“Hope… it is the only thing stronger than fear.”
4.5 out of 5 stars
Amidst all its hype, The Hunger Games gloriously comes out as a great adaptation and a competent sci-fi thriller. From its opening scenes in District 12 (which has some kind of Winter’s Bone vibe to it) to the Capitol and arena scenes, it effectively depicts the tragic and brutal nature of its story without celebrating these very themes. It is a good reflection of a possible future for humanity which leads you to stop and think for a second and examine yourself and the society we live in today.
The movie’s brisk pace makes it an enthralling and exhilarating experience. The arena scenes provide great suspense. The palpable terror and danger in the chase sequences really got my heart pumping and my pulse racing. Also, the movie delivers first-rate drama. The most heart-wrenching part for me is the Reaping scene where Katniss volunteers herself in place of her younger sister Prim. It is the dire nature of their circumstance combined with great acting from both Jennifer Lawrence and Willow Shields that got my tear ducts going.
I haven’t seen a single Gary Ross film before but by this film alone, it is undeniable that he’s an able director. His vision for the movie is such that he didn’t allow himself to be restricted of some sort to making a Hollywood blockbuster. He had a certain vision that provided the movie not just box office success but also critical success. As a fan of the book, I am fully satisfied with how it was translated to film. The movie is indeed faithful to its source material. There are a few changes but they are mostly minor and does not affect the flow of the story as a whole.
Of course, the movie can only do so much without a lead actor as powerful and naturally gifted as Jennifer Lawrence, who so successfully gave every scene she is in the heart and emotion it required to make it believable. She embodies Katniss in every aspect and I can’t give enough high praise for her performance. Josh Hutcherson also gave a commendable performance. His off-cam personality and that of the character he’s playing is so similar that he didn’t seem to have a difficult time portraying it. He and Jennifer have meshed well in a certain way off-screen that beautifully translates on-screen. If I had to nitpick, it would be just that Josh is obviously shorter than Jennifer. But it’s so minute and trivial and doesn’t really affect anything for me.
I couldn’t be happier with how this movie turned out. They didn’t ruin anything for me so they pretty much did a good job. It says a lot about a film if the only complaints you have are the screaming girls in the theatre and the fact that the cinema didn’t show any trailers prior to the movie. The odds are in our favor.
This morning, my sister and I went for a run. We rarely get to do this lately due to
our hectic schedulessheer laziness (this is probably our greatest obstacle from having a body as bootylicious as that of the girl pictured on the right). Try as I might to become one, I am NOT a morning person and these morning runs entail a lot of effort on our part. Yes, my sister is not a morning person, too. Well, more like “not a day person”. She practically sleeps all day. No, I’m just exaggerating. She sleeps until noon. Anyway, I was excited to run this morning because I have updated my tired old running playlist to include some new favorite tracks to invigorate me.
So, with great ordeal, we got our butts out of bed at around 5AM and did a bit of freshening up. When we got to the venue (we usually jog at Abellana Sports Complex), to my great dismay there was an on-going Taebo session and the loudspeakers were blasting! OMG! It was so loud I can barely hear the music coming from my earphones! My new adrenaline-pumping playlist was kaput! I had to settle with the 80’s disco music they usually use in their Taebo sessions, the same set of songs that they seem to have been using since forever. They need to revamp their playlist for crying out loud! Well, so much for getting pumped up. Here’s hoping there’ll be no Taebo session the next time I go for a run there.
Just in case you’re interested, here’s a list of the new tracks I added to my running playlist (they’re not technically new):
- Levels - Avicii
- Feel So Close - Calvin Harris
- Stay Awake - Example
- Changed The Way You Kiss Me - Example
- Midnight Run - Example
- Earthquake - Labrinth ft. Tinie Tempah
- Get Out Of My Head - Redlight
- Breakin’ A Sweat - Skrillex & The Doors
- Antidote - Swedish House Mafia vs Knife Party
- T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) - Will.i.am ft. Mick Jagger & Jennifer Lopez
These club/dance tracks really pump me up so I highly recommend them.
So, what’s your favorite running track(s)?
I can’t remember when I started being particularly keen about a movie’s soundtrack. All I know is music has always been a great factor for me in pretty much anything. In the past, I remember taking a liking to the soundtrack/score of such movies as Romeo+Juliet, Juno, Atonement, Once, 500 Days of Summerand The Social Network, to name a few. Below are my favorites from 2011, in no particular order.
Bridesmaids (Various Artists)
Comedies are generally associated with the same upbeat, fun soundtrack and the usual overused mainstream hits, but Bridesmaids is not your ordinary comedy and it certainly does not have the typical soundtrack for such type of movie. The fun factor is there but the songs are meticulously chosen (not the usual mainstream crap). It includes songs by Blondie, Fiona Apple, Kate Nash and, well, Britney Spears (but not one of her popular songs, mind you). If not for this movie, I wouldn’t have been introduced to the Wilson Phillips song Hold On which was prominently and hilariously used in the movie and has become sort of a personal anthem. It’s just the best background music for a group of ladies’ wedding shenanigans.
It’s that time of year again when the obligatory “best of the year” lists come out. I wasn’t going to make a list of my favorite movies of the year especially since there are still a lot of potential personal favorites I haven’t seen yet like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Descendants, Hugo, Beginners, and Shame to name a few. But since it may take a while before I actually get to watch all of these movies, I have decided to give it a go. So, without further ado, here are my top movies of 2011…
Drive is unlike any movie I’ve seen this year. Or probably, ever. Although the soundtrack and the way it is impeccably used throughout the course of the film and the simplicity of the plot somehow reminds me of Hanna. Ryan Gosling’s cool, genuine and affecting approach drives the whole movie. He manages to evoke deep emotions with just a glance and a smile (or maybe it’s just me and my great admiration for the guy). It’s a thrill ride with some surprises here and there. A good example of film being an art, they say. Well, yes indeed.
20 Upcoming 2012 Movies I Am Excited About
- Brave (Big Pixar fan!)
- The Amazing Spider-man (I am curious about the Garfield-Stone chemistry, more than anything.)
- The Dark Knight Rises (With the hype associated with this film, you can’t help but be greatly intrigued. Plus, the first two films were brilliant, so it’s likely that this will be, too. The trailer looks very promising.)
- Django Unchained (2 words: Quentin Tarantino)
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (It’s a long time coming.)
- The Hunger Games (Loved the books. Massively psyched for the movie.)
- Prometheus (Have you seen the trailer? Looks mighty great. The cast is led by the original Lisbeth Salander, Swedish actress Noomi Rapace alongside Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron, directed by Ridley Scott. And oh, the screenplay is written by Lost’s Damon Lindelof.)
- Rock of Ages (I am expecting this to be along the lines of Hairspray. I have high hopes.)
- The Avengers (If it’s remotely as good as Thor, Captain America, or the first Iron Man movie, I won’t dare miss it.)
- Skyfall (Casino Royale is one of my favorite Bond films. Here’s hoping this will be up there as well.)
- Gangster Squad (I was sold by the fact that Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are in this. Simply love their chemistry.)
- Dark Shadows (Johnny Depp playing a vampire? Wouldn’t miss it for the world. And my fave Eva Green is in it, too.)
- The Great Gatsby (An adaptation of the famous romance novel of the same name directed by Baz Luhrman, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Carrie Mulligan. It’s my cup of tea.)
- Anna Karenina (Another movie adaptation of a classic novel that stars Keira Knightley. Count me in.)
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Honestly, I’m just curious to see Emma Watson play a character other than Hermione Granger.)
- The Bourne Legacy (sans Matt Damon. But I believe Jeremy Renner will do it justice.)
- Cloud Atlas (The plot is unique. Got my curiosity running high.)
- World War Z (Brad Pitt + zombies. Have to see it.)
- Gravity (They say it will utilize some of the same techniques that made Children of Men remarkable. That’s something to look forward to.)
- Magic Mike (Stars Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matt Bomer as male strippers. ‘Nuff said.)
11. Take Care | Drake
Drake mixes rapping and singing like he was born to do it. Well, he definitely proves that in this album, exceptionally. This guy, for me, is the dopest thing in hip-hop at the moment.
Swim Until You Can’t See Land - Frightened Rabbit
After watching The Beaver, this song kinda got stuck in my head. It’s really catchy and gives me happy vibes. I could listen to it forever…until I can’t see land.
Just the perfect song to motivate me on my planned swimming training in the hopes of becoming an iron(wo)man. Haha.
A Dangerous Method
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Limit To Your Love - James Blake
Seriously, is there any way to not fall in love with this English bloke? I have listened to his album and my answer to that question is NONE.
Here’s the video to his version of Feist’s Limit To Your Love, which is also included in his album. The pounding bass coupled with his hauntingly soulful voice sure gives me palpitations. Dang.