Saturday, September 29, 2018

"The Hunger Games" (2012)

I don't think I've gotten hooked into full fledged dystopian literature.  I just dont't think it's my thing.  Nevertheless, this novel and movie I've found do-able, and I was quite pleased with this adaptation.

A few years I tried watching this movie without having read the book first--something I don't normally do--but I didn't get very far in the movie before giving up on it.  I'm not sure if that's because it was dystopian or if it's because I hadn't read the book first.  Maybe I am a "book first" kind of gal. 

This adaptation was done very well--the costuming, the special effects, the art direction for the different social classes in this society--and I thought the end credits music the right style to play.

I just think I'm not into dystopian stories, or perhaps just not found the right flavor of one?

I was pleased with how they balanced indicating the violence without being too graphic in it's telling.  I'm actually pleased they didn't try to re-create the fallen tributes into the animal faces.

I liked the bird calls.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

"Beautifully Broken" (2018)

The flyer came around.  "War (blah, blah, blah)...beautiful story (blah, blah, blah)...Go see it."  I had my reservations that I'd love it as much as the flyer said I would, but it was high on the local culture's radar, so I tagged along, unsure of how much I would enjoy it, but thought it would be good to at least be a part of this piece of local activity.  At very least I'd be able to say, "Yeah, I've seen it."

I was wrong.  I very much enjoyed this movie.  It is very well done.  Part of the local excitement is that the movie's director has local roots.  They have done well to be excited.

The story is very well done:  not so much gore shoved in the audience's faces that we needed to put defenses up to get through the movie, but enough hints and skirted images that we both knew what was going on and couldn't ignore it.  The weaving of the different story threads was well balanced and cut/edited well. 

I don't know that I'd call the story "faith-centered" because I think that term is part misleading for what this movie is and part mixed with preconceptions about what such a movie with that label would be.  I think "faith-laced" is better.  It's how my life works--not just "Jesus on Sunday morning," but Jesus and God and faith interlaced throughout all my week, through all parts of my life--or at least I'd like to think it is.  I'm a sinner along with the best of hypocrites, just never far from God's forgiveness either.  And that's where this movie does the faith-lacing well.  It successfully departs from the faith-genre-acting style that comes across canned to me.  This is acting in the style of real-life, and brings faith into its life situations as faith should in real-life.

And it's point?  It's not the salvation pounded out in same-new ways.  It's the message of how God likes to take the broken pieces and do beautiful things with them because He can.  Because He does.  Because broken He can work with because it shows His beauty and strength.  Which, oddly enough, is the title of the movie.

Go figure.

Final tidbits:  the ending scenery of Rwanda is beautiful.  I'm not sure, but it looked like the theme song was performed by at least three different singers (neat!).  The story is based on a true story.  How much of the movie is a true and how much adjusted for movie telling purposes?  I can't say, but I can say that I recommend this movie.

I don't know how widespread this movie's distribution is, but if you're looking for a beautiful, "decent" (it goes beyond decent--good is the word here) movie that supports a beautiful idea (that God uses broken things in beautiful ways), then consider going to your local movie theaters and requesting this movie come.  Then spread the word to everyone you know to go see it.  I think it is worth supporting this movie.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

"Ready Player One" (2018)

I know, I know. "But in the book, ________ was my favorite part, and it wasn't in the movie."  Admittedly, even I will have to watch the movie a second time to enjoy it on it's own terms.  But the author of the book co-wrote the film, and co-produced the film.

That's not exactly ammo from the book against the film.  That's ammo for taking the book's ideas and looking at them fresh.  A film adaptation for it's own merits.  And in looking at those merits, the film stayed true, generally speaking, to the spirit of the book.

Now, the film.  On it's own merits.  (Because I haven't taken yet to posting book reviews online--at least, nothing regular.)

Story/plot--condensed well enough to keep a good hook to see what would happen next.  Successfully including surprises (even for those who read the book).  Seemed like there were one or two holes, though.  At the time, wondering how Wade's hideout was discovered was one "wait a minute" moment.  But the answer was there, subtly placed, earlier in the film.  How the high 5 hacked into Sorrento's rig was explained, but I'm not sure I was sold on that answer.  Maybe a second just-enjoying-it-now-that-I -know-what's-coming will sell me on the first time's hesitation.

Looking back at the "leave the stacks while you still can" after seeing the events unfold wasn't a line that made sense to me, nor fifty people standing there with one guy with a gun.  Nobody came from behind him?  Maybe I missed some thinking/thought processes somewhere.

With all the possible 80s references to pull from, I don't know that I was thrilled with the grab bag of horror as opposed to other options.  That might just be me.  Maybe those who enjoy the horror genre felt the movie was more balanced in it's 80s references???  I dunno.  Someone will have to tell me.

I'm thinking the music choices generally worked, with a few that were definitely "nice touches."  "Stayin' Alive" comes to mind.

Do I recommend the movie?  Yeah, I do.  But if you read the book first, go in with a blank slate and open mind.  In fact, what you know from the book might even trip you up.

If you have neither read the book or watched the movie, which would I recommend enjoying first?  Actually, I can see it going either way.  So, I'm not sure it matters.  If you read the book first, then watch the movie, the movie will hold a few surprises even though you'll generally know how it goes.  Sorta.  If you watch the movie first, then read the book, the book will hold a few surprises for you even though you'll generally know how it goes. Sorta.  Either way, remembering that the movie is an adaption--not a reproduction--will mean that you'll get two fresh stories for the "price" of one story arch.  And that's not a bad deal.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" (2016)

Newt Scamander's mannerisms are refreshing because they're not done absolutely everywhere.  "Neat and Tidy" plot, with a melancholy ending--but maybe it sets things up for the next movie while leaving the present story mostly satisfied.

Set in New York City.  Filmed in Liverpool, England.

"But I made them cocoa."

Was trying to remember which Hogwarts house was blue and yellow.  [Answer blue and bronze are the colors of Ravenclaw.]

Overall, enjoyed the movie



Thursday, June 7, 2018

"Hidden Figures" (2016)

The plot for this mixed the different threads very well.  I'm still mulling over the music choices--they fit and yet they didn't.  More fit then not. 

While the film was done very well--and I'll enjoy watching and re-watching it--, I'm not sure I'd list it in a "top 10" list, and I'm not sure why/why not.  I still would recommend the film for anyone wanting a movie they could just enjoy watching, (and I'm looking forward to watching documentary commentary or accompanying interviews now that I've watched the movie).

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

"Wonder" (2017)

Very sweet story,  So well done.  The characters are real, not stock.  I like the NASA "3...2...1" sound underlying Auggie's first day of school.  I like the unique chapter view-from-a-character way that the movie used.  I can't speak to the book adaption, but I suspect that that was well done, too.

I recommend watching this with a box of kleenexes nearby.  Nice way to escape and be encouraged.  Well done.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

"The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" (2013)

They did what they could in the time that they had, and I thought they did a very good job of it. Nevertheless, I'm glad I read at least two books of the series (the first two) before I watched this film.  They crammed a lot into this film.  And for as much explanation that the book got to provide, the movie handled divvying it up very well.

 A Canada-Germany film, which intrigues me. 

The use of Bach's music as a tool for the good guys was nice.  Yay, the good guys get to use music for a change.  And I'm glad they used one of my favorite lines from the book.  Evidently, they did too.  I can almost hear them, "We have to use that line."  And I was pleased they gave the author credit that the movie was based on her original ideas.

I think there was one or two fight scenes that I would've liked to have followed a little better, but nothing a re-watch or two (or whatever) won't solve through the marvels of rewind.

The choices for condensing story needs, and other choices that I am assuming were for budget constraints, I thought were done well and understandably made.  Well done guys.