Monday, April 16, 2012

"I'm drawing a line in the fucking sand. Do not read the Latin!"

Since I cannot say too much about The Cabin in the Woods without spoiling the movie, I have decided to combine this post with my overdue review of The Hunger Games.

I usually stay away from horror films at all costs. I do not like being scared and, while I can usually deal with the gore, I am more likely to close my eyes than watch someone's throat being slit or guts cut out of them. It is for this reason that I was initially hesitant to see The Cabin in the Woods. However, knowing that it was written by Joss Whedon and hearing all the great reviews it was getting, I figured I had to give it a try. I am happy to report that it was totally worth it and that this movie was fantastic!

To simplify the plot, and without giving anything away, this movie is about five friends who go into the woods to spend the weekend at one of their cousin's cabins. Unfortunately, things do not end up the way they planned. The acting was great, especially from Fran Kranz, Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins, and the writing was exactly what you would expect from Whedon. It was clever, yes, scary in certain parts, but also extremely funny. To quote director, Drew Goddard you go "from high drama to high comedy, from horror to sadness to silliness. And often in the same scene."

If you plan to see this movie, and I highly recommend that you do, I would see it in theaters, if only to avoid any spoilers that might come out and ruin it if you wait too long.

And now, my long awaited opinion of The Hunger Games :o)

Even though I swore I would not go see The Hunger Games opening weekend, I did anyway. After reading all my friends' posts on Facebook and Twitter about the film, I decided I could not wait and ended up seeing it on Sunday morning of that weekend. My initial reaction to the movie was that I really enjoyed it. I left the theater satisfied and looking forward to the next installment. However, after thinking about it some more and talking it over with friends who had also seen it, I realized that I did have some issues.

There are a few spoilers, so if you have not yet seen the movie, proceed with caution.....

Because the book was written from Katniss's perspective, it was much easier to understand why she was doing certain things than it was in the movie. For someone who has not read the book, I would think that certain parts of the story were a little confusing. For instance, why the people from District 12 held up three fingers during the Reaping and why Katniss did it again after Prim dies. I also felt that, even though they had a few screens at the beginning explaining why the games were held, it would have been nice to have a little more of an explanation about the uprising that led to the games and more about District 13. These are things that are not incredibly significant in the first book, but are important in the second and third books.

I also felt that the look of the movie could have been a little more interesting. We do not really get a good sense of the land between the districts or how far they are from each other and the Capitol. One of my friends compared it to The Lord of the Rings saying, he wished The Hunger Games had been as beautifully shot. That not only did LOTR give us a great story, but the cinematography was also a prominent feature of the film. I also found that the camera was way too shaky in many of the action scenes. I originally thought that some of this may have been caused by me sitting too close to the screen, but others who have seen the movie have said the same thing.

I did think that the casting of this film was almost perfect. Jennifer Lawrence was a fantastic and totally bad-ass Katniss. Liam Hemsworth, though not featured in very much of the first film, was great as Gale. I say, "almost perfect" though because I had imagined Peeta as a slightly taller, stockier character than Josh Hutcherson. However, his performance definitely made up for his appearance. I also really enjoyed the supporting performances from Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley and Donald Sutherland.

And, since everyone else seems to be comparing this movie to the Twilight Saga, I have to say that The Hunger Games was infinitely better. The casting, writing, special effects and story were individually all much more impressive and the movie as a whole was just simply more entertaining. In general, I would say that this movie lived up to my expectations, but did not exceed them.

In other news, The Avengers premiered in Los Angeles last week and has been getting excellent reviews. I am super excited for this movie (also written by Joss Whedon) and May 4th cannot come fast enough :o)

What movies have you seen recently? Are there any coming out soon that you are excited about? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo
c
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