CAT | Cinema
Synopsis: The United States of America have long been gone. In its place, between the Appalachians and the Rockies, is now the country of Panem, consisting of 12 districts and the Capitol.
Many years ago the 13 districts rose against the Capitol and paid a high price for it. The riot-leading district was completely annihilated. And the 12 other districts have to endure a humiliation every year which proves the total superiority of the Capitol.
Every year each district has to send a girl and a boy between the ages 12 and 18 to the Capitol – where these 24 kids will fight each other until only one survives: The Hunger Games.
My Opinion: Originally I had planned to read the book completely before I watch the movie. Didn’t turn out that way. I just made it to the point where Katniss has her fiery ride into the Arena.
My problem with the movie was that there was no real suspense building up. Sure I didn’t know if Peeta was going to survive, but still. The book on the other hand was very interesting to the point where I read it.
And even the end left me hanging because there was no scene that hinted at what was coming next. Let me make the comparison to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring here: At the end of the movie it was clear that Frodo and Samwise would be travelling towards Mordor and Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli would try to rescue Merry and Pippin from the Orcs. The question “What now?” didn’t come up. The Hunger Games on the other hand simply ended. Some viewers who are not aware that this is a trilogy will probably scratch their heads even more.
I don’t want to assume anything yet since it’s well known that movie sometimes interpret their original material rather freely but I wasn’t pleased with the actual ending of the movie either.
Spoiler (mark to read):
I would have wished that – when there were only three left and were standing on the transporter – they simply had refused to continue this farce. Now it’s more of a cliché ending where everyone from District 1 is simply a mindless killer. Also the closing interview would have been a good place to stir things up a little. Instead she played nice and did what her mentor told her to do. I hope her motivation is better explained in the book.
January Jones (Mad Men)
Bruno Ganz (Downfall)
Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds)
Frank Langella (Masters of the Universe, Dave)
Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) and his wife (Jones) arrive in Berlin to attend a bio-tech conference. He has to return to the airport because he left a briefcase there and his cab has a crash. When he wakes up in the hospital four days later he’s not Dr. Harris anymore. Someone else is Dr. Harris and even his wife doesn’t recognize him anymore. What the hell is going on?
I watched this in the theatre (german dubbing) yesterday. I liked that the whole picture took place in my hometown (Berlin) and that it actually was Berlin (and not just a canadian stand-in ). I found it amusing that in the dubbed version the only person speaking with an accent was Gina (Kruger) – a german actress.
When I first saw the character played by Bruno Ganz (I never saw Downfall and didn’t recognize him) I immediately said “I bet he was with the Stasi” (former east-german secret service) and I was proven right that very minute. What I also liked about this character was that he pointed out that the whole plot didn’t make much sense – until the reveal.
The Germans were a bit “too german” sometimes, like when Dr. Harris had to ID himself just to get into the conference room, even though he was on the guest list. The same thing with the cheap hotel just to keep him from getting a place to sleep. And the nurse: “Gretchen Erfurt”. Seriously?
When I saw Langella I also instantly knew that he was the baddie. Except for Superman Returns (Perry White) I can’t remember him not playing a baddie (He was Skeletor AND Nixon!!!).
The plot reveal had his ups and downs, for example
Spoiler (mark to read):
IMHO they didn’t really explain how they knew that these plants where the passwords to the files and why Jones’ character was so hell-bent on stopping the bomb that she risked getting herself blown up.
The other big plot holes I noticed where these:
Spoiler (mark to read):
1) Jones’ character was very cavalier about that briefcase at the airport. That makes sense for her character-in-character, the doctor’s wife, but not her actual character.
2) Neeson’s character inserted that mirror with basically four fingers and yet Jones’ character could not destroy it with a heavy iron thingy.
I found Jones’ character in general rather useless, which is kind of the same way I feel about her Mad Men character Betty Draper.
Everything considered it was an OK movie which I will watch on DVD again, mainly to watch it in english and check how they did the whole english/german mix.
I haven’t been much to the movies lately because I don’t care much about most of the recent movies.
Or I get them on DVD when Amazon.co.uk is bargaining them at 5 pounds.
And I was never really interested in the classic style horror movies.
But this I’m going to watch when it hits the theatres around here:
The “adventure” 3D is over for me for now. I my opinion it adds nothing to the experience of watching a movie or enhances it somehow.. In contrast to well-used special effects I don’t get the feeling that the movie is getting better just because there’s a depth perception now and then.
But now to the movie itself. I’m not naïve. When I’m watching movies like Independence Day, Armageddon or Transformers then I know exactly what kind of intellectual level I have to expect. I’ve got no problem with that as long as I’m well entertained. It’s like a ride on the roller coaster. You end up where you started but you had a lot of fun while riding it.
But that’s the minimum requirement: Fun. And this is where Clash of the Titans fails abysmally. The same guy who portrayed the hero in Avatar tried it again and failed again at this relatively trivial task.
One doesn’t bond with any of the characters – maybe with the exception of Zeus – especially not the main character.
So what’s left? Battles and CGI effects of course, they were the reason we went into that movie. But on that front, too: Oh, well. Only 2.5 things that one might call battles and once again they were cut so fast that one couldn’t really follow and at the same time they were not really spectacular. There’s a giant Kraken that comes out of the water and demolishes an entire city? Honestly, it didn’t feel that way at all. I also had the feeling there was something wrong about the fight against the scorpions. It seemed as if more warriors were involved that the group had heads and despite the casualties nobody seemed to be missing afterwards.
Nothing really worked for me.
You know the scene, in which William Wallace/Aragorn/President Mitchell gathers the troops and gives a speech, to motivate them one last time to hold the line against the darkness and to be the last line of defence against doom. Perseus tried that one, too. I can’t even slightly remember what it was about…
PS: And the worst thing of all: Two thirds of the time you didn’t even get the feeling to watch a 3D movie; just a 2D one while wearing sun glasses. Only in the panorama shots you got some depth. But you have to pay an additional 3€ because they don’t even play the 2D version!
The last time I watched such an awful movie in the theatre, was Beowulf. And even then I didn’t have that many facepalms as this time.
Basically everything was abysmal: The script itself, the dialogues and sometimes even the special effects. What does it say about a movie when a TV production like Xena: Warrior Princess does a better job at portraying a giant speaking to a normal-sized person? Not once did they manage to get the line of sight right, the giants always spoke to the shoulder or someone (who wasn’t there) behind the actual person.
The dialogues! “I go into Hades!” – “Do you know where it is?” – “Uh, you are right, I totally did not think about that!”
“Your father built this house for you.” (non-dialogue: “Until an hour ago it was never planned for you to ever come here but the viewer certainly won’t notice that…”).
“The stench of your stepfather hid your own scent from the Gods.”
And don’t get me started about this entire training camp and the Capture-the-Flag game…
When they were in Vegas they ate some Lotus blossoms which had a narcotic affect on them – I believe that is the only thing that would get me through this movie a second time. That or loads of alcohol.
Even the end credits joke was predictable and incredibly lame.
The dubbing was equally bad but I honestly don’t think it made the movie worse than it already is.
Yesterday evening I was in Avatar. I don’t think you have heard of it, it’s a little small-budget indie movie that only runs in arthouse cinemas. Or something like that.
Sorry, I am not overly impressed. Sure the 3D stuff looked fabulous – for about 15 – 20 minutes. Then I got used to it and it couldn’t distract me from the story anymore. And you can split the story into three elements: it’s either boring, melodramatic or cheesy – and not in a good way.
I had quite a number of *groan* moments, especially towards the end. For example when he tried to deliver a speech (and I love speeches!) that was a mixture of Braveheart (Unite the clans!) and Independence Day (Tomorrow we will celebrate our Independence Day! [or something along those lines]). Or when the evil guy drew a knife from his Mech suit(!!!) and then good guy says: “I hoped you’d say that” – Stallone at his best! – But wait, no Stallone in the movie!! And when she held him in his arms I waited for him to say: *Darth Vader rattle* “Only once I want to see you with my own eyes.” (he didn’t, but he might as well).
When I saw the chief warrior
indian Na’vi I instinctively had to think of a Mohawk native American, I couldn’t help it.
On the technical side: As I said it looked great except for one effect: When a real person was about one quarter “deep” into the picture I always had the feeling that the proportions weren’t right, they all looked to thin. It was OK when they were direct at the front or in the background, but in this section they just didn’t look right.
In the beginning I also had the feeling as if the persons were to small in comparison to their surroundings. I’m not talking about the Na’vi, I noticed it long before I saw the first Na’vi, I’m talking about real persons standing around their own research utilities. But maybe that’s both just my eyes.
I simply can’t understand why someone spends a couple of hundred million dollars for special effects but is too cheap to pay a decent story writer.
I have just come back from the theatre (I watched it together with 12 friends) and I can only put it that way: I had an incredible fun time.
I went into that movie with exactly the expectations that I believe were necessary: To see a new interpretation of Star Trek TOS. The time travel was a bridge to the old Star Trek world but it was a metaphorical bridge, not a canonical.
Thus I didn’t see it as constructed that the crew came together they way they came together. The fact that it were the same people as in the original TOS was fate – the same fate that always brought the same characters together in the mirror universe – in TOS, DS9 and ENT. If we had never seen a TOS series or a TOS movie nobody would have found it curious that these people took the seats they had taken.
I also couldn’t find large logic holes – I didn’t look for them but there also wasn’t one that jumped me right into the face.
What they have overdone at some points was the silliness of the characters. There were some scenes which weren’t necessary, where they slid into a absurdity. Since much of this goofiness was expressed by voice, I will re-watch the movie in its original language and check how much of it is due to the dubbing. The original series had also a “funny” dubbing because the dubbers thought it would be “better” that way. Of the crew it was only Chekov who was overplayed, he seemed like a bad imitation of Michael Mittermeier’s (a german comedian) Chekov imitation.
In regards to audio and video I was once again disappointed of the theatre. There were vertical lines in the picture at all times that were either black or green as well as some bad transitions from one film reel to the next, including audio breaks. The general audio was also flat when there should have been some serious basses. One could as well watch a bad internet copy.
Summa summarum: This movie is definitively different from all other Trek movies and he wanted it to be. He combines the easiness of The Voyage Home with the action of First Contact and the characters are likeable. I also liked the visual appearance, including the “brewery engine room”.
Original audio track, here I come!
I went to the theatre yesterday.
What’s going on?
The president of the US visits a summit in Salamanca, Spain. First he is shot and then a bomb explodes. We see the same events from 8 different POVs. 8 different people that are either directly or indirectly involved in the events.
I am often applying double standards. Personally I believe most people do that whether they admit it to themselves nor not.
If I like a movie I can turn a blind eye to (smaller) weaknesses. If I don’t like it, then this weaknesses are included in the judgement.
The same happened to Vantage Point. During a great deal of the movie I felt well entertained. But the car chase and the end blew it for me.
The characters of Dennis Quaid (Dragonheart) and Matthew Fox (Lost) are racing through the city of Salamanca. Dennis drives a compact car and gets a full hit by another car. Result: Some dents in the car, the chase goes on. Then he has to drive on a sidewalk and when it ends he has to break through two parking cars with little to no space between them. Result: Scratches on the bumper. The he gets a full hit by a track which smashes him into the corner of a house. Result: The car is totally destroyed, Dennis has a scratch. Of course he continues on foot and when Fox has a (in comparison) minor crash he is badly wounded and bleeds to death.
The terrorists have shot several people and blown up a countless number of spectators. But thei evil plan fails because the bad terrorist avoids to hit a little girl on the middle of the street instead of running her over. And of course all main characters meet on exactly the spot where the crash happened.
Nothing against a happy end, but aren’t there smarter solutions? Has it to be that dumb?
And then the minors that I usually wouldn’t mind:
The old, corpulent Forrest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) follows the Secret Service agents on foot with a video camera. And he has practically no problems to keep their pace. To be believable, they should have taken Jackie Chan for this – he even would have fulfilled the cliché of the japanese camera tourist (I know that JC is no japanese).
Are they really trying to tell me that some of the Secret Service men don’t know that they are currently guarding a fake president?
I had the same problem with The Kingdom. The movie was ok in general, until one of Foxx’s men was kidnapped and they started this stupid rescue mission.
Last week I watched Cloverfield. Since I haven’t seen BWP I thought the way of showing the movie (through the camcorder) was quite innovative.I think the movie was ok, but not extraordinary.
Two thinngs bothered me though:
1a) It wasn’t logical sometimes why he would disable the camera at this point during the party.
1b) It wasn’t logical sometimes why he wouldn’t disable the camera during the escape (e.g. when they climbed on the roof – I would have put it away and would have used both my hands)
2) No matter how large the biest is and no matter how thick its hide/armor is: The amount of direkt hits both by rockets and by grenades (I am not talking about the MGs) would have blasted large pieces of flesh out of the creature and it would have died.
But that is normal in this genre, it would be boring if the creature would die after half an hour.
In Germany the first parts of this series are called “Rambo”, “Rambo II – Der Autrag”, “Rambo III”. Thus the foruth part got the US working title “John Rambo” to distinct it from the first part. I have to confess, I like it better because it resembles the title of the last Rocky movie, “Rocky Balboa”.
Yesterday I went to the theatre. Unfortunately, JR is cut in Germany (~1 minute) but I wanted to see a Rambo movie in the theatres. And you got what you paid for: A very monosyllabic Rambo and a fight in which those survive which are allowed to survive by John.
Regarding cuts: The archive footage at the beginning is seen. When children are shot, men get limbs hacked off, women are raped: all that can you see. But when Rambo kills the bad guys then every gore is cut out, for whatever reason. Don’t ask me why I couldn’t tell you if my life would depend on it.
If you watch the above trailer you see everything you won’t see in a german theatre.
Additionally I missed the scene where the priest and Rambo prayed.
It was intended to let Rambo tell us his view on the world but Stallone decided to cut it out because Rambo is more the quiet guy:
“Old men start wars. Young men fight them. And everyone in the middle gets killed. War is natural. Peace is an accident. We’re animals.”
My opinion: JR is a movie in the tradition of the Rambo movies and I will buy it uncut in RC1-country.
PS: Ironically the female lead is Julie Benz who plays the vampire Darla in the series “Angel” I’m currently watching.