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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

5 stars

Catching fire

*POSSIBLE SPOILERS*

Hunger Games has once again lived up to the hype and returned in a brilliant second instalment. 

Leaving off where we ended in the first film, Katniss and Peter are about to leave for their victory tour of the districts after they won the 74th Hunger Games, but trouble is brewing. Katniss defying the Capital has not gone unnoticed in the districts and as she and Peter try to stick to the script and get through it the revolution has already begun.

Those who have read the book will know what to expect in this film because it sticks exactly to the story but maybe, like me, you were wondering “How are they going to do that?”

How are they going to do the clock arena with the many different disasters, from poisonous gas to a giant tidal wave?

They do it and they do it well.

Without giving too much away, the love triangle is still very much alive. With Katniss and Gale’s ‘relationship’ known by Snow, Katniss and Peter are forced to fake it not just to prove their love to the districts but to Snow so he will keep them and their families alive.

And if you hadn’t guessed it yet, there is another Hunger Games. But it’s not just any Hunger Games, it’s a quarter quell which means rules don’t apply. Just when Katniss and Peter think they may be safe they are thrown back into the arena against 22 former Hunger Games victors.

Things are a little different though, now that some of the tributes know who the real enemy is.

This is a must see film. Literally, buy your tickets now. I go to the cinema about three times a year max and this is the one film this year that I was counting down to. And it wasn’t just me. I’ve read the books and I loved it but my boyfriend hasn’t even watched the trailer and he thought it was brilliant too. So whether you know the Hunger Games or not you are bound to enjoy this.

The final book “Mockingjay” is going to be divided into two and the third installement will be out next year with the final the following year. Can’t wait!

Read my review of the first film

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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Sweet chilli jam wins third place!

I’ve decided to put my cooking hobby to good use and start entering some competitions. Last weekend I entered my first show and won third place in the jam class for my Sweet Chilli Jam and third place in the truffle class for my Coconut and Cherry Truffles!

The Chilli Pad

Earlier this week I mentioned that I would be entering my first cooking competition with my very own homemade sweet chilli jam. I’m pleased to say it came third! Not bad for a first attempt.

Sweet chilli jam

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Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Birthday cake and Fast & Furious 6

Chocolate cake

Tom’s birthday cake. A two-layer chocolate cake with chocolate sponge on the bottom and a double chocolaty top. Perfect served warm

It is summertime which means sun, holidays, festivals and birthdays.

On Sunday it was my boyfriend Tom’s 24th birthday and I baked him a two-layered chocolate cake to celebrate. Then we went out to watch Fast & Furious 6.

Fast & Furious 6

Fast and Furious 6

4 stars

Fast & Furious 6 was one hundred percent Tom’s choice of film. He loves cars, car races and action films so Fast & Furious is the perfect film series for him.

For me, however, it is probably the last film I would choose to watch at the cinema. I am not a car fan and fast cars terrify me but it was Tom’s birthday. He made the decision and he even upgraded our seats to D-Box which meant they moved and felt like we were in the cars in the movie.

As for the Fast and Furious series, I know it is about cars and racing but not much else. I have watched parts of the first movie, half of Fast and Furious 3: Tokyo Drift which is actually set after the sixth movie, and parts of the fifth movie so I had a rough idea of who the characters were.

This did not matter though as the movie is so easy to understand and full of clichés. The thing is, that does not matter with a Fast & Furious movie because people go to see it for the fast cars and the action, and that is exactly what they get.

The Fast & Furious films follow a professional criminal gang led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). In this movie they are still wanted in America for the various crimes they have committed in the previous films which largely surround underground car racing. This is the first movie which moves away from that. The gang have gone their separate ways, living the dream on their earnings. Former FBI agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) has settled down with Toretto’s sister and started a family and Toretto is enjoying retirement. Then Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson AKA The Rock) shows up on his doorstep but instead of arresting him he wants Toretto to help him. There is a new criminal gang in London lead by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and they apparently have Toretto’s dead girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) working for them as well. Letty was presumed dead in a previous movie but turns out she was still alive. The only problem is she has amnesia and is on the side of the bad guys.

The hard part for me was not the cars or the racing which I actually quite enjoyed as I got used to the seats throwing me. The hard part was it was an American film set mainly in London and the stereotyping is rife. The Fast and Furious films have been pretty notorious for it in the past and this film was no different. I am British and I can tell you that not once has someone said “All right treacle” to me. If you are British in this movie then you are either a bonehead Vinnie Jones wannabe or a snob who walks around like a fairy. Thank you Hollywood.

Once I had eventually managed to over look the cringe worthy stereotypes, the actual film was very entertaining. Lots of action with plenty of car chases, fight scenes, explosions and moments where The Rock punches someone which is what you are paying for. The finale is particularly brilliant and well worth the wait. Also, remember to wait until the end of the film for an extra piece of the puzzle.I have given the film four stars but it probably would have been three without the D-Box seats.

Next week I will be going to Download Festival so my next post will be in a fortnight. Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain!

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Film reviews

 

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Snow White and the Huntsman

*POSSIBLE SPOILERS*

Cinema is getting very expensive now so I only go when I really want to see something. In this case, I’m not going to lie and say I was ecstatic about seeing this film. Tom had some free tickets which had to be used that day and as they were standard only, we had the almighty choice of two films, ‘The Five Year Engagement’ and ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’. As they were Tom’s tickets, ‘The Five Year Engagement’ was crossed off immediately so that left us with the latter.

It looked fantastic in the trailers and I do like it when film-makers take a dark approach to well-known children’s tale like they did with ‘Red Riding Hood’, but it wasn’t going to be something I paid money to see.

Directed by Rupert Sanders, ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ is the story of a princess whose father is tricked into marriage by a witch, after the death of his wife. The Evil Queen kills her husband on their wedding night, imprisons his daughter and takes over the Kingdom. Fuelled by her hatred of men and obsession with vanity, she steals the beauty of young women to keep herself young. She then learns from her Magic Mirror that Snow White holds the key to her immortality but could also destroy her. Now an adult, Snow White manages to escape before the Evil Queen reaches her and runs into the Dark Forest. The Queen hires a local man (the huntsman) to bring Snow White back but when he finds her, they become friends and he sets out to protect her.

The cast were a mixture of good and bad. On one end you had Charlize Theron, a fantastic actress who played the Evil Queen, and on the other you had Kristen Stewart who played Snow White. I do like Kristen in ‘Twilight’ but I think that’s only because there is genuine chemistry between herself and Robert Pattinson. Any other role she plays seems a bit dull. The huntsman, played by ‘Thor’ actor Chris Hemsworth, seemed to play a more key role in the film.

My favourite characters in the film were the dwarves, played by well-known British actors including Bob Hoskins and Ray Winstone. These guys made the film for me and were very funny.

The special effects and story were equally enthralling, however, I was extremely disappointed by the ending which had this huge build up and then it ended rather suddenly and unimaginatively.

They have now announced that there will be a sequel to this film but have given absolutely nothing away about the plot. I’ll be interested to see how they carry the story on.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Film reviews

 

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Prometheus

SPOILER ALERT

Prometheus focuses on a group of scientists trying to discover the origins of humanity. Their search takes them across the universe where they believe they will get to meet their “engineers”. Unfortunately, as the story unravels they discover they were actually tricked and that even though the engineers created humans, they now want to destroy them.

I thought I would like Prometheus as I heard it was supposed to be a prequel to the Alien franchise, however, director of both, Ridley Scott, decided to choose a different story which takes place inside the same universe as Alien.

There are somethings you can almost guarantee with any sci-fi horror. Monsters with slimy tentacles and acid blood, over curious scientist who find themselves trying to rescue humanity because of their mistakes and some philosophy thrown in about life, science and religion. You can also count on a few gory deaths and an alien pregnancy.

The hardest part of this film is not the gore but actually making sense of the many aspects they’ve tried to squeeze in to the two-hour time frame of this film. There is a lot going on and for me there wasn’t enough information to form a clear picture of the story. I didn’t even realise what the first 10 minutes signified until I read it on Wikipedia the following day.

I’m not saying the story line wasn’t clever, it was just difficult to understand and with the gore as well I probably missed half of it hiding behind my hand. I left the cinema feeling confused and slightly nauseous.

The trick to this film is to not try to compare it to Alien. The last 10 seconds are about the only reference made to the Alien films and for me it was an unnecessary part to add-on. Character wise, if you’re going to watch this film just for Charlie Theron you must know she is not a main character in this film and her character wasn’t even particularly important. The leading characters are the main scientists Dr Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Dr Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green).

I’ve given Prometheus just two stars because it wasn’t for me but Tom, whose choice it was to watch this film, quite liked it.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Film reviews

 

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The Hunger Games

*POSSIBLE SPOILERS*

There are many ideas surrounding what a post-apocalyptic society will be like – both in literature and in film. For me, this is why The Hunger Games was such an interesting film. The Hunger Games is the dystopian brainchild of author Suzanne Collins and has now been dramatically adapted into a film, directed by Gary Ross.

The first part of this science fiction trilogy centres on a totalitarian nation called Panem which has been divided into 12 districts and the Capitol. Starvation is rife, particularly in the poorer districts 10 to 12 and each society has its own culture, dress code and industrial uses. In addition to the harsh conditions, a game is invented as entertainment and retribution for a previous rebellion. One male and one female aged between 12 and 18 is chosen from each district to compete in a game of survival called the ‘Hunger Games’.

You are introduced to Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), a mature 16-year-old girl who regularly escapes the confines of her district to hunt for food for her family. She also acts as a mother figure to her 12-year-old sister Prim (Williow Shields) after their father died and their mother sunk into deep depression. They are from the poorest of the districts (district 12).

It’s the day the ‘tributes’ are selected and to their horror Prim is chosen but Katniss quickly steps in and volunteers herself in Prim’s place. Katniss becomes District 12’s first volunteer and this automatically gains her a lot of support from her district and the Capitol. A boy Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is also selected and it later transpires that he has feelings for Katniss. The ‘tributes’ are taken to the Capitol where they meet the other young competitors, some of whom have trained for this day their whole lives but experienced huntress Katniss has an advantage.

Katniss is introduced to her mentor and stylist who teach her that survival skills will only get her so far in what is really a popularity contest. The more liked you are by the sponsors living in the Capitol, the more aid you will receive throughout the game.

During the game, an alliance forms between Katniss’s strongest rivals and they try to track her down. Katniss forms a friendship with the youngest contest Rue (Amandla Stenberg) from another of the poorer districts. Together they battle to try and stay alive against the other contestants and the higher powers who are growing increasingly suspicious of Katniss.

This film is thrilling from start to finish and leaves you wanting more. I cannot wait to see the next instalment but until then I’m going to read the books which I wish I had done beforehand.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Film reviews

 

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The Woman in Black

I can’t begin to explain how long I have waited for a decent horror movie to grace the big screen once more. For the past few years we’ve had to endure gore after gore after gore. “Saw”, “Final Destination” (3+), even films like the “Human Centipede” which I don’t even class as horror films. They’re so gory they’re either funny or too disturbing to watch.

Finally, someone has taken note of this. Nothing says horror more than a jumpy Victorian ghost story and this is definitely a horror film. Ghost children, foggy marshes, china dolls and a haunted house. Great combination for a truly scary movie. The movie is adapted from the novel by Susan Hill but what people may not know is it was originally adapted for the stage. I’m actually lucky enough to have seen this play on a school trip in London and it terrified me.

“The Woman in Black” is about a solicitor called Arthur Kipps (played by Daniel Radcliff)  who goes to a small village by the coast to sort out the papers of Alice Drablow, a widow who had died a few months ago. Arthur must go as he needs to support his young son whose mother passed away during childbirth. Upon reaching the village he immediately gets the impression he’s not welcome and is almost forced to leave by the villagers. Arthur ignores their warnings and goes to Alice’s home, Eel Marsh House out in the marsh. Whilst at the house he encounters some unexplained noises and whilst peering out of the window sees a woman dressed in black.

Shortly after returning to the village a villagers daughter commits suicide. The villagers continue to warn Arthur about returning to the house, all except Daily the wealthiest man in the village, who doesn’t believe the superstition even though his own son has died from similar mysterious circumstances.

Arthur later discovers upon sifting through more paper work that Alice’s son who had drowned in the marshes was actually her sister Jennet’s son and was placed in her care after Jennet was deemed mentally ill. After the boy dies, Jennet blames her sister and becomes bitter and twisted. After taking her own life, a number of young children in the village begin to die of what seem to be suicides. What is compelling the children to do this and what does the woman in black want? Arthur is determined to solve the mystery especially when his own son may be in danger.

My one fear of this film was not being able to get over the fact that Daniel Radcliff was Arthur Kipps. You immediately associate him with Harry Potter and I have to be honest and say it was a little distracting. Throw into the mix he actually has a son in this film and I got really confused.

There are other familiar faces though. If you watch “Call of the Midwives” you’ll definitely recognise the nanny played by Jessica Raine, who plays main character Jenny Lee in the popular BBC series. Also, Ciarán Hinds who plays Daily has been in a lot of recent films including “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”. I think he was probably the best character in the film, not including the woman in black herself.

If you want to see a decent horror movie for once I suggest you go see this movie and try to see it at the theatre as well because it’s well worth it. You’ll never sit in a rocking chair again…

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Film reviews

 

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