Posts Tagged ‘Film’

catching fire posterBottom Line:

Rent it, buy it, or don’t bother? — Buy it.

Details:

[No spoilers.]

Did anyone expect Catching Fire not to be amazing? Because it was. But it also left me a little overwhelmed. I loved the movie, I truly did, but part of me is still looking for something. Something more? Maybe. Something else? Possibly.

I don’t know what it is, and I can’t explain it. I’m not disappointed, not in the slightest. But I’m hoping to see it again soon. I think that will help me get my thoughts in order.

But no one has time for that now! You guys want to know how the movie was, and I’m here to tell you that it was spectacular.

Cinematically, the movie was beautiful. District 12 was drab and full of sorrow, the Capitol was lively and full of color, the arena was sprawling and dangerous, and the CGI was impeccable. There really are no complaints here.

The acting was, of course, spot on. We have to talk about Jennifer Lawrence’s performance because it stole the show every single time. She’s so great at moving between the truly emotional scenes, whether she’s scared or upset, and the hilarious scenes, of which there are plenty. Her interactions with the other tributes, particularly Johanna and Finnick, are laugh out loud funny. She makes the best faces.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta really stepped it up in this movie. He’s exactly the Peeta I pictured from the book, and the more I see him, the more I’m convinced Suzanne Collins actually based the character off of the actor. Liam Hemsworth was great as Gale, even considering his limited screen time. Haymitch and Cinna continue to be some of my favorites, and I really thought Effie’s emotional scenes were particularly touching.

The Victory Tour was poignant, and the Games were frightening. I often found myself tensed up in my seat even though I knew exactly what was going to happen. That’s the mark of a great movie.

And speaking of being a great movie, this truly was a fantastic adaptation. I haven’t read the book in a while, but a lot of little details that stuck out in my mind were in the film. There was one particular scene that was missing, but in the end I actually think it may have been an asset for viewers who hadn’t read the books.

The highlights for me were just the beauty and scope of the movie and Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. That ending shot right before the credits roll… Wow. You can see every thought and every emotion on her face, and it sent chills down my spine.

Let me know what you thought about Catching Fire in the comments. Remember that while this review was spoiler-free, the comments won’t be. I look forward to discussing the movie with you guys!

Iron Man 3 PosterThis is a spoiler free review. It’s not even a review, per se, but my thoughts about why I loved what they did with Tony’s character in Iron Man 3.

Because, you see, they made him human.

Okay, yes. He was already human. But that’s kind of not the point. He acted human, and I think that’s something a lot of superhero movies forget to take into consideration.

There are a lot of superheros out there that aren’t fully human, not like you or me at least. Superman. Spider-Man. The Hulk. Thor. Any of the X-Men. The Fantastic Four. And, of course, a lot of their opponents — Magneto, Venom, Loki, Thanos, etc. etc.

There are fewer superheroes that can be called human. Batman is obviously a huge one. Tony Stark is too.

I think the recent Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan did a great job of humanizing Bruce Wayne. Some of it was still a little out there, but you know what? It’s a superhero movie. It’s supposed to be.

But if you take a look at some of these other characters – the ones that are more human than, say, Superman – they sort of welcome their new powers with open arms, don’t they? Peter Parker decided to sew his own suit and run around catching bad guys. Someone like Rogue obviously struggled with discovering her power, but instead of being driven mad, she struck out on her own to try and survive away from the civilization that she knew would judge and persecute her.

Me? I’d probably go crazy if I realized I could shoot freaking spider webs out of my hands or suck the life force out of my boyfriend.

Not all superhero movies have the time to explore this theme, and that’s fine. I’m not complaining. I love these movies. But it’s nice to see a movie go down that road, make it a part of the storyline, and not have it detract from the awesomeness of the film.

So. Iron Man 3.

Tony Stark Iron Man 3

I loved it. I thought it had a little bit of everything – action, humor, emotion, sincerity, and a lot of Tony Stark. (Because you just can’t go wrong with Tony Stark.) And that’s about as much as I’ll say about the actual movie – just because I want to talk about something else in particular. If you want a real (spoiler-free) review, check out my friend’s over on Gamerscene or Mr. Sunday Movies (for a video review – also spoiler free). If you want a spoiler-heavy place to discuss the movie with fans, check out Hypable.

The absolute best thing about this movie is the way they portrayed Tony. He’s out of his suit quite a bit. He has to make due without his fancy gadgets at some point, and it makes him vulnerable. It also makes him scared.

Tony has to deal with anxiety attacks in this film. And after what happened in New York City in The Avengers, it should come as no surprise. But it was surprising, because Tony’s always been cool. He’s always been calm and cocky. And so many other superheroes face down the supernatural and keep going on with their lives. Captain America is a great example of this. Sure, he’s sort of super human, but he’s still very much a man of the ’40s. And yet he faced the Red Skull, became a capsicle for 70 years, and woke up to a completely new world in which there’s Norse gods and giant green men and aliens coming out of a wormhole in the sky?

It’s actually a wonder he didn’t just jump back in the ocean.

Tony dealt with it while it was happening. It’s not like he really had a choice. But once he got home? Once the adrenaline receded and he could relax? He was a changed person. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t stop building Iron Man suits. He couldn’t function in society. He had anxiety for the first time in his life, and – in my opinion – that made him an even better character.

It’s always been hard to relate to Tony. He was never really a true underdog, was he? He always had the money and the cars and the gadgets and the girls. You obviously feel sorry for him, and you like him, and you root for him, but he doesn’t exactly represent the masses, does he? Someone like Cap will always have more of an underdog origin story.

But in Iron Man 3Tony finally becomes a pleb. He’s finally one of us. He’s scared and vulnerable and he doesn’t have his suit to protect him every step of the way. He’s desperate, and I think that’s the first time he’s felt that way since he had to find a more permanent (and convenient) way to stay alive than hooking up a car battery to his heart. And even that didn’t last long. He went on living life in mostly the same way.

Iron Man 3 SnowUntil New York happened.

Now he’s different. He’s paranoid and he’s angry and he’s so, so scared. This is how a normal human being would react to everything Tony’s gone through, and it’s finally made Tony accessible to the rest of us.

Who knows if there’s going to be an Iron Man 4. Who knows where Tony is going to go from here after everything that’s happened in this movie, but whatever does happen, I hope he stays this way. I love the old Tony, but I love this one too, and the writers showed us that they can balance hilarious one-liners with heartfelt emotion.

If we get more of that in a sequel, I say bring it on.

Have you watched Iron Man 3 yet? What did you think? Do you like the changes that Tony went through, or do you prefer the old Tony? (Note that the comments may contain spoilers!)

Warm Bodies Dead Sexy PosterBottom Line:

Watch it.

Details:

[No spoilers.]

Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the book, but there were some things that I thought took away from the story line. If you’ve read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Zombie marriage? Yeah, weird. Or all that going in and out of Perry’s memories, and then interacting with him while R was dreaming? It was confusing because you couldn’t always tell what was real and what wasn’t.

I still liked it, but I enjoyed the movie even more.

It kept the tone of the book, which was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. It was humorous and actually kind of uplifting, but it was also real and – yeah, I’m going to say it – kind of believable. It wasn’t cheesy and it had the whole theatre laughing. By the end of the movie, you were smiling from ear to ear.

And then you remembered. You just walked out of a zombie film.

Kind of strange, but it works. Now, if you’re not a fan of zombies (and I won’t blame you if you aren’t), I’d still suggest giving this movie a try. There were maybe three parts that were actually kind of gross, and it didn’t last long. Most of the movie is not focused on zombies eating people. Instead, it’s focused on how R is changing and becoming more and more human.

It’s also not scary. That was a concern of mine. I’m just about the biggest wimp you could ever hope to meet, and I only jumped once (and that was just because I was so into the movie and there was a gunshot and it took me by surprise!). But there really aren’t any zombies that jump out. (Whew.)

As I said, the film smoothed out the storyline quite a bit. They kept in all the parts I enjoyed the most, and took out the ones that I didn’t like. They added some newer scenes, and this actually helped to transition the story from one story line to another. Not only that, but the added bits at the end were a lot more satisfying than the ending of the book.

The acting was fabulous. I felt terrible for Nicholas Hoult – who is a great actor – because he spent most of the movie just grunting and groaning. Teresa Palmer (Julie) was a wonderful mix of being tough and vulnerable, which is something I enjoyed immensely about the character when I read the book. She captured her personality beautifully. Analeigh Tipton (Nora) wasn’t quite so prominent, but she had a lot of great lines and really caught your attention every time she was on screen.

All the supporting actors were wonderful as well. Rob Coddry as M got in most of the funny lines, and it was cool seeing him transform into a more human character as a side effect of what R was going through. John Malkovich always draws my attention when he’s on screen (I just love the way he delivers his lines), and he played an intelligent and intimidating leader without going over the top. Dave Franco played Perry, and although his part was small, he essentially had to play the same character at vastly different parts in time, so it was almost like playing two different characters all together.

In the end, this was a rom-com that just happened to feature zombies. It wasn’t over done, it wasn’t cheesy, and it wasn’t gory. It was a nice mix of everything, and I can’t wait to watch it again. It you want to watch something unique and refreshing, I highly recommend you go see Warm Bodies!

Have you seen it? If so, what did you think about it? If not, do you think you might give it a try?

Warm Bodies Book CoverI first heard about Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion when I saw the trailer for the movie. I watched it and was pleasantly surprised that it actually looked good, despite the kind of ridiculous sounding story line.

What’s the story line, you might ask? Well, it’s a zombie love story.

Yeah. A zombie love story.

And I’m not just talking about two people falling in love while zombies are on the loose. I’m not even talking about two zombies falling in love. I’m talking about a regular girl and a zombie falling in love.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Zombies are gross (true) and girls falling in love with dead supernatural beings has been done (also true).

But the cool thing about this book is that it’s different. It’s fast-paced and refreshing. It’s honest, raw, and unique. It’s a spin on zombies that I haven’t seen before, and it’s nice to see them (some of them at least) acting kind of human.

Even though I really enjoyed this book, I do have to say it read like an outline. I wanted a more fleshed out (ha ha) story. The different scenes sometimes bled into each and it got confusing. The premise lends itself to this sort of writing, but I’m not sure it always worked. I enjoyed the story so much that I wanted more of everything – more of R’s thoughts (he’s the zombie), more interaction with Julie, more confrontations, more backstories, more, more, more.

I guess that’s both a good thing and a bad thing – I left feeling a little let down, a little empty inside. But I also wanted more. I enjoyed living in this world so much that I didn’t want to give it up. I heard he’s going to be writing a sequel, so maybe I’ll get what I want when that gets published.

I do recommend the book, though it seems to fall into a strange category. Those who like love stories a la Twilight might not be totally into this, but those who love zombies might not like this softer version of the genre. It’s good for people who like zombies well enough, but can’t really get into the blood-and-guts that usually come with it.

I’m highly anticipating this movie. Check out the trailer below:


 

It looks weird and creepy and funny and awesome all at once. It captures the essence of the book pretty well, and some of my favorite scenes from the book are in the trailer. I’m also hoping that the filmmakers are able to fill in some of the gaps that left us hanging in the book. The novel is only about 150 pages long, so it was probably fairly easy to adapt into a screenplay. Here’s to hoping that it’s a faithful adaption and that it’s a runaway success!

Have you read the book? Looking forward to the movie? If this isn’t usually your cup of tea, would you be willing to give it a shot?

P.S. Here’s a review of the movie from someone who got to see it early. It’s a little spoilery, so I’d avoid it until you’ve read the book!

Bottom Line:

Watch it.

Details:

[No spoilers]

So, last week I shared my thoughts on the TV show Firefly. This week, I’m here to talk about Serenity, the follow-up movie that was made in 2005. As I mentioned before, Firefly only made it through the first season before it was taken from the air. Joss Whedon decided to make a movie to tie up loose ends and give loyal fans of the show some closure.

Whereas Firefly was a show about Mal and his crew, Serenity was very much a movie about Simon and River. River was the driving force behind the plot in Firefly in a lot of ways. It was because of her that the crew had to keep running from the Alliance – more than usual, anyway. But in the movie, River is the plot. She begins to act out, sometimes in dangerous ways, and Simon has to find a way to control her before Mal is forced to kick her off the ship. All this goes down while they have an intelligent and deadly assassin right on their heels.

So, how did this movie shape up against the show? Fairly well, actually. I watched it a few days after I saw the season finale of Firefly and I didn’t notice any major discrepancies. It felt exactly the same – just like an extra long episode. There were some things that threw me off a little bit, but I wasn’t sure if that was because I wasn’t paying attention, or because the movie didn’t do a good job of explaining it.

I definitely liked knowing a bit more about River and what it was like to be inside her head. She’s an incredible character with such a rich and complex personality. Summer Glau had a lot of time to shine in this movie, and she definitely delivered. Simon was also a bit more fleshed out, which was nice to see. I especially liked seeing some of the more lighthearted moments that they both brought to the table this time around.

I also liked some of the development with the other characters. Certain relationships came to a close. I’m happy with all of them, even if they all didn’t get a happy ending (and that’s as much as I’m going to say about that).  I’ve come to terms with it, and regardless of my personal feelings, it was good storytelling.

Also? Best tagline ever.

I also want to point out that River is not someone I’d want to mess with. She had some pretty action-packed fight sequences in the movie, and I was so, so happy to see that. Again, Summer Glau was just incredible and there was some beautiful choreography here.

So, what didn’t I like? Well, I didn’t like that it was over. These characters are so realistic and well thought out that you end up investing a lot of time and emotion into them. It’s sad to think that we might never get something new from this world.

It also left a few questions open. One in particular was Book’s backstory. It wasn’t a necessary thing to know, and maybe it was Joss’ way of leaving room open for a sequel of some sort, but I would’ve liked to have known who he really was.

Have you watched Firefly yet? What about Serenity?  What did you think of them? Was there anything in Serenity that didn’t sit well with you?

Please note that the comments section is NOT a spoiler-free zone. Feel free to talk about anything to do with Firefly and Serenity, as I’d really like to have a good discussion with other fans of the show. If you haven’t seen either one yet, proceed into the comments with caution!

Hey everyone! I’m over on Ddog’s blog today talking about the five things I’m MOST looking forward to in The Avengers, which is coming out in ONE WEEK. Go on over there and see what I have to say – and don’t forget to comment! I’d love to know what you’re most looking forward to in this movie.

A few weeks ago Ddog guest posted for me and asked us if the Spider-Man reboot movie was a good idea. If you missed it (or just forgot to comment!) head on over there and show him some love.

I’ll check into ROW on Sunday, and on Monday I’ll have a nice and shiny new post for you. Let’s see if you can figure out what it’ll be. Here are three clues: blue, hair, and travel. (No cheating! Leave your guesses in the comments below.)

Bottom Line:

Watch It.

Details:

[No spoilers!]

This isn’t really a movie, but a one hour Comedy Central special by my all time favorite comedian – Gabriel Iglesias. Gabriel is a gut-busting hilarious guy. He can do what other comedians rarely can: stay funny. I wouldn’t call him family friendly, exactly – he does talk about sex and sometimes he swears, but he is much more PG than a lot of other comedians out there. He’s great at poking fun at himself and he does awesome sound effects. Seriously, how can anyone not love this guy?

This is his first Comedy Central special. He’s been on the scene for a while before this, but this is the video that really got him going. And it’s been all laughs and chocolate cake since then.

There isn’t too much more I can say about this special, other than to watch it. I don’t want to ruin any of the jokes, so all I’ll say is: “fluffy,” “doughnuts,” “cops,” and “but it was funny, huh?”

If you don’t believe me, check out one of the best clips from his show down below. You can actually watch pretty much the whole thing online!


 
He’s had a couple more shows out since then, and they only get better! My favorite clip from I’m Not Fat…I’m Fluffy! is “The Chocolate Cake Made Me Late.” And even though it has nothing to do with this special, I can’t just walk away and not provide a clip for it:


 
So, if I didn’t already love Gabriel, the next bit of information would seal the deal: this guy is one of the nicest ones you’ll ever meet. Now, I’ve seen him once live, but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him. However, you can just tell the type of person he is. At our show, he went well over his time limit and he even took requests to do favorite jokes from previous specials. He took questions from the crowd, too! He always says that if you see him out in public, to never be afraid to approach him. He’s happy to sign autographs and stop for pictures, no matter what. And here’s two little tidbits from his website:

Gabriel once did a meet and greet at an El Paso Best Buy store that lasted over 5 hours. He signed autographs and posed for photos with every person in line.

And…

Gabriel’s longest show ever was over 4 hours long and he still did a meet and greet after that took another 2 hours.

It isn’t often that entertainers care so much about their fans and have the patience to do things that Gabriel does. All I have to say is… THANK YOU MR. IGLESIAS-WITH-AN-I.

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Today I’m lucky enough to have my friend Ddog, from Gamerscene, over here at my blog! He’s a fellow movie junkie, and I love reading his movie reviews. But he’s got so much more than that! He also reviews video games and books, has some opinion pieces he calls “rage segments,” and even has polls every once in a while (and who doesn’t love a good poll?). It’s great having you here, Ddog, thanks for guest posting for me!!

*****

Hello everyone! Ddog here from gamerscene.wordpress.com, and it’s an honor to be here at Karen’s blog: The Midnight Novelist!

Spiderman…a name that brings mixed emotions. I grew up watching the first one, fascinated by the costume and the sinister Green Goblin. Didn’t we all enjoy the first? It’s a classic. But then the second and the third Spiderman movies came out, and they visibly declined in quality each time. But I’m not here to talk about how terrible Spiderman 3 was. I’m here to do a bit of an analysis, answering the following questions: Why did this movie get made? Is this the correct time to release this movie? Will it be successful? These are questions that I’m sure everyone is scratching their heads to.

Why is a Spiderman reboot being made? Well, Spiderman 4 was supposed to be created, until the Spidey himself said no to another installment. But why? The Spiderman movies were always the top at the box office! Tobey Maguire would rack up a ton of cash, so why would he deny another opportunity? Well, the script of Spiderman 4 sent Peter Parker back to high school, and Tobey didn’t want that. He refused to join in, being 34. The director of the first three films dropped out of the franchise with him.

Word was always going around that the cast of the original three dreaded the work, too. They supposedly hated working on the movies. Why? That’s been kept under wraps, but everyone knows that when people don’t enjoy their work, they don’t perform their best. Maybe it was a good thing that Tobey bailed. I never liked the guy anyways.

Let’s take a quick break. Do you remember how Peter Parker beat up the goons chasing Mary Jane? And after that, he kissed her upside down in the pouring rain? Well, that scene was extremely difficult to film. Tobey Maguire kept getting water in his nose. On the topic of Spiderman, I have to bring that up.

BUT…back on topic. Is this the correct time to reboot the Spiderman franchise? It’s been ten years. We have to introduce the youngsters to the friendly neighborhood Spider Man, right? Unfortunately, the youngsters aren’t the ones who purchase movie tickets and popcorn. The adults have to flock to the film, but will they?  At the moment, there’s a grand coffee stain on the jeans of Spiderman. Not even Oxi-Clean can remove it. That stain is the Spiderman Broadway show, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.

 

This production has been a train-wreck since it premiered. Concussions and injuries and technical issues are crumbling its reputation. It has been postponed and delayed as well. But who cares about Broadway productions? What does that have to do with the movie? Well, it could have some effect. I highly doubt that those who saw the musical are extremely eager to see the film. But that’s just a small population of people. Will it have a huge impact on the film? We can’t know until the movie is released, but there are other factors that lure (and repel) people to the theaters.

The actors. Let’s talk about the faces in this flick. There’s no Leonardo DiCaprio or Tom Hanks, but a more youthful, fresher cast. First, let’s start with the new Spidey himself, Andrew Garfield. What’s he from? He’s worked on some TV shows and movies, but his biggest film is The Social Network, the movie telling the story of Facebook. I greatly enjoyed his performance, and I feel confident that he could pull of emotional scenes in this movie. Spiderman is an emotional superhero, after all.

Emma Stone. I will be honest, I know her film history, but I haven’t seen many of her big movies. I cannot make an opinion fairly, so I will leave that for you to think on…I liked her in Zombieland, however. Moving on. Martin Sheen is highly prestigious. Other than those three names, no other star caught my eye. This can be an issue. People don’t know who Andrew Garfield is. He is the leading man, after all. Luckily, the name “Spiderman” is known to us all, so the cast may not be a big factor to reel people in.

Now, let’s look at the timing of this release. July 3rd of 2012. That’s two months after The Avengers is released. I have a strong feeling that the success of The Amazing Spiderman financially relies on the success of the Avengers. But why? Spiderman isn’t in it. But there is speculation that he could be. Here is a post I recently typed up on Peter Parker possibly being spotted in the Avengers trailer, which is right here. But anyways, The Avengers will leave a taste in the viewer’s mouth concerning superheroes…either a good taste, of being satisfied and entertained, or a bad one, showing the atrocity of superheroes. If this movie is bad, I don’t think that people will be so eager to dive into another superhero franchise. After all, it’s been years of cinema leading up to The Avengers. People have high expectations. The Amazing Spiderman seems so tiny in comparison to The Avengers. One hero opposed to six…two months after the huge project.

This, of course, is just speculation. Who knows? There’s always a dark horse every year at the box office, and 2012 has yet to see one. Who would have guessed that Avatar, a movie with a plot as generic as it gets, would make as much money as it did? Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved that movie, but who honestly expected the lines that suddenly sprouted infront of theaters and the hype that emerged after opening night?

Thanks for reading!  But it’s not about me, it’s about you. What do you think of this reboot? Is it a good idea to launch the Spidey franchise once again for round two?  Let me know in the comments and check out my blog for reviews, rage segments, and polls. Thanks for having me, Karen!
~Ddog

Bottom Line:

Watch it.

Details:

[Minor Spoilers]

About a month ago I talked to you about Raging Phoenix, which has the same female lead as this movie. This movie is pretty different and about a hundred times better! Chocolate is about Zen, an autistic girl that has the ability to learn martial arts just from watching movies, playing video games, or watching other people. Her mother is very sick, and in order to get money for her hospital bills, Zen and Moom, her best friend/cousin (I’m not sure if he’s actually her cousin, but he does call Zen’s mom “auntie”) decide to get it from people that owe money to her mother’s old gang. Zin (the mother) has long since fallen out from the gang, so this doesn’t sit well with its leaders. Either way, it puts Zen in the perfect sort of situation to really kick some butt!

This movie is so full of lovely and perfect things, but let’s start with the obvious: the fighting. The fighting in this movie is very Jackie Chan-esque (this could also be because I watched Rumble in the Bronx on the same day). It’s got the same sort of flare for comedic moments, and the same style that finds the protagonist using ordinary objects to beat up her attackers. (Technically she’s the attacker and they’re just unfortunate, but I’m not going to split hairs.) Just like with Raging Phoenix, I found the fight sequences much more engaging than in most American made movies.

Jeeja Yanin is a great actress. She did an incredible job portraying an autistic child in the movie, and some of her scenes were really heart-wrenching and beautiful. On top of that, the other characters were likeable (or hateable, respectfully), and I really liked Moom. There’s a scene where she first starts fighting and the way she imitates the movies she’s seen is both hysterical and incredibly adorable.

The writing for this movie is much better, and the storyline is much more concrete. There wasn’t any pacing problems, and it was much less cheesy. And although the ending is still a little sad, it is much more hopeful and realistic than Raging Phoenix’s.

I have very little to say on the negative side. Some of the fight sequences dragged a little bit and you really start to wonder how long these people can last after being beat up so many times. On the flip side, though, I think it’s much more realistic than them getting punched once and then never getting up again.

I’m sitting here trying to balance this out a little more, but I honestly can’t. I really, really enjoyed this movie. Even though this came out before Raging Phoenix, I suggest watching Chocolate after you see the other one. That way you don’t get your hopes up for Phoenix, and you’ll appreciate this one more. 🙂

Here’s the trailer if you’re interested. It is definitely worth your time!


 
Also, I’m posting this now realizing that it is Autism Awareness Month. How perfect is that? I’d be interested to know what they did “right” and what they did “wrong” in this film. I know Jeeja did a lot of research for her role, so I hope that it’s believable to someone who has a little more experience with autistic children than I do. Let me know what you guys think of it once you’ve seen it!

Bottom Line:

Watch it.

Details:

[Light spoilers]

I’m going to try really hard not to go crazy on this review because I know a lot of people are going to be talking about this movie, but I just wanted to throw in my two cents. [EDIT: Obviously this is me trying not to go crazy and failing completely. Sorry about that.]

(P.S. Here’s a great review from a movie writer at Hypable. Definitely worth your time, and a bit more technical than mine will be if that’s your thing. And here’s a fellow movie reviewer’s take on it. We’re both fans of the books and our reviews definitely echo each other’s, so you’ve got to know the movie was that good! AND here’s another one by a fellow blogger. She has a few different opinions, and that’s always great to read about! And, lastly, here’s a fellow nerd’s take on the film.)

Now, I’m a little biased. I was SO pumped for this movie. I’ve read all three books several times, and I love each and every one for a different reason. When I heard that they were coming out with a movie, I was extremely excited. Of course there was a little bit of fear and doubt in the back of my mind – films like Harry Potter and Twilight haven’t been super faithful to the books. And, you know, that’s fine! There’s reasons why things had to be cut and regardless of my personal opinion of how it was handled, I do understand that.

I had nothing to worry about when it came to THG.

(On a side note, [NERD WARNING] I was so excited that it literally felt like Christmas morning for me. I woke up at 4:30 and was like, Ugh, way too early. Then I woke up again at 6:30. That was fine. 6:30 I could do. I was too energized by the thought that I was finally going to see this movie to go back to sleep anyway.)

The acting was incredible. Jennifer Lawrence lived up to the expectation that everyone had of her. I’m so glad she was cast, and incredibly proud of her for stepping into these shoes. She had a lot of pressure on her shoulders, and boy did she deliver.

Peeta was great and so was Prim. I thought Gale was a little lacking, but then again he didn’t have a lot of screen time. Haymitch and Effie were wonderful, and I loved that their back-and-forth relationship translated so well from book to movie. I’d have to say that – aside from Katniss – my favorite character was Rue. She didn’t have a whole lot of screen time, but she owned it when she was there. I could probably write an entire essay on why I love her character – both in the books and in the movie – so much. Her main scene (you know the one I’m talking about…) was incredibly powerful. I wish I could say exactly what I loved about it, but I do want to try to stay away from spoilers.

I don’t cry that often (especially not in crowded movie theatres), but this movie definitely brought me to tears in a few places (if you’ve read the books, you know exactly what places those are). The acting is just that commanding.

The actual adaptation of the book was incredible. They left very, very little out. And, you know what? What they did leave out wasn’t necessary to the plot anyway. I’m not upset at all. They did add a few scenes, which was a great idea. I think a few of them worked better than others, but nothing felt out of place. One of my favorite parts of the movie as a whole was what we saw in the Gamemaker’s Center. That was really cool!

So, what were things that I had problems with? Well, everyone is citing the “shaky-cam” as one of the biggest problems. In the very beginning I did have trouble with it – it was just a little too shaky. But this pretty much drops off once you hit the Capitol, which I think does a lot for the film stylistically. Some of the action scenes at the end were similar to the beginning and it was hard to follow the fight sequences. I like seeing the fighting and the moving around in these places, so I didn’t enjoy the close-up immediacy of the style that Gary Ross (the director) used. Overall, though, it wasn’t as bad as a lot of people were making it out to be.

There were some other small things. I wished that Katniss had played up to the cameras more, like she did in the books. That was a really enjoyable thread for me in the series – her extreme consciousness of the audience that was watching her. I wished that we saw and/or knew that the mutts had the eyes of the Tributes. I felt like that really showed how sick the Capitol was, plus it does sort of become more important later on. I didn’t particularly like how the cornucopia turned out, but I thought it served its purpose well in the end.

But, really, how important were these things? Not important at all, just things I enjoyed “seeing” in the books and was hoping to see in the movie. No big deal.

The CGI was not fantastic, but it didn’t throw me off or anything. The mutts could have been better, but the scene was at night and the semi-darkness allowed them to leave some of the details out. I didn’t mind. The flames were…I’m not sure. I loved them, but they were a little off for me too. But you know what? They weren’t supposed to be real anyway, so I think it’s fine that they looked a little different, a little otherworldly. The only thing that I’m genuinely concerned about is [SPOILER WARNING] the fact that Katniss doesn’t actually love Peeta right away. I don’t think this was an easy conclusion to come to in the movie, until *maybe* the end. But, I’m sure we’ll get more of this in Catching Fire. [END SPOILER WARNING]

There were some things that genuinely surprised me. I went in thinking this wasn’t going to be a funny movie (and it’s not, just to clarify). I heard Woody Harrelson was taking Haymitch down a notch, so I thought we wouldn’t really see a whole lot of humor. Wrong. This is by no means a comedy, but I definitely laughed out loud in a few parts. There are some really witty scenes.

The way in which Ross and his team put you in the movie is actually incredible. The close-up shots and the shaky-cam both do this, but not to the extent that the sound of the movie does. The Tracker Jacker sequence was in-cred-ible. I loved how it was shot and edited, and you just knew exactly how Katniss was feeling. This same thing comes later after the explosion. The sound gets muted and you can tell that her hearing isn’t quite right. There are also some other small places in which this happens, such as when she’s nervous to be on stage with Caesar Flickerman and he has to ask her the question a second time.

I also liked how the beginning started with text on the screen explaining the Reaping. I felt that this was a simple solution to the problem of giving the backstory. I didn’t want them to waste time developing that, so I was glad to see they did it in this way. Also, the little details really made me excited, like seeing Buttercup or Prim adjusting her little duck tail.

I read a lot of books and I watch a lot of movies. This is by far the most faithful adaptation that I’ve seen. I can’t sing any higher praise for it. If you haven’t yet, read the books. They’re powerful and incredible and poignant and relevant. Then go see the movie. It’s just as good, and in some ways develops the story further than what Suzanne Collins was allowed to do in the books. If you can’t be bothered with the books, please go watch the movie anyway. You won’t be confused. They do a great job of setting up this world and really immersing you in it. Caesar Flickerman serves as the host of the Games and they cut to him to explain certain things to the people in the Capitol (and, as a result, to the movie-going audience). I went with two other people who had read the books and one who did not. The one who didn’t read them beforehand wasn’t confused at all, and all four of us came out loving it.

I can’t wait to see it again. I think I’ll probably have to give in later this week. I just don’t know if I can wait that much longer until it comes out on DVD…