Tag Archives: Jennifer Lawrence

Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men_Days_of_Future_Past_Poster2Sentinels, good, bad, future, past, who cares? This movie needs more Quicksilver!

The year is 2023 and the world is in ruins thanks to the mutant-hunting machines known as the Sentinels. You’d think Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Bishop (Omar Sy), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Blink (Bingbing Fan), Warpath (Booboo Stewart) and Sunspot (Adan Canto) would make an unbeatable team, but back in 1973, Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) fit his Sentinels with Raven/Mystique’s (Jennifer Lawrence) DNA, so now they’re able to adapt to anything, essentially making them immune to mutant-powered attacks. With the Sentinels closing in fast, the only chance the surviving X-Men have is to send Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to stop Trask from ever getting his hands on Raven’s DNA in the first place.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” opens exceptionally well with the aforementioned team of mutants going head-to-head with a group of Sentinels. Not only does the sequence have the benefit of rocking the thrill that comes with bringing back X-Men favorites and uniting them with a few new players, but the action itself is remarkable. The fire, ice and purple portals pop right off the bleak background, the combat is tense, exhilarating and also builds character through mid-fight decisions and reactions before ultimately culminating in a string of moments that proves that in just a few minutes, you’ve come to care about all of these characters. Unfortunately, we don’t get much of that last element through the rest of the film.

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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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‘Divergent’ Set Visit, Part 2: ‘Divergent’ vs. ‘Hunger Games’

DivergentCBD_02576TOPAfter the monumental success of The Hunger Games, it’s impossible to release another young-adult, book-to-film adaptation without folks drawing comparisons. Sure, Divergent also involves teenagers in life-or-death situations and a little dystopian romance, but they’re also strikingly different in a number of respects.

While on the Divergent set in Chicago, producer Douglas Wick and the cast of the film pinpointed a few elements that make their YA adaptation a standout.
Hunger Games Is Rural, Divergent Is Urban: “We were always mindful that there would be that comparison,” Wick admitted.  “The Hunger Games is mostly in the woods. Much of the visuals of the movie are people fighting in a kind of rustic environment. Here, our movie is very much in an urban world.”
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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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Peeta vs. Gale

pvgintroTeam Edward vs. Team Jacob who?  Katniss Everdeen may be unfortunate enough to have been shipped off to the 74th Hunger Games, but she’s got two eligible bachelors chasing after her, making her one lucky girl with a tough decision on her hands. One minute Gale’s being all manly and taking care of her family while she’s away, but then Peeta gives her those puppy-dog eyes and kills a rival. How can she possibly choose between the two? We break it down.

Peeta

  • Age: 16
  • Home: Victor’s Village
  • Occupation: Baker
  • Weapons of Choice:
  • Weights, Camouflage, Knives

Gale

  • Age: 19
  • Home: The Seam
  • Occupation: Coal Miner
  • Weapons of Choice: Snares,
  • Bow and Arrow

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Four Reasons Why ‘The Hunger Games’ Is a Monumental Success

Catching_Fire_CrowdThe Hunger Games rocked the box office with a $152.5 million opening and now some are predicting that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will kick off its run with an opening weekend gross of $150 million-plus. (I think it’ll come closer to the $160 million mark.) These aren’t “normal” numbers and neither is the first film’s $691.2 million worldwide total. Not only does that intake suggest an especially enormous amount of people caught the film in theaters, but it also means a lot of those people probably did so more than once.

Success like that begs the question, what is it about The Hunger Games? Why this young adult-to-film franchise and not Percy JacksonI Am Number FourBeautiful CreaturesThe Host or one of the many other attempts to follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga?

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