Snowden (2016)

“Traitor, or hero?” is the question posed by Snowden’s poster, though Oliver Stone’s retelling of its titular characters story is so firmly in the Hero camp that you wonder why they bothered asking at all.

Me, John Green and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Unfolding Paper Towns

The opening minutes of Paper Towns, the latest instalment in the John Green Cinematic Universe, aren’t especially promising. Our middle-class white teenage protagonist explains, in faux-profound seriousness, that “everyone gets a miracle.” Maybe you win the lottery, maybe you “marry the Queen of England.” Said middle-class white teenager, Quentin (Nat Wolff), has already found his…

Critical Dissent: Debating Insurgent with Alexandra Donald

Insurgent, the first sequel of the dystopian young adult series that began with last year’s Divergent, hasn’t exactly been welcomed with open arms by the critical community. It’s currently sitting at 31% on Rotten Tomatoes, with widespread accusations that it’s little more than a cut-rate Hunger Games clone. I’m not entirely convinced by that argument,…

Insurgent (2015)

On the surface, Insurgent appears to be a substantial upgrade to Divergent. The cast is fleshed out with the likes of Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer, we’ve got a new director (Robert Schwentke, responsible for The Time Traveller’s Wife and, uh, R.I.P.D.) and we’ve even moved to the third dimension. Visually, we’ve definitely stepped things…

The Hunger Games (2014)

The Fault in our (Movie) Stars – The Lack of Social Media in the Cinematic Medium

The Fault in our Stars is a Young Adult phenomenon, combining healthy box office receipts with a generally positive critical reception, but it’s yet another example of a mainstream movie that fails to engage with modern teenagers’ reality. Despite flaunting contemporary technological trappings – X-Boxes and iPhones (with increasingly popular texts-appearing-on-screen imagery) – The Fault…

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

The Fault in Our Stars is carefully constructed to tear plaintively at your heartstrings. It works best not as a weepy, but as a gentle evocation of romance through the subjective perspective of teenage protagonist, Hazel Grace (Shailene Woodley). Hazel has cancer, yes, and the story is in many ways about that. It’s also about…

Shailene Woodley and Theo James in Divergent (2014)

Divergent (2014)

The consensus on Divergent, the latest piece of young adult literature to be rendered onto the big screen, is that it’s a watered-down Hunger Games ripoff (often accompanied by an uninspired pun on the title and the film’s lack of originality, and an underlying assumption that art directed at teenage girls is inherently inferior). I’m…