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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)


The Hunger Games Catching Fire Poster

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

As I mentioned in my review of The Hunger Games (2012), I told my friend that I would see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with him, even though I was not very interested in either of the films.  I’m not going to watch a sequel to a film without first watching the original, so I watched The Hunger Games at home before going out to the theatre.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Hunger Games, and this made me excited to see the sequel.  I would certainly not recommend watching The Hunger Games: Catching Fire without first watching The Hunger Games.  It is pretty much essential to watch the movies in order.

I would advise against reading the rest of this review if you have not yet seen The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire Harrelson Hutcherson Lawrence

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire picks up where the first film left off.  Through an act of defiance, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) were the winners of the 74th annual Hunger Games.  Their public defiance was enough for the government to want to make an example out of them by punishing them in hopes of preventing a revolution.

The film was directed by Francis Lawrence and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Lenny Kravitz, Liam Hemsworth, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Jena Malone, and Toby Jones.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire Hutcherson Banks Lawrence

Like most sequels, I expected this movie to be a step down from the first film.  My expectations were wrong once again.  It’s a rare thing that a sequel is better than its predecessor, but this is exactly the case with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  It’s as if the filmmakers ironed out all of the kinks from the first movie in order to make the sequel.

Everything that I liked and disliked about The Hunger Games was improved upon in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  It was another welcomed surprise.  The acting was more passionate, the special effects were sharper, the story was more interesting, and the quality of the film as a whole was just plain better.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire Lawrence Hutcherson

Fans of The Hunger Games will undoubtedly like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire even more.  The film is a higher caliber and therefore delivers a stronger potency.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

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The Hunger Games (2012)


The Hunger Games Poster

The Hunger Games (2012)

I’m not usually the type of guy to rush out and see a movie like The Hunger Games in theatres.  I guess that is why I had not seen the film, until now.  I probably would have put off seeing this movie even longer, but since a friend of mine wanted to see the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) in theatres, I thought it best that I see the films in order.

People have raved about this movie, but it just wasn’t a must-see for me, even though, for the most part, it has a very solid cast.  I don’t know if it is the PG-13 rating or what, but it just appeared to me like it would be a teenie-bopper film of sorts.

The Hunger Games Banks Lawrence

The movie takes place in the future where a society is split up into twelve districts.  Once a year a lottery takes place in order to select a young man and a young woman from each of the twelve districts to take part in a televised battle to the death called The Hunger Games.  The latest Hunger Games gets its first volunteer, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).  Katniss volunteers in order to protect her younger sister from almost certain death.  Now, Katniss is facing the same odds.

The film was directed by Gary Ross and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Wes Bentley, Lenny Kravitz, Liam Hemsworth, and Toby Jones.

The Hunger Games Lawrence Bow

I’m not sure that I buy into the concept of a society that would force a few of its residents to battle in a fight to the death.  The idea was a little bit of a stretch.  However, it did remind me a little bit of gladiators being forced to fight in an arena.  It’s a backwards advanced warped society that would be a sick world to live in.  Maybe I just hope that it could never get that bad, but given the world that we live in, maybe I’m just in denial.  After all, if the holocaust can happen, maybe something like this could too.  A movie like this that takes place in the future can get away with a concept like this one, because nobody knows what the future holds.

The film was a cross between The Most Dangerous Game (1932), Death Race (2008), and Gladiator (2000).

The Hunger Games was certainly better than I anticipated it would be. The big name actors in the movie all played their parts well.  However, it was ultimately Jennifer Lawrence’s film.  It was an intensely engaging, heartfelt movie with lots of cool visuals and a good soundtrack.

The Hunger Games Hutcherson

At times, the graphics were a bit overdone and almost too colorful.  Some of the costumes were far out.  The technology in the film seemed a little too advanced for a poor society.  All of these things temporarily took away from the story along with a touch of lower quality acting from the lesser known supporting cast members.

Overall, The Hunger Games was a big surprise to me.  It far exceeded my expectations and I wish I had given it a chance sooner, because I didn’t give it the credit that it deserves.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Trailer for Paranoia (2013)


Paranoia Poster

Paranoia (2013)

 

A young man (Liam Hemsworth) gets caught up spying on one major corporation for another major corporation.  Eventually the young man gets in way over his head in the midst of the war between the men in charge of each company (Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford). The rest of the notable cast includes Richard Dreyfuss, Amber Heard, Josh Holloway, Lucas Till, Julian McMahon, Angela Sarafyan, and Kevin Kilner. From the director of 21 (2008), Robert Luketic. A corporate espionage thriller with Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, and Richard Dreyfuss, enough said. The movie is set to release on 8/16/13.