Movie – Rush: B-

rushB-
It’s odd to compare this to Star Wars, but like Phantom Menace, Rush didn’t really have a main character. It was clearly a biopic, but it tried to be a bi-biopic, focusing on two characters, from the point of view of both with neither being protagonist nor antagonist. Perhaps that was the point. I was wholly ignorant of Formula 1, so I found those segments interesting in their newness, but the majority of the character drama felt bland. Well shot and well performed, but it struggled to keep me engaged.

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Movie – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: A-

catching fireA-
Catching fire is a true rarity: a film that’s significantly better than the book. The book bored me nearly to the point of giving up, while I felt the film was even more entertaining than the first. Gone were all the unnecessary detail and tedious filler scenes. Even more impressive, I liked it better than the first film, which I liked more than the first book. The focus shifted to the places it needed to, and thankfully we’ve moved away from shaky cam. After my disappointment with the Catching Fire novel, I never bothered with Mockingjay. Now I find myself wanting to see the end on film. (Though, lamentably, it’s being split in two. Hopefully that’s the next trend we can escape.)

Movie – The Expendables 2: A

A
The Expendables movies know their audience and embrace them exactly as they should. I wish some other franchises would take notice. Every action movie trope was present, and the movie excelled because of them. The references to the characters’ other films was a bit heavy-handed, but some worked beautifully (such as referencing Dolph Lundgren’s real-world masters degree). Chuck Norris’ addition worked well, and Schwarzenegger and Willis’ extended scenes affixed a wide smile on my face.

Movie – The Hunger Games: B+


B+
My opinion of Hunger Games is skewed from reading the book. And not in the normal “the book was better why’d they change things” sort of way. It was too faithful to the book. This hyper-faithfulness, while I’m sure will solidify the movie’s success, left me with no surprises. But they did well with the material. The other bigger problem was the camera. Shaky camera and out-of-focus zooming are like 3D: a stupid gimmick that hurts the viewing experience. It’s acceptable during action scenes (though still better without it) but during moments of quiet or suspense they’re distracting and pointless.