by Brandon Barb
at 12:58 PM | Permalink
Don't compare the latest young adult book-to-film to 'Twilight'
When I go see a movie, it better be a great one — at least a good one so that I didn’t waste an evening. Being in my final year of college I don’t exactly have all the time I want to go out to the theater. There have been numerous movies that are already out on DVD that I missed out on seeing on the big screen, the most recent example being The Rum Diary.There is another reason that I visit the theater maybe two or three times a year, and that is the price of tickets. My student status means what little money I have goes to more important needs. Going to see a movie should be an enjoyable event not a troublesome occasion that breaks your bank account. Tickets, dinner and movie snacks can get incredibly expensive which is why I’m glad there was still a little tax return money left when I went to see The Hunger Games. I know this is a little late in regards to the movie’s release, but better late than never.Going into the movie I had not read any of the books. I know that is sacrilegious in some circles — even the English major in me was furious. But I am not here to talk about the book, even though I did subsequently pick it up, so that could happen in a few days.With that being said, I didn’t have any preconceived notions of the story, characters or setting. In some cases that is the best way to be introduced to a series. With a clean slate, that allows little room for disappointment. The only thing that I was really disappointed about was the use of the shaky camera, mainly in the opening and final scenes in the arena. Apparently director Gary Ross felt that using shaky cam work would help give a better portrayal of Katniss Everdeen’s point of view and gave a sense of urgency to the movie. My only advice is that if you get motion sickness, be careful with this one.At risk of sounding cheesy, everything else about the movie was great. Jennifer Lawrence did an excellent job of being the badass Katniss is. Woody Harrelson kept his string of great roles going; in some scenes he stole the light away from Lawrence and company — at least in my eyes. Maybe I’m just too big a fan of Zombieland.There was one thing that went unnoticed though. Peeta, played by Union, Ky., native Josh Hutcherson, turned into a wimp in the arena. A big deal was made of how much weight he could throw around, even showing him picking up a spiked metal ball and hurling it across the room. I was expecting him to throw a heavy boulder at someone Braveheart-style. Instead, we were shown that he all he could do was camouflage himself to look like a rock. At least in the book he killed someone.The only bad part of The Hunger Games was having to sit through a trailer for the final Twilight movie. That whole series is like watching pieces of wood trying to act. There have been comparisons of the two book/film series but there is one difference between them: The Hunger Games is actually good.The Twilight books are horribly written — I wasn’t able to get more than 20 pages into the first one before I had to stop — the English major in me came out again, rejoicing like the Wicked Witch was dead. Then the Twilight movies completely destroyed every bit of vampire lore ever created. Vampires don’t sparkle and they can’t go out in the sun. I guess I don’t get the appeal of Twilight because I’m not a teenage girl. The choice of actors/actresses was strange as well, mainly because they give the same performance in each movie they are in. Check out Taylor Lautner’s terrible action movie Abduction for a piece of wood with abs’ best impression of acting. With that, I think I need to stop with the Twilight comments before it gets out of hand.Though I picked up the Hunger Games book after I watched the movie, I can now say the filmmakers stayed true to the source material. There have been other movies with the same concept of a group of people fighting to death — The Running Man, Battle Royale and The Condemned are only a few. The story has been done before but it still manages to stay fresh. I’ve been going on and on, go see the movie for yourself or better yet read the book, it would only take a day or so to get through it.
David Cronenberg allows actors’ methods to shine
0 Comments · Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Danger has been a factor in the recent
films of David Cronenberg, but the tension and anxiety has been focused
on the physical, the threat of bodily harm and the need to determine
where said harm would originate.
2008, Rated R
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 13, 2009
It’s tempting to label this melancholy wisp of a film as a wake-up call for a nation gone bankrupt (in more ways than one). But Wendy and Lucy is far too subtle for that: It makes Marley and Me look like Porky’s. Kelly Reichardt’s follow-up to the excellent Old Joy tells the simple story of a girl, Wendy (Michelle Williams, whose compelling, vanity-free performance is the film’s glue), and her dog, Lucy (Reichardt’s own dog).
The second coming in the age of sequels and reboots
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 20, 2011
What better time, it would seem, to explore the life of God as Man? Our heroes are darker, more conflicted beings, grappling with ethical quandaries and the nature of morality. Machines have become more human as we have begun to mix and co-mingle with them. If we cannot re-imagine Jesus now and make him relevant, then when?
Reinventing the creation myth behind franchise films
1 Comment · Wednesday, May 20, 2009
We’ve gotten so jaded about the hackneyed, hyperactive “franchise films” that Hollywood floods us with each summer — X-Men Origins: Wolverine, anyone? — that we fail to recognize when the movie business comes up with a good new idea.
Palm Pictures, 2008, Unrated
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Steven Sebring spent 11 years working on this film about Rock icon/poet/activist Patti Smith, as worthy a subject for a documentary as anyone in Pop music. But his project at some point overwhelmed him.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Citing diminishing returns, the Cincinnati Art Museum has ended its relationship with Cincinnati World Cinema, a presenter of art films, classics, shorts collections and documentaries that had been using its auditorium since 2007. That has left the future unclear for those who feel Cincinnati needs a non-commercial outlet for such specialized films that otherwise wouldn't play here.
'The Reader' actor David Kross speaks about Germany’s guilt
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Actor Thomas Kretschmann, who played Wilm Hosenfeld, the German officer who aided Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody) as he sought to escape capture in Warsaw in 1944, introduced me to the idea of German guilt during an interview for Roman Polanskis The Pianist.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The 25th Sundance Film Festival came to a close on Jan. 24, and for the first time in 15 years a CityBeat staffer wasn’t there to witness it. As was the case for many publications (as well as general film freaks and industry people), the shitty state of our economy forced us to skip Sundance’s unique mix of adventurous, independent moviemaking and hype-driven industry wheeling and dealing.
Plexifilm, 2008, Not Rated
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 28, 2009
One reason it’s become so hard for new musicians to make an impact is because so many old ones — including deceased ones — are still being discovered (or rediscovered), thanks to the proselytizing efforts of those who somehow got turned on to their obscure work the first time around.