Best New Movie Bets: March 21 | 'Divergent' & 'Blood Ties'

Divergent: It has been billed as the next “Hunger Games”, as it is the latest YA adaptation to revolve around a rebel female protagonist who must stand against the tyrannical leadership of elitist dictators in a dystopian future.

There’s a lot of interesting social commentary that inhabits the best-selling series of books by Veronica Roth. In the “Divergent” universe people are separated by character traits.. What sets heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley) apart is that she is equally gifted in 3 of the 5 characteristics aka a “divergent”.

All eyes are on Woodley after wrapping up her run on ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of an American Teenager” and garnering acclaim in her mainstream breakout role in “The Descendents”. She has been on a path to being a household name, for a while now. It was her role in last year’s indie romance “The Spectacular Now” that truly sold this notion, as she found easy charm in a remarkably natural performance as the girl-next-door with a heart of gold.

Her rise to prominence hasn’t been without its setbacks though, as she was infamously excised from the upcoming “Amazing Spider-Man” sequel as Mary-Jane due to “streamlining”. It was a decision that Woodley handled incredibly well, earning a lot of goodwill.

Whether “Divergent” solidifies Woodley’s star status or not, she’s definitely made a case for earning it and while her career has been the big story, there are other actors in the film clamoring for their break. Among those vying for commercial heat is British ingรฉnue Theo James. Who previously gained career traction in a supporting role in the last “Underworld” installment (another female led franchise) and the lead in last year’s ill-fated CBS drama “Golden Boy”.

For Woodley’s “Spectacular Now” co-star Miles Teller, “Divergent” is yet another step that secures his rising star status. Zoe Kravitz and Ansel Elgort are also hoping to make an impression. Elgort has come out of nowhere in the previous year, scoring a part in last year’s horrible “Carrie” remake and winning the male lead in the hotly anticipated tear-jerker “The Fault in Our Stars” (also starring Woodley).

In the end, who manages to diverge from rising status into stardom is almost as interesting a story as the actual movie. Along with the cast, the movie itself has a lot riding on it. Whether it is even a viable franchise is another question only time will answer. Read Eclectic Pop's Full Movie Review here

Blood Ties: While all of the attention for this week’s major releases is directed towards “Divergent”, “Blood Ties” has earned its anticipation as it flies below the radar this weekend. Guillaume Canet’s English-language debut centers on crime riddled Brooklyn in the 70s as two brothers (Clive Owen and Billy Crudup) on different sides of the law, face the consequences of their intertwining fate. This isn’t the first movie to tackle the topic of strained family dynamics due to crime.

The underrated “We Own the Night” readily comes to the forefront as being in the similar vein and "Blood Ties" itself is a remake of the French-language film "Les liens du sang". Among the aspects garnering interest for this film is of course the cast, which includes the aforementioned Owen and Crudup. While also boasting “Rust and Bone” co-stars Marion Cottillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, along with Zoe Saldana and James Caan. The cast isn’t the only thing going for it though. 

After directing 2006’s sensational French-thriller “Tell No One”, Guillaume Canet proved he had a remarkable skill that Hollywood desperately needs more of. He can find the human story, the romance and emotion beneath all of the suspense and drama. One could surmise that his skill as an actor has aided his ability to bring out the best out in those he directs and it shows. Directing an average of 1 film every 4 years, he must’ve seen something in this story and given his selectivity, it must’ve been extraordinary.
Are you looking forward to either of these movies? Eclectic Pop wants to hear from you! You can share your thoughts by tweeting @EclecticPop or leaving a comment below.


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