Yeah, let’s celebrate mediocrity! That’s fantastic.

Skates

This past weekend, my dreams of becoming a roller derby hotshot were laid to rest, as I travelled up to Derby with friends to try out skating.  Bearing in mind I can barely walk in flat shoes without falling on my arse, I somehow believed I would get to grips with skating, and would be swooshing round the rink gracefully in no time.

It didn’t quite work out like that.  I strapped on the above boots, which belong to the ever lovely Triterrortops from Coventry City Derby Dolls (also known as my good friend Nikki) and shuffled over to the edge of the rink which was swarming with speeding children and a couple of old ladies who were much better at skating than I could ever be.

Pathetically, I managed one length of the rink.  NOT EVEN A LAP.  Nikki told me where I was going wrong – looking at my feet was sending me off balance and making me want to topple forward.  Off the rink, I tried to skate whilst looking ahead, and I was relatively successful at that, but I became so self conscious that I couldn’t brave going back onto the rink.  I am sure no one cared that there was a dorky 32 year woman stumbling around but I became convinced that I would fall and everyone would turn and point and laugh.  This is despite the fact that people were falling all over the place without a care in the world.  My fear of being embarrassed is far greater than my fear of breaking my butt.

So my derby career is over before it started.  Shame really.  I’ll stop trying to come up with a creative derby name.

The weekend fun continued into the next day after spending the night at the Triterrortops/Wrecks Merriment household, where some of us went into Coventry for a fried breakfast followed by a showing of Catching Fire.  It was almost the opposite of the first time I saw it – an practically empty screen with a mostly silent crowd.  But my reaction was still the same – almost uncontrollable sobbing.  My BFF asked on the way home why I get so emotionally invested in films and I just don’t know.  I guess I’m just an emotional nutcase.  Needless to say, I loved the film as much on second viewing and CANNOT WAIT for the Blu-ray release.

Aim higher in case you fall short

Hunger Games

Last night, I saw Catching Fire, which was the third new film I’ve seen at the cinema this year (Mild Concern should be worried that I’m going to start stepping on his toes).  I bloody loved it.

I read all three of the books on holiday in Malta last year, getting so desperate when I finished the first one that I almost instantly dragged Husband into the nearest mall to buy the next two.  It was my first proper foray into the world of YA, a world that I’ve since immersed myself in.  The first film was a little disappointing which I think is the general consensus, but I have grown to love it.  But I don’t think it’s a surprise that I love the second one even more.

The costumes, the visual effects, the world – everything felt bigger and more mature.  The opening scenes over the woodland just looked epic, and the colours were beautiful.  District 12 looked haunting in the snow, and they made the Capitol feel intimidating instead of impressive (a very nice touch).

Jennifer Lawrence was flawless as Katniss, as was Josh Hutcherson although I did miss certain scenes from the book between the two of them that didn’t make it to the film; the reluctant friendship that built up on their tour and the unrequited love that Peeta had for Katniss (awww!).  I unconditionally love Peeta and knowing what’s coming up for him is almost too painful to think about.  Elizabeth Banks broke my heart, as did Lenny Kravtiz, and Woody Harrelson was wonderful.

I wasn’t initially sold on Sam Clafin as Finnick, a character who I enjoyed in Catching Fire and adored in Mockingjay, and I know the internet was quite mean about him, but I think he did a great job.  The utter desolation Finnick experiences in the Jabberjay scene was depicted so beautifully by Sam and he completely won me over.  Jena Malone was also equally brilliant (and had great hair) and I’m sad we didn’t get to see more of her.  Every time Johanna cursed the Capitol, I winced.

It was so great to see such a faithful adaptation to the book.  The addition of scenes between President Snow and Plutarch Heavensbee, despite not being in the book, were a welcome departure from the original story which expanded the world beyond Katniss’s point of view.  The film was quite long, but it didn’t feel it as the pacing was spot on, so I can understand why certain scenes didn’t make it to screen.  They could easily make two films out of Catching Fire (although conversely, I can’t see how they’re going to make Mockingjay into two films, but we’ll see).

As expected from me, I cried pretty much constantly, from the moment District 11 showed their support on the Victory Tour, to the very last shot of Katniss.  It was a mistake to wear eyeliner.  It was emotional, gripping, tense and incredibly satisfying.  Now, excuse me whilst I book my second viewing…