Tag Archives: Francis Lawrence

The YA Countdown: New ‘Hunger Games’ Posters, Plus: ‘The Maze Runner,’ ‘Frostbite’ and More

cressida-mockingjay-posterWelcome to the YA Movie Countdown, our resident expert’s biweekly guide to young-adult book-to-film adaptations.


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1

With The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’s November 21 release date coming up, Lionsgate just released a brand new set of character posters. That last batch primarily stuck to familiar faces, like Finnick and Effie, but this time we’re getting a closer look at some of the film’s new characters, namely Katniss’ camera crew, which includes Cressida (Natalie Dormer), Pollux (Elden Henson), Messalla (Evan Ross) and Castor (Wes Chatham). We also got a poster for Katniss’ personal protector, Boggs (Mahershala Ali), and Gale, too. You can check them all out below.

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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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YA Movie Countdown: Why the Weakest ‘Hunger Games’ Book Could Create Two Great Films

MockingjayFrancis Lawrence did it. He stepped in for Gary Ross and didn’t just churn out another quality Hunger Gamesadaptation — he raised the bar even higher. But now that begs the question: can he do it again?

The odds were in Lawrence’s favor in every respect withCatching Fire. He had a built-in audience, a much bigger budget, all the star power in the world and, most importantly, impeccable source material. After reading the trilogy countless times over, Catching Fire is still the most fluid of the bunch and is absolutely brimming with cinematic quality. Even though Hunger Games is a close second toCatching Fire, from a book-to-film adaptation standpoint, the fact that Catching Fire was able to nix the world-building and hit the ground running gave it the edge, and writers Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt certainly used that to their advantage.

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Interview: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’s Willow Shields

Willow_Shields_Jennifer_Lawrence_Catching_FireMost actors have to work their way up. Willow Shields, on the other hand, kicked off her career off at the top. She snagged the coveted role of Primrose Everdeen, Katniss’ little sister, back in April of 2011 and it’s been non-stop prepping, filming and promoting ever since. All the hard work paid off when The Hunger Games scored a $152.5 million opening week in March 2012 and now even more so as the sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, just kicked off its run with a record-breaking $161.1 million.

In the second installment of the critically acclaimed franchise, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) vies to make Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) pay for defying the Capitol with her stunt with the Nightlock berries in the 74th Hunger Games. While Snow tries to destroy everything Katniss holds dear, Prim is there to pick up the pieces when she can, putting her healing capabilities to use and ensuring the fire within her sister continues to burn, giving the people of Panem a source of hope.

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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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‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: The Best of ‘The Hunger Games’ 2012

Best-of-The-Hunger-Games-2012I’d say 2012 is the year of The Hunger Games, but 2011 kind of felt like just that, too, and I have a feeling the same will be true of 2013, 2014 and 2015. We knew The Hunger Gameswould be big the moment the world was consumed by the first film’s casting craze, but now that the film is here and it’s very good, it’s even more likely that Katniss and co. will nestle their way into pop culture and our lives in general, and stick it out for the long haul.

With high hopes for the future, we pause to take a look back at a defining year for the franchise; the year The Hunger Games hit theaters and proved this really could be a series of the highest quality. Here are your Hunger Games highlights of 2012.

Biggest Bummer: Katniss’ Mother Is the Mystery Character: I don’t like kicking things off on a sour note, but ending a piece on a downer is even worse, so let’s get this out of the way fast. Kudos to Lionsgate for putting together a top-notch cast for Catching Fire, but what was with the mystery character? The studio sends the fandom into a tizzy, speculating a minor character is getting a raise, a new character is being introduced, or a Mockingjay character is enjoying an early debut, only to reveal that the mystery character is just Katniss’ mother? Not cool.

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The Pros and Cons of Francis Lawrence Directing Three ‘The Hunger Games’ Films

SilverLiningsPlaybookRedDawn (585 x 195)Planning to check out The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 this weekend? There’s a little rumor floating around that the Hunger Games: Catching Fire logo will be unveiled at the screenings. Never a Dull Moment posted a screenshot of a movie theater document detailing the Breaking Dawn digital file information as well as the trailers that are supposed to be programmed with it and, as expected, that includes the new Warm Bodies trailer, but then it also says “Now You See Me/ Hunger Games: Catching Fire Logo Reveal.” While nothing has been confirmed by Lionsgate, it seems to be right there in black and white so I’m thinking it’s a safe bet we’ll get a little Catching Fire before Breaking Dawn.

Speaking of highly anticipated releases, both Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence have highly anticipated films coming out and I’ve had the chance to catch them both. How do they stack up? As far as their performances go, both Hutcherson and Lawrence impress, but Lawrence’s work in Silver Linings Playbook is just above and beyond – as is the film as a whole. The story is simple and sweet yet profound, and Lawrence turns Tiffany into an enigmatic character you’re desperate to know more about. Check out this clip from Yahoo! for a taste of what she’s got to offer. Red Dawn, on the other hand, is rather one-note. What you see in that EW clip is what you get — hot young actors running around with guns, blowing away the enemy. If that’s your thing, it offers a fair amount of entertainment, but Hutcherson will undoubtedly still be waiting for his first Oscar-worthy role while Lawrence might be snagging another nomination.

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‘Catching Fire’ Set Photos, Plus: How You Can Win a Trip to the Set of the ‘Hunger Games’ Sequel

Hello, principal photography! September 10 marked day one of production on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and since then filming updates, set photos and other Hunger Games announcements have been pouring in.

Win a Trip to the Set!

The first big item that any hard-core fan above the age of 13 must note is a little contest. In honor of the start of production, Lionsgate revealed a video of director Francis Lawrence announcing the details of a sweepstakes that gives fans the chance to visit the Catching Fireset. In order to enter, you’ve either got to upload a 30-second video of yourself asking the cast a question and stating your district, or play The Hunger Games Adventures, which was just recently released for the iPad. Click here to check out the full rules and regulations, and catch Lawrence’s video announcement below.

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‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: Francis Lawrence Under a Microscope

Ever since word got out that Francis Lawrence is taking Gary Ross’ place as the director of the Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire, we’ve all indulged in judging him based on whether or not we enjoy his previous films – myself included. While a director may get most of the praise should a movie play well or take the brunt of the criticism should it get banned, the fact of the matter is there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen when it comes to making a feature film.

The director is essentially the conductor, but that doesn’t mean every element of the filmmaking process lies in the palm of his or her hand. That being said, there’s really no judging Lawrence’s capabilities without both disconnecting his directorial work from the other creative entities, but then also considering the collaboration to a degree.

In order to better assess Lawrence’s potential as the director of Catching Fire, here’s a closer look at his work in his two most recent features, I Am Legend and Water for Elephants.

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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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