New HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Image; Director Francis Lawrence Talks Changes from the Book and Adding “New Elements”

by     Posted 32 days ago

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One of the best surprises of last year, for me at least, was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  I wasn’t particularly high on the fact that Francis Lawrence was taking over as the director of the franchise, and I assumed the films would now take on a more commercialized, standard-studio-fare sheen.  It turns I was very, very wrong, as Catching Fire actually opened up the themes of the series, deepened the characters, and delivered one of most exciting cliffhanger endings a franchise film has seen in some time.  Lionsgate has now released a new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 image featuring star Jennifer Lawrence from the first half of the conclusion to this series, and along with the image come some interesting comments from Francis Lawrence about how the franchise will be wrapping up.

Lawrence says that while Mockingjay – Part 1 has a tonal shift from the previous films, there won’t be any major book changes.  Instead, Lawrence and his creative team have actually come up with a number of “new elements” to add to the film.  Hit the jump to check out the new image and to see what Lawrence has to say about alterations made to Mockingjay – Part 1 and how he approached splitting the final book into two films.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Teaser Trailer Hints at the Battle to Come

by     Posted 54 days ago

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Lionsgate has released the first teaser trailer for the first half of the conclusion to the Hunger Games series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, directed by Francis Lawrence.  Since the teaser trailer is only a minute, Lionsgate has wisely chosen to let the visuals and minimal dialogue set the stage at the battle to come.  I especially enjoyed seeing Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) discussing Katniss’ purpose in the rebellion.  Plutarch insists, “Listen to me.  No one else can do this, but her.”  Coin disagrees.  “She won’t be able to handle it.  The games destroyed her.”  Shortly after their scene we get a glimpse of Natalie Dormer as Cressida with her half shaved head as well as Liam Hemsworth looking serious as Gale.   Hit the jump to check it out.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 also stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Jena Malone, Sam Claflin, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jeffrey Wright,, and Donald Sutherland, and opens in theaters November 21st.  Watch the first The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 trailer after the break.

New THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Teaser Trailer: President Snow’s “Unity” is Interrupted

by     Posted 72 days ago

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Lionsgate has released another The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 teaser trailer for director Francis Lawrence‘s penultimate chapter in the Hunger Games franchise.  The film finds Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) leading a revolution through the districts to resuce Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and bring down President Snow (Donald Sutherland) once and for all.

Hit the jump to watch the new teaser trailer.  The film also stars Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone, and Julianne MooreThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens in theaters on November 21st.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 180 days ago

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It’s hard not to be impressed by blockbusters right now.  2013’s top three films were The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Iron Man 3 and Frozen.  All good to great movies.  Catching Fire proved the most successful of the lot, grossing well over $400 million, and even outperformed the first film.  Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen, who is forced to compete in a battle royale yet again in the savage Quarter Quell with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) at her side, and with her love Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) watching from a distance.  My The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Blu-ray review follows after the jump. 

TOP 5: THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, OUT OF THE FURNACE Set Visit, Nolan Straps an IMAX Camera to a Learjet, DELIVERY MAN, NYMPHOMANIAC Trailer

by     Posted 300 days ago

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Like many others I presume, I can reduce my yesterday down to one common denominator: waiting. Waiting for my Xbox One to arrive in the mail, waiting for the “Day One” update to wrap-up, waiting for Call of Duty: Ghosts to install to my hard drive, waiting for Ghosts‘ mandatory 1Gb update to complete. All told, it was about a two and a half hour process from the time my console arrived at my door until I was able to fire my first virtual shot. Although I’d be lying if I said the delays weren’t tedious, at the end of the day it was absolutely worth it. Microsoft’s next-gen console isn’t perfect, but its ambition and by-and-large its initial execution are pretty damn impressive. Controlling the console via voice commands with Kinect is way smoother than I expected it to be. Directing my satellite television via the console is a feature that I believe, when mastered, I’ll wonder how I ever lived without. And that seems to be the general idea of the Xbox One: to make you reconsider what a video game console can and should do. Even if all of the pieces aren’t in place yet to make it a “must have” (I expect a steady barrage of software updates in the coming days, weeks, months, etc.), I’m having too much fun with it right now to care.

My initial Xbox One impressions aside, this week’s Top 5 includes The Hunger Games: Catching Fire interviews with Jennifer Lawrence and more, Dave’s Out of the Furnace set visit recap, Christopher Nolan strapping an IMAX camera to a Learjet for Interstellar, Delivery Man interviews with Vince Vaughn and more, and a new trailer for Lars Von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac that you’ll likely only feel halfway guilty for watching. Per the drill, a brief recap and link to each of the above rests after the jump.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Review

by     Posted 302 days ago

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Early in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the villainous President Snow (Donald Sutherland) reminds Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) that the Hunger Games were just a game.  Her real fear should be a war that will rain down hell on all of the districts if she continues to be a symbol to the downtrodden.  To both its credit and its detriment, Francis Lawrence‘s sequel shares those values.  The fear and excitement has left the arena and spread to the streets, and returning to a different arena almost feels safe by comparison.  The adaptation is a slight improvement on the book (mostly by avoiding author Suzanne Collins‘ poor prose and stilted dialogue), but also has the same structural weakness of taking the characters to familiar confines albeit with different players and hazards.  Nevertheless, the central core of the story remains strong and skillfully eschews the traditional heroine in favor of a scared puppet who can only summon her strength in certain situations.  It’s a confined character that can’t take full advantage of its actress’ immense talent, but as the movie reminds us, sometimes sacrifice is necessary for the greater good.

Director Francis Lawrence Talks THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, Inheriting the Cast, Deleted Scenes, MOCKINGJAY Parts 1 and 2, and More

by     Posted 304 days ago

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Opening this weekend in traditional theaters and IMAX is the sequel to The Hunger GamesCatching Fire.  Directed by Francis Lawrence, the film centers on President Snow (Donald Sutherland) trying to crush a budding rebellion that was ignited by Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) actions in the previous film, as the 75th Hunger Games (aka Quarter Quell) finds past victors competing against each other.  The sequel also stars Liam HemsworthJosh HutchersonJena MaloneSam Claflin, Elizabeth BanksWoody Harrelson, Philip Seymour HoffmanStanley TucciJeffrey Wright, and Amanda Plummer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I got to speak with Lawrence. He talked about inheriting the cast that Gary Ross assembled, whether he was nervous about making Catching Fire, the length of his assembly cut, deleted scenes, and the shooting schedule for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and 2 (he reveals they’ve already shot five weeks on the sequels).  Hit the jump to watch.

Director Francis Lawrence Says THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Will Ditch Shaky Cam and Focus More on the Love Triangle

by     Posted 346 days ago

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When the YA adaptation The Hunger Games opened in theaters last March to record-breaking box office, Lionsgate understandably was ready to movie quickly on feature film adaptations of Suzanne Collins’ two book sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.  Director Gary Ross deserves a sizable amount of the credit for the first film’s success, but he wasn’t keen on rushing right into the next film without ample time to work on the script.  As such, Ross opted not to return as director, and Lionsgate quickly started the search for a replacement.  The studio subsequently settled on Water for Elephants and I Am Legend filmmaker Francis Lawrence, who signed on and got to work prepping The Hunger Games: Catching Fire straight away.

Not only is Lawrence currently gearing up for next month’s release of Catching Fire, but he’s already in production on the two-film finale The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.  Many have wondered what changes Lawrence may have made to the series with Catching Fire, and now the filmmaker has spoken up to address some of the issues he had with Ross’ first film.  Hit the jump to read on.

New Featurette for THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Puts IMAX in the Arena; Plus 4 Entertainment Weekly Covers

by     Posted 353 days ago

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Lionsgate has released a new featurette for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  The story finds President Snow (Donald Sutherland) trying to crush a budding rebellion that was ignited by Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) actions in the previous film, as the 75th Hunger Games (aka Quarter Quell) finds past victors competing against each other.  The featurette highlights how director Francis Lawrence will be using IMAX in the film, and it’s impressive.  The movie will go to IMAX as Katniss goes into the new arena, and I’m interested to see how Lawerence will utilize it at other points in the story.

Hit the jump to check out the featurette along with four Entertainment Weekly covers.  The film also stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam HemsworthSam ClaflinJena MaloneElizabeth BanksWoody Harrelson, Philip Seymour HoffmanStanley TucciJeffrey Wright, and Amanda PlummerThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens November 22nd.

Julianne Moore Confirmed to Play Alma Coin in THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PARTS 1 & 2

by     Posted 1 year, 6 days ago

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Lionsgate continues to nab prestigious, Academy Award-nominated actors for its feature film adaptation of the Hunger Games book series.  We previously heard that Julianne Moore was being eyed to play the integral role of Alma Coin in the two-part finale The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2, and today Lionsage has confirmed that Moore’s deal has closed and she will indeed be portraying Coin in the film.  Francis Lawrence took over from Gary Ross and directed the second installment of the franchise, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, but in addition to finishing up post-production on that film he has been very busy prepping the two-film finale Mockingjay.

Moore joins other new additions for Mockingjay that include Stef Dawson as Annie Cresta, Natalie Dormer as Cressida, and Evan Ross as Messalla.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 opens November 2014, followed by Part 2 in November 2015.  Hit the jump for the press release.

New International Trailer and Image for THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE; Coldplay Contributing Original Song to Soundtrack

by     Posted 1 year, 41 days ago

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We’ve got a few Hunger Games: Catching Fire-related goodies to attend to today, including a new trailer, image, and soundtrack info.  An international trailer for the film shows off quite a bit of new footage, delving deeper into the further adventures of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) as they deal with the aftereffects of the events from the first film.  The clearest difference so far between the direction of Gary Ross and Francis Lawrence looks to be that Lawrence has ditched much of the shaky-cam from Ross’ first film.  We’ve also got a new image of Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss to fawn over, and Lionsgate has announced that Coldplay will be releasing an original song from the soundtrack called “Atlas” on August 26th.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer, new image, and press release regarding the soundtrack.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens on November 22nd.

Comic-Con: THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Panel Recap; Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and More Premiere New Trailer

by     Posted 1 year, 61 days ago

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A mainstay of Comic-Con in years past has been the fan-friendly Twilight panels.  That series has come to a close, but Lionsgate picked up the baton this year by hosting a highly anticipated Hall H panel for the sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  It became clear that this panel was very much about pleasing the fans, but we did get a look at the new trailer and director Francis Lawrence and his cast, including Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth took the stage to talk about character developments in the follow-up, Oscar season, having so many newcomers on set, working with author Suzanne Collins, and more.

Hit the jump to read my full recap of the Comic-Con panel for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

New Trailer for THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson

by     Posted 1 year, 61 days ago

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Lionsgate premiered a new trailer for at the Comic-Con panel for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and just posted it online.  The sequel finds Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) dealing with the after-effects of the first film as a nationwide uprising begins to swell.  The trailer does a good job of showing such an abstract idea as “stirring rebellion” with a variety of impressive crowd shots, and I like the tease of the new battlefield at the very end.  The books do a good job of upping the stakes with each new book, and I have every reason to believe so far that director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) captures that in the adaptation.

Liam HemsworthSam ClaflinElizabeth BanksWoody HarrelsonDonald Sutherland, Philip Seymour HoffmanJena MaloneJeffrey Wright, and Amanda Plummer also star.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens on November 22.  Click here for our recap of the Comic-Con panel, and watch the trailer after the break.

First Trailer for THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

by     Posted 1 year, 158 days ago

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Lionsgate has released the first trailer for director Francis Lawrence‘s (Water for Elephants) sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  The darkness and melancholy of the first film has only intensified, but this trailer only tells half the story.  We’re shown the victors’ tour, and how President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is trying to tear down the hope-inspiring image of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) before killing her.  Only at the end of the trailer, do we hear about the second part of the story, which is the “Quarter Quell”, a special Hunger Games where past winners will be forced to fight to the death.  I assume they left this out because it’s the more effects-heavy part of the story, and that footage is moving through post-production.

The film also stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam HemsworthSam ClaflinElizabeth BanksWoody HarrelsonDonald Sutherland, Philip Seymour HoffmanJena MaloneJeffrey Wright, and Amanda Plummer.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens on November 22nd in IMAX and traditional theaters.

New Teaser Poster and High-Resolution Images from THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

by     Posted 1 year, 248 days ago

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Lionsgate has released a new teaser poster and some high-resolution images for the highly anticipated upcoming sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  We previously saw a motion poster for the Francis Lawrence-directed adaptation, and this still poster is not entirely dissimilar from that piece of marketing.  The first images from the film were recently released, giving us a look at Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, and Liam Hemsworth, as well as new cast additions Sam Claflin and Philip Seymour Hoffman.  With this barrage of material coming our way over the past couple weeks, I imagine a teaser trailer will be popping up soon.

Hit the jump to check out the poster along with high-resolution versions of the previously released images and a new image featuring director Francis Lawrence on set.  The film also stars Elizabeth Banks Donald Sutherland, Jena Malone Jeffrey Wright, and Amanda PlummerThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens on November 22nd.

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