Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie : A Fan's Review

First let me start by saying : I LOVED THE BOOK and I LOVED THE MOVIE!
But obviously because this is a critic of some sort, there will be more negative points then positive, but please read on. And don't be scared to comment too after. Whether you agree or not.

Let me start with the good things.
The best thing in the whole movie is Jennifer Lawrence! She is the perfect Katniss, what can I say!
We all know in the books, the story is told via her perspective and a lot is done with inner monologue. In the movie, although Jenn didn't have a lot of dialogue (and Thank GAWD! she didn't talk to herself as a way to get her innner dialogue heard) She did a spectacular job in acting out her feelings, thoughts and inner dialogues.
In every looks, every movements, you knew what when through her head, and as someone who read the books, I could pin point exactly what Katniss was saying in her head by just associating Jenn's acting to the book's narative. So kudos to Jenn. She is a wonderful actress!

To stay in the same line, I liked that there wasn't a lot of dialogue. Because after all, there wasn't a lot of it in the book either. So it was packed with action, but unlike Action movies, each characters had a purpose and made it seen.

The costumes were magnificent, I think i held my breath in when Katniss and Peeta came out on their Chariot with their cape burning in flames behind them. BEAU.TI.FUL! (Cinna really is amazing)

The Capitol was beyond what i expected. So silly but understandable. I think all the snip-it we saw of people living there as set the tone for the next books when there will be more Capitol and their Folks. But I have to admit, if  Panem existed, I would want to live at the Capitol, how can you say no to a matching head to toe Pink outfit!

Talk about Amazing, the Reaping scene anyone? Oh my gawd, I was clenching my hands together and my heart was skipping beats. I had a knot in my throat and even though I read the book, even though i KNOW what's about to happen...I just couldn't help it. It was emotional, I felt like I was one of them waiting for my name to be drawn out. What a way to start the movie!

Another amazing moment was Cinna saying goodbye to Katniss before she goes in the tube. Only 2 things were said in that scene "thank you" and "If i could, I would bet on you" But to see Jennifer trembling on the screen, with eyes like a deer in red lights, knowing what's going to happen, yet not knowing what's going to happen. The Tension was incredible. I guess that's another kudos to Jenn, and Lenny who played a fantastic Cinna.

I really enjoyed how most of the film was filmed like a camera crew was filming it. Shaky cameras and all. At times, it did feel like we were watching a reality T.V.  So it was a good mix between telling the story and showing the story.

The training session was just about how i imagined it. It was interesting to see and I thought they did a good job in showing some of the tributes's characters.

The bloodbath was also interesting to see, since in the book we don't get to see any of it (Katniss is gone by then) I thought it was a nice touch in setting the tributes apart , giving a Careers an edge.

Rue was sweet.  I just wish her part would have lasted a bit longer though.

Cato was great. You hated him from the start, but at the end you took pity of him. Alexander did a great job at showing Cato's brutal personality, but also his exasperation with the Games. He did give Cato a human side, even if it was for a brief second. Makes me proud to be Canadian ;-)

The fire scene was also well done and scary at some points , specially when the fireballs were coming at her. The whole Arena scenes were such a rush!

Seneca's beard! Enough said. I was mesmerized by it.

Cesear Flickerman, i would watch any reality shows if he was hosting!

Now we're getting in the O.K points.

Josh did a good job as Peeta. But i felt like something was missing. I can't pin-point what it was. I feel like his character was rushed and not as well developed as Katniss, for some reason, I remember him being a bit more whinny in the cave and i remember fuming with anger when he was with the Career, but in the movie, i didn't feel like he was betraying Katniss like i felt in the book, but more like protecting her. We were missing that "OMG BETRAYL" moment.  But Josh did a good job, I can't wait to see how he will take Peeta to the next level in the next films.

Haymitch was funny, but i wish they would given us more time to dislike him at the start for being a drunk and then slowly make us trust him as someone who is actually smart. In the movie, I feel like he went from drunk to trust too quickly. But maybe that's just me, i know i took me until Mockingjay to actually like him and trust him.

Ok, we all know about the pin and Madge. And although i understand that Madge isn't a character that will move the story, I don't actually quite mind that they changed that part. But I know the girl beside me had to explain to her friend what really happens in the book and she didn't seem pleased. But i was ok with that. It didn't change the main plot.

Although i appreciate the extra scenes between Seneca and Snow. I sorta wished they weren't there. At least not in Hunger Games. Perhaps in Catching Fire. When i read the books, we knew very little of Snow and Seneca, but both characters were developed in CF, which then makes you go "ooooohhhhh now i get it" So maybe if they wouldn't have done those 2-3 scences between them two, we would have had more of the greater moments in the books that were missing (which I will talk about below)

District 11 : I'm a bit torn between what happened after Rue dies. It does happen in the book, but not in Hunger Games. It happens in Catching Fire. The whole "Let's trash the place and stop^taking sh!t from the Capitol" thing I wish they would have done like in the book and send Katniss a bread from their district. After all, the Rebellion is not starting, yet. The bread represented D11 telling Katniss "Thank you, we're on your side now, no matter what" Then later they start revolting after the berries incident.

What happened to the prep team? I was sooooo looking forward to seeing them. They are like a comical relief in this whole thing and also some of Katniss's Capitol friends. But hopefully their part will get bigger int he upcoming movies, they got to at least.

Ok, now the negative points. I understand that they can't do everything that was in the book and translate it in the movie. I understand that some characters must be cut short, or cut completely. But the one thing I did not like was how rush the movie felt. Although i mentioned above that i enjoyed the rush in the arena, I did not enjoyed it overall. I felt like we went from moments to moments, by just skimming the surface and some great moments in the books where just kinda overlooked or not even mentioned. I understand you can't make  a 4 hrs long movie, but I think too many things were rushed and some things were just not relevant at this point.

The Tributes: Although we got a sense of the Careers, I wish we would have gotten to know a bit more about them, perhaps show their interviews a bit more, or show the Chariots scene a bit more, like show us each Tributes and tell us a bit more about their districts. They kinda juts glanced over that. Maybe I just wanted to see each of their costumes.

Where was Haymitch at the Reaping? How can he miss his grand spectacular entrance of face planting in his own vomits? But instead have him walk in, slightly drunk wondering where the ice is? not as memorable, Cinna wouldn't approve.

The Tracker Jacker scene, It was cool, but the morbid side of myself would have liked to see Glimmer turn into slim, like Katniss imagined. To have the full experience of the hallucinations, orange bubbles, bugs crawling...the works. Small detail, but I was looking forward to it.

Another thing I was looking forward too and i feel they completely missed it : The mutts!
What were those? Bulldogs? Pitbulls? I don't know about you, but I had pictured some kind of half human, half wolf mutation, grotesque and scary. I was actually scared when reading their description in the book. The whole point was that they were suppose to resemble the lost tributes. Which is something the Capitol used to get in their heads and scare the sh!t out of them. But those in the movie just looked like rabid dogs.  And in the book, Cato gets tortured for the whole night driving Katniss to the edge and doing the last Kill in order to spare him for further pain. But in the movie she kinda went "Oh he felt to the dogs, let me shoot him now and get this over with", There again, a beautiful scene that was rushed.

The Feast! Well it was well done, Isabelle was good as Clove, i wouldn't want to fight her. But she missed her best line "Cato said i could have you if i made a good show". And then Tresh kills her and he is suppose to take D2's bag so that Cato would run after him instead of going after Katniss. Thus leading him to die in Cato's hands. But from what i gathered, Tresh didn't take the D2 bag and got killed by a Mutt.  Why change it? It's not like it would have made the movie longer or anything, why not stay true to the book in that case?

Also to go back to the cornucopia scene, Where was Cato's full body armor? Isn't it one of the reason why Katniss shots him in the hand, coz it's the only place not protected (as she has tried to shoot him before, but her arrow bounced off his armed chest and they were all 3 running away from the Mutts). Oh well....

Peeta's injury. He is suppose to limp isn't he? which then leads to a very touching scene when they are both Victors and are brought back in the hovercraft. Peeta is still heavily injured and he is brought to the medics where Katniss is locked away from him. Later we find out he is missing his leg and has a prostectic instead. But that whole Hovercraft scene was important, because i believe that's when Katniss really shows for once that she truly loves and cares about him. But that whole thing was cut. It really, but really disappointed me.

And the whole "It was all for the game" part was also cut. It was the scene where everyone should feel pity toward Peeta and sorta hate Katniss. In fact the whole ending was rushed like crazy.  It's like they ran out of time and just went with it to try and finish it as quickly as possible. Once again I will say it, I wouldn't have minded to have to sit 30 minutes longer to see those scenes they were important touching moments in the book.

and there are other little things I rather loved and rather felt disappointed but i can't remember them now.
Over all, they did a great job, I am just being a nitpick about things.
I do feel that having read the books gave me a greater advantage to understanding the movie. Since i know what goes on, who is who and what's being thought...but if you haven't read the books, i guess the movie is a great teaser to the books!

With all this said, would I go see the movie again in theater? HECK YES!
Will I buy the DVD? HECK YES (and preferably the extended version in the hopes to get more of it)
Did I enjoy the movie ? Yes I did, I would give it a 4 out of 5.
Do i recommend the movie ? HECK YES (but please read the books too, there is so much more good stuff in there)
Am I excited for Catching Fire?......yes, but please make it a 2 parts....or longer, don't rush it!

It was a roller coaster of good stuff. And like I told my friends "It's like reading the books on crack! you don't have time to take everything in since it's BANG BANG BANG" What a rush! Go see it, it is worth it, and if you are an avid fan of the books, don't start nitpicking the movie like I did. Sit back and enjoy every moment of it because it goes by so fast!

Once again, excellent job to everyone involved in the movie. Thank you for your hard work! The odds are in your favor!

Note: wrote that after watching the movie, it is pass midnight. My head if filled with thoughts and sleepiness. So please forgive my lack of better English skills and my jumping all over the place. Going to bed now.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

District 11 bread

One thing that is recurrent in the books The Hunger games is : Food.
And well as obsess as I am, i decided to try my own versions of District 11's bread.

In the book, the bread is described as moonshaped bread with natural grains.
Since District 11 is one of the poorest of all district, I figured they probably don't have lots of money to buy the ingredients for their bread (to import from other districts)
But since District 11's task is Agriculture, I figured they probably grow their own ingredients.
So let's keep it simple!

Over the internet I have seen a lot of recipes for The hunger games's food (there is even a cookbook)
But all of them required "yeast" for the bread.
For some reason, I don't think District 11 would have such thing. Wouldn't it be too expensive for them to get?

That got me thinking.

For those who don't know, Bannock is a simple bread made by the natives. It requires very few ingredients. Can be eaten as a dipping bread, or as a sweet bread just by adding or subtracting ingredients. No yeast is required and it litterly takes a few minutes to make.
It is a more dense bread that can either be deep fried, or cooked over a fire (baked)
I remember eating that when I lived up north in Waskaganish with the native.
The elders would make the dough, wrap it around a stick and dangle it by the camp fire to bake.
We would dip it in the Moose's gravy while eating.
Sometimes they would add raisins and cinnamon to the dough to eat it as desert.

I took a basic recipe of Bannock over the internet and modified it by adding ingredients that would be suitable for District 11.

Here's my recipe (the meassurements are NOT perfect, i pretty much eyeballed it all)

1 1/2 cup of Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds salted (if unsalted, add more salt to the recipe)
2 pinches of salt
2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/3 cup of white and black roasted sesame seeds.
1/3 cup of flax seeds
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of Almond fresh milk (you can use regular 2% milk for's just i'm lactose intolerant and almond milk has a nice nutty flavor that goes well with the seeds)
 Honey to taste

Calories per bread: 180
Proteins : 7
Fiber: 7
Sugar : 4-9 varies depending on how much honey you add
Carbs: 35

Mix dry ingredients together.
Add almond milk and mix.
Add honey to taste.
Mix well. Add water slowly to form a dough that isn't "too" sticky to the touch.
Knead the dough lightly (the more you work it, the denser the bread will be, so don't knead it too much if you want it soft)
separate into 6 balls. Roll each balls into triangles.
Drizzle a bit of honey on top,(if you want more) then roll into a croissant shape.
Place on cookie toll, drizzle some honey onto if you want and sprinkle more sesame seeds and sunflower seeds ontop.
Place in the over for 30 minutes (or until golden brown) at 350 degrees. (flip the bread after half way to make sure it is golden on each side)
Eat warm with jam or butter.

They tasted pretty good in my opinion.
But like I said, I eyeballed the measurements, so just go with the flow and consistency of the dough.

The Hunger Games

About 4 months ago, I saw a previous for the movie on TV.
It was short, and mainly consisted of a voice over and images of a girl running the woods and shooting arrows.
I remember thinking "well that seems interesting!"
Then that was it for a while.

2 months ago, my sister told me about the books. She said the movie was coming out and then I remembered seeing it on TV. That same week, I went to the theatre to watch a boring movie (The Woman in Black) and the trailer of The Hunger Games went on. I got all excited after watching it! It seemed really cool!

So I borrowed my sister's book and started reading it a month ago. I read the first 5 chapters over 3 days. You know, 1-2 chapters before going to bed...but then my day off came and I finished the rest of the book in an afternoon.

I was hooked!!!

Luckily a few days later my mom was coming to visit, so she was able to bring me the 2 other books (Catching Fire and Mockingjay). I had to wait a few days to read them because I knew I had to read them one after another and needed my weekend off to do so.

finally read both of them 2 days. Took me a total of about 12hrs per books.

I have been addicted to the story since...and with the movie coming out this friday, I am way excited!!!

I haven't obsessed about a book this much since, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
At those time, I ended up having "malfoy" as a nickname, for my blond hair and sarcastic comments. and an elvish tattoo on my back.
This time, I got my official Panem citizen ID card, got sorted in District 11 and got myself a snazy tote backpack with my District logo, name and ID # on it (totally personalized).
I won a free Ticket to see the movie on Friday too from one of the many contest I participated in.

I really don't  know what it is about the books that is so compelling. Perhaps the characters are very easy to relate too and they all seen so real and they fight for what is right.
I don't think there isn't one character that I hate...even the bad guys, I find a way to relate to them, if that makes sense.

Anyways, If you haven't read the books, do it! it's worth it.
Yes it is a "young adult" book but NO it is far from being lame like Twillight.
Just imagine The Lord of the Flies mixed with 1984...
Or a futuristic Battle Royal.
It touches all subjects from politics to relationships. Good and Evil. Real or not Real. ;-)

Please come obsess with me on The Hunger Games!

Little update!

Now that winter is gone, i am slowly defrosting ahahaha
Let's see, the only exciting thing that has happened since last time is the fact that I now have all my 50 embalmings needed in order to write my licensing exams in June.

Sometime next month, I will do the practical exam of doing an embalming.
Then in June I will go back to school for 2 weeks for a quick review, and on June 19-20 I will write the rest of the exam.
In total, there are 3 parts (1 practical, 1 multiple choices, 1 long answer questions).
I feel rather confident about the practical part, but I am slightly nervous about the multiple choices.
I think they said there would be like 500 questions or something...that's a lot!
But now that I have all 50 labs done, I will start reviewing my notes.

Over the weekend, my sister, niece and mom came to visit for the day.
An all girls day!
And we ended up going wedding dress shopping for my mom who is getting married in October.
We thought of going to look just to get ideas, but after trying 7 or so dresses, we found the one!
So now my mom has a dress!
It wasn't what we had in mind for her to be honest.
But we decided to try it on, just to show her a different style (and it was much more fancy then we intended) but once she had it on, she looked gorgeous! We were all a bit surprised at how good the dressed looked.
I'm happy for her, She will look like a real bride and like a million bucks!

As for me, I have been working out and keeping track of what I eat.
Although I haven't seen any progress in the past 2 months except for being down 2lbs.
But my sister and mom insist that I look thinner then before.
I do feel stronger though.
But i just wish I could see some progress. It is kinda bumming me out.
But now that the nice weather is out, I hope to be more active.
This week I went for a walk 4 times, all of them being 1:30hrs long.

But i know....muscles weight more then fat blah blah blah....but i just wish it would show on the scale as well.

Thursday I have a phone interview for a job in Ottawa.
I hadn't planned on applying for Ottawa. My goal when leaving Sturgeon was to get closer to my family.
And Ottawa would be going further from them.
But nothing is panning out back home and I'm having second thoughts about the job in Toronto. From what I understood, it seemed like I would be working more in the call center then anywhere else...and well That's not what I want.
The job in Ottawa is similar to what I was expecting to the one in Toronto. It is a prep center that does all the embalming for their 6 other funeral homes. With possibility of working in one of their salon as a French director. Plus, a guy from my class is working there right now and he really likes it (they have great benefits too).
Also that place is part of the biggest funeral corporation in North America. They have funeral homes all over Canada and USA. So if i get in with them, later in life, I can get transfer pretty much anywhere if i wanted too.
So perhaps it could be a good thing.
We'll give it a try at the interview and see how it goes!

Beside, I do have some family in Ottawa, so it's not like I won't know anyone if I were to move there.

Well that's about it for that.
3 more months until I am officially a Funeral Director...oh boy!