Archive for Jennifer Lawrence

The 10 movies to look forward to in 2012

Posted in Lists, Upcoming Releases with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2012 by judsonw

On paper, 2012 should be the most incredible year for movies of all time. Unfortunately, most of the time the most promising films turn out to be the most disappointing. Nevertheless, these are the top 10 movies of 2012 that show the most promise and the ones I’m most excited for.

10. Skyfall (November 9)

Sure, Quantum of Solace was a huge disappointment after the fantastic revival that was Casino Royale. My hopes are still high that the franchise will return to the heights of that action masterpiece. The addition of Sam Mendes as director is unusual in the best of ways.

9. The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)

My first thought when I found out they were “rebooting” the Spider-Man movie franchise with an all new director, cast and vision was “why?” The original 3 films are mostly excellent (3 has its fair share of problems) and the last film was released a mere 5 years ago in 2007. But then Mark Webb (500 Days of Summer) signed on as director, then Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy (not Mary Jane – plus!), then Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) as Peter Parker. I have much love for Tobey McGuire and company, but I’m ready for some fresh blood in the spidey tights.

8. The Avengers (May 4)

Finally, here is what all the Marvel movies of the past 4 years have been leading up to. Ever since Samuel L. Jackson stepped into the home of Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man, we knew that all these movies were going to be connected in some way. A culmination of millions and millions of dollars, lots of talent and hard work, and a cast of different personalities – it’s hard to imagine director Joss Whedon letting us down.

7. Brave (June 22)

It’s hard to be too excited about the next Pixar movie after the money grab that was Cars 2, but Brave has everything Pixar needs to get back on its feet. It takes place in beautiful mythical Scotland and features the studio’s first female protagonist. Count me in.

6. Gravity (November 21)

Alfonso Cuaron. First movie since 2005’s masterpiece Children of Men. Set in space. Sandra Bullock. George Clooney. Enough said.

5. Prometheus (June 8)

With every Ridley Scott movie, I’m sucked in to thinking that it’s going to be great. It’s hard to accept the fact that the director just isn’t the same as when he made such movies as Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator. What makes Prometheus so promising, however, is that it’s Scott’s welcome return to the world of sci-fi. Reportedly a “prequel at heart” to the original Alien, the script is written by Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof and has a banging cast. Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, the original girl with the dragon tattoo Noomi Rapace, Patrick Wilson, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba. I usually try to avoid watching trailers of movies I want to see, but my curiosity got the better of me on this one. If the actual film lives up to the trailer’s astonishing visuals, then we’re in for a treat.

4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 14)

I was a little disappointed when Guillermo Del Toro dropped out of the filming as director, but the only one who could do the justice of replacing him was Peter Jackson. The Lord of the Rings trilogy has to be one of the greatest achievements in film of all time, and I’m very excited to see how Jackson can top it (can he possibly?)

3. The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)

How can any movie buff not be enormously excited for Christopher Nolan’s conclusion to his Batman series? The Dark Knight  may have been the best event film of the past 10 years, so it’ll be hard to top. Tom Hardy’s Bane looks like an intriguing villain (maybe not Joker-intriguing) and the fact that essentially the same people are involved keep my expectations high.

2. The Hunger Games (March 23)

This makes me nervous. The adaptation could either be a disaster or a great cinematic achievement. The talent behind the film (Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Gary Ross) gives me hope and all the images from the production seem to be spot on. The source material is excellent – a unique and brutal story with a very strong female main character. It’ll be very hard to translate everything great about the book to the screen. Fingers crossed.

1. Django Unchained (December 25)

If a new Quentin Tarantino film is being released, it automatically goes to the top of my most anticipated list. Tarantino proved he could do no wrong in another time period with Inglourious Basterds’ WWII setting. Now he goes even deeper in the past – Mississippi slave time. The plot is about a slave-turned-bounty hunter, with the help of his mentor, setting out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. Check out this cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Sascha Baron Cohen, Christoph Waltz, Kurt Russell. I’m already salivating.




The “next” Harry Potter? A look at The Hunger Games as a movie franchise

Posted in Action, Film Industry, Interesting..., Upcoming Releases with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by judsonw

On July 15, the final piece of the Harry Potter saga will unleash itself upon the world. After “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” arguably the most popular and loved series of books will officially end as a narrative (there will of course still be theme parks, online experiences, etc). So what new book series will take its place? The Twlight series may come close to Harry Potter’s rabid fan base, but that movie franchise is also coming to an end next year. And is there really a legitimate comparison between the two anyway?

The “next” Harry Potter franchise that everyone keeps talking about is The Hunger Games. Written by Suzanne Collins, the trilogy of young adult novels is about a post-apocolyptic America that is now called Panem. Panem is separated into 12 “Districts” that all serve the ruling “Capitol.” Each District has its own speciality. For example, District 12 is the coal mining district while District 4 is all about water. Long ago, the Districts held an uprising against the totalitarian Capitol, but eventually failed in their attempted fight for freedom. As punishment for this attempt, the Capitol now requires two “tributes,” one male and one female aged 12-17, to be sacrificed from each District. The tributes are then thrust into something called The Hunger Games, a reality television program where the kids are forced to fight to the death for all of Panem’s viewing pleasure. The Games continue until one tribute remains.

The protagonist of this story is Katniss Everdeen, a tough-as-nails 16 year old girl from District 12. Skilled with a bow and arrow, Katniss spends her days hunting for food so she can keep her mother and younger sister, Prim, alive. Katniss’s nightmare comes true when 12 year old Prim is selected for The Hunger Games. Katniss takes her place, immediately changing the lives of herself and everyone she knows.

The first novel, “The Hunger Games,” is an insanely addictive read. Ultimately a tale of survival, it features strong characters, great world building, and enrapturing action. It is currently being filmed for a March 2012 release. Here are five reasons it should succeed as a movie franchise and five reasons it may fail.

5 reasons it should work:

The cast

If you’ve ever seen “Winter’s Bone,” then you know Jennifer Lawrence can completely transform into a character. Katniss Everdeen is almost the exact same character as the character Lawrence played in that film, minus the bow and arrow. The casting for the main character couldnt have been more perfect. Josh Hutcherson (“The Kids are All Right”) shows some of the most promise of any young actor working today. He will be taking on the role of Peeta, Katniss’s fellow tribute from District 12 and sometime love interest. Woody Harrelson will play Haymitch, Katniss and Peeta’s mentor for the Games and a former winner. I couldn’t imagine a better person to play a belligerent drunk with a heart of gold (and that’s a compliment!) Rounding off the pitch perfect casting is Elizabeth Banks as the spunky Effie, Lenny Kravitz as Katniss’s stylist Cinna, Stanley Tucci as the Games flamboyant host, and Donald Sutherland as the Capitol’s evil President Snow. If this movie fails, it won’t be because of the lack of talent on board.

The director

The best way to predict if a movie is going to suck or not is to look back at the director’s previous work. Gary Ross has “Pleasantville” and “Sea Biscuit” on his resume. I’m sold.

The fan base

While The Hunger Games’ fans aren’t as widespread or rabid as Harry Potter’s, there’s still a fairly large following out there. Lawrence already made the cover of Entertainment Weekly in her Katniss garb, and more and more people are picking up the book every day. Come March, The Hunger Games may have as many fans as any other young adult book.

It appeals to both sexes

The Hunger Games is in the fortunate situation of doubling as a war and romance story. Katniss is a kick-ass, independent female hero that will be sure to draw in girls of all ages. There’s also a love triangle that is constantly building up underneath the surface between Katniss, Peeta and Katniss’s best friend, Gale. All of this is wrapped up in a testostorone-filled war zone with violent killings and explosions so you better bet that the marketing behind the film will push that to attract the male demographic as well.

No more Harry Potter

After this summer, the Harry Potter book and movie franchise will officially be over. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye, but there’s always another great story around the corner.

5 reasons it may fail:

The Twilight effect

For some reason The Hunger Games keeps getting compared to that vampire love story adored mostly by tween girls. The two series, however, couldn’t be any less alike. For one, the female main protagonist in The Hunger Games is actually a realisitic human being, not dependent on a man and not annoying as fuck. Katniss is what every young girl should strive to be…Bella is what every young girl should avoid becoming. While there is a romance angle to The Hunger Games, it isn’t as centrally focused as in Twilight. However, the Twilight franchise is currently bringing in the bucks, so sadly the people behind The Hunger Games films might play up the love triangle angle, resulting in an inferior product.

It’s too bleak and violent

At least on the page, The Hunger Games is gruesome, brutal, and sometimes hard to read. Collins is very descriptive in the tributes’ deaths, ranging from an arrow through the neck to beheadings to flying limbs. Mainstream America may just not be ready to accept a blockbuster about kids brutally murdering each other. The film is reportedly going to be rated PG-13, further proving the fact that the MPAA has no problem with kids-on-kids violence, but shudder at the sight of a nipple. Let’s hope for a hard PG-13 similar to “The Dark Knight,” and not a watered down version of the source material.

There’s not really an ending

Each book in The Hunger Games trilogy literally leads right into one another. There is no span of time between each book. If it’s faithful to the novel, the movie will end on a semi-cliffhanger, most likely upsetting many audiences who want more. A similar problem occured with “The Golden Compass,” which pretty much solely acted as set-up for a franchise that never happened.

The Games themselves

The largest, and most exciting, portion of the first book is the actual televised death match that Katniss tries to survive. During these Games, however, Katniss is mostly by herself, alone with her thoughts. Translating that to the screen will be difficult as her inner conflict over killing innocent people and trying to decide whether to trust Peeta make the book so hard to put down.

No more Harry Potter

As much as I love The Hunger Games, it doesn’t come close to the epicness of the story of the boy who lived. The final installment of the Harry Potter screen version may (hopefully) be so satisfying that audiences wont want another potential book adaptation movie franchise thrown in their face. Everything may just pale in comparison.

We’ll see what happens come March.