Tag Archives: Josh Hutcherson

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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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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YA Movie Countdown: The Biggest Comic-Con News Surrounding ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Divergent’ and More

SDCC_Logo_PhotoBig-screen superheroes stole much of the San Diego Comic-Con spotlight, but now more than ever, young adult book-to-film adaptations aren’t far behind. Sadly The Maze Runner only made it to Nerd HQ, but Ender’s GameDivergentThe Mortal Instruments: City of BonesThe Seventh Sonand The Hunger Games: Catching Fire all enjoyed their own panels, interviews, press conferences, convention center floor giveaways and more.

Check out the highlights from each film’s Comic-Con run below.

Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game might have made the most significant impact of all. It opened the event with the Ender’s Game Fan Experience, held a full morning of interviews the next day, rolled into Hall H later that afternoon, had a presence at the Summit party that night and then continued to spread the word via giveaways at the Summit and Lionsgate booth inside the convention center.

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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: Jennifer Lawrence for the Oscar Win

Jennifer_Lawrence_Silver_Linings_Playbook_Hunger_Games_OscarJennifer Lawrence’s Saturday Night Live episode may have been abysmal and quite possibly one of the worst of the season, but who can blame Lawrence? She was natural enough and tried to play along. When the writing is that unfunny all-around, there’s just so much even an Academy Award-nominated actress can do. So while her disappointing stint onSNL comes and goes, and hopefully rarely gets revisited on YouTube, Lawrence still has her Oscar nomination and, soon enough, that nod could become a win – and maybe even with a little help from Katniss.

Just because Lawrence is nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her work in Silver Linings Playbook doesn’t mean her performance in The Hunger Games can’t have an effect on the vote. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is comprised of people and whether or not a nomination honors a single performance, those people are susceptible to outside forces and, considering The Hunger Games was a cinematic extravaganza that went on to please the large majority of critics, become the third-highest domestic earner of the year, and amass a legion of die-hard fans, it’s very likely that the Girl on Fire is in the back of voters’ minds.

Looking at the five ladies in contention, we can also narrow down the competition rather quickly. While little Quvenzhané Wallis is a revelation and her becoming the youngest Best Actress nominee in history is a thrill, Beasts of the Southern Wild will likely go on to enjoy a presence at the Academy Awards, but fall short of any wins. As one of my top 10 films of the year, it breaks my heart that Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible missed out on a Best Picture nod, only going on to secure a single nomination. Naomi Watts is incredible and deserves to be in the running, but just like the film itself, she’ll fly under the radar.

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Review: Red Dawn

The “Red Dawn” remake has had a cloud over its head ever since MGM’s financial difficulties, the last minute enemy nationality change and the long delayed release, however, as a proponent of the 1984 original and a true believer that the story had major remake potential, some hope prevailed. I’m allowed to be optimistically naïve every once in a while, right?

It’s a typical night in Spokane, Washington, Matt Eckert (Josh Peck) desperately trying to take down the opposing team in the final seconds of a high school football game. His tendency to take matters into his own hands and “cowboy” his way into the end zone doesn’t prove effective and the Wolverines lose the game, however, that’s the least of Matt’s worries. Later that night, the town goes black and early the next morning, Matt and his Marine brother, Jed (Chris Hemsworth), wake up to North Korean bombs, fighter planes and armed paratroopers. Matt and Jed take to the mountains and hunker down in their family cabin with a few other escapees, but soon come to realize that there’s no use in merely hiding out. They have to defend their friends, family and town.

The original “Red Dawn” certainly isn’t a masterpiece, but it packs enough of a punch to get you rooting for the Wolverines. The 2012 “Red Dawn” finds some similar success, but to a far lesser degree, as the material is far too manic and illogical to support any attempts at character development.

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