REVIEW: ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

Image

Staring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

‘Catching Fire’ is the sequel to the film ‘The Hunger Games’, which is based on Suzanne Collins best selling novels. ‘Catching Fire’ follows Katniss Everdeen and her fight to protect the ones around her. Her and Peeta Mellark become targets of the capital after winning The 74th Hunger Games in controversial fashion. The win has sparked a rebellion in the districts of Panem against the Capital. In an attempt to eliminate Katniss and Peeta, President Snow puts them in the quarter quell, which takes place every 25 years and puts past tributes from all districts into the arena to fight again.

‘Catching Fire’ is far superior to ‘The Hunger Games’ in a way I wasn’t expecting. The camera work was an improvement, as I wasn’t getting sick trying to follow the shaky cam. Francis Lawrence, who has directed films such as ‘I Am Legend’ and ‘Constantine, was a great choice as director for this franchise. He has a lot more experience directing these type of films than Gary Ross has. ‘Catching Fire’ brought a lot more intensity than I felt ‘The Hunger Games’ had. Everyone seemed to have a lot more to lose and it felt like no one was safe.

I was kept on the edge of my seat throughout the film, especially during the Quarter Quell. The difference between the first games and the Quarter Quell was the arena, which added lethal add ons to the area that the first games didn’t have. I didn’t read the book, so I didn’t expect what was to come during the games. The anticipation of what would happen next was a very exciting feeling, and is something I haven’t felt while watching a film in a very long time.

The love triangle between Peeta, Katniss and Gale was the only thing I felt a little iffy about going in. I knew there was a love triangle, but I didn’t know how it would transpire on screen. I’ve seen the ‘Twilight’ films, so I know how cheesy a love triangle in film can be. The good thing about ‘Catching Fire’ is the film doesn’t revolve around the love triangle, and although it’s a part of the film, it doesn’t get too much to bear. However, seeing Jennifer Lawrence kissing 2 guys every half hour was a little too much, but at the same time, it must have been fun for her and isn’t really anything to complain about.

Jennifer Lawrence continues to shine on screen. She is, in my opinion, one of the best young stars of our day. I have loved her in everything she’s been in and I wish her more success in the future. She becomes Katniss Everdeen in these films and I can’t say I’ve been many film adaptations where the actor becomes the character she’s playing. Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks were also great and it was great to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the new game maker.

We will have to wait another year for another ‘Hunger Games’ film. Mockingjay: Part 1 will be released next November, with part 2 of the last instalment being released the following year. What I love about these films is the fact that they aren’t cheesy. There are some love triangles and emotional scenes, but unlike adaptations that we’ve seen recently like ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Host’, we are leaving the theatre feeling satisfied and talking about how great certain aspects such as acting and filmmaker were. That’s what I love about this film adaptation. The film can relate to the world we live in, but can also take us into a world that we hope to never be in. ‘Catching Fire’ was a great surprise for me, and that’s coming from a guy who was always very excited to see it.

Grade: A

Release date announced for ‘Alice in Wonderland 2’

Image

Disney has set a release date for ‘Alice in Wonderland 2’. The film, which will be directed by James Bobin, will be released May 27th, 2016. James Bobin, who is replaces Tim Burton in the directors chair, is well known for directing The Muppets and it’s sequel Muppets Most Wanted. The film will bring back Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska as Alice.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ finally has a release date.

Image

Production to George Miller’s ‘Mad Max’ sequel is finally finished. The film will be released in 3D on May 15th, 2015, which now adds to the super busy 2015 season. The plot of the film follows Mad Max, who is caught up with a group of people running across the wasteland in a war wig driven by Imperator Furiosa. The film now stars Tom Hardy as Mad Max, who is replacing Mel Gibson. The film co-stars Charlize Theron, Zoe Kravitz and Nicholas Hoult.

Trailer for Arnold Schwarzeneggers ‘Sabotage’ is here

‘Sabotage’ follows a DEA squad team that specializes in drug cartels. After a raid leads them to find millions of dollars in cash, the squad takes the money and hides it for themselves. The squad thinks their secret is safe, until they start getting assassinated one by one. Director David Ayer, who directed a surprise favourite of mine ‘End Of Watch’, is at the helm for this one. ‘Sabotage’ will be released April 11th, 2014 stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terence Howard, Olivia Williams and Joe Manganiello.

REVIEW: ‘Gravity’

Gravity

Staring: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron

‘Gravity’ is about two astronauts who are stranded in space as their space shuttle is destroyed by space debris coming from a destroyed satellite. They must struggle to survive and get back to earth before it’s too late. I have never seen a film quite like this before. It’s visually stunning and has a very emotional element to it that is hard to ignore. I must say, lots of tears were flowing from my eyes. The cinematography is breathtaking. The whole movie felt like I was actually in space with these two astronauts, experiencing what they were experiencing as they tried to get back home.

I saw ‘Gravity’ in I MAX 3D, which is probably the best format to see it in. The 3D was perfect, and this is coming from a guy who hates 3D. There are only a few films I have seen that actually worked in 3D and this definitely tops them all. The film is entirely set in space, and I must say, the visuals were absolutely astounding. Every detail of space seemed to have been made to absolute perfection. An Oscar for visual effects will be given to this film. If it’s not, I’ve lost hope.

Steven Price’s score was the best I’ve heard in awhile. It’s definitely one I’d love to listen to on an off day. The music really made the movie just that much more emotional. Alfonso Cuaron is well known for directing ‘Children of Men’ and ‘Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban’, so we know what the man is capable of. His talents are put on display more than ever in this film. He also wrote the screenplay, which is really well written. There’s only so much you can talk about while in space, but the screenplay was perfect with such an emotional impact.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Sandra Bullock. She always gets to me, whether it would be making laugh or making me cry. She knows how to tell an emotional story and make you feel impacted by it. Her performance in this was amazing, with her ability to make me laugh and cry at the same time. I’ve never seen anything like this from her before. George Clooney was also great in this film, playing a more calm and laid back character. He had some great one liners as well.

‘Gravity’ will probably be nominated for a bunch of Oscars and I’m honestly praying it wins. The film was visually and emotionally breathtaking and is something that shouldn’t be missed. I was originally not going to see it, but decided to take a chance. Thank God I did. I recommend ‘Gravity’ to someone who just wants to watch a great film. I guarantee you will be in awe throughout the film. The run time is perfect. At just an hour and a half, you will leave the theatre satisfied. I’m happy that I’m getting to see all these great films. Usually, I skip out on them to go see the blockbusters. I guarantee that won’t happen anymore.

Grade: A+

Nominated for 10 Oscars:

Best Picture

Best Actress-Sandra Bullock

Best Director-Alfonso Cuaron 

Best Film Editing

Best Cinematography 

Best Production Design

Best Sound Editing

Best Sound Mixing

Best Visual Effects

Best Original Score-Steven Price

I’m finding it to be a really hard time to care about ‘Muppets Most wanted’.

I’m sorry, but ‘The Muppets’ film wasn’t great. I enjoyed Jason Segal and Amy Adams, but for some reason, I just found it so hard to even care about a Muppets Movie. Now, they’re making a sequel and I’m finding it even harder to care. Anyway, ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ stars Tina Fey,Ricky Gervais and a slew of celebrity cameos and brings back directed James Bobin. ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ will be released March 21st, 2014.

Sesame Street parodies The Hunger Games.

This hilarious, but educational parody of The Hunger Games is probably the funniest thing you’ll see all week. I couldn’t stop laughing and I’m hoping you’ll enjoy it. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will be released this Friday. You get your tickets yet? If not, get them as soon as possible.