RegularFrank

Mar 132012
 

Author: Suzanne Collins

Pages: 391

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: September 2009

Genre: Teen Dystopian Future, Science Fiction

Characters: 

Katniss Everdeen- District 12 winner of the 74th Hunger Games, and master of hunting and archery.

Peeta Mellark- Other District 12 winner of the 74th Hunger Games, painter and is in love with Katniss, but it is unrequited.

Gale Hawthrone- Friend of Katniss, also a hunter and may have feelings for her.

Haymitch Abernathy- Mentor of Katniss and Peeta but has had a drinking problem since he won the 50th Hunger Games.

President Snow- Despotic and Psychotic ruler of Panem, fears that Katniss is becoming a symbol for a rebellion

Finnick Odair- Ten years earlier had won the Hunger Games for District 4.  He is very handsome and vain and uses a trident for his weapon.

Beetee- Tribute from District 3 and is a technological genius.

Johanna Mason- District 7 tribute and is sarcastic and dangerous.

Synopsis: Katniss’ hard won victory in the 74th Hunger Games by forcing the Capitol to change the rules has made other districts realize that the Capitol is not all powerful.  Some Districts are even revolting against the Capitol.  When the time comes for the 75th Hunger Games the Capitol calls for a Quarter Quell which means that previous winners of the games must fight against other winners of the games. Since this means that Katniss must fight Peeta,  she vows that she will keep Peeta alive no matter what.  Other contestants have different plans and Katniss must deal with new and strange allies and her feelings for Peeta.

Analysis: Once I finished reading The Hunger Games, I went right out the book store and picked up Catching Fire.  I was excited to find out how Suzanne Collins would continue the story.  My biggest concern was how she would get Katniss back into the area.  I was worried that it would be a repeat of the first book where she took her sister’s place.  How wrong I was!  I loved the introduction of a Quarter Quell where old winners must fight each other. Also, the political intrigue that was briefly touched upon in the previous book takes a greater role in this book.  Due to this, the world of Panem is greatly expanded in the readers mind and it is no longer one dimensional.

Pro: 

  • Hints that other Hunger Games were not won with brute strength or weapon skill but people like Beetee,who won with his intellect.
  • Implication that the game itself is a key to revolt by selecting those that can fight, make loyal friends,  and work together.  Then concentrating them in one arena, causing a perfect storm that ignites the rebellion.

Con:

  • President Snow is a one dimensional villain and his actions only serve to make the resistance stronger.  It should have been obvious to just let Katniss fade away and not egg her on.
  • At times Katniss seems to be less of an active participant and is just carried along with everything.

Conclusion:  Despite the story dragging a bit at times, the payoff in the end was worth the wait!


Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 4
Plot 3
Imagery 2
Read Again? 4
Average 3.25
Mar 122012
 

Director: Tom Hooper

Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hr 58 minutes

Release Date: 12/24/10

Genre:  Historical Drama

Cast: King George VI (Colin Firth), Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), Queena Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter),  King Edward VIII  (Guy Pearce) ,Mrs Wallis Simpson (Eve Best), King George V (Michael Gambon)

Synopsis: From an early age the man that eventually becomes King George VI (Geoffrey Rush), had a bad stammer.  If he was a common person, he could have just stayed in the background and not been noticed.  As he got older,  Prince Albert (One of George VI’s many aliases), was forced to make speeches on the radio and in public, and since his stutter was so bad, it often led to embarrassment.  His wife,  Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter),  decides to find him some help.  Eventually, she is able to track down a promising Australian therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).

Logue doe not have a real degree in speech therapy or any other formal training.  He uses techniques that he devised and his innate knowledge of the human mind to help King George VI overcome his stammer.  King George VI goes on to lead the nation after the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), and inspire the people of England during World War II.

Analysis: Due to the many awards this film had gathered, including the Academy Award for Best Picture , I was interested in seeing it.  Now that I have, I wish that I had taken the opportunity to watch it in the theaters because a small screen does not do it justice.  The sets, and actual filming locations are spectacular and the acting is top notch.

Pro:

  • Lionel Logue’s interaction with his sons is very gripping and he seems like a really good father.
  • Written in such a way that I cared about all of the characters, even King Edward VIII and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • Great seeing Lionel’s house get better and more fancy over time as he worked with the king.

Con:

  • Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall),  looked like a chubby Richard Nixon, but the acting was good.
  • I would have liked to hear more details about how the speech was received by the general people at the end.

Conclusion: At first I was worried that the film would be a boring period piece, but it kept me interested.  In fact, I was totally absorbed by it.  It was filled with great characters and interaction.  Unlike other historical dramas, the historical characters were treated like someone real and not just something out of a textbook.

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 5
Story 4
Special Effects 4
Would Watch Again? 4
Average 4.25
Mar 092012
 

Author: Tina Fey

Pages: 275

Publisher:  Reagan Arthur

Release Date: January 2012

Genre: Autobiography

Characters: Tina Fey, Lorne Michaels, Amy Poehler, Sara Palin, and Tracy Morgan

 Synopsis: Comedian and Actor, Star of 30 Rock, and former head writer for Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey writes about her life.  She begins with her early life in Pennsylvania and talks about jobs, getting into acting, and eventually writing for SNL and creating 30 Rock and raising her daughter while working.

Analysis:  Bossypants is a very funny and entertaining autobiography.  Even though as a male, I don’t think I am the target audience, I found many of her anecdotes  about growing up geeky, unsure of self and just not fitting in reminded me of my own childhood.   Her genesis story is more epic than mine and includes a mysterious attack by a stranger in an alleyway when she was young.  It is possible that she is the Batman of comedy.

Pro:

  • Inside stories of 30 rock and SNL
  • Her father Donald Fey sounds like an amazing and strange guy.
  • Stories about Amy Poehler make me think she should write her own book!
  • The book also leads me to believe that Tina is a down to earth and nice person.
  • One of my favorite stories was about the guy on the Second City tour that would order a Big Mac value meal and eat it on stage so he could charge it as part of act.

Con:

  • Early on she says that the origin of the scar on her face is not something she wishes to discuss, but she refers to it several times afterwards and provides a slight bit more detail.  I think she should have just left it at her not wanting to talk about it if she wasn’t going to tell everything.
  • She seems pretty classy, but I’d like to hear her dish more dirt and name more names about what was really going on during SNL and 30 Rock!

Conclusion: She seems a bit down on her fame lasting much longer, but I really hope that she is wrong about that. This book makes remember why I have been a fan of hers since I first saw her doing the news on SNL.  I hope that she keeps on writing and acting!!

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 3
Plot 3
Imagery 3
Read Again? 4
Average 3.25