A surefire megahit strikes the box office this weekend in the form of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Forgotten in its shadow will be yet another Vince Vaughn clunker, Delivery Man. For those looking for a more relaxed weekend, Judi Dench and Steve Coogan charm in Philomena. No matter what, all you’ll be hearing about on Monday will be The Hunger Games.
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
Director: Francis Lawrence
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Genre: Action Adventure/Fantasy
For the follow-up to 2012’s mega YA adaptation The Hunger Games, Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) is at the helm, taking over for Gary Ross. Francis joins the other Lawrence, Jennifer (you may have heard of her, she only won an Oscar last year), who reprises her role as Katniss Everdeen. After winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games, Katniss returns home a victor with fellow tribute Peeta (Hutcherson). They embark on a “Victor’s Tour”, but Katniss begins sensing something is amiss. Meanwhile, President Snow (Sutherland) prepares for the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell).
As for reviews, seems like two Lawrences are better than one as critics have been largely impressed. The film is said to be smarter and more thought-provoking than the first and with a cast as talented and diverse as this, there’s a good chance this is a rarely seen, but often hoped for, “good” sequel. Francis Lawrence is unpredictable but seems to have pulled something off here. If you caught and enjoyed the first film/book in the series, there’s a big chance you’re already planning to see this anyway. Expect a huge opening weekend, somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 Million.
Director: Ken Scott
Cast: Vince Vaughn, Cobie Smulders, Chris Pratt
I don’t understand how this film got made. Sure, it has Vince Vaughn, which…actually, that doesn’t mean anything these days. Vaughn hasn’t had a critically successful comedy since 2005’s Wedding Crashers. Since then the only bright spot on his resume is a bit part in Sean Penn’s Into The Wild, and the rest are stinkers. To name them: The Break-Up, Fred Claus, Four Christmases, Couples Retreat, The Dilemma, The Watch and The Internship. None of these films will be remembered in five years. Hell, I can’t remember half of them already. It’s like Vaughn is in competition with Adam Sandler to see who can make the most unbearable comedies over and over.
Basically, Vaughn is a lazy guy named David Wozniak who finds out he’s fathered over 500 children through sperm he donated 20 years earlier. Lessons are learned, David grows as a person, blah blah blah. We’ve seen it all before. Did I mention it’s a remake of Starbuck, a popular Canadian film? Go watch the original instead. This film has mess written all over it.
Director: Stephen Frears
Cast: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan
A film starring Judi Dench (Skyfall) and Steve Coogan (Tropic Thunder, Hamlet 2) you say? Directed by Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Queen) you say? Okay, I’m listening.
Based on the 2009 investigative book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, the film tells the story of Lee (Dench), a mother searching for the son she had given up for adoption many years earlier. She joins Sixsmith (Coogan), a BBC reporter, in the search to discover her long-lost son. Critics are praising Dench’s performance and Coogan is always entertaining. Probably a film my parents would enjoy. Must be one of those “nice little films” they keep talking about.
Have a fun weekend at the movies!