Tag Archives: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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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Perri’s Top 10 Movies of 2013

Top_Ten_of_2013-176x3002013 marks my fifth year working as a film critic and reporter and I’m proud and very thankful to say it was the best yet. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work alongside some fiercely talented friends and colleagues, interview some of the most esteemed talent in the industry, attend events like SXSW, San Diego Comic Con and Cinema Con, and, perhaps most importantly, see a number of films that I’ll carry with me well beyond 2013.

I am endlessly grateful to spend each and every day doing what I love and am thrilled to celebrate cinematic achievements like these …

10. VHS 2

VHS” put the horror anthology format back on the map, but “VHS 2” solidifies it as a feature structure that can rival traditional narratives. The wraparound component still isn’t quite there, but all four shorts in the sequel are highly creative, entertaining and memorable. Adam Wingard delivers a typical haunted house scenario but within a new, intriguing framework, Gregg Hale and Eduardo Sanchez put an entirely fresh spin on the zombie genre and Jason Eisener offers up a stunningly stylized alien invasion that rocks some of the feature’s most unforgettable sounds and visuals, but the best of the bunch is definitely Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto’s “Safe Haven.” You think you’ve seen it all? Evans and Tjahjanto put the large majority of third act massacres to shame. “Safe Haven” is the one that will blow your mind, but all four short films are impeccably structured and loaded with remarkably unique plot points, turning the full feature into a beautifully sick and twisted film that’ll give you a good scare and/or having you shouting something to the effect of, “No way!,” the entire way through.

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The Best – and Worst – Movie Trailers of 2013

Best_Movie_Trailers_of_2013Let’s say we get about 10 to 15 new trailers each week; that makes about 650 a year. That’s a lot of promos, but considering I’ve watched each and every one while curating Best and Worst Movie Trailers of the Week throughout the year, pinpointing the top and bottom 10 of 2013 wasn’t all that hard. However, narrowing those numbers down to five for each category was another story. Hours of unforgettable dialogue, abysmal voiceover, ideal soundtrack choices and poor editing later, we’ve got our five best and worst movie trailers of 2013. Enjoy.

The Best Stuff

5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

There’s a reason The Hunger Games is an epic success. Well, there are many, but one key factor is the highly effective marketing effort. The folks at Lionsgate absolutely know how to milk the hype and they know how to do it with class, style and in a manner that puts story first. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire trailer campaign wasn’t just a haphazard string of promos dished out at prime times; they told a story and I’m partial to the one that focused on the tail end of that story, the film’s final trailer. Clocking in at a mere one minute and six seconds, this piece moves to an impeccable beat, setting a beautiful tone and pace before launching into a rip-roaring string of shots that truly will have you on the edge of your seat, upping the suspense tenfold before culminating in that downright heartbreaking shot of Katniss suffering the effects of the Jabberjays, a vicious grand finally with an undeniable power to make a big impression.

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Interview: Some Velvet Morning’s Alice Eve & Stanley Tucci

Some_Velvet_MorningWARNING: The only way to experience the full effect of Some Velvet Morning, is to walk into the film knowing nothing at all. You have been warned.

After putting colossal productions like Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on their resumes, Alice Eve and Stanley Tucci opted to do a complete 180 with Neil LaBute’s Some Velvet Morning.  Eve and Tucci are the only two actors in the film, the entire narrative plays out in a single location and in real time, over the course of 83 minutes.  Hit the jump for more.

Tucci is Fred, a man who opts to ditch his wife for his mistress, Eve’s Velvet. After years apart, Fred shows up at Velvet’s door, confident she’ll be thrilled that he’s finally all hers. However, in the process of trying to tap back into their romance, tempers flare, passion ignites and hopes are crushed in a back-and-forth that slowly exposes the layers of their unusual relationship.
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YA Movie Countdown: How Successful Were ‘Warm Bodies,’ ‘Beautiful Creatures’ and the Other 2013 Young-Adult Movies

Warm_BodiesYoung adult book-to-film adaptations have been in the spotlight for quite some time thanks to the colossal success of Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga, but if you look at the total number of new YA-to-film releases this year, 2013 marks an undeniable peak in the craze. But of course, that doesn’t mean every single one was a winner and that means they all won’t be coming through with us into the New Year.

WARM BODIES

Was it any good? Even though Jonathan Levine’s film doesn’t mimic the experience of reading the book, he manages to take Isaac Marion’s original material and turn it into something fresh, fun and big-screen appropriate by upping R’s wit and not taking the supernatural creature/human romance too seriously.

How it did: Levine’s unique, comedic twist proved to be a very appealing promotional component, reeling in a wider audience and making Warm Bodies the month’s sole YA-to-film hit. This one cost just $35 million to make, but wound up pulling in nearly $117 million worldwide.

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Pets Named After ‘Hunger Games’ Characters

Hunger_Games_PetsAs an incredibly enthusiastic, dedicated and often obsessive pet owner and movie lover, it is immensely fulfilling to bestow a movie-themed name upon a furry new member of the family. Even though an addiction to Scream won out and compelled me to dub my little guy Dewey, there are loads of pets out there with Hunger Games-inspired names and in honor of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, we want to give them even more love than they’re already getting.

Finnick the Cat

Mandy dubbed her cat Finnick her “loveable, adorable boy.” Further proving that Finnick is deserving of his Hunger Games name, Mandy explained, “He’s very charming and personable, and has to know everything that’s going on.” Does that sound like a certain someone who trades big money for Capitol secrets to you or what?
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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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