Ignore the bad photo taken with a flash on my iPhone against my jeans while we were sitting, waiting for the movie to begin on Saturday night. 

You know how it was a total mistake to re-read Catching Fire before it was released? (You know, because I could easily remember everything they cut out) Well, I made the mistake of re-reading half of the rest of Mockingjay before I saw it on Saturday night (so technically I read the middle ¼th). I only got through 100 pages before we arrived after some snacks and drinks at The Smith to the Lincoln Square movie theatre (the big one; yes, there was a line, and we even got there 45 minutes-ish early). 

The 100 pages that I read took about 15 minutes to get through in the movie. I always gloss over the fact that most of the book is inside Katniss’ head so it’s impossible to translate that to the big screen. There are spoilers after the cut. 

I’m still a little torn about my feelings regarding Mockingjay Part 2. They made Peeta’s recovery a little too easy. They totally cut out the part where District 13 becomes as totalitarian as living in the old districts. The scene in the rose garden with Snow was ridiculous. They met in the book, but he would’ve been in a holding cell, not his white rose garden. I don’t remember the part in the book where they hide with Tiggress and then “go with the refugees” to the Capitol. It seemed a little too apropos considering the current situation with Syria refugees, but I know it probably had little to do with it because the film was finished months ago. Katniss’ and Gale’s disguises were barely disguises at all and I laughed a little bit at that. I didn’t like that we didn’t see more of the rebels overtaking the Capitol. It seemed too clean. To be honest, the last part of the movie after that kind of dragged. 

And I’m not kidding when I say that the entire movie theatre erupted into laughter when the final scene, with Katniss, Peeta, and their children, came on. It was so ridiculous. I know that’s how the movie ends, but it was so ridiculous on screen and it felt so disjointed (it felt like Purple Summer following Those You’ve Known in Spring Awakening). 

I think I need to go see this again. Justin enjoyed it, so that was a plus. I’m knit-picking the shit out of it and it’s my fault considering I re-read some of the book beforehand, but that was my mistake and I guess I have to live with it. I think Mockingjay just may be an inferior book compared to the first two (or rather the last half of Mockingjay because I LOVED Mockingjay Part 1). 

I bought the keychain pictured above on sale at the Borders in Columbus Circle in 2010 while I was reading all of the books. I loved the books and will continue to love the books. 

I’m glad I saw the final movie in it’s opening weekend but I just wish it would’ve been a stronger ending. 

Movies, Marshmallows, and Moving

I had planned on going to my first yoga class in three (3!!) weeks on Friday afternoon until I received a notification that there was a fire in the building. Well, damn. Elliptical in my building’s gym it was. 

The rest of Friday night was spent eating a delicious meal at Cascabel and watching Rosemary’s Baby with my dude. He really liked Rosemary’s Baby and I didn’t find it scary at all – just more silly than anything else. I was also admittedly falling asleep through parts of it. I just appreciated that they lived in The Dakota. 

On Saturday we went for a nice run, followed by a long walk back up to my apartment, and brunch at The Ellington. We both had some things to take care of during the day (I cleaned out my closet and reorganized the storage underneath my bed – score!) but we reconvened at night and watched Catching Fire (because he’s a good sport) and made s’mores in the microwave. Seriously, it’s the best snack ever.

Sunday was spent brunching at The Penrose with my friend Ben and then finding this $1,250 rare breed of short haired Persian cat in a pet store on the UES. That cat is huge and it’s only 5 months old. I know you shouldn’t get pets from pet stores, but he was SO cute. Should I put together a GoFundMe to rescue it from the pet shop? We went into the UES Housing Works where I bought a dress for a 1920′s themed seance party that I’m going to later this month and I saw the above dress which looks shockingly like Glinda’s from Wicked. I have no idea how much it is, but if you’re looking for a Halloween costume, you should totally buy it.

I hit up a yoga class on the UES afterwards (never again – the teacher kept the room freezing the entire time which to me is a big no-no), went grocery shopping, and started going through my pictures from Scandinavia. More photos to come, don’t worry….

The Best Way To Spend a Rainy Saturday

That is by going to 9:15am yoga class, having your ass kicked, and then going to see Birdman, where the above speech by Emma Stone knocks the wind out of you, and then possibly movie-hopping into another theatre to see Mockingjay: Part 1 again.

Allison 1, Rain 0

I finally (yes, finally, the day after it was released) made it to the Lincoln Center AMC today with a girlfriend to see Mockingjay: Part 1 today. I declined to re-read the book because I remember being very critical of Catching Fire after seeing it (and re-reading it) because I could pick out exactly what they changed. So: No. Not this time. I was sad this movie was only going to be two hours and not two and a half hours like the other two. Oh well. 

Anyways: We sat down in a packed movie theatre and everything began. I’d heard from a couple of coworkers that it was extremely dark. I’d also read that they sort of glossed over Katniss’ mental instability. I found the movie to be incredibly dark, but I also found Katniss to be extremely unstable and very affected by her experiences in the games. 

Jennifer Lawrence totally killed it, again. Her emotional intensity was gripping. Since I didn’t remember the books entirely, it was nice to be surprised (again) and I was white-knuckling on my arm rest during a few intense parts. There were parts that made me hold my breath and parts that had me in tears (District 4’s rebellion!). It was also chilling to see Philip Seymour Hoffman onscreen. 

I won’t say much more except that I thought it was excellent and I can’t wait to go see it again. I also can’t believe we have to wait another year for Part 2. 

eyes bright, chins up, smiles on.

image

Sometimes it’s good to post your every thought on Facebook. For example I posted last week that I was beyond excited for Catching Fire and the next day my friend Andrew texts me saying he can get passes to an advanced screening from Time Warner Cable and he’d go down at lunch that day to see if he could obtain two. And he does and you’re beyond excited. This, I will admit, is probably the best thing Time Warner Cable has ever done for it’s customers.

Last night at the AMC on 34th and 8th, I took in a screening of Catching Fire. We were all given free popcorn, soda, a poster, and a t-shirt (admittedly it’s the ugliest t-shirt I’ve ever seen, but it was free and I’ll wear it to bed, so it’s all good). The theatre was packed and I got there only 15 minutes beforehand (Andrew was more on top of his game though, so he grabbed seats early). I was so. excited. (Nerd admittance: I wore the same gold sweater that I wore to the Scholastic screening of the first movie in 2011. The gold sweater is huge now and barely fits anymore, but I still love it.) The theatre hushed as the lights went down and I could barely contain my excitement.

tl;dr version: It lived up to everyone one of my expectations. It was two and a half hours of bliss. The cast was phenomenal and it’s a wild ride. I can’t wait to see it again. Now for more detail, and two spoilers, keep reading.

I don’t know where to start. I’m going to ramble, probably incoherently. I loved the maturity that Prim’s character has made since the last movie – it’s striking. The first interaction between Peeta and Katniss is unbearably chilly (hence Haymitch’s reaction). The scenes of uprising in the districts as the victors make their rounds on tour is incredibly powerful, as is when the head peacekeeper in District 12 is replaced with Thresh and havoc ensues. The scene in District 11 with Rue and Thresh’s family will make you want to sob. Half way through the Quell you really believe that Katniss might actually have feelings developing for Peeta. I loved, loved, loved Sam Clafin and Jena Malone as Finnick and Johanna Mason respectively. Lynn Cohen was thoughtful and caring as Mags. There’s a lot of build up to the Quell – they don’t just re-introduce the characters and throw them back into the arena, which was nice. I loved the character they added of President Snow’s granddaughter to add to the impact that Katniss was having on Panem. Brilliant. Katniss and Haymitch’s relationship is much stronger this time, as it should be. The poison fog is really gross. Gale’s character has a larger role this time around. He’s in much more of the movie and I think he will be even more of a central character in Mockingjay.

Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, and Stanley Tucci are still perfect in their roles. Needless to say Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson were too. The last standout in my mind was Philip Seymour Hoffman. Just perfection. 

Spoiler alert: What I noticed was different from the book: I re-read the book a couple of weeks ago so it was fresh in my mind. They left out the part where Katniss goes to her father’s old cabin and finds out about the possible existence of District 13 from the District 8 refugees. The other part that I noticed they left out was when each tribute’s score is revealed and Katniss and Peeta both get 12’s, and Haymitch throws a fit. That’s really all that I noticed that was different between the book and the movie.

It was two and a half hours of bliss. I held my breath a lot and wanted to cry sometimes. I bit my tongue when Andrew leaned over to me and said, “I thought they would’ve killed him [Cinna] already!” when Cinna is walking Katniss to the tube, knowing that he would soon be killed. 

I think I will definitely go see it again in the next week. It was definitely worth the wait and I can’t wait for Mockingjay (part 1?).

I remember an old catholic joke about a man who spent his whole life going to a church every day and prayed to the statue of a great saint begging “please, please, please, let me win the lottery.” Finally the exasperated statue comes to life and looks down at the begging man and says “my son, please, please, please, buy a ticket.”

My office manager sent out an email to the office last night asking if we wanted to pool our money to buy our chances at winning tonight’s megalotto (I think it’s $550 million?). I’ve never played the lottery (except if you count when I was 7 and used to convince the guys at 7-11 to sell me those scratch-off BINGO cards) and I think it’s usually a waste (and by usually, I mean always) and I hate wasting my money.

But how stupid would I feel if one of our (now) 108 chances won and I hadn’t put in my $10? Yeah, I’d feel like a jackass. So, as long as I’m one of 18 people who can feel either really, really, really happy, or like a wasteful dope, I’m mostly OK with putting my money down.

So, for this night, I feel the above quote from Eat, Pray, Love is highly relevant. You have to play to win. That being said: I’m expecting to wake up tomorrow and still be mostly-broke. 

Lastly: May the odds be ever in your favor.

The Hunger Games – spoilers ahead!

Do you see Jennifer Lawrence’s face? That was exactly the look I had on my face after I left the preview screening of The Hunger Games at the Regal in Union Square tonight. Shock, disbelief, no words. I still don’t really have the words to do this now, but I’m afraid if I don’t that I’ll forget some semi-important aspect by tomorrow.  It was a trade screening for employees of Scholastic (no screaming tweens – score!). I know someone associated with Scholastic who didn’t want their passes, and I was more than happy to take them off his hands when he offered them to me. 

I read this trilogy last year and I will admit that I almost put the first one down before I even started it. It was about a futuristic societyMeh. Sounded too Harry Potter-esque for me. I was never a fan of the Harry Potter or Twilight series so I was a bit skeptical of this at first. Luckily, I gave the books a chance and they were incredible. Once I heard they were making the movie for the first book, I started counting down the days to the release.  Director Gary Ross showed up before the screening, said hello, and took a few questions. I don’t remember what the questions were because the anticipation was swirling around inside me like a shark ready to bite when the lights went down. And now this is the part where I try to speak articulately about the movie adaptation of a book I loved so much…

The movie starts with the words of the Treaty of Treason spelled out, explaining exactly what The Hunger Games were and why they were played annually. We watch Katniss relax Prim who wakes up screaming from a night about being picked for The Hunger Games before she goes off to hunt. Katniss is given the Mockingjay pin for free in the Seam by who I’m assuming was Greasy Mae.

I’m not doing a very good job of talking about the movie, huh? We all know the story, or most of us anyway. They didn’t change anything noticeable from the books – except for the Mockingjay pin part. I guess I’ll talk about my favorite parts, in no particular order...

  1. The Reaping: Everyone’s seen the parts on the trailer but in complete, it’s even more powerful. It takes Jennifer Lawrence a good 20 seconds to step up for Prim, a lot longer than I originally thought, and after she does so, she spends the rest of the scene looking completely dumbstruck (see above). I guess she hadn’t really thought of what she was doing until it was already done. She can barely look at Peeta after he’s been chosen. I definitely teared up.
  2. The Capitol itself: It’s a world of grandeur. It’s aesthetically beautiful, and the people are just as the book describes them: incredibly unique. Judianna Makovsky, the costume designer, had her work cut out for her to create these unique designs but she definitely succeeded. She deserves an award for her creations.
  3. Katniss’ turn to impress the judges: In the trailers, it doesn’t look like she ever has to shoot at them to get their attention but oh boy, she certainly does. This scene is as frustrating for the audience as it is for her (“Come on, guys, look at her!”).
  4. Katniss’ goodbyes: They say she gets 3 minutes with her mother and Prim, and another 3 with Gale, but it feels more like 30 seconds. I guess it would feel like that though if you were saying goodbye for possibly the last time to your loved ones.  
  5. The beginning of the games: There’s not 10-9-8, etc countdown like there is on the trailers. It’s very quiet and everyone is very still, and holding their breath. Then the countdown reaches zero and it becomes a slaughterfest of teenagers. It wasn’t overly gory, it was just a lot more death than I’d remembered there being the beginning of the games in the book. Katniss is almost killed but she gets away with a backpack and runs into the woods.
  6. Rue’s death: There were sniffles washing over the audience as the smart and stealthy Rue slipped away in Katniss’ arms. Katniss gives her a beautiful resting place and then grieves really harshly by herself, now alone again.
  7. Thresh’s mercy: Thresh saves Katniss from being impaled by the seriously insane Clove and then lets her run away just this “one time” in honor of Rue. The audience clapped, as we should have.
  8. Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman: He was fantastic in this role. He was a standout for reasons that I can’t quite pinpoint. He was on screen a lot more than you’d think from reading the book, so he plays a more major role. 
  9. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy: As Katniss and Peeta’s alcohol coach, he’s at first annoying and then after he realizes that Katniss could really win, he sobers up a bit and starts being helpful and encouraging. He’s really funny at Haymitch too. I fully enjoyed his take on the character.
  10. Lenny Kravitz as Cinna: I knew I’d love him in this role. He’s soft, caring, smart, and encouraging. 
  11. The Mutt(ations): They came along at the end, of course, and they were really scary. But they decided not to ever mention the fact that these mutts had the eyes of all of the now dead tributes. It would’ve been another ten minutes added to the movie, and it’s no the most important part, but it’s something I thought was worth mentioning.
  12. It felt really, really short. It was two and a half hours long, but it felt like it could’ve been 90 minutes. It really flew by. This was now in fact a favorite part of the movie for me – it could’ve been longer by all means.

I would talk about Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, but you know deep down inside of yourselves, even if you haven’t seen the movie yet, that she’s fantastic. Watch the one 10 second moment from the Reaping in the trailer. I really enjoyed Liams Hemsworth as Gale too, although his character isn’t very big in the first book – he just is big and brooding most of the time in the movie. Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, well, he was good, but left the smallest impression on me of the cast. I didn’t feel like he was being genuine, or is it just that Peeta isn’t genuine? I think Peeta is genuine (or at least a very good faker) and that’s that threw me off about his performance. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do in the next movie though.

This is a paltry attempt at capturing the experience of seeing The Hunger Games tonight, I know. If I think of more tomorrow, I’ll add it. In the meantime, read the first book (if you haven’t already) and get thee to the theatre this weekend.