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

by     Posted 2 hours 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 Yesterday

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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.

New SEVENTH SON International Trailer Continues to Pile on Visual Effects and Jeff Bridges’ Weird Accent

by     Posted 4 days ago

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Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures has released a new Seventh Son international trailer.  The plot follows mystical knight Father Gregory (Jeff Bridges) and his apprentice Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) and their fight to defeat the evil witch, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) and her followers.  Even though this movie has been on the shelf for a while, I still hope it’s good.  The problem is that you have a trailer that basically screams: Fantasy Tropes: The Movie!

Hit the jump to check out the Seventh Son international trailer.  The film opens February 6, 2015, and also stars Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue, and Djimon Hounsou.

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

by     Posted 5 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.

Oscar Beat: The Best Actress Race at a Glance

by     Posted 8 days ago

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Every year it seems like Oscars’ Best Actor category is crowded, while the number of contenders for the Best Actress trophy feels relatively thin.  It’s a result of the sad fact that there just aren’t as many interesting lead roles for women in Hollywood as there are for men; many times the “female lead” is relegated to existing only in relation to the film’s male lead.  It’s disappointing to be sure, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t any noteworthy female roles out there, and this year’s Best Actress race is an excellent showcase of both talent and range, from brilliant sociopaths to Alzheimer’s patients.

After the jump, I take a look at the current state of the Best Actress Oscar category in this new edition of Oscar Beat.

Peeta Sends a Message in the Latest THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 TV Spot

by     Posted 21 days ago

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President Snow (Donald Sutherland) snatched Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) out of the arena at the end of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire for a reason.  He’s got big plans for the Boy with the Bread and thanks to this latest TV spot, we’re getting an extended look at them.  While Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are busy prepping Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) to lead the rebellion, Snow is using Peeta to destroy it.

Hit the jump to catch Peeta’s message to his co-74th Hunger Games victor and everyone else defying The Capitol in the latest The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 TV spot.  The film is due in theaters on November 21st and also stars Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin and Jena Malone.

Kristen Stewart Asks Julianne Moore What It’s Like to Lose Her Memory in First STILL ALICE Clip

by     Posted 22 days ago

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Sony Pictures Classics has released the first Still Alice clip from co-directors and co-writers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s adaptation of the Lisa Genova novel of the same name, and it’s heartbreaking.  Julianne Moore stars in the film as a linguistics professor who begins showing the signs of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and must come to grips with the illness alongside her family.  By most accounts, Moore is the current frontrunner to win the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the film.  It debuted to strong reviews at TIFF, and even co-star Kristen Stewart is generating some awards buzz for her supporting performance.  This clip is devastating to watch, as Moore describes to her daughter what it’s actually like to start losing her memory and, by extension, herself.

Watch the first Still Alice clip after the jump.  The film also stars Alec Baldwin and opens in an Oscar-qualifying limited run in December before expanding on January 16th.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 TV Spot Contains New Footage of Katniss Refusing to Give up the Fight

by     Posted 31 days ago

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Lionsgate has released a new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 TV spot, which contains fresh footage from the upcoming blockbuster.  The film finds Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the forefront of the rebellion in Panem while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are held captive in the Capitol.  We’ve had some huge hits this year, but I’m still putting my money on The Girl on Fire for winning the 2014 box office race, especially since this looks like the biggest Hunger Games movie yet.

Hit the jump to check out the new TV spot.  The film also stars Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonJulianne MoorePhilip Seymour HoffmanElizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, and Donald SutherlandThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens on November 21st.

The Rebellion Continues with 19 New Images from THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1

by     Posted 36 days ago

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Last night, we got a new teaser trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and now we have more images from the upcoming film.  The film finds Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the forefront of the rebellion in District 13 while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are held captive in the Capitol.  These new images give us a look not only at our main heroes, but also new supporting characters Cressida (Natalie Dormer), Boggs (Mahershala Ali), Pollux (Elden Henson), Messalla (Evan Ross), and Castor (Wes Chatham).

Hit the jump to check out the new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 images.  The film also stars Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonJulianne MoorePhilip Seymour HoffmanElizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, and Donald SutherlandThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens on November 21st.

MAPS TO THE STARS Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 55 days ago

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I don’t like to admit it, but every now and then, I do enjoy picking up a tabloid.  Simply put, it’s fun to read about nonsense like what everyone’s wearing and see that celebrities are really “just like us.”  And the same goes for covering industry news as well.  I truly enjoy finding out what everyone’s up to, whether I’m a fan or not, and that’s a big part of the reason David Cronenberg’s latest works so well.  Maps to the Stars is a Hollywood satire that takes you behind the scenes and dishes out joke after joke at the industry’s expense, but screenwriter Bruce Wagner also slips in an offbeat and riveting mystery that makes the experience more than a fleeting laugh, but rather a dark, absurd and disturbing experience that’ll stick with you well after it ends.

Julianne Moore Surges into Best Actress Race as STILL ALICE Gets Oscar-Qualifying Release from Sony Pictures Classics

by     Posted 56 days ago

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One of the big surprises of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was a film called Still Alice.  Not many people I talked to saw it, but those that did were raving about Julianne Moore’s performance as a linguistics professor who begins showing the signs of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  The consensus was that if a studio picked up the independent film and set it for release before the year was out, they would have very good odds of landing a Best Actress Oscar for Moore.  And that is just what Sony Pictures Classics has done.  The studio confirmed today that it will release co-directors and co-writers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s adaptation of the Lisa Genova novel in New York and Los Angeles in December for a one-week awards qualifying run, officially entering Moore into this year’s Best Actress race.

Hit the jump for more on the Best Actress category as it stands now and Moore’s presumed frontrunner status for Still Alice.

The Rebellion Takes Flight in Full-Length THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Trailer

by     Posted 67 days ago

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Lionsgate has released the full-length The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 trailer for the first half of director Francis Lawrence’s conclusion to the Hunger Games franchise.  The film finds Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the forefront of the rebellion in District 13 while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are held captive in the Capitol.  Francis Lawrence surprised the hell out of me with Catching Fire, which I thought was hands-down the best “tentpole” film of last year, and so I have high hopes for his adaptation of Mockingjay (the weakest book of the trilogy).  What strikes me most about this trailer is that the film appears to be in the vein of an action pic, whereas Catching Fire was more of a thriller and the first film was essentially a survival movie.  District 13 isn’t exactly a cinematic location and there’s a lot of bunker-set scenes in the book, so I’m very curious to see what changes have been made in the feature film adaptation.  The pic looks rather epic in scope, and I imagine Mockingjay – Part 1 will be the most intense and largest scale entry in the franchise yet.  Hold on to your butts.

Hit the jump to watch the Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 trailer.  The film also stars Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks, Natalie Dormer, Sam Claflin, and Donald SutherlandThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens in theaters on November 21st.

Oscar Beat TIFF 2014: Reese Witherspoon Enters Frustratingly Thin Best Actress Race with WILD

by     Posted 70 days ago

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While the Toronto International Film Festival is a regular launching pad for awards season fare, this year’s fest lacked any one big breakout film like last year’s 12 Years a Slave and Gravity.  TIFF 2014, instead, was all about the performances.  I’ve already written about the awards prospects of the incredible work in Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, and The Theory of Everything, not to mention a potential dark horse in Jake Gyllenhaal’s Nightcrawler, and now it’s time to discuss Reese Witherspoon’s raw, naked lead performance in director Jean-Marc Vallée’s pleasantly surprising and refreshing drama Wild.

You can read my full review of the film right here, but in this TIFF 2014 edition of Oscar Beat, I consider Witherspoon’s chances in the frustratingly weak Best Actress race.  Read on after the jump.

TIFF 2014 Acquisitions: TOP FIVE, BEFORE WE GO, STILL ALICE, PAWN SACRIFICE and More

by     Posted 70 days ago

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The Toronto International Film Festival is starting to wrap up, so we’ve got quite a few sales to report.  Here’s what’s coming at a glance:

  • RADiUS took the US rights to Adult Beginners starring Rose Byrne.
  • RADiUS also snatched up the US rights to Chris EvansBefore We Go.
  • Sony Pictures Classics closed a deal for the Julianne Moore-starrer, Still Alice.
  • Saban Films picked up the US rights to American Heist with Hayden Christensen.
  • Bleecker Street snagged Pawn Sacrifice starring Tobey Maguire.
  • Paramount put up $12.5 million for Chris Rock’s Top Five.

Hit the jump for more.

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MAPS TO THE STARS Trailer Featuring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson

by     Posted 71 days ago

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When you’ve got a film featuring a Cannes Film Festival Best Actress awarding winning performance from Julianne Moore, you better put it to good use and this new trailer for David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars does just that.  The first 25 seconds of the piece is just Moore whining on the phone, but her work is so amusing and commanding that it instantly sparks a desire for more.

And best of all, we’re going to get to see more Moore (sorry, I had to) because earlier this month, Focus Features’ alternative distribution initiative, Focus World, snatched up the U.S. distribution rights to the film and plans to release it in early 2015.  Hit the jump to check out that new Maps to the Stars trailer.  The film also star Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Evan Bird, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.

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