Divergent review

Fair or not, it’s impossible not to measure Divergent against The Hunger Games. This is true for obvious reasons, in that they’re both dystopian YA adaptations featuring strong heroines, or that Divergent is actively and openly gunning to be the next Hunger Games. Unfortunately, it’s also true because Divergent, as directed by Neil Burger, never makes enough of a mark to rise above that easy comparison.

It’s not that Divergent is terrible. The movie serves up a couple of nice moments and some very appealing performances. But where the Hunger Games offered a rich, colorful universe, Divergent offers us a half-competed sketch. Where The Hunger Games felt bracingly different from its own predecessors, Twilight and Harry Potter, Divergent feels like well-meaning knock-off of all three.

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The Giver trailer

We’re drowning in dystopian YA this week. Monday brought the first trailer for The Maze Runner, and Friday brings the premiere of Divergent. Today, we have the very first The Giver trailer.

Directed by Phillip Noyce, the Lois Lowry adaptation unfolds in a seemingly perfect society without hunger, pain, or strife. But when young Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is assigned to be the community’s keeper of memories, he discovers that this utopia comes at a staggering cost. Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep also star. Watch the video after the jump.

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A Monster Calls

Last December, Juan Antonio Bayona booked his highest-profile gig yet: the sequel to World War Z. But before he gets around to directing zombies, he’ll first be reckoning with tree monsters.

The Spanish filmmaker has signed on to direct A Monster Calls, a Black List script written by Patrick Ness based on his own acclaimed novel. The premise suggests a potent combination of fantasy, horror, and drama a la Pan’s Labyrinth — and what do you know, Pan’s Labyrinth producer Belen Atienza is on board as well. Hit the jump for plot details and more.

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‘Divergent’ Gets an Extended TV Spot for the Olympics

Divergent

For the past two weeks, we’ve been watching brave, determined souls push their bodies to the absolute limit for the sake of national pride. But even Sochi Winter Olympians have it easy compared to the heroine of Divergent, who’s fighting for her very life in a society determined to wipe her kind off the map.

Summit has released a new extended TV spot for the Olympics, which emphasizes just how much danger Tris (Shailene Woodley) is in, and exactly how dangerous she herself can be. Watch it after the jump.

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Insurgent

With Divergent‘s release date still weeks away, its sequel Insurgent is taking another big stride forward. Red director Robert Schwentke is set to direct the dystopian YA adventure, which will once again star Shailene Woodley and Theo James.

Schwentke replaces original Divergent director Neil Burger, who we learned in December would not return for the follow-up. More details after the jump.

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Nerve-Cover

Henry Joost and Ariel Shulman got a lot of attention at Sundance a few years ago for the film Catfish, and have even turned the movie into several popular seasons of television on MTV. Now the team is going back to genre pictures (having also directed Paranormal Activity 3 and 4) with a deal to direct Nerve, based on the YA novel from Jeanne Ryan. It’s a sci-fi story of sorts, with a high school girl who becomes a player in an online game, only to find that the game is far more dangerous and aware of her personality than she would have originally guessed. Read More »

Divergent

Lionsgate is feeling so optimistic about Divergent becoming the next big thing that they’re hitting the ground running with the sequel, Insurgent. Akiva Goldsman is working on the script as we speak, and now the production company confirms that shooting is scheduled to begin this spring.

But before we get there, they still have to open the first movie. The studio has just released a new full-length trailer for the original Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley as a brave young heroine in dystopian Chicago. Watch it after the jump.

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Film Fall Preview

On Monday morning, we reported Philip Seymour Hoffman had shot enough of his The Hunger Games: Mockingjay role before his passing that the release dates for the two-parter have not shifted. But he still had seven days of filming left on Part 2 and, unsurprisingly, that’s leading to some complications.

According to insiders at the studio, the late Hoffman still had one major scene left to shoot when he died. The filmmakers are now scrambling to work around his absence, possibly by digitally inserting him into some scenes. More details after the jump.

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