Mockingjay Part 1: The Setup That Nobody Cares About

Grade: A-

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SPOILER ALERT: THIS REVIEW IS ONLY FOR PEOPLE WHO’VE READ THE BOOK

You’ve all read the Hunger Games and loved it. Then you all read Catching Fire and hated it. Then, you all read Mockingjay and wanted to throw it out a window (especially while reading that epilogue) Then, you all watched the Hunger Games and hated it. Then, you all watched Catching Fire and thought, “Damn. How could you make such a great movie out of such a terrible book?” And now, Mockingjay Part 1 is out.

If you thought Mockingjay was good (all four of you out there… including me unfortunately), then you’ll still be pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this movie. If you thought Mockingjay sucked, then during the movie you’ll definitely be thinking whatever you thought while watching Catching Fire (which I’m expecting is something like, “Woah!” or “11/10 stars for creating something great out of total crap!”)

The directing and cinematography seemed pretty good to a regular person’s eyes (no more shaky cam from Hunger Games). The transition from scene to scene was pretty good (especially the transition of the Hanging Tree Song – I was so scared to hear Katniss’s singing that I was stiff though).

The movie was extremely true to the book. It basically repeated whole segments of dialogue from the book. I don’t know if you guys like that or not, but I think that it’s

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The scenes I was excited for were pretty good. The District 13 bombing scene got amped up a lot (it was a lot more intense). For the hospital bombing scene, I wanted to see more bombers… but you can’t have everything. Nevertheless, it was pretty loud and scary and at the end of the scene I was kind of like

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Be warned America. This movie is not for kids.

The casting was pretty good as well (with the exception of President Coin – I didn’t like that casting choice very much). Josh Hutcherson turned out not to be such a fail-y Peeta as he demonstrated in the first movie (although he made up for it in the second movie already). Liam Hemsworth played a nice Gale – a little too nice (I’m waiting for him to turn all evil). J-Law is just J-Law and nothing else can be said about it. I was also pretty pleased with their choice of Cressida. I mean, I’m no Game of Thrones fan, but Natalie Dormer’s smile is basically enough to make me like her. I mean, look at it:

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I also really liked the fact that the movie gave a lot of other perspectives. The book didn’t touch upon the rescue mission from other people’s viewpoints at all (because the book is written from Katniss’s perspective… duh), but the movie dragged out the rescue mission in a pretty intense very long moment that switched between different viewpoints.

Unfortunately, I obviously need to nitpick. If there wasn’t anything to nitpick, then this movie would get an A+. But it didn’t get an A+, so let’s move on.

First of all, if you were dying from secondhand embarrassment while watching Tris cry during Divergent, then you’ll feel that secondhand embarrassment even harder during Mockingjay while you’re zoomed up real close to Katniss’s face as she’s having an emotional moment. If you don’t know what Tris looked like when she was crying, I suggest you watch Divergent and cringe. And then watch Mockingjay and cringe more.

Second, the movie missed a lot of backstory. Considering that it’s a movie though (and movies lose important plot details from the book all the time), the amount of stuff that the movie contained was incredible (although I supposed it wasn’t too hard, considering that the movie only contained the first half of the book). However, there are several major things I feel as if were left out from the film franchise as a whole, but it was basically impossible for the directors to squeeze them into the last movie. For example, there was no Madge (because she was never introduced), the avoxes came in too late for them to pack any real punch, and there was no Venia, Octavia, or Flavia drama (because they were basically never introduced).

And finally, perhaps the greatest sin of all, Mockingjay is split up into two parts. Seriously – every movie franchise is doing it now. It started off with Harry Potter, and then Twilight copied, and all of a sudden there were a plethora of split last movies. Even Marvel hopped on the split-your-movie bandwagon (Avengers Infinity War Part I and II???? WHY????). It’s a rather quick and effective way to shovel in the cash, but seriously? Before long movies will be split into 3 parts, then 4 parts… I see a dark future ahead of us. A dystopian future.

JUST KIDDING! GO SEE MOCKINGJAY!

The Imitation Game: Behind Every Code is an Enigma

Grade: A+ / A

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LOOK IT’S BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH! And if you managed to find my blog, I know you’ll want to read this review now 🙂

Well this movie is about Alan Turing and how he decoded enigma. Well, few people (I don’t know how many, actually, but I’m assuming not many people) knew about Alan Turing and enigma before this movie.

Well, unless you remember this google doodle:

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I get it. You probably don’t remember that google doodle. I don’t either. I literally didn’t know anything about Alan Turing or enigma before I saw the trailer. But then I saw the trailer and… well… let’s just say that my inner geek came out.

So way back when I was a young girl (that is to say, 2 years ago), I went to go see the USS Missouri, and that sparked my interest in WWII. But after I watched the trailer… well…

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Yeah I basically googled every single thing about enigma (and then WWII) before the movie. That was both a mistake and good idea. First of all, now I know everything about enigma and I can wow you with my enigma knowledge skills (they shall be revealed later), but the minuscule historical accuracies in the movie (seriously they were tiny) bothered me greatly.

The movie starts out with a Benedict Cumberbatch voiceover (and now I’ve just convinced you even more about going to watch it), and it ends with him saying, “Are you paying attention?” To which I respond:

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Let me tell you a thing: you really have to pay attention while watching this movie. The movie has several different stories going on at the same time. The main storyline revolves around Alan Turing’s efforts to decode enigma with the rest of his team at Hut 8 in Bletchley Park. Then, there’s a second storyline of Alan’s decline after WWII, and how he was convicted of “gross indecency” (aka homosexuality). The third storyline (the shortest, but by no means the most insignificant) is of Alan’s time at school, and his friendship with a boy named Christopher.

The movie was incredibly layered and well directed. From what I can tell (from my extensive research), it was also quite unbiased (although, the research I did was probably all written by British people so I can’t really say anything). Morten Tyldum really did his research on this topic and he clearly put a lot of effort into the movie. I mean, on the whole, the historical facts were on point. The directing was on point. The casting was on point (I mean, anything with Benedict Cumberbatch is on point). The acting was totally on point. The cinematography was on point. The writing was on point. EVERYTHING’S ON POINT EVERYONE JUST GO SEE IT ALREADY. AND ALSO GIVE BENEDICT 12 OSCARS KTHX.

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But obviously if I really thought everything was perfect, I would be giving this film an A+ all the way. Since I’m not, you can expect nitpicking. Nitpicking in the form of historical inaccuracies and important things I think were left out.

1) The movie never mentioned the actual name of the machine. For future reference, the machine is not called Christopher: it’s called the bombe.

2) The movie barely mentioned the Polish (but at least it did – I mean, if an American had directed it, you’d probably hear no mention of the Polish achievements). The Polish efforts in breaking enigma were pretty big. Even the bombe was named after the Polish machine called the bomba.

3) The bombe actually takes 20 minutes to decode a message. Although, for the sake of a movie, I guess I’ll let that slide.

4) The movie never really mentioned how enigma works. This is also excusable because enigma is pretty complicated. The enigma machine has several parts to it, such as a plugboard and rotors. Because there were so many different ways to set up the enigma machine, the Germans had a sheet telling them how to set it each day (which is why, according to the movie, the Allies had to restart their decoding efforts by midnight). The Germans receiving the messages had their machines set in the exact same way. Because of this, they were able to type out the decoded message using the enigma machine and they could read the original message. The Allies were ultimately able to decode enigma because of the “flaw,” which was that no letter can ever be decoded as itself (i.e. if you type “A” in it will never decode as “A”). This video takes you more into depth about enigma if you’re interested (because my explanation is terrible): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2_Q9FoD-oQ

5) The movie never explained how the bombe worked very much. That’s okay. I don’t understand it at all either.

6) The movie failed to mention that the bombes all got destroyed after the war (VERY SADLY INDEED).

AND NOW EVERYONE CAN DISREGARD MY NITPICKING AND GO WATCH THE MOVIE 🙂

Doctor Who Season 8: Great or Hate?

Grade: B- / C+

For all you non-whovians out there, this video basically sums up the basics of Doctor Who: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j7fouE4f_k

(Yes I know. Now you want to watch it.)

Well, that video stops before 12’s era begins. But that’s okay, because 12’s era is unfortunately mediocre.

I myself started Doctor Who pretty late – 11’s era was already over and I rushed through (new) Doctor Who before 12’s era began. 9 was just a great beginning, 10 was my favorite doctor, and 11 was just a bubbly and happy era.

And then it was 12’s time to shine.

Let’s just say that his entrance was pretty epic. This gif probably sums it up:

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Actually that gif pretty much sums up 12.

So the day was set for 12’s era to begin and I was excited out of my mind… and I mean EXCITED. “AUGUST 23” was capitalized on my autocorrect, and I watched all the trailers at least 10 times. When 8:00 came around on the premiere I ran out of my room, jumped on the couch, and turned the volume up to the highest it could go.

But let’s just say for the record once the episode had finished I was kind of like

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I hoped the season would get better, but Moffat’s writing skills seem to be declining.

First of all, most of the episodes had some great build-ups with some really, REALLY terrible endings. Time Heist, for example, was just a really great episode until the end, where I was just like

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And let me tell you. Not the good kind of “what?”

The season dragged on until the finale. I have to say, the first part of the finale was nice (but really predictable), but the second part of the finale was just a huge let-down.

Now I know I’ve been saying that Doctor Who season 8 has been a boatload of crap so far, but let’s just say for the record that it’s not actually an entire boatload of crap: it has one gem. And that gem is Peter Capaldi.

Peter Capaldi is an amazing doctor. He’s basically the reason why the grade for this season is not a C-. The doctor transforms completely from his earlier, bubbly incarnation to a very sarcastic and rather outwardly cold doctor (don’t worry he’s nice on the inside :)). I mean:

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Anyone like that is a hero in my eyes.

Well, now that season 8 is over, the next thing coming up is the Christmas special. Hopefully it’ll be better. Please save Doctor Who for me Peter.

Hello Fellow Geeks!

Hey guys! My name is Grace, and I live in NYC. Everything’s amazing here: the people, the places, and the opportunities. In the city you get to explore so many things, but sometimes it’s just good to watch a movie, get obsessed with a TV show, listen to an album, or read a good book. In fact, movies, music, TV shows, and books are pretty much universal, and they can bring you to so many places without even having to travel. So, you can roughly expect what this blog is going to be about: the best books, the best movies, the best music, and the best TV shows for all you geeks and nerds out there who don’t want to leave the house 🙂

There’ll be a new update every week about a book, movie, song/album, or TV show that I enjoy. If you guys have any suggestions about a book, movie, song/album, or TV show, then shoot me an email at geekxcritique@gmail.com, and I’ll try to get into it and write a review.