Tag Archives: Woody Harrelson

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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Review: Out of the Furnace

Out_of_the_Furnace_PosterA revenge mission doesn’t play well when you don’t care about who’s avenging what and why.

Christian Bale and Casey Affleck lead as the Baze brothers. Bale’s Russell is the older of the two and does his best to sustain a standup lifestyle, dedicated to his job at the local steel mill, his girlfriend Lena (Zoe Saldana), and his family. Affleck’s Rodney, on the other hand, opts to enlist in the army in hopes of finding something to live for outside of Braddock, Pennsylvania. However, after four tours in Iraq and only mental and physical scars to show for it, Rodney winds up back home competing as a bare-knuckle boxer to payoff his debts. When Rodney doesn’t return from a fight in Harlan DeGroat’s (Woody Harrelson) territory, Russell takes it upon himself to head up into the notorious Ramapo Mountains and bring his brother home.

Rather than kick things off by strolling through everyday life in Braddock, “Out of the Furnace” runs with a bleaker introduction, showing off the wrath of its antagonist. The choice to screen “Midnight Meat Train” is a little distracting, but the drive-in movie location is a novel and dynamic setting, that adds an extra layer to Harlan’s tantrum via bystanders’ reactions. Harlan’s behavior is vicious to the point of being disconcerting, but it does function as a highly effective opening hook.

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‘Now You See Me’: The Magic Behind the Movie

Now_You_See_Me_Blu_RayNow You See Me may have opened at number two with a modest $29.4 million, but three months later, the film is still in theaters, has accumulated over $300 million worldwide, and earned itself a sequel. And that’s all before the Four Horsemen wow the crowds on home video. In honor of the film’s September 3 DVD and Blu-ray release, we take a look back at some of the best behind-the-scenes magic tricks, straight from the Now You See Me 5 Pointz set.

Producer Bobby Cohen pointed out, “If I do a magic trick in front of you right now, if I pull a rabbit out of a hat, it has power, right? Because it’s right in front of you. But, a movie audience, if they see you pull a rabbit out of a hat, they go, ‘Well, you know, you did a CG thing or you turned the camera off and then you put the rabbit in and turned the camera back on.’” Sounds pretty accurate, right? That’s one of the major challenges Cohen and company faced with Now You See Me, but the filmmakers also had a plan to ensure they pulled it off. Cohen elaborated, “The way to make a movie about magic work is that the whole movie itself has to be a trick, and so that’s sort of what we’ve done. We’ve constructed the whole movie as if it has sort of the three acts of a great trick, and that was really fun to do.”

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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: Halloween, Panem-Style

JenniferLawrenceHauntedHouseWe’ve got a handful of cast photos floating around the Web worth checking out. Woody Harrelson steps out of Haymitch’s shoes to enjoy some Lenny Kravitz music while franchise newcomers Lynn Cohen, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, Meta Golding and Bruno Gunn posed with the cast of Cirque Du Soleil Totem after the show’s premiere. Looks like they’re all having a blast, but the thing that catches my eye is how comfortable Cohen looks hanging out on one of the performer’s back. HG Girl on Fire tracked down a holiday-appropriate shot of Jennifer Lawrence. She may be rough and tough as Katniss, but when it comes to haunted houses, clearly Lawrence is vulnerable to a good scare.

Catching Fires’ Plutarch Heavensbee, Philip Seymour Hoffman, got chatty with The Independent, mainly discussing The Master but also touching on the Hunger Games books, revealing, “I’m in the middle of reading the last one now; they’re very special.” I’ll leave it at that as the second quote is a bit of a spoiler, but if you’d like to read on, check out the full article right here. Toby Jones is on a press tour as well for his upcoming release The Girl, but ET Online got to him about Catching Fire. When asked about the state of the script, Jones responds, “It’s a bit of relief, I must say. I was worried it might just be repetitive, but it’s not. The script is just tremendous!”

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‘Catching Fire’ Set Photo Roundup and Alternative ‘Hunger Games’ Halloween Costume Ideas

Warning: This Countdown contains set and plot spoilers!

Set Photo Roundup

As expected, the Hunger Games: Catching Fire has been a prime target for sneaky photographers and, as a result, we’ve gotten a peek at quite a few of the film’s Georgia sets.

Marriott Marquis: On Location Vacations has kept an eye on the building of a stage on the roof of the Marriott Marquis. The fact that the filmmakers have been focusing on Reaping scenes suggests this stage may serve a purpose in relation to those moments. If they’re going through the trouble of working on a rooftop, it makes the most sense that the scene actually calls for a rooftop location, perhaps even to allow for a hovercraft landing. Many are calling the stage a runway and suggesting it’s a place for Katniss to model wedding dresses, but the railings they put up on either side say walkway to me. I’m betting the square portion of the structure is a doorway, characters exit, board a hovercraft and take off.

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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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