at the movies: killer kids and crazy nuns

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Movie 1. The Hunger Games

I haven’t read The Hunger Games (or Battle Royale, for that matter) but I knew the movie was based on books for young adults, so I didn’t expect a lot of depth when I saw the film. I had read about the story regarding teenagers forced to hunt each other down for sport.

Pros: I enjoyed some of the interplay between the kids trying to kill each other in the woods. It’s a weird combination of Lord of the Flies and “The Truman Show.”

Cons: To get to the games, you have to wade through an utterly preposterous and very long set up. I suspect that the characters and activities leading up to the games will play a bigger role in the later films, but it was a long slog. It felt like I was watching a film intent on carefully hitting each plot point, rather than an organic unfolding of a story. Events that were possibly moving and heartfelt in the book (I don’t know) came across as inevitable and by-the-numbers in the movie.

Movie 2. The Devils
Saw this 1971 Ken Russell film at a cult movie event at someone’s home. I barely remember seeing it in the 70s and that’s probably because I intentionally tried to forget this berserk tale of hysterical nuns and decadent and corrupt church and government. The story, based on a real 17th century event, focuses on a priest who does not believe in celibacy, and who gets in the way of political machinations and comes to an unfortunate end. This film had to have scenes removed in order to receive an “X” rating. The original uncut version has never been released.

Pros and Cons: The movie hits you with unrelenting and intense images and sounds until you’re beaten down by the hysteria. It’s a relief when it’s over. Memorable details — an exorcist who looks like a 70s rock star; the last scene when the priest’s wife walks away from the ruined village, the frame drained of color, the landscape dotted with poles topped with wagon wheels and a corpse on every wheel. I don’t ever want to see this again but I’d consider reading the book.

I’m ready for a light comedy. When does “Prometheus” open?

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