Friday, March 23, 2012

movie review: The Hunger Games

This is by far my favorite review that I have done. A few friends and I saw the midnight showing of The Hunger Games last night and enjoyed every minute of it. I'm gonna do my usual 'good' and 'bad.' Long story short, it lived up to my very high expectations.

The Good:
pretty much everything. Lets start with the way the movie was shot. I don't know the specific terminology for it, but the way the cameras moved with everything the characters did made you feel like you were right next to them the whole time. This was such a huge relief from other blockbusters where you're watching the movie from a steady camera. As opposed to this movie where it changes from what Katniss is seeing for a few seconds, and then you're running beside her. So kudos to Gary Ross for that cinematographic choice.

Secondly, what I pictured in my head when reading the books, I saw on the screen. It's amazing to see that, because lets be honest, a lot of the time you get seriously let down by book-to-movie translations because what you were picturing in your head was nothing like the movie. I credit this to the fact that the people who made and starred in this movie were all fans of the books. They wanted to see a faithful adaptation as much as we all did.

Thirdly, the acting was absolutely amazing. I've known that Jennifer Lawrence was a great actor from 'Winter's Bone,' but she really outdid herself in this movie. You could tell that she, and everybody else for that matter, really understood their character. Katniss is a character who is closed off to everybody other than her good friends/people she trusts. Jen did a good job of showing this by only doing a "true smile" (for lack of a better word) when Katniss really liked a person. But what blew me away was her emotional range from physical pain to the emotional pain of losing somebody that Katniss loved. I also loved how Woody Harrelson played Haymitch. I feel like there's a lot of ways somebody could just play Haymitch as an angry drunk, but you could tell that he knew Haymitch's back story. I wasn't sure how well he would do, but he played a great Haymitch.

Fourth, the sporadically dispersed one liners were hilarious. It was a lot of hilariously dry humor. Particularly on the part of Effie. Who knew Effie was going to be that funny. So I tip my hat to Elizabeth Banks for great comedic timing. But some of my favorites came from Katniss, I can't remember them all but a few reminded me of my own personality and personal experiences.

The things they chose to leave out/alter made the movie just as good as the book. Maybe that thought comes from that fact that I did a lot of research about the making of the movie (that's my nerdy stage crew/AV crew/backstage experience and always wanting to know about the production about everything). For whatever reason the changes didn't bother me one bit, which is weird since I was expecting the complete opposite reaction. Good job again Gary Ross

The Bad:
Absolutely nothing. Believe it or not, I can only think a few very minor critiques for the whole 2 hour 22 minute movie. Literally the only thing I can complain about is the fact that the fire costumes were extremely disappointing. You could easily tell that it was just the black costumes with some lackluster CG flames behind them. But that's the only thing I can think of that was "bad." My only other slight disappointment was that I do not believe they showed Katniss's attachment to Rue and Rue's alikeness with Prim enough. The Katniss and Rue alliance only took up about 5 minutes of the movie. Granted they're probably banking on the fact the people who are seeing the movie have read the books, and therefore know how much Katniss loved Rue. Also I give them the benefit of the doubt because there's so much action, and so many amazing scenes, and so many plot points that they don't have an unlimited time to delve into every single thing.


It was absolutely amazing. Go see it even if you haven't read the books if even just to see the way the movie was shot and appreciate the amazing acting. Oh, and the action was AMAZING. That also held up to my expectations. I can't emphasize enough how weird it is to see exactly what you pictured in your head, on a screen in front of you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

my racing exploits

Hey y'all (yes I did just say that). For those of you that don't know I'm going to hopefully do the Disney World Half Marathon in January 2013. I say hopefully because plans aren't finalized yet. If it does end up working out than I'm going to record my efforts over those months on my other blog that's dedicated to sports/outdoors/being active. I would love you all so much if you follow my endeavors when the time comes (sign ups are April 10th).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patty's Day treat

In honor of St. Patrick's day, here's Kathleen Madigan talking about Irish dwarves

Friday, March 16, 2012

Brian Wansink: from mindless eating to mindlessly eating better

So tonight I went to my first legit keynote presentation. It makes me feel like somewhat adultlike (although if you'd ask my friends about that topic, they would disagree). But I figured I'd highlight some main points, because the presentation was extremely interesting. It was given by Brian Wansink with the title "from mindless eating to mindlessly eating better." I have to start off by saying that the only reason why I was going in the first place was because my nutrition teacher said she'd give us 10 extra credit points for attending, so I figured-heck yes I'll sit and listen to somebody else talk for 10 free points. It ended up being totally worth it because not only did I get extra credit, but the speaker was very funny and the topic was really interesting.

The first thing I found comical was the plethora of "introducers" (I call them that because I don't know the technical terminology of what their role was). There were 4 introducers to introduce the main speaker. Is it like that at all formal presentations? Do they often have introducers to introduce the introducer of the speaker?

Now we get to the topic itself. The gist of it is what our unconscious eating habits are, and how to improve them also unconsciously. Brian is a very well respected reacher and teacher at Cornell who has run many experiments over the years about eating habits. One of the most interesting points he made, in my opinion, was that there is statistical/research evidence to show that if you name something a more elaborate or interesting name, people are more likely to eat it. For instance they set up a research restaurant where they had a few food items on the menu that they labeled with bland names. Then a few weeks later they had the exact same food, but with more elaborate names. When this was done, the people who took part in the experiment actually gave a review of that food being of better quality and the chef having more years of experience even though it was actually the same food.

Another interesting point, although slightly predictable is that people will eat healthier if the healthy food is within reach/sight/ascetically nice. This was proved in high schools across the country when Brian went and just rearranged how the food was laid out in a school lunch line. He did this by putting sugary drinks towards the back and putting milk and H2O in the front, etc. My favorite part of the whole thing was that when schools put fruit in the front and in a pretty bowl (not a plastic one), fruit sales shot up +100%. The moral of that story was that people reach for what's most convenient and visible. If that's a cookie than they'll choose a cookie, if it's an apple than they'll pick the apple.

It was very informative and interesting, but I did have one complaint. At the end a girl asked if actively teaching students about healthy choices would be a better approach to getting kids to eat better instead of "tricking" them and their subconscious. He stated that a kid is gonna know what's healthier, but that's not gonna change their choice either way. I find this partially true and respect the girl's question. Here's my thoughts:

1. Yes, kids do know what's healthier and probably won't choose the healthy one cause it doesn't taste better. The thing that rings true especially with teenagers is that they're gonna do the opposite of what you say, no matter what it is. So continually telling them what's good and bad is kind of like beating a dead horse (I hate that saying, by the way)

2. I do believe that high schools should have nutrition classes so that they're aware of what exactly is in different foods/ what their health benefits are. That's always a good skill to know. But it should be taught as being informative as opposed to an oppressive right v. wrong.

3. I don't like the idea of solely relying on tricking people, but it seems to work as much as I hate to admit it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

feel good song of the day

I can't even tell you how much I love this song. Partially because it's a good song and partially because I've had nothing but good memories associated with this song whenever I've heard it play. Plus it can be frequently be heard coming from my car stereo whenever I go to the barn. It really is a "feel good" song, so please enjoy it as much as I do.