Recently a friend and I saw the movie based on the popular young adult trilogy called Divergent. Having read the first book some time ago it was a little difficult to remember what all went on in it, especially little details that dedicated or more recent readers would’ve been angry about the filmmakers missing. The movie stars Shailene Woodley as the main heroine, Tris, and Theo James as Four. Woodley is also in The Fault in our Stars that comes out on June 6th, a day that I think that I will never be emotionally prepared for (really, go read the book). She did a decent job of playing Tris, a shy girl that ends up being a major player of the rebellious faction called Dauntless. If you need a refresher of the plot you can go to my posts here and here. I say she did decently because she just seems like a meek person overall and I didn’t really see her playing a character that risks it all to join a faction that jumps off trains. However, she had nice hair and that’s really all that matters. Theo James played the love interest, Four. I honestly think he was cast because of his sex appeal because that boy was fine. He played the part well, though and I liked how caring he was with Tris even though he wanted people to think he was all tough (typical). Since I haven’t read the book in a while, the movie seemed to follow it pretty accurately but some have said major characters are left out. According to Flixster, the next installment of the trilogy Insurgent is set to come out on March 20th, 2015 so I’ve got a little time to read the other books and find out what happens to the dystopian society that Tris and Four are revolting against (Hunger Games reference, anyone?). The movie theater I work at had a big promotion for the movie coming out. We had faction bowls like they had in the books where people could submit their names to win prizes. We also had a big board where you could anonymously write down your fears. Some people were less-than-intelligent and wrote twitter usernames or inappropriate things but others wrote clever things like “oblivion” or “daleks”. All the employees got to dress up according to what the factions in the book wore. The first day I was Dauntless and I wore leather leggings and combat boots, along with some temporary tattoos I got at Hot Topic that were identical to the ones Tris gets in the book. The second and last day I was Erudite, and I wore a blue dress. A lot of the employees participated and it was a really good promotion overall, regarding participation. Did you go see Divergent when it came out in theaters?
After you’re done shaking your head at my really lame title, you can read the rest of this post about one of my favorite paintings. You may be thinking that this blog is all about books, and that’s where you’re wrong! History is my favorite subject and I’m playing on going to college and majoring in secondary history education. The book I’ve been reading is based off of the mysterious painting by Vermeer called Girl With a Pearl Earring. It was painted in 1665 and the figure depicted is unknown. No one knows if she was related to the artist, or if he even knew her at all. Vermeer’s infamous color scheme of blue and yellow stand out in the painting. The book by Tracy Chevalier is based on this well-known painting, her mind creating a story surrounding the origin of the painting. The mysterious girl is now Griet, a simple Dutch villager who is called upon to be a maid for Vermeer and his family. Vermeer takes a liking to Griet and paints her for a patron that lives in the area. What I love about this book is that it is historical fiction. To create a story out of just one painting takes a special kind of talent. To give curious readers a glimpse into the past is a gift. What I love about this painting is the mystery behind it and the simplicity of the figure. Chevalier’s novel put my curiosity to rest and I am satisfied with the story she has created to put meaning to this painting. Vermeer himself was mystery: he never let anyone into his studio and he only painted thirty or so works. He is well-known for his blue and yellow color scheme that colors the simple figures doing household work in his paintings. He is known to have implemented the technique of camera obscura to create his realistic paintings, with the light always coming from the left, the colors blending to look real. The device is actually a small, dark room that projected an image through a small opening upside-down, showing an image that the artist can clearly see and trace. It was this technique that made Vermeer’s paintings realistic and he himself a master of color. I think more stories based on paintings should be made to give us an idea of the time period and the people that lived then. It would help us understand and appreciate art more as well as history.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I am a big fan of John Green. I love his books because they relate to teenagers on so many levels, and him being a young adult just makes it easier for him to understand what we go through and all that life throws at us. Recently, one of his books, The Fault in our Stars, has been made into a movie that will be in theaters on June 6th of this year. As an employee at the theater, we get to see a free movie every week, but it can’t be a premiere. Considering how much I loved this book, I will pay the money for the ticket and wait in the queue line with all the others anxiously waiting to bawl their eyes out. Frankly, I feel that other books by John Green are overlooked. For example, millions of people have read The Fault in our Stars but have they even read Paper Towns or Will Grayson, Will Grayson? An Abundance of Katherines is one of these books. It is about a teenage guy named Colin Singleton (ironic last name, but will get to that shortly) who has dated nineteen girls over the years all named Katherine. Not Catherine, not Kate. Katherine. Nineteen times he has loved, nineteen times he has been dumped. Colin is also a prodigy, or a child genius who loves facts and is very smart. He drafts up a mathematical theory that predicts the course of relationships and when they will end. John Green actually got one of his close friends to do all the math that was in the book and there is an appendix explaining it all. Anyways, Colin and his best friend Hassan decide they need to go on a roadtrip after Colin’s recent breakup with K-19. They end up in Gutshot, Tennessee and hilarity ensues, along with some sadness. That’s all I’m going to give away about the book because I think everyone in the world should read at least one John Green book. Now that I think of it, go buy a box set! I will most likely be blogging about the TFioS movie in June so stay tuned for that post! Now go read some John Green and join the ranks of the Nerdfighters.
Recently, I saw the second movie of the Hunger Games series called Catching Fire (like I’ve said before, working at a movie theater has it’s perks.) After I watched it, I realized that soon the next movie would be coming out and I had completely forgotten what happened in the third book. This prompted me to find one of my friends who had the book to borrow it from them so I could refresh my memory for the upcoming movie. This last installment of the series, Mockingjay, is the story of the rebellion of the people of Panem against the Capitol and how Katniss Everdeen leads this rebellion. To me, the story went very quickly and honestly, some parts confused me because I feel like they popped out of no where. In particular, there were a lot of parts in the book where Katniss is hallucinating or just imagining things so it’s hard to keep track of reality. All of the action was sometimes hard for my mind to follow, but this happens often for me when reading. There were also a lot of characters that were hard to keep track of. Some important characters were killed off for no apparent reason, in the most uneventful ways. Personally, I didn’t go all crazy fangirl for the series when it came out. I did obviously read it and I think it’s a great series but it’s not something I dedicate my heart and soul to. What I love about the last book is that people started comparing it to our way of government in America and how people would react if it got out of hand. It’s interesting to see what people take away from books, no matter how extreme. Another thing I liked was the semi-cheesy romantic ending that tied the story together and kind of completed some unanswered questions. However, the writing and diction was perfect for it and that is what made it semi-cheesy. The movie for Mockingjay will be split into two parts. I don’t really understand why since it is about the same size as the previous books in the series, most likely its just for marketing purposes, something I talked about in a previous post. I am excited to see how they adapt the final installment of the series into a movie, since there is so much action and chaos going on. I feel that the movie will help me understand the book because it’s something I can visually see and it will all come together. What did you think of the Hunger Games series?
The argument we hear over and over again is that film adaptations of books never turn out how the reader imagines them. Some small detail is left out, a character doesn’t look how the reader imagined, you nitpick the movie and pretty soon everything is completely wrong! Right? Wrong. Take the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings series for example: those books are loooooooong, as well as the movies. If we included every song that is in Return of the King or every spell in Order of the Phoenix, the movies would be longer than 2 or 3 hours. Scenes have to be cut and directors have the challenge of choosing those specific scenes that aren’t exactly important to the storyline. It’s a good thing that we don’t have the popularity of VHS tapes around today because we would have things like Titanic– a two tape movie that you would have to stop, eject, (probably rewind), and pop in the second tape. However, I do have Gone With the Wind on DVD and it is a two-parter. What I’m trying to say with this post is movies based on books should at least be given a chance. I personally have to read the book before I see the movie. Working at a movie theater makes this difficult but that just makes me want to read more. For instance, I overheard my manager talking one day about Catching Fire and saying how small details were left out and if people hadn’t read the books, they wouldn’t have noticed or cared. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t go to the movie that you have been anxious to see and come out putting it down because it wasn’t exactly to how you imagined it. Everyone thinks of things differently so no one is going to be completely with the outcome. Just be content with the fact that someone made the decision to create something you can see rather than just think about.
Working at a movie theater is a great opportunity with many perks. Free popcorn, soda, 25% discount on everything else along with a free movie with a guest every week is beyond awesome. However, this also spoils a TON of movies for me. I saw at least half of Frozen in bits and pieces during theater checks before I actually had the time to sit down and watch it all (and even then I have the overwhelming urge to tell people to put their phones away during the movie because my job is weird and addicting). A few weeks ago, I realized that a movie called Divergent was coming out and it was based on a book. After my coworkers basically shunned me and freaked out about how I hadn’t read the book, I gave into the peer pressure and checked out the book at the library. So far, it’s a pretty good read. I’ve always been a fan of dystopian novels and this is just that. This book is about a society that puts you into factions for life based on your personality and choices that you make in a test that you participate in when you come of age. I am not that far into the book so the factions are a bit hard to follow, but I found a website here that helps make sense of them and what they stand for. Abnegation (the main character’s faction since birth) is the group of people that are plain and selfless. Candor people never lie. Amity people are peaceful and calm. The Erudites are smart and clever. The Dauntless are the rebels of society and they are very daring. The test that everyone takes at the age of 16 helps them choose which faction they want to be in. Some people deviate from the factions they are born into and that faction no longer recognizes them as their own, even their families don’t speak to them. Some, however, remain in their factions. Those who diverge from any faction whatsoever are societal outcasts. The main character is one of the factionless and the story is about her choices and how those affect her and her society, as well as how people view her. I can’t wait to read the rest of this book and the two that follow it before the movie comes out in March. Stay tuned for the second part post of this book later on in the week.
(Book cover photo from http://bookriot.com/2013/10/14/beyond-bestsellers-youve-read-divergent/)
Picture from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schindler%27s_List
Oskar Schindler isn’t a typical person and he is definitely not the type that you would think to save the lives of thousands of Polish Jews during the Holocaust. Schindler was originally a member of the Nazi party and he was a notorious womanizer. However, he did the impossible and kept thousands of fugitives in his factories, saving their lives and becoming famous for it in the process. Oskar wasn’t looking for fame; he just experienced a change of heart about Jews and their importance in society. Schindler owns a furniture enamel factory in Krakow during the time of Word War II and the beginning of the persecution of the Jewish people. He, along with the help of Itzhak Stern, draft up Schindler’s list, a list that becomes famous among the Jewish people and it turns into a competition of who can get on the list and live. The compiled list was found a few years ago with over 800 names on it. In the end, the Jews that have been working in the factory are liberated by the Soviets and are forever thankful for Schindler’s compassion and hospitality, two concepts the Jewish people had been deprived of for so many years. After the liberation and the end of the war, Schindler moved to Argentina to try and raise chickens but this didn’t work out well for him, resulting in he and his wife moving back to Germany where he suffered a heart attack. Schindler died in 1974 and was buried in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, a very high honor. He was considered Righteous Among the Nations for the courage that it took to defy a party he was dedicated to and to save thousands of lives, even though he always felt like he didn’t do enough.
Although the novel is considered fiction, the people in it are real. The movie adaptation is based on entirely factual events and the actors are playing people, or characters based on multiple people. The author, Thomas Keneally, accidently met one of the survivors, Leopold Pffeferberg who wanted to tell the story of Schindler to everyone he knew. To think that this event actually happened is astounding. Also, the fact that Schindler got away with it is a feat in it’s own right. On the Wikipedia page for the film, the director Steven Spielberg states that “they [the Nazis] don’t quite take him [Schindler] seriously, and he used that to full effect.” What was hard for me about this book was the vast amount of German names and terms that I wasn’t familiar with. Many were military rankings or people that were on Schindler’s list. I just feel like there were a lot of characters and it was hard to keep track of them all. My two favorite characters in the book would have to be Josef Bau and Rebecca Tannenbaum. They only get a few pages in the novel and I do wish their story would have been elaborated on a bit more but their love speaks volumes. Take two Jewish people in the middle of the Holocaust who are in love and want to court. Courting can be difficult in normal circumstances but during the Holocaust that difficulty level could be multiplied by millions. Overall, I feel that even though the terms and names made it hard to sink into the novel and really absorb it, it is well written and clearly tells the story of one man and the thousands of lives he saved during the Holocaust.