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August 27, 2012

Early Evening Open Blog

This is lame, but I figure I'll have to cover the convention for the next three days, so I'm calling half-day.

A repeat of Adam Baldwin's guest-spot on Castle is on tonight. So, that's something.

Here are some quickie movie reviews:

Hunger Games. Not bad at all. I don't have much to say about it other than that; it's not an ambitious movie, and not technically difficult, but they did what they set out to do, and I enjoyed it.

Some say that an author's most important trait (especially in speculative fiction) is authority. The unapologetic sense of "This is the way things are in this world." I think there's a related sci-fi rule like "Never explain," the idea that spending too much time explaining and justifying your world sounds defensive, like you're just making things up like a big liar who lies whereas if you just present things with no justification it sounds more like you're a guy living in that world who doesn't have to justify it. It just is. Accept it or don't.

I'm not sure if Hunger Games really excels on that point, but they do present a town that looks like Little House on the Prairie and just say, "It's the future. I know it doesn't look like it is, but it is, so just shut up."

After you've shut up, it's pretty decent, particularly the American Idol-esque presentation show that broadcasts the grisly games to the world. The tension actually peaks too early and drops a lot towards the end -- when it should be rising further -- but it's still not a waste of time. I think it was a mistake to build up a group of super-warriors as the Main Antagonists and then shift to a new antagonist, but, fine. Whatever.

I saw some criticism that they cut out all the politics of this made-up world. Yeah, well, I don't really care about the made-up politics of a made-up world. A world made up just to justify some teenagers bludgeoning each other and shooting each other with arrows. So, good cut.

I don't know what to say about The Dictator. Sasha Baron Cohen's movie has no unscripted scenes, which were the best parts of his earlier films, and in fact mostly what he's known for; it's all script, all actors. (There may be a meaningless three second shot of him talking to cops that's unscripted, but that hardly counts, and it's not even a gag I remember.)

It's as offensive-for-the-sake-of-offensiveness as you'd expect, so if you have content concerns, stay away. But I did laugh. It's a very dumb movie, but it's funny; some good slapstick. Not painfully funny as his last two films were in some scenes; just "ha-ha" funny, like a reasonably decent normal comedy.

Oh, there's a semi-long Bush-bashing OWS type speech near the end. So if you don't want to see any liberal messaging, give it a skip. There's not much of that sort of thing, apart from that two minute speech.

I think for both movies I'd say this: If you are marginally inclined to seeing them -- if you're on the fence -- then yeah, see them. They're good enough to win over someone already inclined towards them.

If you have no interest -- I think Hunger Games might be almost good enough to win you over. If you're thinking "It's just Twilight with a longbow," no, it's not. Sure, young female lead, but none of the annoying trappings of Twilight. The heroine is more like the Standard Issue Strong Silent Type.

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posted by Ace at 07:33 PM

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