Monthly Archives: April 2013

“My bond is with the people, and I will serve this great nation at the pleasure of myself. If there’s one thing I’ve proven it’s that you can count on me to pleasure myself.”

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At what he believes is his final birthday, Stark gets drunk while using the Iron Man armor, forcing his friend, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes, to intervene. Rhodes puts on Stark’s Mark II armor and battles Stark. The battle ends when the two fire repulsor beams at each other, creating a large explosion. After fighting Stark, Rhodes delivers the armor to the U.S. military. Nick Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s director, approaches Stark and reveals Rushman as agent Natasha Romanoff and that Howard Stark was a S.H.I.E.L.D. founder when Fury knew him personally. Fury gives him some of his father’s old material; a hidden message in the diorama of the 1974 Stark Expo proves to be a diagram of the structure of a new element. With the aid of his computer J.A.R.V.I.S., Stark synthesizes it. Vanko soon reveals to Stark that he is still alive and seeking revenge so Stark used the untested element instead of the palladium.

At the Expo, Hammer reveals Vanko’s armored drones, led by Rhodes in a heavily weaponized version of the Mark II armor. Stark arrives in his new suit to warn Rhodes, but Vanko seizes control of both of the drones and Rhodes’ armor and attacks Iron Man. Hammer is arrested while Romanoff and Stark’s bodyguard attempt to capture Vanko. He escapes, but Romanoff returns control of the Mark II armor to Rhodes.

As soon as Stark and Rhodes defeat the drones they confront Vanko himself, who is now in a new and powerful suit of armor. Neither can defeat Vanko on their own, but Vanko is ultimately defeated when they fire repulsor rays at each other. With his suit too damaged to continue the fight, Vanko activates his suit’s self-destruction mechanism. Stark saves Pepper from the exploding drones’ remains, who then quits as CEO.

At an interview, while news footage of a rampaging Hulk plays, Fury informs Stark that while Iron Man is a suitable candidate for the “Avengers initiative”, he himself is not. Stark agrees to serve as a consultant if Senator Stern acts as a presenter at a ceremony planned for awarding Stark and Rhodes with medals for bravery, which Stern hesitantly does. Later, Agent Coulson from S.H.I.E.L.D. reports the discovery of a large hammer at the bottom of a crater in a desert in New Mexico.

File:IronMan2 Suits VisualEffects.jpgJanek Sirrs was the film’s visual effects supervisor, and Industrial Light & Magic once again did the majority of the effects, as it had done on the previous film. ILM’s visual effects supervisor on the film, Ben Snow, said their work on the film was more difficult than their work on the first film because director Jon Favreau asked more of them this time around. ILM created 527 shots for the film using multiple different programs. They also created gadgets, such as Tony Stark’s transparent LG smartphone, the backdrops for the Stark Expo, and the computer screen interfaces on the touch-screen coffee table and the holographic lab environment. Altogether, 11 visual effects studios worked on the film.

“I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one. To turn over the Iron Man suit would be to turn over myself.”

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In Russia, the news media covers Tony Stark’s broadcast of his identity as Iron Man. Ivan Vanko, whose father Anton Vanko has just died, sees the broadcast and begins to build an arc reactor similar to Stark’s.

Six months later, Stark had used his armor to help maintain world peace. He re-institutes the Stark Expo in Flushing Meadows to continue his father’s legacy. Senator Stern demands that Stark turn over the Iron Man technology to the government, but Stark refuses, claiming that foreign nations and business competitors are years away from recreating his work and that it is his property.

The palladium core in the arc reactor that keeps Stark alive and powers the armor is slowing beginning to poison him, and he has failed to find a substitute. Growing increasingly reckless due to his impending death, and choosing not to tell anyone about his condition, Stark appoints his personal assistant Pepper Potts CEO of Stark Industries, and hires Stark employee Natalie Rushman as his new p.a.

While Stark is racing at the Circuit de Monaco, he is attacked by Vanko, who uses his arc reactor to power whip-like energy weapons. Stark defeats Vanko with the help of his portable briefcase armor, and learns that Vanko is the son of his father’s old partner, Anton Vanko, who had helped Howard Stark with the first arc reactor. Anton was deported to his native Soviet Union following attempts to profit from the technology and died in poverty, which explains Vanko’s desire for revenge on the Stark family. Rival defense contractor Justin Hammer fakes Vanko’s death and recruits him to help design a line of armored suits to upstage Stark. Hammer wishes to not only defeat his rival in military contracts, he also wishes  to absolutely destroy his legacy.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Iron Man 2 grossed $128 million in its opening weekend in the United States, the fifth highest opening weekend ever at the time, behind The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3, The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. The film also had the highest opening for a 2010 film. It grossed $51 million on opening day, making it the eleventh highest opening day on record. Iron Man 2 closed in theaters on August 19, 2010 which an estimated gross of $623 million worldwide. It was the third highest grossing film of 2010 in the United States and Canada behind Toy Story 3 and Alice in Wonderland. It was also the seventh highest grossing film internationally behind Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, Inception, Shrek Forever After, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.

“‘Iron Man’. That’s kind of catchy. It’s got a nice ring to it.”

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Tony Stark, who has just inherited the defense contractor Stark Industries from his father, is in Afghanistan with his friend Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes to demonstrate the new “Jericho” missile during the war. In an ambush Stark is critically wounded and imprisoned in a cave by a terrorist group called the Ten Rings. An electromagnet is put into Stark’s chest by his fellow captive, Yinsen, which keeps the shrapnel that wounded him from reaching his heart and killing him. Ten Rings leader Raza offers Stark freedom if he builds a Jericho missile for the group, but Tony and Yinsen agree that he will not keep his word.

Stark and Yinsen begin to secretly build a powerful electric generator called an arc reactor which will power Stark’s electromagnet. They also begin to build a suit of armor which is later named “Mark 1” to escape. The Ten Rings attack the workshop when they discover that Stark is trying to escape. Yinsen sacrifices himself to divert them while Stark’s suit powers up. The armored Stark battles his way out of the cave to find the dying Yinsen. An enraged Stark burns the Ten Rings weapons and flies away, only to crash in the desert, destroying the suit. After being rescued by Rhodes, Stark returns home and announces that his company will no longer be manufacturing weapons. Obadiah Stane, his father’s old partner and the company’s manager, advises Stark that his decision may ruin Stark Industries and his father’s legacy. Stane asks to see what Stark has been working on in his home workshop. In his home workshop, Stark builds an improved version of his suit along with a more powerful arc reactor for his chest.

Later at a charity event held by Stark Industries, reporter Christine Everhart informs Stark that his company’s weapons including the Jericho, were recently delivered to the Ten Rings and are being used to attack Yinsen’s home village, Gulmira. Stark also learns that Stane is trying to replace him as head of the company. Enraged, Stark puts on his new armor and flies to Afghanistan, where he saves Yinsen’s village and delivers a devastating blow to the Ten Rings. On his way home, Stark is shot at by two F-22 Raptor fighter jets. He phones Rhodes and reveals his secret identity in an effort to end the attack. Meanwhile, the Ten Rings gather the pieces of Stark’s prototype suit and meet with Stane, who holds back Raza with a sonic device and has the rest of the group killed. Stane has a new suit that was reverse engineered from the wreckage. Seeking to find any other weapons delivered to the Ten Rings, Stark sends assistant Virginia “Pepper” Potts to hack into the company computer system from Stane’s office. She discovers Stane has been supplying the terrorists and hired the Ten Rings to kill Stark. Pepper meets with Agent Phil Coulson of the “Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division”, a counter-terrorism agency, to inform him of Stane’s activities.

Stane’s scientists are not able to replicate Stark’s arc reactor so Stane ambushes Stark at home. He uses his sonic device to paralyze him and takes his arc reactor. Stark is left to die but manages to crawl to his lab and plug in his orignal reactor. Pepper and several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents attempt to arrest Stane, but he puts on his suit and attacks them. Stark fights Stane, but is overpowered without his new reactor to run his suit at full capacity. Stark lures Stane to the top of the Stark Industries building and tells Pepper to overload the large arc reactor. This unleashes a massive electrical surge that knocks Stane unconscious, causing him and his armor to fall into the reactor, killing him.

The next day the press has nicknamed the armored hero “Iron Man”. Agent Coulson gives Stark a cover story to explain the events of the previous night and Stane’s death. At a press conference Stark begins giving the cover story, but then announces that he is Iron Man which prompts the reporters to swarm the stage and ask more questions. Later, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury visits Stark at home and tells him that Iron Man is not the only superhero in the world and says he wants to discuss the “Avengers Initiative”.

In its opening weekend, Iron Man grossed $98,618,668 in 4,105 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #1 at the box office. This gave it the eleventh biggest-opening weekend, ninth widest release in terms of theaters, and the third highest-grossing opening weekend of 2008 behind Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Dark Knight. It grossed $35.2 million on its first day which gave it the thirteenth biggest-opening day. Iron Man had the second best premiere for a non-sequel behind Spider-Man. It had the fourth biggest-opening for a superhero film. It was also the #1 film in the U.S. and Canada in its second weekend, grossing $51.1 million. On June 18, 2008, Iron Man became that year’s first film to pass the $300 million mark for the domestic box office. As of July 2009 Iron Man has grossed $585,174,222 worldwide.

“I just keep wishing I could think of a way to show them that they don’t own me. If I’m gonna die, I wanna still be me.”

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Haymitch convinces Seneca Crane, the Gamemaker, to make a rule change. It is soon announced that tributes from the same district can win as a pair. Katniss begins to search for Peeta and finds him with a badly infected leg wound. An announcer states that their will be a feast where the thing each survivor needs most will be provided. Peeta begs Katniss to not risk her life for his medicine. She promises not to go, but after he falls asleep she heads to the feast. Clove, the girl from District 2, ambushes her and pins her down. When Clove begins gloating about killing Rue she is killed by the boy from District 11. Thresh spares Katniss for Rue’s sake. Katniss runs back to Peeta and gives him the medicine, restoring his health.

Awhile later they find Foxface, the girl from District 5, dead from eating Nightlock berries that she stole from Peeta. Without warning Crane darkens the arena and unleashes a pack of hound-like creatures to heighten the final battle. Within a short amount of time Thresh is killed. Katniss and Peeta flee to the top of the Cornucopia, where they are attacked by Cato. Katniss shoots Cato in the hand and Peeta throws him over the side to the creatures below. Katniss shoots him to spare him a prolonged death.

With all the other tributes dead, Katniss and Peeta are victorious, but the rule change is suddenly cancelled. Peeta tells Katniss to shoot him. Instead she gives him half of the Nightlock. They decide they would rather both die than have to kill one another. Before they can commit suicide, the couple is quickly proclaimed the victors of the 74th Hunger games. Haymitch warns Katniss that she has made powerful enemies with her display of defiance during the Games. President Snow has Crane locked up in a room with a bowl of Nightlock. At the same time, President Snow is viewing the victor’s triumphant return home on a monitor and pondering the situation.

I’ve noticed ever since I read this book that many people are actually questioning whether or not our society is turning into the society that is seen in The Hunger Games.  Is our society really heading in that direction?  What would Americans do if our government made every child 18 and younger put their name in a jar to be selected to fight to the death?  If it were me I would be terrified.  Just the thought of me having to watch innocent children fight in the games would be awful.  If my name got chosen I’m not sure how I would react. In today’s society you hear of more and more violence. Last summer a man went into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado during The Dark Knight Rises and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. Just a few months ago a shooter went into an elementary school and shot 20 little kids and 6 adult staff members. The most current one is from April 15, 2013, when two bombs went off during the Boston Marathon, killing 3 people and injuring 183 others. With all the violence going on it makes me wonder what is going on with our society. Is this how Panem started…with violence and people turning against each other? No one knows what is going to happen to our country as time goes on, but what if all the violence is leading to the society that is in The Hunger Games? I’m not saying that it is heading in that direction but with everything that has happened recently it makes me wonder. Now maybe everyone will begin asking themselves the same question.

The Hunger Games wasn’t just a great movie because it had talented actors and special effects, it was a great movie simply because it had a strong message. Throughout the film you realize how corrupt the government really is in Panem and it makes you wonder about our own government, but that really isn’t the main message. The main message is that no matter how small or how faint the spark is…it can still start a revolution the size of a blazing fire. The one move of Katniss and Peeta deciding to die instead or kill each other started a revolution that won’t be able to be stopped. The message this sends to kids is that even if you are young you can still make a huge difference in the world. This is one of the main reasons I love this movie. It shows that you should stick with your friends even if they do turn their back for awhile…because in the end they will always be there for you.

“Okay, listen to me, you’re stronger than they are. You are. They just want a good show, that’s all they want. You know how to hunt. Show them how good you are.”

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When they enter the arena, Katniss learns that trust is going to be a key point in these games.  In order to survive, Katniss runs as far away from the Cornicopia as she can and sleeps in the trees at night. Whereas Peeta forms an uneasy alliance with the 4 Careers. After awhile they soon find Katniss and corner her up a tree. Rue, a young girl from District 11, is hiding in a nearby tree. She draws Katniss’s attention to a deadly tracker jacker nest. Katniss cuts the nest from the tree and drops into onto the alliance who is asleep on the ground. They quickly scatter, but Glimmer, the girl from District 1, is stung to death. Katniss, who is disoriented by the venom, is told to run away by Peeta. She eventually collapses and wakes up 2 days later to find that Rue has taken care of her.

Meanwhile, the alliance has gathered up the supplies and is carefully guarding them. Katniss has Rue draw them off, then destroys the stockpile by setting off mines that are planted around it. Furious, Cato, the boy from District 2, kills the boy assigned to guard it. When heading back to their camp, Katniss hears Rue scream and soon rescues her from a trap. She dodges a spear thrown by Marvel, the boy from District 1, but it hits Rue instead. Katniss kills Marvel, then sings to the dying Rue. After she dies she arranges flowers around her body. When this is televised it sparks a riot in Rue’s district.

TO BE CONTINUED…

The Hunger Games was released on March 23, 2012. The film had a budget of $78 million and earned an estimated $691 million in the box office. It made the largest worldwide opening weekend for a film not released during the summer or the holiday period, earning $211.8 million, which was just ahead of Alice in Wonderland‘s previous record of $210.1 million. In North America, The Hunger Games is the 13th highest-grossing film, the hightest-grossing film released outside summer or a holiday period, and the highest-grossing film distributed by Lionsgate. The film set a midnight-gross record for a non-sequel of $19.7 million, which is also the 7th highest midnight gross overall. On it’s opening day it made $67.3 million, setting opening-day and single-day records for a non-sequel. The film also achieved the 6th highest opening-day and 7th highest single-day grosses of all time. On its opening weekend the movie grossed $152.5 million, breaking Alice in Wonderland’s opening-weekend records for a film released in March, for any spring release, and for a non-sequel. Its opening weekend gross is also the largest for any film released outside the summer season and the 4th largest of all time. It remained in 1st place at the North American box office for 4 straight weeks, being the first film since Avatar to do this. On June 10, 2012, it became the 14th movie to pass the $400 million mark.

The music for the film was definitely very good. The soundtrack album contains songs inspired by the movie, but only 3 actually occur in the movie during the closing credits. The first single from the film’s companion album, “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars, was released on December 23, 2011. It reached number 1 on the iTunes overall charts in 12 hours. Along with separate songs from Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars, the soundtrack also features songs by The Decemberists, Arcade Fire, The Secret Sisters, Miranda Lambert featuring The Pistol Annies, Neko Case, Kid Cudi, Glen Hansard, The Low Anthem, Punch Brothers, Birdy, Maroon 5, Jayme Dee, and Carolina Chocolate Drops. The soundtrack was released on March 20, 2012. The album reached number 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, selling 175,000 copies in its first week. It is one of just 16 soundtracks to be near the top slot in the history of the Top 200.

“Happy Hunger Games and may the odds be ever in your favor.”

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In the ruins of what was once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts.  The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games.  If you get chosen you are forced to fight to the death in an arena against 23 other tributes. 

Sixteen year-old Katniss Everdeen lives alone with her mother and younger sister in District 12.  When her sister Prim’s name is drawn, Katniss volunteers to go in her place. Peeta Mellark, a baker’s son, is the other District 12 tribute. Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capitol where they are accompanied by their frequently drunk mentor and past Games victor, Haymitch Abernathy. He warns them about the “Career” tributes, the tributes from Districts 1 and 2, who train all the time at special facilities and almost always win. During a TV interview with Caesar Flickerman, Peeta unexpectedly reveals that he is in love with Katniss. After the interview Katniss is outraged, believing that Peeta is trying to gain attention. However, she soon discovers that Peeta is telling the truth.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Suzanne Collins said that the inspiration for The Hunger Games came from channel surfing on television. On one channel she observed people competing on a reality show and on another she saw footage of the invasion of Iraq. She said the two channels began to combine in a disturbing way and the idea for the book was formed. After writing the novel, Collins signed a six-figure deal for three books with Scholastic in 2006. The Hunger Games was first published as a hardcover in the United States on September 14, 2008 and had a first printing of 50,000 copies, which was bumped up twice to 200,000 copies. By February 2010 the book had sold more than 800,000 copies. The Hunger Games entered the New York Times Best Seller list in November 2008, where it would be for over 100 weeks in a row. By the time the film adaptation of The Hunger Games was released in March 2012, the book had been on USA Today‘s best-sellers list for 135 weeks in a row.

“Just close your eyes, but keep your mind wide open.”

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A little imagination can go a long way. Jesse Aarons comes from a poor farmer family with four annoying sisters, he finds no haven at school where he is teased by almost everyone. The only thing that Jesse has is art and running; after training all summer for the big race on the school athletic day, he and every other boy racing are beaten by the new girl, Leslie Burke. Like Jesse, Leslie is teased by all of her fellow students, but unlike Jesse she doesn’t let it bother her. After a rocky start to their friendship they find common ground and together create the imaginary world of Terabithia as a haven from their struggles at school and home. Leslie soon teaches Jesse to close his eyes but keep his mind wide open to every possibility and leave reality behind. But, after a tragedy occurs, Jesse must learn to trust in what Leslie has taught him to help him overcome the troubles that reality can bring.

Bridge to Terabithia is a very powerful and inspiring film. If I ever ask anyone what they think of it they all say they love it. Imagination is a huge part of this entire film. Throughout the course of the movie Jesse and Leslie create an entire world that is all their own. The world allows them to get away from their normal lives and just be able to act like the kids they are. Something else that I love the most about it is how it shows friendship in the most powerful way. I can somewhat relate to the friendship in the movie because I have a guy best friend that I really care about. I know a lot of people who have friendships like the one in the movie. I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through what Jesse did. If I lost my best friend I honestly don’t know what I would do besides cry a lot. Another strong fact about this movie is that it doesn’t show a guy and a girl in a romantic relationship, rather it shows them in a very strong friendship. To me that’s very important for people of all ages to see simply because many think that guys and girls can’t be just friends. Overall this movie is great and will always be a favorite of mine. It taught me that all I have to do is close my eyes and keep my mind wide open to all sorts of possibilities.