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    Hunger Games (the book)

    2012 - 03.15

    So a while back I asked whether I should read the book before I watched the movie or not.  This decision was partly made for me as the book materialized on the nightstand.  It took me all of a day to read the book, which is related to the pacing and the relative size of the font in the book.

    Overall I enjoyed the book although I found some of the writing style employed to be odd, particularly around the dialogue where we would be in the midst of a section of dialogue and then we would be told that additional things were said as narration.  Whatever, threw me a few times because I needed to see where the quotation marks were, but otherwise it worked well enough.

    The story didn’t seem totally original too me, although it blended sufficiently many elements from other stories I was familiar with to make an original story.  The characters were well developed, had unique voices and were sufficiently compelling that you cared what happened to them.  So it worked.

    Worth reading, but the mature content warning on the cover is appropriate.

    I wonder what they are going to do in the movie, given that there’s a lot of nudity in the book, and although it may not be deemed inappropriate in a book for 16 year olds to be naked, or for younger children to read about them being naked (and it certainly isn’t inappropriate in the setting of the story itself), it is not the case that it would be deemed appropriate by the people who rate movies…

    I guess it’s likely that in most cases the story could be changed for the movie in such a way that you wouldn’t notice unless you had read the book.  Which is probably fine except for all the teenage boys who read the story and are hoping to see Katniss naked… (what are the odds we get some weird search engine traffic because of that phrase?)

    Labyrinth next Monday

    2012 - 03.12

    So Labyrinth is playing at Colossus in Langley or Scotia Bank Theatre downtown next Monday at 7pm.  Who wants to go with us?

    John Carter [of Mars]

    2012 - 03.08

    “John Carter” opens tomorrow, and I’m interested in seeing it.  When I saw the first trailer for it my reaction was: “That looks interesting, dumb title though”.  I read in the paper the other day that the producers weren’t impressed either, but that they didn’t have control over it.

    It turns out the the movie is based on a series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs (he also wrote Tarzan).  The market research showed that all movies with Mars in the title had done poorly, which is why the movie is not called “John Carter of Mars” or something along those lines, which would have been much more informative (but still isn’t a good title).  I’d have preferred something like “Edgar Rice Burroughs’: John Carter”, and I may have numerous other suggestions after seeing the movie.

    I’d also like to point out that the problem with movies with Mars in the title doing poorly has in my experience a lot more to do with the quality of those movies and a lot less to do with the word “Mars” (or the planet for that matter).  That said, I don’t think they’ll rename the upcoming remake of Total Recall to “Total Recall: Mars”… then again is it possible to improve upon an Arnie movie?  Can anyone else get away with the what Arnie did and have it work?  I doubt it.

    Bottom line, titles matter, but content is still king.


    The Hunger Games

    2012 - 02.23

    So the movie adaptation of the Hunger Games is going to be opening soon… so here’s a few questions:

    1. Have you read it?
    2. Do you want to see the movie?
    3. Do you think someone should read the book before seeing the movie or after?

    I personally haven’t read it.  Karin has, I expect that she’ll want to see the movie (given how she loved the book).  So I’m mostly looking for a recommendation as to whether I should read the book before or after watching the movie (although I suppose if I don’t read it before the movie and don’t like the movie, I might not read it at all).

    Imagine a Glassy Future

    2012 - 02.07

    I can’t remember who shared this on Facebook, but I watched and enjoyed it, and decided I’d share it here.  Mostly because I think it’s cool.  Definitely some of the things I want right now, not later, others don’t seem that useful.  I’m not sure how many of the things are actually practical, but it’s still pretty cool some of it.  Anyway, here’s “A Day Made of Glass… Made possible by Corning.”

    Incidentally Corning has their own YouTube channel, haven’t watched any of the other videos though.


    2012 - 01.08

    There are a number of movies that we saw during the holidays, in particular:

    • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
    • Mission: Impossible 4 – Ghost Protocol

    We saw both of them at SilverCity Coquitlam in the new VIP theatres.  We enjoyed them both, and would recommend them both to others.  Both would be action movies, but good entries into the genre.

    If you’ve seen and enjoyed the previous Sherlock Holmes then I expect that you’ll enjoy the new one.  If you’re a fan of a the previous Mission Impossible films, you’d like the new one as well.  Both were solid and enjoyable.

    We’ll talk about the VIP experience later…

    Movie Season?

    2011 - 12.11

    We haven’t been going to that many movies lately.  I think the last one we saw in the theatre was Conan…  That said, we might try to make it out to the theatre a little more over the holidays as there’s quite a few that at this point at least seem to be of interest.  If anyone wants to join us for one of them, let us know:

    • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Dec 16)
    • Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (Dec 21)
    • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Dec 21)
    While coming up with the list above, I checked out HSW.com (Hollywood Stock Exchange) which a number of us used to goof around with.  I don’t know when the last time I logged into it was… if only it was real money.  Current portfolio value: $114,838,023.64.

    Watch: The Fifth Element on-line!

    2011 - 10.20

    The Fifth Element is one of my all time favourite movies, I own multiple different copies of it (no Blu-Ray yet though).  Anyway, I just noticed that at least at the moment you can watch it on-line at Global‘s website.  Looks like it’s the whole thing, don’t know if it’s been edited for language or content or not (given that there’s swearing and nudity in it).

    If somehow you haven’t watched it before, go do so now.  Enjoy.

    Barbaric! in 3D

    2011 - 08.19

    Conan the Barbarian has been remade and is in 3D, we saw it this afternoon in AVX3D at Silver City Metropolis.  We had previously purchased a “night out” gift certificate at Costco ($25 + HST) to use to go and see Captain America: The First Avenger but we still haven’t made it to see that one yet.  Because it was in AVX3D we had to pay an “upgrade” fee which amounted to $10 total, and I paid an extra $0.80 to get butter on the regular popcorn which is included with the night out (as well as two regular pops).  So essentially you still get the 2 pops and popcorn free, which is what the original coupon works out to, so that’s still pretty good.

    Right from the beginning they started using 3D effects, and I found especially in the opening sequences that they were effective.  There were some cool fire effects, especially with floating embers, and unlike most of the other 3D movies that I had seen, it really felt like things were coming out of the screen, but in a way that was effective.  Although I for the most part enjoyed the 3D effects in the movie, and they did consistently use 3D throughout the movie (not just in a couple of scenes) I don’t know that the movie really “benefited” from them.  Would the story have been any less enjoyable without them?  Probably not.

    Conan is one of my all time favourite movies (Barbarian and Destroyer), not necessarily because it was a “great movie” (although I definitely enjoyed it) but because of my age when I saw it, the simple elegance which is Conan’s philosophy and the fact there was sword fighting.  Simple things.  Years later I acquired the movie on DVD, and although I still enjoy the movie it definitely suffered from the production values of the original, the sound recording is only MONO, not even stereo, so you can forget 5.1.  Back in the days of watching it as a movie on TV it didn’t matter, but when you add it to your DVD collection beside such audio masterpieces as the Fifth Element, well it can be a bit hard on the ears.  That said, they have both now been released on Blu-Ray, and are supposed to have improved video and sound… so could be good.

    Back to the new movie, it stars Jason Momoa who was Khal Drogo in the HBO adaptation of A Game of Thrones, so you may already be familiar with him.  He does a good job as Conan, although it’s kind of like picking your favourite James Bond, it probably has more to do with who introduces you to the character and thus who you identify with in the role rather than with one being necessarily better than the other.  If anything in this film Conan is too articulate.  In truth Karin found the dialog a little unbelievable, and I’ll grant that, it didn’t mostly feel as though they were trying for “period dialogue”, and because it didn’t really seem as though they were trying and failing, it didn’t bother me.

    Overall it was a very enjoyable movie, quite different from the original film, but apparently closer to the original Robert E. Howard source material.  One change I would have made as a bit of an homage to the original is I would have asked James Earl Jones to do the narration instead of Morgan Freeman (at least that’s who I believe it was).  Bottom line I liked the movie, didn’t feel that it undermined the legacy of the earlier movies, and ultimately contributed to the awesomeness that is Conan.  I’d probably even go see the movie again…

    Return of the Queen

    2011 - 08.12

    Ok, so it’s not really quite that epic, but I felt the need to use a literary pun.  Yup, hate me because I’m brilliant AND funny.

    Karin got home today just after 3pm (local time), which means that the whole long list of things I had hoped to get done were not.  That said, the lack of completion really has more to do with having a cold than with Karin arriving a few hours earlier than I had expected.  That said she appears to have been quite pleased with what was accomplished in her absence.

    Despite the fact that it was quite warm today, we ended up with a lasagna from Costco for dinner tonight (the frozen one) because that’s what Karin wanted.  It was pretty delicious, but the company was better.

    We watched Going the Distance tonight as well, Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.  I thought the movie looked funny when it first came out, but we never got around to seeing it.  In watching it, it exceeded my expectations of hilarity, and we both enjoyed it quite a lot.  “Mia statue!”  It could be that we’re in the unique position of being reunited after an extended period of time apart (the movie is about a long distance relationship) which made the movie more apropo.  Regardless, much laughter ensued, and it will be remembered fondly.  So on that note: “Dan, take me to Berlin!”