Movie Review – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2


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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Elden Henson, Wes Chatham, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Willow Shields, Sam Claflin, Elizabeth Banks, Mahershala Ali, Jena Malone, Jeffrey Wright, Paula Malcomson, Stanley Tucci, and more.

Directed by: Francis Lawrence Screenplay by: Peter Craig and Danny Strong Based on the Novel by: Suzanne Collins Cinematography by: Jo Willems Music by: James Newton Howard

Premise: With the 13 districts united, the rebels turn their focus to the capitol. Katniss struggles with what’s been done to Peeta and also what to do about Gale. Worse, President Snow decides to turn a large chunk of the capitol into a new Hunger Games. And Katniss learns President Coin might soon no longer have a use for her. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth give great performances as the odd love triangle spins, gets even more complex. and eventually comes to a resolution. Donald Sutherland and Julianne Moore were a lot of fun as the opposing presidents. Elden Henson and Wes Chatham added some nice depth to the story as Pollux and Castor.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: The special effects team does a superb job in the film. The scene where everyone is cut off and the black water comes, and then when we see the black water in action and chasing after them, was awesome. Loads of explosions and heavy gun fire. The close range explosions from the arrows looked great underground. The 50+ caliber guns and the devastation on the columns from the bullets looked very real. And wait till you see the special surprise the group is given by Snow’s team in the sewers. My only problem was that the marketing department gave away all the good traps in the previews! Boo! (Hubby was displeased!)

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: It really would be nice if films that have multiple parts or have sequels with years in between, the movie makers would deign to remember not everyone will have rewatched the previous films before seeing the new release and give a recap. Especially for side characters! While remembering the principal people was easy, there were several side characters who’ve been in several of the films who weren’t as memorable for whatever reason and therefore it was hard to realize who they were and what their backgrounds were to get the audience to care when bad things happen to them. Jena Malone’s character Johanna Mason was one of these. I adored her performance in Part 2, but I was hard pressed to remember anything about the character at all. And not remembering anything, makes it very hard to care. (This was a major suffering point for the film “Insurgent” earlier this year.)

Aside from not knowing who some of the people were, however, I very much enjoyed the direction they took with the film. Talking with my daughter, who read all the books, I know they changed a few points for the ending, but these were improvements to the plot rather than issues. They also continued to show that actions have consequences and will affect people emotionally as they had in the previous films.

The major theme this time played with duality and perceptions. Katniss comparing Peeta and Gale. Peeta comparing remembered and altered memories. Gale and the way he viewed enemies as things rather than people and how this comes back on him. It even applied to President Snow and Coin.

Another theme they had fun bandying about pertained to hubris and pride. Also how your enemy can be your friend and vice versa. And both themes tie in to the ending at the capitol, which was well played if a little transparent.

Only thing I wished we’d gotten a little more on was Snow’s reactions when he thought Katniss was dead and then found out she was alive. Totally unexpected reaction, but it spoke back to that duality theme I mentioned before. Heh heh.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: The cast and the stunt team did some great work in Part 2. The fight in the sewers was especially well done – lots of hand-to-hand combat goodness. Between the traps and several explosions during the film, people get thrown all over the place.

5) Costuming/Makeup – Thumbs Up: While the departments did a great job as usual, there was one thing missing. A section of this film happens at the capitol. Several meetings even occurred in Snow’s mansion. But for the most part all the outrageous clothes and makeup were nowhere to be seen there. In a scene with actual citizens running to and fro, there were still no true funky clothes and hairstyles. Tigris definitely had both, but she’s just one person, and an extreme case at that. Even Effie was toned down. Seeing these people in their wild getups and makeup was half the fun in the previous films! :P

Conclusion: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 was worth the wait though they would have benefited from a recap or releasing this one close to Part 1. Gritty and emotional and a fun ride.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Picture Kaleidoscope 11/25/15 – Puerto Rico Edition


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Check out my mirror site for phone pics of my vacation in Puerto Rico. (No more hard drive space here. *cry*) Sorry for the inconvenience!

If all goes well, I’m hoping to have a gallery up at the main website by the end of this weekend. Wish me luck!!!!

Anyway, enjoy!

Mind Sieve 11/23/15


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Still trying to catch up on everything now that I’m back from vacation, so this week’s post will be short. (I am dreading going to work! What has imploded while I’ve been gone? Eek!)

Here’s three quick videos from my vacation last week!

View of the wall of a large cistern in the River Camuy Caves.

A gurgling brook in El Yunque – protected rain forest in the middle of the island.

And my favorite! A panning shot of the beach at Luquillo. Look at that sky!

Hopefully I will be back to normal schedule and items by next week!

heh heh!


Virtual Tourist – Final Fantasy XIV 11/22/15


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This week I have pics from the Main Storyline as well as the cities of Limsa Limosa and Ul’dah!

Totally blocked on pics so here’s a link to the mirror site – Virtual Tourist: Final Fantasy XIV 11/22/15

Now that I am back from vacation, I will hopefully be able to get the site up soon!

Stay warm out there! (Going from 90’s and muggy to 50’s is hard!)

Mind Sieve 11/16/15


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Hope you’re having a great morning!

Fan Fun

Ice Age: Collision Course “Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe” – so cute! Scrat is baaaaacccck!

Warcraft Movie Trailer – they really are making an actual movie! Looks cool!

Finding Dori Official Trailer #1 – the fish are back!

Author Platform/Social Media

Facebook Retargeting Spend Increases: New Research by Suzanne Delzio at the Social Media Examiner. So that’s why I see replicated ads of places I’ve been to! DOH!

Writing Advice

NaNoWriMo Triage Center: Helping You Get To 50K by Angela Ackerman. She shares some neat ways to get out of the NaNoWriMo Funk! :)

The Truly Dramatic Plot—Shakespeare, Instagram, & Why Macbeth is STILL Awesome by Alex Limberg at Kristen Lamb’s Blog. Very catchy blog post title, no? :)

Last week was weird. Hoping this week is FUN! Here’s hoping it’s great for you as well. :)

Movie Review – The Peanuts Movie


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The Peanuts Movie

Starring: Bill Melendez, Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, Venus Schultheis, Trombone Shorty, Mariel Sheets, Rebecca Bloom, Anastasia Bredikhina, Alexander Garfin, A.J. Tecce, Noah Johnston, and more.

Directed by: Steve Martino Written by: Bryan Schulz, Craig Schulz, and Cornelius Uliano Based on the Comic Strip by: Charles M. Schulz Cinematography by: Renato Falcão Music by: Christophe Beck

Premise: Though bad luck and frustration have been his constant companion, Charlie Brown decides he wants to become a new, better boy when a cute red headed girl moves in across the street. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. And while most think he doesn’t stand a chance, with his trusty dog, Snoopy, and a few close friends, maybe Charlie Brown can make things change and make a good impression. (Rated G)


1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: If you look at the cast, most of them are young actors. The fabulous part about this is that the actors they chose sound very much like the voices in the old Peanut specials on TV. Everyone does a great job.

Loved Bill Melendez – he’s been doing Snoopy’s and Woodstock’s voices since 1966! Noah Schnapp was darling as Charlie Brown. Anastasia Bredihina was a perfect Peppermint Patty. Trombone Shorty took on the task of the Wahwah adult voices. (The film site has a link to a Wahwah machine. You can even share the wahwah for the words you type in. Too cute!) Lovely work by all!

2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: Blue Sky Studios are the same people who brought us Ice Age and Scrat! That being said, we get a new Ice Age short called Ice Age: Collision Course – “Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe” – they went all out on this one. lol. (I have a link to the short on Monday’s Mind Sieve 11/16 post  so come on back by – hint hint. :P)

The studio normally does great work, but I think they went all out for this one. Charles M. Schulz and all the TV specials have a certain style and feel. Not only did Blue Sky Studios take that on, but they also decided to do this film in 3D! And it was marvellous! Despite the textures and the 3D depth, they made sure to keep all the bits from the actual strips – thought bubbles, Woodstock’s flight trails, the facial expressions and eyes made with a drawn pencil lines, and more.

I also loved how in several places, they moved to thought bubbles and did the contents in the straight black and white line drawings of the 2D comic strip style. They really got inventive with this one. Awesome work.

3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: Peanuts is a comic strip with years upon years of content, dozens of TV specials, and more. And Blue Sky Studios managed to pick all the nuggets which bring out all the best of Peanuts and presented them in a way that would not only tickle fans of the comic strip and TV specials, but also make it easy for those who’ve never seen The Peanut’s world before to fall in love with it.

All the iconic stuff is there: the kite eating tree, the pitching mound, Lucy’s psychiatry stand, the football, the typewriter, even the Great Pumpkin is mentioned. But best of all – lots of the Red Baron! We even end up with a story inside the story, as Snoopy plays out some of Charlie Brown’s own troubles as the World War I Flying Ace and finds his own cute girl to fancy. Several elements were even shown as this being where they began. The way they threaded in the Red Baron was brilliant! They made him a force to fear in reality as well as in Snoopy’s imagination. Lovely!

The story itself is interesting and full of all those pains we suffered through while growing up. As ever, Peanuts is entertaining, amusing, and even thought provoking. A really nice job overall.

4) Music – Total Thumbs Up: The Linus and Lucy theme of old is brought back to help give us waves of nostalgia (plus it’s really a catchy theme!). They even brought in a clip from one of the specials – the caroling scene song – “Christmas Time is Here”. Several of these bits were from the original scores by Vince Guaraldi Trio. Christophe Beck kept his part of the score light and airy and it blended quite well with the original scores – he even gives his own twist to the Linus and Lucy theme. All the music worked very well together.

Conclusion: The Peanuts Movie encapsulates everything you have ever loved about Charles M. Schulz classic comic strips and the ton of TV specials. It will make for a wonderful nostalgic trip. For those not acquainted with the comic strips, however, this film will be a marvellous introduction to all the awesome characters and lively imagination which endeared this strip to people the world over. Tons of fun for the whole family.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Picture Kaleidoscope 11/11/15


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Sadly, it looks like I have definitely reached the maximum on pics space at so no more photos. :(

But you can see them over at – (I have a blogger mirror blog)

Since I have unlimited space at my domain, I will be biting the bullet and creating a blog at my site. (Hadn’t done it before since it overwrites your main site.) (I did find out how to do it on a subfolder level when helping someone else with their stuff, but it did take some doing. On the upside, now that there are themes in responsive formats, it will make all of my site easier for people to view on their phones! So it looks like it’s time…)

Just need to find the hours to make it all happen in one fell swoopp. lol.  So hopefully in a month or so. (Maybe less!)

Please bear with me and I apologize for any inconvenience!

I’ll still post here until then, and do links back to blogger, just no pictures. :(

Have an awesome day!

Mind Sieve 11/9/15


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Huh. Got a message when I logged in today about having reached my storage limit. I had always figured since most things were links, they did not count as using space, but I was mistaken.

May have to rethink how to do WordPress… Would be sad not to be able to do full posts anymore. :(

Fan Fun

Kung Fu Panda 3 Official Trailer #2 – should be fun!

Preacher Trailer – looks funky

London Has Fallen Official Trailer #1 – dang!

Alice Through the Looking Glass Official Trailer #1 – looks way cool!

Author Platform/Social Media

How to Use Hashtags on Instagram to Grow Your Reach by Julia McCoy at the Social Media Examiner. Some really good tips in this one! Nice!

Writing Advice

5 Tips for Finding Point-of-View Errors – Guest post by Marcy Kennedy at Jami Gold’s Blog. Some good tips!

So I followed Marcy over to her website and found – 10 Writing Mistakes that Kill Your First Chapter – to share. :)
Hoping for an awesome week for all! :)

Virtual Tourist – Final Fantasy XIV 11/8/15


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Since I’ve been playing FFXIV I figured I should point out a thing or two that makes it different from other MMO’s out there.

The first difference is one that’s a great boon to people playing with a loved one or friends who have less or more time to play than you. In FF XIV you can have your main class, as well other adventuring classes, gathering classes, and crafting classes all at the same time, but with all the xp for those other things NOT mixing with the main class your are using to play with your friends!

Let me explain… I took Lancer as my main class, hubby took Ranger. We play together and want to go up in levels together, so can’t play without one another. But now we also have several gathering classes and a couple of crafting classes on the same characters. Well, if he has free time or I have an hour when he’s busy with something else (work or other) we can login and gather and craft and not have that xp spill into the main class so we don’t skew our levels! (This has been an issue on other games where the pool was all one thing.) So we can play together, but also can do other stuff in the game alone.

Heck, they even let you save groups of equipment for these different classes so that with a click of a button all my Lancer armor and add-ons come off and are replaced by the level appropriate equipment I’ve saved for the other class!

Super neat concept!

New Gridania

Some of the pet handling class pets! The player’s armor is pretty cool looking as well!

Here’s another cool one!

This is a conversation with the botanist guild master. You do a quest for the class every 5 levels. As you can see I have different gear for gathering.

Airship as we leave New Gridania for Limsa Lominsa, the second of the three starting cities! Have a mission to deliver letters to some of the other leaders.

Isn’t the doc marvellous?

And yes, I am still so very cute!!!! :P

All their movies are so detailed. Love it!

Being waved off by the Adventurer’s guild leader as well as the two mysterious helpers. I’ll be seeing them all again I am sure. :)

Another flashback to things which have previously occurred. Ships from aliens who have plans for our world. Whether we want them to or not!

Cool ship though!

This man is a very angry person. Heh heh.

Invasion gone wrong due to…


Massive destruction.

Who’s bad? Who’s bad? You know it!

Have a great day!

Movie Review – SPECTRE


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Starring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Dave Bautista, Rory Kinnear, Alessandro Cremona, Jesper Christensen, and more.

Directed by: Sam Mendes Screenplay by: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Jez Butterworth Story by: John Logan, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade Based on Characters Created by: Ian Fleming

Premise: Though put on suspension, James continues to pursue an unofficial case left for him by M upon her death. The deeper he goes, the stranger the case gets, especially when he comes across documents relating to his dead foster family. All this on the cusp on the double O program being merged with MI5 and a huge push to get all countries to share information between intelligence agencies. Worse, all of it might be connected. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Daniel Craig once more reprises his role as James Bond 007. As always, he is quite smooth. Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw do great work as M, Moneypenny, and Q. It was lovely to see the last two get some play! Andrew Scott was nice and slimy as C. Christoph Waltz created quite a presence as Oberhauser. Léa Seydoux also did a great job as the unwilling Dr. Swann.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: Cool gadgets, explosions, planes, loads of fun treats from the special effects team. The prop plane scenes were very reminiscent of the Roger Moore period. The facility in the desert harkened back to the Sean Connery period as well. A lot of subliminal homage seemed to be going on. Very nice!

Super kudos on the whole “Day of the Dead” celebration in Mexico. The parade scene and the super cool floats were outstanding! The girls with the turning dresses almost appeared to be floating along. (Hiding Segways underneath perhaps?) :)

3) Story – Thumbs Up: The film starts with a sentence – “The dead are alive” and aptly starts on the “Day of the Dead”. The entire film uses this theme in a myriad of ways. It also ends up tying together all the previous Daniel Craig films as pieces of a greater whole, and a much larger threat to the world than any of them ever imagined.

But more than just Daniel’s films got represented. There were a ton of tiny moments or bits paying homage to many of the previous Bond films as well. The way the prop plane was used, the thug Hinx, who was very reminiscent of Jaws in Moonraker, and more.

While the mini mission starting the film was definitely awesome, a couple of things were odd. The main being why James hit the helicopter pilot when the man was unarmed and a plaza full of people lay below, especially since the pilot was the only one keeping it in the air. Later, yes, he needed to hit him, but when he had his hands full with another man at the beginning? It was odd.

The way Christoph Waltz is introduced in glances and bits was very well played. The entire scene in the meeting in Rome was fantastic and said so much about the man, without him actually doing a lot. Later, his character is diluted a little, his explanation for his involvement and interest in James pushed as the reason he’s done certain things, yet, not quite fitting with everything. His main scheme was evident, but the group’s ultimate goal? Not so much. Or at least what was presented didn’t seem enough? I could have missed something though.

Madeleine Swann was fun. Unexpected things for her and James in the film – the past once more affecting the future. What was funny is how much is given away during the beginning song! Almost a trailer in its own right. lol. (Heck the title song “Writing on the Wall” also seemed to be an in-joke as you’ll note on a wall towards the end!)

One more bit of fun – Moneypenny, Q, and the new M get a bit of action too! Nice to see them get involved. (And that Moneypenny is NOT waiting for James. heh heh.)

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of hand to hand combat, car chases, car crashes, airplanes, helicopters, and more! The stunt department was kept very busy. Shaky cam came into play during the foot chase in Mexico, but thankfully it didn’t last long and not really used again during the rest of the film. Yay!

Loved the fight scenes on the train! Talk about destruction and beat up stunts! This fight also has elements which will remind you of the Roger Moore James Bond films.

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: The film has bits all over the world, so a ton of different locals are used — Mexico, Italy, Austria, Morocco, England.

As I mentioned earlier, the “Day of the Dead” celebration in Mexico City was fabulous! The cinematography took full advantage of the parade as well as all the other locations. The giant scope of some of the scenery were perfect for grandiose sweeps to feed the eyes.

6) Costuming/Makeup – Total Thumbs Up: They totally had me on the “Day of the Dead” sequence – the costumes and masks were totally awesome. Jame’s costume is the one you see in the back on the movie poster, making several layered in-jokes since James is an assassin and therefore death, but also merges well with the name of the evil organization. :P Check out the cool dresses and the painted skeleton parts on the ladies, and the nice suits for the men. Loved that whole section!

Conclusion: “Spectre” is full of all the things we love about James Bond – lots of action, foreign  locals, cars, guns, and more. A nice ending to a long, unexpected story arc are things are brought together.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)


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