Category Archives: Movies

Scott Pilgrim vs the World Directed by Edgar Wright

scott pilgrim

Bibliographic Information:

Wright, E., Vasconcellos, R., Dale, J. M., LeBoff, J., Siegel, A., Platt, M., Gitter, E., … Universal Studios Home Entertainment (Firm). (2010). Scott Pilgrim vs. the world. Universal City, CA: Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Plot Summary:

Scott Pilgrim is the bass guitarist for a garage band called Sex Bob-omb. He is unemployed and his girlfriend is still in high school.  In short, Scott is stuck in a rut.  He meets Ramona Flowers and falls in like with her .But she comes in baggage in the form of her seven evil who are coming to kill him. He decides to break up with Knives but he just can’t do it. So, he is juggling two girls and fighting all the ex-boyfriends.

Critical Evaluation:

Based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim starts with the basic storyline of a guy in the dumps meeting the girl that who will help him rise to the next level. Part way through the movie it turns into a video game with sound effects, slow motion, and cartoon action.

Scott Pilgrim feels more like a video game than a movie. The interaction between the characters is quirky and plays with many of the teenage stereotypes such as how teenagers speak and dress. It is overly dramatic and theatrical and with the songs sequences that just happen, it plays into the video game subculture.

Reader’s Annotation:

Scott is really into Ramona. To get her, he has to defeat all her evil ex-boyfriends.

Information About the Author:

Bryan Lee O’Malley (writer of the graphic novels)

Bryan was born February 21, 1979 in London, Ontario. He realized early that he loved creating comics. He has tried film making in college and made music as the band Kupek. He released seven albums.

O’Malley started in comics by doing illustrating and lettering work for Oni Press. Scott Pilgrim was second graphic novel project (Albert, n.d.).

Edgar Wright (Director)

Wright was born April 18, 1974 in Dorset, England but spent his childhood in Somerset, England. He started directing films at the age of 14. He has directed a number of television shows and films in England – mostly mixed genres that include humour (Edgar Wright).

Genre:

  • Action and adventure films
  • Comedy films
  • Comic book adaptation

Curriculum Ties:

  • N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

  • N/A

Reading Level/Interest Age:

  • Ages 12 and up
  • MPAA rating: PG-13; for stylized violence, sexual content, language and drug references.

Challenge Issues:

  • Sex, drugs, language, homosexuality, comic violence

Challenge plan:

  1. Listen to the critic to understand what the concerns are.
    • Ask if he/she has read the book
    • Ask if he/she has spoken to his/her child about the concerns.
  2. Explain rationale for including the book in the collection
    • Provide CLA Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom and CLA’s Position Statement of Diversity and Inclusion documents
    • Provide school’s selection policy
    • Provide list of reviews/lists
  3. If necessary, provide a “Request for Reconsideration form”

Why did you include this resource in the titles you selected?:

I included Scott Pilgrim because when I told my students about this program I was told this title was a must have. This is also an example of why it is important  to look at reviews. This is definitely not a movie that I would have included on my own.

Reviews:

“Its script may not be as dazzling as its eye-popping visuals, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is fast, funny, and inventive, 83%.”

  • Zuckerman, D. (2010). Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Film Comment, 46(5), 70.

“What keeps this adaptation true to the graphic novel is the precise rendering of each character’s clichés. It’s a good cast full of palpable cartooned hip acting.”

Awards:

Wright:

  • Empire Award
  • Comedy Central Award for Best Director

References:

Albert, A. (n.d.). Bryan Lee O’Malley Profile. Retrieved May 2, 2013 from http://comicbooks.about.com/od/comicbookcreators/p/Bryan-Lee-O-Malley-Profile.htm

Edgar Wright biography overview. (2013). Retrieved May 2, 2013 from http://edgarwright.com/bio/

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The Amazing Spider-Man Directed by Marc Webb

spidermanBibliographic Information:

Webb, M., Vanderbilt, J., Sargent, A., Kloves, S., Ziskin, L., Arad, A., Tolmach, M., … Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (Firm). (2012). The amazing Spider-Man. Culver City, Calif: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

136 minutes

Plot Summary:

Peter lives with his aunt and uncle after the disappearance of his parents as a child. When he finds a mysterious briefcase of his father, it leads him to his father’s partner, Dr. Connors, a researcher in a lab. While at the lab, he is bitten by a spider, which leads to the creation of Spider-Man.

When an experiment goes wrong, turning Dr. Connors into the Lizard, Peter knows it is his responsibility to stop him.

Critical Evaluation:

Peter Parker is facing all the same insecurities and concerns as other teenagers. He is interested in a girl at school, Gwen Stacy, but does not know how to talk to her. Peter has to deal with a school bully and try to find a way to fit in with the other students in his school. He also has unresolved issues around the disappearance of his parents.

The development of Parker’s character when he finds he has superpowers is interesting. Of course, he thinks they are cool and wants to learn more about them. Further, as he draws closer to Dr. Connors and experiments with his powers, he pulls away from his uncle and aunt as he is trying to figure out who he is going to be. Even though he is rebelling he is still understands responsibility and consequences. His uncle’s death was a watershed moment for him. Prior to his death, Peter was willing to let the thief walk away. After his death he was still focused on the negative as he was looking for revenge instead of justice. It was not until he heard the police’s side of the story and rescued the child on the bridge that he realized that he had a responsibility and his focus should not be what he wants.

The director, Marc Webb, humanized the superhero by focusing on the teenager and his development and allowing the watcher to bring their knowledge of the hero to the film. This decision adds a depth to the character that is not there in some of the previous iterations.

Reader’s Annotation:

Spider-Man be fighting a gigantic lizard but the focus of this film is his alter-ego, the teenager Peter Parker.

Information About the Author:

Director Marc Webb was born in Bloomington, Indiana on August 31, 1974. He originally went to Colorado College to study English but within a semester he was pursuing filmmaking professionally. He started directing music videos and was awarded a 2006 Director of the Year Award from the Music Video Production Association. In the music industry he has worked with 3 Doors Down, P. Diddy, and Green Day.

His first feature film was the romantic-comedy, 500 Days of Summer. The Amazing Spider-Man is his second feature (Marc Webb Bio, 2013).

Genre:

  • Action and adventure films
  • Science fiction films
  • Superheroes

Curriculum Ties:

  • Digital film class

Booktalking Ideas:

Reading Level/Interest Age:

  • Ages 12 and up
  • Rating: PG-13; for sequences of action and violence.

Challenge Issues:

  • N/A

Why did you include this resource in the titles you selected?:

Superheroes have a large following in books, graphic novels, comics, and movies. A good collection will carry a selection in all mediums.

Reviews:

“The transformation scenes are tremendous. Having been bitten, Garfield’s Parker goes into a delirious, feverish state, pop-eyed with anxiety and over-excitement as his body assumes new strength and the ability to hang upside down.”.

References:

Marc Webb bio. (2013). Retrieved May 1, 2013 from http://www.tribute.ca/people/marc-webb/32644/

The Amazing Spider-Man (2013) Retrieved May 1, 2013 from http://www.theamazingspiderman.com/site/

Hunger Games (The Movie) Directed by Gary Ross

Bibliographic Information:

Ross, G., Collins, S., Ray, B., Jacobson, N., Kilik, J., Lawrence, J., Hutcherson, J., … Lions Gate Home Entertainment. (2012). The hunger games. Santa Monica, Calif: Lions Gate Home Entertainment Plot

Running time: 142 minutes

Summary:

Katniss Everdeen takes her sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a television show created by the Capital where two young adults aged 12 – 18, a girl and a boy,  from each District have to fight to the death. The fact that she already has broken the law and learned to hunt to support her family has taught her the skills she will need to survive. But in the Games, survival is not enough; you have to be willing to kill too.

Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson.  Directed by Gary Ross.

Critical Evaluation:

The movie is an adaptation of the successful novel, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Suzanne Collins joined Gary Ross and Billy Ray in writing the screenplay. As a result, the movie remains very close to the novel.

Following the themes of the movies, the movie is dark with a documentary feel. The cameras are shaky with awkward angles. The lack of colour in the Districts in the buildings and in the people’s dress indicates the lack of hope and future in the Districts. In contrast, all things Capital are overproduced; the colours are saturated; the fashion is extreme.

Reader’s Annotation:

Katniss wil do anything to protect her family. But is her will strong enough to survive and fight against the Capital?

Information About the Author:

Director Gary Ross is writer, director and actor. He was born in 1956 to Arthur A. Ross, who was also a screenwriter. Pleasantville was Ross’ directorial debut. He also directed  Seabiscuit. (Gary Ross).

Genre:

  • Action and adventure films
  • Dystopian films
  • Film adaptations
  • Apocalyptic films

Curriculum Ties:

  • N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

Reading Level/Interest Age:

  • PG-13

Challenge Issues:

  • N/A

Why did you include this resource in the titles you selected?:

Reviews:

“Thrilling and superbly acted, The Hunger Games captures the dramatic violence, raw emotion, and ambitious scope of its source novel.” 85% rating

“Relax, you legions of Hunger Gamers. We have a winner. Hollywood didn’t screw up the film version of Suzanne Collins’ young-adult bestseller about a survival-of-the-fittest reality show that sends home all its teen contestants, save the victor, in body bags. The screen Hunger Games radiates a hot, jumpy energy that’s irresistible”

References:

The Hunger Games. (2013) Retrieved March 5, 2013 from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/

Gary Ross. (2013). Retrieved March 5, 2013 from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0002657/bio

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Directed by Peter Jackson

hobbitBibliographic Information:

Jackson, P. (Director). (2012). The hobbit: An unexpected journey [Motion picture]. United States: Warner Bros.

Plot Summary:

Bilbo Baggins, a comfortable hobbit, is surprised when thirteen Dwarves show up at his hobbit hole expecting a party. When the Wizard Gandalf arrives Bilbo learns that Gandalf wants to recruit him as a “burglar” in a dwarven quest to enter the Lonely Mountain. The Lonely Mountain was the ancestral home of the dwarves that they were forced to flee when Smaug, the dragon, decides to make the Mountain his lair.

Although reluctant to leave, at the last minute Bilbo has a change of heart and hurries to catch up with the departing dwarves. Now committed to the task, Bilbo has many adventures with the dwarves including meeting Elves and being captured by Goblins.

When Bilbo is separated from the Dwarves he finds a mysterious ring and Gollum who is looking for it. Soon the Company is reunited and continues their journey. Meanwhile, Smaug, the dragon, awakens.

Critical Evaluation:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first of a trilogy that is based on the Tolkien novel, The Hobbit and the appendices to Tolkien’s The Return of the King.

The movie does stay to true to the novel but it is very long (2 hrs 50 min.) with two more movies still to come.

Reader’s Annotation:

A young hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, is pressured into joining a group of dwarves to the Lonely Mountain in hopes of reclaiming their ancestral home.

Information About the Author:

The screenplay was written by Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Guillermo del Toro. It was adapted from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Genre:

  • Fantasy
  • Adventure

Curriculum Ties:

  • Many schools have The Hobbit on their reading lists.
  • Narrative arc, characters types
  • High fantasy

Booktalking Ideas:

  • N/A

Reading Level/Interest Age:

  • PG-13

Challenge Issues:

  • N/A

Why did you include this title?:

Tolkien is a very popular author in our library so the movie is a natural addition.

Awards:

  • Received three Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Won an Academy Scientific and Technical Award
  • Received nine nominations at the 39th Saturn Awards
  • Received five nominations at the 18th Empire Awards
    • Won Best Actor for Martin Freeman
    • Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Film

References:

Jackson, P. (Director). (2012). The hobbit: An unexpected journey [Motion picture]. United States: New Line Cinema.

The hobbit: An unexpected journey. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0903624/?ref_=sr_1

The hobbit: An unexpected journey. (2013). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hobbit:_An_Unexpected_Journey