The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013): An Amateur’s Reaction


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Written by:  Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt, based on the novel “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

The primary reason that books are converted into film is the amount of material that may stirr interest on potential audience. Add the fact that fans of the book will come rushing to movie theaters to experience an audio-visual translation of their beloved text and form tons of criticism afterwards.

As a fan of the Hunger Games Trilogy, with a slighter preference on the second book compared to the other two, I was impressed in the amount of improvement and grandeur employed in this film adaptation compared to the first in the series (although I enjoyed it too).

The most noticable improvement is the non-shaky camera which did not distract us from the scenes and makes us appreciate adn focus more on the epic aspect of adventure in the movie. Second is how close to faithful it is to the book, with some added extras to make it understandable to non-readers without altering greater chunks of the film. It managed to orchestrate details to relate the book’s universe to both readers and non-readers alike. Another point that made it a great interpretation is the expreiencial translation of it. The arena, the districts, and the Capitol are directly pulled out of my mind because of how close the construction of it all compared to how I imagined it while reading the book.

Of course, there were minor misses, like how some aspects of characters slightly changed; for instance, they downplayed Johanna’s annoyance towards Katniss and Finnick’s naturally flirtatious air is slightly not felt. Also, while Jennifer Lawrence’s playing the lead role of Katniss Everdeen is superbly fit for her and her acting, at rare moments, I find her cringes a little bit too much. Most of the cast, especially Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth (playing Katniss’ love interests, Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne, respectively), will yet save their acting prowesses to make it full bloom in the two-part film adaptation in the third book, Mockingjay, which will be something I will be looking forward to.

I recommend that you read Catching Fire first before heading towardsthe cinemas. However, due to the clean storytelling of this film, lazy readers may not need to read. It is one of the best interpretations of books I have read, and more…


Captain Phillips (2013): An Amateur’s Reaction

Captain Phillips (2013)

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

Written by:  Billy Ray, based on the novel by Richard Phillips

Starring Tom Hanks,  Barkhad Abdi

Slight spoilers ahead….

Usually, I don’t prefer to watch movies like this (a slightly strong statement to put it in to words: I was coerced to watch it) but, as I spent more time to digest the movie, the story-telling surprised me into liking it. I think that an effective movie does not just tell one message. It conveys a message with different angles to look at to probably generate a lot of thought and emotion. It is clear that what the creators of the movie Captain Phillips (2013) aimed is to dramatize the survival story of Captain Richard Phillips, the title character played by the amazing  actor Tom Hanks, and his crew under the terror of pirates, played by amazingly superb, previously unknown actors (Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, and Mahat M. Ali).

The message I got from this movie is how Captain Phillips got in touch with the humanity of the men despite the terrifying, traumatic, and nearly fatal situations they had put him (especially him) and his crew through.

This movie left me losing the faith in people (including myself) because of the way we prejudice the who we meet everyday. We never dared to ask the reasons why people do the things they do, whether the question of morality is present or not, and fail to put ourselves in the position of others that we automatically see things in extremes: good or bad. For instance, this movie explained why the pirates do what they do: they NEED money because opportunities to obtain money the righteous way in their current social and geographical position do not exist. People resort to extreme actions just to gain what is not accessible to them and because of the lack of opportunities, like education of jobs, they have a limited point of view to appreciate what needs to be appreciated, which makes them go on to participate in heinous crimes instead .

I never thought that a movie like this would let me generate deep thoughts. From this, I hope that we become more open and understanding toward the people we mingle with everyday. Once we empathize with the people we meet, there will be wider distribution of understanding, knowledge, and opportunities for all and create a more harmonious society.

This is a good film. Watch it.

Worthwhile Anticipation

Shadowed by Waiting?

Shadowed by Waiting?

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

Sometimes we feel as if everything seems to be not working despite all our best intentions and positive efforts. We often question whether what we are doing is worth it. At worst, we might end up quitting because there is no indication that what we are doing is right. There is no instructor to give us three stars for a job well done or an alarm that would warn when we are about to tread the wrong path. We are left to be blindfolded reaching out into uncertainty for something to hold on to. It is a painfully long wait. However, patience is the key to a worthwhile anticipation.

Patience lessens the stress. Impatience is brought about by expectations not met. In a way, being annoyed pulls us down instead of lifting me up. We must accept that events do not favor us all the time so we must take everything in as it should be. If we stay within the lines of strict ideals, we will not welcome sudden chances of opportunities. These may open new pathways for us or broaden our field of scope. They will present a lateral growth in perspective and possibilities.

Once the inevitability of uncertainty is accepted, maintaining patience can also mean maintaining a state of mind ready for positivity and productivity. Worry just creates a spiral of expectation and disappointment. I say we must set aside the one that upsets us and do something else just to take a breather. Find an activity that fosters a different kind of thinking process. Go for a hike, swim a mile, read a novel, eat a cookie. Travel to India, volunteer in a non-profit organization or play in a band. Rest your mind and reclaim energy from another source. Once we resume, we will have fresh pair of eyes and brain for revitalized and stress-free decision making.

After pampering ourselves, we must go back and focus. The purpose of distraction is to replenish our source of inspiration and not a permanent escape. Maybe the blockages we encounter are just interrupted adrenaline rushes. We must not forget what we are striving for. Even though we need a good break we are still responsible for our work.

It is understandable to be painfully waiting for the end of our suffering and sacrifice. It is important to sometimes lower our standards and welcome uncertainty. This way we do not become stringent and rigid on ourselves. When times get rough, we can distance ourselves for a while and look at it as a whole picture. Only then will we fully realize how far we have come and it is not worth giving it up. It will take time but it is going to be worthwhile and gratifying.


Roland Andre Malic is a creative writer and blogger who took writing and speech courses in TalkShop, under the mentoring of Sheila Viesca, CEO and Director of Communication. Still finding out his niche in life, he is on the way to self-discovery by traversing creative ventures, a step at a time, which include writing and blogging. He also finds joy in watching mind-boggling films, reading about art and history, and exploring musicians and artists from eclectic genres.

Gravity (2013): An Amateur’s Movie Review

Gravity (2013)

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Written by:  Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón

Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

What captured my attention to watch this film is its awesome trailer and teaser clips, It features Sandra Bullock attached to a broken space shuttle crane while spinning insanely amidst a space accident. Since it is airless in space and there is no way for sound to travel to the ears, it is simulated that despite the big chaos happening, we can only hear what Sandra Bullock’s character can hear – only her nervous voice, bits of almost muted sound of the chaos here and there (I saw this from another teaser clip), and the voices on her radio communicator.

It is great because it can be an accessible concept to any movie maker but it did fall on the hands of an acclaimed one. There is a great amount of imagination as to the depiction of an accident in space and the effect is thrilling and haunting (despite scientific inconsistencies). However, it could still improve with its story line because there was no room for emotional transition as everything seems to be as fast as the satellite debris shooting around the earth. I still recommend this movie because of its almost convincing and well-thought of ideas about space accidents and feeling loneliness and isolation in space.