HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE (2013)

HUNGER-GAMES

That’s the way to do it.

There are many reasons why this film works but the main one is the casting of our main protagonist.
The glue that binds.

I’m not gonna go into it but Kristen Stewart she ain’t.

Jennifer Lawrence really is something else. She was the most interesting part in American Hustle, even though she may have been a little young for the part, you always know that she will bring something real, rooted and emotionally honest and that’s one of the main reasons why this film works.

She is present in all her scenes and gets to the heart of the complex character of Katniss Everdeen.

If you have a great lead and an intelligent story then you can put into place all the other elements with relative ease, as long as you are not an idiot (there are a few out there in the wonderful world of cinema).
The other actors, the soundtrack, the direction all blend into each other in equal parts to make the whole. A beautiful composition has all these elements and while Catching Fire is no Tchaikovsky Piano concerto in B Flat minor it is definitely way above the formula that is applied to most modern music or movies.

I equate all art to this composition theory, all elements in their perfect places complementing each other to make the whole a beautiful piece of art.

Hats off to the new director, Francis Lawrence for taking the reins off Gary Ross and running hard, fast and daring with them.
Lawrence’s previous work was I Am Legend (above average) and Constantine (what a waste) but was also interestingly involved in Kings, an alternate reality version of David and Goliath that showed some serious promise but was axed after one series.
Kings dealt with the internal power struggles and political motivations of the leaders as does Catching Fire. This is what elevates Hunger Games far above any other films aimed at tweens.
It’s not The West Wing but it intelligently deals with hierarchical structures and what they do in order to maintain their power.

It was a treat to see Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his final performances being just brilliant again; a bittersweet moment when he entered the screen.

By the end of it you are most definitely left with the desire to get Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 on the go as soon as is possible.
A lot happens in this film and it is testament to the director that he is able to fit it all in without the loss of quality.

Lastly props have to go to Suzanne Collins for creating a very interesting dystopia.
My brother put me onto the books a few years back when I had written them off as some Twilight meets Battle Royale bullshit, I read the first one and was more than pleasantly surprised.

Goes to show you that what you think ain’t always right.

Bring. On. The. Mockingjays.

3.7/5

BUY THE BLU-RAY DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE

 

AMERICAN HUSTLE (2013)

american-hustle-poster

Blinded by the lights?

It seems everyone was.

What amounts to no more than an average film is being pushed into awards territory and it’s so political, it’s fracking see through.
It is not shit, by any means, just not that good. A bit boring, a bit who gives a …. a bit meh.
Unengaging.

It is too easy to slag off a film without really asking the questions that matter. What works, what doesn’t, why so, why not.

Mr Bale has lacked a sense of humour/humanity in his previous films. The guy can clearly act but it is not enjoyable watching him. There is a lack of lightness with him and it doesn’t seem like he knows how or wants to access it, here he surprises with a performance of
He seems to have softened and I’m not talking character here, his struggle, his humanity is believable and rooted in a softer reality. It’s easy to buy into the intensity with him, he does it very well, but there is always something missing, something hidden, a dark secret perchance within the heart of the actor?

Je ne suis pas sur.

He was annoying before and wasn’t in this. He was very good. Upon hearing his casting in this my shoulders slumped, a sigh, phhhrewww.

More than pleasantly surprised with his work in this film.

Bradley Cooper, on the other hand…..
He was watchable in Silver Linings Playbook as much as he was bringing something slightly different to the table, the same in The Place Beyond The Pines, but let’s be honest, he’s a pretty boy who lacks the skill to really bring a depth of sentiment. If I watched SLP again I may be less accepting of his work.
One day, he may surprise us all, it happens, but until then, he’s just another actor who doesn’t inspire.

Amy Adams is good, she can clearly act but really, why did she have to wear ALL those middle slit boob dresses in every other scene. One scene, two at tops, it was just unnecessary.

Jeremy Renner, any good or a bit average? Jury’s out on that one.

Jennifer Lawrence is great, believable, alive and sparky.

The story was just not well told, it maybe massively unfair to talk about Boogie Nights but as far as the style goes (and by that I mean, the writing, the shots, the costumes, and the direction) A.H. is not a patch on it. David O Russell is a great director with an incredible C.V. but when it comes to this type of film he is not Paul Thomas Anderson.

Loads of people loved it and fair enough, my only question is this:

‘Did you love it because it was really good or were you caught up in the maelstrom of awards fever?’
Will you look back at it in 10 years and go, ‘Yes, that truly is an excellent film?’

How it could have been better?
The script could have been tighter, the story could have been tighter, some of the casting different etc etc.

If it was better structured then maybe it would be awards worthy, but as is, nah, not working.

2.7/5

BUY THE BLU-RAY DVD HERE

DOWNLOAD THE FILM ON iTUNES HERE