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 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.
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.
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.
Killing Season (2013)
John Travolta has not been making as many films as he used to. Ever since his son died in 2009, he has made noticeably fewer movies.
It seems like Travolta has maybe gone off the deep end because his characters have gotten angrier and more intense. His role in Killing Season appeared like it was going to continue this trend. The pairing of Robert De Niro opposite Travolta as another darker character was enough to make me want to see the film. Travolta out for revenge on De Niro on screen is bound to be entertaining.
Killing Season is about a retired war-hardened veteran (Robert De Niro) who is trying to live a quiet life in a remote cabin in the wilderness when a man from his past (John Travolta) comes back to hunt him.
The movie touches briefly on the Bosnian war, which I found interesting because I knew nothing about it.
I thought that Travolta pulled off a Serbian accent quite well. Along with his short, dark hair, facial hair, and eyebrows, he was believable as a Serbian. He certainly continued his recent trend of grittier characters and he was a likable bad guy.
De Niro has showed no sign of slowing down even at the age of 70. He ran around in the woods and held his own against the younger Travolta.
The film was a drawn out battle between two aging veterans in the style of The Most Dangerous Game (1932). One man hunted the other while the other man fought to survive.
The movie was a little too predictable at times. However, the quality acting, moderately intense action, and the built up tension throughout the film was enough to make up for where it was lacking, and ultimately made the movie worth watching.
Without spoiling the film, I think that the movie would have benefited from having more time spent hunting. If the chase was a little more spread out, the film might have been less predictable.
The movie is a 2 man show. The bottom line is if you are a fan of De Niro or Travolta, then you will probably enjoy Killing Season.
I rate this movie a 6.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.