The Gap of Time

The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson


This is a modern retelling of A Winter’s Tale. I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. I think that’s mostly because it’s just really hard to translate Shakespeare to a modern context. The jealous ravings of Leo (Leontes) seem even more crazed and misogynistic when it’s a rich guy in a business suit saying them, rather than an ancient king. And the tonal shift between the first and second half seemed even more jarring in print than on the stage, for some reason. More than the story, I appreciated Winterson’s introduction and epilogue about the importance of forgiveness in Shakespeare’s later works, and how this story is a kind of re-writing of Othello, turning a tragedy into a comedy.

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman


I didn’t love this book as much as I expected to, but I liked it enough. Buttercup never seemed to be more than a damsel in distress, and her relationship with Westley didn’t always seem healthy. She was much less interesting than the side characters. My favorite characters by far were Inigo and Fezzik. Especially Fezzik. He’s very loveable. The over-the-top exaggeration of things like Buttercup’s beauty and Inigo’s fencing skill is a key part of the story’s style, but can get a little grating.

It’s hard to ignore the movie in reacting to this book. The main thing that the movie cuts away is the metafictional aspect where Goldman tells about his process of adapting “Morgenstern’s” text, summarizing the boring parts he cut out and his legal battles with the author’s estate. These passages are cute and funny in a wry way and were obviously impossible to transfer to film, but I don’t think the story loses much without them, especially since the movie retains the “bedtime story” frame, which allows for metafictional observations too. Those metafictional comments are probably the most original and unique parts of the novel/film.

I think the film adaptation of The Princess Bride makes a better film than the novel is a novel. Which makes sense, because Goldman is more famous for screenwriting than fiction. But it also makes me wonder if I’d have felt differently about the book if I’d read it first instead. The best scenes and lines from the book are in the movie, so they were kind of spoiled for me in reading, but the same effect doesn’t seem to happen in reverse. When you’re watching a movie and you’ve read the book, you know what’s coming but you’re still interested to see how it happens and what it looks like. This experience reinforces my conviction that it’s important to read the book before watching the movie adaptation.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann

the-great-gatsby-poster1I haven’t read The Great Gatsby since high school, but I remember enjoying it then, and I love Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic style, so I was really looking forward to this movie. I enjoyed it as much as I thought I would; it was a fun time at the movies. The greatest attraction of the movie is probably the gorgeous, over-the-top party scenes. Fitzgerald wrote the best party scenes in literature, and Luhrmann films the best party scenes in cinema. It seems a perfect match. What I wouldn’t have given to have been an extra on that set!

The movie seemed more romantic than the book, focused more on Gatsby’s longing for the life he could have had with Daisy than on his corruption or the Buchanons’ dissipation or Nick Caraway’s lost innocence in witnessing their drama. The tea party scene where Gatsby sees Daisy alone for the first time is played like a romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant. Gatsby is foppish and clumsy out of adorable nervousness, and it’s played for laughs. Leonardo DiCaprio was surely made for this role. He looked the part perfectly, from his monogram ring to his shiny shoes. My favorite scene of his might have been his innocent, boyish, but sadly deluded insistence that Daisy will call. Carrie Mulligan did nothing to alter the feeling I had from the book that Daisy was utterly unworthy of Gatsby’s devotion, that she is a vapid cipher of a character. I’m not sure what she could have done about this as an actress, though, as giving Daisy depth would have necessitated a lot more revision and change to the story itself.

The film created a frame in which Nick Caraway was writing about Gatsby to explain him to a psychiatrist. This created a literary feel to the movie through words written and typed and voiced over. I liked the literariness of it, but I always wonder about making a character, even and perhaps especially a first-person narrator, into an author figure. Fitzgerald is not Nick Caraway, and Nick is not Fitzgerald, and it seems a little misleading to imply otherwise, especially when you consider that a large percentage of the audience is likely to believe it. My only other complaint about the movie might be that it beats you over the head with symbolism even more than the book does, and that’s saying something. We could have understood the green light without the third explanation, thanks.

Les Miserables movie


The new film version of Les Miserables is amazing. I was excited about it, and it lived up to my expectations. It’s an incredibly, startlingly intimate film, with many of the major solo songs filmed in extreme close-up with long, uncut shots. They just sing straight at the camera. I’ve never seen another musical do anything like that; singing on set instead of in the studio paid off big time. These moments are balanced with panoramic battle scenes and gigantic sets, showing off the things that film can do and a stage production can’t. It was super smart of the director to focus his energy on taking advantage of his medium that way.

I’m glad I finished the novel before this film came out. There were a few small references to the novel that I’d never seen in a stage production: an elephant statue, Marius’s grandfather, Enroljas’s death. The subplots and history lessons that had been cut from the musical stayed cut, of course, and the show was still almost 3 hours long, so there was no room for them anyway. But it was still fun to recognize those few little items that this film salvaged from the novel. Also, I heard that the actor who plays the bishop was the original Jean Valjean. That seems fitting as well.

I cried twice. Fantine had never made me cry before, but Anne Hathaway’s performance was so powerful that I couldn’t help it. I’d seen an interview with her where she talked about how it would be wrong and dishonest to try to be pretty while playing this character who was just falling apart and suffering so terribly. She was right, and deserves the best supporting actress Oscar without a doubt for that humility, for putting her performance ahead of her image. My second sobfest was at the ending, of course. That line, “To love another person is to see the face of God” gets me every time.

Les Miserables

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo


For several months now, I’ve been reading Les Miserables a little bit at a time on my Kindle. I don’t think it was the best translation (a free version), but I was glad to have the chance to read it a bit at a time without carrying a 1400-page book around!

In grad school, I took a class on contemporary novels in which we read Mason & Dixon, Alias GraceUnderworld, and several other books, doorstoppers all. Many of these books described some real historical events, including lots of documents and encyclopedic information that seem irrelevant, sometimes even footnotes. We also discussed the books themselves as monsters to be conquered by their readers, and their ultimate precursor in that way is Moby Dick, of course. Les Miserables belongs in this same category as these American novels. It is a complete education in French history, full of digressions on the battle of Waterloo, monasteries, the sewers of Paris, slang, and several other topics. The encyclopedic digressions give information related to or at least tangential to the plot, and also give Hugo space to voice a few interesting opinions. While in the midst of one of these mini-lectures, I often did long to get back to the characters, but I also was aware that I was learning a lot, so I didn’t mind too much.

I’ve always loved the musical Les Miserables, and one of my favorite things about reading the book was that it always somehow put one of the songs in my head to play on an infinite loop. I’ve seen it three times live, in Cincinnati, New York, and Nashville; each time I cried (in New York I cried twice). The musical does a good job of capturing the mood of the book, especially with songs like “Look Down” and “One Day More,” and it also creates a good Cliff Notes version of the plot. Several important characters are cut, including Marius’s family and backstory. He’s the son of a colonel who died at Waterloo, estranged from his grandfather, a rich man who disdained his daughter’s husband for his politics. When Marius discovers his origins, he leaves his grandfather’s mansion and lives the life of a poor student. He has a strange debt to Thenardier, who saved his father’s life after a battle. There’s an entire episode of Jean Valjean getting a job as a gardener at a convent school through sneaking in inside a coffin. Crazy stuff like that. The kind of stuff that didn’t fit in the musical, but which gives me a fuller understanding of the characters and the world of 19th century Paris.

I’m incredibly excited about the movie adaptation coming out this month. The cast looks great, and the previews blew me away.  I get teary just from this clip:

The only point of adapting a show like this for the screen is to do things that you can’t do in the theater, put things on the screen that won’t fit on a stage, and it seems like they have. The scope looks bigger; everything is just surrounding you on all sides and sweeping you away. Also, I’ve heard that they filmed this movie in a way that has never been done before: instead of recording an album in a studio and lip syncing on set, the songs in this movie were recorded on the set, so the acting should be more natural.

The Opal Deception

The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer

As I promised myself I would after attending Eoin Colfer’s reading and talk at the library, I picked up the fourth book in the Artemis Fowl series. This volume had all of the things I remembered from the first three books: a lightning-fast action plot, seemingly inescapable predicaments, prickly heroes sniping at each other. In this volume, villain Opal Koboi, fueled by obsession, breaks out of the asylum where she’s supposedly in a coma, and tries to start a war between the fairies and humans. On my audiobook she had a hilariously evil baby-talk speaking style. She exacts revenge on our heroes, and there’s even a death of a major character in the beginning, which serves to prove that things have gotten serious now. I think that pretty much had to happen, sad as it is, because it’s hard to sustain a series like this over so many books without having several major characters die. After the bloodbaths in Harry Potter’s last three books, no one can write a long adventure series in which no beloved characters die anymore and be taken seriously (I’m looking at you, Stephenie Meyer, with your over-hyped battle-that-never-happened in Breaking Dawn. You didn’t have the stomach to kill a single Cullen, but Fred Weasley had to die?)

One reason I like the series, and one thing that made me quit it for so long after the mind wipe at the end of book 3, was the moral development of Artemis. I appreciated how he learned and grew and became more selfless through his adventures, and it seemed such a shame to lose that through a memory reboot. At the beginning of this book, though his mind had been wiped, Artemis hasn’t totally reverted to where he was at the beginning of the series. He still enjoys stealing and doing bad, daring, risky things, but it’s somewhat tempered by his love for his family. It takes only one life-threatening episode for him to learn to trust Holly again, and his memories come back quickly once triggered. He comments on how he feels warring impulses inside him, pulling him between good and bad, and says with surprise that good seems to be a stronger motivation. At the end he’s even musing about becoming a sort of Robin Hood figure. It seems clear that this moral development is something that’s intended to spread over all 8 books of the series. One of the things that attracted me back to the series is that I heard that in book 8 Artemis truly becomes a hero. I’m interested to see what that will mean. He’s already pretty heroic in that he makes smart decisions that save everyone just in the nick of time, often risking himself in the bargain.

The characters in this series are cartoonish, but not necessarily in a bad way. They all have certain qualities that are exaggerated, played for laughs, and used strategically in the plot and as fodder for witty banter. Mulch Diggums is one big fart joke. Opal’s vanity and devious plotting are deliciously over-the-top. At the reading, Colfer said that the first book is finally being made into a movie by Disney. I wonder if it’ll be Pixar, or more traditional animation, or live with tons of CGI, or what. I think a somewhat cartoonish art style would be fitting to the humor and tone of the story, and there are certainly lots of story elements that could not happen in real life. So I guess I’m rooting for Pixar to handle this one. And after meeting Colfer and seeing how hilarious he is, I say he deserves a part or a character to voice, or at least a cameo. I could see him as Artemis’s dad or as the voice of some fairy beaurocrat.

Overall, it’s a fun book and a fun series for action-packed adventure and humor. If you ever have to buy a book for a boy age 8-13, this series is a good bet.

One Day (film)

One Day, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess

In general this was a very faithful adaptation. That’s always where I begin when I think about assessing a movie whose book I’ve read first (and I vastly prefer to read the book first). Some of my favorite lines from the book were kept, but one of my favorite episodes was gone: Dexter’s drunken letter inviting Emma to India. The movie did a good job of showing the banter and rapport and understanding that Dexter and Emma share, even when they are at their worst, and that makes you really root for them. Their humor is British and dry, very fun. Movie Dexter is somewhat less of an asshole than Book Dexter. His sometimes repulsive inner thoughts are gone, of course, and some particularly assholesque scenes are cut. More than anything he just seemed whiny, always calling Emma drunk from a pay phone in the rain, begging her to pick up or meet him or console him.

There are far too many moments of Emma putting on a strong face, pulling a close-mouthed I’m-so-happy-for-you-breaking-my-heart smile, blinking back tears over Dexter’s shoulder as she hugs him. I don’t really like the picture of a woman heroically suffering for the happiness of the man she loves, while he’s blissfully unaware. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like I see that more than its gender reverse, so it just strikes me as unfair.

One pleasure of the film is watching the outfits get better and better as Emma’s personal style evolves. In the opening scenes, set in the early 90’s, she wears a lot of floral dresses with combat boots. Her dress in Paris is to-die-for, and she rocks a short haircut better than anyone since Audrey Hepburn. Anne Hathaway is pretty much known for geek-to-hot makeovers in movies, so when you see her in big glasses in the first scene you know by the end she’ll be rocking a new hairdo and a full-skirted dress.

I had a deep personal appreciation for Dexter’s hair in this movie, mostly because he’s wearing the style that I found most attractive on a guy when I was about 13: short in back and longish on top, but not quite long enough to fall into his eyes, kind of framing the forehead in a floppy, boyish way. Other notable wearers of this haircut are Rider Strong (Shaun from Boy Meets World), Devon Sawa in Casper, and Dmitri from the animated Anastasia.

Seeing this story on film made me somehow put it into a context I hadn’t before. It reminded me of Made of Honor, a bad romantic comedy starring Patrick Dempsey that I saw when it came out. I don’t like it when a guy is “just friends” with a girl, but sleeps around all he wants himself, but you know the “friend” is who he’s supposed to be with. And of course the girl is totally in love with him, except she’s being cool and independent and not commenting on his sex life. Maybe she’s even moved on, but he decides at the last minute not to let her. It’s like he refused to have sex with this one girl to keep her pure and save her for when he’s ready to commit, like she’s a bottle of wine he’s aging on the shelf while he drinks tons of crap from a box. Except really he’s the one that needs to mature. And the dehumanization of the other faceless women is really problematic. I wrote about this stud trope two weeks ago. I really should have included One Day in the post on the trope, but I guess some of the plot’s complications distracted me from seeing it. Emma and Dexter’s different careers and their different politics are important factors in their relationship dynamic, as well as this stud trope. And I thought in the book they had sex in the beginning, but for some reason in the movie they didn’t. Taking away the early sexual contact makes it seem more sexist to me for some reason.

In my review of the book, I said the ending seemed kind of sappy, and the movie only made it more so. The flashback to the first day Dexter and Emma spent together, after they’re parted forever, is pure hankie-bait. The music really adds to the sentimental tone, of course. Overall, I guess I’d recommend the movie for anyone who’s in the mood for a romantic comedy that turns sad at the end.

Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Hunstman, starring Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart

I’m discovering I’m not really capable of writing reviews without spoilers. So be aware, they’re ahead.

By far my favorite thing about this movie was the gorgeous visuals. The queen’s magic manifested in these glittering obsidian shards that coalesced and changed shape constantly. The fairy tale castle overlooking the sea, the gowns, the sinister magic creatures of the dark forest, the vibrant colors of the land coming to life again, the dramatic action sequences: all pure eye candy.

Charlize Theron as the evil queen steals the show. Her outfits are breathtaking, showing her to be both warlike and dangerous, but also incredibly feminine. Her power and beauty are intertwined, reinforcing each other There are some really cool effects that show her face aging, and then aging in reverse as she sucks youth from her victims. The roots of her evil are explored. Her mother cast a spell on her, hoping that beauty would protect her. She was abducted as a child. She says that a widowed king used her and discarded her, then kills Snow White’s father to prevent him from doing the same to her. She seems to be a victim who is taking her pain out on the entire world. Also, it’s implied that she’s crazy, in a scene where her mirror’s talking to her is shown to be a hallucination. The queen is a tragic figure, bound by magic to Snow White, who has the power to make her immortal or kill her. There are instances where she seems to be welcoming her death, or at least wavering on claiming immortality. In this interpretation, the whole apple thing is a stalling mechanism, freezing the equilibrium between the two opposed women. And that only makes sense if the queen is ambivalent about killing Snow White, because when she offers the apple, she’s close enough to kill the girl but doesn’t.

The best thing I can say about Kristen Stewart is that she looks the part. She absolutely has the right look to play Snow White. She’s vulnerable and fragile, but also looks like a total badass in a ponytail and plate armor. The worst thing I can say about her is that she doesn’t have a lot to work with as an actress here. She’s either nonstop action or looking around at pretty landscapes. She has very little dialog for a title character. There is one rousing speech she gives to the troops, but I thought it was kind of incomprehensible and poorly written. The romantic lead goes on about how Snow White is so great, but it’s hard to see where this is coming from. She doesn’t seem to do or say much, besides follow him through forests of varying danger and act pleasant to those around her. There are magic things going on around her, like a white stag that appears to her (for a second I thought it was going to be a unicorn, and was ready to groan about virginity). But that’s all because of her magic royal blood, because she’s the rightful queen, not because of anything she’s done. If I could change one thing about this movie, it would be to develop this character more deeply.

I really appreciated the way the romance was deemphasized, which is hard to do with a fairy tale. Two “princes” kiss Snow White while she’s knocked out, and the second one awakens her, but she doesn’t open her eyes until he has left the room. After that moment, the two never do anything more than exchange meaningful looks. There is a big gathering in a church with pretty dresses at the end, but it’s a coronation, not a wedding. And this is an entirely appropriate and satisfying ending to this movie. The drama of this story is about the fate of the kingdom, not a girl’s love life. And that’s why I’d call this a feminist fairy tale.


Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Deadlocked is the latest in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series, also known as the Sookie Stackhouse books. The HBO series True Blood is based on these books, and that’s how I first got interested in them. I started watching the show, then picked up the books and played catch-up. There are many differences between the show and the books, of course, and I mostly favor the show. Since the people at HBO chose to adapt each novel into a full season of TV, there is a lot of extra space for extra scenes and character development. The side characters have become more well-rounded and complex because of moving from a first-person narrative to TV’s more objective perspective. I especially like the way Tara, Jason, and Lafayette have developed.

My favorite thing by far about the series, book and show, is just the character of Sookie. She’s sweet and optimistic, with Southern charm and manners, a well-formed but pragmatic conscience, and a heart of gold. At the same time, she’s tough, down-to-earth, resilient, and refuses to pity herself for longer than five minutes. She’s resourceful and intelligent enough that she’s a power broker in a complex community of supernatural beings much more powerful than she is. She’s an everywoman: she’s described in the book as a bit plump, though she’s not portrayed that way on TV of course, and she’s a waitress who’s never been to college–one of very few working-class heroines in pop culture. Her capacity for forgiveness, for bouncing back, for just going with the flow, is just as supernatural as her telepathy. Her inner monologues are by far the best part of the books. Watching her talk herself into feeling ok after trauma, and into making moral decisions when she doesn’t feel like doing the right thing, is a delight, and it almost makes me feel like I could be a better person by following her example.

The series has many weaknesses though. Like most series that go on and on, a book a year (or more), without a specific end in mind from the beginning, the plot has become sort of like a soap opera. Sookie kind of has to make her rounds and spend some time as each major male character’s girlfriend, just to give her something to do, because if she’s too happy for too long, that’s boring. New supernatural creatures have to be added to the world to make things happen. The cast of characters grows until readers can’t remember them all, and recaps are needed to remind them who these people are. Previously established rules have to bend to allow new plots to develop. Plot machinations become increasingly complex and character motivation becomes murky. I see these things happening to the Sookie books starting in Dead as a Doornail, the fifth book, which in the one that True Blood is supposed to adapt next. I’ve heard the show is moving away from the books somewhat this season, and that’s probably a good thing at this point.

The weaknesses in Deadlocked are just specific iterations of, or necessary results of, the flaw in the series I described above. Faerie was supposed to be closed after Dead and Gone, but it’s open in this book, until it closes for realz at the end. There were so many side characters I had lost track of: Mustapha, Warren, Jannalynn, Jason’s new fiance. The explanation for why the baddies did what they did didn’t make much sense, or at least was pretty farfetched.

Sookie’s relationship with Eric seems to be ending, which I’m ok with, as hot as it was. She seems to be moving toward dating Sam now, a guy who she insists has always been just a friend. This seems convenient, since every woman she knows is pregnant and she’s feeling a bit of baby fever. The vampires certainly won’t make her a mother, but Sam could. If I were going to make a prediction about the next book, that would be it.

For me, all of the series’ bad points are outweighed by the amazing heroine that is Sookie Stackhouse. I think I’m going to keep reading these books and watching this show no matter how ridiculous they get just because I care about Sookie. And that’s the mark of a great character: they make you willing to endure anything just to spend some time in their head.

Hunger Games movie review

The Hunger Games movie has already proved to be a great success with audiences. It had the 5th-best opening day ever, and the best ever for a non-sequel. Only the last Harry Potter movie and the 3 Twilight sequels made more money in the first 24 hours. I got to see it in that first 24 hours, so I guess I helped give it that record, although I also helped the other top 4 films achieve their opening day glory. I like going to movies on opening weekend. I don’t mind the crowds because they’re full of a fan’s intensity. I really enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone older than 12.

I have seen enough of my favorite books made into movies to expect by now that they will be condensed, and the action will at times feel rushed. The Hunger Games is no exception. In the arena, things moved quickly from one conflict to the next, and good scenes of Katniss interacting with Rue and Peeta got cut. I wish more books got made into series like True Blood or Dexter, so that a whole book could spread out over 10+ hours instead of being jammed into 2 or 3. It allows so much more room to explore the plot’s twists and turns, and the minor characters get a chance to expand and shine. We’re in a golden age for TV now, so hopefully this model of adaptation will catch on.

My biggest complaint with the movie is that one of Katniss’s many layers seemed to be missing. Her actions in the arena weren’t shown to be performative the way they are in the book. In the book, she is aware of how her actions are seen by others and adjusts accordingly and strategically. But without her inner monologue, movie viewers don’t really get that she’s putting on a show to save her life when she acts like she’s in love with Peeta. Movie Katniss is softer than book Katniss; you can see her opening herself up to Peeta more and more. There is at least one totally spontaneous and heartfelt kiss that I don’t remember from the book at all. Book Katniss is too scared to open up, and only pretends to in order to please the cameras. She puts aside the question of whether or not she feels anything for Peeta; it’s so irrelevant in comparison to her survival that she doesn’t even have the capacity to begin to figure out how she was feeling. It doesn’t even register. In the scheme of things, this is not a major issue, and the later movies could correct this by making the performative nature of all her public actions more clear.

Even though Katniss was softened and simplified somewhat, the focus of the story remained on survival rather than romance. The movie probably has more romance than the book, and the movie’s publicity had even more than that, as much much romance as Twilight. Thankfully, the director did not make The Hunger Games into Twilight. Katniss’s victory is not getting the guy; it’s surviving and undermining the Capitol.

I don’t generally like handheld camerawork, and this movie used a good deal of it. The worst was the cornocopia scene at the very beginning of the Games. It’s jarring to watch and the viewer gets little information. All this camera style communicates to me is: “OMG CHAOS! WTF IS EVEN GOING ON? THE CHARACTERS DON’T KNOW AND NEITHER DO YOU!” The style is appropriate sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I like it. Handheld camerawork leaves me a bit queasy and wondering if I missed something important.

The movie did a great job showing what happens behind the scenes of the Hunger Games, facts that Katniss as participant is not privy to because she’s too busy in the arena, so this information was not in the first-person-narrated book. It established the way the gamemakers were in complete control of everything that happened in the arena. Toggling between the forest and the white room with its fancy computer interface clarified why some of the action happened, and why the gamemakers did what they did.

I disagree with this critic who said that the deaths of the tributes had no moral weight in the film. I do agree that if it had not been for the necessity of a PG-13 rating, the murders would have been shown in more detail, and that would have made them more horrifying, and had a deeper effect on the audience. That would have been a better movie, but one that would not have broken box office records. Despite the reduced violence, at no point did we feel anything more positive than relief at a tribute’s death. The music didn’t tell us to feel triumph, it told us to feel sad and disturbed. Most often, the emotion was pity. Even vicious Cato was humanized at the end. If people left the theater happy, it was because they had already processed their disturbed emotions after reading the book and knew what to expect, or because the focus was after all on Katniss and Peeta and they did escape, not because the audience had become like the people of the Capitol, desensitized to violence and the loss of young life.

The death of Seneca Crane is just as chilling as those of the tributes. The little scenes between him and Snow were not in the book, but gave good background, especially for newcomers, so that they could understand the stakes of the game and the Capitol’s motivation for staging them in the first place, why they couldn’t let Katniss and Peeta pull a Romeo and Juliet.

With the exception of Seneca Crane’s beard and Cinna’s gold eyeliner, Capitol fashions looked ridiculous in the movie, not decadent. I don’t think they translated well to screen. In my imagination, people from the Capitol were glamorous and ostentatious, like movie stars on the red carpet every day of their lives, even though I’m sure that exact descriptions of the outfits from the book were used by the costume designers to make clothes that came out just looking silly.

I loved the shots of the District 11 riot. It was good that the movie included that because it showed the effect of the deaths of the tributes on their home districts and why Katniss was potentially dangerous to the Capitol and its tight control on the districts. I was sad that this scene made me think of Trayvon Martin: a community calling for justice for the murder of a child.

The last exchange sets up the next movie well: “What next?” “We try to forget.” “I don’t want to forget.” Peeta wants a relationship, and Katniss doesn’t know what she wants and is still traumatized by the violence she saw and participated in. Neither of them will get what they want. Scary to say, but things only get more brutal from here.