Friday, November 29, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

This movie cinches the likelihood that Katniss will move from no 2 to no 1 on the list of cat names. I digress.
Signs of rebellion are everywhere. It's the 75th annual Hunger Games- and oh wait, there's a CATCH! Now that Katniss is so popular, and her symbolic mockingjay is being used as a symbol of freedom and dissent, it just might be time to revoke that "once you win you never go back" rule.
So back goes Katniss and the band of 25 year old "teenagers" to fight to the kill.  But Katniss, being a brave and smart girl, seems constantly to be thinking  "what's wrong with this picture?".
I won't spoil it, because if you haven't read the book written for adventuresome 12 year olds, you won't want to know how it goes.
The special effects are great.  The acting is great - though I take exception to the lack of expressiveness on Jennifer Lawrence's face- in fact, the very last scene made me chuckle. She is supposed to be showing a new resolve and determination and what it really looks like is she is going from bored to not so bored!

About Time

Boy, the holidays make me late with this review! This is a sweet love story movie based on the premise of some time travel on the part of the charming male lead (Domhnall Gleeson) (you've never heard of him either)(and could never spell it again) and his relationship (complete with time travel "do overs") with the adorable Rachel McAdams. For some reason, guys also like this movie- maybe because most guys would tell you that a "do over" would come in handy for most of their dates. It is charming. Nothing that special, but if you had some time to spare, it wouldn't be the worst choice you could make. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ender's Game

First of all, you must know that Ender's Game is actually from a sci-fi book that was written in the 80s. It is Young Adult (YA) in theme. Big parts of the book are omitted, so don't expect that from this film. That said, the use of children as strategic leaders is still the same. Ender is played by the very experienced Asa Butterfield (lately of HUGO). He does a wonderful job as the precocious child capable of hard decisions in the "battlefield", but empathetic enough to be a leader. It is a common enough theme, but Ender's Game adds an adult involvement that actually encourages that sort of child aggressiveness.  There isn't enough tension in it to make you too nervous- and you won't really be on the edge of your seat, because most of us know it is part of a serial, therefore, Ender won't be killed off right away, if ever. Harrison Ford looks positively CREAKY in this- he is physically stiff and somewhat rote in his performance. Hilariously,  Ben Kingsley shows up all dramatic in tattooed face. (really? yes.)  And Viola Davis is sort of the space academy shrink trying to put in her two cents about these being children, after all. I liked it a lot because I did not expect it to be Star Trek 21 or whatever. In fact, I had no expectations whatsoever. There isn't a lot of adult banter or inside jokes because there aren't any to be had. SO for adults, it might be a little beneath them. I can see a 12 year old boy going CRAZY over this. There is violence. But not shootings or stabbings- just beatings. The special effects are pretty good- I mean, I believed in the huge ants. So, if you like sci-fi and like being able not to be too worried about how things work out, this is your cup of formic acid. Just saying.