Our movie viewing has dropped drastically in the last year since we moved to a town without a theater. The nearest theater is 28 miles from our house; to get more than two options we have to travel to St. Joe, MO, which is about 50 miles. Not a big deal - we can make it a date night and eat out, or make a Wal-Mart or Home Depot run while we're at it - but still not as convenient as having a theater three blocks away like we did before. However, we've gone twice recently - and here's what we thought:
The Hunger Games - We have both read all three books and loved them, which actually made us a little concerned about the movie living up to the books. Although we would have to agree that the books are still better, this movie came as close as possible. Naturally there were some things that had to be left out or glossed over so that the movie didn't last 6 hours. The biggest of these being Katniss's relationship with Gale. Honestly, as it was done, there was no reason to even have Gale in the movie. They didn't capture the Gale/Katniss connection or the conflict she felt over having to pretend to love Peeta, knowing that Gale was watching on TV.
The flashback scenes were fine for those who already knew the story, but otherwise confusing (I confirmed this by asking several viewers who had not read the books). I also didn't care for the jumpy camera style. I know it's the new fad on TV and movies, but I find it annoying - but that's a personal thing.
Other than those small things, the movie was a success. The violence was as gore-less as possible while still conveying how savage the "game" was. The set design was gorgeous and the casting was excellent. Wish there had been more of Woody Harrelson, just because he was fun to watch, and because that part of the plot was largely untold.
We give it the old Siskel and Ebert Thumbs Up for both readers and non-readers.
Titanic: 3D - We didn't see this movie the first time around and selected it this time mostly for the novelty of 3D than for any attraction to the story. However, it being the 100th anniversary of the voyage of the Titanic, I'm glad we saw it. Amanda saw it with us and I'm sure it made a historic event much more real for her.
For me, at least, the love story took a back seat to the greater story of the ship itself, and the ways people react in a crisis - from the vanity and self-preservation of the "upper class" to the total generosity and selflessness of the band who continued to play and try to calm passengers as the ship sank.
As for the "new" technology of 3D movies - It looked a lot like something I saw in a ViewMaster in 1967. It was more of a distraction than an enhancement. Over all it was a thumbs up for the historical value, but so-so otherwise.