REVIEW: THE GIVER

 

CAST

Jeff Bridges (Iron Man)
Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)
Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent)
Alexander Skarsgard (The Legend of Tarzan)
Katie Holmes (Batman Begins)
Odeya Rush (Goosebumps)
Cameron Monaghan (Gotham)
Taylor Swift (Valentine’s Day)
Emma Tremblay (Elysium)

Following a calamity referred to as The Ruin, society is reorganized into a series of communities, and all memories of the past are held by one person, the Receiver of Memory. Since the Receiver of Memory is the only individual in the community who has the memories from before, he must advise the Chief Elder, and the other Elders, on the decisions for the community.  Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is a 16-year-old boy who is anxious about the career he will be assigned (along with everyone else). His two best friends are Asher (Cameron Monaghan) and Fiona (Odeya Rush).On the day of graduation, everyone is assigned a career. Jonas is briefly skipped, as he has not been assigned a career. Instead, Jonas is to become the next Receiver of Memory, and progressively receive memories from the past receiver, The Giver (Jeff Bridges). Upon assuming his role as The Receiver, Jonas learns of the Giver’s past and of his child, Rosemary (Taylor Swift), who preceded Jonas as Receiver of Memory. She was so distraught from the memories that she committed suicide, by what the Community calls “Releasing”. They regard its nature as mysterious; the audience learns that it is death by lethal injection. Jonas begins to teach his findings to his friend Fiona, with whom he decides to share the idea of emotions. Fiona, who is unable to fully comprehend the idea of emotion, is unsure how she feels. Jonas then kisses Fiona, an action which is antiquated and unknown to the community, which Jonas gained through memory.Jonas also shares his memories with the baby his father brought home to their house, Gabriel, and develops a close relationship with him after discovering he shares the same mark on his wrist Jonas does, the mark of a potential Receiver of Memory. Jonas decides that everyone should have the memories of the past and eventually, The Giver and Jonas decide that the only way they can help the community is to go past the border of what they call Elsewhere, beyond the community, therefore releasing the memories back into the community. Jonas sneaks out at curfew, and decides to get Gabe at the Nurturing Center, who is to be released due to his general weakness. Asher, his other longtime friend besides Fiona, tries to stop him before he leaves the neighborhood, but Jonas quickly punches him. Asher lies on the ground, stunned, and Jonas rides his bike to the Nurturing Center. He tells Fiona his plan and wants to take her with him, but she refuses and instead helps him retrieve Gabe. Before he leaves, she kisses him and helps him escape.Meanwhile, Jonas’ mother (Katie Holmes) and Asher go to the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep) to tell them Jonas is missing. Guards are sent to contain Jonas, who they say has become “dangerous”, but Jonas gets one of their motorcycles and drives off the cliff near The Giver’s dwelling into “Elsewhere”. Asher is assigned, by the Chief Elder, to use a drone to find Jonas and “lose” (kill) him, but when Asher finds Jonas stumbling through the desert, he instead captures him with the drone. After Jonas implores Asher to think that, if he ever cared for Jonas, he would let him go, Asher drops him into a river, setting him free. Jonas stumbles through the land of Elsewhere, while Fiona has been condemned to be “released” for helping him. Just as she is about to be lethally injected by Jonas’ father (Alexander Skarsgård), The Giver steps in and stalls the Chief Elder with memories of his daughter, Rosemary, trying to call out the Chief Elder, but is unsuccessful. Eventually, Jonas finds a sled like one he rode in a memory from The Giver and makes his way beyond the border of Elsewhere, releasing memories and color back into the community and saving Fiona because Jonas’ father realizes what he was really doing. As this happens Jonas’ mother sheds a single tear finally understanding the feeling of love. Jonas and Gabe return to the house of his memories, where people are singing Christmas carols, and his voiceover says that, back in the community, he swears he hears music, too, or possibly just an echo.Based on a novel written by Lois Lowry published in 1993 this ambitious, thought-provoking dystopian SF film is an intriguing exploration of totalitarianism set in an apparent post-apocalyptic world where society has been reorganised into a series of peaceful self-contained isolated communities. Brenton Thwaites certainly gives an assured performance as the protagonist and there are sound, restrained supporting performances from Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Alexander Skarsgard and Katie Holmes. The cinematography is interesting and the limited use of CGI ensures that there is no distraction from the kernel of the movie. I liked it.

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REVIEW: GOOSEBUMPS (2015)

CAST
Jack Black (School of Rock)
Dylan Minnette (Lost)
Odeya Rush (The Giver)
Ryan Lee (Super 8)
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street)
Halston Sage (Bad neighbours)
Steven Krueger (The originals)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Zach Cooper and his mother Gale move to the town of Madison, Delaware. While settling in, Zach meets his new neighbor Hannah and her father, known as “Mr. Shivers”. Zach and Hannah become quick friends, but Mr. Shivers frequently warns Zach to avoid contact with them. At Madison High School where Gale works as the vice-principal, Zach befriends Champ, a socially awkward student. The next night, Zach hears Mr. Shivers and Hannah arguing, followed by Hannah screaming. He calls the police, but Mr. Shivers assures the officers that the noise came from his television. Fearing Hannah is in danger, Zach tricks Mr. Shivers into going to the police station for further questioning and breaks into his house with Champ’s help. The two find a shelf containing many Goosebumps manuscripts, all of which are locked. Zach unlocks one of the books, but when Hannah discovers them, Zach drops the book, releasing the titular character of The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena that breaks out of the house. They pursue the monster to an ice skating rink, where Mr. Shivers appears and imprisons it back into the book.
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On the way home, Mr. Shivers reveals that he is Goosebumps author R.L. Stine. He created the stories as a child to terrorize the people that made fun of him, but the monsters came to life and became uncontrollable, so he had to trap them inside their manuscripts. Returning to the house, they find Slappy from the Night of the Living Dummy, which was accidentally unlocked before, waiting for them. Angry at being imprisoned, Slappy burns his own manuscript and flees in The Haunted Car. They are attacked by the lawn gnomes from Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes, but when Stine and the kids try to smash them, each of the gnomes reform, making them realize that they can only run away.
Slappy releases several monsters, letting them rampage under his command. Zach suggests Stine to write a new book that will trap every monster, but he can only do it with his special typewriter which is at the high school. On the way there, Brent Green from My Best Friend Is Invisible and the giant praying mantis from A Shocker on Shock Street attack Stine’s car, so they are forced into hiding. The titular Werewolf of Fever Swamp pursues them into an abandoned supermarket, only to be run over by Zach’s aunt Lorraine.
As they cut through the cemetery, Zach notices that Hannah glows blue in the moonlight. After evading the Graveyard Ghouls from Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls, they manage to make it to the high school. There, Zach privately questions Stine about Hannah, and Stine reveals that she is a Goosebumps character (from The Ghost Next Door) he created to cope with his loneliness, of which she is seemingly unaware. Stine finds the typewriter and starts writing a new story based on the events around them, while Zach leads the students in fending off all the released monsters that are storming the building. Slappy confronts Stine and breaks his fingers with the typewriter case before the story is finished.
Stine, Zach, Champ and Hannah board a school bus and go to an abandoned amusement park. There, Slappy lets out the blob from The Blob that Ate Everyone. Stine then hands the book and typewriter to Zach, and distracts the blob by allowing it to devour him alive. Zach finishes the story, but is reluctant to open the book because Hannah will also be sucked inside it. Revealing she knew the truth about herself all along, Hannah opens the book, sucking Slappy and all the other monsters into it; she bids farewell to Zach with a kiss before she is also sucked in.
Sometime later, Stine has started working as Zach’s English teacher. After class, Zach is surprised and delighted to see that Hannah is there and Stine reveals to Zach that he wrote her back into existence with another book. She and Zach kiss and leave school together while Stine burns Hannah’s manuscript, making her permanently real. As he prepares to leave the school, he sees the typewriter typing by itself inside its display case. To Stine’s horror, Brent Green has evaded imprisonment and begins writing a story titled The Invisible Boy’s Revenge.
It’s a fun story even if you are not aware of Goosebumps, but I’m sure if you are a huge fan, you’ll get a real kick out of seeing some of the monsters from your favorite books/TV epoisodes make an appearance on the big screen.