The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars Poster

Based on the novel by John Green, The Fault In Our Stars is literally a sick love story about two teenagers with terminal cancer who fall in love with one another. Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) meet in a cancer support group led by a quirky Christian Patrick (Mike Birbiglia), who loves making terrible Gospel music. The movie also stars Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, and my personal favorite, Willem Dafoe.

Hazel and Gus, although on the verge of human non-existence, conduct a romantic relationship like any other young couple. From waiting to see who will call or text first to committing cheesy, over the top gestures to gain admiration, the twosome is ground-breaking. Their chemistry or undying affection makes you wonder: How can anyone fall in love with someone knowing they won’t be around much longer?

The Fault In Our Stars

The stars are most definitely aligned in this movie. The Fault in Our Stars is slightly more romantic than Titanic (1997) or the Notebook (2004), and is one of the greatest fictional love stories ever told. The movie’s hidden gem is Shailene Woodley. She’s is three traffic lights away from perfection. I am simply blown away in every project that features the 22-year-old and eager to see her future works.

Almost exactly a year ago, Woodley played a boyish, awkward high-schooler alongside Miles Teller in The Spectacular Now. And most recently, she played leading lady in the futuristic, cliquish film Divergent where she reunited with Miles Teller. In every movie, she holds the innocence of a newborn but the quick wit of an aged politician. Shailene Woodley is a Goddess!

Cancer is the elephant in the room in The Fault of the Stars. The fatal illness shapes the dialogue throughout the entire script, however the couples’ modernistic love is what takes precedence. With all of the advance medical technology, the tumorous disease still leaves many of families distraught with its causalities and The Fault In Our Stars shows those dark times.

The film had an Indiana setting, but you’ll easily notice some very familiar Pittsburgh sites. One of the climax scenes is taped at the BP gas station on Ardmore Blvd. While Hazel and Gus is having a serious medical emergency, all I could see was the Rebecca Avenue dingy green street sign dangling in the distance. Jack Reacher (2012), Grudge Match (2013), and Out of the Furnace (2013) were all recently filmed in the Steel City too, which leads me to believe that Pittsburgh is more than just the most livable city.

5 Stars: The Fault In Our Stars is a complicated yet complete love story. Shailene Woodley get more amazing with every film. WARNING: Lots of tissue and a warm buddy are definitely a necessity for this summer flick. (I think I cried the last 20 minutes of the movie. Don’t judge me!)

3 Days to Kill

3 Days to Kill Film Poster

3 Days to Kill was a bit more enjoyable as CIA assassin, Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner), made numerous references to his hometown, Pittsburgh. Although, you’ll never see the Steel City, the mention is sufficient enough. Set in Paris, Agent Renner must perform his last mission while trying to rekindle the relationship with his estranged daughter, Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld). With only months to live, he must simultaneously complete the mission and win Zoey’s heart back.

The movie’s fight scenes were strategically timed throughout the movie. It is as if they were synchronized and scheduled. The movie’s order: fight scene, sick scene, family scene. That repetitive rotation happens the entire movie and made the film redundant and predictable. The fight scenes were also weak and one-dimensional. Generally, the excitement stemmed from fight scenes is the element of surprise and new combat techniques, but 3 Days to Kill lacked both.

Directed by McG, the movie was too close to Taken (2009); a man, with family issues, running around a foreign country killing people. Even Kevin Costner’s voice got a little deeper for the official Liam Neeson feel. With Taken, the family issues fell right into place with storyline, but in 3 Days to Kill the family spin almost complicated the movie.

3 Days to Kill, which is categorized as an action or thriller movie, has a lot of funny parts. Almost too many funny parts and they take away from the movie’s overall plot. Some of those scenes also came off as corny and exaggerated, wasting good Kevin Costner saving-the-world time.

Speaking of Kevin Costner, he’s above average in this movie. The actor has its “Bodyguard” (1992) moments, easily creating flashbacks of when he saved Whitney Houston from crazed stalkers. Costner’s character is rarely in a form fitting black suit, but when he is, it to reminds you of the classic movie. Kevin Costner still captures the audience even decades later. For a dying 59 year old, he is mobile, active and good-looking.

Hailee Steinfeld did an excellent job as Kevin Costner’s damaged, difficult teenage daughter. In 2010, she received a lot of recognition and film critics’ awards for her role in True Grit. This is my first time being introduced to the 17 year old, but she was darkly adorable.

3 Days to Kill is in theatres February 21st.

3 “Too Much Like Taken” Stars

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