May the odds be EVER in your favour.

I have recently become quite obsessed with The Hunger Games.

It wasn’t so much a jumping on the band wagon, but more the hype around the release of the movie is what prompted me to finally read the books.

I have had them sitting there for a few months now after being recommended by a friend to read them and I just hadn’t gotten around to it. But then the movie was released and I thought before anything gets spoiled, I should probably read the books to head off any unwanted spoilers.

So I started reading the first book. I finished it two days later. Then I started the second – Catching Fire – by the time a week had passed, all three had been devoured by my hungry little eyes.

There are not many books these days that actually get me to sit down and read that quickly. I like to take my time in reading a book, usually reading a chapter or two before bed each night.

However, for The Hunger Games, I just couldn’t put them down. There were several nights in that week that I stayed up late reading. I just wanted to know what happened next. Only a few other books have had the same treatment – Harry Potter and Twilight. When each HP book was released, I would read them in a weekend. With the Twilight books, once I had finally began reading them, on a recommendation of a friend, I had all four of them done and dusted within a week.

It is incredibly hard to find books like this nowadays. They are few and far between. And if they do exist, sooner or later Hollywood will come a-knocking and they will be brought to life on the silver screen.

Today, I went to see The Hunger Games movie. I even managed to drag Man Piece along with me. He even enjoyed it.

Now, I’m not the biggest advocate for books into movies, it seems these days that every movie made is based on a book. Can’t Hollywood come up with an original thought? No.

Anyway…

The movie of The Hunger Games was actually quite good. I didn’t feel they had missed anything out and they touched on themes that come up in the next two books. Although it would have been nice to include certain things from the book that were missed out, they weren’t that important and for the sake of time, continuity and cutting down, it was understandable. The major themes and events were covered and they didn’t get anything blatantly wrong.

One thought I did have when I was reading the books then looking at the film, was that I imagined Liam Hemsworth (Gale) as Peeta rather than Josh Hutcherson. But having watched the movie now, they do fit their roles and I can’t imagine it the other way.

[Sidenote: OMG JOSH HUTCHERSON IS THAT LITTLE KID FROM BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA.]

So, you could say I have actually jumped on the bandwagon, but what a good bandwagon to be on. I look forward to Catching Fire and Mockingjay being made into movies and I might even follow them through production.

Even if you hate following what other people do, Suzanne Collins’ novels are definitely worth a read. They are very big brother is watching you and could even say they are our generations’ version of 1984.

And I’m sure if someone were to study them a bit closer, they would find themes picking at our society today. *cough* survivor *cough* Not that I’m going to do that or anything… NOT AN ENGLISH NERD.

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It All Ends… but does it really?

I finally went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 this week and it was amazing!

It was not like watching the other films. Being part 2 of the final installment meant they didn’t really have to build anything up, they just had to do it.

It started with a replay of the last scene of part 1 – that of Voldemort pulling the Elder Wand out of Dumbledore’s grave. Probably just to remind you of what happened last.

But as soon as the movie started, it was just non-stop. I sat there with my hand over my mouth, tears ready to fall and my miniature flakes going uneaten.

Every little part made me want to cry. Only because it was the last Harry Potter, I’ve grown up with the books and then the movies. Harry Potter has been in my life for more than half of it. What is it going to be like with it over?

For the movie itself it was pretty good. The acting and special effects were awesome. Remember back to Philosopher’s Stone where the acting of the Three was just painful? Yeah, it has gotten so much better. Plus, they grew up GOOD.

Surprisingly for already knowing the story, they still managed to get in a few moments of jaw-dropping shock. When Harry was fighting Voldemort, he pulls him into a massive fall. I don’t remember this ever happening in the book, but it was so unexpected. One second they were just standing there, the next, they were in free fall.

It’s this type of action that was throughout the entire movie. There really wasn’t any room for pause.

Even for one of the darkest movies in the series the humour still prevails. When I wasn’t biting my nails anxiously or wiping away that odd tear, I was laughing. Once again there were some amazing one-liners, which brings the light to the movies. All down to the fantastic writing of Steve Kloves, and JK Rowling, once again. The best was definitely between Professor McGonagall and Neville, who by-the-way is now one of the hottest cast members.

Are you really giving us permission to do this?

Yes, Longbottom.

Blow it up? Boom?

BOOM.

Just brilliant.

But I think the best performance has to go to Alan Rickman. He is absolutely superb as Snape, not that he ever does anything less. He was born for the role. It definitely was a teary moment when he was killed.

After 10 years and 8 movies, the Harry Potter series has come to a close. A sad day, but also somewhat joyful to watch. Thanks has to go out to Warner Brothers, the cast and the crew for bringing my favourite boy wizard to life beyond my imagination. And to JK Rowling herself, because without Harry just casually walking into her head one day I would have stopped reading, never started writing my own stuff and probably wouldn’t be where I am today. Harry has inspired so much and saved me many times.

So it’s not really the end. We continue our journey, just without any new adventures.

Charlie St Cloud (2010)

Charlie St Cloud (Zac Efron) is that guy from high school who looks like he has it made. Everyone expects great things from him and he will most likely succeed.

But when a car accident leaves his brother Sam (Charlie Tahan) dead, Charlie doesn’t succeed in anything.

Having almost died himself, he is given a second chance by the paramedic that won’t give up, and the unbelievable ability to see his brother.

However, five years later and it would seem Charlie has wasted his second chance at life. He is at the bottom. But as these things go, he meets a girl and begins the process of re-finding himself, which includes a difficult decision of whether he lets down his brother or saves someone worth saving. He learns there is no such thing as a lost cause and that life is worth living, even if it is without people you love.

Efron really has some acting chops, showing he is more than just a song and dance. He pulls at the proverbial heart strings, bringing the raw emotion of the role to the screen.

He has some pretty amazing chemistry with Amanda Crew, who plays Tess – the love-interest, who makes his second chance worthwhile.

With a supporting cast of Ray Liotta and Kim Basinger, you would expect a bigger presence by them on screen, but maybe it shows a change in Hollywood – the next generation is coming in to their own.

Directed by Burr Steers (17 Again) and based on the original novel, The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud by Ben Sherwood, this is a great adaptation and definitely one that requires a box of tissues.

It is the ultimate story of a little boy lost; just trying to find what makes him happy.

The Ghost Writer (2010)

A Ghost: A writer who is paid to write texts that are attributed to another person.

Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) is the former UK Prime Minister. He is writing a memoir, nay, his ghost writer is doing that. It is kept under tight security and does not leave the house in which Lang resides.

When the first Ghost tasked with writing the memoirs washes up on a beach dead, it passes to the replacement (Ewan McGregor) to finish the book.

The Ghost wonders what he has gotten himself in to and as he delves deeper into research, he discovers a few things he shouldn’t, which puts him in immense danger.

But with the natural curiosity of a writer, he doesn’t stop looking and even though everything may seem fine, there are more twists than anyone could see coming.

Directed by Roman Polanski, with the screenplay by himself and Robert Harris – who wrote the novel in which the movie is based – it is a brilliant film, surrounded in mystery and intrigue.

The acting ability of the cast is a huge plus in making this movie believable, except it is quite clear that Kim Cattrall cannot do emotion well. She should really stick to roles in which she owns sassy.

The majority of the movie flowed smoothly, but there were a few scenes that seemed stiff, stagnant and ultimately went nowhere.

It leaves the viewer trying to figure out what is happening, but is never what you expect. It will leave you guessing until the very end and beyond.

However, it is up to The Ghost to find the truth…

I want a gold pen sword.

DEMI-GODS: Stealers of Maseratis

DEMI-GODS: Stealers of Maseratis

Imagine stealing a Maserati from the floor of a casino, jumping off the Empire State Building (which secretly holds the entrance to Olympus) or finding the entrance to the underworld under the H of the Hollywood sign. Not the norm for a typical human, but if you were a demi-god — it may just be your typical week.

Just some of the hi-jinks in Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief. I guess if you had to describe it in a comparison to other movies it would be like Harry Potter, but instead of Daniel Radcliff as the lead, you have Zac Efron.

No the lead isn’t actually Zac Efron, but Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson. He is a pretty good look-alike or voice double (seriously, he sounds exactly like Zac Efron at some points). Percy Jackson is a demi-god — half human, but son of Poseidon (Kevin McKidd or that dude from Grey’s Anatomy). With this little piece of information, it opens up a world based on Greek mythology. Still based in reality with this supernatural twist — which I think is better because you can still associate with each character — you can pretty much assume, if we’re playing with demi-gods here, anything can go — all Gods are in essentially — Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Athena, including their powers.

At first getting told you’re the son of a Greek God you would naturally think it was unbelievable, but then of course you get awesome powers and a few nifty tools. A sword, chuck sneakers with tiny wings, a collapsible shield and then there is the casual lightening bolt. Which brings me to the special affects. They were awesome. Not over the top, not crappy. Enough said.

Once again — it’s a book in to a movie, based on the same name and written by Rick Riordan. Unfortunately I cannot speak for how successful the adaptation has been, as I have never read the books. However, there is no way that an original script from Hollywood would be able to provide a detailed story-line and in-depth characters of this type if it wasn’t first a book. I can say though, that I will be going to the library tomorrow to look for all the books in the series to see how they measure up to the Hollywood adaptation. One question I do have is, how old are the leads supposed to be? The feel of it is mid-to-late teens, bout 16/17. Lerman himself is 18. But as I understand it, in the first book Percy is 12. That right there is a big inconsistency. However, as certain scenes are portrayed it is more believable that a 16-year-old would be doing them, than a 12-year-old.

Everybody seems to be comparing it to Harry Potter and yes I agree there are similarities. Chris Columbus directs, the heroes are a trio (two boys, one girl), the creatures are similar (only because JK Rowling got most of her ideas for creatures from Greek mythology), they attend a school for demi-gods (called Camp Half-Blood — seriously there could be a better name: Camp Olympus, Olympus College, School of Olympus? Just throwing a few out there.) and of course getting to go on a quest and fighting a bad guy. When Harry Potter came out, people compared it to Lord of the Rings. This type of thing is always going to happen.

There are some memorable moments — when Mr Brenner/Chiron (Pierce Brosnan) hands Percy a pen and says to use it only in times of great distress he replies with “It’s a pen.” Yes, a pen, but a very cool gold pen that when you click it turns into an awesome gold sword. I bet you don’t have a gold pen sword.

Also when Grover (Brandon T Jackson or the real black dude from Tropic Thunder) starts taking off his pants, Percy asks why, so his legs can be free – turns out he’s half goat (did not see that one coming), or a Saber, to keep this mythology correct.

If they decide to adapt the rest of the books in the series, I will go see every single one at the movies. I feel this new series can be just as successful as Harry Potter and Twilight and definitely should not fall by the wayside like The Golden Compass, Chronicles of Narnia and Spiderwick Chronicles. It is something different and the mythology is interesting. How often do you get movies about Greek Gods?