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February 22nd, 2013

Movie Review - Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures



Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann, Emma Thompson, Eileen Atkins, Margo Martindale, Zoey Deutch, Tiffany Boone, and more.


Directed by: Richard LaGravenese Screenplay by: Richard LaGravenese Based on the Novel by: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl Cinematography by: Philippe Rousselot Original Music by: Thenewno2


Premise: Ethan is tired of living in the nowhere town of Gatlin. But when he returns to school for his junior year, he meets a new student, Lena Duchannes, and she reminds him of the girl who has been haunting his dreams for weeks. So despite the fact, or because of it, that she's part of the shunned Ravenwood Family, he finds her the most fascinating thing he's seen in years. But unbeknownst to him, hanging out with the Ravenwoods could prove deadly. (Rated PG-13)


Review:


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: As Ethan, Alden Ehrenreich gives us a quirky, complicated teenager that is too fun to watch. Alice Englert had good chemistry with Alden, which made for a cute and believable romance. Emma Thompson was a big surprise, and I loved what she did with her role.


2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Though effects were somewhat scarce at the beginning of the film, we got to see more and more of them as the story progresses . Many of the effects were subtle, while others were obvious, but all were excellently done. The battle of wills in the dinning room was amazing. The storms during the climax were breathtaking. The scene with the falling snow was gorgeous. Lots of great work by the special effects team.


3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: The movie takes place in the south, so the fact the story takes its time to be told, should be expected. I haven't read the book series "Beautiful Creatures" is based on, so I can't say how faithful the film makers remained to the book, but it has definitely made me curious about them.


A lot of great one-liners and teasing quips were sprinkled throughout the script. One funny moment had no words at all, yet made me laugh out loud. The sense of discovery and the teasing of the audience about further mysteries and secrets was nurtured well. There were also a few surprises in the plot, which kept things quite interesting.


Yet while having the film told from the point of view of Ethan gave it the flavor of something different, events which happen later switch the focus, which unfortunately drained away some of the film's momentum. The audience was vested with Ethan, so the story lost a lot when he wasn't around.


4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The film used great locations to create the ambiance of a small town in South Carolina. The Ravenwood estate with its seemingly dilapidated home and walls gave the sense of an old southern plantation. This gave it that much more impact once Ethan sees the interio.


The long shots of the lonely road leading to and from the estate only helped fuel the fun later when Ethan finds himself going in circles. Some of the areas were touched up, but these only added to the fantasy look and feel of the film. 


Conclusion: "Beautiful Creatures" is a sleepy tale full of colorful characters. Mysteries and secrets abound and proved to be quite entertaining. You won't run around town shouting its praises, but it definitely did entertain.


Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Better for Matinee)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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