Monthly Archives: November 2011

‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: Holiday Shopping Ideas For The Tribute In Your Life

Sure, the official Hunger Games trailer is fantastic enough to hold us all over for quite a while, but thanks to Mainstay Productions, we have yet another Hunger Games trailer to be thankful for: the teaser for their web series, Finnick & Annie. Due out on December 8th, the series will focus on our local District 4 heartthrob, Finnick Odair, and the love of his life, former Hunger Games champion, Annie Cresta. Click here to give the Finnick & Annie teaser a look.

In other visual news, a new trailer still of Amandla Stenberg as Rue in her training attire has popped up as well as a small handful of images from People Magazine in honor of their recent Hunger Games feature. In addition to the shots of Elizabeth Banks as Effie handing over the microphone to Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss and the one of Katniss having a moment with Liam Hemsworth’s Gale, we also got that particularly colorful entry featuring Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta all looking their best (see below).

Sticking with the theme of HG imagery, The Hob has a fairly amusing two-part piece up and running called “Hunger Games Fans Have an Eye for Details.” As someone who’s worked on a number of short films, I’m well aware of how difficult it can be to maintain continuity. Regardless of the crews’ watchful eyes, tiny details inevitably slip and Hunger Games fans are wasting no time pinpointing the mishaps. Part 1 and Part 2 of the piece highlight a handful of errors including Prim’s Mockingjay pin magically hopping lapels in between shots and the fact that a pair of Converse sneakers have a cameo in the trailer.

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Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: Poster Domination Via ‘In The Land of Blood and Honey’ and ‘Project X’

It’s a sad week for movies trailers, however that means there’s more room to express our thankfulness for some solid posters! But, in an effort to steer clear of that lack in the trailer department, this introduction is dedicated to the noteworthy non-trailers only.

Hot New TV Spots

We’ve got two new TV spots that manage to command an audience in mere seconds. The new 30-second piece for The Artist benefits from its striking black-and-white format, a zesty score and tons of critical acclaim. In fact, after picking on my mother for her lack of appreciation for anything but the most mainstream movies, I’m proud to say that this one managed to catch her eye. On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with a film about a topic that has a wide appeal. The Darkest Hour literally tears up the screen with a new TV spot that shows off the invading aliens’ ultimate weapon – shredding.

Hot New Featurettes

A major downside to a 3D re-release? You’ve got no new material to show in your marketing campaign. While we may be seeing more of the same in Titanic 3D’s trailer and poster, the promotional team did manage to rustle up something fresh – a featurette of James Cameron discussing the conversion process. On the sillier side, we also got a new featurette for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and, just like the trailer, it solidifies the fact that this one will be for younger audiences.

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Interview: Hugo’s Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloe Moretz And More

What better way to spend the most magical time of year than by seeing a particularly magical and inspiring movie? No, this isn’t a review – that you can find right here – but there’s really no way to talk about Hugo without being swept right back up by that incredible adventure.

Based on Brian Selznick’s book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo tells the tale of a young orphan named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) who keeps the clocks running in a 1930s Paris train station by day and tries to finish his deceased father’s work by night, restoring an old automaton. In attempt to find the pieces to fix the elaborate machine, Hugo targets Georges Méliès’ (Sir Ben Kingsley) train station toy stand. And yes, that’s Georges Méliès as in the iconic filmmaker of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Méliès catches Hugo in the act and after finding some stolen goods and Hugo’s notebook of automaton instructions, rather than merely reprimand him, Méliès is so distressed by his findings he takes and threatens to burn Hugo’s notebook. However, with the help of Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), Hugo not only comes closer to fixing the automaton, but fixing Méliès, too.

In honor of Hugo’s November 23rd release, a large portion of the gang assembled for a press conference. Producer Graham King, screenwriter John Logan, the station inspector Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisette the flower shop owner Emily Mortimer, Moretz, Butterfield, Kingsley and novelist Brian Selznick all came out to talk about working with Scorsese, dabbling in film history while making a film and so much more. Check out some of the highlights in the transcription below.

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Review: Hugo

Part of the beauty of filmmaking, is the ability to transport viewers to another reality. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, filmmaker Georges Méliès seized the opportunity to put stop tricks and painted film cells to use, combining his skills as a magician and filmmaker to, quite literally, bring dreams to life. Ultimately, we’re still doing the very same thing today, but with the wildly advanced technology and more thorough understanding of storytelling, director Martin Scorsese has created one of the most successful attempts at bringing an audience into the movie with Hugo.

It’s the 1930s in Paris, France. After losing his father (Jude Law) in a terrible fire, young Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is forced to live with his only relative, his uncle, Claude (Ray Winstone). A far from responsible drunk, Claude pulls Hugo out of school and shows him the ropes at work, teaching Hugo to keep the clocks running at a Paris train station. And it’s a good thing, too, because when Claude leaves Hugo to his lonesome, it’s up to Hugo to keep things timely.

When he isn’t tending to his train station duties, Hugo is hard at work at the one thing his father left behind, an automaton. Hugo regularly snatches up food and milk from the train station vendors and also frequents grumpy old Georges Méliès’ (Ben Kingsley) toy stand, a place prime for automaton part collecting. When Méliès catches Hugo in the act, he demands the boy empty his pockets. Amidst the usual mess of rogue toy parts is a notebook with automaton drawings and instructions that oddly rub Méliès the wrong way. When Méliès takes Hugo’s precious notebook, Hugo turns to Méliès’ goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), for help and the two discover they have a lot to offer one another, Isabelle helping Hugo get his automaton up and running and Hugo giving Isabelle a taste of adventure.

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Review: Arthur Christmas

Want to put the odds in your movie’s favor? Make a Christmas movie. Unoriginality, cheesy humor, goofy characters? All is excused when it’s done in the name of holiday spirit. While Arthur Christmas does make use of that get out of jail free card quite often, there is enough solid filmmaking behind the Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation collaboration to label Arthur Christmas above average holiday fair.

It’s November 25th and little Gwen is placing her order in advance, sending Santa a letter requesting a pink twinkle bike this holiday season. A few days later, that very letter lands in the hands of Arthur Christmas (James McAvoy), son of the current Santa (Jim Broadbent). December 24th arrives and Santa and the massive elf squadron, led by Arthur’s brother, Steve (Hugh Laurie), from home base, take action, delivering presents swiftly and generally clandestinely, then boarding their souped up version of the classic sleigh, the S1, and zipping over to the next city to do it all again. Santa and the elves return to cheers and applause. Another perfect Christmas – that is until it’s discovered that a single child has been forgotten; Gwen never got her twinkle bike.

Hoping to soon succeed his father as the next Santa, Steve’s ready to just brush this one under the rug, but Arthur insists they cannot allow just one child to wake up and think Santa’s forgotten her. At Grandsanta’s (Bill Nighy) urging, Arthur dusts off the old classic sleigh, hops in the passenger seat and Grandsanta attempts to fly them to Gwen’s home in England.

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Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1

After three immensely successful productions, why would Summit Entertainment change their formula now? Of course the studio wouldn’t, but you’d think bringing aboard an Oscar-winning director would almost naturally warrant some changes for the better, but sadly, Bill Condon’s prowess was entirely consumed by the drone of The Twilight Saga and he actually winds up delivering a piece that’s rather sub-par to two of the previous installments.

You are cordially invited to the wedding of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen (Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson). Yes, the time has finally come for Bella to put an end to that pesky love triangle and seal the deal with Edward, but, in true Twilight fashion, Jacob (Taylor Lautner) holds a grudge and brooding ensues. Regardless, after the I dos, the newlyweds wave goodbye to the friends and family we’ve met in the films over the years and hop a plane to Rio de Janeiro after which they board a boat to the secret island de Cullen. Forbidden vampire on human mating goes down, beds break and, shortly after, Bella grows a baby bump.

The problem is, this isn’t just any old baby. As Bella’s baby grows, it destroys her from inside. As Bella’s health deteriorates, the Cullens do whatever they can to prolong her life. Meanwhile, over at camp werewolf, the dogs are in an uproar over the bun in the oven. Pack leader Sam (Chaske Spencer) calls for the baby’s execution and, in turn, Bella’s, which, of course, Jacob will not stand for. With brother and sister duo Leah and Seth Clearwater (Julia Jones and Booboo Stewart) by his side, he separates from his pack to come to Bella’s rescue.

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Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: ‘The Hunger Games,’ Duh

All hale the tough cookies of cinema! We’ve got three incredibly strong heroines leading the promotional pack this week, but, before we get to the goods (and the bads), let’s take a look at some of the items that didn’t manage to crack the top or bottom out.

Almost the Best

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s most certainly that time of year and that in itself makes me itch for fun holiday material and Arthur Christmas is doing a stellar job at filling that void. The most recent addition to the Sony Pictures Animation piece is a collection of new clips that show off the elves’ hardcore work ethic and super slick plan of attack – er, gift giving. Perhaps I should give this one a bit of a spoiler alert, but Charlize Theron nearly snagged two of the top spots on this week’s list. Just missing the cut is the new poster for Young Adult, which, following the first one, puts more of an emphasis on Theron’s character whose costume is overloaded with telling items which are then made all the more striking thanks to the use of a stark black background.

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