Tag Archives: things i loved

Hunger Games Midnight Premiere

ZOMG you guys, who else watched The Hunger Games last night at midnight?  It was so amazing, right?  (Full disclosure, this post is being written on one hour of sleep and half a can of redbull, so please excuse any typos or outbursts of incoherency.)

I would have to say it was one of the best midnight movie premieres I have been to so far in my life.  I mean, it certainly doesn’t compare to the magnitude and scale and passion and costumes of the last Harry Potter screening I went to.  But I felt extra satisfied at this one because all of the work I put into preparing activities for my friends and fellow fans paid off, and people enjoyed my efforts just as much as I had hoped they would.  Seeing their delighted faces and eager excitement was so rewarding it would have almost been worth it even if I hadn’t seen the movie.  (But I DID see the movie, and loved it–more on that later!)

The two things I was most proud of last night were my tribute training target and my silver parachutes.  I painted the target (with help from some of my siblings) from screenshots of this clip.  It looked amazing, and I got permission from the manager at my theater to display it in the lobby.  People were lined up using it almost the entire time, and I got to see one young teen’s jaw-dropping gasp when she walked in and saw it (and then spent a good forty minutes or so monopolizing it) that just made it so worth while.

The beautiful target my lovely siblings helped me paint.

















The silver parachutes were made from a half yard of fabric I bought and some ribbon, with silver Hershey kiss anchors.  They had notes attached to them that said “A gift from your sponsor–may the odds be ever in your favor!”  I got permission from the manager to go upstairs and open the projection window and throw them out into the audience (about an hour before the show started).  I had hoped that everyone there would understand what they meant, since I couldn’t predict where they would fall exactly.  (They didn’t exactly float but they didn’t plummet either; I tried it with gum anchors and that was too light.)  It could not have gone more perfectly.  The first girl to catch one was actually also the first person in line in the lobby and was wearing a legitimate tribute training replica shirt like the ones in the movie, so you know she was a big fan.  (I mean, everybody there at midnight is a fan.  But she was a fan).  She and her friends screamed when they caught their parachute–“WE HAVE A SPONSOR!  YESSSS!”  It was like I was a benevolent, unseen Gamemaker.  I loved it.

I also brought trivia questions, which I made mostly from skimming through the book with a little help from the Hunger Games wiki, and the last tribute still “alive” in the Trivia Arena won.  We decided an incorrect answer was a wound, and if you got three wounds you died.  I didn’t think to bring arrow stickers or something, which would have been awesome, so we just taped the slips of paper with the questions on them to people that got them wrong.  That led to some joking about where they had been injured–lost legs, arms, or ears–wherever they stuck the questions.  As prizes I had a bag of trading cards that I let people choose from (blind), and the actual victor got to choose from a bag with bigger prizes (official tie-in magnets and small Hunger Games figurines.)  I gave out the same prizes for winners in Rock, Poison, Arrows tournaments, which is what I decided the Hunger Games version of Rock, Paper, Scissors would be.  Rock crushes poison, poison kills archers so it beats arrows, and arrows beats rock because it is a distance weapon but rocks are only effective up close.  I’m sure the logic isn’t perfect but whatever.

I’ll update later with my thoughts on the movie itself, but I can summarize by saying: loved it, great companion to the books that really enhances the world and the story, Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, and Wes Bentley killed it.  Definitely going again.  Wasn’t wowed by Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta but wasn’t disappointed in him, either, (I think the script just didn’t make him as likeable as the book).  Would definitely recommend fans of the books to watch the movie, and fans of the movie to read the books.  Lastly, why is there an “official soundtrack” if NONE of the songs on the album are featured in the film, and only two are played during the credits?

P.S. Here’s my awesome friend @martinchughes sporting his Seneca Crane beard!



Filed under Books, movies, nerd, partyplanning

Things That Annoyed or Delighted Me About MI4: Ghost Protocol



  • Too much verbal rehashing of the same situations, by robotic “your mission” voices and the team. Pick one or the other.
  • Agent Hunt is right next to the building as it explodes and only gets a “minor concussion”?
  • Hunt thrice demands “Pen.  Pen!  Pen!” from Agent Brandt but draws on his palm rather than think to ask even once “does anybody also have a piece of paper?”
  • Hunt and Brandt should have at least attempted Russian accents when they met with Moreau, right?
  • Bad guy reveals his face to Hunt complete with “dun dun dun dun DUN” music.
  • Agent Carter codenamed Venus and given seduction role.  Of course.
  • Hunt’s arm doesn’t break when he falls violently onto the car elevator?  Yeah right.
  • Hunt’s “intentional 100 meter drop” in a car straight down doesn’t leave him incapacitated?  Yeah right.


  • Subtitled translation of Russian cursing written as “M@%#*$!!”
  • Simon Pegg! (Agent Dunn)
  • This line: “Gameface. Gameface. Kremlin gameface.” (-Agent Dunn)
  • Subtitled Russian in Russian when knocked-out Agent Dunn wakes up, only switching to English subtitles as his head clears enough to make sense of what he is hearing.
  • Brandt: “Your line’s not long enough!” Hunt (dangling from Burj Khalifa): “No shit!”
  • Cultural detail of call to prayer in background of Dubai scene
  • Russian bad guy has Russian keyboard
  • Agent Carter allowed to change back into pants.


  • Do flares really light underwater?
  • Wouldn’t people in the other rooms of the Burj Khalifa see this guy climbing up their window?
  • Don’t some countries have missile detection technology and a response plan to fire back if fired upon?  I’m pretty sure if a nuke actually launches the mission to stop world destruction has failed.


  • Agent Carter must have gone to the bathroom and re-did her ponytail first thing on the jet, because before boarding her ponytail has a part and while talking to Hunt on the plane it doesn’t.


I guess my annoyance and delight were pretty even.  I enjoyed watching, it was definitely entertaining, and also dumb.  What do you think?


Filed under movies

This Is Why I’m Unproductive

So, the reasons I haven’t blogged in over a week are twofold: one, it was Christmas and I was out of town at various family gatherings.  Two, Skyrim.  Yes, I got Skyrim for Christmas, and it is just as good as everyone has been saying, so much fun and also completely addictive.  I mean I’ve been playing for hours and I really haven’t accomplished much of the main quest.  I haven’t even encountered any dragons besides the first one yet.  But it’s awesome.  It’s like a giant, immersive, choose-your-own-adventure book.

You get a printout of this map with the game. This can go up on my wall right next to my Maurader's Map.

You know, books and movies let you travel to and experience other universes and worlds, and as a kid (oh okay and totally as an adult, too), I liked to imagine I was in all my favorite book-worlds after I’d finish reading.  Narnia, Hogwarts, the American pioneer frontier, Middle Earth, outer space, fair Verona, a house with green gables, an Arabian palace, a London orphanage.  I would become enamored with the world the characters inhabited and want to have my own adventures there too.  That’s what is so compelling to me about Skyrim–there is so much freedom to choose the path your character takes, so many rich interactions, so many ways you can really almost live in the game.  Would you rather take the time to gather your own materials and make your armor and weapons, or do you want to collect gold and just buy them?  Do you steal, or do you only take what you can legitimately?  If you’re confronted, do you fight, talk, bribe, or persuade? Do you join the imperials or the rebels, or neither?  Do you stick to the paths or roam the countryside?  Take a bridge or swim?  (I love that you can swim!  It’s so annoying in video games when you can leap and wall-kick and somersault but water is instant death.)

My character is a Wood Elf named Sapling.  I decided she’s a vegetarian, since she has power to control animals and she would rather commune with nature than consume it if possible, so I make her eat a lot of cheeses and nuts and I sell any meat she acquires.  (But she totally killed a giant spider with a battle axe, which was awesome).  I was starting to worry that the game wasn’t going to let her be healthy without eating slabs of meat because other characters kept telling me I looked ill, even after I had rested.  Then I thought maybe it was because I was carrying too much, (I’m always teetering on the brink of “carrying too much to run,” partly because my wardrobe is gender-stereotypically overstocked.  I feel like I need one of everything, just in case, even though I know if I really need something for a particular quest I could always go get it.)  But sparse googling (I feel like it’s cheating to look up too much) tells me that maybe I have a disease and should take a curing potion or pray at a temple, so I’ll try that.

I kind of want to buy some elf-ears to wear while I’m playing.  I will almost definitely braid my hair like Sapling wears hers at some point.  I love that Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) from Battlestar Galactica is one of the voice actors, (although that bastard tried to have me executed!)  I love the music.  I love that there are entire ballads about the history and heroics of Skyrim that you can request from minstrels at the Tavern.  I hate that archery is so hard, but I love that every time I die I get to try again.  (I die a lot.  I got attacked by these bandits and they killed me about 20 times in a row before I managed to defeat them.  They were such jerks!)

I’ll try not to let it take over my life.  I’m actually pretty proud of myself for not having played it yet today, (if you don’t count the hours after midnight that I was up playing it last night…), and I have lots of other things I want to do, things I want to read, things I’m in the middle of writing, movies I need to watch and analyze, craft projects I need to finish.  But one can only do so many things with each free evening.


Filed under nerd, video games

Hunger Games Trailer Is Amazing

It’s finally here!  We’ve been waiting for so long to see an official trailer for the movie adaptation of Suzanne Collin’s “The Hunger Games,” and this morning it finally arrived.  Premiering on Good Morning America with an appearance by Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta, the trailer is already online as well.

And it. is. amazing!

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss is PERFECT, as I knew she would be.  I love what they included of the Reaping, (the ceremony where the tributes are selected), because it made me cry and reminded me of the part in Mockingjay when the PR team in District 13 is trying to think of what made people love Katniss to begin with, what moments were best to remind people of or re-create in order to exploit that attachment and admiration of her.  Someone mentions that when she sacrificed herself for Prim, when she volunteered in her place, that it was a very powerful moment.  (Sorry, I can’t look up the exact quote because I lent my copy out to a friend).  It is incredibly moving to see the way Katniss screams in desperation, as the guards hold her back while Prim walks towards her doom, “I VOLUNTEER!”  That little clip perfectly encapsulates Katniss’s situation.

Katniss volunteers as Tribute in her sister's place, (and I cry my eyes out at this part every single time).

I guess the trailer didn’t actually indicate that Katniss is the sole breadwinner for her family, that her father is dead, that she must survive the Games in order to continue taking care of her sister and her unstable mother, but the goal of survival is secondary to her goal of protecting Prim.  And they did include that line, when Katniss and Peeta are on the roof, and he says he wants to “think of a way to show them that they don’t own me.  If I’m gonna die, I wanna still be me.” (!!! fanTASTIC line by the way, great decision to include it, one of the reasons we all love Peeta so much, he is so good!)  Katniss replies, “I just can’t afford to think like that.”  So we do get the sense that Katniss, although she volunteers for the Hunger Games because it is her only option, is going to fight to survive, and may be willing to do whatever it takes to win, whereas Peeta is fighting too, but for a different cause.  (He’s so noble!  I can’t stand it!)

Peeta says, "I just keep wishin' I could think of a way to show them that they don't own me. If I'm gonna die, I wanna still be me."

It’s perfect, I tell you, this trailer is perfect!  It sets everything up excellently, and it doesn’t betray a single character.  Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket is terrific.  Her overly cheerful and colorful “Welcome, welcome!” when everyone in the crowd is depressed and drab, the fancy flourishes of her hands.  Did you see the way she waves Peeta up on stage so ridiculously, like he’s five, coming to get a prize and not a death sentence?  What a bitch!  Perfect.

I have watched it maybe six or seven nine twelve nineteen times now.  I keep pausing in the middle of writing paragraphs to re-watch it.  The music is great too, I think.  It’s haunting, and it doesn’t sound too modern.  I mean I know this story is set in the future, but most of the districts are actually deprived of the technological advances that exist.  The music sounds a lot more District 12-y than Capital-y.  The music for this trailer ends the same way that the teaser trailer did, by the way, with a Mockingjay whistling Rue’s song.

There are so many more things that I want to see, (like more Haymitch, and Katniss’s mom, and Peeta being the Boy with the Bread, and a lot more of Cinna, and the beauty team, and more of the stuff that happens in the Arena, especially the cave),  but what was included was all really good.  I mean we really hadn’t seen anything except some shots of the filming of the Reaping, and the eight character posters that were released a couple weeks ago.  Oh, and the teaser trailer, but that was just Katniss.  I’m definitely convinced now that Josh Hutcherson is going to make an excellent Peeta, even though they didn’t really let him shine in this trailer.  Everything they showed of him was great, I’m just saying they didn’t develop his character in this two minute, thirty-six second trailer as much as they did Katniss’s.  Which is fine.  Because I know they will in the movie.  (Is it March yet?!)

The boy from District 12 looks out as he arrives in the wealthy Capital in awe.

Okay.  Getting a little more book-nerd with it, did you notice the actual “girl on fire” part?  I think this is the entrance parade of the Tributes, and we see Katniss, in the pyrotechnic dress that Cinna designed for her, projected on a large screen to viewers in the Capital, and then it pans back and we see two Capital dwellers watching the show with their little blue drinks and tiny iPod-ish screen, right?

The Girl on Fire

Also, towards the end we see the District 12 salute.  Katniss appears to be sending a shout-out to her District from the Arena, and the crowd watching at home responds with the same gesture.  In the book, they do this when she volunteers at the Reaping, and Katniss does it in the Arena when an ally dies.  But this looks like the very beginning of the Games, before the buzzer goes off, when each contestant is standing on their little circle.  She’s pretty unscathed, and it’s too grassy to be the forest death scene I’m thinking of.  Or, I don’t know, maybe she’s doing a farewell to the body as it’s taken away by the helicopter, and then the shot of District 12 doing it too is actually from the Reaping?  (If so I think that’s the only clip in this trailer from the second half of the movie.  Everything else is before the Games or the first few seconds of the 74th Annual Game itself).  I think it’s an interesting way to include the sorts of scenes we didn’t get to see from Katniss’s narration, (like people watching the Games and reacting back home, or in the Capital).

The District 12 salute.

Here’s the description of the first use of this symbol in the book:

Then something unexpected happens.  At least, I don’t expect it because I don’t think of District 12 as a place that cares about me.  But a shift has occurred since I stepped up to take Prim’s place, and now it seems I have become something precious.  At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me.  It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals.  It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love.

I thought the styling of the Capital characters was spot-on.  I saw someone with pinkish, reddish skin in one quick shot.  I loved the swirls in the head Gamemaker’s facial hair.  I liked the shot of the Capital we saw, nestled in the mountains of what used to be Colorado.  I loved the ornateness of it all.  It’s perfect.  This looks like it’s going to be an incredibly faithful adaptation.  Hooray!

Oh, and it looks like they’ve included the scene where the red-headed girl trying to escape the Capital is captured by the pursuing aircraft in the woods outside of District 12.  In the books, this is a flash-back that Katniss remembers when she sees the same girl serving as her Avox, (a servant who’s tongue has been cut out so they are literally “without voice”),  in the Capital.  But it’s a good change to make this actually happen at the beginning of the film rather than as a flashback to sometime before the main narrative, because it won’t disrupt the flow of action as much, and it will give a little more time on screen to develop Gale and Katniss’s relationship.

If you haven’t read this book series yet, why the hell not?!  Get cracking.  You have until March 23, 2012.  It’s amazing.  And may the odds be ever in your favor!


Filed under Books, movies, trailers