Archives for category: Based On A Book

Let there be no doubt. I love the Hunger Games series and thus I always get scared before going to watch a new one. With all the other movies of the same genre, The Maze Runner and Divergent, coming out and falling far outside the Wow-zone, why shouldn’t The Hunger Games stumble and fall?

It just never does.

The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 Poster with Katniss Jennifer Lawrence

Hell yes, I would be a warrior if I could look this fierce!

What is this film?

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” is the third installment, in other words the third book that now gets the compulsory treatment of being dragged out into two movies. And somehow this doesn’t make me so sad as overcome with joy. Because I don’t want it to be over.

If you haven’t watched “The Hunger Games” yet then just do me a favour and start, even if you are outside the young adult demografic. It is so much better than its demographic..

We start where the last movie abruptly ended. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence, the one who tripped at the Oscars) has just been rescued from the Games and is now stuck between a rock and a hard place. All she wants is to save Peeta, who didn’t get saved from the Games, although that was the original deal she had made. She doesn’t want to be a symbol of the republic.

But everyone else wants her to be the Mockingjay they all need.

 

Is it any good?

“The Hunger Games” can do no wrong, at least not when it comes to me.

Where other movies are predicable, Hunger Games movies always manage to surprise me, even though the choice in storyline isn’t necessarily groundbreaking. Where other movies have nagging and whining heroines, Katniss manages to cry and whine a bunch with me only thinking that she damn well has good reason to cry and whine. I mean, her whole world has turned to shit and it’s out of her control.

Although she tries her best to control as much as she can.

And where other movies just creates a world, the world of Hunger Games has a lot of interesting political, cultural and social commentary and satire that makes it that much more interesting to delve deep and start thinking about our own world. I mean, would you watch Hunger Games if they started to show it on TV?

And best of all, it always manages at some point to suspense me to the edge of my toes.

There aren’t a lot of movies who can do that these days.

 

The harsh reality of being an icon

An interesting aspect of the Hunger Game movies are how they go under the skin of the “celebrity”-world. How are celebrities created and maintained? How much fun is it really to be one? How much of what we see in the media is true? How much of it is staged? These elements are crucial to be aware of, especially for young adults whose only ambition in life is “to be famous”.

What makes Katniss the ultimate heroine of course is that she can’t act. The media stategist actually have to put her in the middle of all the hardship and war for her to speak as Mockingjay, the revolutionary character that she has to become to inspire a whole world to rise up and take a stand against District One.

This fact is an excellent juxtaposition to her otherwise very selfish thoughts. Because don’t think that Katniss really wants to be a hero for the better of all mankind. She knows being a hero is a shit job. She just wants to save the ones she loves. And they just want to save the cat 😉

 

Is it worth a cinema ticket?

If you haven’t watched any of the other Hunger Games movies, I would watch those first. I think you probably will understand what is going on just from watching this film on its own, but the truth is that you will ruin the effect of the previous two movies and you really shouldn’t go your life without this experience. Even if it is on your cheap ass 55″, flat screen LED-TV 😉

If you have already watched Hunger Games, you know that these are movies that deserve a great, big-ass screen and Dolby Atmos to proper drag you into this world of districts, vast social differences and advanced technology. It is made for the cinema experience. So get going!

 

What mood should you be in?

You don’t need to be in a specific mood to enjoy Hunger Games. There is action, there is romance, there are jokes both light-hearted and sarcastic and there is the escape into a world so different from our own yet still so similar which in and of itself helps us understand and criticise how we go about our own business.

You just need to be in the mood to watch a movie, really.

 

Further Watching

If you’re not in love with Jennifer Lawrence after watching all the Hunger Games movies, then I declare something is wrong with you. And most likely you don’t like the movies either.

If, like anyone normal, you love Miss Lawrence, you should check out some of her other movies. I would recommend to start with her Oscar-award-winning performance in “Silver Linings Playblook” (2012) where she stretches her acting muscles against Bradley Cooper (the cute guy in the Hangover movies) with some psychological issues and such.

Or, you could start with one of the early movies that put her on the map as an actress to watch, the chilling, and unnerving “Winter’s Bone“.

For another movie on creating a war through media manipulation, check out “Wag the Dog” (1997) where americans create a fictional war in the media to cover up a sex scandal involving the president in the time before reelection. Hilarious!

 

If you like my opinions on movies, then please follow my blog and I will give you a new recommendation on a movie in the cinema each week, from the ImDb top 250, Netflix or just Kult movies or Guilty Pleasures that I think are worth watching.

 

Jennifer Lawrence even has her own TV-Crew with her in her films :D

Jennifer Lawrence even has her own TV-Crew with her in her films 😀

Who am I?

I’m a freelance writer who likes to go to the movies. But I don’t like it when I waste my money on a bad film. I need to bitch about those movies.

If I see a movie that is absolutely worth the trip to town, 130 NOK ticket (£13/$20), popcorn and drink expenditure, then I need to rave about it!

And since I want to watch all the movies in the world, you can waste less of your time, check in with me and only watch the good ones.

In these New Release blog posts, I will pick a movie currently in the cinema in Norway at random, and tell you if it was worth a cinema ticket. It might be good, but does it deserve so much of your time and money, and does it benefit from a big screen and a huge crowd?

I actually buy tickets myself (unless I can get my boyfriend to be generous) and don’t have the luxury of being invited to pre-screenings, so my New Releases will be a bit late. Hopefully they will still be in a cinema near you 😉

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

 

Where can you find the film?

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” was released on 21st of November and is still on as of today. It even has a black page on Imdb, whatever that means.

Want to get my next blog post? Follow my blog and get an email next week when I will hopefully get around to watch number 6 on the Imdb top 250 list, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I watched half of it and couldn’t take the slow pace so now have to force myself to watch the rest at some point. In the mean time, check out number 5, “Pulp Fiction”. Does it stil deserve to be on the top 250 list?

Why the hell are they in this maze? That is pretty much  the only reason why I wanted to watch this movie. I wanted the answer to that question.

And just so you don’t get disappointed, like some teenage girls in the cinema I was in. This IS based on a book series so there WILL be sequels and the question may or may not be answered.

At least I don’t trust the answer I got!

The Maze Runner Poster of the entrance to a big labyrinth

A giant, ever-moving maze is actually quite cool (or scary)

***no non-obvious spoilers***

What is this film?

“The Mazerunner” (2014) is (another) dystopian, kinda-sci-fi movie based on a popular young adult book series where young adults fight for their lives in weird, dystopian set-ups. Oh, and there is usually some love, a neglected theme in this movie, but I’m sure we will get to that in Phase 2.

The movie starts off with our hero Thomas waking up as he is pulled by a cart to the surface of a glade surrounded by huge walls and a group of ragged-looking Neverland boys staring at him. He doesn’t remember anything before this moment.

This is quite the intriguing set-up, and if you want to watch the film you really shouldn’t know any more beyond this point. I won’t give away any big plot points in the review, but the less information you have, the more intriguing the storyline of the movie will be.

The question is, do you really want to watch another movie that stands in the grand shadow of “The Hunger Games“? Right after the failure of “Divergent”? (what movie? check out this honest trailer to remember!)

 

Is it any good?

Meh.

The twists and turns of the plot are quite intricate and sophisticated, and sometimes, there are no way to predict where it’s actually going to go, which is a good thing. You think you know the status quo on things in this world, but you never really do.

Except that the grand solution to why they are stuck in the maze in the first place is a bit common or unsurprising. If it is actually the solution though. It could be a mind fuck.

It is a shame, however, that the same complexity and care hasn’t been thought out when it comes to the characters. On this note, the film suffers from being an adaptation of a young adults novel where apparently characters don’t change or are simply good or evil.

How boring…

 

The ending that ruined it for me

I’ll have to admit, I was kind of into this movie, bad characters and all. It is fast paced, intriguing and unexplainable things happen and you really want to figure out what the hell is going on.

But the end just kills it.

The end is shit for a couple of reasons.

1. A character goes far out of the scope of his own characterisation.

He is built up as a person who believes in staying in the glade and live there forever. Why try to get out of the maze when they can all survive in the security of the glade? You can’t build this person up as such a stubborn believer of this view and then have him break it for absolutely no apparent reason.

Maybe the reason fell out in the editing… I don’t know.

2. I also could have been without the person who dies at the end.

I am sure Thomas and this guy has a meaningful relationship in the movies, and therefore it makes sense to kill him off to up the stakes. But really, in the movie, it just feels forced. It feels like the only reason this character existed, was so that at this moment I would cry.

I didn’t cry. They killed off the fat kid. Shocker! (whops! spoiler).

Don’t get me wrong they tried a bunch of times to create some bond between Thomas and this character, and on some of the fourteen-year-old girls in the cinema it worked.

Maybe I’m just too old for this shit.

 

The pathetic excuse of a female character

What is this? The 1950s?

Fair enough that in the glade there are only boys. That makes it more fun when suddenly a girl, Teresa, is thrown into the mix, arriving unconscious on the cart.

But did she really need to be:

1. A Kristen Stewart look-alike

2. A useless whiner

3. The one who stands around looking while the guys do all the work

I thought we were past these tropes by now. It is so boring and so passé.

 

What is wrong with being a builder?

When are teen movies going to stop evangelising stupid and rather useless traits?

In this movie, “the Runners” are the best boys. The fast ones, the strong and apparently smart ones. The builders, the guys who build the houses they all sleep in, are the dumb and lazy ones.

In what world is this actually true?

I don’t know many builders, but the ones I do know are smart and sharp. They have to know a lot about physics and engineering to do what they do. Being a builder should be way more respected than it is today. In the situation in the glade, it is way more useful to be a builder than someone who can run and map the Maze while it is open during the day.

Yes, the runner might get you out, but in the mean time, the builder will keep you dry (and don’t even get me started on the farmer who will keep you fed).

I would love to see a movie where the builder or farmer is the hero. Please.

 

Is it worth a cinema ticket?

If you’re going to watch it, it might as well be in the cinema as the Maze looks truly spectacular.

And you can have some fun listening to the where the laughs and other reactions come from the fairly young crowd.

Note that my boyfriend loved this movie as well did his brother. So generally if you are fine with interesting plot and don’t care that the characters learn something, then you will be fine.

They did however start thinking it was worse after a discussion with me 😉

 

What mood should you be in?

You should be a teenager that hasn’t already seen Hunger Games or Divergent to truly enjoy this movie.

Some of the stereotypes are really worn out and characterisations are flat, but what it lacks on that part it makes up for in plot.

The plot changes the entire world that we are in about three-four times, which makes for interesting and unpredictable watching.

 

Further Watching

Just wait for more Hunger Games movies to come out. It’s only about a month and a half. You can survive the wait!

 

The Meh Cast who look a lot like Twilight knock-offs or Hunger Games casting rejects

The Meh Cast who act a lot like Twilight knock-offs or Hunger Games casting rejects

 

Who am I?

I’m a freelance writer who likes to go to the movies. But I don’t like it when I waste my money on a bad film. I need to bitch about those movies.

If I see a movie that is absolutely worth the trip to town, 130 NOK ticket (£13/$20), popcorn and drink expenditure, then I need to rave about it!

And since I want to watch all the movies in the world, you can waste less of your time, check in with me and only watch the good ones.

In these New Release blog posts, I will pick a movie currently in the cinema in Norway at random, and tell you if it was worth a cinema ticket. It might be good, but does it deserve so much of your time and money, and does it benefit from a big screen and a huge crowd?

I actually buy tickets myself (unless I can get my boyfriend to be generous) and don’t have the luxury of being invited to pre-screenings, so my New Releases will be a bit late. Hopefully they will still be in a cinema near you 😉

 

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies (or my boyfriend’s, whose opinion will be noted if opposing my own) that will make these reviews beneficial to you.

 

Where can you find the film?

The Maze Runner” was released in Norway on 19th of September and it is still on as of today.

Want to get my next blog post? Follow my blog and get an email next week when I reveal another Guilty Pleasure movie!

Sometimes you need to watch something that will shake you to your core. Something that doesn’t involve any magic or blatant fiction. Something that is so realistic, you kind of forget that it is indeed fiction you are watching.

“Winter’s Bone” will slowly and gradually hit you hard with an ice cold, bleak and hopeless look that escalates into infinity.

Poster of "Winter's Bone" with Jennifer Lawrence

Chilly and harsh, just like the movie

***NO SPOILERS***

What is this movie?

“Winter’s Bone” (2010) follows the 17 year-old Ree (who else but Jennifer Lawrence) who lives in a hillbilly-gangster reality where her actions keep spiralling her constantly towards an unthinkable reality.

Ree is trying to find her father (he has been gone for some time) to avoid being kicked out of her home where she lives with her depressed and non-functional mother and adorable but helpless siblings. On her quest to find out where her father has gone, she bumps into people and situations that she really shouldn’t bother with her questions.

“Winter’s Bone” is a title borrowed from an Appalachian saying that goes; “like a dog digging after a winter’s bone”, which is someone on a mission who refuses to give up.

It is based on a book by Daniel Woodrell, which apparently has even more horrible things happen than there was room for in the movie, although the undertones are there. At least I wasn’t surprised when I read what was omitted.

Do people say it’s good?

Given that “Winter’s Bone” was a big winner at Sundance (all indie filmmakers will know) AND it snagged a four Oscar nominations, among them for Best Picture, I guess you can say that at least critics and people who work with film loved it.

Notably, it was the lowest grossing film to be nominated for Best Picture since “The Dresser” in 1983, which basically means that people in genereal didn’t care for it (or at least they didn’t care for the poster).

It has a distinctly “independent” film-look about it where all is miserable and the futures are bleak.

This is true somewhat true, and I will tell you right now that you will need to sit through some scenes which are slow, quiet and not at all instantly compelling.

And with the film being set in a cold, bare, almost tundra-ish sort of countryside where everyone does drugs and all is lost, there really isn’t any cheering up to be had, and you might consider caving in and turning on that new romantic comedy that you haven’t lowered your standards to see just yet.

But please don’t. Hang in there. It will get infinitely better.

Do I think it is good?

I pushed trough the initial worry of watching a low-budget, film festival film, and boy was I rewarded for that.

What the movie builds up to is beyond words and description. You have to experience it to believe it. Just know that when Ree starts looking for her dad properly, it will eventually get so dark that you will question human beings as a species.

I truly hope these people don’t exist in the real world in some shape or form, but I am afraid that they probably do.

“Winter’s Bone” delivers such a chill in your spine and paints a realism that will shock to your core. To put it this way, I would not want to live in this horrific white trash dystopia.

I was 100% frightened by this film.

The Epic Jennifer Lawrence

This movie would be nothing if it weren’t for Jennifer Lawrence. As a 19 year-old at the time, she really pulled her acting talent out of the bag and made the character Ree dignified and relatable. This was to be her first Oscar nomination, and I am sure it won’t be her last (since she has been nominated or won every year since).

Funny thing is that Lawrence had to proper make herself dirty and sickly to get the part, as she was originally deemed “too pretty” and not really in the running. Once she got to be Ree, she had to learn random skills like chopping wood, fighting and skinning squirrels (will always come in handy that).

The quote that resonates in my head after watching, is Ree’s adament life rule:

Don’t ask for what ought to be offered

The social realism

I have mentioned it before, but I will state it again, the realism in this movie is tangible. I don’t know anything about country life in the US, but I am now inclined to believe that everyone deals with drugs and otherwise have next to no money or any future to speak of. That is how convincing it is.

It is the first movie that has made me feel safe for living in an urban area rather than a rural one.

It is worth mentioning that a lot of the extras and even some of the bigger parts in the movie, are from Missouri where they shot the film, and have never acted in anything before. With a good director, this kind of casting can be golden, as it is in this movie.

What mood should you be in?

You need to be in the mood for something that is going to be paced slowly, with no off-screen music to speak of (that I can remember although apparently there is some) and no fancy nothing. Just let it get where it wants to go in the time it needs.

It will be worth it. That is a promise.

And if nothing else, you have just seen the movie that made everyone notice Jennifer Lawrence. How mighty hipster of you 😉

Further Watching

If you are in a self-abusive kind of mood, or you just want to see some more of people who are worse off than you, continue with stark social realism and have a look at “Mysterious Skin” (2004) with a young Joseph Gordon-Lewitt, or take a peak at “Precious” (2009) which also is a little slow, but really gets to your heart.

But perhaps you aren’t suicidal and can’t bear the thought of two movies like this in a row…

Then I suggest another way. The JayLaw Way!

By now, if you weren’t already, you will be smitten with Jennifer Lawrence and want some more. I would recommend Silver Linings Playbook (2012), which actually did get her an Oscar (when she ever so gracefully stumbled in her dress on her way to accept the award), but I am also a sucker for “The Hunger Games” (2012,2013 and 2014) and cannot wait for the third instalment this winter.

If you like what I write, share or disagree in my opinions, please comment or just sign-up and get a notification when my next blog post is released.

Next week I will look at number 5 on the ImdB top 250, “Pulp Fiction”. In the mean time, check out number 4, “The Dark Knight”.

Still of Jennifer Lawrence from "Winter's Bone"

Jennifer Lawrence, only 19 in “Winter’s Bone”, carries this heavy movie on her shoulders pretty much by herself

Who am I?

I’m a freelance writer who likes to watch movies. I watch Netflix a lot and sometimes there is a long way between the really good movies, whether good means entertaining or profound.

To help you avoid watching all the crap I have had to endure, I will give you some hidden gems or best movies of Netflix right here every month.

Want another good Netflix movie? Check out the great animation “Brave”!

Why do I think I can talk about movies?

With an over average interest in movies since watching Star Wars as an 8 year-old, and with some background in the industry, I know at least a little bit about what it takes to get a movie made, and have loads of opinions about what makes them great.

But no matter my merits, it is whether or not you agree with my taste in movies that will make these reviews beneficial to you, whether you follow my advice or not 😉

Where can you find the film?

All movies in this Netflix-series can be found in the Norwegian Netflix Catalogue, which is the one I have access to.

If you can’t find it on your local Netflix? File a complaint, they really should have it 😉

If you like what I write, please give me your favourite movie in the comments or sign-up to read my next blog post 😉

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