Lost Movie Reviews

While going through my drafts, I realized that I have a bad habit of:

1) Spending a lot of money watching movies in the city and

2) Half writing reviews and forgetting about them.

#1 is taken care of because I’ve moved back to Virginia for the time being so no more pricey tickets. I just need to work on #2. Next time I must definitely finish writing the review! I think I second-guess my own opinions or feel that they aren’t valid in the realm of film since I’m no expert. But I’ve grown up watching movies and that in and of itself should count. So to motivate myself to finish my movie review posts, and any posts for that matter (as I discovered other half-written pieces lingering around from months ago), I will, for now, put up the what I began to write of the movie reviews for: The Hunger Games, Oz The Great and Powerful, and The Great Gatsby. Very back-dated, I know. But hey, if you’re someone who has yet to see any of them, maybe now you’ll go buy or rent it. Or download it. Whatever floats your boat.

filmreel

The Hunger Games

Started: March 25, 2012

Just got back from watching The Hunger Games and am still on high from the intensity.

I went in expecting several disparities from the book, as is the case with many “based on a novel” movies. Aside from a few things, the overall concept and details remained true to Suzanne Collins’ book. I admit, I was pleasantly satisfied with this 2.5 hour movie (technically 2 hours and 22 mins). Even though I knew who was about to die at parts or what was coming, I was still curled up in my seat clutching the hem of my hijab in anxiety.

The acting was absolutely believable. Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class),  did a fantastic job in her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is a character who acts first and asks questions later. She has a very strong sense of responsibility and is not afraid to voice her opinion. Lawrence’s expressions embodied Katniss.

Josh Hutcherson (Bridge to Terabithia, Journey to the Center of the Earth) was a perfect Peeta Mellark. We don’t get to meet him until his name is called at the Reaping–the same time Katniss allows herself to think about him. He pulls off Peeta’s character. The seemingly shy guy who is actually very friendly and approachable.

I must say, I loved Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. I trusted him just as Katniss did. Everyone else in the Capitol was dressed in their horrid neon colors and gaudy accessories and Cinna was just so perfectly down-to-earth, even with his golden eyeliner (which quite suites Kravitz!) I was listening to a radio interview with him a few weeks ago and he mentioned how excited his daughter was that he would be in the movie.

There were some details that, unless you’ve read the book, you won’t understand.

[And that’s where I left off…..I’ll need to re-watch the movie to figure out where I was going with that one.]

Oz The Great and Powerful

Started: March 17, 2013

If you have yet to watch this movie and are debating between 3D and regular, go with the 3D. I wish I had. The popping colors and vibrant visuals as you travel through Oz were definitely created with a 3D audience in mind. Despite not watching it in 3D, I could still get a proper sense of this pre-Dorothy land of Oz.

As for the story line,  well, I love re-tellings, provided they aren’t cheesy or too far off the mark. I’d say Oz falls in the middle. We start off in black and white Kansas where Oz is a traveling magician and from there, the story builds. We quickly understand the type of person Oz is through his interaction with those around him, which is important to grasp because his character is a driving force for majority of the plot. I’ll admit, the buildup is a little slow, but it’s appropriate. As I said, it allows the audience to assess Oz’s personality and when he goes to the Land of Oz, we are given an opportunity to take in the newness and wonder of it all.

What I did appreciate was the more subtle connections to the original film/book. For example, while we don’t meet our beloved heroes the Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man, there are allusions to them. I won’t list them out because for me, making these discoveries is part of the fun and I am not in the business of spoilers.

One thing, however, that did detract my attention at times was the dialogue. Several times, it felt too “modern,” particularly Oz’s lines. He’s from Kansas in the early 1900s. And while the Land of Oz probably has no particular year associated with it, I’d still expect the language to be more formal and less today. He wasn’t throwing around “Oh mans” or “Hey dudes,” but there were definite lines that pulled me out temporarily. I know that modernizing the language helps connect with the current audience and makes the humor more obvious, but I’m a word-person and I like the language in my movies to fit with their environment.

[Okay, so this one at least sounds a little more complete than my HG review.]

The Great Gatsby

Started: May 20, 2013

Finally watched The Great Gatsby yesterday.

It seems like people either really want to watch it, or just really don’t. No in between. For me, when I saw the trailer for the first time in the theater, I was put off by the flash and glamour and  Jay-Z track. No doubt Gatsby IS all about flash and glamour, but there’s a deeper meaning beyond it and the trailer seemed to solely focus on the exterior.

Being a literature freak, I realized I was in the group of people who really wanted to watch it, even if it turned out to be horrible. I needed to see it now, while it was in theaters with everyone else, not two years down the road on a rainy day. It’s just one of those movies-based-on-a-book that demands immediate attention. And hey, with Leo and Tobey tag-teaming, how bad could it really be?

I was quite shocked. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. It was decent. Engaging. And managed to hold on to the important themes we all had to squeeze the analysis out of in high school English class. The blinking green light, very obviously present. The billboard eyes? Always there. The yellow car? Dun dun dun….an inanimate character in and of itself.

[Would you believe I actually watched this twice and still didn’t finish? Bad me. No more unfinished work! But I did enjoy it for the most part. Both times.]

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