Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ender's Game

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is one of the best Sci-Fi novels ever to be written and now it is being made into a film version! Years ago, the Earth was defeated by an alien race, known as the Buggers, in a terrible war. In order to not face defeat again, the government has been putting genius children, who have been genetically experimented on to increase their intellectual spectrum at a rapid pace, through rigorous training in hopes that one of them will be the one who will lead them to victory.

Andrew 'Ender' Wiggen is drafted to the Battle School at the age of 6. He is moved away from his family, which consists of his nice but distant parents, a brutal older brother Peter, and his older sister Valentine, who he loves more than anyone else in the whole world. Both Peter and Valentine are brilliant like Ender, but Peter lacks compassion and Valentine shows too much empathy, so they were not chosen to be drafted to the Battle School. However, their skills allow them to eventually have a serious impact on the political system on Earth.

Ender is happy to leave his family mainly because it means he will be taken away from Peter. Unlike others at the school, Ender's skills improve at an impressive rate, quickly exceeding the other students. The government has their eyes set on Ender for being the general they've always been looking for, so they decide to isolate him and challenge him in order to make his skills strengthen even faster. Ender has to deal with constant bullying from the other children and loneliness from being isolated from everyone, including Valentine, who is the only one who truly understands him.

Will the world be saved by young Ender when the time comes? Or is it too late and the Earth will be destroyed forever?

Ender's Game is set to come out March 15, 2013, so they are still filming the film right now. I am excited about the casting choices. Ender Wiggen is being played by Asa Butterfield, who is obviously much older than Ender is in the books, but he has proven to be a brilliant actor, look to Hugo if you haven't seen this kid act yet. Abigail Bressen has been cast as Valentine and I've been a fan of hers since Little Miss Sunshine. Other great actors that have been casted in the film, including Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and Ben Kingsley. Fantastic!!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Carrie: Being Remade, Again?

Carrie (1976) is a classic cult horror film and novel, spawned by the twisted mind of Stephen King. It's because of its greatness, both on a horrific level and an impressive and believable character portrayal by Sissy Spacek, that it has been remade twice already, once in 1988 and then again in 2002 for TV. Another remake is not necessary, especially if it's going to turn into something utterly terrible, like Halloween (2007) and Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). 

It's not the actors' fault for the awfulness portrayed in the Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street remakes, it was the screenplays! Halloween was more about being disgustingly gory, which is just sick to watch, not scary. Nightmare on Elm Street was too corny and went too far with Freddy being a pedophile that abused the kids before he decided to haunt their dreams and kill them. Rooney Mara and Jackie Earle Haley are obviously too awesome at acting to be blamed for the crap that went down in that film.

Maybe the remake of Carrie won't be crap, but given the countless amount of shitty horror remakes, (other than Halloween (2007) and Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)) look at The Omen (2006), Friday the 13th (2009) and The House of Wax (2005), we shouldn't get our hopes up. It's better to be pleasantly surprised by a spectacular remake than morbidly disappointed by one. They have cast Chloƫ Moretz as Carrie and she's a fantastic actress. We shall see, we shall see.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hunger Games

Today was the day! Hunger Games day, that is. I trudged through a monsoon of a downpour up a hill covered in watery sidewalks and got splashed by puddles because of a bus, but it was all worth it to see the movie. I loved the novels, especially the first two, and I wanted to see the film version as soon as I possibly could, severe thunderstorm or not.

Hunger Games is about the future and the world has become one country called Panem, which is split up into 12 different districts and controlled by the Capitol. Each year, a reaping is held and one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12 and 18, is chosen from each district in order to compete in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a sick form of entertainment and government control, televised throughout all of Panem, forcing these children to compete against each other and kill each other off, until there is only one tribute left. All of Panem's citizens are required to watch the games. This year's games becomes different quickly, after Primrose Everdeen is selected from District 12 to compete and her older sister, 16-year-old Katniss, volunteers to take her place in the competition.

Thankfully, the movie lived up to my expectations. The acting is superb and the film was loyal to the book version. Of course, it didn't include everything from the book, but I do not expect a movie to do that, it's a different medium. The film is emotional and focuses on the important topic of what happens when a government becomes too corrupt. Forcing children to kill each other off just because you have the power to make them and it can be shown as some sort of sick reality television show is absolutely disgusting. I like that Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, and others, such as Cinna and all of District 11 end up showing where their true loyalty lies and it isn't to the Capitol's twisted system.

Don't worry, the film isn't all focused on being depressing. It is funny at times too and there is a little romance in it that lightens the mood a bit.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I have finally been able to catch up on watching some movies, thanks to Redbox. I watched Drive (2011) last weekend and I really enjoyed it. I'm surprised that it was snubbed by the Academy Awards this year, but hey, that happens. A lot of great films have been snubbed by the Academy for years, so I guess it can also be looked at as a compliment in some cases.

Ryan Gosling plays Driver, who is a car mechanic and stuntman by day and getaway driver by night. He is a man of few words and it's hard to tell what he's thinking, but he seems to try to be improving his life in order to escape his shifty past. Things seem to be getting better for him, once he meets the girl  down the hall from him, Irene. Irene's husband is currently in prison and she is taking care of her son on her own until he returns. Driver steps up to the plate to try to help her and quickly becomes attached to both her and her son. However, his life ends up turning for the worst once his car garage mechanic boss tries to set-up a race team using illegal money, putting Driver in charge of the main driving. It changes even more once Irene's husband returns from prison and he ends up getting involved with much more than he ever bargained for. 

I loved the 80s vibe that this film had. The 80s vibe is mostly evoked through the music. Ryan Gosling portrays a mix between James Dean and Robert De Niro's Travis Bickle from Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976). He has the coolness, sexiness, and style of James Dean, but he has the hidden tough guy, hero persona of Bickle. So, if you're a fan of James Dean and Taxi Driver or 80s music and nice cinematography, then this film is definitely for you. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Being Elmo

I love the muppets. They are so sweet and cute! I'd love to see the Academy Awards hosted by all of the Muppets someday. I think that'd really make them fun to watch! I watched Miss. Piggy interviewing people on the red carpet during this years BAFTA Awards. She was definitely the best interviewer!

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2011) focuses on the man behind the lovable furry red monster, Kevin Clash. His story of becoming the puppeteer of one of the most popular Muppets of all time is truly incredible. As a child, Clash was always drawn to puppeteering. He grew up watching classic children's shows, such as Captain Kangaroo, which he went on to work for at the beginning of his career, but his favorite was Jim Henson's Sesame Street. The show influenced him to start making his own puppets around the age of 9 or 10. He started putting on his own performances for the children in his neighborhood, which eventually led him to perform in the children's hospital, daycare centers, and a local television show in his community. At first, he was teased a lot by his peers, but this didn't stop him from continuing his passion. The teasing eventually stopped, once Clash became more famous and ended up on television.

Clash dreamed of working for his idol, Jim Henson. He eventually got there because his talent caught the eye of the Muppet designer Kermit Love, mainly known for helping Henson create Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch, who met with Clash after Clash's mother got in contact with him. Love took him under his wing and made sure to introduce Clash to Henson once the opportunity presented itself.

His parents always supported him and encouraged him to do what he loved. They were amazed by his talent right from the beginning, even when Clash destroyed a coat of his dad's in order to make his first puppet. They are both extremely proud of their son and helped him to gain success, despite the fact that they were not wealthy and didn't have many connections. Both did whatever was in their power to support their son.

What amazes me the most about Clash is how shy he seems to be when he is not puppeteering. He really comes to life through his puppets, especially through Elmo. Elmo is so sweet and kind that it's hard not to love him. I know numerous adults who love Elmo just as much as their children and grandchildren do.  In fact, I know a grandmother who bought a Tickle Me Elmo for her own house because she thought it was so adorable. Clash is responsible for bringing smiles to many all over the world and its nice to put a face to the man behind the puppet.