With the exception of a couple of blips, I like the Hunger Games book series. One of the blips was the first person present tense narration, which was carried over into the film adaptation in the form of a lot of unnecessary and annoying close-up shaky-cam work. With director Gary Ross replaced by Francis Lawrence for the sequel, I hoped that Catching Fire might be an improvement over The Hunger Games.
A pair of traumatized teens are forced to compete in a second bout of televised gladiatorial combat after they become symbols of rebellion against the government.
I went into Catching Fire hoping for it to be a little better than The Hunger Games but I was surprised to find that it was a LOT better. They got rid of the confusing direction. They took more time to explore the dystopian aspects of the world. And best of all they didn’t shove the main character’s other (more suitable) love interest aside this time.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
I really like the first two books in this series – especially this one because the character of Gale and his obvious suitability to Katniss isn’t so easily dismissed. But the movie version of the first one was disappointing. Drably colored and jerkily filmed, it took away from the important story and the (mostly) good acting (sorry Josh Hutcherson). There’s a new director this time. Obviously he hasn’t done anything about the grey-on-grey color palate. There’s a chance he didn’t give the camera to a palsy sufferer and tell them to shoot the whole movie 3 inches from Jennifer Lawrence’s face, but I can’t really tell. Trailers are all so frenetically cut anyway. I guess I’ll have to see the whole movie to find out.
I thought this movie looked funny in its original French version. With Vince Vaughn…. slightly less funny. I’m just not a fan of his. And he plays the same character every time – the everyman slacker who’s bitter and sarcastic but somehow ends up with a girlfriend anyway. BUT I will probably see this movie at some point. Why? Because Chris Pratt. I mean, how long did he have to sit there with a straight face and let a little girl slap him to get that scene down? The kids seem okay too, though most of the boys look more like they could be Chris Pratt’s kids than Vince Vaughn’s. Especially the coffee shop kid with the tie.
I think the idea of an old guy walking to Nebraska to claim winnings from a bogus sweepstakes accompanied by his skeptical son is funny. I also think Will Forte can be funny. But, watching the trailer… I worry that the movie will be slow and boring. A lot of talking heads. So I’ll probably pass it by.
DAY OF THE DOCTOR
This will also be on TV if you’ve got BBC, but if you don’t and you’re a big Doctor Who fan, you should know that on Saturday, a lot of theaters will be showing it on the big screen. In 3D. So break out your Tom Baker scarves and your Matt Smith bow ties and nerd it up with fellow fans. I won’t be going, though, as I’m not a fan of the new Doctor Who and the only doctors it really features are Matt Smith (#11), David Tennant (#10), and John Hurt (#8.5 sort of). My favorite is #8: Paul McGann.
We didn’t get any new movies at our theater this week, which was just as well. I didn’t really want to watch the movie adaptation of the book I hated too much to finish (The Book Thief). Or the movie that made no sense in a trailer that was set to a song about rape (Best Man Holiday). I did, however, want to see About Time when it came out a couple of weeks ago, eclipsed by Thor: The Dark World and Ender’s Game.
A young lawyer with a genetic ability to travel in time uses his power to make sure the woman he loves falls in love with him.
Time travel stories are difficult to pull off. It’s very easy to get tripped up by your own world rules and end up breaking them just to keep the story moving in the direction you want. About Time makes it look easy, though, largely by devoting almost no thought to the mechanics and all its thought to the romance – which is sweet but not syrupy. The whole thing is extremely well done.
Thor isn’t my favorite superhero. He’s not even my favorite Avenger. But when I’m ranking my favorite standalone films, Thor’s come second only to Iron Man’s. Why? Two reasons: hilarity and scienceyness. Thor was hilarious in the first half and then mostly gave way to smashing and arguing, and when I saw the trailer for The Dark World I was worried it would be ALL smashing and arguing.
Thor enlists his untrustworthy brother Loki’s help when dark elves try to unleash a weapon that will turn the universe into dark matter.
Luckily, my fears were completely unfounded. Thor: the Dark World was peppered with jokes and fun scienceyness all the way through, which officially makes it even better than the first film. I loved it and if you’re into sci-fi or action comedies, I think you will too, even if you haven’t seen Thor or The Avengers.
THOR: THE DARK WORLD
Thor! Hey buddy! Good to see you again! Any chance you’re gonna take a few minutes in this movie to stumble over some hilarious Earth customs? I’d love to be able to add something like ‘Thor Goes to the Grocery Store’ or ‘Thor Uses an ATM’ to my list of potential Marvel picture book plotlines. No? You plan on smashing things and arguing with Loki for two straight hours? Yeah, that’s what the trailer looked like. I just thought I’d ask. I’ll still come, of course. Because there’s Team Thor/Jane/Loki. But in the future, if you want to throw in a little more ‘myeh myeh,’ I’ll be really happy.
KILL YOUR DARLINGS
Ugh. Please, no more Beat Poets! They’re so pretentious and annoying! And the stories about their lives are always so messed up and depressing. I’m sorry, Daniel Radcliffe, you’re very good. But there’s no way I’m seeing this movie.
Looks cool. It’s like the Into Thin Air for K2. They make it seem like there’s a big conspiracy but then one of the reviewer quotes describes it as a cliffhanger… I hope she meant literally because I don’t want to see it if they don’t at least decide on a theory as to what happened to everyone.
Apologies for the late review. I’ve been having problems with my home internet connection.
As a space-battle obsessed kid, I was a big fan of Ender’s Game. I even read the sequels, though most of them were too religious/political for my liking. Orson Scott Card’s opinions on religion and politics also threatened to ruin this movie because they pissed off potential ticket buyers.
To save humanity from a second alien invasion, a young prodigy trains to lead an attack fleet by playing war games.
If you’re are a fan of Ender’s Game or space battles but not a fan of Orson Scott Card’s opinions, you should know that boycotting the movie won’t hurt him. He was paid off for the rights long ago, so your money will go to the studio to encourage them to make more movies about space battles. Which they should, because this one is pretty awesome.