My Review of The Teaser Trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

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I was not planning on doing a review of a teaser trailer, but then yesterday happened.  Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 was the day of Unite.  #Unite is the official hashtag of the teaser trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.  I watched the teaser and was left speechless.  That’s when I knew I had to review this.

I’m just going to say it: I am a big fan of the Hunger Games.  I’ve read all three books, have seen the last three movies, and I even dressed up as Katniss Everdeen for Halloween last year.  There’s a whole story about that costume, but that’s a story for another day.

You can call me Amy Everdeen.
Fire is catching, and if we burn, you burn with us.

Now that I have outed myself as a Hunger Games fan, it’s time to review the teaser trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.

The moment that sent chills down my spine was when Katniss and the District 13 rebels are walking down the Capitol trail where we have seen the tributes being presented in the first and second movie.  During that sequence, we heard the voiceover, “Tonight we turn our weapons to the Capitol” and Katniss is seen lifting her bow and arrow.  I said to myself, “This is it.”  I’m a sucker for good background music and this trailer delivers on that front.  The background music is epic and hammers in a sense of finality.  I like the setting for Finnick and Annie’s wedding. For an underground resistance, it looks cleaner and well-lit than the book implied. It tells us the sophistication of District 13.

Jennifer Lawrence is as gorgeous as ever.   Let’s face it: there’s nothing this woman can’t do.  She owns the role of Katniss Everdeen.  Period.  I have tremendous respect for her, but I’ll go more into that in my Series Review of the Hunger Games Trilogy (yes, I will marathon the movies and give an overall analysis on the saga as a whole).  That review is scheduled for the day after I see Part 2.  I really appreciate the shot where she and Prim hug each other.  I won’t spoil anything, but there is a significance to that scene (if you are an HG fan reading this, DO NOT SPOIL anything for those who haven’t read the books.  Just don’t be that guy/gal).

My praise does have a limit, though.  The black goo.  The sequence where Katniss and company are running from black goo raining down on the city…for some reason, I can’t take that seriously.  I guess because the Hunger Games has done a good job at not getting into genetic-talk and staying as grounded in the realities of war as it can (tracker-jackers and mutts aside), saying out loud “Katniss runs away from a flood of black goo” just feels weird.

Overall though this teaser gives us glimpses of what’s to come, it’s like an appetizer to the main dish, and a delicious appetizer at that.

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Champion of the Lepers: Saint Damien of Molokai

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So in the 1800’s, Hawaii had a bigger crisis on its hands than being the backdrop of a terrible movie (Aloha); it was facing an outbreak of Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy.  Once you got leprosy, you were a goner.   However our story begins in Tremelo, Belgium, with the birth of a little boy named Joseph de Veuster on January 3rd, 1840.  All that is known about his childhood is that he had to quit school when he was thirteen-years old so that he could work on the family farm.   However, he was able to go to college in Braine-le-Comte, and later entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary at the age of eighteen.   In many respects, no one was really surprised.  Both of his sisters, Eugenie and Pauline, were nuns.   His brother Auguste became Father Pamphile.  For Joseph, religious life was in his genes.  On October 7, 1860, he received the name Brother Damien.  At first his superiors thought an uneducated farmer boy was unqualified, but then they learned that his brother had taught him Latin. Yeah…talk about an awkward moment.  #jokesonyoumybrothertaughtmelatin
Damien felt a strong calling to be missionary and prayed for an opportunity to answer that call.  Then his brother got sick and couldn’t go on his assigned mission to Hawaii, so Damien basically volunteered as tribute and took his place.  He hit the road to Honolulu in 1864.  He was ordained into the priesthood two years into his stay.

Imagine moving into a new neighborhood only to find that neighborhood in chaos. That was Damien’s arrival to Hawaii was like; a colony in disarray ruled by a ruthless disease.  The island of Molokai was the leper drop-off station; when you got leprosy, you were shipped off to Molokai.  Damien wouldn’t get to Molokai until nine years later.  He had been working on missionary assignments throughout Hawaii and reached Molokai in 1873.  He was part of a team of four other chaplains, but was the only one of the group who chose to stay permanently in Molokai.  Every missionary assignment had led up to this, and he knew this was the place God had called him to.

Damien became a champion of the segregated lepers.  He advocated government assistance on their behalf.  He said last rites to the dying, baptized infants whether they had contracted leprosy or not, and was responsible for the construction of hospitals, clinics and churches throughout the leper colony.  The children could go to school, and those who had lost their parents to leprosy had an orphanage for refuge.  All of this because of Damien’s efforts and advocacy.  To put it simply, the man got things done.

One day in 1885, he had stepped into some water and noticed that he couldn’t feel the water against his skin.  That is one of the signs of leprosy.  His time was drawing near.  Nevertheless he spent his final days serving the lepers and giving them a better life until his body could take no more.  Damien died on April 15, 1889.

The core of Damien’s character was mission.  He was born with a sense of duty and became a man on a mission to be the face of Jesus to the outcasts.

Saint Damien of Molokai, pray for us.

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CGB Review of Aloha

The Oscar Curse is real.  Bradley Cooper goes from a mesmerizing performance as Chris Kyle to a bland, forgettable role as–what’s his character’s name again in this movie?  Does it really matter?

This is my review of Aloha!

Why, Bradley Cooper? Why?
You all look great, but this movie is shiz.

Dear Lord, in Your infinite wisdom, I ask You one question: WHY DOES THIS TERRIBLE MOVIE EXIST?  Why are Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams wasting the talent You gave them on this trainwreck?  Right off the bat, I have nothing good to say about this movie.  Nothing.  I’m just going to list everything wrong with Aloha.

The dialogue.  Good Lord, the dialogue is horrendous.  Tell me something: Do you go up to your best friend and say, “Hey there, such-n-such, my best friend of 27 years!  We’ve been through so much together, like when we got lost in that forest.  We sure took care of that dragon.  Remember?”   No!  Nobody talks like that!   I’m not kidding, the first fifteen minutes of this movie are just actors–not characters–actors telling us, the audience, who everyone is.   Then when characters aren’t spewing exposition, they’re spouting off clever-sounding catchphrases that serve no purpose.  By the second act, I was rolling my eyes any time someone spoke.

Holy cow, the pacing of this movie is like spending two hours watching a turtle walk down a flight of stairs.   I could probably name ten scenes that should have been cut from the final product.  In fact, there is a botched edit that is so painfully obvious I’m starting to question who Director Cameron Crowe hired as his film editor.  Here’s the scene: Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone are at some dance party and they part ways to go do…something, I don’t care to remember.  Anyway, the camera cuts to the people dancing and then it hastily transitions to a woman who asks Bill Murray, “What is life?”  Bill Murray has some monologue, but the “transition” from the dancing people to the woman and Murray was so flimsy that I couldn’t even pay attention to whatever he was saying.  I could list more examples of scenes with awkward transitions, but then that would make my brain hurt even more.

I swear Bradley Cooper is a good actor.  He broke my heart in American Sniper! But you wouldn’t know that if this was your first Bradley Cooper movie.  His only job in this movie is to stare at things with a whimsical expression and walk around, talking about satellites and other techno babble.  Rachel McAdams is always pleasant to watch, but she’s got even less to do except tell Cooper how his character screwed up in the past.  Bill Murray, why are you here?  Alec Baldwin has one good scene and that’s it.  John Krasinki, did you lose a bet?  Is that why you’re in this abomination?  Emma Stone is the only real character in this movie, and like Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road, she should have been the main character.  Everyone does what they can, but the material leaves them stranded on the island of bad storytelling.  There is no rescue for this movie.

Saint Damien of Molokai, pray for us.

This is Catholic Girl Bloggin’

Hi everyone, my name is Amy, but you may call me Catholic Girl Bloggin’.  Yes, there is no “g” in “Bloggin’”, but that is an intentional move because…potatoes!

I am Catholic, I review movies, and I am deathly afraid of small spaces and repairmen.  I also love the Saints, and yes, I will be writing posts about Saints when I’m not reviewing movies.

That’s all for now, so stay tuned for my review of “Aloha,” starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams.

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Saint Monica, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Saint Lucy, Saint Padre Pio, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.