Mocking Jay Part One Minus The Novel

It surprises me that an avid reader such as myself has never bothered to crack open the latest trilogy craze to hit the big screen, but by the time Twilight was shelved I was simply too exhausted to immerse myself in yet another widespread YA movement. So I did what I could to avoid the pull of  The Hunger Games and didn’t watch the movie until it was ready to

Photo courtesy of

The face Katniss made throughout the entire movie. Photo courtesy of

rent. After seeing the newest adaptation Mocking Jay Part I last night, I realized that abstaining from the series was the best thing I could have done to maximize the movie watching experience.

Considering how many sequels and superhero movies Hollywood has been cranking out lately, it was most refreshing to sit down at the theater with no prior knowledge of The Hunger Games story. Plot twists were still surprising and random explosions continued to make me jump.

And the best part?

Being able to enjoy the film as just that- a film. I did not spend the entire time picking out differences between bits of dialogue that were present in the book but not in the movie and I have consistently left the shows without disappointment.

Although, something about Mocking Jay Part I didn’t sit with me as well as the first two movies. Perhaps it was because Katniss was either wandering around the districts causing commotion or crying about Peeta (whose name frankly just makes me want Pita bread…) the whole time. It certainly did not have the same degree of dynamic scenes as the  former films and depicted characters who were overall flat, however I was pleased to finally feel the need to decide between Team Pita or Team Gale. The movie finally made strides in developing the sort of love triangle I’ve been hearing about but have yet to really care about until now.

Not to say I didn’t enjoy the movie, because the film kept my eyes locked to the screen the entire time, but my expectations had maybe become too high after seeing Catching Fire, whose cinematography work and soundtrack were more impressive than anticipated. Mocking Jay Part 1 may not have lived up to my opinion of Catching Fire, but it was definitely a movie worth seeing whether you have read the books or not.



Is Your Food Fooling You?: New Shocking Documentary “Fed Up” Lets Secrets Slip

For those of you currently enjoying yogurt varieties, bottled juice drinks, or other popular food items, you might want to take a moment to check out that nutrition label.

This hilarious and somewhat unnerving image is courtesy of Cathy Scola on Flickr.

This hilarious and somewhat unnerving image is courtesy of Cathy Scola on Flickr.

I’m no health guru by any means, but I do try and stay conscious about what I  eat to get the necessary nutrients.  However after watching the eye opening documentary Fed Up, I am beginning to reconsider my so called “healthy” choices. From Davis Guggenheim director of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” and Executive produces Katie Couric and Laurie David, Fed Up is a movie that explores the obesity epidemic in America and how obesity rates have skyrocketed within the past 30 years.

The footage was powerful yet disturbing and suggests that the food industry is to blame for the epidemic. When the craze for low fat this and low fat that hit the states, the food industry went along removing the fat from products and used this as a marketing tool. Little did people know, that purchasing a box marked “now with half  the fat!” really meant “now with double the sugar!”

How else do you make food deprived from fat taste good?

40 grams or 10 teaspoons a day is the daily recommended amount of sugar intake. Half of that is in the Chobani yogurt I buy in the store…

I don’t shop the same after seeing “Fed Up.”

The Food Literacy in partnership with Assemblymember Roger Dickinson helped bring the movie to the Tower theater this summer for a one time showing. I had the privilege of talking to Assemblymember Dickinson after the show who had a few remarks.

“The epidemic of obesity that we are seeing not only in our children but also in adults is truly frightening in its implications for health, for the future of our community, and the future of our state,” said Dickinson.

“…its also going to mean that our healthcare costs are going to be driven up to an extraordinary level so both for the personal health of those involved as well for the health and welfare of our society I think it particularly important that we take on this epidemic of obesity and to do that starts with eating better than people are today. It starts with understanding that there needs to be balance in any diet… and while exercise is also an important part of the equation of living a healthy life  you can’t overcome a terrible diet with too much sugar, with too much processed food if you rely on exercise alone. It takes being smart about what you eat.”

Bummer. I guess I better think twice about eating that pack of Oreos after my workout.

If it were up to me, this movie would be shown to more than just the folks in that little theater. It would behoove people to show this throughout theaters and schools because its time we are informed statewide and globally. When it comes to DVD, I recommend watching at least the first 30 minutes of “Fed Up.” You might be surprised what effects your favorite foods have on you.

Maleficent Movie

Presenting Angelina Jolie as Maleficent.

As the saying goes, “history repeats itself” and that is a notion so painfully evident in the Hollywood scene these days that I am beginning to wonder if we have altogether stopped trying to come up with an original idea or even a sliver of one.

The most innovative film I have seen in a while is “Her,” the uncomfortable academy award winner about a man’s infatuation with his operating system (that’s a post for another time).

Aren’t people growing bored with reading a book and soon after going to the show to see the exact same thing? Where is the element of surprise? I guess people gravitate toward the familiar and thus Hollywood is left gazing at potential sequels and adaptations with dollar signs in their eyes. So keeping up with remake trend, Disney re-mastered the classic Sleeping Beauty tale focusing on the villain Maleficent who naturally brings the ugly beginning but also commences the happy ending.

Stepping into the theater, I was worried that Disney was about to ruin one of my favorite childhood movies but Angelina Jolie made me think otherwise the moment she hit the camera. Her make up and costuming was striking, incorporating exaggerated prosthetic cheekbones and piercing colored contacts that made for an appreciable villain.

As for the fashionable element of true love’s kiss, this  was approached more realistically.

The kiss from the prince did not do the trick and this was not that surprising due to Jolie’s numerous heartbroken claims about the nature of love. Not to fear! Disney would never ditch the smooch that awoke our Beauty, however they would dare to abandon the childish fantasy of finding a soul mate. When somber reality sets in, true love is infallible after all and the kiss comes from a most unexpected source- Miss Maleficent. The strength of a parent’s love is a most refreshing twist on the message of Sleeping Beauty. A fairytale with a degree of genuineness that accepts a truth beyond the viewers’ years.

Looks like Disney decided to grow with its audience.