The cast list was released last fall for the upcoming Netflix adaptation of the young adult fantasy series Shadow and Bone. The casting revealed Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov, and Ben Barnes as her manipulative antagonist and love interest General Kirigan, also known as the Darkling. Alina is meant to be around seventeen, while Ben Barnes is 38.

INSURGENT title treatment

I received the distinct pleasure of attending a special Los Angeles screening of Insurgent, the second film in the adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. The screening, held at the Pacific Theater at The Grove in Hollywood, was filled with screaming teens, social media influencers and radio station DJs hell bent on riling up the crowd more than they already were. I attended the screening with my daughter, a fan of the films and Ansel Elgort, and it seemed my twelve-year old is pretty much the demographic of the film’s target audience. Insurgent (PG-13), which opens nationwide Friday, March 20th, is a dystopic adventure film, featuring some of today’s hottest actors, including protagonist Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), flashbacks of her mother (Ashley Judd), twin brother, Caleb (Ansel Elgort), love interest Four (Theo James) and various other familiar faces from the first installment film, including Maggie Q, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Jai Courtney, and Mekhi Phifer. As with any trilogy, it is necessary to have seen the first film in order to understand the themes and focus of this one. Without knowledge of the first film, the conflict between factions and family makes absolutely no sense, and the entire story loses power.

Some vague spoilers ahead…



A novel by George Orwell chronicling life under the watchful eye of Big Brother. A chilling look at a far off future when the book was penned in 1949, it is now a text that reveals a frightening future, 30 years past. The story, about a totalitarian society that feigns peace through terror and war and the man who questions it all, changed the way people look at politics and government while revolutionizing the science fiction genre.