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The Hunger Games saga continues in this sequel that finds Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) faced with a decision that could sway the fate of a nation. In the wake of the Quarter Quell, the Hunger Games have been changed forever, and Katniss ends up in District 13. Her courage having inspired a nation, the brave young heroine heeds the advice of her friends, and sets out to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Meanwhile, Katniss' fragile alliance with President Coin (Julianne Moore) could lead to disaster.
April O'Neil is a reporter for Channel 6 news in New York who has been researching a gang called the Foot Clan which has been terrorizing the city. She questions a dock worker about chemicals that may be linked to the Foot Clan. Later that night, she returns and witnesses the Foot Clan unloading cargo. April tries to record footage using her phone, but a shadowy figure (Raphael) arrives and takes out the Foot Soldiers one by one. She tells her coworkers and her boss Bernadette Thompson, but no one believes her story.
A war begins to brew between man and ape in this sequel to the 2011 hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It's been ten years since the Simian Flu wiped out most of humanity, and somewhere deep in the woods outside of San Francisco, Caesar (voice and performance capture by Andy Serkis) and his primate companions have established a thriving village built on the principles of peace and community. Shortly after welcoming a baby brother into the family, Caesar's son Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston) is walking through the forest with his friend Ash (Doc Shaw) when they cross paths with a human named Carver (Kirk Acevedo), who impulsively draws his gun and shoots Ash at the first sign of aggression. As it turns out, Carver is part of a human expedition led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke), who, along with the rest of his crew, races to Carver's side just as Caesar and the rest of the apes answer Blue Eyes' desperate call for help. An enraged Caesar drives the humans away after realizing they are no longer a threat, and decides to dispatch a small crew to follow them rather than yield to the pleas of his aggressive advisor Koba (Toby Kebbell) to launch an all-out attack. Instead, he decides to show the apes' strength by amassing outside of the humans' makeshift community at the base of an unfinished tower, making it unmistakably clear that the two species should remain apart. Meanwhile, the point of the human excursion was to get a dormant dam running again in order to power their community, which will soon be thrust into darkness should they fail to take action. Convinced that he could strike a truce with Caesar that would allow the humans to repair the dam, which is located on the apes' land, Malcolm gets permission from human leader Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) to set out on his mission. Incredibly, thanks to the help of his girlfriend Ellie (Keri Russell), his son Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and a few other key allies, Malcolm succeeds. Still, his truce with the apes is a fragile one, and just when it seems that the primates and humans have learned to coexist in peace, a shocking act of betrayal threatens to spark a war that will determine the dominant species.
This ridiculous, highly watchable, at points startlingly psychedelic action thriller is probably Luc Besson's best film since 'Léon' (which isn't saying a great deal). Riffing on her recent performance in 'Under the Skin', Scarlett Johansson plays Lucy, an American student in the Taiwanese capital Taipei, who is forced to act as a drug mule for a group of brutal Korean gangsters. But when the powder she's carrying leaks into her bloodstream, Lucy finds herself acquiring strange superheroic powers. Is she going mad, or becoming God?
'Lucy' is not about to win any prizes from Mensa. Besson hauls in a bemused-looking Morgan Freeman as a neuroscientist in a vain effort to give legitimacy to the film's pseudo-scientific plotline (wheeling out the old 'we only use 10 percent of our brains' myth). But crammed as it is with snarling foreign villains, feisty punch-ups and a peculiar habit of intercutting frames of random wildlife footage into the main action, this isn't quite like any other blockbuster you'll see this year - for better or worse.
There is much that seems familiar in this sequel , from Sam Raimi's films as well as other superhero rolls. But it is entertaining and both action , effects and actors are first-class level.
Although I found it hard to see the point of a reboot of the film series with only five years old so I found "The Amazing Spider-Man" to be a great superhero adventure. And does one draw comparisons with Sam Raimi's trilogy , it was both prettier , less silly and more interesting characters as well as an actor.
The latter has been upgraded in this runner whose impressive ensemble contains not less than three Oscar winners ( in your face , "Captain America : Winter Soldier " ) . In addition to Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone manages to surpass their efforts in the first movie , we get Jamie Foxx and " Chronicle " star Dane DeHaan as villains - two not obvious but very successful castingval .
The story is full of not entirely unfamiliar side lines . The various reasons impossible love story with many " ifs" and "buts" . The poor invisible nerd who with newfound superpowers takes out his anger on ... well, almost everyone. Greedy business types who stabs another in the back. The search for truth and identity. Yes, it's a bit of the type we have seen before.
But at the same time , it is worth seeing comic book entertainment as splendidly revving action, humor , love and empty little digestible drama . Both our title hero and his Gwen evolve but also new characters may be flesh and blood . The special effects are delicious as expected, the fight scenes efficient and sweet love story ( that Garfield and Stone are a couple of really contributing a particularly charged chemistry) . It is a film which, despite its hefty running time never gets boring.
Should I complain about anything , it's a stinking feeling of déjà vu . Although it often achieves the right feel so you can not come from the fact that we have seen most things before , not only in other " Spider-Man" movies , but the whole superhero genre. Maybe it's not so much the film's own fault that it's getting a general overdose of it , after all, right slim type movie .
With everything that happens , it becomes even a little messy . Peter / Spider-Man to save lives , stop the bad guys , bring order to love life, keep her alter ego a secret from aunt and investigate the truth behind the death of the parents - all at the same time! Then there are crooks, some cooperating , some fooling each other. It gets a bit too much when the end will involve the two - with the rest of the film non-related - aircraft on a collision course. The consequence is that the editing sometimes feels a bit impetuous and careless.
But despite minor flaws so achieves the film 's purpose - to entertain. And a strong ensemble of talented actors breathe life into characters who easily could have become flat caricatures. Foxx and brilliant rising star DeHaan 's finest villains - the latter as Harry Osborne, as we remember hardly done justice by James Franco in Sam Raimi's films. If you just let Paul Giamatti received a little more than a cameo as The Rhino ..
"Gabriel" is the action-packed story of the Archangel Gabriel who fight for the return of the light to purgatory - a place where darkness rules - and save the souls of the city's inhabitants.
A well-acted and spellbinding action thriller about the supernatural forces struggle against evil. A film in the vein of Underworld and Blade Runner.
"Captain America : The Return of the First Avenger " combines the usual råröjet with clear character development and at times almost thoughtfully paced, in a plot that could not reasonably have been written entirely on autopilot. It is clear that Marvel wants to cement a solid foundation for " The First Avenger " to stand on in a hundred movies to .
Captain America is perhaps the most boring character in the entire Marvel superhero stables, an unwavering righteous and woody figure whose personality originators, when it came to the forties , was based solely on the concept of patriotism. The series celebrated during WWII great triumphs but sank gradually in popularity as the war scenarios and foreign policy clouded the gray areas and the world gradually became more complicated. The first Captain America movie was a well-made but light vanilla flavored origin story that wanted to be the show's basic premise is true : The tanige jerk Steven Rogers gets upgraded to beefy super soldier and hands out tall right collide to Nazis.
So far, the character most come into their own in " The Avengers ," in which he suffers crushing defeat every time he jaws with Tony Stark / Ironman , which as the capitalist, entrepreneur and playboy represent Captain Americas opposite. But it is therefore in the captain's basic concept to be single-minded and kick-ass , a shining symbol of good values ??, incapable of lying or undergo major identity crises. The time demanded such a hero . Faced with this sequel was why Marvel's challenge to make such a historic product to function in a modern context and on their own, especially since you already have countless sequels planned .
And "Captain America : The Return of the First Avenger " deepens fortunately the character through at least patchy explore what it would mean for a man from the forties to wake up seventy years later . It sounds contemporary phenomena digital warfare and restricted freedom by monitoring form the basis for a story that has a higher claim than just blow up cars.
After the events that took place in " The Avengers " serving Steven Rogers at super organization SHIELD with good results, but he has it in places difficult to acclimatise in the third millennium and does not hang entirely with all technical innovations.
As a poster boy for the good in the fight against evil , there will naturally awkward when the global landscape looks so different that it is no longer possible to distinguish who is the enemy, and to repeatedly kick mercenaries without knowing who pays the bill gets Captain America start to question his career choice. The problem is that he has no interest and have no real identity outside the hero role. When a friend asks him what he thinks is funny , the answer is " I do not know ."
Fortunately, the powers of evil begins to divide SHIELD inside and messing in general with Captain America's friends and colleagues. Shortly it is possible to discern the enemy again! Along with Black Widow ( Scarlett Johansson ) start he mysteries and fight with a mysterious guy with a page and robotic arm ( it is he who is "The Winter Soldier " in the original title ) so that it is delightful to .
The bad guys intend this time to eliminate all opponents in a single blow using three flying super weapon that can shoot really long and really hard at the same time . The substrate consists of targets digital history and surfing habits, which continuously collected proactively according to approximately the model that exists in reality. It quickly becomes clear that Captain America would not be a fan of the NSA if he was for real.
Directing brothers Joe and Anthony Russo handles the many fight sequences in an excellent way - they avoid words that many colleagues shaking the camera as a maracas in order to induce intensity - and they seem to like keeping CGI effects to a minimum. At least until far too protracted finale. This of length is now a sufficiently well-known syndrome in Marvel movies that it feels tedious to even say , but no superhero action movie needs to take two hours and twenty minutes of time to tell their story , how good it is.
In "Captain America : The Return of the First Avenger " get the girls to play with in a higher degree than in most superhero movies, besides Scarlett Johansson rövsparkande spy are two actresses in admittedly small but significant roles. Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson are also joined by African-American Anthony Mackie in the role of The Falcon , a former elite soldier equipped with mechanical wings and an impressive physique upgraded to superhero. The character is based on Marvel's first African- American superhero , and was created in 1969.
If you choose to see the glass as half full so this casting decision , together with the cast of the upcoming " The Fantastic Four" and "The Amazing Spider -Man 2 ," as well as " Wonder Woman " on the horizon , all steps in the right direction towards a higher degree of heterogeneity gender and skin color of the Marvel heroes. The half-empty glass represents how woefully slow this process goes .
But the token begins nevertheless slowly, slowly to fall down in Decision authors.
His unwarranted proportioned length despite the "Captain America : The Return of the First Avenger " attraction, also in its own right. It manages to make the world's most woody superhero if not interesting, so in all cases sufficiently bearable to the very thought of more future "Captain America" ??movies will not result in acute depression.
Perhaps not to hold their breath , either.
But honestly,I really liked the movie!!
In a future Chicago , people have after a devastating war settled behind a huge fence . They are strictly divided by personality and ability in a variety of factions with as little contact with the other as possible. This is to at all costs keep the peace between them. Everyone gets at 16 year olds choose their own affiliations. A test shall accompany the decision and when it is time , there is no turning back .
Beatrice " Tris " Prior grew up among the Selfless , but get on their test day knowing she is different ( divergent ) and can not be put in the bin. Such a person is a threat to the current system and must be ostracized , or killed. And a search of them are upbeat . She gets unexpected help from his new friend Four that also he seems to be carrying on a secret.
" Divergent " is about free will as a threat to the individual in a larger and more important context and to stop people in the trade for the great masses convenience. Of course as it should be in this subgenre of beautiful young adults who are fighting for their right to be themselves , is a lot of focus on the romance between Tris and Four . Unfortunately , it takes quite a while before seriously starting to sprout and while little girls in the audience seem satisfied with glances and light touches , had signed aunt wanted more love and less fights in the initial stage .
That's what at all is the film's biggest problem, according to me , it does not really allowed to begin. I'm waiting for something that will not , and then I wait some more. It springs, train , box, thrown knives and hope for and train for an eternity and it sure these games intense , very action packed and never boring, but also very much just that, at the expense of delivering any real storyline information.
I can understand that you have to present the whole idea , the scene and all the characters in a new story like this, but it should be done in the actual development of history and not in an extended extra section in the film. Well, eventually it will start and when it does , it will also continue entertaining. Especially fun is of course that here ( as for example in " The Hunger Games" ) , the female heroine shine a little extra. And that Shailene Woodley shines ! She is very believable as the misguided but courageous Tris and I really believe in her. Kemin to Theo James as Four Moreover , in many ways the proceeds of the film even if that particular part gladly therefore had more space . James is a bit older than the average first lover in like teenage hormonal rolls and it adds a certain level of maturity even in the rest of the story.
Kate Winslet (which I love ) plays the evil Jeanine in the Wise Guard but is not that much different than just nasty. In much the same way that Jodie Foster was wasted in " Elysium " . Winslet makes absolutely in character justice but unfortunately the well plate to seriously be done any more with .
The target audience for " Divergent " is mainly teenage girls and in the cinema during the preview , I have a couple next to me who can not sit still or keep quiet excitement. It's a minor annoyance but also a little charm and attracts therefore also be 14 -year-old in me, which is good, then the occasional light might otherwise have seemed a bit too silly.?Fast What kind . Teenager or not . The film is from start very delicious and like I said extremely fast-paced and to be seduced by the scorching emotions on the canvas , is really no upper age limit.
Princess Aurora: I know you're there. Don't be afraid.
Maleficent: I'm not afraid.
Princess Aurora: Then come out.
Maleficent: Then you'll be afraid.
Parents need to know that Maleficent is Disney's retelling of its iconic animated princess movie Sleeping Beauty from the villain's point of view. Audiences will learn the reasons why the "evil fairy" (played by Angelina Jolie) is so bitter and resentful at not being invited to baby Aurora's welcoming party that she curses the infant princess. Far more so than the animated original (which itself is often too scary for younger kids in the preschool age bracket), this live-action version can get quite dark and may frighten younger kids, particularly during violent action sequences between the kingdom and the magical creatures of the moors. Characters die (or look dead) or are injured, and Maleficient is an intimidating figure. It's also very upsetting when her wings are cut off. But the movie's overall message -- about redemption and love -- is positive, and giving Maleficient more depth and context will help kids sympathize with her. As long as your kids can handle the battles, they'll probably enjoy this new take on a classic Disney villain.
I soo wanna see this!!!
Set in an eminently recognizable 2028, "RoboCop" begins, as did the first film, with a current-affairs broadcast. Rather than the chirpily delivered evening-news bulletin of the original, however, we're now tuned into "The Novak Element," a Fox News-style outlet for the heated political commentary of Pat Novak - a Rush Limbaugh-like figure played by Samuel L. Jackson, and an unreliable Greek chorus of sorts for the film. Blessed with a toupee straight from the "Hunger Games" school of future hairstyling, Novak is a vocal ally of OmniCorp, a U.S. robotics development corporation whose peacekeeping machines are - in the first of several key deviations from the original script - already in use abroad, though not in "robophobic" America, where politicians fiercely debate the ethics of non-human policing.
Working with brilliant but ambivalent scientist Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) hits on a solution: a robot fused with human body and brain parts that is capable of making moral judgment calls. Over in Detroit - the city's crime-ridden image scarcely updated from 1987 - a prototype emerges in the sharp-jawed form of slain cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman of AMC's "The Killing"). With his comatose remains signed off to OmniCorp by grieving wife Clara (Abbie Cornish), Murphy is reformulated as RoboCop - though when he underperforms in initial testing runs, Norton has his brain rewired to follow software rather than human impulses.
This essential elimination of the moral conscience that makes RoboCop politically palatable is snuck through the system, and the android Murphy is a hit on the Motor City streets, while Clara grows increasingly suspicious of OmniCorp's motives. Order is short-lived, however, as Murphy's emotions gradually override his programming - a development that the script's already sketchy movie science sentimentally attributes to the power of the human spirit - and he sets about solving his own not-quite-murder.
Joshua Zetumer's script cleverly reshapes the psychological quest of the original film to fit a 21st-century American culture arguably more preoccupied with emotional intelligence than it was in the late Reagan era: Where the first film had RoboCop discovering his humanity after being conceived and introduced as a robot, his more complex goal here is to regain the human qualities he was initially given, and by which he has been advertised to the public, politicians and his family alike. There's an increased satirical focus here on the corporations' positioning of RoboCop as both product ("He transforms!" a marketer enthuses, slyly referencing a certain other metallic action series) and patriot. Tellingly, as befits a humanized, Captain America-style national protector, the new RoboCop suit has a retractable visor that allows the audience access to Murphy's face earlier and more often than in the 1987 film. (Purists may object, but there's only so long you can reasonably keep the model-handsome Kinnaman covered up.)
Placing Murphy's wife and child at the center of the narrative is essential to this more EQ-driven approach, though it's also a more predictable - even conservative - route than that taken by the original film, which effectively wrote the family out of the picture, instead placing the emotional burden of recognition on his spunky female partner. Zetumer and Padilha's modernization of the RoboCop mythos doesn't extend to feminism: Though played with some steel by Cornish, Clara has no identity or agency beyond her marriage to Murphy, while more coldly high-powered roles for Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Jennifer Ehle (both excellent) are hardly flattering.
The cast in general performs well above the minimum demands of the material. Kinnaman lacks the lithe wryness Peter Weller brought to the 1987 film, but has his own cool authority, while Keaton (perhaps having less fun with the role than the initially cast Hugh Laurie might have done) is a reserved, genuinely off-putting villain, leaving the maniacal business to a ripe Jackie Earle Haley as OmniCorp's chief militarist. Best in show, handily, is Oldman, whose tender ruefulness as Norton does a good deal of the film's emotional legwork.
Verhoeven's film stirred controversy with its level of bloodshed, though the franchise's strange evolution toward a youth audience not necessarily attuned to the first film's irony - fans may even remember the "RoboCop" cartoon series - diluted that intensity. The new "RoboCop" hits on a compromise: The degree of direct onscreen gore is sufficiently modest to ensure a PG-13 rating, but the clammy, on-the-ground atmosphere conjured by Padilha and Lula Carvalho's restlessly roving camera feels both urgent and adult. After the "Elite Squad" films, Padilha knows the perils of urban warfare better than most, though the handheld authenticity card can be overplayed in the film's talkier interior scenes.
On the design front, the updates to the familiar RoboCop iconography are respectful but sleekly streamlined. Gone are the endearingly clunky robot effects of the original film, as all the machinery here - including, of course, that all-important suit, here given a slight Daft Punk accent - exudes contempo architectural glamour. Uniformly solid visual-effects work is most arresting in the lab scenes that show what remains of Murphy without his armor - a reveal that leads one to wonder, at least fleetingly, how a David Cronenberg "RoboCop" remake might play out.
200 years after his creation, Frankenstein's monster is drawn into a centuries-old battle between demons trying to rule the world and gargoyles who will do anything to stop the takeover.
I personaly think this movie was great,It has the same spirit has the first two Underworld films,it was a smart move to cast the monster as a human form then a monster Whit big forehead whit lot of muscel..Aaron Eckhart was very good in that roll..so give it a try.
Like most people , I like what Matthew Vaughn did with "X-Men : First Class ," a stylish 60's spy thriller with several favorite characters as youngsters . Unlike most , I have no major problems with Brett Ratner's handling of the "X-Men : The Last Stand " . But Bryan Singer's comeback as a director is always welcome . The man who started this film series back in 2000 has a great understanding and respect for all the previous films, and weaves in several winks back . We also know that you get well-choreographed striedr , where the characters' diverse and often visually splendid abilities complement each other. But despite the interesting approach of time jumps , it will be "just" a fun and reasonably entertaining adventure, an intermediate film in anticipation of the next .
The intro sets the bar high . "X-Men : Days of Future Past" throws us right into a spectacular battle . There are mutants vs. Sentinels in a dark and bleak future world . No super powers bites on the evil robots that have been programmed to exterminate all who deviate from the norm. Is it Putin who has been on the go ? Nah, but the scientist Bolivar Trask , the principal / worst invention run amok long after his death . They have been effective : only a few mutants exist. The heroes that we know from before - with Storm, Iceman, Kitty and Colossus in the forefront - are helped by new abilities to hold its own against the seemingly immortal threat. But this requires desperate measures . Thankfully, Kitty mutated into a living time machine that can send an alert to the 1970s.
Wolverine enrolling volunteer for a mental time travel , and jump back to an era when Charles Xavier still had hair and Mystique was none other than Katniss Everdeen . Now he just cheer up a depressed Professor X , relieve a heavily guarded Magneto and convince them to jointly put a stop to a common future enemy.
Here, then, a sequel to the original trilogy , while a prequel , but mostly a sequel to the previous prequeln , some ten years later in the timeline. It's not quite as mindfuckigt as it sounds, even if the questions will be many ( Dog not Xavier in 3rd gear ? Have no aged since "First Class" ? ) .
Number five in the superhero series on peacekeeping mutants , or number seven if you count the Wolverines standalone adventure (and it should be done to get the greatest joy of this ) is the least self-contained. At this point , it is assumed that the audience is familiar with the layup and the lead characters . As posted thus to upload a movie marathon and go on Easter egg hunt : it feels like the earlier parts deliberately planted some things for upcoming movies . You may recall the giant robot as Wolverine cocky picks apart in the battle simulator in "X-Men : The Last Stand " ?
Maximum dividend is likely to go to those who devoured comic books and longed to see both the Sentinels and a bunch of new characters on the big screen . Coolest is Quicksilver , played by Evan Peters. A hip buster with hoary and an ability to stop time , which he demonstrates fairest scenes in the film .
Most others will disappear as quickly as they came - Extra many cameos squeezed in to pick cheap PR points and be able to call the film "the greatest superhero movie ever " . Sure, the ambitious , but the result does not feel totally sure about any item. Action scenes are schyssta but could have got to be both longer and more . The characters are cool but it is given no chance to get to know some of the new ones. Ian McKellen playing time on a total of 30 seconds is just a mortal sin. Especially when Mystiques shape changes and Wolverine's claws as usual, most space .
Long dialogue scenes however, there is ample , with more emotional talk than two seasons of " Dr . Phil" . But it 's not about the messages of alienation and acceptance, as has always been the core by the series. Rather to convince some crusty mutants on their future vocation. And it will not work on a "X-Men " movie to see mutants talk?
The next part is already planned for summer 2016. And yes , it is called this "the most epic to date ," just as the recent and earlier. Come on, Singer , needed not much for it to be amazing.
Professor Charles Xavier: Logan, I was a very different man. Lead me, guide me, be patient with me.
Logan: Patience isn't my strong suit.
Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along - her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.
From Academy Award (R)-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
The three films tell a continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, which Peter Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar (R)-winning The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, on an epic quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.
Having survived the beginning of their unexpected journey, the Company continues East, encountering along the way the skin-changer Beorn and a swarm of giant Spiders in the treacherous forest of Mirkwood. After escaping capture by the dangerous Wood-elves, the Dwarves journey to Lake-town, and finally to the Lonely Mountain itself, where they must face the greatest danger of all - a creature more terrifying than any other; one which will test not only the depth of their courage but the limits of their friendship and the wisdom of the journey itself - the Dragon Smaug.
Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. The international ensemble cast is led by Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando Bloom as Legolas. The film also stars (in alphabetical order) John Bell, Manu Bennett, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Lawrence Makoare, Sylvester McCoy, Graham McTavish, Dean O'Gorman, Mikael Persbrandt, and Aidan Turner.
The scene in "Catching Fire" that especially fired up my lingering adolescent alter-ego? When Jennifer Lawrence-essential as warrior heroine Katniss Everdeen in Round 2 of this young-adult lit-based enterprise, much in the same way that Vivien Leigh was indispensable in "Gone With the Wind"-suddenly twirls about in her would-be wedding dress during a TV interview meant to distract the downtrodden populace of Panem. What initially looks like a multi-tiered, white-frosted cage is engulfed in flames and transforms into a supple midnight-bluish winged symbol of subversion that emulates the Mockingjay, the mascot of a growing rebellion in the land. One gown represents female entrapment and expectations, the other human freedom and opportunity. Call it a Barbie-meets-Joan of Arc moment. And not every man can rock a lavender ponytail and a pompadour at the same time, but darn if Stanley Tucci's fawning oil-slick of a TV host Caesar Flickerman-part Ryan Seacrest, part Siegfried and Roy-manages to pull it off. "Girl on Fire is so cheeky," he declares of Katniss with a half-smile, half-sneer when she performs her dress trick.
Yes, fashion can be a weapon for good and a vehicle for revolution-at least in this dystopia, with its Fascist regime led by the serenely insidious President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Here, gawd-awful gaudy too often passes for style. We are talking about you, Elizabeth Banks, in the guise of giddy government-instated cheerleader Effie Trinket, with bedazzled Oompa Loompa wigs and eyelashes that appear to be leaden lace cookies. (At least she is allowed to be a warmer presence this time around.)
Katniss's quick-change act is almost topped by the sight of Lawrence going full-on Liz Taylor in "Cleopatra" with Roman-circus hair and makeup, riding in a chariot before a thunderous throng and later wearing another stunning bird-inspired outfit to a pre-Hunger Games soiree. Good thing that the flinty-eyed Oscar winner is as adept at silently conveying the haunted psyche of her ace archer as she is at showcasing these fantasy frocks. Otherwise, it would be even more obvious that-just like any other No. 2 in an ongoing franchise-"Catching Fire" is merely a placeholder. And it is particularly dour experience given Katniss's post-traumatic state of mind, as the plot simply picks up where the first movie left off and closes nowhere near to a satisfying climax.
The 2 1/2-hour running time is split in two: First, we learn that Katniss's ploy last time to upend the rules of the games so that she and faux boyfriend Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson, still unduly cuddly) would both survive as co-champions has made Penam's less fortunate think they, too, can rise against their overlords. As the supposed engaged couple go on tour to greet their fans, it becomes clear they see Katniss as an inspirational leader, a role she inch-by-inch grows to accept.
With an assist from Philip Seymour Hoffman as the too-smooth-to-be-true new gamesmaker Plutarch Heavensbee, Snow announces a special all-stars edition of the 75th-anniversary Hunger Games Quarter Quell. Former victors of previous games recruited from Panem's 12 districts will be pitted against one another, and Katniss and Peeta must put their lives on the line again.
The last hour is devoted to an Olympian death match in a mock tropical jungle. The fun, such as it is, begins with such visually intriguing challenges as toxic mist, rabid baboons and a downpour of blood. Several welcome new battle participants come aboard. Much like Hoffman, such terrific talents as Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer and Jena Malone are overqualified for their parts, but each delivers a distinctly defined character that brightens the proceedings considerably. At least Malone as the punk-cool Johanna provides Lawrence with a fierce foil to play against. The biggest and maybe only true laugh arrives when Johanna strips off her clothes in an elevator to the appreciation of Peeta and the disdain of Katniss.
Director Francis Lawrence ("I Am Legend," "Water for Elephants") is confident enough to not go too heavy on the much-disdained hand-held camerawork used by his predecessor, Gary Ross. With a script by two Oscar-winning writers, "Slumdog Millionaire"'s Simon Beaufoy and "Little Miss Sunshine"'s Michael Arndt (although credited as Michael deBruyn), the action and even the speechifying move along swiftly enough.
Yet "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" suffers from the same "something old, something borrowed " disease that is the enemy of originality in too many Hollywood efforts of late. It is difficult to enjoy a film when you are checking off all the sources it references-"Lost" and "Survivor" from television, Star Wars (what is with the Stormtrooper ripoffs?) and "The Running Man" from movies, and Roman and Greek myths.
What makes the books and the films compelling is the way they define anxieties and pop-culture obsessions in our everyday lives: anger over politicians, fascination with celebrities, a growing disgruntled underclass, addiction to reality shows and video games, the regularity of large-scale violent acts that monopolize TV coverage, and hateful outbreaks of bullying.
Of course, the one truly fresh invention-and the one that matters most-is Katniss herself. With each on-screen chapter, the poor girl from District 12 continues to fulfill her destiny as an inspiration and a rebel fighter. She is but one female, but she's the perfect antidote to the surplus of male superheroes out there.
And talk about a brewing rebellion: this is the rare action blockbuster that dares to make do without 3D. We who wear glasses already and would rather spend the ticket premium on popcorn salute you, Katniss and company .
No Loki, No likey.
And so the saga of Thor continues. We first met the mighty Asgardian in 2011, when he was arrogant, impulsive and full of hubris, only learning humility when marooned on earth and surrounded by puny humans.
He ended that film a more measured and mature warrior, which readied him to team up with The Avengers for 2012's biggest blockbuster, in which he once again helped save our planet from alien invasion. And little over 12 months later he's back for a third outing, this time in the entertaining if somewhat silly and derivative Thor: The Dark World.
The film kicks off with a prologue that finds Thor's grandfather doing battle with an army of 'Dark Elves', led by the menacing Malekith, a seriously angry elf who is hellbent on plunging the world into darkness.
His plan revolves around harnessing the power of 'The Aether', which is one of those mysterious destructive forces that films like this need in order to further their plot but
Chris Tilly Says
never properly explain.
He fails in his efforts however, but not before sacrificing the majority of his people and sticking himself and a few survivors into hibernation.
Thor's Gramps meanwhile, on realising that he can't actually destroy the Aether, instead buries it where no one will be able to find it. Of course, it's found in the first 30 minutes.
Yet while it's nice to learn about Asgard's back-story and heritage, time waits for no God, and so we immediately jump forward to the present-day, where Thor's brother Loki is imprisoned on Asgard following the events of The Avengers, his girlfriend Jane Foster is stuck on earth and wondering where he's gone and why he didn't call while said events were taking place, and Thor himself is travelling through the Nine Realms kicking ass and taking names with Lady Sif and the Warriors Three.
Alexander The Sweed skarsgård!!!