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Hunger Games – Character Thoughts

March 23rd, 2012 Comments off

I went with two of my kids to watch The Hunger Games for the midnight showing. I think I came across the books from reading tweets of my LOST friends, and determining to give them a read on my Kindle. Then I found out that both my daughters had read the book, and my son was trying to get through it. I ended up getting engrossed with the story, and soon devoured Catching Fire and Mockingjay, and really enjoyed the story and the characters. Taking a good book story and making it a good movie story is a difficult task, but something I think the producers, director and cast of The Hunger Games did extraordinarily well. At least well enough to get me to write a blog post, which lately has seemed monumentally difficult.

I write this book as a reader and a movie goer, and while I won’t spoil the movie, I can’t really discuss the characters without getting into some plot points, so if you haven’t at least read the books stop before the fold. I hope this post helps you enjoy the movie as much as my kids and I did.

The story of The Hunger Games is told through the eyes of Katniss Everdeen and her experiences after growing up in the severely impoverished District 12 of Panem. Panem is set in a future North America where all the power and riches have been consolidated in the Capitol, which were victors in a savage battle for power. To keep it’s boot on the neck of the Districts, the Captiol requires an annual reaping, the selection of one boy and one girl from each of twelve Districts to enter a game where there is only one survivor. That is the setup of for the story of Katniss Everdeen, the older of two sisters, whose father died in a mining accident. Katniss is forced to provide for her family after his death in part because her mother checked out emotionally when her husband was killed. Katniss learned to hunt at her father’s knee, and her skill with a bow has been the only thing that has put food on their table. I think knowing how disparately hungry the Everdeen’s are is key to understanding the story, and something that I think wasn’t played up enough in the first few scenes of the movie. With that let’s get to the characters. Caution ahead if you haven’t seen the movie.
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Categories: books, Movies Tags: , , , ,

Watching the Watchmen

March 13th, 2009 1 comment

Watched the Watchmen last night, so that answers that question (inside joke).  I hustled up after all the school open houses and choir concerts. (brief aside, my kids rock) Met some friends for the 9PM show, and the parking lot was *empty* for the whole theater.  Been hitting the Thursday night 9ish time slot for a while and its never been sooooo empty.  *shakes fist at economy*

Going into the movie I was excited, because I’m a fan of the graphic novel, the story is convoluted so I wasn’t sure how it would be recieved by the non-fanboy public.  About an hour in a few people of the sparsely populated theater got up and left.  Which I kinda expected, if you come into Watchmen thinking, oh this is like Xmen or Spidey, you’re not gonna like what you get.  Its a darker theme, and really it laid the groundwork for some more popular movies (The Incredibles pops into mind).

The good stuff without being too spoilerish.  Rorschach! awesomely portrayed, and his mask is just awesome.  The Comedian is well done by Jackie Earle Haley, and Billy Crudup’s Dr. Manhattan well done (could have used a little less blue penis though).  As stated in other reviews, the awkward love scene was awkward (as the comic portray it too I believe) and the song choice, a bit redundant.  Several people giggled through it, including myself.

Overall Zach Snyder did a great job translating comic to film.  Visually stunning.  For the uninitiated, pay attention to the opening credits.  On first look, several things are probably going back and rewatching, since the plot is all intertwined, some early things would be better understood after the first go round.

Overall: 3 stars.

Categories: Comics, Movies Tags: , ,

Let’s go to the movies

May 27th, 2008 1 comment

Its not even June and I think I’ve spent my summer budget on movies already.  Having seen the big three blockbusters, and a pretty good chick-flick in the last few weeks.  So I guess I should give you my ratings and mini-reviews:

In order of importance:

Made to Order – Saw it on a date with my bride, so that alone ranks it above the others.  Not bad for a chick-flick, though I thought the early womanizing was a bit passe, but I’m old and not down with the culture, though putting Mr.-no-consecutive-nights in a Slick Willy mask at the beginning, and bookend that with the final line being ‘Oh Monica’, brought a cynical smile to my face.  Go see it with your treasured companion, and enjoy.  Three stars.

Ironman – Took my middle kids with me to see this one on opening night.  I’m a sucker for the comic book movies, and this one did not disappoint (unlike Daredevil, and Ghost Rider).  The origin storyline was a good plot, and the effects were superb.  Robert Downey Jr. simply put on the Tony Stark suit and became the comic book character, and his simple humor was well done.  The ending fight was sort of a letdown, but so many good quotable lines and references pump this one in as my favorite of the summer.  Five Stars.

Prince Caspian – Took my younger three to this on on opening weekend, and we all enjoyed the movie.  While I haven’t read the book, the movie seemed tightly woven (though with some embellishments to the Lewis plot I’m sure) and kept the interest of even my six year old (that’s saying something!)  The battle scenes were awesome, the magic of Narnia palpable.  Enjoyable evening with the kiddos.  Four Stars.

Indiana Jones and the lack of good screen writers… – I took the boys to this one this past weekend, the Lucasfilms marketing to make Lego sets worked its magic on my 9 year old, and so it was a MUST SEE.  It had some promise in the beginning, and had all the winks and nudges you’d expect for a resurrected 80s blockbuster genre.  Implausible even beyond Narnia, but quite fun to watch, once you suspend belief.  The payoff at the end was a disappointment, though I kept expecting Richard Dreyfuss in sunglasses and orange jumpsuit to come crawling out of one of the passages in the aftermath of the final destructive scenes.  Mixed for me, and because of the Spielberg-induced mythos I have to downgrade it a bit as losing itself from the rich Indy lore.  Fun afternoon, but only Two stars.

YouTube is Accepted…

September 14th, 2007 1 comment

The other night, I watched the movie Accepted.  Its a teenage centered flick about a bunch of kids that couldn’t get accepted at mainstream colleges so they fake a college acceptance letter from a fake school, then in order to keep from being discovered build a school (South Hampton Institute of Technology … *smirk*).

image They end up having a big white board installed where the students can write what they’d like to learn this semester.  And it up having a high old time doing what every other college seems to do (i.e. party, drink, dance, play loud music…) and find out they learn something in the end. 

Quoting the movie’s climatic speech by Bartleby (Justin Long, aka I’m a Mac) during the fake schools accreditation hearing:

…But out of that desperation, something happened that was so amazing. Life was full of possibilities. A – and isn’t that what you ultimately want for us? As parents, I mean, is – is that, is possibilities. Well, we came here today to ask for your approval, and something just occurred to me. I don’t give a s#!t. Who cares about your approval? We don’t need your approval to tell us that what we did was real. ‘Cause there are so few truths in this world, that when you see one, you just know it. And I know that it is a truth that real learning took place at South Harmon. Whether you like it or not, it did. …

Pure dreck.. but in a fun and entertaining kinda way.

In a truth-is-stranger than fiction story, Yahoo News has this article:

Pitzer College this fall began offering what may be the first course about the video-sharing site. About 35 students meet in a classroom but work mostly online, where they view YouTube content and post their comments.

Class lessons also are posted and students are encouraged to post videos. One class member, for instance, posted a 1:36-minute video of himself juggling.

Jeez, where was this course, when I had to learn FORTRAN from Mech E?

Categories: Learning, Life, Movies Tags:

R.I.P.

November 27th, 2006 1 comment

We all knew it would happen sooner or later… Farewell VHS, one doesn’t expect to outlive childhood technology.  Oh how I loved you, even with a wired remote, and the flashing clock thing.  (I know it wasn’t you’re fault, you being just the media, not the console, but you two were practically inseparable in life, and, hopefully, flashing clock will soon die as well.)

I know.. I’m a dark and twisty type of guy.

Categories: Blaaawg, Life, Movies Tags: , ,

Comicbook movie update:

September 29th, 2006 Comments off

Wizbang Pop has an article that says Robert Downey Jr. will play Ironman in the upcoming film. Apt casting, since one of the first comics I remember reading as a boy had Tony Stark living in a bottle because his business was going south. As recounted by this article at the Marvel Database:

In recent years Tony Stark’s greatest nemesis has been alcoholism. As a wealthy socialite, alcohol had been a constant part of his life. When his company, which had changed its name from Stark Industries to Stark international, was threatened with the takeover at the same time he was experiencing oppressive personal problems, Stark began to abuse alcohol. Although he managed to recover quickly from his first serious bout, the compulsion to drink remained a constant temptation. The second time he succumbed to alcoholism, due to even more devastating personal problems than the first time, Tony Stark went on a several month binge during which he was cheated out of Stark international, had all Iron Man suits destroyed (except one), lost the leases on his various apartments, and had his personal assets frozen so that he could not touch his fortune. All of this was the result of the machinations of the mysterious European entrepreneur Obadiah Stane, who took over Stark’s company, renaming it Stane International.

On that note, Marvel comics has done an ok job of getting their mainstream books onto the screen. We’ve had Spiderman (spidey-riffic all of ’em), X-men (great), Fantastic Four (eh), Hulk (lol!), Daredevil (eh+), and Elektra (didn’t see.. but c’mon Jennifer Gardner was THE reason you saw Daredevil…. don’t lie!!) . Coming are Ghost Rider and Ironman. Meanwhile DC Comics just relies on Supes and the Dark Knight (would love to see Dark Knight Returns made into a movie) though Joss Whedon is supposed to bring Wonder Woman to the screen sometimes… In the end the Marvel Universe has a bigger bag to pick from, so they can go deeper into the genre. Will there be a Flash major motion picture, that I’d see.

Update: Jack M. @ Ace of Spades has a pic of the issue that popped into my brain as well. (geeks unite!)

Categories: /dev/null, Comics, Movies Tags: ,