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Category Archives: Movies and TV

Review: The Hunger Games, the Movie

I really need to come up with a standard review format for films. I have it for books. What do people put in movie reviews? The director? The actors? The rating? Well, here’s a pretty picture, then I’ll get on with it.

The book is always better than the movie. This saying, common among us reader-types, holds true for The Hunger Games. The book was very good and made an important, needed commentary on our society and how it regards youth. The film did a commendable job as an adaptation of the book, and, as just a movie, was excellent. With the months of hype leading up to the actual release, we had very high hopes. No movie could possibly live up to the expectations of the hard-core fans, so there was bound to be some disappointment. I was much less disappointed than I thought I was going to be.

For the most part, I agreed with the casting. Jennifer Lawrence, who fills the main role as Katniss Everdeen, is an extremely talented actress and conveyed Katniss perfectly. My only argument with Lawrence is her physical appearance: obviously older than the heroine’s supposed age of sixteen and lacking the malnourished edge fans of the book would expect. Josh Hutcherson portrays Peeta well, and Liam Hemsworth, though we hardly get to see him, is outstanding as Gale. The vast majority of the supporting actors are quite suited to their roles.

I felt that, up until the Hunger Games themselves started, the film was fast-paced to the point of rushed. We hardly got to meet the other tributes to the Games and got little sense of Katniss’s life back home in District Twelve. The movie gets the main points across, however: District Twelve is poor, the Capital is decadent and wealthy, there’s a range of ability among the Tributes, and the Capital somehow refuses to see how brutal the killing game is and is only entertained.

Once Katniss and Peeta are thrust into the arena with the twenty-two other teenage tributes, the action starts and hardly lets up. My heart hammered through the fighting, and it was hard to remind myself that I knew the outcome. The “Cave Scene,” somewhat infamous among fans, is one of the only lulls, and was handled masterfully by Lawrence and Hutcherson.

Overall, this is a film worth seeing even if you haven’t read the books. It might be slightly hard to get into if you’re not familiar with the story, though, so I do recommend reading at least Book One in advance.

Overall Rating: 4 stars

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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Movies and TV

 

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Holding Off On “The Hunger Games”

March 23, the long-awaited release day of the much-hyped film adaptation of The Hunger Games, has come and gone. Midnight premieres have been attended, and many more fans have since seen the film. I’m a fan of the books and have been anticipating the movie, as well–I’ve jabbering about the upcoming release in real life and online for a while. But I haven’t seen the film yet, and I probably won’t for at least a week.

I do want to see it, but I’m not much for crowds and lines, and I figure I can somewhat avoid them by not going to the theater on the opening weekend. (That’s not the real reason I’m waiting. In reality, the person I promised to see it with is away for the weekend. But that’s a different story.) Of course, by waiting to see it, I run the risk of the film being spoiled by those who have.

It’s kind of hard to spoil a movie based on a book one has already read, though. Unless the script writers, who include The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, made some major changes to the plot, I know exactly what’s going to happen. At the same time, there’s something about seeing stills of a scene you wanted to witness in the theater or hearing exactly how an aspect was handled that detracts from the experience of anticipation.

Eventually I will see the film and there will be a belated review. Until then, I’m living like it’s March 22.

What are your thoughts on book-to-movie adaptations, and spoilage thereof?

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Movies and TV

 

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The Confessions of an Ex-Twilight Fanatic

My past self would have worshipped this poster on her knees.

With Breaking Dawn: Part One taking over the box office, these are dark times for those of us in stolid opposition to the Twilight franchise. From the poorly-written anti-feminist novels to the films stewing in their own angst, everything about the series is begging to be hated. However, all of those posters hanging around featuring Bella clinging to her pasty Edward with Jacob standing aside looking stoic and hunky are stirring up something terrible from my past: my days as a 12-year-old Twilight fangirl.

I used to love those books, I’m sorry to admit. I thought the first volume was surprinsingly well-written upon reading it, which is the exact opposite of my views today. I swooned over Edward, I cursed Jacob’s name, and I felt for Bella all the way through the series. Although I never saw the movies–I wasn’t much of a cinema-goer then–I adored the franchise. I spent hours stalking Stephenie Meyer’s website for any extras, and I could spend just as long on the phone with my older cousin expounding on Edward’s relative hotness. In fact, I think Edward was the first fictional guy I had a crush on, glittery skin and all. So how did a mere two years–and a lot of reading–completely turn around my view of the infamous Saga?

I just said it: a lot of reading. Reading Shakespeare, The Hunger Games, and in-between galore has led me to realize that there’s more to a good story than a plethora of attractive non-humans. Just because a book contains passionate kissing does not make it a great work of literature. At 12, I kind of lacked that understanding, having just started to tentatively step out of the realm of squeaky-clean Middle Grade. I thought Twilight pushed boundaries, made a statement. Yeah, right. Try reading Libba Bray, past self, if you want some quality writing that does that for real.

For your entertainment, here are a few excerpts from my original reviews of the Twilight Saga:

“This is an enjoyable, contemporary romance/fantasy that will keep readers turning pages.” –on Twilight (4 star review)

“This sequel to the popular Twilight is nearly as good as the first. However, Bella’s misery slows down the action and the reader is dragged down with it. I would still recommend that all fans of the first book read it, as it really provides key points and lead-ins to the final books.”–on New Moon (3 star review)

Extra reader insight: the only real reason I didn’t like this one was because there was so little of Edward.

“A fantastic, compelling entry in The Twilight Saga, Eclipse is sure to please fans with the suspense, thrills, and romance that Meyer piles on.” –on Eclipse (4.5 star review)

“The phenomenal finale to the hit teen series, Breaking Dawn will surely satisfy the reader’s thirst for romance and action alike. Don’t be daunted by the novel’s size; every word is worth it!” –on Breaking Dawn (4.5 star review)

Pardon me while I travel back in time to give my past self a smack upside the head.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2011 in Book Rambles, Movies and TV

 

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Just in case you haven’t seen the HG trailer yet…(and other notes)

Other Notes

First off, the Teens Can Write, Too blog chain (which is co-hosted by yours truly) is currently scheduling participants for the December chain. If you’re a teen or are in your early twenties and have a blog, automatically making you a writer, you should check out the chain and get involved! You can get more information and sign up here.

Secondly, John Hansen is hosting a contest over on his blog, The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer, in celebration of his 50th follower (congrats, John!). This little contest has already collected its entries–six-sentence stories from his readers–and is now in the voting stage. There are some great stories to be picked over and voted on, and it’ll only take a few minutes, so why not head over and take a look here? (Psst…vote for mine. Except I can’t tell you which one is mine, as they’re all anonymous. Oh…just vote.)

 
 

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Writing homework with one hand and a novel with the other

Hello, my dears. How have you been for these past, oh, ten days? I’ve been well, thanks. I wasn’t hit by a bus, abducted by space aliens, given the Dementor’s Kiss, or any similar untoward happening. I’ve just been busy–so busy, in fact, that the title of this post is almost not an exaggeration. Almost. I’m rather lacking in an extra hand with which to update the blog; I’ve been forced to finish up that dreaded HW quickly and put aside the novel in order to write this. Now that you’re aware of my circumstances, upwards and onwards with the post!

Just in case you haven’t heard yet, Cassandra Clare’s bestselling young-adult urban fantasy series, The Mortal Instruments, is finally making it to the big screen in 2012–read movie info so far here. I’m almost done reading book one of the series, City of Bones, and am loving every minute of it. I already have a copy of book two, City of Ashes, waiting in the wings. It’s such a relief to see some non-sparkly vampires in YA literature these days. And it’s painfully easy to fangirl over that darned Jace Wayland. The only trouble is, I’m not sure if the movie, which will be called “The Mortal Instruments,” is about Book One only, or if it’s the entire series, condensed. As I wouldn’t want to slide into the theater having only read City of Bones and unwittingly have spoilers thrust upon me, I’m going to (or am going to try to, at least) hedge my bets and get the entire series read before seeing the film. If anyone happens to have insider information–Hey, any big Hollywood names following my blog?–that will ease my worries and prevent me from having to gulp down books at an unnatural pace, please, do tell. Not that I’m expecting much from my crew of bookworms, teenage writers, and coffee shop WiFi users–you’re just not in that deep with the filmmaking industry, unless I’m sadly mistaken.

Anyway, my current first-priority reading goal is to finish The Mortal Instruments series before the movie. I also need to make my way through all those books I bought at the going-out-of-business sale, breaking that up for all the hot new reads coming out this fall–Mastiff! Inheritance! The Son of Neptune! How am I supposed to keep up, whilst-and-at-the-same-time writing a novel and various other scraps, and attending my freshman year of high school? And that’s not even mentioning my aspirations to become a Tortall aficionado.

I’m going to ration my time. Since I’m such a Hermione Granger-ish type (though lately I feel more like Luna Lovegood), homework is my first priority, and then any other school-related activities, such as lit mag. Various other must-dos come next, and the remaining time will be divided amongst reading, writing, and blogging about both.

I somehow doubt I'll be smiling this much.

 

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Book Rambles, Movies and TV, Personal, Writing

 

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You never forget your first Doctor…

So they say. If the common saying emblazoned across the t-shirts and bumper stickers of Doctor Who fans everywhere is to be believed, Matt Smith crash-landing in little Amelia Pond’s backyard will forever be in my heart.

I think I need to back up a little. See, just a month ago, I was ignorant. Sure, I’d heard of Doctor Who, but I knew little to nothing about it, and I hadn’t seen any of it. Then I started to notice buzz in the blogosphere and pretty much everywhere else online– a new season of Doctor Who was coming! When I admitted to Miriam that I’d never seen Doctor Who, the response was immediate and clear: watch it. Unfortunately, something is messed up about my cable, ’cause I don’t get BBC America. I shrugged and decided this was one thing I’d have to miss.

Talking to fellow geek-types at my new school in the past two weeks, I’ve learned that I’m missing out on a lot. Everyone loves the Doctor. After receiving a crash course on Doctor Who from a friend during study hall (sorry, English homework), I promised that over the weekend, I’d watch at least one episode, through Netflix or OnDemand.

And did I ever.

I watched the first episode of Season 5. Perhaps I jumped in too far, but thanks to the talk at school, I managed to keep up pretty well. I’d gotten so pumped about finally seeing Doctor Who that I squee’d the minute I saw the Tardis.

It was love at first watch. Doctor Who and I were made for each other–it’s quirky in a very British way, science-fiction-y, incredibly far-fetched, and, above all, epic. I’m definitely watching the next episode of Season 5 next weekend.

So, what think ye of the Doctor?

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Movies and TV

 

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The Last Harry Potter Film *SOB*

I don’t even know why I’m bothering to review Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two. It’ll only make sense to fans who have read all the books and/or seen all the movies, and said fans will not need any encouragement to see this final installment. But even if it’s not needed, I’ll encourage away: HP7 Part Two was above and beyond all expectations. I won’t specify, because every last detail was perfect; suffice it to say that as soon as Hedwig’s theme started playing and the credits started rolling, I shouted at the screen (jokingly, of course) “Play it again!” I’ll be going back a second time this week to see it in 3D.

No, the purpose of this post was not truly to review the film; it was to say what all Potter fans are likely thinking now that they’ve seen the last movie: What the heck do I do now? Well, of course we’ll all be reading the books and seeing the movies again. There’s Universal Resorts’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter, if we’re so inclined. We can go and get our pictures taken at the Platform 9 3/4 photo-op in King’s Cross Station in London. And, of course, come October, we’ll all be spending our days on Pottermore.

 Nevertheless, there is a certain emptiness that comes with the last movie coming out, because since 1997, when the first Harry Potter book came out, there’s always been something new in the series to look forward to. Now, in the summer of 2011, the final movie is out and the grand saga is over. No, let me amend that: I prefer to say it is complete. The saga is complete, but as long as we continue to read and watch and experience Potter, it is never over.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Movies and TV

 

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