THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 24 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 review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 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 144 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 146 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.

Jennifer Lawrence & Josh Hutcherson Talk THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, Why It’s So Popular, What They Collect, and More

by     Posted 154 days ago

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Opening on November 22nd in traditional theaters and IMAX is the sequel to The Hunger Games, Catching 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 Josh 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 and Hutcherson.  They talked about what it was like working with Francis Lawrence, what makes The Hunger Games so popular around the world, being in the center of the promotional whirlwind, what they collect, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Final Trailer for THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

by     Posted 171 days ago

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Lionsgate has released the final trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  I’m sure the TV spots will probably have a little new footage, but this trailer gives us good pieces of the new arena, but also doesn’t forget to sell the major conflict, which is between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and President Snow (Donald Sutherland).  It’s almost entirely summed up in the shot where points an arrow at the sky and lets it fly.  Ultimately, this does what every good trailer should do: shows off some good stuff, but doesn’t give away anything major.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  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.

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

by     Posted 197 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.

New Images from THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Showcase the Entire Cast

by     Posted 209 days ago

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A batch of new images from director Francis Lawrence’s sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has landed online, giving us a closer look at the film’s large ensemble cast.  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.  I’m eager to see what Lawrence brings to the table as the new overseer of the franchise (he’s also directing Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2), and the previous trailers have been promising.

Hit the jump to check out the images.  The film also stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam HemsworthSam ClaflinJena MaloneElizabeth BanksWoody Harrelson Philip Seymour HoffmanStanley TucciJeffrey Wright, and Amanda Plummer.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens November 22nd.

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE “Victors Banner” Campaign Begins with Katniss and Peeta

by     Posted 238 days ago

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has President Snow (Donald Sutherland) trying to crush a budding rebellion that was ignited by Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) actions in the previous Hunger Games.  Now the 75th Annual Hunger Games are here and the game has changed, but the players are the same.  That’s not just a great line from MacGruber.  Old victors are forced back into the arena, and Lionsgate is using this plot as a way to tease out a string of banners highlighting the sequel’s characters.  However, they’re starting off with familiar faces Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson).  Fans can guess how they marketing will develop by tweeting they’re guess with the hashtag #VictorsRevealed.  The next banner will be revealed tomorrow.

Hit the jump to check out the first banner.  The film also stars Liam HemsworthSam Claflin, Jena MaloneElizabeth BanksWoody Harrelson Philip Seymour HoffmanStanley TucciJeffrey Wright, and Amanda PlummerThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens November 22nd.

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

by     Posted 250 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 270 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 270 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.

Previous Victors Revealed in Quarter Quell Character Posters for THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

by     Posted 274 days ago

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The Comic-Con panel for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is poised to be one of the more popular events in Hall H this year, but I can still remember Comic-Con 2011 where the only Hunger Games presence was the handing out of some posters and pins at the Lionsgate booth.  Earlier today we showed you a new image from director Francis Lawrence’s sequel, and now character posters for a large portion of the cast have landed online.  These posters highlight Hunger Games victors young and old, as we see everyone donning their tight-fitting outfits for the Quarter Quell.

Hit the jump to take a look at the posters, and check back here this weekend for our full recap of the film’s Comic-Con panel as well as the new trailer.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens on November 22nd.

New Image from THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE; Details on the Comic-Con Panel and When the New Trailer Will Premiere

by     Posted 274 days ago

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Lionsgate has released a new image from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  In the upcoming sequel, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) becomes a symbol of a brewing revolution in the districts, but is then drawn back into to fight to the death in the Quarter Quell Hunger Games.  In the new image, Katniss and fellow victor Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) give their defiant salute while Capitol stooge Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) can only stand there uncomfortably.

Hit the jump to check out the image along with details on the Comic-Con panel, and when the new trailer will debut online.  The film also stars Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Woody HarrelsonDonald Sutherland, Philip Seymour HoffmanJena MaloneJeffrey Wright, and Amanda PlummerThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens on November 22nd.

First Look at Benicio Del Toro as Pablo Escobar in PARADISE LOST

by     Posted 288 days ago

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We previously reported that Benicio Del Toro would be playing Pablo Escobar in Andrea di Stefano’s Paradise Lost, which isn’t quite a Pablo Escobar biopic.  The movie stars Josh Hutcherson as a “young surfer who visits his brother in Colombia and falls madly in love with a beautiful local girl called Maria” but finds out that her uncle is Escobar (cue sad trumpet).  Stefano has compared Paradise Lost to The Last King of Scotland, and today we have the first image from the Stefano’s film along with some behind-the-scene video.  The video is dubbed in French, but for non-French-speakers like myself, you can still get an idea from the visuals.  I’m more interested in the tone because even though Stefano may compare his movie to Last King of Scotland, the premise for Paradise Lost sounds like it could just as easily fit into a wacky sitcom.

Hit the jump to check out the image and video.  Filming on Paradise Lost recently wrapped.

Four New TV Spots for EPIC Highlight Characters Voiced by Josh Hutcherson, Steven Tyler, Pitbull and Beyoncé

by     Posted 352 days ago

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Some new TV spots for Fox’s latest animated effort Epic have made it to the web. Based on William Joyce’s children’s book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, the 3D pic follows a teenager (Amanda Seyfried) who is shrunk down to insect-proportions while exploring a magical forest and finds herself caught up in a battle between the virtuous Leaf Men and the dastardly Boggans. Christoph Waltz, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Beyoncé Knowles and Jason Sudeikis are a few of the other high-profile celebs voicing this one to life.  The film was directed by Chris Wedge, who helmed the first Ice Age (in addition to doing the “voice” of Scrat throughout that franchise’s run).

The four one-minute spots feature Hutcherson, Knowles and fellow stars Steven Tyler and Pitbull talking about their characters, the experience of voice-acting and what to expect from Epic (apparently, it’s pretty “epic”). Hit the jump to check them out. Epic hits theatres on May 24.

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