Friday, April 6, 2012

Review of Hunger Games: From both a Woman's and a Man's Point of View

In this review, Joe Wiewiora and Bett Correa give their views of Hunger Games.

General comments:

Bett: Wow, what a ride! This movie has everything including a strong woman hero, a love triangle, action, adventure, and a futuristic dystopia called Panem on the edge of revolution, political intrigue, and fantastic costumes. There is a lot of story crammed into 2 hours and 36 minutes movie.

Joe: The Hunger Games is an excellent movie to see in theaters. It has good directing, strong source material to draw on, a good cast and enough action to make it worth watching on the big screen. While the story takes place in the near future, the settings and technology are all within the realm of near-possibility. The movie easily draws us in to a place that is both familiar and believable, so that we can focus on the fate of the characters.


Bett: If you’ve not a huge fan of Jennifer Lawrence already, you need to see Hunger Games so you can find out what the fuss is all about. Lawrence, previously in Winters Bone, is a serious woman who doesn’t mess around. She’s perfectly cast as Katniss the stoic 16 year old who sacrifices herself to rescue her sister. She’s in great condition for the extreme physical role she plays. She nails the role flawlessly.

Joe: Much like her role in winter’s Bone, for which she was nominated for best actress, Jennifer Lawrence plays a teen from a poor Appalachian town. She is thrust into the role of head-of-household, who must struggle to provide for her family, due to the untimely loss of her father. Lawrence is well suited for the part of Katniss Everdeen and plays the role well.

Bett: When I first picked up a magazine to see who they had cast as Peeta was disappointed. But I ended up liking Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. He is charming and self effacing. He manages to seem in love with Katniss.

Joe: I felt the portrayal of Peeta Mellark to be the strongest among the young actors. He conveys emotions well, from the stunned confusion of being chosen for the Hunger Games, to hurt of his mother's lack of confidence in him, his growing understanding on how to gain the support of the game's audience and sponsors, to his love for Katniss. Peeta gains our sympathy and support as a teen forced to face the arena. 

Bett: Gale, played by Liam Hemsworth, on the other hand was perfectly cast from the get go. He has a very small role in this movie, but he’ll have a bigger role later on. He’s just gripping enough for every girl to be torn between him and Peeta.

Joe: In the film, Gale is Katniss's best friend and hunting partner. Gale is her confidant; he helps her provide food for her family, and is handsome. It is understandable how Katniss becomes caught in a love triangle.

Bett: The supporting actors are also very well cast. Woody Harrelson is perfect as Haymitch, but we really don’t see that much of him.

Joe: The supporting cast in this film is fantastic. Woody Harrelson's character, a drunken former champion, has excellent character development. Initially he wants little to do with mentoring Katniss and Peeta. Eventually he finds himself caring and looking out for the pair of tributes from behind-the-scenes. Additional strong support cast include, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, stylist and new friend to Katniss; and Donald Sutherland as the malevolent President Snow.

Cinematography, special effects:

Bett: The one big problem I had with the movie was the fighting scenes were shot in a choppy fashion. It’s really hard to tell what’s happening in the scenes. You just see someone on the ground with a knife. This is no Kill Bill. There’s very little blood shown. I think this was done to keep the rating PG-13. But let’s face it; this is a movie about kids killing each other.

Joe: I agree, I didn't care for the jump-cut, close and shaky scenes during some of the action. It is the kind of sequence you find in the recent Batman movies whenever there's a fight scene. I understand that the director choose this method to try and minimize the violence. However, I am not a fan.

Bett: The special effects were done well because they weren’t obvious, which is how they should be. The movie let us focus on the human aspect of the story.

Joe: The movie has excellent costume design and special effects. The futuristic capital looks beautiful, but realistic. The outfits worn by its citizens are creative and dramatic. I did feel that the flashback concerning Katniss and Peeta should have been one smooth scene, instead of interspersed throughout the film. I also felt that the pack of "mutts" in the arena weren't very realistic and pulled me out of the movie. Otherwise, the other hazards of the arena, from the swarm of tracker jackers to the forest fire, were very realistic and kept me in suspense for the character's safety.

Overall Rating:

Bett: I love movies that create their own worlds and have a lot of texture that feels real. I think Hunger Games executes on this goal very well. I give this move a 9 out of 10.

Joe: Overall I found the Hunger Games to be a good movie. You can watch it with your friends or your family. There is good action for the guys and romance for the girls. It has solid character development and a good story for everyone. I give this movie an 8 out of 10.

Joe and Bett give Hunger Games Two Thumbs Up!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Can you write a 100 page screenplay in 30 days?

I think I have an addiction to month long writing projects.  Last year I wrote 30 sketches in 30 days as part of Sketch writing month, and 50k word novel as part of Novel Writing Month. This month is Script Frenzy

I have finished the first 5 pages of my screenplay. In prep for this month I read most of book Writing Movies for Fun and Profit  by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon.

The three things that they taught me which I am implementing are:
1. Pick real movie stars to play your characters. This lets you hear them speak your dialog thus creating better dialog. Also it allows you to short cut on a lot of character creation. My main character is Zooey Deschanel. Everyone know who she is, so its quick to describe her. If I decided I really liked my script when I am finished, then I could send the script to her agent and it would be more likely to be produced if she really liked it.

2. Make a movie about things that other popular movies are about. My movie is about Aline, a 30 year old who has a dream of having her own Woman's Self Defense school. Shes a practical woman and has a passion to empower women. But shes stuck in a dojo where the leaders is more into meditation than the practical side of martial arts. She also has a jerk boy friend who she puts up with. To make things more complicated she meets a really nice man. But unfortunately, before their new romance can begin, a man comes to kill her boss. So this movie has a love triangle, life and death situations, its about martial arts which allows for a lot of physical scenes. It has a woman heroin. I am hoping it will be funny, but lets see about that.

3. Write an outline. I wrote my outline about 4 days ago. Now as I am writing my 3 pages a day to hit 100 in 30 days, I just look at my outline and write the next scene. I've already deviated a little and added a few more scenes, but overall I am still following my plot. 

Using these three steps, I a plan to write a 100 page screenplay in the next thirty days. I hope you will also join me in writing a screenplay because your story needs to be told!

Stay tuned for updates.