Beautiful Creatures is Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's southern gothic tale of a boy, a girl, and a curse.
Ethan Lawson Wate has been dreaming of a girl falling, of her hands slipping through his, of darkness... and he wakes with his sheets damp and mud under his nails. Then the girl of his dreams appears in his classroom, and for the first time in Ethan's life something in his sleepy little town has changed. But Lena Duchannes is Macon Ravenwood's niece, and no self-respecting son of Gatlin should be seen with the Ravenwoods.
What Ethan doesn't know is on Lena's sixteenth birthday she'll be Claimed as either Light or Dark. She has no control over it. Having lived all her life as an outcast, the last thing she expects is to find a place to belong in Gatlin.
A lush paranormal romance with a male protagonist, Beautiful Creatures is as much about Ethan and Lena as it is about their families and their home of Gatlin, South Carolina. The four books of The Caster Chronicles create a world of magic and danger that exists within our own, and they'll weave a spell over you. I've read all four until the wee hours of the morning; when I put them down, I continued to wonder about the characters. When it comes to movie adaptations, some of us count down to The Hunger Games, Twilight, or The Mortal Instruments. But it's always been The Caster Chronicles for me.
Twitter Contest Details
Get ready Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa! Our friends at Warner Brothers Pictures Canada have provided 5 double-passes for an advanced screening in each of these cities on the evening of February 6th. Our contest only includes the double-pass; winners will have to get to the theatre on their own. All of our other standard Twitter rules apply.
Once @chaptersindigo tweets the contest question on Twitter (at approximately 3:05 pm EST on Thursday, January 31), you reply with the name of the city that you'd like to win the double-pass for and include #Indigo in your reply. Again, the cities are: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa. All eligible tweets received before 4 pm EST will be entered into a random draw for the pass to the city indicated in their contest entry tweet.
As the release date draws near, the growing buzz on Twitter has me thinking about how we’re reacting to the movie versus how the people of Panem react to the Games.
Most of our interactions online are across vast networks of people—people coming from different geographic and cultural locations. But when you have something like The Hunger Games, something available in multiple languages and countries, a node gets created for all those connections to run through. Panem is has no inter-District communication or interaction, and the Districts have been purposely conditioned to see each other as enemies. Of course, the Capital wants this as it’s part of their plan to keep the people divided.
Similar to how the mockingjay pin identifies rebels to each other in Panem, The Hunger Games creates that instant identification among strangers in our world. Imagine you’re on the bus/streetcar/subway/skytrain and you look up to realize the person in front of you is starting a book with that familiar gold bird symbol on its black cover. Instantly you have a connection to that stranger, because you’ve read The Hunger Games. Maybe you even feel compelled to start a conversation; maybe you talk about what to read next.
It’s not just strangers on public transit, either. The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond is an entire album of songs inspired by The Hunger Games trilogy. People want to share that they’ve read The Hunger Games. Why?
There are many wonderful series in the teen department, but The Hunger Games is also critically successfully because it reflects back whatever you’re willing to bring to a discussion about it. You can skim the surface with simple conversations about the plot and your favourite characters. Although, really, are they simple? We’ve discussed around the office at Indigo how both Hammish and Annie show the long-term effects of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and how Cinna challenges the oppression of the Capital with his clothes and hair.
We can examine what the constructed narrative of Katniss and Peeta’s “love” in the 74th Hunger Games and through the events of Catching Fire says about reality television. Once you get to Mockingjay, it’s not difficult at all to talk about the way media handles war coverage. Is there a difference between playing the audience to win their favour in the arena and playing an audience to win their favour in a war? Both are manipulations of events; both tell us to think critically about what we are given as the truth.
If you find that those kinds of discussions interesting, there’s an entire book of essays by YA authors on The Hunger Games called The Girl Who was on Fire that you should read.
We thought it would be fun to countdown to the release of The Hunger Games movie in a slightly different way than having each member of Team Teen talk about it. Over the next two weeks we’ll be featuring guestposts of different perspectives on The Hunger Games to show how the books and movie are a unifying event. We have an interview with David Levithan, who worked on the editorial team for the books, a guestpost from PTPA about a mom reading The Hunger Games, and other guestposts from people beyond the usual Team Teen members.
Look next time you’re in a bookstore or on the subway; you’ll start to notice readers of The Hunger Games are everywhere—just like those mockingjays.
The Academy Awards have crowned the year’s best in cinema, and a year ago, who would have thought that the Best Picture winner would be a silent, black and white film set in the 1920s? Amid tough competition from The Help and Hugo, Michel Hazanavicius’ ode to 1920s Hollywood, The Artist, emerged victorious.
A must-see film, The Artist is full of life, humour, and movement, in a tale made incredibly compelling despite the lack of dialogue. The film also took home the Oscar for Best Director and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin. Dujardin’s range of emotions plays out entirely on his face and through his gestures, since he doesn’t have the words to tell the audience what is going on.
But it is of no consequence because you won’t even notice that the dialogue is missing thanks to his and Best Supporting Actress nominee, Bérénice Bejo’s, wonderful performances set to the Oscar-winning musical score.
Another big winner of the night was Martin Scorsese’s Hugo which, like The Artist, pays tribute to the early era of cinema. Based on Brian Selznick’s beloved children’s book The Adventures of Hugo Cabret, Hugo won Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Visual Effects, just to name a few of the film’s honours. Melanie and I loved this movie so much when we first saw it, that we wrote this review.
Hollywood’s leading lady, Meryl Streep, the Academy’s most-nominated performer with a total of 17 acting nominations, took home the statue for Best Actress for her role as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. In a field of incredible female performers, Meryl seemed truly shocked when her name was called to accept the award. Octavia Spencer won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the long-suffering maid Minny in The Help, a character which she fully embodied, completely disappearing into the character.
Canada’s own Christopher Plummer received a standing ovation when he was called to collect his much-deserved award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Hal, a man whom in his final years embraces his homosexuality while battling terminal cancer in Beginners.
2011 was a great year for movies, and the award winners of the evening reflect a broad range of genres and stories. You can find all of this year’s Oscar-nominated films available on DVD and Blu-ray in our Academy Awards Shop. In addition, you can also see the complete list of previous Best Picture winners dating back to the very first ceremony in 1929.
Check out the complete list of Oscar winners:
- Best Picture: The Artist
- Actor: Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
- Actress: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
- Director: The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)
- Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
- Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer (The Help)
- Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants
- Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris
- Foreign Language Film: A Separation (Iran)
- Animated Feature Film: Rango
- Cinematography: Hugo
- Art Direction: Hugo
- Costume Design: The Artist
- Documentary Feature: Undefeated
- Makeup: The Iron Lady
- Original Score: The Artist
- Original Song: “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets
- Short Film, Animated: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
- Short Film, Live Action: The Shore
- Sound Editing: Hugo
- Sound Mixing: Hugo
- Visual Effects: Hugo
2011 was a great year for film lovers. From award winners and independent films to big blockbusters and timeless romances, 2011 was a great year for DVD and Blu-ray releases, especially when it came to movies based on books. It’s hard to nail down the definitive releases in a year with so many stand-out films: From comedies to dramas and everything in between, check out my picks for the best DVD releases of the year, based on popularity, sales, and critics’ reviews.
Check out blog posts below as part of the Best of 2011 series:
It’s impossible to discuss the year’s best DVDs without including the final installment of one of the greatest film franchises ever created. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 brought the end of an era in the successful and beloved film series that began 10 years ago.
Harry, Hermione, and Ron have grown up before our eyes on screen, as has the talented trio of young actors who brought J.K. Rowling’s treasured words to life. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint embody the characters so well that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in those roles.
In Deathly Hallows Part 2, the epic battle to end all battles with the fight for Hogwarts and the ultimate show-down between Lord Voldemort and Harry reaches its stellar, no-holds-barred conclusion. Now available on DVD and in DVD/Blu-ray combo packs, you can also buy all 8 movies in one convenient slim-pack on DVD or Blu-ray.
Packed with bonus features, the Blu-ray disc features an up-close look of the filming of the Battle of Hogwarts in a nine part featurette called "Blowing Up Hogwarts". Also included is an intimate conversation with Daneil Radcliffe and J.K. Rowling as they discussing bringing Harry to life on the big screen and how their lives have changed in the past 10 years. Other extras include a look at the Goblins of Gringotts, the Women of Harry Potter, and a tour of the Warner Bros studio in London.
The crowning jewel of the Harry Potter franchise, Deathly Hallows Part 2 is one of the year's best DVD/Blu-ray releases.
There have been more than a dozen film adaptations of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and it would be easy to get lost amid the numerous productions once it hit DVDs. Thanks to great performances and beautiful cinematography, the 2011 version of Jane Eyre belongs on any list of the year’s best DVD releases.
The classic story of Jane Eyre follows the character (played by Mia Wasikowska) through her childhood, early education at school, and her time as a governess where she meets and subsequently falls in love with her employer, Mr. Rochester. And like all good movies and novels, the story is full of intrigue, suspense, passion, and of course, a bit of romance. The story becomes much more of a suspenseful thriller than it does in previous film and TV adaptations and is full of raw emotion.
What makes 2011’s Jane Eyre directed by Cary Fukunaga so unique is the chemistry between its two leads- Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. Through their emotive and thoughtful performances, the danger that lies just under the surface of the story makes the tension and passion burst off the page and into the modern era. The moody cinematography makes the robust longing Jane feels for Mr. Rochester all the more desperate and compelling. It is hard to take your eyes off of Wasikowska, who previously played another literary heroine in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and gave a knock-out performance in The Kids Are All Right.
The film succeeds not because of any radical updates, but because it is possibly the truest adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s work. This finely detailed and achingly beautiful adaptation is likely to bring new readers (and re-readers) to the classic story, and an film that encourages readers to pick up a classic novel is worthy of a spot on the list of the best DVDs of 2011.
It’s that time of year when critics and film fans begin discussing what their favourite films of the year are, and 2011 is no exception. From comedies to dramas and everything in between, the years greatest movies have been released on DVD and Blu-ray. In the first of a ten-part series, here is the Indigo.ca’s pick for best DVD of the year.
Hitting theatres at the tail end of 2010, The King’s Speech stormed its way through awards season picking up top trophies in a number of categories and finding itself firmly planted on just about every critics’ best film list. The film received 12 Academy Award nominations, more than any other film at the awards, and picked up statues for Best Picture, Best Actor (Colin Firth), Best Director (Tom Hooper), and Best Original Screenplay. Since its DVD and Blu-ray release on July 1, the movie has been one of Indigo.ca’s bestsellers, earning rave reviews from customers.
Loosely based on the bestselling book The King’s Speech by Mark Logue, the film stars Colin Firth as Prince Albert, the stammering son of King George V, who himself is noted for his stirring radio broadcasts addressing the nation. Persuaded by his wife Elizabeth “The Queen Mother,” Duchess of York (Helena Bonham Carter), Albert tries numerous experimental treatments and therapists to correct his speech impediment so that he can live up to his father’s ideals. Therapist Lionel Logue’s (Geoffrey Rush) treatments are unusual and the pair form an unlikely bond over the course of treatment sessions on Albert’s eventual path to Buckingham Palace as he replaces his brother on the throne.
The DVD is a must-own as the year’s best film with magnificent performances from the entire cast, and inspired on-screen chemistry between Firth and Rush. The beautifully shot film is well-paced elevating the piece beyond a staid historical movie. And perhaps surprisingly, the film is fresh and funny offering several light, laugh-out-loud moments.
At the heart of this mostly true story is the sincere bond of friendship and the power of determination. Extras included on the DVD include the real speeches of King George VI for history buffs and rare filmed footage of one of his stirring wartime speeches. Also included are a look at the real life Lionel Logue as told by his grandson (and author of the book The King’s Speech) and commentary from director Tom Hooper, interviews with the cast and crew of the film, and a making-of featurette.
You can view all of the Best of 2011: Movies in our Best of the Year shop. Be sure to check back for the rest of Best of 2011 series.
Rachel and I were fortunate to attend a preview showing of Hugo, the movie based on Brian Selznick’s Caldecott-winning illustrated novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. We loved the movie so much that we decided to write this piece together.
Selznick’s Hugo is a lush and wonderfully conceived novel about an orphaned boy who lives in the walls of a bustling Paris station. When Hugo makes friends with the bitter old man who runs the toy shop and his book-loving goddaughter, Isabelle, he uncovers a secret mystery that connects his dead father’s automaton to something intricately wonderful.
Hugo is acclaimed film director Martin Scorsese’s first foray into family filmmaking, and judging from the finished project, he took the task very seriously. It is a movie that is clearly made by someone who loves the history of film and the filmmaking process. Thanks in part to 3D technology and Scorcese’s skilled eye, the film’s post-WWI Paris setting comes alive. The mechanical inner workings of the train station clock, where young Hugo spends most of his time, whirs to life in stunning 3D, and the vastness of the train station can be felt in this slow-building mystery.
Asa Butterfield as young Hugo gives a great performance- it is hard to look away from his large, clear, blue eyes. Acting great Ben Kingsley as the bitter, old toy shop keepers with a mysterious past is wonderfully touching in his role. For comic relief, comedian Sasha Baron Cohen plays the dastardly train station security guard who is always on the lookout for Hugo and his fellow orphans, attempting to round them up and send them off to the Parisian orphanages.
After reading Hugo and seeing the movie, you’ll want to continue the “Selznick experience” with his latest novel, Wonderstruck. Set fifty years apart, Selznick tells two stories, one in words and the other in pictures. While Ben longs for the father he never knew, Rose dreams of a mysterious actress. As the two separately set out alone to find the answers they’re looking for, they discover that their lives intersect more than they’ve ever dreamed possible.
Here are some images from the novel given to us with the kind permission of the author and illustrator, Brian Selznick:
It’s the end of an era. The final chapter of the Harry Potter film franchise has finally been released on DVD & Blu-ray today. While Pottermania isn’t likely to subside any time soon, it’s sad that there will be no more films featuring the talented trio Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint.
Today marks the hotly anticipated release of the eighth installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II on DVD, Blu-ray and DVD combo pack with digital copy, and a 3D version on Blu-ray, which also comes with a regular Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copy of the film allowing you to watch the movie in any format you choose across multiple devices.
The film earned rave reviews from critics and fans alike, as it earned the record for worldwide opening weekend box office, pulling in a staggering $483.2 million dollars US. Currently the third highest grossing film of all-time (behind Avatar and Titanic), the eight films have included a varitable who’s who of British cinema. Noted British thespians who have entered the wizarding world of Hogwarts include: Richard Harris, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Gambon, Gary Oldman, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Helena Bonham Carter, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Warwick Davis, John Hurt, John Cleese, David Tennant and no less than four Oscar winners including Dame Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent, and Julie Christie, plus countless others, making Harry Potter one of the most star-studded film franchises ever created.
The sweeping finale features the epic Battle of Hogwarts, a visually rich and stunning combat sequence that knows no boundaries as both beloved and reviled characters meet their end. By far the darkest of the Potter films, Deathly Hallows Part II is the event movie of the year, and is just as epic and engaging on the big screen as it is from the comfort of your living room.
In the course of 10 years, the film series has become ingrained in our culture as the young stars have grown before our eyes. Words like “Horcrux” and “Avada Kedavra” have entered the common lexicon. While other film franchises become box office successes, nothing can compare to the hold that the world of Harry Potter has on fans both young and old.
Also out today is the complete eight film series in a new box set available allowing you to re-live the magic on both DVD and Blu-ray with the epic and emotional eighth film a stirring and riveting conclusion to the franchise. Be sure to visit the Harry Potter Shop to check out our selection of toys, games, books and accessories that will help keep the magic alive.
Dressed all in black, Elvira is the queen of screams, the Mistress of the Dark, her look synonymous with late night B-horror movies and Halloween costumes. Elvira is the horror hostess with the most-ess who has been endlessly parodied in film and television thanks to her enduring appeal as a sexy-yet-smart quick-witted personality. Elvira has been portrayed by actress Cassandra Peterson since late 1981. At FanExpo Canada in August, Peterson appeared as Elvira to speak with fans.
Elvira began her career in the early 1980s as hostess of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, a showcase of B-grade (or worse) horror movies. Often interrupting the barely watchable films, Elvira would make quick-witted remarks lampooning the actors, script, and often horrendous editing. Peterson was at once making fun of the films, and herself as Elvira as she has became known for her over-the-top vampy look with a low-cut black dress and towering beehive hair-do.
Despite her risqué ensemble, Peterson says that she’s only ever had one major wardrobe malfunction, but usually has trouble getting in and out of cars with her bee-hive, which she nicknames her “knowledge bump.”
The demand for Elvira to make appearances grew in the 80s and she was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson as well as made cameo appearances in several TV series and films, but it is the bad horror movies that she loves most. “I like to have fun with bad horror movies,” she says. “The naiveté of B-horror movies are the best. They think they are the best [or] serious but they’re not.” Peterson would watch the movies on Elvira’s Movie Macabre sometimes 30 and 40 times and make notes for her commentaries, and even then, “Somethings are too bad, even for my show” she claims.
For Peterson, Elvira is all about empowering women and proving that “women can be funny too, especially in a traditional male-dominated industry” like comedy. Growing up, Peterson admired and was influenced by Phyllis Diller’s brand of comedy as she was one of the first feminist heroes.
Elvira has become one of those heroes as her philosophy is all about empowering women and that, “being sexy doesn’t always mean being a bimbo. Women who are normally powerful look like Margaret Thatcher, and very few combine power and sexiness. Madonna and Cher are examples of sexy, strong, smart women,” and she strives to keep Elvira in this realm. Every the role model, Elvira’s Movie Macabre are rated PG-13 since they’re more funny than scary, and “Elvira never swears.”
One of Elvira’s biggest secrets to enduring success is branding herself and becoming synonymous with Halloween. As a child, Peterson’s mother owned a party shop and the holidays infiltrated her daily life stating “I grew up with Halloween. And now, every Halloween I’m back; I’m everywhere.”
Are you brave enough to endure some of the best B-movies with Elvira? Check out the best of Elvira’s Movie Macabre: