Category Archives: Music

The Hunger Games Name Drop

Totally expected.

Totally expected.

The Hunger Games is kinda a thing nowadays, if you haven’t noticed! As such, you expect it to make its rounds through pop culture. Like the string of awful parodies and the joke Ellen made at The Oscars.

But some references are more ridiculous and hilarious than others! For instance, the latest song from rapper Drake, “Draft Day”:

On some Hunger Games shit I would die for my district
Jennifer Lawrence you can really get it
I mean forreal, girl you know I had to do it for yah

You can listen to the whole song here. We’ll wait. *blocks ears because once is enough*

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WE CANNOT EVEN! REALLY?!

Though this is just more evidence showing how popular The Hunger Games and Jennifer Lawrence really are, it is pretty random in the middle of a fairly tough rap number (though Drake comes from a middle class background and once starred in DeGrassi, so no one’s really calling him hardcore.) It’s all bitches, fuck this and that, and n-bombs… and hey, Jennifer Lawrence!

Love at first rhyme

Naming your celebrity crush in the song IS pretty slick…

Aaaaaand when exactly do we hit the wall with The Hunger Games references? When do we say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”? Neverrrr! The song is bad, but this reference is so awesomely bad that it’s actually good!

For Drake’s next single, we’ve got some phat Hunger Games rhymes to suggest:

“I’m so fly I’d survive The Hunger Games arena,
Got more dough than Josh Hutcherson as Peeta”

“I’m a killah, I don’t fail
Droppin’ bombs, just call me Gale”

“Rappers be so obsessed with all the fame and riches,
Strutting around like they Snow’s Capitol bitches.”

*cough* Check my flow, y’all!

Forreal girl,
The Girl With The Pearl

About these ads

Mockingjay the Musical!

Ever see something simple and innocent that your mind melds into a ridiculous idea?

That’s what happened earlier this week when Them There Eyes wrote about Mockingjay screenwriter Danny Strong writing a screen adaptation of the musical Guys and Dolls, I saw “Mockingjay” and “musical” and wondered.. What would THAT be like?

Belt it, baby!

Belt it, baby!

ICYMI, there is a legit Hunger Games musical out there that played during Victory Tour (though sadly, it was never staged in front of an audience). It was of a serious storytelling nature, but let’s face facts: If we did a musical, it would not be serious. It would be a parody, ridiculous and borderline nonsensical.

In that spirit, we introduced the track list for MOCKINGJAY: THE MUSICAL!

“I Just Have These Feelings, OKAY?!” – Katniss Everdeen
Angsty and angry, Katniss is getting all of her feelings about recent events out in the open. And to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it!

“Down in District 13″ – President Coin and the District 13 Residents

In which President Coin lets that District 12 refugees know how things roll in District 13. Talks of the pox and Coin’s shout of “I AM THE LAW!” included.

“F*#% Sober” – Haymitch Abernathy
The chronicles of Haymitch trying anything and everything to not be sober once District 13 takes away his alcohol. Antics ensue!

“Propo Panache” – Group Ensemble
Both in District 13 and The Capitol, propos shoot back and forth across the airwaves. District 8! Katniss! Finnick’s big admission! Peeta under duress! Beetee’s hacking! It’s all here.

Previously, in part one...

Previously, in part one…

“This is the Bomb (Shelter)” – Primrose Everdeen
While staying safe from attacks above, Prim tells Katniss all about her love for the District 13 life and dreams of becoming a doctor. There’s a crazy cat breakdown, naturally!

“How Tight Are My Pants? (The Capitol Rescue)” – Gale Hawthorne, Boggs
Inspired by the only bit of filming we’ve seen so far, Gale and Boggs kick ass in the Capitol while singing a badass duet about how the right clothes make or break a rescue mission.

“Hijacked!” – Peeta Mellark
Seeing it for Katniss POV is shocking, but we’ve gonna let Peeta get everyone up to speed on his hijacking and explain his state of mind. Because he thinks he’s right, dammit!

“A Kick in The Nut” – Katniss Everdeen, Gale Hawthorne, Lyme

Taking down District 2′s defenses isn’t as easy as in seems! As the plan unfolds, these three characters sing about what its destruction means for Panem and for them personally. Who’s doubting what now?!

“Real or Not Real?” – Peeta Mellark and Star Squad 451

The Star Squad is in the Capitol and soon, Peeta is with them! Time to chronicle his slow climb back to sanity, complete with Katniss’ discomfort, guessing games, the “You’re a painter, you’re a baker” spell and general distrust all around!

“WELL THIS WAS UNEXPECTED.” – Star Squad 451 Ensemble

Pods, mutts, sewers, and faux fur panties are the focal point of this long, zany tune from the moment the first pod goes off all the way to Capitol Square. Because you can’t focus too hard on the crying moments in a parody.

“Arrows of Fury” – Katniss Everdeen, Gale Hawthorne, President Snow

It’s time to confront Gale, confront Snow, and REALLY confront Coin as Katniss tries to come to terms with Prim’s death and finally unleashes those feelings out on the world.

“(Prim)Roses” – Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark
This song starts during Katniss’ isolation in the Capitol, follows her into District 12, and finally hits its crescendo when she finally reunites with mostly cured Peeta. The two then recap their tale and decide that shit can’t possibly get any worse. Time to lead a semi-positive life, maybe?

This Is Why We’re Not Playwrights,

The Girl With The Pearl

Hunger Games Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Every holiday season, Victor’s Village searches the joys of the Internet to find new Hunger Games holiday favorites. We realize that it’s already the last night of Hanukkah, but there’s never a bad thing to window shop with us!

Every Hunger Games fan is different, but if you or someone you know gets as obsessed as we do, maybe something on this list will excite!

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE SOUNDTRACK

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Starting off a little simple, but the CATCHING FIRE soundtrack is a must-have! Like the first soundtrack, there are so many songs that connect specifically to the books to form a beautiful, emotional reference. What’s new this time around is the mixing of genres, so fans can hum along, air guitar, belt it out, and break it down all in the course of one album!

CATCHING FIRE ARENA WALL CLOCK by Artsy Allaire

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When it comes to Hunger Games fandom related decorations, we’ve always appreciated the more subtle nods like this clock with the Catching Fire Arena obstacles painted on the hour they go into effect! Available in black or white, it’s one way to test newcomers to your home on their Hunger Games knowledge!

MELLARK BAKERY APRON by Studio Vim

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Know someone who’s got skillz in the kitchen? Make ‘em an honorary member of the finest bakery in District 12 with a charming and super functional apron! Yup, the Mellark Bakery CAN be rep’d without a reference to Peeta’s buns. Who knew?!

KATNISS PRIMROSE CUFF BRACELET by Unique Art Pendants

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We tried to keep this list mostly gender neutral, but we like shiny things. Not to mention that this handpainted cuff bracelet, featuring the literal Katniss and Primrose plants, tells the story of an epic family bond without being too in-your-face. There are pretty of more obvious Hunger Games options out there, but the elegance of this one has got us hooked!

CERAMIC HUNGER GAMES HOPE TUMBLER by B. Atwood Creations

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The comfort of District 12 has a rustic feel to it and so does this HOPE tumblr created by ceramics artist Blaine Atwood. With a hot beverage inside and a good book by your side, this looks like the perfect companion on a cold wintry night.

THE KATNISS COWL by theLOVEstitch

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Katniss’ cowl wrap in District 12 has been making fans fall in love since Catching Fire was released. There are several versions on Etsy varying in style and price (not the mention knitting patterns!), but this one by theLOVEstitch appears to be one of the more accurate looking designs. The downside? This is the most expensive item in this post BY FAR. Be prepared to fork over the dough!

MOCKINGJAY DECAL

by SoCool Designs

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Decals are kind of a classic way to show off things you love, whether it be on your laptop, your car, or somewhere around the house. And at only a four inches, you can fit these Mockingjay ones along decals from your other favorite fandoms and rest assured they’re not going to consume your whole living/driving space.

HUNGER GAMES CHARM SET by The Tiny Kangaroo

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Were we sucked in by the cute factor? ABSOLUTELY. Charms are a totally flexible type of fun. They can be used for cell phone charms, necklaces, (really big) earrings, or kept as collectibles. We may be inclined to take them out and about to snap pictures with them in funny situations. Because that’s what grown ups do!

That’s our list. As you may know, this list is a precursor to our annual holiday contests! We see awesome Hunger Games prizes in your future! Will one of these awesome items make the list? Keep checking back to find out!

P.S. Looking for books or movies that interest a huge Hunger Games fan? Check out our recommendations page!

Win a Catching Fire Soundtrack and Poster Package!

Victor’s Village is offering one lucky fan the opportunity to win The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Soundtrack and a movie poster featuring YOUR name!

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As we’ve mentioned before, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Soundtrack is looking pretty amazing and we can’t wait to get our hands on it! Now you can get the best of the best with this Soundtrack and Poster bundle.

Winner will receive:

  • 1 CD
  • 1 Double Picture disc – includes images of Katniss, Peeta, Johanna and Finnick
  • 1 24”x36” movie poster

This bundle is the snazziest option out there, currently priced at $59.98!

To enter, comment on this post and tell us about your favorite artist on the soundtrack and why you love them by 9am PST on October 27th! All comments will be numbered and one lucky winner will be chosen via Random.org. The winner will be contacted via email.

Click here to pre-order the soundtrack in any of its available formats.

Best of Luck, Tributes!

hungergames_disc1hungergames_disc2

#TICKTOCK9: Catching Fire Gets Musical

#TICKTOCK9 happened!

Things are getting fiery!

Things are getting fiery!

We know that we love our music here at Victor’s Village, so when we saw that the soundtrack listing was FINALLY HERE, we were pretty psyched!

We thought we had an idea what the soundtrack would be like, having listened to Alexandra Patsavas’ other movie soundtracks, but this is totally different. It doesn’t have a very indie feel like the Twilight soundtracks or sappy inspirational like Grey’s Anatomy. It doesn’t have a theme, like Songs from District 12 did for The Hunger Games with its Appalachian influences.

Without further ado, zee soundtrack listing:

Tracklisting
1.   “Atlas” – Coldplay
2.   “Silhouettes” – Of Monsters and Men
3.   “Elastic Heart” – Sia (ft. The Weeknd & Diplo)
4.   “Lean” – The National
5.   “We Remain” – Christina Aguilera
6.   “Devil May Cry” – The Weeknd
7.   “Who We Are” – Imagine Dragons
8.   “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – Lorde
9.   “Gale Song” – The Lumineers
10.  “Mirror” – Ellie Goulding
11.  “Capital Letter” – Patti Smith
12.  “Shooting Arrows At The Sky” – Santigold
13.  “Place For Us” – Mikky Ekko
14.  “Lights” – Phantogram
15.  “Angel On Fire” – Antony & The Johnsons

We also got a 90-second preview of the Christina Aguilera song, “We Remain”. Listen in!

We have to admit, we’re not in love with this song as we are Coldplay’s “Atlas”. Christina has got PIPES! Some of the best in the industry. But her music and singing style sound very much the same in every song she’s done recently, and this seems to be no exception. Maybe hearing more of the song will eventually do it some justice?

We are very excited about some other bits, though! Of Monsters and Men! Sia! Imagine Dragons! The Lumineers! Lorde! PATTI FUCKING SMITH! All amazing artists, all of whom bring something totally different and original to the table.

There’s also a mix of artists we admittedly don’t know, like Phantogram, Antony & The Johnsons, and The Weeknd. We just barely know The National, Santigold, and Mikky Ekko (aka Rhianna’s barely-credited collaborator on “Stay”). But we’re ready and willing to get to know their music!

What’s most interesting here is the mix of genres, there’s pop, alternative, folk, and indie music. Experimental R&B and Hip-hop featured alongside the Godmother of Punk. The Catching Fire soundtrack is not going to let us settle down into one genre and enjoy. It’ll be a rollercoaster, but hopefully the music’s arrangement on the soundtrack will allow us all to enjoy its flow.

The Lumineers Named Their Track “Gale Song” and Our Hearts Are ALREADY BROKEN,
The Girl With The Pearl

Catching Fire Soundtrack Shenanigans

Alexandra Patsavas is a very talented, well-known music director, so we have faith that she’s going to make The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack awesome, but that doesn’t mean we’ll love everything on there.

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You have stiff competition from the first soundtrack!

While Coldplay seemed like a smart choice to get the soundtrack awards recognition and please a wide range of audiences, two recent revelations regarding the soundtrack have got us pretty freaked out.

First, Ed Sheeran submitted THREE songs for the Catching Fire soundtrack, all of which were rejected. While some of you may know him only as that guy touring with Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran is a soulful singer-songwriter whose music brings the feels. There’s something so genuine and raw in his music that we think he’d be a great addition to the Catching Fire soundtrack. Given that Sheeran has pitched to Catching Fire and the Twilight series soundtracks, all of which was manned by Alexandra Patsavas, it seems she disagrees. Maybe none of the songs were up to par, maybe they were. Still, we could see his songs representing so many moments and emotions in the series and the news is disappointing, especially considering that…

Ellie Goulding let it slip that she may be featured on the Catching Fire soundtrack, though it hasn’t been confirmed:

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HUH? We’re not hating on Ellie or her music, but given her typical sound and general reliance on a techno beat, we cannot picture her on the soundtrack. Unless she’s representing the Capitol. And let’s just get this out of the way now– If the soundtrack is Capitol themed, we are going to puke… and not buy the soundtrack.

Maybe she’ll pull what T. Swift did in her turn on The Hunger Games soundtrack and bust out something totally different from her usual sound. Or perhaps her song will play the same role that Kid Cudi’s “The Ruler and The Killer” did: The out of place song that everyone kinda hates at first, but then learns to love. We’ll bite our nails and worry until we know for sure.

Alexandra, you’re a professional. We trust you. I mean, people who hate Twilight still love the Twilight soundtracks (admittedly, I’m partial to New Moon’s soundtrack). Just don’t let the hype get you. Allow us to get Mother Hen on and ask you this: Just MAKE GOOD CHOICES, okay?

We Worry As If These Songs Are Actually In The Movie,
The Girl With The Pearl

Carry Your Woooooorllllld!

Sometimes you ask for guest posts, sometimes they fall into your lap as a gift from devoted readers! The following falls in the latter category, brought to us by the ever enthusiastic mse! Enjoy!
_______________

Still prettier than my own handwriting

Still prettier than my own handwriting

I’m a huge Coldplay geek in addition to being an enthusiastic Tribute, and I know I’m not alone. I’m not gonna use words like ‘OMG I’m the biggest fan of the band ever’ because yeah, I don’t even have an authentic lyric sheet handwritten by Chris Martin and we all know that that’s the only sign of a true fan – well that and the ability to rotate air. Alas as it turns out you can become one now by entering this contest here, so good luck! Tell me when you learned how to ventilate so I can give you a call on a warmer than usual autumn day.

Back to our topic, as you can guess I was obviously very excited when I learned that Coldplay is going to contribute to the Catching Fire soundtrack, and was eagerly anticipating the release of the song. By that time we already had the lyrics Chris shared via Twitter and we all brushed up on our Greek mythology and knew that the title ‘Atlas’ referred to the Titan who was sentenced to literally carry the world on his shoulders. But we still needed the song itself to truly appreciate the power of that metaphor , and as it turns out, we also needed a beautifully designed lyrics video to get fully obsessed.

I know that saying that this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is a gross overreaction but guys, THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING THAT I’VE SEEN. EVER.

Okay, so let’s first talk about the song itself. Now, this is probably going to be a subjective opinion, but I totally had a flashback of the Coldplay’s first album, Parachutes while listening to it. For those of you who are not as obsessed with the band as the rest of us, here’s some recap:

Coldplay had 5 big studio albums out in the last 13 years, and while they all had a very Coldplay-ish sound, they also had their distinguished characteristics that made the songs on a specific album stand out and separate them from the music on any of the others.

For example A Rush Of Blood To The Head had this very clean, sleek sound with lots of piano. That album probably also has the most memorable melodies, because the songs were just simply great – the intro to Clocks is possibly the most recognizable Coldplay melody ever, even though it really is nothing special from a musical stand point (although it might make your hands pretty sore by the end if you attempt to actually play it on your piano at home, especially if you have such a horrible wrist movement like me). On the other hand, Viva la Vida or Death and All Of His Friends was this epic journey that I personally like to refer to as the “Coldplay opera” . There’s a very complex sonority to it, the songs don’t always follow a typical structure, and this is that one album that you feel like you just have to listen to from beginning to end.

Atlas however… Atlas feels like modern day Coldplay Parachutes song to me. There’s a bit of back to basic feel to it, yes, but that’s not just it. Parachutes was a very early album for the band, they didn’t use a whole lot of fancy electronic stuff back then, but there was also some naivety and some interesting dissonant melodies which you might notice in Atlas as well. Basically: Parachutes is the angsty teenager of Coldplay albums. Or at least as angsty and teenagery as Coldplay can get.

Seriously, even the art work looks like a frickin atlas

Seriously, even the art work looks like a frickin atlas!

Now, I’m not saying that Atlas is a definite addition to that album, and there’s a lot of maturity and a more modern sound in this song. Actually I’d say that it’s more like a blend between Parachutes and Viva la Vida, which also had a revolutionary theme beside all the things I mentioned before. And now that I think about it, it might actually be more of a Viva la Vida song after all. But the dissonance in that piano melody gives it a sense of unrest, there’s a clear underlying anxiety – until the chorus resolves it all by promising that it’ll ‘carry your world’ and also ‘all your hurt’.

I also think that this structure, the way the song makes a translation from angsty to something more hopeful and uplifting, makes Atlas a perfect first credits song. I’m mentioning this not just because the choice of a first credits song is important in the sense that it contributes to the whole impression a movie has left on you – but because in addition to being a Coldplay geek and a Hunger Games fan I’m also someone who’s very interested in movie awards and Oscars and all that jazz.

Of course you might ask now, what does this all has to do with the Oscars? Here’s the thing: some of the most prestigious film award ceremonies have a category called “Original Song” to them, however the definition of what can be considered part of that is kind of fuzzy. The Globes are more flexible with all this as you can expect, however the Oscars have this crazy rule that only songs that were playing during the movie or as a first credit song can contend. RUDE! That means if I put 51 songs at the end of my movie only one of those will be considered. Pfft! (This is also the reason why Safe & Sound was never going to get an Original Song nomination at the Oscars, in case you didn’t know.)

So yep, Atlas being the first credits song and the song of a universally well-liked popular band and this being their first ever contribution to a movie’s soundtrack increases the chances for an Academy Award shout out about 500%.

“But… why do we always have to bring up the Oscars?” I’m sorry, but this is what happens when your lead actor is an effing double Oscar nominee and a fresh Best Actress winner. People are probably gonna talk about the movie’s Oscar chances in costumes and hair and make-up and visuals and music and all that as we approach award season, so get used to it. And wouldn’t it be just plain cool to read the words “Nominated for X Oscars” on Catching Fire’s IMDb page? Don’t lie to me, you wanna see that just as much as I do.

I gasped.

I gasped.

Before I’d finish this up, we need to talk about that lyrics video though. Because that is just abso-freaking-lutely STUNNING. That’s not just a lyrics video guys, that qualifies as an actual music video if you ask me, and those animations… Wow. It’s simple but effective, and the whole constellation concept is really clever, because obviously there’s no cooler archery symbol than the Sagittarius itself, but it also gives off a sort of mythologic vibe which is obviously a reference to the lyrics themselves and the inspiration behind them.

I also spent a lot of time thinking about the meaning behind the 7 lines that start off and finish the video, and I’m kind of convinced that it refers to the 7 members of Peeta and Katniss’ alliance: Finnick, Mags, Beetee, Wiress, Johanna and Katniss and Peeta themselves. Of course that doesn’t include people like Woof or even the morphlings who were obviously supposed to have been part of that alliance but I stand by my theory.

Now excuse me, but I gotta get back to listening to this song for the 1002th time,
E(m)e(s)e

Tick Tock, Another Countdown Is On the Clock

Catching Fire has been trending on the World Wide Twitter trends board off and on all day, and it’s all due to a few things that happened today. If you’ve been at work all day, Smartphone in a drawer, or no access to the Internet at all, The Hunger Games Explorer broke loose like an Easter egg, releasing a whole bunch of goodies on us.

1st we got the news, with links, to the first single off The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, yep– the already much teased to “Atlas” by the British band Coldplay. There’s even a handy-dandy contest for the lyrics sheet that the head songwriter, and band leader of Coldplay hand wrote, in the mix. So, if you’re a sucker for Coldplay, or contemporary music memorabilia, I suggest you follow the rules, and try your best to get that piece of paper. You probably know the deal by now, but participating involves having a Twitter account, and the copious use of the hashtag #TickTock12. And now I must share the unfortunate place my brain goes when ever I hear the phrase, or read the phrase, “tick tock…” Click now, or forever hold your peace. You’re about to lose your minds.

2nd, up we had the preemptive news, or better yet, information, that those of us who are the thinking-ahead types, will have the option to pre-order their tickets to finally see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Yeah, it’s not exactly a chocolate covered treat, but sometimes practicality has it’s place, especially if you’re one of the people who will be

Peeta, where ya' been all my life!? Inside Suzanne Collins' head!

Peeta, where ya’ been all my life!? Inside Suzanne Collins’ head! Damn.

traveling a far distance to see the film. I say that because I know of several parties who are traveling super super far to see the film with friends, and I mean crossing oceans kind of far. Any who, October the 1st, tickets will be available for pre-order. Have your credit and debit cards at the ready you saucy minxes.

Third, yep… there was a third. It’s like Chanukkah, I know! Where are my peanuts, and my set of crappy pens? Finally some stills of all of the principle cast, and most of the supporting cast as well. They include the likes of Beetee (Jeffrey Wright, who you can catch on Boardwalk Empire within the next few weeks), Enobaria, a knife wielding Gloss, his cunning looking sister Cashmere also wielding a knife, a hard faced Brutus, and in contrast a brightly smiling Mags, and of course– a snarky faced Finnick, dimples dimpling. All the usual suspects were included in the run down, yep even a purple belted Plutarch. But, alas again no Woof– but do you really think Woof would make the cut? His name is Woof? Whatever, we got twenty stills to fawn over like idiots!

Stay frosty, there are eleven other eggs to be cracked open! Bring on #TickTock11.

Them There Eyes

Playing it Cold

The musical stylings of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire are almost upon us! Well, one song, at least!

On August 26, the first song on the soundtrack will be released: “Atlas” by Coldplay.

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Check em out!

Our first thought was “Hmmm… Coldplay.” That’s usually how we think of the band. We find their songs agreeable, don’t change their station when they come on, and we might even sing along a bit. We don’t know of they’re quite the musical revolutionaries that they’re sometimes heralded to be, but they’ve got a unique take on pop.

The lyrics for the song were tweeted out the lyrics to the song shortly after the announcement. Lyrics in mind, “Atlas” is referring to the disgraced Titan from Greek mythology who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, used in comparison to the emotional weight Katniss carries after realizing that she’s become a symbol of the rebellion. The lyrics are pretty simple, but poignant. We’re seeing it as a supporting character offering Katniss not only a political but emotional alliance.

What does this say for the soundtrack? T. Bone Burnett created Songs From District 12 for the first film with a very Appalachian feel that thrilled fansites. But Toto, we are NOT in District 12 anymore! Alexandra Patsavas seems to go for more of an electric, overall feel for her movie soundtracks other than a specific theme. We may scratch the surface of District 12, but if we’re starting off with a band that has a sound that can’t quite be pinned down, we imagine this soundtrack will take us allllll around Panem!

“Safe and Sound”, the first single off The Hunger Games soundtrack, was the first time in a while that we weren’t disappointed in Taylor Swift (and we’ve pretty much been ever since), so we’re curious to see how “Atlas” compares.

Can We Call Coldplay Fans Cold Playas? Please?
The Girl With The Pearl

The Great Adaptation

the-great-gatsby-bookSometimes it takes 88 years for something great to finally come out of something equally as great. Broad words, I know– but here I am continuing my series on book to film adaptations, and I’m coming back with a biggie. The Great Gatsby was published 88 years ago, April 10th, 1925. To date there have been six film adaptations made from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, and as of now I’ve seen three of them; Jack Clayton’s from 1974, Robert Markowitz’s from 2000, and now Baz Lurhman’s from this year.

I read The Great Gatsby for the first time when I was 13 years-old, it was an assigned book my 8th grade year, and I’d never heard of it before I was handed a copy one innocuous day back in the ’90s. We had a whole unit centered around that novel, or perhaps I did a self appointed unit centered around it, because after reading it I did biographical project on Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda Sayre, the inspiration behind the female lead in Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan. So, I think I can say with authority that I immersed my self in that world pretty much in a drenching all consuming fashion, meaning when I see film adaptations of the world that Fitzgerald interpreted, and created– I take it damn seriously. Sadly with each adaptation I’ve seen up until now, there have been screaming missteps. To me without any qualms, I have this to say about Clayton’s 1974 version, and Markowitz’s 2000 version, they were boring ass boring films, which as a Fitzgerald fan, and a film fan, disappointed me, and pissed me off. What I’ve been craving, yearning for for over almost 20 years where it comes to an audio visual interpretation of this novel for me, has finally came true. I’m going to say it loud, and proud right now– Baz Lurhman’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby is the only adaptation in my eyes, in my heart, in my book loving, film obsessed head– who has finally got Fitzgerald’s story onto film with the right mix of reverence, respect, artistic flair, daring, and theatricality.

See, what’s always been missing for me from the other Gatsby versions, was a vision of the story that wasn’t afraid of taking chances, or going a little crazy, and quite possibly, or frankly, but in a wholly respectful manner, forgetting that they were adapting one of the greatest novels every written– into a film. Markowitz’s and Clayton’s versions like I said

Leo hasn't looked this good since 2006

Leo hasn’t looked this good since 2006

were boring, and to be even more blunt, felt like I was watching someone’s sepia toned memories being put through the filter of a tortoise. They were both afraid of taking this violent, romantic, colorful, and rich story, and making it violet, colorful, and rich. Sure, they got the romance down, that’s why they used muted tones, or seemingly filtered every scene that Daisy was in with a sheen of mist, or whatever, but it didn’t work for me, it didn’t grab me, didn’t shake me, didn’t move me to feel anything except a lack of interest, and a painful need to imagine I had to go to the bathroom so I could leave the room for a few minutes. Lurhman’s style doesn’t allow you to think about your bladder! Lurhman’s style grabs you by the eye balls, the ears, and the heart stings by using color schemes, and musical scores that are modern and classic all at the same time. He uses film stock, and shooting techniques that don’t allow you to get bored, because he changes angles, and speed, and filters, and elements like water, water’s a favorite of his, and jars you, and pleases you to the point where you’re immersed, just like if you were sucked into a novel for the 1st time, rather than watching a history being told at a plotted, and measurable pace.

Maybe I should have stated this before hand, but I’m an old school Baz Lurhman fan going all the way back to 1992 when he released his first feature film, Strictly Ballroom. Also, I snuck out of a life drawing course I was taking in 1996 to go see his Romeo & Juliet, yep– said I had a doctors appointment, which I did, the doctor just happened to be William Shakespeare, who had an 8th grade education and a fire in his britches. Lurhman has a style, it’s loud, it’s brash, it’s dramatic, and it’s theatrical, and it’s an acquired taste

Open amateur ballroom dancer, Scott Hastings, and his upstart partner Fran -- just Fran.

Open amateur ballroom dancer, Scott Hastings, and his upstart partner, Fran — just Fran.

unfortunately. For me Lurhman’s films are like watching where directors like Busby Berkeley and Vincente Minnelli left off, in fact I’ll make the educated guess right now, that those two men greatly influenced Lurhman’s own style. I have a point in bringing this all up, Lurhman’s style isn’t a style that your typical literary type is going to appreciate, because literature for so many people is quiet, is peaceful, is private. But Lurhman came from a theatrical background, or better yet an opera background, where quiet, peaceful, and private doesn’t go over that well, because you have to get the person in the back of the room to believe they’re getting their money’s worth, along with the people with the box seats right above the stage. So, when I see people ragging on Lurhman’s Gatsby by saying “it would have been better if he’d read the book.” I sit back and go, “oh, honey– he’s a theatre geek, he probably has the book memorized, and does each character with a different voice at the dinner table.”

It also helps that Leo looks really good in a three-piece suit. Who wants to come over and watch Scott and Fran on VHS!?

Them There Eyes

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