Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games Review Edition

Welcome back to the Entertainment Guru News and Views page, where this week I will continue the trend of reviewing a recent movie I watched. You may have heard of the movie I saw last week with my girlfriend Lord called "The Hunger Games".

First, I thought I would break down the cast a little bit. I didn't want to just do a standard movie review this time around. So I thought I would talk about the cast a little to get started. The main character is Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawerence. I had only seen her in one movie prior, and she wasn't exactly a lead in it. That would of course be X-Men: First Class, but let us not forget she is an Oscar Nominee for Winter's Bone. Then we have Josh Hutcherson, who was a child actor (of sorts) that grew up before our eyes. These two were basically the leads. I honestly love what they did as far as casting goes. I personally think movies like the Harry Potter series casted the same way. Add a few young actors (mostly no named actors) and give them the best possible supporting cast possible. In Potter, it was the teachers, etc. Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt, etc. In Hunger Games, we get people like Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz and Wes Bentley.

You may have noticed I left out two people that are shown in the trailers and commercials. However, Liam Hemsworth and Elizabeth Banks, while fine actors, are not exactly showcased in the movie. Hemsworth has one big scene, and the rest of the time he is silent and just brooding. Elizabeth Banks has more scenes then that, but she disappears half way through the movie and isn't needed again. Donald Sutherland does his evil best as President Snow, the man in charge of the Hunger games. He is one step away from being Emperor Palpatine. You would never expect a nice sweet old man to be that callous. But he is. Stanley Tucci plays Ceaser Flickman (which is an awesome name, can I tell you?) who is basically the David Letterman of the Games. He interviews everyone, right before they go out and kill people. Lenny Kravitz plays Cinna, the Tim Gunn of Panem. He is the stylist that will make it work! Wes Bentley (while probably the less known of the actors) plays Seneca Crane, the man who calls the shots of the games. He will create fire to get what he or President Snow wants. He is the Game Maker, and in charge of creating everything the 24 Tributes will deal with while trying to survive. Then you have Woody Harrelson who is perfect as the mentor Haymitch. I had read the book first, and I think they changed his character the most of any of them. I think there are things that could have been said about him to make him more of a sympathetic character like I found him to be in the book. But Woody still does his best. Harrelson has definitely come a long way from playing Woody Boyd on Cheers, my first exposure to him.

My only concern with the movie was there was a lot of shaky camera work. There are times that it makes sense, but there was times it just seemed unneccessary. But if that is my only complaint, you know it's a good movie.

It has alot of different elements going for it. Action? Check! Drama? Yup! Romance? For sure. The movie is almost 2 and a half hours long, but it no where near feels that way. The movie just zips by, and very few moments are spent wasted on useless stuff. It definitely isn't for the young children. It basically is kid on kid violence. But they even do a good job of limiting the gore and blood. There are sometimes it is inevitable, but this is no where a blood bath like it could have been.

I do highly recommend the movie, especially if you liked the books.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dueling Movie Review Edition

The Biggest story in the world right now is the "bomb" that was Disney's John Carter. I put the word in quotations because while I admit it wasn't the biggest success in Disney history, to use the word bomb is not accurate either. It won't make it's cost, that's for sure. And I think that's why the B word is being used as frequently as it is. However, a movie that opens at # 2 and has made over Forty five million dollars is barely a bomb. I just look at how movies like "A Thousand Words" or "Wander Lust" combined probably won't hit $45 million dollars and they have more Star Power then John Carter does. "This Means War" has been out for 4 months and only made 46.9 million dollars. Does that make it a bomb too? Again, I know they are using the word bomb because it won't make what it costs. But clearly, there is evidence out there to say that it is not a bomb. Because if we are SOLELY going on box office earned, there is a movie out there that has been out in theaters for sixteen weeks now and hasn't made what John Carter did in 3 weeks. So that must make it a true bomb right? It's a shame, cause you know... it won a few Oscars including Best Picture! "The Artist" has only made 40.2 million as of March 11th.

John Carter was either going to be a hit or a miss. For any movie that spends as much to make as they did for this movie, you are taking your chances. Unfortunately, it failed to find it's target audience and it gets the horrible label it got.

I have gone to the movie theaters twice in the last few weeks recently. So now I will begin my dueling Reviews! Starting with Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. Now granted I am not the target audience for the movie. But It was a really cute movie. The voices include Taylor Swift as the love interest and Zac Efron as the boy in love with her. Danny DeVito is perfect as The Lorax. Obviously when you have a short ten page story that you are making into a feature length script, you will need to develop other stories to make it fit. The love story was cute. The two villians in the script were voiced by Rob Riggle and Ed Helms. But of course, as usual the person who stole the show was Betty White as Zac Efron's grandmother. I do reccommend the movie to anyone. My only concern was how incredibly politcal the movie was for a kids movie. But again, I think it had to be with the source material.

Then this week I went and saw 21 Jump Street with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. I didn't watch the original show when I was growing up. But if you are in the mood for a fun action comedy, I highly recommend this movie. It was a great bit of role reversal with Jonah Hill playing the cool kid and Channing Tatum has a bit of an outcast. The movie was very tongue in cheek. It never took itself too seriously. There was a line where one of the characters basically admitted that Hollywood has run out of ideas and we are just watching old stuff rehashed as new stuff. My girlfriend Lori and I were the only ones laughing at that line, because it's true. The younger kids in the audience probably didn't even know the movie was based off of a TV show in the 80's. It was incredibly funny from start to finish. Only one bit to me didn't work as well as they intended it to (Wow? That's the thing that actually blows up?) As soon as I saw the trailer I was looking forward to the movie, and it lived up to the hype! See this movie!

Next up is going to be my review of another eagerly anticipated movie "The Hunger Games".