|Jennifer, Josh and Liam|
|Effie Trinket with lead, Katniss Everdeen|
Though still notably aimed at a teenage audience, these books are significantly better written than the Twilight saga, with more in depth characters and a more well-rounded and action-packed plot. Many of the kinks (the many, many kinks) in "Twilight"'s armour have been ironed out in these novels - though I am by no means arguing that Suzanne Collins thought for a minute about "Twilight" when she wrote them. The protagonist, Katniss, is actually likeable and sympathetic. She has personality, and does not merely feel like she is narrating the events as the author would. She has ups and downs, moments of joy and of sadness, instead of hurtling out moans and complaints at her reader. The two male leads courting her are the ONLY men doing so, unlike in Bella Swan's case where I believe her two male school friends, Mike and Eric, also tried to catch her attention when she first arrived in Forks. There is actual death and violence in this saga about a game show where "kill or be killed" is the mantra, in complete contrast to the vampire novels in which, despite 90% of its population being vampires or werewolves, both creatures designed for strength and the ability to destroy, and despite the age old rivalry between these two races and despite the high tensions between the Cullen clan and the vampire Vatican, not one main character dies in 4 books. Not one! Well, when reading or watching "The Hunger Games", prepare to lose those you love and thought you'd never lose! The individual events of this story are by no means predictable, though you can have a general guess at how it will end, but important questions - such as who will survive?, who will Katniss end up with? - Peeta? Gale? No one? - are not supplied with quick and easy answers.
The film is going to be a quadrilogy, which I believe will involve splitting the final novel in two - as was done with "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" and "Harry Potter Part 7". The first part is coming out 23 March and, judging from the trailer, looks to be one of this years must-see fantasy films:
I am about to reveal to you, the most exciting, inviting, inciting film news you'll hear for ages: It's official, they're making a sequel to "X-Men: First Class" and director Matthew Vaughn is back on board: http://blastr.com/2012/01/that-x-men-first-class-se.php?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
Another intriguing new project I have heard of is "Only Loves Left Alive", a film about two vampire lovers, starring Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska and directed by Jim Jarmusch.
More soon to be released is "A Dangerous Method", out on 10th May, the next in the Michael Fassbender series. This is the story of psychoanalysis, of the friendship of Karl Jung and Sigmund Freud and the tests they carry out on a sexually disturbed Russian girl, Sabina, who ends up driving a wedge between the two. I am very excited about this film, though it appears to be receiving only mediocre praise: 3 stars from Total Film. I love Fassbender, Viggo Mortenson and Keira Knightley and David Cronenberg (director) has made some interesting films. He directed "Crash", which won the Oscar for Best Film. I personally didn't enjoy "Crash", I found it very bleak and there aren't many characters you can really empathise with, but it does address important and interesting issues and he got some brilliant performances out of his cast. Cronenberg also made "A History of Violence", displaying some raw talent from Mortenson and, again, heavy and serious material. It seems to me it is worth watching his films to look at the issues he raises and the performances of his actors.