base and I think the story is good but needed some flesh and extra life but unfortunately it was dull and boring. It was unfocused, focused way too much on the romance aspect when it should have focused more on the Runaways family aspect, their powers and Ruby’s internal struggles. There was also a ton of missed opportunities with their powers. Lastly, so many questions that weren’t the good kind. Listen, if it comes on TV check it out, but otherwise, I wouldn’t worry about it.
SIDE NOTE: That little girl they chose to play a young Ruby, not only looked NOTHING like Amandla, she was a completely different complexion. Sure, kids grow up and get a little darker or a little lighter, but I think that was a missed opportunity to cast a dark-skinned actress as Ruby. That was annoying.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The Darkest Minds? If so, what were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear from those who have seen the movie and perhaps also read the book! No spoilers though!
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Movie Review: To All The Boys I Loved Before (2018)

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Summary: A teenage girl’s secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.
You can check out my review of the book here! This is a short review!
Pros:
Cast and Characters. We do meet a lot of characters in the movie, some of them we see quite a bit throughout but I’m just going to talk about two of them.
  • Lana Condor as Lara Jean. She is our protagonist. She has this thing whenever she falls for a boy and wants to move on. She writes love letters to them, addresses them but doesn’t send them, she puts them into her hat box and hides them in her closet. It’s her way of moving on from them. LJ is probably the quirky one of her sisters. Margot is calm and collected, Kitty and outgoing and loud and then LJ is just… not those things lol. She tries to be like Margot and Kitty in different ways but that’s just not her thing which works for her. She’s funny, awkward and a bit clumsy at the best of times. I really liked Lana Condor in the movie, she was cute, and I think really played the character how she was written in the book because Lara Jean is also very dreamy and whimsical, and I thought she managed to do very well. Also, she had great chemistry with Noah Centineo.
  • Noah Centineo as Peter. He is a lacrosse player and probably the popular guy in school. Everyone seems to like him, and he seems cool with everyone. When he gets the letter from Lara Jean, he tells her “I’m flattered but it’s not going to happen” lol which was still awkward and what not, but he rolls with the moment. When they make their deal, he holds up his end of the bargain but at the same time, he always tried to make sure LJ was comfortable which I liked about him. He was witty and charismatic and when you start notice that he might like LJ, it’s clear it confuses him to some extent. I still quite liked him in the movie, maybe not as much as I liked him in the book, but I still really liked him. I’ve never seen Noah Centineo in anything (I don’t watch The Fosters) but I thought he was fine, he had a natural swagger that I thought Peter had and he was cool, and handsome which all helped the character. He also had great chemistry with Lana Condor.
Supporting Characters. 
  • There are a lot of supporting characters in the movie like Janel Parrish as Margot who was fine in the role of being the calm, collected and maternal big sister. Anna Cathcart as Kitty who is Lara Jean’s younger sister and she was cute and precocious. Madeleine Arthur as Christine who Genevieve’s cousin and Lara Jean’s best friend and she’s is not that present in the movie but whenever she needed to be there for LJ she was, which I guess was her point. Emilija Baranac as Gen who served her role as Peter’s ex and a bully pretty much to Lara Jean throughout the film. Super unlikable lol.
  • Israel Broussard as Josh who is Margot’s ex-boyfriend and one of the boys who received a letter from LJ. He’s cool with the family, he was close with both Margot and LJ, in different ways, and when Margot breaks up with him before leaving for school, he seems a little lost in what to do with their family, but LJ tries to convince him it’s okay. However, when he gets the letter, he just wants to talk to her, but he avoids him. Now, he’s not in the movie as much as he is in the book. I think they hit on some of his bigger plot points, but he doesn’t show up as often which I think helps keep him from being unlikable which I found he could be in the book. They also didn’t do the love triangle thing either, which also helped. But Israel Broussard was good in the role of Josh, the boy next door.
The Romance/Chemistry. It’s very important that Lara Jean and Peter have chemistry and they did. Lana Condor and Noah Centineo were cute together, they had great chemistry even when they were just faking it for their classmates and their family. When they started to get comfortable around each other it just seemed so natural. It was natural in the beginning when they weren’t really friends with each other, they had a natural chemistry, but it grew even more as the movie progressed.
Cute Teen Movie. It’s a super cute movie. I really had a good time watching it because it’s lighthearted, the characters are all likable and it’s harmless. In the end, you could say you learned something about being brave and bold, and looking at people on the inside more so than the outside and all of that, which is true sure, but it’s also just a cute teen movie.
Cons:
The Letters Being Sent. I don’t like how we knew from the beginning that Kitty sent the letters (spoiler alert? lol) because it would have been cool for both the audience and Lara Jean to not know. Kitty had her reasons for it which in a way was kind of sweet, but it was also kind of mean and I just wanted that surprise for the audience to still come later the same way it did for Lara Jean. We didn’t have to see that.
Not Spontaneous Enough/Not Enough Love. I don’t want to compare the movie and the book, but I thought they should have allowed Peter and Lara Jean to do more things together. It just didn’t seem like a legit natural progression to get to the point at the end. I mean, you believe they start to like each other at some point but it didn’t seem like it was real because they didn’t do enough together, at least to me. Peter did a lot of spontaneous stuff in the book which helped LJ get attached to him, like showing up at her house and meeting her father, or when they went to the estate sale. I just wish they did more things together that didn’t really involve them showing off for other people because sure, that helps because of their deal but hanging out outside of all of that would really allow for them to really connect way more than I thought they did in the movie.
Overall, I really liked the movie, I thought it was super cute. I liked all the characters and the actors. I didn’t think anyone didn’t fit their character, nor did I think anyone over did or under did it. They all played their characters the way they were written, except maybe Kitty who was way more of a brat in the books than the movie. I really though Lana Condor and Noah Centineo had great chemistry with each other and managed to play off each other, even when their characters had to be awkward or not “attracted” to the other early in the movie. It’s a cute teen movie where you might learn something because the main characters do to an extent, but even if you don’t, it’s just a good entertainment watch. I only had two negatives which were I didn’t think they allowed them to do enough for me to really believe them in the end, I just wanted to see them hang out more outside of doing it to make Gen jealous. Otherwise, I really liked the movie.
Rating: 4 out 5 stars.
Have you seen To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? I swear it’s a mouthful saying and a handful typing it lol. What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments below!

Movie Review: Before I Fall (2017)

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Summary: 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 and over, Sam untangles the mystery around her death and discovers everything she’s losing.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. We meet a lot of people in this movie, but I won’t go into detail about all of them.
  • Zoey Deutch as Samantha Kingston. She’s the main character of the film, she wakes up on Cupid’s Day (Feb. 12) and goes about her day with her three best friends. I guess they’re popular, but they’re kind of mean to people, particularly Anna and Juliet. Sam is expecting to lose her virginity to her boyfriend that night, they go to a party and then they get into a car accident. She wakes up the next day, not understanding what’s happening and she tries to do things differently, she tries to avoid the crash because she thinks it’ll stop. But she gets some sad news and it starts over anyway. Samantha didn’t seem to fit in with her friend group, but as the movie went along, we got to see just how different they were but they fit together (they should stop being mean though) and Sam didn’t seem to fit either. I don’t know if that’s because of Zoey or not, but she’s affected very much by what’s happening and she tries to deal with it the best way she can. It was great to see her growth throughout the film. I think Zoey Deutch is definitely the standout in this film, we spend the most time with her obviously, but I think she holds the film very well. She’s likable and even when Sam is being mean, she’s still likable because it just doesn’t fit her. I think the times when she’s emotional, you really feel it from her.
Supporting Characters.
  • Erica Tremblay as Izzy Kingston. She’s not in the movie like that, but she’s great with Zoey whenever they have scenes together and she looks just like her brother Jacob Tremblay.
  • Halston Sage as Lindsay Edgecombe. She is one of Sam’s best friends, probably the “leader” and she’s the meanest of the group. With her friends, she’s not bad, she’s not like Regina George where she’s mean and fake the entire time but she’s mean to the people she’s mean to. Lindsay is that girl who will turn on you when you tell her about herself, or who will claim you did something to cover for what she did. Halston Sage is fine in her role, she manages to be both mean and sympathetic.
  • Elena Kampouris as Juliet Sykes. One of the main victims of the bullying and she’s a bit odd, and her role is minor though important and I think Elena does a good job at playing this role of a withdrawn character.
  • Logan Miller as Kent McFuller. An old friend to Sam, he throws the party that they go to and as the movie goes on, we learn more and more about him and his past with Sam. He’s very likable.
The Story. So I’m a sucker for time loop stories, I think it’s interesting to see how people handle having to repeat the same day over and over again, getting to make different choices and try to find out why it’s happening and how to beat it. It’s very interesting to me and I like how this one just happened. There wasn’t really any set up to it, it was a mystery that had to be figured out as well. Each day happened and Samantha learned a bit more every day and it was great to watch her experience different things. Of course it was bad that things were emotional for her but it was great to see how she reacted to each new day.
The Music. Adam Taylor is in charge of the music and I liked it. It was a mixture of being whimsical during some of the quiet moments, especially when Sam was allowing herself to enjoy life and the moment. Most notably the moments with her sister, or the moments at the end. I also liked that the contemporary songs weren’t just in the film, but they were what the characters were listening to which helped it sound less jarring when a random pop song or rap song popped in. There is a song though that sounded like a less impressive version of “Irreplaceable”.
The Ending. So, I don’t know if it was because I was emotional watching the last 30 minutes of the movie, but I teared up. It’s common knowledge now, if you’ve been following this blog, that I’m a crier at movies in general lol, but still! I think the ending had a lot to say in terms of understanding purpose, how to treat people, living your life to best of your ability etc. It was pretty interesting how it turned out.
Cons:
Cliche/Cheesy. This is a type of story that’s been done many times. It’s Groundhog Day, Source Code, Edge of Tomorrow, and any movie that has to deal with living the same day over and over again. This doesn’t really bring anything new to that genre as it still follows that same formula. Plus, it’s based on a young adult book so it has to be attached to those tropes that are found in those books. The bullying troubles, mean girls, the weird girl, stuff like that and while this movie tries to add a bit more to it, it just can’t feel original.
The Story/Message. So this is here in the cons as well, because while I like the story (I generally enjoy time loop stories), I think that it’s a bit unfortunate with how it ended. Why did it have to end that way? Why did Samantha have to be the one to make the hard choices? Perhaps the book goes into more detail about it but the movie doesn’t really help out with that and it makes the ending feel unsatisfying. It wants to be deep and stuff but since there are so many unanswered questions, it just feels cheap.
Overall, I enjoyed Before I Fall very much so. It’s a movie based on a YA book and though it’s easy to tell that, I don’t think it super dramatic like those can be sometimes. I thought the acting was good across the board but Zoey Deutch really stands out in this film, she truly manages to hold her own and her character is compelling. I think the story is interesting, I really like Time Loop stories and the ending had a lot to say in terms of character, people and life. The music is also very nice. Unfortunately this movie is a bit cliché and cheesy, while it is based on a YA book and one of the better adaptations, it still falls into that category that feels like a YA book. While I did like the story, I do think it tries too hard to hammer home certain messages that’s cheapened by the ending. There are a lot of unanswered questions that make the ending feel unsatisfying. But it’s a good movie.
Rating: 3.35 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Before I Fall? Have you read the book? What did you think about it? Is the movie a good adaptation?
What is your favorite or the best Time Loop movie? Let me know in the comments below!
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