The Hunger Games? YES, PLEASE!

REVIEW OF BOOK 1!!

I don’t have many friends who love to read, but Isis is my favorite partner in crime when we’re talking about books and movies. She told me I had to read The Hunger Games, but I really didn’t think it was anything good. WRONG! I’m in love. In love with the girl on fire!

First I’d like to say that the brilliant idea of The Hunger Games is probably based on the Korean movie: Battle Royale. Even though Collins gets all the credits for the story (and yes she did a great job), Batoru Rowaiaru (Battle Royale) came out in 2000. Eight years later Collins came up with a similar story. I’m already downloading Battle Royale (I’ve heard it’s freaking bloody) so I’ll write a review about it when I’ve seen it. Well, stolen or not… The Hunger Games books are a huge success, so the odds are definitely in Collins’ favor!

I was very skeptical about the trilogy. I don’t know why, but when books are very popular I often think they won’t be any good, but I still force myself to read them. Like Fifty Shades of Grey, everyone reads it but it’s just a bunch of crap. And yes I’ve read the books. All three of them. Boring as hell. I’ve been wrong about books often. I didn’t want to read Harry Potter, Twilight or The Hobbit (which I still haven’t finished). But to be honest; I loved them all so I should be less cocky and just read what the crowd tells me to read.

*Book 1: The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games is a badass story about the protagonist Katniss Everdeen, who hunts in the woods together with her friend Gale to provide their families with food every day. She lives in the future in Panem, a country with 12 districts which all have their own specialties. Panem is ruled by the Capitol, where life’s so much better than in the other districts. Every year the Capitol hosts an event to remind the citizens not to rebel: The Hunger Games. Each district brings two teenage tributes – a boy and a girl – to an arena where they must fight each other to death. When Katniss little sister Prim is selected to participate in the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place and leaves District 12 together with the other tribute: Peeta Mellark. Katniss and Peeta have known each other for a long time, even though they never talked. They are competitors, but during the opening ceremonies they present themselves as a team: holding hands while dressed in flames. During an interview Peeta reveals his crush on Katniss: His strategy for her to make her look more ‘human’.

When the games begin both Peeta and Katniss go their own ways. They form teams with other players to win, but when a new rule to the game has been announced they know they must work together:  Two people from a single district can both win. After a lot of setbacks they finally make it to the finale when the Gamemakers withdraw the rule. Katniss and Peeta decide to commit suicide. Right before they swallow some poisoned berries, a voice announces both Katniss and Peeta are the winners of the 74th Hunger Games.

Happily ever after? NO WAY!  Peeta is heartbroken when he finds out that Katniss is not truely in love with him. For her, it was all part of the game. Katniss idea of committing a double suicide has provoked a lot of chaos in the districts and Haymitch – the mentor of Katniss and Peeta – warns her that she must prepare for the worst.

BOOK 1: AMAZING!! 10 out of 10!!! The idea of The Hunger Games is brilliant and not unlikely to happen. We should beware of the future and our leaders. It reminds me of the games of the ancient Greeks, Orwell’s 1984 and Romeo and Juliet. I loved reading every chapter, every letter… I fell in love with Gale and Katniss. This is fiction but so credible that it’s almost scary and yet very intriguing. GO READ IT! NOW!!!
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Movie review: easy A

My aunt told me I just had to see this hilarious movie. And she was right. 

In easy A Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) lies to everyone. After she tells her best friend Rhiannon she slept with a college guy, her friend Brandon comes up to her and asks if she wants to sleep with him so he can become popular. She knows he’s gay so she trusts him with her secret that she’s still a virgin. He’s totally cool with that and together they decide to fake his very first time at a party. It’s a huge success and Olive’s glad she could help Brandon. What she didn’t expect was a range of ‘customers’. Desperate guy after desperate guy ask her if they can fake kiss her or pretend to have sex with her in exchange for money or gift cards. Olive agrees and her new business is born. Of course it’s getting out of hand. Rhiannon doesn’t talk to her anymore, the strictly religious Marianne (Amanda Bynes) tries to ‘save’ her and everyone at school thinks of her as the new hot skank in town who’s spreading chlamydia. Olive decides to embrace her new self and stiches a big red A on her new, sexy clothes. Things get worse but fortunately her parents believe in her and her old crush Todd (Penn Badgley. Woohoo, Gossip Girl’s cute little Dan!) tells her he doesn’t believe a thing about the rumors. Olive and her mom come up with a plan to confess what she’s done: At a school pep rally she sings a song where she refers to her web page. At this page people can see her webcam posts where she tells the truth and nothing but the truth about the past months. Of course Todd tells Olive he likes her, because it’s still just an entertaining movie. But he, the rest of the story was actually really fun!

I’d give this movie a 7,5 out of 10. 
I think Emma Stone did a fantastic job playing Olive. I love her lisping voice and funny faces. She’s hot but not ordinary beautiful. I laughed so many times during this movie, because Olive really is a funny person. Or maybe it’s just Emma who embraced Olive and made her rock. Olive’s parents are hilarious. Todd’s cute, Rhiannon’s annoying and I should give some credits to Amanda Bynes who plays Marianne really good.
Anyway, if you wanna enjoy a fun, not too difficult movie you should watch easy A!

Facts: The movie came out in 2010. Written by Bert Royal, directed by Will Gluck and starring Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes and others. 

 easy A

 

Everything is Family

A couple of years ago the Dutch movie “Alles is Liefde” (Everything is Love) came out and I totally loved it. I watch it at least twice a year and I was more than excited when the script writer, Kim van Kooten, wrote a new story: “Alles is Familie” (Everything is Family). I hope you’ll be able to download these movies with English subtitles even though you’ll probably don’t understand a crap of Everything is Love, since it’s about the Dutch holiday Sinterklaas. Well maybe you won’t like neither of these movies, because there’s Dutch music and stuff, but I do so I wrote a review about it 😉

I just watched everything is Family last week because I was in Barcelona when the movie came out, and surprisingly it didn’t disappoint me! Everything is Family isn’t the same at all as Everything is Love (but you know how you’re gonna compare movies when they are written by the same writer and have a similar name). I’m very proud of this Dutch piece, because it’s a total new movie that I’m not gonna delete off my Macbook!

Everything is Family is about a family struggling with some issues. The parents are in their sixties and starting to realize they’re not happy at all with their marriage. Their daughter Anouk died 2 years earlier and nobody really wants to talk about it. The handsome son Charlie is an amazing cook but doesn’t like to take any responsibilities and his brother Rutmer is very successful in the music industry and always searching for inspiration. Rutmer’s wife Winnie, played by the famous Carice van Houten, is successful as well but she wants a child. A child Rutmer can’t give her because his sperm is practically dead. And then there’s Dick, who doesn’t want to go on with his life since his wife Anouk died, but he keeps going for his two adorable children.
When the story goes on every little drama is getting more complicated but in the end everyone discovers that happiness is the key to everything, even if you’re afraid of changing your life in order to be happy.

I looooooove this movie! And Benja Bruijning (google) with curls!
It’s a typical Kim van Kooten movie produced by Joram Lürsen and I enjoyed watching it mucho!
If you’re Dutch the crew might impress you: Carice van Houten, Thijs Römer, Martina Bijl, Kees Hulst, Tjiske Reidinga, Benja Bruijning, Chris Zegers, Willeke Alberti and others!

I’d give this movie an 8 out of 10 BUT I’m not sure if people who don’t understand the language will like it as much as I did.

Alles is familie

The Diary of Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is one of the most famous books in the world and of course it is made into a movie more than once. Last week I saw the movie (a mini-serie by the BCC) by Jon Jones starring Ellie Kendrick, Iain Glen and Kate Ashfield a.o.

I think I shouldn’t explain what the movie’s about because I hope everyone already knows, but in order to give a good review I’ll give a short summary:

World War II, Amsterdam 1942. The 13-year-old Anne is Jewish and starts keeping a diary because she’s missing a best friend in her life. Life for Jews in Holland is getting worse every day. Jews are not allowed to go to the movies, drive a car, travel by tram… They are all aware that they can be sent to one of the labour camps. When Anne’s sister Margot receives the message she must go to one of the camps the family decides to hide. They move into ‘the annex’, a small house above the company of Anne’s father Otto. His employees risk their lives by taking care of them while they stay in until war is over.  After a couple weeks the Van Daan family joins them and so does Mr. Dussel. They must be quiet during the day and cannot go outside or open a window. For two years they live in fear and boredom. Anne keeps writing her diary because ‘Kitty’ is the only person who’s not judging her all the time. While the years pass by Anne starts to fall in love with Peter van Daan. She notices that her body and thoughts are changing and she even kisses for the first time on the attic with Peter. When she’s writing her diary for the last time the police discovers them and takes them away to the camps. Someone has betrayed them.

Wow. What a movie. I was reading The Diary of a Young Girl at the time and I recognized everything that Anne wrote down. It is so confronting. I really liked how Anne’s thoughts and the actual scenes blended so perfectly. The anger that she shows in her diary isn’t really shown in the movie, but her good moods and feelings perfectly rendered. Ellie Kendrick did an amazing job performing Anne Frank. She acted like I pictured Anne when I was reading her diary. I’d loved to see more about the special connection with her father and the hate she feels for her mother, but for such a short movie they’ve done an amazing job showing what Anne Frank’s life was like. The romantic scenes are so good that I almost forgot I was watching a total different kind of movie and every time the hiders are scared you can really feel their fear. I cried my eyes out when they were caught by the police. The worst part is that their names, the camp they went to and their date of death is shown when they leave the annex. Otto is the only one who survived the camps and that is something we must never forget. So many innocent people got killed, just because of their race. This movie has given a face to some of those people. And just when you started to know them, they were taken away.

I give this movie a 9,5 out of 10. I think they could’ve done a better job when the movie would be a little bit longer, but those 100 minutes are worth watching it if you’d like to know what Anne Frank’s life was like.

The Diary of Anne Frank

The 100-year-old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared


Unique
, intense and addictive are the first words that I think of when I’m discussing the Swedish Jonas Jonasson’s book: The 100-year-old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared. When I first heard the title of this book I knew I was gonna like this story. I read the 400 page book last week in like 4 days. Sometimes you can’t stop reading. This time I didn’t wanna stop reading because I was too excited about the next events.

What’s the book about? Well basically it’s about a 100-year-old badass who climbed out of his window and disappeared. The title covers it all! Allan Karlsson is tired of his dull life in a nursing home. On his birthday, right before his anniversary party starts, he decides to climb out of his window and disappear on his slippers. His body is old but mentally he feels young and he’s excited to go on any kind of trip with anyone he meets. On this trip he ‘finds’ a suitcase full of money, makes a bunch of new (criminal) friends and hides for the police because he’s accused of being a triple-murderer. I know this doesn’t sound super original, but it certainly is! Jonasson brings it all so cool and funny and I busted myself over and over again laughing while reading the book.

The book contains two story lines: young Allan and old Allan. Young Allan is adventurous. He has dinner with people like Staling and Churchill, gets drunk with Truman and saves one of Mao’s wives. Meanwhile he crosses the Himalaya, learns fluent Spanish, English and Chinese and finds out how to make a nuclear bomb. It’s ridiculous to think one could’ve done this all, but Allan is such an amazing character that you’ll believe it right away.

This book came out in 2009. A year later it was the best-sold book in Sweden. The story is translated into 30 languages and the film rights are sold!

I’d give this book a 9 out of 10. For me there’s no perfect book (except maybe Harry Potter…) but this novel comes freaking close! You must be crazy in order to have a fantasy like Jonasson.
And the best part? Well, besides that I almost got jealous of Allan’s amazing life, I started to think that I was reading a non-fiction book while actually reading the biggest nonsense ever!

PS: When you take the paper cover off the Dutch version you’ll have a very pink book 😀 !!

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Fifty Shades Too Much

I usually don’t like to do things just because everyone does it. But that rule doesn’t apply on books. When a book is exposed in every bookshop window it must be good and I must read it. When I first read about the Fifty Shades trilogy I didn’t think it was the kind of literature that you could find in the top 5 of best-selling books. I discovered I was wrong, so I bought the books.

From the moment this posh porn book came out, women all over the world had an excuse to read about sex all day long. Handsome and rich prick Christian falls in love with next-door girl Anastasia. He’s into SM. She’s a virgin. She becomes his sub and climaxes when he’s barely touched her. He falls in love with her and keeps having all kinds of dirty, rough and even ‘vanilla sex’ with her. There’s no real story. The only exciting part, besides the sex scenes, is the stalker issue. A book about a stalker could be very interesting, but E.L. James takes 3 books to tell you whom put the love birds in danger and why. All the other pages are filled with nonsense. Anastasia is obsessed and she does everything because she is in love with this control freak. I keep thinking that the only reason she’s in love is just because this more than handsome creature likes her. I mean, who wouldn’t. But real love? Nahhh! When the characters first meet, you already know they will get married and end up with a baby. Why? Well first of all because there is nothing unexpected to find in these novels. And second because the whole story is based on the way more exciting Twilight Saga.

The first book, Fifty Shades of Grey was kinda interesting. I’ve read books that crossed some invisible lines, but I never read about SM. It was exciting for maybe 7 chapters. The first book of the trilogy is simply boring, although I must say the beginning of the novel is all right, just like any other love story. It was entertaining, until the SM parts kicked in. Pages are filled with details about a contract. It is interesting to get to know more about SM and how the whole commitment works, but when you copy and paste whole paragraphs over and over again I’m suddenly not that interested in the whole Dom VS Sub thingy anymore. I didn’t skip any paragraphs in the first book, except for the endless crap about the contract. The first Fifty Shades was boring, but because it goes on and on about taboo topic SM (ok, let’s say taboo topic sex, since that’s already a big step for the Americans 😉 Just kidding!) I understand why people started reading it. I read it in a week. I was so curious what was gonna happen that I almost finished it in a day, until I found out there wasn’t gonna happen anything at all.

I bought the trilogy all in once so I told myself I had to read the other Fifty Shades too, to be able to criticize the books. So when I went for my international exchange to Barcelona I brought Fifty Shades Darker with me. Reading the second part of the trilogy took me like two months. The story seems to be more exciting in some way, since every now and then there are little peeks of real confrontations, but still the endless sex scenes screw it up even though I keep reminding myself that I shouldn’t forget that the book is about sex with a story line, not the other way around. Anyway, in the second book Ana and Christian are married, too soon of course. It is ridiculous. I didn’t like the whole marriage issue in Twilight and I like it even less now some Cullen-fan tried to copy Meyer her ideas. My mom started to skip the sex scenes in the first book already but I told her I saw it as a lack of respect to the author to skim chapters. I changed my opinion in Fifty Shades Darker. I didn’t skip entire paragraphs but I sure didn’t pay much attention going over the scenes that so many women apparently like. What I like about the second book is that you get to know more about Christian’s past and start to understand why he’s the way he is.

Fifty Shades Freed. Hurray, it was almost over. Although I could’ve put the books away, I really wanted to know what happens in the last book. It took me four months in order to find out. I just couldn’t finish it. Sex scenes I skipped and the only thing I could do was waiting for the ‘big surprise’ when Ana finds out she’s pregnant. After that the books actually becomes kinda fun to read. The events follow each other up quickly, which is new for a Fifty Shades book.
This last part of the trilogy is my favourite because of several reasons. First of all: It’s the last part :). Also because James doesn’t go over every detail anymore, she just describes the honeymoon and other events that have happened the last months. The other pro’s are that the couple get out of their house, which means a new environment, new people, some fights and less sex scenes. I think James realized she couldn’t go on and on about two people who only have an exciting life because of money and sex, so she decided to put all her talent in this last novel. When the epilogue starts I thought I was almost done reading this precious SM story. Couldn’t be more wrong. After the epilogue there’s the ‘Fifty Shades of Christian’, which is kinda interesting because it’s about his childhood. And after that there’s more Christian when you read the first chapter of book one again, only this time from his perspective. Fun fun fun. Well ended. Ana and Christian live happily ever after and James ends with “This is it for now”. For me this sounds more like a threat than a promise. I really hope she won’t continue writing stories like this. It could’ve been so cool, a record breaking book about SM. But James became greedy and decided to use a story that already existed, and spread it over 3 books. I understand the whole money making point of view, but I don’t think it’s fair to let us readers read three books of nonsense while you could’ve written one exciting book.

Long story but its about three books so I allowed myself to write a lot 😉

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Picture: Me by Matthijs Munter Photography