Trailer Tuesday: The LEGO Movie

New month, new series on Shades of Sarah!

Since this blog is primarily supposed to be about fashion and pop culture, well, I figured I should be doing some more talking about pop culture, huh? So now every week I’ll be sharing a movie trailer — whether it’s new in theaters, a coming attraction or even an old classic you may have missed, it’ll be something worth checking out!

Last week Nick and I went to see The LEGO Movie. It was a spur of the moment thing: we had a gift card and couldn’t decide between some of the more serious movies in theaters. I hadn’t seen the trailer yet, but when he suggested it, I was game. I was pleasantly surprised too:

Sure the trailer comes off a little cheesy and childish, but that’s the fun of it! It’s actually laugh out loud funny (ok, we were the only ones in the theater that afternoon but we were cracking up!) and it just feels genuine and clever. Plus, there’s a really great message behind it, and I think we all need that extra dose of positivity now and then!

Anyone else think The LEGO Movie was awesome?

~ Sarah

Movie Review: Gravity


Last month, I had the opportunity to attend an early screening of Gravity, the latest effort by writer-director Alfonso Cuarón starring Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as American astronauts out in space. I’ll let the trailer explain the rest:

It’s hard to talk much about the movie without giving away too much of the plot, but Cuarón wastes no time getting the action started. The effects are incredible — and I expect the movie to rack up the technical Academy Awards — and so seemingly effortless that it doesn’t feel like you’re watching science fiction. I also saw this on an IMAX screen, and definitely recommend seeing this movie in an actual theater. While the action isn’t non-stop, the general expansiveness of space is something that needs to be seen on the big screen.

While Gravity is a disaster movie, it’s also very much about its characters, which is refreshing. Many directors would be tempted to make this movie about the chaos, on the ground and in space — and while there is chaos, it’s only seen through the eyes of Clooney and Bullock’s characters. Mission Control is always offscreen, and there are no real supporting roles to distract from the main story.

Clooney turns in a solid and charismatic performance here, as usual, but this movie clearly belongs to Sandra Bullock. This is her follow up to this summer’s hilarious buddy comedy The Heat, so she’s really showing off her versatility this year. I never thought of Bullock as the type of actress to work a close-up (probably because she’s so adept at physical comedy), but her face tells the story here.

(Side note: It’s too early to know how competitive the acting categories will be this year, but this role is total Oscar bait and it’s almost a shame Bullock won an Oscar not too long ago for The Blind Side — a strong performance, but I don’t know how it became career-defining.)

Gravity is one of the early must-sees this fall, thanks to its amazing effects, great lead performance and truly remarkable story. Like all of Cuarón’s films, it is grounded in reality despite its fantastical elements (after all, this is the man who directed Children of Men, Prisoner of Azkaban and A Little Princess). Fewer and fewer movies seem to be made to be actually seen on the silver screen, but Gravity is one of them — so be the audience the film deserves.

Gravity premieres in theaters Oct. 4, 2013.

Book Review: ‘Divergent’ and ‘Insurgent’


One of my favorite parts of my commute is getting lost in a good book. After finally finishing Gone with the Wind and rereading Anne of Green Gables, it was time for something a bit more…contemporary. At my friend Nancy’s recommendation, I downloaded Divergent, a teen dystopian novel.

The Divergent series is probably compared to The Hunger Games a decent amount — both are set in the future United States, with some sort of postapocalyptic government installed that is facing rebellion, in part led by a teenage heroine. In the Divergent universe, instead of districts there are factions, each based on one personality traits.

We meet Beatrice on the day before her Choosing Day — at sixteen, it is time for her to decide whether to stay in the faction she was born into, Abnegation (the selfless), or defect and leave her loved ones behind. Once she makes her decision, we follow Beatrice as she undergoes the Initiation process, meets new friends, enemies and even love interests. It’s a process that’s more dangerous than she could have imagined.


Like The Hunger GamesDivergent is also the first book in a trilogy. The second, Insurgent, picks up literally where Divergent leaves off. (And I’m using the real definition of “literally” here.)

While Divergent is fast-paced, entertaining and gripping, Insurgent may be too fast-paced for its own good. Taking care to avoid spoilers, some conflicts develop and are resolved so quickly it’s hard to keep up and really understand the significance of it all. I wasn’t necessarily less invested in the two main characters, but it was like, slow down.

The premise itself is a bit contrived, but it’s still interesting. Occasionally, some theological themes do feature prominently in the plot, and it was certainly more noticeable than any Christian imagery that may have been in The Hunger Games, so it was caught me off guard.

Overall, this is an entertaining, suspenseful series to start reading. These are quick, won’t-put-down reads. The last novel, Allegiant, will be released in October 2013, so now is the best time to catch up. (P.S. The movie adaptation of Divergent will be in theaters next March.)

Have you read the Divergent books? Let me know what you think!

~ Sarah