Books

Must See Movies 2012 #2: The Hunger Games & The Avengers

In my first “Must See Movies” post for 2012, which covered me until the end of March, I could barely scrape together 4 movies that excited me a bit. I am afraid that I must admit that the first two were major disappointments as well. 2012 isn’t the greatest of years for movies that have excited me so far. There have been some okay ones here and there, but none worth special mention. On the plus side, I’ve been catching up with my series and Skyrim.

The Darkest Hour was exactly that, and about 30 minutes more actually for that matter. The movie relied a bit too much on the cheap (3d) thrills. I can imagine watching it on a normal screen would make it even worse.

While Chronicle was not a complete disaster, the camcorder feel of the movie was a bit annoying, I think it would have worked much better if it was shot in any way but the way they did.

I have more hope for the remaining two, if only for their entertainment value. Project X’s producer is none other than Todd Phillips (who has previously produced and/or directed Old School, The Hangover I & II as well as Due Date) and, well The Wrath of the Titans will be some good fun even if it does suck

For April, I only forsee good things. There are two movies that deserve mention, The Grey and Take Shelter (see the trailers at the end of the post), but even they are simply overshadowed by two potential movies of the year for me.

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

Cover of The Hunger Games

First up, on 13 April 2012, is the movie adaption of  the Suzanne Collins novel of the same name: The Hunger Games. The book and movie are set in the fictional, post-apocalyptic country of Panem, built atop the remains of continental North America, which was destroyed by global warming, war and scarcity of resources. The country is ruled by the powerful, advanced city, the Capitol, which controls the 12 districts as well as all their resources. There were once 13 districts, but during a uprising by the 13 districts against the Capitol, they completely wipe out the 13th district and as a reminder of their defeat by the Capitol, an annual event televised event called the Hunger Games is held. Two tributes, a male and a female between 12 and 18 years of age, are chosen by the Capitol by lottery, unless someone volunteers, to enter a fight to the death. The district whose tribute is left standing at the end is showered with food and resources in abundance, while the remaining 11 districts face hunger and even death from starvation.

Knowing that Collins herself is involved in the movie is even better. I have been listening to the audio book while driving between work and home every day and am nearing the end now. This is one movie that seriously excites me so far. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a 100% fresh rating with an average score of 8.1.

Looks like it should be pretty rocking right?

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Avengers

Movie Poster

Next, coming out at the end of April is The Avengers. The Marvel universe in which the Avengers is based, has had five movies preceding it’s eagerly awaited release and set the scene. It started with Iron Man in May 2008, followed by The Incredible Hulk in June 2008. In 2010, Iron Man 2 was released and last year, we had Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. All 5 of these movies have had different directors and for the most part different writers, with the exception of Zak Penn getting involved in the story of The Incredible Hulk and now The Avengers. There are only two clear links between the films:

  • They each have a small clip after the credits have rolled hinting towards either another character or the Avengers themselves.
  • They are all produced by Kevin Feige

There is not much I can tell you about this movie that true fans don’t already know or that anyone else that is watching this movie would want to know. Let the trailers speak for themselves. If you don’t want to watch all of them, may I suggest that you just skip to Trailer #2 :)

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As a side note for those of you who haven’t seen the 5 movies mentioned and are wondering whether it’s critical to watch them before the Avengers, I have two things to say:

  • Why the hell not??
  • In all honesty it probably wont be the end of the world and you could probably get away with it, but they do provide an important back story for each individual character which may contribute to parts of the story.

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Then lastly as promised here are the trailers for The Grey and Take Shelter


The 30 Day Book Challenge: Day 1 & 2

Cover of "World War Z: An Oral History of...

Cover via Amazon

A friend of mine over at The Katalina Playroom put up a challenge that she found browsing around the net. I honestly doubt that I’ll get to doing a post a day, but I thought that I’d do the challenge anyway and do a “day” as I get a chance. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took me 90 days or more.

To get things going, I thought I’d combine the first two days into one post.

Day 1: You Favourite Book

This one is very easy for me really. Of course it involves zombies, and if you know me, you’ve probably already guessed that it is “World War Z” by Max Brooks.

The book is written in a first person narrative as a report from an UN agent who was not satisfied with the official report the UN released to the public. The report is a collection of his interviews with different people of various nationalities, covering most aspects of the decade long war against the zombies. Even my home country is included in the book, which I admit was quite exciting, especially since in the novel it was after an outbreak in South Africa that the zombie plague was brought to the world’s attention.

One of the novel’s greatest strengths is the fact that it doesn’t seem like a novel, but at the same time draws you. It took me less than three days to read this book, compared to a novel like the Constant Gardener, which admittedly isn’t one of my favourites and will probably be my Day 7 book, as I started reading it in February this year.

The book follows Brooks’ previous zombie book, “The Zombie Survival Guide“, and is based heavily on what was covered in this book. What I really appreciate about this book is how well researched it was. In an interview with the Washington Post, Brooks said:

“Everything in World War Z (as in The Zombie Survival Guide) is based in reality… well, except the zombies. But seriously, everything else in the book is either taken from reality or 100% real. The technology, politics, economics, culture, military tactics… it was a LOT of homework.”

As you are probably aware there is a movie that is currently in production starring Brad Pitt. I will keep an open mind with regards to the film, but it has a helluva lot to live up to.

Day 2: Least Favourite Book

I refuse to elaborate too much on why this book is my least favourite, but it probably has a lot to do with being forced to read it in high school, followed by one of the most boring films of all time starring Robert Redford. Yup, its the Great Gatsby…

The fact that it’s referred to as one of the second best novel of the 20th century by the Modern Library means little to me. It is overrated and boring and that is all I have to say about it.


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