The Hunger Games – Catching Fire: Now This Is More Like It

by Ethan Alter November 21, 2013 11:55 pm
<i>The Hunger Games – Catching Fire</i>: Now <i>This</i> Is More Like It

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire instantly goes on the short list of sequels that not only surpass the original film, but the source material as well. (For the record, I'd also put the second James Bond outing From Russia with Love and Peter Jackson's thrilling distillation of The Two Towers in that rarefied air.)

The Directorial <i>Hunger Games</i>: We Pick Gary Ross’ <i>Catching Fire</i> Replacement

After a few days of "is he in or is he out" speculation, The Hunger Games director Gary Ross finally made it official yesterday: he will not be returning to helm the second installment in the wildly successful YA (and now film) franchise, Catching Fire. This leaves the movie, which is set to begin filming in the fall for a November 2013 release date, without a guiding hand behind the camera. While Lionsgate will move to fill the director's chair quickly, the question of who will and should nab this plum assignment will be bouncing around Hollywood (and Hunger Games fan sites) for the next few days. Personally, we're excited at the prospect of seeing what another filmmaker might bring to the series because while Ross certainly deserves credit for getting the series off the ground -- and bringing the best out of Jennifer Lawrence -- based on what we saw in the first film, there's definitely room for improvement. Here's our own personal wish list for Catching Fire's helmer:

The Hunger Games: Katniss Deserves Better

by Ethan Alter March 22, 2012 11:30 am
<i>The Hunger Games</i>: Katniss Deserves Better

If there's a single takeaway from The Hunger Games, the first of four planned movies based on the omnipresent YA book franchise by Suzanne Collins, it's that Jennifer Lawrence is a genuine, true blue, big time movie star. Coming off a deservedly acclaimed breakout performance in the indie drama Winter's Bone and a strong supporting turn in last summer's comic book blockbuster X-Men: First Class, the actress picks up the archer's bow wielded by Katniss Everdeen, the girl revolutionary at the center of the novels. On the page, Katniss functions as a kind of wish-fulfillment character for every teen reader -- girls and boys alike -- that has ever felt alienated and aggrieved by an unjust society. (And that's pretty much every teenager from the dawn of time.) The great accomplishment of Lawrence's performance is that she takes a person that every fan of the book has imagined themselves being and makes her completely her own. From the opening scenes, she's completely locked in to Katniss's headspace and vividly portrays her transformation from amateur hunter to battle-tested fighter. So yes, Lawrence is terrific. The movie itself, unfortunately, is a disappointment.

What If the Hunger Games Movie Had Been Made 10 Years Ago?

by Rachel Stein March 20, 2012 4:19 pm
What If the <i>Hunger Games</i> Movie Had Been Made 10 Years Ago?

The standards for budget, special effects and an audience's tolerance for teenagers killing each other are much higher now than they were back in the early '00s -- a fact made extremely clear when Battle Royale was essentially banned from United States theaters. But what if this week's The Hunger Games movie had been released in 2002? (Yes, we know the book would've had to existed first, but just go with it.) Who would've starred in it? What would the music have been like? Would it have been better than the actual 2012 version? Let's speculate:

Trailers Without Pity: The Hunger Games

by Ethan Alter February 23, 2012 3:14 pm
Trailers Without Pity: <i>The Hunger Games</i>

It's T-minus one month until the March 23 release The Hunger Games, which you all named your most anticipated 2012 release in our Movies Without Pity Awards. And we like the way you think.

Five Thoughts About The Hunger Games Trailer

by Ethan Alter August 29, 2011 6:00 am
Five Thoughts About <i>The Hunger Games</i> Trailer

Leave it to The Girl on Fire to ignite an otherwise sparks-free awards show. Last night's Video Music Awards offered the usual mix of underwhelming live performances (Adele excepted), slumming movie stars shilling for their upcoming features (way to slip a Moneyball reference into your stage patter with Nicki Minaj, Jonah Hill!), forced acceptance speeches (could Katy and Kanye have looked more awkward?) and embarrassing attempts at comedy (go back to your day job Kevin Hart... whatever that is). But things finally started looking up towards the end of the night when Jennifer Lawrence appeared via videotape to introduce the first footage from The Hunger Games, the upcoming film version of Suzanne Collins' best-selling novel (the first in a trilogy) that's due in theaters on March 23, 2012.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 4, 2014

by Ethan Alter March 4, 2014 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Jennifer Lawrence gets her Hunger Games face on.

Five Unexpectedly Great Philip Seymour Hoffman Performances

by Ethan Alter February 3, 2014 2:45 pm
Five Unexpectedly Great Philip Seymour Hoffman Performances

In recent years, it's been taken for granted that Philip Seymour Hoffman could do just about anything. That's the kind of trust a performer builds with both filmmakers and moviegoers when he or she is able to cultivate the kind of long and varied career that Hoffman enjoyed right up until his tragic passing on February 2.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, August 14, 2012

by Ethan Alter August 14, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Now that the Olympics are over, check out the deadliest sporting event out (future) Earth.

Movies Without Pity Awards Week 5: The Best of the Rest

by Ethan Alter February 6, 2012 11:00 am
Movies Without Pity Awards Week 5: The Best of the Rest

We've arrived at the fifth and final week of voting in our second-annual Movies Without Pity Awards. And, just like Oscar night, we've saved the biggest categories for last. Think The Artist really is the best movie of the year, as the Academy seems poised to decide? Or would you cast your vote for its fellow nominees Moneyball, War Horse or The Tree of Life instead? Or maybe you'd like to pick a movie completely overlooked by Oscar, like, say Attack the Block, The Muppets or Margaret.

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