Tag Archives: Elizabeth Banks

Review: The Lego Movie

The_Lego_Movie_PosterIt’s a good thing “The Lego Movie” hadn’t come out in the late 80s or early 90s, otherwise my parents would be broke.

The story focuses on a minifigure named Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt). He’s just your average guy, living life according to the instructions. He does his exercises, drinks his overpriced coffee, indulges in the latest craze, a song called “Everything is Awesome,” and heads off to work. However, little does he know that Lord Business (Will Ferrell) is about to demolish his awesome existence using a super weapon called The Kragel. The Master Builders have been hard at work trying to track down the only item that can shut down The Kragel, The Piece of Resistance, but it’s Emmet who happens to stumble upon it and, according to Vitruvius’ (Morgan Freeman) prophecy, that makes Emmet “The Special,” the only one capable of putting a stop to Lord Business’ plan to end the world.

As someone who grew up with and still has an affinity for Legos, “The Lego Movie” is quite literally a dream come true. Sure it was fun sorting through instructions, putting cars, pirate ships and spaceships together piece by piece and then embarking on an epic adventure using your imagination, but what if there were no big, fat human hands to tarnish that visual? Almost every single movement and action sequence in “The Lego Movie” is just what anyone might create manipulating the toys with their hands, but as though the minifigures are doing it all on their own and it’s downright magical.

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Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The_Hunger_Games_Catching_Fire_PosterBetween the prime source material, built-in fan base, epic star power and increased budget, Francis Lawrence’s adaptation of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” had all the potential in the world, but that also shrouded it in an exorbitant amount of pressure and expectation, so it’s a good thing Lawrence rose to the occasion.

The second installment picks up shortly after the events of the first. Katniss and Peeta (Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson) are home sweet home in District 12, but still suffer from the repercussions of surviving the Hunger Games, one of which is participating in the Victory Tour. Even though the Capitol’s beloved star-crossed lovers travel from district to district professing their devotion to Panem, there’s no stopping what they started. With a rebellion on the horizon, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) opts to hit the districts where it hurts, targeting their resources, safety, and their Hunger Games victors.

Scoff at the “Hunger Games” craze all you want; this is a franchise that earns every ounce of attention, press and profits. Not only did Gary Ross’ film do the pre-release hype justice by kicking off the series with a riveting, well-composed and highly effective adaptation, but now Francis Lawrence and writers Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt build upon Ross’ success by taking the budget boost and funneling it into quality talent, stunning visuals and creating an all-consuming experience.

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Breaking Down the ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Trailer for Nonreaders and Hard-core Fans

The-Hunger-Games-Catching-Fire-TrailerThe trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has finally arrived via the MTV Movie Awards and not only does it meet expectations, but far exceeds them by delivering a more thorough teaser trailer than the one for the first film. However, that initial reaction comes from someone who’s read the books time and time again. As exciting as it can be to see material you know and love come to life, in the case of this promo there’s a chance Catching Firenewcomers are till yearning for a clear-cut narrative to latch onto.

For the Nonreaders

The piece appropriately opens in a way that gives you the sensation that it’s picking up right where the first film left off, making for the perfect stepping stone back into the world of Panem. Whereas the editors could have shown a cut-and-dry clip of Katniss and Peeta greeting the Victory Tour crowds, the scene gets layers and more weight courtesy of the intercutting between that moment and the chat between President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), before culminating with quite the bang.

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Review: Movie 43

Movie_43_PosterStar power is no match for tasteless, offensive and unfunny comedy.

The “Movie 43” wraparound features Dennis Quaid as a lunatic with an abysmal script who forces Greg Kinnear’s movie producer to buy the piece at gunpoint. Coincidence? Probably not, as almost each and every sketch of this comedy anthology is so silly, nauseating and degrading it seems like the only plausible way the producers could manage to recruit so much top-notch talent.

Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet make it through better than most. Jackman will likely never live down having a pair of testicles dangle from his neck for the sake of this movie, but between the giggle-worthy visual and the duo’s charm, “The Catch” is easily “Movie 43’s” finest few minutes. Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber’s “Homeschooled” is another portion that at least respects its leads, but breaks down entirely when the scenario drivels on and right into a strange and unsatisfying conclusion.

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Interview: The Bay’s Kether Donohue

It isn’t easy being an up and coming actress in the film industry, but if you want to hit it big, sometimes you’ve got to go head-to-head with some vicious, tongue-eating isopods.

Barry Levinson’s “The Bay” features Kether Donohue as Donna Thompson, a wannabe reporter interning for a local news station whose first assignment happens to be covering the Independence Day festival in Claridge, Maryland, a town located just alongside the Chesapeake Bay. While she and her cameraman are getting footage of the town dunk tank and crab eating contest, something is brewing in the water nearby, or rather at that point, inside the Claridge residents. All of a sudden, the townsfolk start breaking out in terrible rashes, losing their minds and, ultimately, dropping dead, and Donna is right there in the middle of the mayhem.

“The Bay” has a lot of characters and a lot of horrific scenarios, but what makes Donna’s ordeal stand out from the lot is that she’s the one guiding us through the experience. With “The Bay” due for a November 2nd debut, Donohue took the time to dish on the responsibility of pulling all the found footage together, working with Academy Award winning director Barry Levinson, a deleted scene from the film, her hopes of reuniting with “Pitch Perfect” producer Elizabeth Banks and much more. Check it all out in the interview below.

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Review: Pitch Perfect

You don’t have to be perfect to be a ton of fun.

It’s Beca’s (Anna Kendrick) first year at Barden University. She really wants to be out in Los Angeles pursuing her dream of becoming a music producer, but since her father’s a professor at Barden and that gets her a free ride, the degree comes first. In the meantime, she gets by by being antisocial, making new tracks on her computer and working at the school radio station. When Chloe (Brittany Snow) catches her singing in the shower, she corners her – literally – and insists Beca join the school’s all-girl a cappella group, The Bellas.

The Bellas are good, but they’ll never beat their campus rivals, The Treblemakers, singing Ace of Base songs and other tired tunes. Trouble is, the Bellas’ leader, Aubrey (Anna Camp), is all about tradition and, to her, tradition calls for scarves, updos and, well, repetition.

Yes, we’ve seen it all before, time and time again, in fact! But there’s something about “Pitch Perfect” that makes it stand out from the lot; it’s an absolute blast. Kay Cannon’s adaptation of the Mickey Rapkin book is absolutely ridden with college clichés and some painfully tacky dialogue, not to mention a totally predictable relationship and singing competition, but it’s also got more than enough charm to wipe the large majority of the problems away.

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‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: Dream Casting ‘Catching Fire’

In August of 2010 I posted “Daring to Dream: Casting ‘The Hunger Games’ Movie” on Cinematical. Not a single person I named was cast and I still stand by my choices to the point, but I must concede Gary Ross and Lionsgate did a much better job. However, that’s not stopping me from dream casting the sequel, Catching Fire.

The Hunger Games Vets

Of course there are quite a few characters from round one that will not return, but we’ve got quite the handful that are not only still in the spotlight, but consuming more of it. Catching Fireis Katniss Everdeen’s story just like The Hunger Games, so Jennifer Lawrence’s return is top priority. Sure this whole X-Men: First Class 2 thing put a little strain on the Catching Fireproduction schedule, but Lawrence needs to be front and center and the studio’s got to make that happen in any way it can.

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