Jason Reitman (son of Ivan, but that’s barely relevant) spent the early days of his directorial career making some really well-regarded films. Even if Juno or Up in the Air haven’t received universal acclaim, there is evidence there of a quality filmmaker. All of which makes Reitman’s recent career trajectory so baffling. Reitman’s Labor Day was released at the end of January to pretty middling reviews; I described it as “conventional and entirely disposable,” and my opinion has not changed in the intervening months. It is surprising to see another feature from the director so quickly, but perhaps Reitman learned something from the earlier debacle. Perhaps he’s ready to come back stronger than ever with Men, Women & Children. Perhaps not.
158 – The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
Guess what? Young adult novel adaptations are not just for attractive teens kicking butt anymore. Now the attractive-teens-dying-for-myriad-reasons genre is getting in on the game as well. Later this year Chloë Grace Moretz will star in If I Stay, as a coma-stricken girl on the verge of death. But first, Shailene Woodley leads The Fault in Our Stars, the latest and greatest cancer narrative. The Fault in Our Stars looks to take the top prize for best cancer movie from its current owner 50/50. 50/50, in turn, took the title from 1998’s Stepmom, which my own mother took me and a friend to see when we were nine years old because it looked like an uproarious comedy in the marketing. Can The Fault in Our Stars live up to this prestigious pedigree?