Book to Screen: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Is Better than the Book

by     Posted 22 days ago

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If you’ve read the third book of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, you’re well aware that Mockingjay has problems and is undoubtedly the most difficult book of the series to bring to screen.  Whereas The Hunger Games and Catching Fire had the benefit of following the clear-cut chain of events involved in the Hunger Games, Mockingjay is more of a free-for-all.  Katniss is holed up in District 13, the Hunger Games are a thing of the past and now it’s just about the rebels trying to figure out how to get an edge on President Snow and the Capitol.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that narrative, but for folks who’ve enjoyed the spectacle and structure of the Hunger Games, Mockingjay could be a serious adjustment.

The same is true of the first half of Francis Lawrence’s big screen rendition, but it’s an adjustment worth making.  Minus the familiar faces and settings, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 bears little resemblance to its predecessors, but Lawrence and co. made a number of changes that make the film version far more accessible than the book.  [Please Note: This article contains spoilers for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, but there is no discussion of what’s to come in Part 2.]

Listen to Jennifer Lawrence Sing “The Hanging Tree” from THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1

by     Posted 24 days ago

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If you’ve seen The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, you know one of the highlights of the film involves a song sung by franchise star Jennifer Lawrence called “The Hanging Tree”.  It’s a somber tune with striking lyrics, and it’s probably been stuck in your head ever since you left the theater.  But not to worry, because you can now listen to the Hunger Games song in its entirety over and over and over again.  “The Hanging Tree” has been released online in full, allowing fans to take as many listens as they please.  Lawrence has admitted her immense embarrassment at having to sing the song on camera, but I’d argue that her quiet vulnerability is what makes the whole sequence so special.

Listen to “The Hanging Tree” by Jennifer Lawrence after the jump.  If you’ve missed any of our The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 coverage thus far, from interviews to reviews to box office updates, click here to catch up.  The film is in theaters now.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 – What Did You Think?

by     Posted 26 days ago

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The time has come.  What’s bound to be the highest earner of 2014 is now in theaters.  As someone who’s very familiar with Suzanne Collins’ source material and has read Mockingjay quite a few times, I’ve been well aware that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was going to be the biggest challenge of the film franchise.  Yes, the book has problems, but even if the scribes behind the Mockingjay movies fix them – and I think they did fix quite a few – the fact that Mockingjay – Part 1 is such a departure from the original two films could still be a problem for many.

You can catch Matt’s full review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 right here, but we’d also like to know what you think about the movie, too.  Did you like the change of tone and pace?  Did it leave you eager to see Mockingjay – Part 2?  Sound off in the comments after the jump.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Review

by     Posted 27 days ago

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Although Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is ostensibly the heroine of the Hunger Games saga, the story has developed to where she’s no longer in the mold of a traditional protagonist.  She began that way in the first movie, but The Hunger Games: Catching Fire started to push her to the background as she became part of a much larger conflict rather than its leader.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 continues this shift to the point where it barely resembles the first two pictures as the true story of the latest installment isn’t Katniss’ journey, but the revolution that’s consumed her and the rest of Panem.  She’s still an integral part and the focus of the narrative, but director Francis Lawrence has expanded the social commentary far beyond the first film, and put it squarely on how media can be used to control or inspire in the true battle for hearts and minds.  Although the movie is eventually weighted down by the business requirement of splitting the final book into two movies, and Katniss still becomes a puddle of tears when the melodramatic love story surfaces, Mockingjay remains a fascinating and dark development in this unique franchise.

Jennifer Lawrence Says Mystique Needs to be in Hiding in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

by     Posted 27 days ago

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It was recently reported that X-Men: Apocalypse will focus on the romance between Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), but don’t expect any PDA from the two because during a recent interview, Lawrence noted that she’s had some conversations about where we’ll find Mystique in the upcoming installment and that “she obviously needs to be in hiding.”

X-Men: Apocalypse is expected to go into production in Montreal in April 2015 and is heading towards a May 27, 2016 release.  Director Bryan Singer is currently on the hunt for actors to take the roles of a young Cyclops and a young Jean Grey.

Watch THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 NYC Press Conference with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Natalie Dormer, and More

by     Posted 31 days ago

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Yesterday in New York City, I got to attend The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 press conference with Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark), Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne), Julianne Moore (President Coin), Jeffrey Wright (Beetee), Willow Shields (Primrose Everdeen), Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair), Mahershala Ali(Boggs), Natalie Dormer (Cressida), Donald Sutherland (President Snow), director Francis Lawrence, and producer Nina Jacobson.  While I typically find press conferences with this many people less than an ideal way to ask questions about a movie, I’ll admit the event turned out great.  That’s mostly because of Jennifer Lawrence.  While Lawrence’s massive success could have transformed her easy going persona into someone difficult to work with, as you watch the press conference you’ll see someone who is still amazed and thankful for her success, and she always has a fun answer.

During the press conference everyone is asked and answers questions about the making of the movie, challenging scenes, how they wish they were more like their characters, what it’s like losing their anonymity, and so much more.  If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games, you’ll definitely want to watch this.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens next weekend.  Look for some exclusive interviews on the site later this week.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 TV Spot: Beetee Sends a Message to Peeta via Mazda; Plus New WK Interact Poster

by     Posted 33 days ago

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The Lionsgate marketing team really knows what they’re doing when it comes to interactive and immersive promotional techniques.  We got those two President Snow (Donald Sutherland) addresses at the beginning of the campaign, there’s also the District Heroes Collection posters, there’s that Our Leader the Mockingjay app that lets you (fake) spray-paint a Mockingjay or District 13 logo on buildings, walls or anything else you see, and now we’ve got a brand new TV spot that also aims to blur reality and fiction.

I’m not going to spoil the surprise, but check out a new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 TV spot after the jump.  It’s a little jarring, but it’s definitely a clever double marketing strategy.  We’ve also got another Mockingjay – Part 1 poster from WK Interact to share as well.  The third installment of the Hunger Games film franchise arrives in theaters on November 21st and stars Jennifer LawrenceJosh HutchersonLiam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley TucciJena Malone and Julianne Moore.

New Clip For THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Pits Gale Against Peeta; TV Spot Pits Resistance Against Mazda

by     Posted 33 days ago

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With the film’s release just a week away at this point, Lionsgate is turning the media saturation crank on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 up to full throttle.  During an appearance on Good Morning America today, stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth introduced a new clip that features Hemsworth’s Gale calling Hucherson’s Peeta out on his beta male nature.  Which is sort of like castigating a tree because its made of wood.  There’s also a really cool TV ad that starts out as a Mazda spot but, in a bit of synergy that suggests this franchise wants to have its cake and eat it too, becomes something else.  For an allegory on the media being used as a distraction, the Hunger Games series uses it to its benefit masterfully.

Hit the jump to check out The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Clip and TV spot.  The film opens on November 21st, and also stars  Woody HarrelsonElizabeth BanksJeffrey WrightStanley TucciSam Claflin, and Jena Malone.

David O. Russell Says JOY Will Be a “Departure” and an “Unexpected Movie” for Jennifer Lawrence

by     Posted 34 days ago

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After director David O. Russell’s romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook nearly took the Oscars by storm a couple years ago, the filmmaker doubled down with the incredibly awards friendly American Hustle.  While the 2013 ensemble comedy was certainly colorful and fun, it ultimately felt a bit hollow, and it ended up nabbing zero awards despite a hefty 10 nominations.  So what does the director do next?  Well a movie about the inventor of the Miracle Mop, of course.  Russell is firming up Joy as his next picture with a February production start-date planned, as he’s assembling his cast around star Jennifer Lawrence that could include Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle co-stars Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper in supporting roles.

As filming looks to get underway in a few months, Russell recently spoke a bit about his plans for the picture, which he describes as a “departure” and an “unexpected movie” both for himself and for Lawrence.  More after the jump.

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE to Put Mystique and Magneto Romance Front and Center

by     Posted 35 days ago

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Thanks to the Hunger Games franchise, her Academy Award nomination for American Hustle and X-Men: Days of Future Past it may seem as though Jennifer Lawrence is working non-stop, but she actually hasn’t shot a single thing since filming the final two Hunger Games movies back to back.  However, that’s going to change big time come the New Year because not only will Lawrence likely lead David O. Russell’s Joy, but it’s also being reported that the romance between Mystique and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto is a big part of X-Men: Apocalypse.

Hit the jump for more on the status of Joy and what we can expect from Lawrence in X-Men: Apocalypse.

David O. Russell Wants Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper to Join Jennifer Lawrence in JOY [Updated]

by     Posted 36 days ago

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Why bother to switch things up when working with top talent like Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro tends to lead to Academy Award nominations?  David O. Russell already has Lawrence on board for his next project, Joy, but he also just revealed that he’s going after Cooper and De Niro as well.

The film tells the true story of Joy Mangano (Lawrence), the Long Island native responsible for inventing the Miracle Mop, a mop that can be wrung without getting your hands wet.  She was a single mother just trying to get by until her mop hit it big on QVC during her on-air appearance, selling 18,000 mops in just 20 minutes.  Hit the jump for more on Joy. [Update: THR confirms that De Niro is in official talks to join the film as Mangano's father. His casting is contingent upon Lawrence's deal closing, and production is scheduled to begin in February.]

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Clip Introduces Natalie Dormer, Wes Chatham, Elden Henson and Evan Ross

by     Posted 37 days ago

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire made room for new players like Sam Claflin’s Finnick Odair, Jena Malone’s Johanna Mason and Jeffrey Wright’s Beetee, but The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 introduces far more new main characters, a number of which will likely have a significant presence in the final two films.  A brand new clip from the movie just dropped and it offers a brief introduction to Katniss’ camera team.  As the Mockingjay, it’s Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) responsibility to inspire the nation to fight back via propos – interviews, messages or wartime footage featuring Katniss supporting the rebel war effort – and the folks behind those videos are franchise newcomers Cressida (Natalie Dormer), Castor (Wes Chatham), Pollux (Elden Henson) and Messalla (Evan Ross).

You can catch them as well as Mahershala Ali as Boggs, Katniss’ personal bodyguard, in the latest The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 clip after the jump.  The film hits theaters on November 21st and also stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore and Donald Sutherland.

New THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 TV Spot Loads up on Visual Effects as the Battle Begins

by     Posted 37 days ago

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Lionsgate has released a new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 TV spot, and it highlights how the budget for these movies has really ticked upwards.  The first film cost a reported $80 million, and while I don’t know the budget for Mockingjay, it definitely cost more, and we’re going to see that investment on the big screen in the best way possible.  The franchise is really moving towards the mantle of epic sci-fi, and while I still have reservations because I think the novel is fairly weak, everything I’ve seen from the movie thus far is very impressive.

Hit the jump to check out The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 TV spot.  The film opens on November 21st, and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonElizabeth BanksJeffrey WrightStanley TucciSam Claflin, and Jena Malone.

THE HUNGER GAMES Stage Show Coming to London In 2016 With Custom Built Theater

by     Posted 40 days ago

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The Hunger Games movies are so spot on in their handling of material that is so dependent on tone to be successful that I’m not sure going for another, more inherently broad, format is a good creative decision.  But financially that’s a whole other story and that’s where The Hunger Games Stage Show comes in.  It’s set to debut in London in 2016 after the movies have concluded their run and will take place in a brand new theater built just to accommodate the special technical requirements the show demands.

It’s probably no accident that this announcement is timed so close to the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.  That film is due in theaters on November 21st and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne MooreLiam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonElizabeth BanksJeffrey WrightStanley TucciSam Claflin and Jena Malone.  Hit the jump for more on The Hunger Games stage show.

First THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Clip: A Message from Peeta Mellark

by     Posted 41 days ago

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After all those posters, TV spots and trailers, it’s about time we’re getting our very first clip from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, but the reveal is actually a little underwhelming because the clip isn’t as wow-worthy as all of the other promos.  It’s not a bad scene by any means, but it does seem like an odd choice for a first clip.  First off, we’ve seen a good deal of this footage in trailers already and secondly, it just ends so abruptly.  Again, there’s nothing wrong with the material, it just isn’t a particularly satisfying standalone clip nor is it one that leaves you thinking, “I’ve got to see what happens next.”

Hit the jump to check out the new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 clip for yourself.  The film is due in theaters on November 21st and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonElizabeth BanksJeffrey WrightStanley TucciSam Claflin and Jena Malone.

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