A brand new Mockingjay Part II trailer was released today and it looks absolutely heart racing. From the trailer it looks like things are picking up right where Part I ended and boy are they heating up.
I’m super excited for this last installment of the Hunger Games franchise. So far the Mockingjay installment has been my favorite of the series. Something was missing from my chest when the lights went up after Part I. I was incredibly moved. The second part is bound to be just as breath taking.
This is a film America really needs to see right now. With the parallels of police brutality and class struggle between Panem and our own world, Mockingjay sends a powerful message. We need to unite as people and overthrow that which oppresses us. While a film franchise is hardly the solution to these problems, it raises awareness and gives the public a vessel through which to learn. Mockingjay Part II couldn’t come soon enough.
FOX Studios must have had a brilliant plan up there sleeves all along for marketing X-Men: Apocalypse. At San Diego Comic Con, they released the first red band trailer to extremely excited audiences and the whole thing really amped up the buzz around the film. Alas, FOX says that footage will remain for SDCC audiences only, so unless you saw the pirated footage that was leaked on the internet (which you shouldn’t have, because that’s stealing, but if you did OH MY GOD THAT WAS AWESOME RIGHT?! Not that I’ve seen it or anything…) you may be out of luck.
However, FOX teamed up with Entertainment Weekly to give non-SDCC attending audiences a glimpse of the film to hopefully get them just as pumped. The new issue of EW will hit news stands on July 24, 2015 and will feature a full-length introduction to the film and several characters and their costumes. Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Apocalypse himself (Oscar Isaac) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) grace the cover, and on the inside spread we get glimpses of Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Professor X (James McAvoy), Moira McTaggert (Rose Byrne), Beast (Nick Hoult) as well as first looks at new comer mutants Jubilee (Lana Condor), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), amd Jean Grey (Sophie Turner).
You can look at the first photos here, and be sure to pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly when it comes out next week.
All images belong to FOX Studios and Entertainment Weekly. They are credited to Alan Markfield.
Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is seen in the poster looking svelte in a red outfit that is sure to kill. The ‘fit also comes with a set of matching arrows. To die for.
The teaser shows Miss Everdeen standing on the District 12 statue and then a cutaway to a message from District 13.
The marketing for this franchise is incredibly clever, mirroring the same tactics Panem and President Snow use to instill fear in the people. Too bad for him because the rebellion is here, and it is looking really good.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 will be in theater November 20th, 2015.
Genre – Sci-Fi Dystopian/Book Adaptation
Director – Francis Lawrence (Catching Fire)
Cast – Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Phillip Seymour Hoffman (RIP), Julianne Moore, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson
Alluring element – S*** finally gets real in the Hunger Games saga!
Check it out if you liked – The Hunger Games franchise, other young adult lit turned film
When Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games adaptation came to the big screen, I was ecstatic. Me, who had been a literary disaster since choosing to go to an engineering college after high school, who had not read a book without pictures in it since Huckleberry Finn. The Hunger Games was the first story where I felt fully immersed in the world I was reading about.So far, the movies have been pretty great at capturing that same fire (heh) and excitement that I had when I read the books for the first time. Heck, we gave Catching Fire a 91%. Only a year has passed since the second installment came out, but so much has happened since.
Jennifer Lawrence’s off-screen drama has been a severe distraction (not her fault, but a reality nevertheless), and the thought of a grown and sexy JLaw (ala American Hustle) was just too awkward when you consider she is playing a 17 year old Katniss Everdeen. The negative reception that the film has received since its release was disheartening. Going in, all this movie had to do to impress us was, quite blatantly, not suck. The result was one of mixed feelings; this film far from sucked, but from the start, we definitely felt that Mockingjay did not need to be split into two films – something that really has, or ever will, only worked for Harry Potter. The final movie in the trilogy had the potential to be the heart-pounding finale that we all deserved, but instead, the heart-wrenching powerful moments were broken up by a casually-paced and matter-of-fact story progression.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me tell you how much I genuinely enjoyed Mockingjay. The arena has always been one of the more interesting aspects of the books, and so by actually pulling our heads out of the District 12 sandbox we’ve had our heads in this whole time, we are able to connect to the other Districts. That connection is really what drives the film until the end. From Katniss’ guest appearance in District 8 to District 5’s courageous effort at the dam, you understand that everybody is fighting against a common goal. Katniss, the Mockingjay, is at the center of all this, but while it might seem like she is the spark of hope, she is turned into nothing short of a puppet, a symbol for hope, by District 13 President Coin. It actually reminded me of the way Captain America was used to punch fake Hitlers and rile up the crowd when he had a perfectly adequate skills for actually taking on the enemy. And like Captain America, Katniss pushes herself right into harms way to get her point across.
Another big theme here is propaganda, or propos as Heavensbee would like to to call them. Basically spitting back out the same strategies that the Capitol is using against them, District 13 sends their camera crew to follow Katniss and get usable footage for these advertisements is really no better than your local Congressmen’s ads that run during Scandal. The only reason I can forgive it from 13 is that they have Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones) on the mic. But seriously, taking advantage of Katniss’ vulnerability (and, in the process, turning Jennifer Lawrence into a pop star!) during her “Hanging Tree” performance is really just as despicable as the Capitol using Peeta against her. It’s a topic I wish the film would have dove in on, especially since it had two hours to do so. Katniss is just a tool, and will be treated with such revery only as long as it serves District 13’s purpose.
On the bright side, we get a noticeable decline in both Blair Witch camera and Jennifer Lawrence cry face – a repeat offender in the first couple films. The supporting cast this time around was much stronger, too. Julianne Moore and Phillip Seymour Hoffman (RIP) play a perfect President Coin and Plutarch Heavensbee, and on the other side of the mirror, Donald Sutherland is even more frightening than before as President Snow. Jeffrey Wright also makes his return as the genius Beetee, who is finally realized as the vital character that always has been. It’s also nice to see him back to being a good guy after his villainous stint in Boardwalk Empire. The old gang also makes a return, with a made-down Effie Trinket and sober Haymitch rounding out the cast with Gale, ever-ready to play soldier and submit himself to the cause.
At some point in the movie, the revolution turned into a love story. I know this is a movie aimed at teenagers, but it can get eye-rolling at the fact that, in a middle of a rebellion, with so many other brave and adult decisions being made, a young woman’s sole interest is not overthrowing the government, but saving her boyfriend. I’ve read that Jennifer Lawrence once tried out for Bella in Twilight; well, it looks like she won’t have to be in a sucky vampire movie to play the role of Bumbling Idiot in a Love Triangle; she has that already. This is not a love story, and it doesn’t need to be a love story to keep teenage girls interested.
Overall, I really enjoyed Mockingjay: Part 1. There are many things happening and in an entirely new environment – enough to keep me engaged the entire time (and I am notorious for falling asleep through movies). That being said, I’m still convinced that a single movie to encompass the third book should have been in order. For its own two-hour block, it would have nice to touch over the more subtle themes of the book – especially the propaganda. If they were going to use it in the promotional materials, why not discuss it in the movie? There is simply too much exposition for this film to catch fire like its predecessor did. However, with the finale guaranteed to break hearts and box office records, there’s still a lot to look forward to when the finale rolls around next November.
All pictures belong to Lionsgate production company.
I was lucky enough to see an advance screen of The Fault in Our Stars last week and I am still dizzy from the emotions it surfaced for me. I’ll admit that I am a bit biased when it comes to this movie. The Fault in Our Stars is my favorite book and it means a great deal to me, personally. Author John Green shares a YouTube Channel with his brother Hank called “The Vlogbrothers,” of which I am a massive fan. Their fans are called Nerdfighters (fighting for nerds, not against them) and they are some of the most passionate, intelligent, caring people you will ever meet. While writing the novel, John documented his progress as well as read the first two chapters to his fans via Livestream before the book was even published. The Nerdfighters were even able to catch a mistake in the book before it was printed. So when I say I’ve been with this story since the beginning, I mean the very beginning. Seeing this story finally hit the big screen feels like a triumph.
Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is an atypical teenager living with cancer, oxygen tank trailing forever behind her. While medication and frequent doctors visits have extended her life quite a bit, she is very much aware that she is dying. After being deemed depressed by both her mother and doctor, Hazel begins attending a cancer support group. It is here that she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a charismatic, sly, metaphoric loving cancer survivor determined to make his mark on the world. Together they find “a forever within the numbered days,” a love that transcends their illness, and an adventure that makes them both feel infinitely alive whilst on the border of death.
Lovers of the novel will be extremely satisfied with the adaptation. Countless scenes have dialogue directly pulled from the book. The casting could not be more perfect. I personally can not see anyone but Shailene Woodley playing Hazel and Ansel Elgort makes the perfect Augustus. While the movie was actually shot in Pittsburgh, set designers and cinematographers were able to make it feel very much like Indiana, scouring out every flat piece of land they could find and recreating the sculpture “Funky Bones”with such detail that the original curator Sarah Green couldn’t tell the difference. Watching the film felt like reading the book all over again. The few scenes they cut I didn’t even notice until later watching an interview with John Green. It is clear that the people behind the movie cared for the book just as much as it’s diehard fans.
While Augustus may be “on a roller coaster than only goes up,” this film takes its audience for an emotionally diverse ride, so much so that DFTBA.com sells a “TFIOS Preparedness Kit” – tissues included. Witty dialogue and ingenious timing create a laughable atmosphere throughout the movie, allowing the audience to believe everything is going to be okay just long enough that when things take a turn for the worse, it cuts all the deeper. However, despite how much the movie made me cry, I still wouldn’t classify it as a sad movie. The Fault in Our Stars is just as much about life as it is about sickness and death. The characters are joyful through much of the film. They are falling in love with each other and with life, despite how little time they have left. In fact, it may because of their mortality that they are able to do this so freely. One thing should be made clear; this is not a cancer story. Yes, it’s a love story about two kids with cancer. Yes, Hazel’s oxygen tank and Augustus’prosthetic leg makes it abundantly clear they’re ill. Still, The Fault in Our Stars is a story about people faced with their own mortality and the mortality of their loved ones. It’s about laying things clean and dry on the table to stop beating around the bush. It’s about two young adults realizing that this life is all they are going to get and that that’s just fine. Their lives are not perfect, in fact they’re far from, but they are still lives that demands to be lived to their fullest. This is a story about overcoming pain and finding joy despite it. This is not a cancer story.
The soundtrack alone could warrant a review. Ranging from big names like Ed Sheeran and Birdy to lesser known, but just as talented artists such as Afasi and Filthy, the album’s mood fluctuates similarly to the film but still manages to be cohesive. “Bomfelleralla,” a personal favorite of mine, may be the only song that doesn’t seem to quite fit until you see the film. It’s plucked directly out of a scene where Van Houten (Willem Dafoe) plays the song for Hazel and Augustus.
The Fault in Our Stars is an important story because it shows that cancer patients are not their illness and have lives outside it. It shows sickness in a light we rarely get to see. So often we look at someone with a cannula and all we see is their sickness. We visualize them as “the other”when they are very much just like us. The Fault in Our Stars breaks down this “otherness”with a story about two lovers who are like every other couple. They just happen to have cancer.
The film comes out June 6th but if you hurry, you can see it early. Theaters all over the US are hosting “The Night Before the Stars”where audiences can see the film the day before it comes out as well as a following livestream including cast members Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Nat Wolff (who plays Issac) , Author John Green, Director Josh Boone, Producer Wyck Godfrey, and performances from Birdy and Nat and Alex Wolff. Attendees will also receive a commemorative charm bracelet and exclusive movie poster. Tickets are $25 and going fast.
Even if you haven’t read the book (though I sincerely recommend you do) The Fault in Our Stars is a film you will find yourself thinking about long after the credits roll. From the brilliant cast to the heart wrenching plot, this film is destined to be a Summer hit.
All photos belong to 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics
After the foul tail-end of the original X-Men trilogy, followed up with two more poorly-received Wolverine movies, Bryan Singer and company attempts to start all over with Days of Future Past. Do they succeed? Yes, but like its source material, it is not without its flaws.
When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the X-Men in the 1960’s, the team was spawned from a reflection of the Civil Rights movement. Social commentary through badass super-powers became the norm. So when Chris Claremont progressed the subject into one of total annihilation with Days of Future Past, it was as much a nod to the mutually assured destruction of war as it was about saving the world from evil sentinels.
That’s not to say that I wanted the movie to be preachy, but at the heart of the X-Men concept is that of a team. The idea that everybody can have their own favorite X-Man, and they were all useful tools in the struggle, was one that appealed to me as a kid, watching the X-Men animated series. However, this movie was really boiled down to four main characters: Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine and Mystique. The movie was marketed as including a slew of side characters from the future, as well as a reunion of the original cast; instead, they showed up to be collateral – with their forced dramatic deaths failing to make me feel the gravity of the situation.
X-Men has always been a team concept, and this movie turned it into an excuse to flaunt their biggest stars. We get it; Huge Jacked Man and the glory of Jennifer Lawrence’s Bloobs are hard to pass up, and the McAvoy/Fassbender chemistry feels just as authentic as Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen do. However, if you’re going to sell this as X-Men movie, can we get some more X-Men in there? Not every team movie needs to be The Avengers (thanks Joss, for setting the bar impossibly high), but the camaraderie here doesn’t even hold a candle to the original X-Men, or even First Class.
All of a sudden, having an all-star cast is more important than a well-rounded cast – a sentiment I’d be fine with on almost anything that wasn’t the X-Men. They do a decent round-about way of making Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine the centerpiece over Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde, until you realize that Kitty Pryde never had the ability to send anybody else’s consciousness back in time. It’s not that I’m that upset Singer’s Kitty Pryde didn’t get the main role, since Bishop filled in the role quite well in the animated series. There were a ton of other logical brain-farts we saw throughout that seem to be credited to tying in the horrible Last Stand in order to make the whole saga canon – a valiant effort, but still a sham.
One place DOFP absolutely succeeds is in the portrayal of Quicksilver, who helps the team break into the Pentagon and free Magneto from imprisonment. Played by American Horror Story‘s Evan Peters, Peter (Singer felt his comic book name, Pietro, isn’t a realistic name for a teenager) Maximoff is self-indulgent and hilarious, but is intrigued by the challenge of the prison break. There’s a particular sequence where Quicksilver shows off his skills that gave me the butterflies like a superhero movie is supposed to (something I definitely did not feel throughout the rest of the movie), and was around just long enough to make me want more.
Mystique also takes center stage here, and she kicks ass. Jennifer Lawrence absolutely owes it to her stunt double. Lawrence herself is not believable as Mystique, often coming across as a rebellious teenager. There’s just something about her face that doesn’t fit the look (we debated on whether it was the chin, cheeks or her large forehead that we didn’t like), but the fight scenes were incredible. She isn’t the only character that falls flat with me; Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, who had one of the most amazing displays in First Class turns into nothing more than a caricature of himself here. It’s a shame to see a character so complex turned into a one-dimensional bad guy.
For being a movie based off a two-issue comic book, Days of Future Past does a good job of spacing the story out over its 2 hr 11 min runtime. There are a handful of awkward stares off into the distance I could have done without, and there’s a Magneto scene involving a entire stadium off the ground that feels forced and anti-climatic, but that’s neither here nor there. The sentinels looked spectacular (both past and future), and Peter Dinklage’s Bolivar Trask was a great addition to the movie. In the comics, he is the creator of the sentinel program, and his role is practically a seamless swap for Senator Robert Kelly (the target in the books).
Cleverly enough, the DNA swipe of Mystique, which is used to create the chameleon-esque sentinels of the future, isn’t impossible to believe. The genetic engineering process as we know it, “the direct transfer of DNA from one organism to another,” was invented in 1973, the same year the past events take place. The snippets of 70’s style reel film to capture the mutant attacks were also a nice touch. Some of it didn’t really work for me. Weeks after the new Godzilla film blamed Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Godzilla himself, Magneto takes the fall for the assassination of JFK. Nice try, guys. What’s next? Did Aquaman knock over the levees in New Orleans, too?
This was supposed to be the resurgence of the X-Men franchise. To be fair, a lot of the complaints I had about the movie were fanboy-driven, but I feel like this formula is really starting to wear on me. The need to make this an “epic,” detracts from the point of the story, and clutters it with a bunch of nothing. I mean, when the half-hour animated episode does a better job at telling a story than the $200 million budgeted film, I can’t help but leave disappointed.
The magic of Days of Future Past comes from Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask and Evan Peters as Quicksilver. Those aside, its been over a decade later and we’re still relying on special effects to sell creativity, forcing dramatic stare-offs to make people feel like important scenes are unfolding, and using Scott Summers to cock-block Wolverine. The more things change, the more they stay the same. And that’s the problem…
All photos belong to 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics
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