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The Hunger Games

After reading "The Hunger Games" novel, I gave it a solid 4 stars out of 5. I had a very similar reaction to this movie, an indication of the faithfulness of the book-to-film transfer.

For a basic plot summary, "The Hunger Games" sees Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) & Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) thrown into a battle-to-the death with 23 other young people as a result of a "1984"-like dystopian society bent on total population control. Living in a society completely controlled by "The Capitol", Katniss & Peeta struggle to survive in the deathly competition while at the same time sending a message of hope to the thirteen districts watching the Hunger Games event.

In terms of being faithful to the book, this movie succeeds tremendously. Director Gary Ross takes a great written story and adeptly adapts it to the big screen. All the major events happen as written by Suzanne Collins, while even the minutiae is, for the most part, accurate. There's really nothing to get upset over in the translation, besides (of course) the usual pairing down of some background dialogue to keep the film from going even longer than its 2 hours, 22 minute runtime.

The casting/acting is also quite well-done. About the only cast member that didn't potentially live up to the billing was Liam Hemsworth as Gale. Other than that, I really enjoyed the two leads as well as the auxiliaries such as Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, & Elizabeth Banks, to name a few.

Basically, "The Hunger Games" movie succeeds because of the strength of the original story and the faithful adaptation of that story. Because this is (at heart) a young-adult story, a lack of deeper character development & plots prevents me from giving it a full five stars (fair or not). Other than that, though, there is nothing else negative I can say about the experience.


 I really liked this movie. It had an interesting story about a little girl who has the ability to memorize everything she sees and has a code in her head that the Chinese mob, Russian mob and almost the entire New York City police department want. It seems they are all willing to destroy a city to get her and if not, kill her.

Ex bad cop Luke notices everyone chasing her in a subway and somehow grabs her and they get away only to be chased by everybody.

This movie does not lack action and violence. It's over the top but not in a way where it looks stupid.

If you're looking for a movie with non stop action this is it. Pair that with a likable loser ex cop and a cute little girl that can shoot a gun and you have a movie worth seeing again.

What To Expect When You're Expecting

Inspired by the perennial bestseller, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING is a hilarious and heartfelt comedy about five couples whose intertwined lives are turned upside down by the challenges of impending parenthood.
  • Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez
  • Directed by: Kirk Jones
  • Runtime: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Release year: 2012
  • Studio: Lionsgate

Doctor Who, Season 7, Ep. 2 "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"

 If you look at the title "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" and think "That's silly. I won't like it," then you won't. If you look at that title and think "F*#$ yes I want dinosaurs on a spaceship. And throw in some Egyptians," then you will. As a bonus, Mitchell and Webb!

The Five-Year Engagement

I've never written a review on Amazon before. I can't say much about this film other than for what should be a knockout comedic cast, it is amazingly boring and slow. I think the director imagined the humor would be found in the characters' quirky, offbeat dialogue, except the dialogue isn't funny or quirky. It's like watching the life of two semi-funny people, minus any interesting parts. I want my 3.99 back.


I can remember as a younger father playing the Hasbro game with my kids. I also have a vague recollection of playing a version as a kid myself using a pencil and paper but that could be just dead brain cells floating around. Speaking of dead brain cells...with a movie like "Battleship" it is usually a good idea to set the bar low (pick a Michael Bay movie) and just relax. For me, I use the second "Transformers" movie "Revenge of the Fallen" as my standard.

Here we have some early scenes that actually aren't bad and begin to flesh out the characters. The focus is on bad boy, Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) who somehow becomes a U. S. Navy officer at the insistence of his big brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgard) who already is a Commander. Unless memory again fades, having been in the Navy myself it is unlikely that they would accept a drunken felon into their officer corps (i.e. Alex) but maybe things have changed.

While this is a minor nit not worth picking, there are so many other flawed technical aspects of the film, it can't be taken seriously. The good news is that the movie is wildly, if absurdly, entertaining. It is decently constructed with a beginning, middle and an end. The movie is extremely loud at times, especially when the alien visitors take offense at being threatened and launch their razor sharp ball bearing thingies. I mean, the Earthlings did invite them, right? All is well that ends well, especially when you have the mothballed (yet battle ready!) U.S.S. Missouri easily launched with a skeleton crew (pun intended).

Breaking Bad Season 5, Ep. 8 "Gliding Over All"

Spoiler Alert: Immediately after Walt went for his PET scan for cancer, punched the paper towel holder in anger I assume, things started to change fast. He did a 180, gave Jesse his money, and told Skyler he is out (of the drug business). He is acting like he's trying to go back to his old life, as though he knows it's over--but then again, who knows?? Walt has become such a good liar and schemer, it's hard to tell if he has something else up his sleeve and a plan for all that money in the storage space. The cancer is back and he knows he no longer is going to be able to be 'Gus" after all??? Yes, Hank then finds out about WW, but don't forget about the first scene of episode one when Walt is in a diner, having breakfast, with a wig or hair and using a fake name. What is that about? I think Hank confronts him in the next season, and Walt goes 'on the run'...but keeps his Czech Rep. connections. This show is so amazing, it keeps you guessing and trying to figure out what will happen next. How can we wait til next Season??


Xbox 360 Live Points Card

First off, I'm an otherwise very happy Xbox Live Gold member. Instead of buying a points card from a retailer, I made the mistake of buying the points online from Microsoft through the Xbox. I used my gamer tag account and entered my credit card on the TV and I bought 500 points. I got the email confirmation that I bought the points. I then used the points. So far so good.

Over the next two days, four other Xbox charges totaling $30 mysteriously appeared on my credit card. Someone bought more points and a game subscription using my credit card info. I called Xbox Live support- their answer was "we don't give refunds." I explained that it's not a REFUND if my account is used fradulently. They still said no.

Note that clearly the security leak was with them, as no other fraudulent charges appeared on my credit card...just Xbox charges.

I then asked them to delete my credit card info from my Xbox Live account. They said they could not do this. I could not believe this! Given that someone had access to my credit card and they were unwilling to remove my credit card info, I had no choice but to cancel my credit card.

My advice- buy the points from a trusted source like Amazon. Don't ever give Microsoft direct access to your credit card info. I hope this helps.

Battlefield 3 - Back to Karkand DLC Pack [Online Game Code]

This review is from: Battlefield 3 - Back to Karkand DLC Pack [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
Code-in-a-box and 3rd Party method:

Open the Origin client on your PC, and click Redeem Product Code, under the Settings menu (gear icon).
Enter your code then hit Next.
Confirm that the code is for Back to Karkand and hit Next again.
You will receive a confirmation of your code redemption.
You will now need to go to My Games and update Battlefield 3 to play Back to Karkand.

For me, I didn't have to update anything in my game once I activated the game. (Karkand may have come with that 4GB patch release a while ago.) Anyway, I just started a game, and joined a Karkand map. Truth be told, I too was confused as to how to activate the game until I came across a post by EA. I hope this helps.

Battlefield 3: Premium [Download]

This review is from: Battlefield 3: Premium [Download] (Software Download)
I got this directly from the publisher but so far it has been quite enjoyable. I'm liking some of the new weapons already. This is a one-time payment and is not annually-based like Activision does with the CoD franchise. In my opinion that is much more of an appeal. We pay for enough services out there on a yearly basis.

Hopefully somebody can clarify this for me, but if you own Back to Karkland already do you receive a discount/reimbursement or is it going to stay at $50? Either way knowing that I paid for the future expansion packs all in one payment is ideal and convenient.

It's worth the purchase/download. The queue prioritizing is nice but essentially worthless on premium servers, since everyone has premium.

I'm a casual gamer and I'm sure there will be much more thorough reviews than mine but I wanted to provide the casual crowd with my take on this offering.

20 new weapons, 20 new vehicles, new dog tags, queue priority, and other features become available. I believe new kits and uniforms as well. New achievements are introducted for premium users along with the new expansion pack, two weeks early access for expansion packs along with being able to reset your player stats.