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“Catching Fire”… much more satisfying; darker; edgier.

hungergamesHowdy. So sorry for not staying up-to-date but we – finally – finished putting up the outside decorations…though still are doing the inside of the house. ( The other day, MBH wondered aloud, “How did we do this when we were working?” Good question.

 

Anyway, this is the last of our unseasonably warm weather with unseasonably cold coming our way in a day or two. By the way, for folks in moi’s area who do their own lawn work, now’s the time…like, today…to put down your “winter” fertilizer. It’s optimal just before the ground freezes. Though you can do it over snow. The main thing is to get it down while it’s cold but not freezing. That way it gets absorbed into the soil but it’s not warm enough for it to start working. That should occur in late-March or mid-April which by then, your grass will be a deep dark emerald, while your neighbors will be a nice, pale, lime. :-) .

This is when the golf course guys do theirs.

 

BACTRIAN SEASON

THE WAYBACK MACHINE.

-Let us see what happened on this date in history in…

 

771,     Charlemagne became the sole ruler of the Franks. Don’t know about the Beans, though.

 

1947,  Tennessee Willams’, “A Streetcar Named Desire” opened on Broadway, starring Marlon Brando and Jessica Tandy. “STELLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA”!

 

1981,   The CIA’s powers to spy in the United States were broadened by then President, Ronald Reagan. Wannabet Lush or Thoedocius Cruz never mention that…nor Libertarian par Insolence, Ayn Rand Paul?

 

THE ACA.

-Was thinking about this and wondered where we would be if every product which did NOT work as smooth as baby-scheiss  in its first month or so were scrapped as DaGOPers have been demanding of the ACA?

 

In other words, would Bill Gates be a multi-billionaire if after its first month of operation, Microsoft was scrapped?

 

Windows?

 

What about amazon.com?

 

Yahoo’s still a pain in the ass!

 

Or, in humans, who’ve been around 195,000 years. Using 20-years as a “generation”, we’re on our 9,750th-generation and we’re still screwed-up.

 

Get the idea?

 

ILLINI PENSION DEAL

-Heard Andy Shaw defend our slimeball pols in Springfield for passing a pension deal that takes away earned…not given…EARNED

benefits which were promised to them by, taDA, those very same slimeball pols in Springfield. I know I am being an absolutist with this but too bad. These ass-clowns…from BOTH parties…have had not weeks, months, nor years but DECADES after DECADES to get this corrected, BUT DID NOT! All the while, the employees made their contributions, paycheck after paycheck; month after month; year after year; decade after decade, until we got where we’ve been for quite some time.

 

Please, I’m not talking about the sneaky-petes, making sleazeball deals to up their pensions. Uh-uh. I’m talking about people who are getting around $1600.00 to 1800.00 or so /month. There are some who make much more, possibly much/much more. Still, promises were made but were not - nor are not - being kept.

 

So, please, Mr. Pencil-necked Geek Shaw, don’t intone the Pols mantra of protecting the “rest” of the tax-payers. Better, as Larry Potash asked him on ‘GN News this AM, “Then why did they elect these folks?” Good one, Larry.

 

ChiTown’s next. The good thing for us is, no cuts to what MBH is getting…lesser increases, though. However, our kids are going to get screwed by these ass-clowns and ass-clown-in-chief, Rahmbo.

 

YOU THINK THAT’S BAD?

-At least we’re not Detroyit…yet. A federal judge ruled yesterday that employee pensions are not fully-protected from the filing under Michigan law.

 

HEADLINES IN THE NEWS:

 

-”French experts: Arafat wasn’t poisoned with Polonium”. What about something else?

 

-”Woman fights ticket for driving with Google Glass”. Good.

 

LET’S CLOSE WITH THIS.

-Lush Windbag is now referring to Pope Francis I as a “Marxist”. I KNEW there was something I liked about this Pope and it has nothing to do with Marxism but the apoplexy it seems to have caused in the lead voice of the Flatulence In Broadcasting Network. Here’s a link: http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/03/opinion/ellsberg-limbaugh-pope/

 

DROMEDARY SEASON

“THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE.”

-One of the reasons I’ve not been at this keyboard was having gone to see “Catching Fire”, the second part of “The Hunger Games”,   (THG), trilogy. As with the “Star Wars” – original – trilogy, I found its second entry, “The Empire Strikes Back”, much more satisfying; darker; edgier, more intense and more satisfying. The same for “C/F”. I will do my best to not give anything away, inasmuch as it’s not even been out for a week. OK, here goes.

 

The film opens with Katniss, Jennifer Lawrence, out hunting while she’s back home in District 12. Though she’s a “victor”, along with Peeta, and they both got really nice houses to live in, District 12′s squalor and desolation are ever-present. The film achieves this by filming all the “Districts” in such a gritty-brittle-stark contrast that even the victors’ homes seem to have little to no warmth nor comfort. The reason is, everyone, with the exception of the chosen few, the “Capitols”, have little or no hope of doing anything but surviving. Trouble is, even if they do, there’s the annual “reaping” where the “tributes” are chosen to go to the “arena” along with the others – 2 from each of the 11 other Districts – to battle to the death until only 1 remains…the Victor. As cold and forbidding as the Districts are, Katniss’ hunting area out in the country isn’t very nice, either. Yes, it’s the winter but it’s an ugly, sparse countryside. The visuals for the Districts were evocative of what we saw in “The Book of Eli” and/or “The Road”. I apologize for that. I hate movie-name-droppers but if you saw those films, you’ll understand the reference.

 

At the end of THG, Katniss and Peeta found a way around having to kill either one of them by pledging their “love” and NOT eating the poison-berries Katniss found. This totally pissed-off President Snow, (played with lizard-like-charm to a ”T” by Donald Sutherland), who now sees their subverting of the rules of the “Games” finding its way into the Districts as a rallying point for the citizens of his corrupt administration, which he rules with a brutal barbaric, barbarian, barbarity.

 

 

Just about from the get-go, “C/F” picks that up but with much more intensity than “THG”. Snow wants another “Quell”, but doesn’t want to declare one as that may lead to open rebellion, which he doesn’t want, politically. He tries to threaten Katniss’ family in order to get her to “play ball” with him, which she does at first, but then succumbs to her nature when she witnesses the brutal treatment her fellow-citizens are receiving…though she’s not supposed to…on their “Victors Tour”; which ends at The Capitol and a public show with President Snow. Warning, another movie-name-drop coming. Any who may have seen “The Triumph of the Will”, the Leni Reifenstahl propaganda masterpiece for The Third Reich with its depiction of The Nuremberg Rallies may have a stirring of echoes at this point. Anyway, he decides on having a special “Quell”: in honor of The Games 75th Anniversary, so all surviving “Victors” must re-enter the Arena and, you guessed it, fight to the death once more.

 

It’s at this point where we see how the lives of the citizens of The Capitol compared to those in the Districts are polar-opposites. Where the folks in the Districts barely subsist; the Capitols sip on ipecac syrup to induce vomiting so they can gorge themselves on even more food. Yes, bulimia is status quo in the Capitol. The film does an excellent job of portraying a post-apocalyptic-totalitarian regime at its worst…and best…it just depends on where you live.

 

While it does not have a Sam Peckinpah-like depiction of the violence, there is more in “C/F” than in “THG”. That’s a good thing. No, I’m not some bloodthirsty-lout who just wants to see blood spurting in super-slo-mo across the screen. That said, there’s a limit on the effectiveness of nothing more than implication and inference that works. In “THG” deaths were denoted by a cannon-blast and then at night, a picture of the deceased is shown against the sky. In “C/F”, you will see people die. Isn’t it almost de rigueur that in an arena where people must fight to the death that people will die and shouldn’t we see that? There’s terror and intensity in the arena scenes, aplenty, but plot-centered and tolerable.

 

What I liked most were the performances and direction. In the wrong hands, this could have come out something akin to: “MARVEL: The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” It did not.

Liam Hemsworth’s “Gale”, while in a semi-minor role in “C/F” is important to this film and the rest of the story.

Stanley Tucci’s Caesar Flickerman is about as slimy as slimy can be as the TV host of the “Games”. His disingenuousness is as transparent as a mayfly’s wing.

Elizabeth Banks as “Effie Trinket”, the “sponsor” of Kat and Peeta, who despite her obsequiousness, truly seems to love them. Woody Harrelson’s “Haymitch Abernathy”, K & P’s “mentor” keeps K&P right where they need to be.

Josh Hutcherson’s yeoman like performance as “Peeta” is slow and steady, once again. He provides the calm to Katniss’ storm. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the new Head Gamemaker, “Plutarch Heavensbee”, who is much more germane to the plot than appears.

Lenny Kravitz as Katniss’ costume-designer kinda rocks it with gold eye-liner…though is much more than a mere dress-designer.

 

The other Tributes/Victors: Jena Malone as the axe-wielding Johanna Mason; Jeffrey Wright, as BeeTee and Amanda Plummer as “Wiress”, the “techies” and Sam Claflin as the all-too-friendly Finnick Odair,  all seem to have taken in their characters and portray them as plausibly believable. That can be tricky with the film’s premise but they succeed.

 

Overall, I give this film 3-3/4 stars. A word of warning to “bookies” and I don’t mean the gambling-types. Do NOT go and expect the book. It’s there but not exactly the same. As it was a couple years ago when I’d read them, I can say I had recollections which were different than the film. That’s OK. It’s a good thing. I may re-read it.

 

The minus 1/4 is more due to “housekeeping” issues. There are certain references which only those who’d read the books would understand. That’s a no-no. If they’re going to make the reference, it has to have appeared in the film. Otherwise, the audience will wonder what it means.

 

This film speaks volumes to the human spirit. It shouts from on high that inequality is wrong; be it social or financial. That just because one person has more than another, despite that, he nor she are no more deserving of anything than anyone else from society.

 

It is well worth the time and expense. Also, we saw it in IMAX. While not necessary, it’s a worthwhile expense and enhancement.

 

OK, am going to close right now as it’s nearing dinner time. Yes, I know, I didn’t do Sports. OK.

 

Despite losing last night, the Hawks are hotter than Sophia Vergara in a string-bikini.

 

The Bulls are colder than a well-diggers arse.

 

The Bears and Packers are somewhere in between.

 

The BOHICA-Cubs continue to roll along.

 

The Sox just signed a career, .195 hitting catcher, Tyler Flowers to a $950,000.00 contract. What’s wrong with THAT picture? I dunno. Seems out-of-whack somehow, though.

 

See y’all on FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY.

 

Remember, any day we can look down at a rose instead of up at its roots is a good one.

 

 

 

 

 


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