Valentine’s Marathon: Romeo & Juliet (2013)

Next up in the Valentine’s Marathon is a tale really as old as time and probably one of the first Shakespeare plays I had to read in school but super renowned and adapted a ton of times and that is Romeo & Juliet. This version is the 2013 one with Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth.

Let’s check it out!

Romeo & Juliet (2013)

Romeo and Juliet 2013

Director: Carlo Carlei

Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Kodi Smit-Mcphee, Ed Westwick, Christian Cooke

Romeo and Juliet secretly wed despite the sworn contempt their families hold for each other. It is not long, however, before a chain of fateful events changes the lives of both families forever.-IMDB

 Its always hard to review Romeo and Juliet adaptations. We all know how the story will go and the tragic fate of these lovers. It becomes even harder each time to feel moved by the characters and the story somehow because of that familiarity. I’m not sure if this is the most recent movie adaptation but I think so with these young stars playing the popular roles. In reality, it feels like quite the task and one that I’d eventually like to do to talk about the play and all adaptations (or as many as I have access to). Maybe I’ll give that a go one day. However, we’re here to look at this adaptation and to be fair, it was fine. There were some familiar faces, some good performances, the set was pretty decent and so were the costumes. I’m not a Shakespeare extreme connoisseur so I don’t know the play front and back. It been a long time since I’ve read it but from what I remember, its seems pretty close (if not the same) in dialogue.  However, something seems missing which I can’t quite pinpoint so maybe as I write this out, I’ll figure it out.

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet are played respectively by Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld.  I haven’t seen a lot of Hailee Steinfeld but I have seen Douglas Booth in few of his previous roles, probably the one I remember most is LOL and Jupiter Ascending (review HERE). To step into Romeo and Juliet is a big task (like I mentioned before), there was to be passion and believability in their roles. Perhaps one of the things I didn’t quite feel was their connection. Sure, they were passionate in their lines and I could see it working but when they were together, something just didn’t click. Although, I feel that it progressed a little fast also. I get that its supposed to be a few days of events like most Romeo and Juliet movies are set in but it took two seconds to jump to seeing each other, dancing and then going to to the back and kissing. I never felt like other Romeo and Juliet movies progressed the love arc that fast for them and maybe its why those movies had a more impactful performance. Oh, and I actually did like Hailee Steinfeld’s performance. I feel that she has potential to do more and that’s where I think I probably should check out The Edge of Seventeen from last year.

Romeo and Juliet 2013

Talking about the Montague boys now, we’ve already discussed Romeo as the lover boy but possibly a great bromance trio goes to these guys who felt naturally good together. Somehow they worked well in showing their different personalities of Mercutio, Romeo and Benvolio. It was easy to believe that they all held different views of the rivalry between the Montague and the Capulets but also that they each also had different values. Mercutio is played by Christian Cooke, who is a familiar face and I liked him in the role. However, I love Kodi Smit-McPhee ever since I saw him in Let Me In (review HERE). This guy has some really great acting chops. He did a great job at Benvolio even if it was just a supporting role.

Romeo and Juliet 2013

The Capulets are much more individual but also has a lot more screen time. We have Tybalt, played by Ed Westwick who is incredibly known to me as Chuck Bass in Gossip Girl and I loved his character there. Ed Westwick does have some good acting and in the right roles, he can do quite a bit. As Tybalt, he really just does the cocky guy with a ton of anger issues who has incredible hate for Montagues who can barely keep his actions in control. Plus, he does a whole lot of odd grunting angry voices and always has a grimace, which I get is in character but something about his character felt a little overacted perhaps. I can’t say that its his best performance in my book. The other part of the Capulets is Damien Lewis as Lord Capulet. I honestly haven’t had much contact with Damien Lewis but he seems like a really powerful actor because Lord Capulet’s role really carried especially when he was having the whole scene with Juliet and making his point clear of her marrying Count Paris. That was a fantastic scene.

Overall, Romeo and Juliet in this 2013 adaptation was okay. It probably won’t be memorable but its not horrible either. The pacing of the script could probably use some work to help make us care more about Romeo and Juliet especially when everyone already knows how this all works out and pretty much knows what to expect. There are some decent performances that I haven’t even mentioned other than Hailee Steinfeld, Damien Lewis and Kodi Smit-McPhee but also we have Paul Giamatti who plays as the Friar and as always, he does a nice job in the supporting role. Its hard to not compare Romeo and Juliet adaptations to each other especially since there’s already been so many but here’s my shot at it.

Have you seen this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet? Which adaptation is your favorite?

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Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Today I’m pretty proud of myself.  Not so much the weekend because I didn’t even get a romantic comedy review in for my Valentine’s marathon.  But then its always kind of quiet during the weekend.  Now, I’m proud because on Friday  night I said that I was going to go see Jupiter Ascending (one of my most anticipated movies of 2015!!) on Sunday afternoon and early this afternoon, I managed to get my ass to the theatres despite the snow.

Honestly, although this is still my most anticipated movie despite the pushing back of the release from last year to this year, I can’t help but be a little worried that it might let me down, especially since this is kind of trash season at the theatres.  Plus, RT has it at like 22% rotten, but then, I don’t always agree with RT so I kind of pushed that out of my mind and still went.  Channing and Mila haven’t disappointed me for a long time and I’m sure they won’t.  Got to stay positive, right?

Let’s check it out, shall we?

JUPITER ASCENDING (2015)

jupiter ascending

Director & writers: The Wachowskis

Cast: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton

Jupiter Jones was born being told she was destined for better things as a baby.  As a young woman in Chicago, she wakes up at the brink of dawn to be a caretaker with her mom cleaning toilets and other people’s house.  Hating her current stagnant life, her only dreams are to have the money to get a telescope to gave in the wonders of the sky just like her father.  Until one day, a genetically engineered ex-warrior, Caine Wise under command to search and save her from the surprise attack from the current leader of Earth in the faraway planet in outer space, Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne).  Being whisk into this outer space world that recognizes her a recurrence of a past authority and mother of the current leaders of the world, she gets caught up in the fight between her past life’s children, Kalique (Tuppence Middleton), Titus (Douglas Booth) and Balem. The only person she can trust is Caine but she also needs to make decisions to save herself and possibly her family on Earth as well, while deciding if she can take on the rightful responsibilities to reign Earth.

jupiter ascending

Man, thats a really long synopsis. I just don’t know what to cut out and what is saying too much. Either way, when I make long synopsis, that usually means that I enjoyed that movie a lot.  Jupiter Ascending was absolutely not disappointing.  Sure, its not a perfect movie and its obvious that it wasn’t.  I’ll explain it a little more later but I was able to get past some of it and really fall in love of in for various reasons.  If there is no other reason to see this, the CGI is awesome in this.  Everything is so beautiful to look at it, from the Earth, the planets, kingdoms.

Jupiter Ascending

Another element to really love was ALL of the intense action.  Hell, every single time there was an action sequence it was crazy intense.  I was grabbing tight to the edge of my seat.  It was convincing to make me wonder if they would achieve their objective.  Channing Tatum’s Caine Wise was just absolutely bad ass! LOL! Plus, all that outer space technology was so fun!

jupiter ascending

However, visuals and action means little to some viewers and the one thing that a lot of people probably will critic will be the story itself.  I fully acknowledge it, especially because I kind of found the love story a little bit forced BUT, I was able to get through it because Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis took Caine and Jupiter and added this awesome chemistry.  I just couldn’t resist their presence together and I kind of fell in love with their characters more than the love story itself, plus some of the dialogue was pretty awkward and funny at the same time.  But hey, if you don’t see pass this, I’m guessing its going to be a big flaw. I’m just saying, I was able to get pass it.

Even if its not the love story, Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis both started out as an actor and actress that wasn’t extremely appealing to me but they’ve really stood out and improved so much that I always look forward their performances.

jupiter ascending

The love story however is the side story to the actual plot of this whole dictatorship and reigning of Earth’s story.  Everyone want a piece of this valuable land because it holds a lot of value and each sibling wants a piece of it.  Titus and Kalique both don’t have the rightful reign of it so they have to charm Jupiter to believe them. Its a game of whether who is lying and for what reason. Now, lets take a look at the siblings a little.  I’m going to put Tuppence Middleton’s Kalique away because sure, she was good and sufficient for what she did but the main ones here is Titus, played by Douglas Booth.  I spent a good bit of the movie trying to figure out where I saw him before.  It was in LOL and thats a movie that I kind of want to forget I saw..haha! I really liked the whole charming Douglas Booth because he really gave a convincing performance for Titus.  I hope that he gets more roles in the future.  I’d like to see how he progresses as an actor.

jupiter ascending

My surprise was that Eddie Redmayne was part of this.  Honestly, I only saw the preview once or something and I can’t even remember much of it but the concept of Jupiter Ascending was what drew me in even before I knew too much.  Sometimes, thats the best way to go see a movie.  I’ve loved Eddie Redmayne since Les Miserables so seeing him as a villainous ruler definitely a change in pace because he got a funky voice but also a very good performance on his part.

Overall, Jupiter Ascending has great CGI visuals and the set is lovely to watch.  The characters are engaging because of the casts’ outstanding performances and the action scenes which cover a good 70% of the run time is always intense to watch, keeping the movie at a solid pace.  However, the story has its flaws especially with a rather forced side love story between Jupiter and Caine.

Still, I had a lot of fun with this one and I’m definitely adding this to my movie collection when it comes out on Bluray 🙂

Valentine’s Marathon resumes tomorrow! Remember to check back!