Tag: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

  • Jennifer Lawrence
  • Josh Hutcherson
  • Liam Hemsworth
  • Elizabeth Banks
  • Sam Clafin
  • Jena Malone
  • Woody Harrelson
  • Stanley Tucci
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Donald Sutherland
  • Jeffrey Wright
  • Lenny Kravitz

Description: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the second film in the critically acclaimed Hunger Games series. Based on Suzanne Collins' novel of the same name, the Francis Lawrence-directed sequel follows protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) as she finds herself back in the arena for a special edition of the games called the Quarter Quell, an event that takes place every 25 years. This time around though, her opponents are previous victors, which means that the competition is fiercer and the stakes are higher.

Director(s): Francis Lawrence

Writer(s): Simon Beaufoy Michael Arndt

Release Date: November 22nd, 2013

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[h3]The Good:[/h3] [h2]1) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire[/h2] The Hunger Games Catching Fire One thing its fans and detractors seemed to almost universally agree upon regarding The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was that it had improved on its predecessor. Some of us who marveled at the quality of the first movie were less impressed by this sequel, but nevertheless, it turned out to be either a pleasant surprise or a relief to anyone worried about a new director and a larger scope in this story’s continuation. In my viewing, this second film took some of the greatest strengths of the first movie and gave them more screen time and greater depth. These included Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Elizabeth Banks as Effie, the latter of which really standing out in scenes where her overly chipper façade could not help but slip ever so slightly in the midst of horrifying actions taken by the Capitol. The area where Catching Fire may have exceeded The Hunger Games the most is in that closing shot of Katniss, at first confused and heartbroken at the surprising outcomes of the games, but quickly turning to anger and vengeful determination, making the final two films feel like far too long a wait. A fire has been lit, indeed. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]2) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug[/h2] The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug This is arguably the largest upgrade for any movie franchise in 2013, and not only does it all but eliminate the snooze factor that plagued An Unexpected Journey, but The Desolation of Smaug features possibly the best action sequence of the year: the river barrel scene. Let’s start by talking about that sequence a little bit. At last, it seemed, the number of dwarves to keep track of in this story was used to an exciting effect rather than a dulling one. Yes, they make a sizeable singing ensemble, but watching them eat and do dishes is too reminiscent of excruciating Thanksgiving dinners past. Having them hurling down a river, escaping their elvish quarters and running into an attack by their Orc pursuers, is in itself a recipe for delight. The execution, though, is perfection—it ends up being a weird mishmash of the Ewok battle in Return of the Jedi with the single shot sequence of The Avengers, a feast for slapstick action and sight gag lovers. Lovers of the book, of course, may not be as enthused by the deviations from the text, but from the involvement of the elves to the interaction with Smaug the dragon, all the way to the introduction of the people of the Lake-town, there is a sense that pieces are being moved into position, but their placement is far more enjoyable to watch this time around. For more on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, check out our coverage of the film's world premiere below. [ctv-1] Continue reading on the next page... [h2]3) Thor: The Dark World[/h2] Thor The Dark World The Thor character was already somewhat redeemed by The Avengers (not everyone seemed as bewildered and annoyed by the first Thor movie as I was; it’s my Green Lantern), but what Alan Taylor was able to do with this Asgardian space opera saga is nothing short of remarkable. I credit him for the improvement in Thor: The Dark World because he is one important distinguishing change that was made, because he has done excellent episodic work on Game of Thrones (I wonder if more franchises will turn to TV directors, who are used to working with episodic storytelling?), and most importantly, because I choose to believe it. In terms of the cosmic story that sets the action in motion in this movie, I barely understood it any more than I did in the first one. There’s some weird thing called Aether and an evil looking elf alien guy and a portal on Earth that kids like to play in. None of that mattered when Loki showed up though, because the team behind this new movie realized—so much so that they reportedly reshot scenes so he had more screen time—that Loki is the best part of Thor. You have Chris Hemsworth being his usual meathead self, Natalie Portman collecting a paycheck, and others who seem equally disinterested, but Tom Hiddleston brings it, as does, surprisingly, Rene Russo. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]4) Iron Man 3[/h2] Iron Man 3 Whether Iron Man 3 surpassed 2008’s Iron Man in terms of quality is up for debate. Most seem to agree that the ugly stepchild of this franchise was the second installment, a forgettable rehashing of generic superhero storylines that squandered the unique character established by Jon Favreau’s first collaboration with Robert Downey Jr. Despite being released all the way back in May (and who the hell remembers anything more than a month ago, am I right??), Iron Man 3 contained several moments that remain memorable at the end of the year. The climactic sequence was not one of them, mind you. The reveal of the Mandarin’s true identity, however, was one of the most surprising and satisfying setups of movie audiences in all of 2013. The scenes involving Tony Stark trudging in the snow and his new young friend Harley possess the best moments though, with Tony being Tony to the end. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]5) Before Midnight[/h2] Before Midnight It has made a number of year-end lists and taken home plenty of awards already, particularly for its screenplay, but it ought to be noted that Before Midnight is the third episode of a kind of indie franchise, one of the most celebrated of all time, in fact. Writers Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have now set an expectation that the relationship between Jesse and Celine, which began back in 1995 with Before Sunrise, will be worth revisiting every 9 years, with the new film following 2004’s Before Sunset. That these collaborating filmmakers, with Linklater at the helm, can continue to create an entire movie essentially around watching people converse is as incredible a feat as it was 18 years ago. These are artists who know their characters inside and out, and use the reality in which they’re grounded to stage heartwrenchingly authentic scenes that expose a plethora of relational truths. Another movie that followed this 9-year break method was Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which has divided critics and audiences. I, however, would maintain it is a worthy torchbearer of an original movie that was so strange that few people found it funny the first time around back in 2004. Fast & Furious 6 is another example of an episodic movie hit, with some hailing it as a franchise understanding its strengths and firing on all cylinders at last. Alas, as much as it is worth rooting for them to succeed, some of this year’s sequels and threequels and septequels were not as fun to sit through. Continue reading on the next page... [h3]The Bad:[/h3] [h2]1) Kick-Ass 2[/h2] Kick-Ass 2 There were a number of titles that didn’t quite measure up to their previous efforts. Kick-Ass was a divisive movie, but Kick-Ass 2 seemed to unite everyone in recognizing that it kind of sucked. Maybe we all underestimated how crucial Nicolas Cage was to the tone of the first film. Maybe Matthew Vaughn directed the hell out of that first movie, and went on to direct the hell out of X-Men: First Class, and newcomer Jeff Wadlow wasn’t up to the task. Who knows? Defining marks of the first Kick-Ass that I appreciated included its ironic detachment, exemplified by the weird style of the aforementioned Nicolas Cage part, its awareness of the absurdity of its hyperviolent fights, and its nods to stylistic forebearers like Pulp Fiction. Kick-Ass 2 was not humorless, but its application of its humor seemed misplaced and less effective. Jim Carrey had little to do despite putting a rather remarkable stamp on his character. The film also seems to want to explore Hit-Girl a bit more, but only does so in superficial ways. Here’s hoping it’s the Iron Man 2 of the franchise, and the next film, if it gets made, rights the ship. This one was sparingly entertaining, at least, which makes it far better than the next entry on this list. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]2) A Good Day to Die Hard[/h2] A Good Day to Die Hard No one seems less into A Good Day to Die Hard than Bruce Willis. Credit to the guy: even in his press appearances leading up to the movie, he seemed as though he was telekinetically preparing us for a stinker of a film. He tried to warn us, and we didn’t listen, those of us who actually saw it (to all those who didn’t see it—kudos). I can’t quite relate to those who consider the very first Die Hard movie to be a kind of pop masterpiece, although compared to this movie, the 1988 film is unequivocally sublime. In this instalment, you have your standard aged hero’s son plot, a John McClane who has gone from semi-realistic standby cop to full-out Robocop, and bland action that mostly consists of guns missing their targets. I was almost ready to dismiss any other work Jai Courtney ever did, but then I saw Felony and saw that he actually has acting skills. And Bruce Willis got paid, so whatevs. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]3) Star Trek Into Darkness[/h2] Star Trek Into Darkness There’s a contingent of movie people who found the follow-up to 2009’s Star Trek to be downright bad. I’m not one of those people, but it’s hard to deny that Star Trek Into Darkness lacks a few things the original reboot had going for it. I actually mildly enjoyed J.J. Abrams’ second instalment in the series, with its genuinely strong action sequences, development of the friendship between Spock and Kirk, and a reasonably engaging use of 3D. I share the feelings of those who found the reveal of Benedict Cumberbatch’s oh so mysterious character to be severely anticlimactic, which Abrams himself has since admitted may have been a mistake in its execution. But in addition to the dullness of this revelation, I found the inclusion of Cumberbatch and his performance to be disappointingly lackluster. Standard villainous characters are so 1990. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]4) Despicable Me 2[/h2] Despicable Me 2 Call it minion fatigue, or a sequel reduced to repetition and conventionality, but something about Despicable Me 2 fell completely flat for me. It may be because I saw it after Halloween, when everyone and their cat had dressed up as a minion. It could also be because the first one was such a surprise to me in its shrewd take on the stock villain caricature that was impossible to repeat. I try to avoid thinking that any movie inherently must be a one-off standalone feature, but it’s awfully tempting with this one. To call Despicable Me 2 a disservice to its brand would likely be false, as audiences seemed to enjoy it and it has made almost a billion dollars worldwide. The animation and visual gags are still fun to watch and the minions are fun just to look at, within reason. It’s clear, though, from the upcoming spinoff film due out in 2015 titled Minions, that Gru’s henchmen are the real focus of the team behind the Despicable Me franchise. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]5) The Hangover Part III and more[/h2] The Hangover Part III There were actually quite a few sequel duds this year, though I’m not sure if anyone actually expected them to be anything but duds. The Hangover was a surprising success 4 years ago, but its subsequent followups were rather poor by comparison (and I wasn’t even a big fan of the first one). The good news is that its stars all gained higher profiles and have done exceptional work since their breakthrough back in 2009. Other sequels from this year that I didn’t watch because I heard they were so bad: The Smurfs 2, Insidious Chapter 2, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Monsters University (this one may not have been bad but nah), Red 2, and whatever number Scary Movie is at now. It’s understandable to assume that anything with a “2” in the title is a cynical attempt by some movie studio to capitalize on the success of a previous movie by making audiences think they’ll be getting the same product if they pay to see the new one. This is often the case. My wish is merely that franchises themselves are treated on an individual basis based on the quality of the filmmakers and finished products themselves, because dismissing good movies based on a prejudice like sequelphobia is a tad narrow-minded." ["post_title"]=> string(34) "The Best And Worst Sequels Of 2013" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(557) "I’m on record as being relatively ambivalent when it comes to an opinion on the virtues of remakes, sequels and reboots. Simply put, any story, whether it’s a retelling or continuation of an old story, or one that’s entirely “new” (if there is such a thing), is dependent on the people telling it more than where it’s drawn from. For every person who can claim that the second movie in a series is always the best (like The Empire Strikes Back), another can claim that movies should usually be left as standalone successes (like Jaws or Psycho)." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(23) "best-worst-2013-sequels" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-05-11 21:28:32" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-05-12 02:28:32" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=326058" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#351 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(319606) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "370" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-12-23 16:52:04" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-12-23 21:52:04" ["post_content"]=> string(27284) "man-of-steel-flag 2013 has been a great year for entertainment. We've seen a surplus of phenomenal, Academy-bait films in the past few months, from big-budgeted blockbusters like Gravity to character-driven indies like Nebraska, that will make the upcoming Oscar race one of the most crowded in years. TV is also arguably as powerful as it has ever been - this past year saw the epic conclusion of AMC's Breaking Bad, the arrival of Netflix as a force to be reckoned with, the introduction of SHOWTIME's Masters of Sex and brilliant, smaller shows on a wide range of networks. Even FOX got in on the action with Sleepy Hollow, the guilty pleasure show to end all guilty pleasure shows. 2013 has also seen a wide variety of actors and actresses emerge, some of them seemingly out of thin air, to deliver a diverse range of powerhouse performances across cinema and television. Join us as we take a look back at the breakout stars of 2013 and see what they're up to next.

THE GENTLEMEN:

[h2]Michael B. Jordan - Fruitvale Station[/h2] Film Review Fruitvale Station Why: Portraying Oscar Grant, a young man shot and killed by a transit officer in 2009 Oakland, Michael B. Jordan triumphs by painting a full picture, presenting Grant with all of his strengths and weaknesses. In watching Fruitvale Station, we feel the tragedy of his death but also the beauty of his life, and that's in large part thanks to Jordan's graceful screen presence. Oscar was a family man, a criminal, a kind soul and a man on the threshold of taking control of his life, and through Jordan's fantastic performance, he's also wonderfully, heartbreakingly human (as evidenced in the clip below). What's NextThat Awkward Moment, a comedy with Zac Efron and Miles Teller. Jordan is also rumored to have roles in John Hillcoat's heist drama Triple Nine, sports drama Creed and Fox's Fantastic Four reboot. [ctv-1] [h2]Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips[/h2] barkhad_abdi_5266b2bae087c377d7de3549 Why: This Somali actor came out of absolutely nowhere (Abdi was working as a chauffeur before he responded to a Minneapolis casting call) to steal hijacking thriller Captain Phillips out from under Tom Hanks - no easy task, considering Hanks is currently tipped to receive a Best Actor nomination for his role as the titular captain. Abdi inflected his performance as Abduwali Muse, the leader of the hijackers who commandeer Phillips' ship, with electrifying menace and conflicted humanity. An immediate contender for Best Supporting Actor this year, Abdi turned in a powerhouse performance while never demonizing the real, desperate men who have been forced to turn to piracy in Somalia today. What's Next: Abdi is currently directing a film called Ciyaalka Xaafada, which explores the lives and struggles of the first generation of Somali-Americans living in Minneapolis. [h2]Asa Butterfield - Ender's Game[/h2] asa-butterfield_600x450_5f39240c58 Why: Martin Scorsese's Hugo put Butterfield on the map, but with Ender's Game, the 16 year-old Brit established himself as one of the most talented, capable young actors working today. As Ender, Butterfield masterfully balanced the complex, morally ambiguous nature of the character, showcasing Ender's adolescence, uncertainty, fear and ultimate brilliance while holding his own against Harrison Ford's Colonel Graff. Though the film had a few problems, Butterfield's gripping performance was certainly not one of them. What's Next: Butterfield will play another child prodigy in the comedic drama X Plus Y, then re-team with his Hugo co-star Chloe Moretz in the dark fairytale The White Circus, which will be executive-produced by Terry Gilliam. [h2]Henry Cavill - Man of Steel[/h2] Joe-Leydon-Man-of-Steel-Superman-Dylan-Sprayberry-June-2013_080119 Why: Unlike my fellow critic Jonathan Lack, I had problems with Zack Snyder's Man of Steel, but star Henry Cavill was far and away not one of them. While I found the film to be deafening and underwhelming from a storytelling perspective, the British actor provided a grounded, gritty take on Superman that cut to the core of his loneliness and uncertainty more effectively than any previous interpretation of the character has. No actor this year was put in a more intimidating position than Cavill - after graduating from Showtime's The Tudors, he turned in bland performances in forgettable films like Immortals and The Cold Light of Day, only to land on the receiving end of DC Comics' demands for a dramatic, intelligent and innovative take on a legendary character. Luckily for Cavill, his performance was nothing short of super.   What's Next: Cavill will jump-start another franchise with next year's spy adaptation The Man for U.N.C.L.E., then he'll reteam with Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer for a 2015 Man of Steel sequel that also stars Ben Affleck as Batman. [h2]Miles Teller - The Spectacular Now[/h2] The-Spectacular-Now-2 Why: Teller was previously known for wild teen comedies like Project X and 21 & Over, but in coming-of-age drama The Spectacular Now, he expertly dissected the falsity behind those same, carefree party animals. As Sutter Keeley, a popular goofball completely committed to the fantasy of living in the moment, Teller showcased a dramatic depth and charisma only hinted at in his previous roles. Starring alongside the luminescent Shailene Woodley, Teller provided a thoughtful and affecting portrayal of the typical American teenager, exploring Sutter's imperfections while also maintaining a fascinating, finely-drawn façade of larger-than-life magnetism. Teller's was an astute, hopeful and star-making performance. What's Next: In 2014, the actor will appear in two romantic comedies, That Awkward Moment and Two Night Stand, and reteam with Woodley for YA property Divergent. Also in the pipeline: a musical drama called Whiplash. [h2]Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years A Slave[/h2] Chiwetel-Ejiofor-in-12-Years-a-Slave_163136 Why: Though Ejiofor has been on the Hollywood scene since 2002's Dirty Pretty Things, he's never received the respect he so thoroughly deserves. His stunning turn as freed-man-turned-slave Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave is guaranteed to change that - filling every glance and movement with unspeakable pain, Ejiofor anchored the most deeply upsetting and staggeringly powerful film about American slavery in cinematic history. All of the Best Actor buzz is justified - in every scene, the actor was unabashedly brilliant, communicating the brutal reality of a slave's life with dramatic pathos, soulful stoicism and remarkable strength of character. We'll be hearing about his performance for years to come. What's Next: After picking up a well-earned Best Actor statuette at next year's Oscar ceremony (no doubt in my mind), Ejiofor will appear in Nigerian drama Half of a Yellow Sun and then star with Amanda Seyfried and Chris Pine in the post-apocalyptic Z for Zachariah, adapted from Robert C. O'Brien's sci-fi classic. [h2]Charlie Hunnam - Pacific Rim[/h2] charlie-hunnam-pacific Why: FX viewers have been enjoying Hunnam's strong performance as conflicted SAMCRO President Jax Teller on biker drama Sons of Anarchy since 2008, but the actor finally broke into the big time this year with a starring role in Guillermo del Toro's monsters-versus-robots extravaganza Pacific Rim. Lending protagonist Raleigh Becket a surprisingly relatable humanity in spite of Pacific Rim's hard sci-fi center, Hunnam commanded the big screen and gave del Toro's blockbuster a huge, pulsating heart to rival its massive battle sequences. What's Next: Hunnam dropped out of the high-profile erotica adaptation Fifty Shades of Grey in order to remain committed to Sons of Anarchy, but he'll next be seen on the silver screen in another del Toro production: 2015 horror film Crimson PeakThe actor is also set to star in John Hillcoat's upcoming thriller, Triple Nine, about a group of corrupt cops who plot a bank heist. [h2]Sam Claflin - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire[/h2] ID_D35_14123.dng Why: The British actor, previously known for minor roles in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Snow White & the Huntsman, stole adoring fans from stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth when he joined The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as charming, deadly tribute Finnick Odair. Wielding a trident and a dazzling smile, Claflin broke out in a big way, winning over his many critics with an involving, appealing take on the fan favorite character. He's currently enjoying his newfound status as Hollywood heartthrob. What's NextThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Parts 1 & 2, of course! Claflin has also been racking up leading roles in smaller films. In 2014, he'll appear in romantic comedy Love, Rosie, horror film The Quiet Ones and dramatic thriller Posh, acting alongside actors such as Lily Collins, Jared Harris, Natalie Dormer, Douglas Booth and Max Irons. [h2]Chadwick Boseman - 42[/h2] 032013-robinson-jackie-600 Why: In his first major leading role, Boseman hit a real home run, turning in a powerhouse performance as baseball legend Jackie Robinson in 42. Portraying the icon with obvious respect, depth and charisma, Boseman succeeded in creating the first truly great Robinson biopic. Even as Robinson combats racism and hatred with heroic grace and love of the game, Boseman's expressive features communicate the many layers of pain and discomfort that lie beneath. The actor's accurate and engaging take on the sports legend was the portrayal that his many fans always wanted but never actually expected to get. What's Next: Boseman recently played the supporting part of Vontae Mack in Ivan Reitman's upcoming football drama Draft Day, about a fictional manager of the Cleveland Browns (Kevin Costner) attempting to build the perfect team. Next up, another biopic - Boseman has signed on to play music legend James Brown in Tate Taylor's Get On Up, against Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and Dan Aykroyd. [h2]Tom Mison - Sleepy Hollow (FOX)[/h2] sleepyhollow051 Why: How do you accurately play a resurrected Revolutionary War soldier suddenly thrust into the 21st century? Ask Tom Mison, who's turning in a layered, vastly enjoyable performance week after week as Ichabod Crane on FOX's surprising fall hit Sleepy Hollow. It's shocking that Crane, with his bizarre appearance and background, doesn't come off as a total joke, and that's entirely thanks to Mison. As Crane, the actor is funny, dramatic, charismatic and never less than compulsively watchable. What's Next: Mison will be committed to Sleepy Hollow for some time, now that the show has been picked up by FOX for a second season.

THE LADIES:

[h2]Lizzy Caplan - Masters of Sex (Showtime)[/h2] Masters of Sex-2 Why: Anyone who says that the success of Showtime's sexy period drama Masters of Sex can be attributed solely to lead actor Michael Sheen is lying to themselves. As sexual pioneer Virginia Johnson, Caplan's thrilling portrayal is only getting better with each episode. Fearless, charismatic and stunningly emotive, Caplan deserves every ounce of the praise she's received for the role. Masters of Sex could have been a simple Mad Men rip-off (see also: The Playboy Club), but Caplan's powerhouse performance has quickly succeeded in elevating the show to a level of quality currently unmatched on any other network. What's Next: A second season of Masters of Sex, as well as an upcoming James Franco comedy called The Interview, about a TV show host (Franco) and his producer (Caplan) who inadvertently stumble across an assassination plot. [h2]Adele Exarchopoulos - Blue is the Warmest Color[/h2] Blue2 Why: It takes a particular type of acting brilliance to make shockingly explicit sex scenes feel natural, beautiful and intimate. As the innocent Adele, who enters into a passionate relationship with the independent, blue-haired Emma (Léa Seydoux), Exarchopoulos turns in a supremely forceful and believable performance. The film courted controversy at the time of its release, but even Blue is the Warmest Color's detractors couldn't take umbrage the actress's star-making performance. Seydoux doesn't make this list because of her prior status as a French film star, but the chemistry between both actresses is so potent that Blue is the Warmest Color excels as one of the sweetest love stories of the year, despite its dare-you-to-look-away nature. What's Next: Exarchopoulos will appear in two French films next year: Qui vive and Voyage vers la mère. [h2]Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years A Slave[/h2] Lupita Nyong'o Why: As abused slave Patsey, Nyong'o turned in a truly luminescent performance that captured the pain and torment of Patsey's daily existence, exploring the physical, mental and emotional toll that slavery took on her during her time as a slave of the sadistic Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). Expect Nyong'o to be the name on everybody's lips at this year's Oscar ceremony. The actress came out of nowhere (12 Years A Slave was her first film after graduating from the Yale School of Drama) to turn in the most gut-wrenching and deeply human performance of the year. What's Next: Nyong'o has a supporting role in the upcoming Liam Neeson thriller Non-Stop, about an air marshal attempting to prevent someone from murdering passengers on board an international flight. [h2]Taylor Schilling - Orange is the New Black (Netflix)[/h2] orange is the new black piper Why: After starring in sleepy melodrama The Lucky One, Schilling needed something huge to break away from the pretty-face mold. Luckily for her (and for us), she found Netflix's excellent prison dramedy Orange is the New Black. As the upper middle-class homemaker Piper Chapman, who's sentenced to 15 months in a women's federal prison for transporting drug money during her rebellious college years, Schilling is sympathetic, hilarious and thoroughly believable. In a program that's home to an all-around terrific ensemble (it was tough to leave Laverne Cox and Uzo Aduba off this list), Schilling is a terrific and capable anchor, as well as the show's beating heart. What's Next: Sometime early next year, Schilling will star in the drama Stay, about a young woman rocked by an unexpected pregnancy during her romance with a disgraced professor (Aidan Quinn). She'll also return for the second season of Orange is the New Black, which is set to premiere on Netflix in the first half of 2014. [h2]Tatiana Maslany - Orphan Black (BBC America)[/h2] tatiana maslany Why: This Canadian talent delivered the best performance of the year not once but four times on BBC America's breakout sci-fi hit Orphan Black. The show follows street-smart hustler Sarah Manning after she witnesses a woman who looks exactly like her jumping in front of a train. The crazy, brilliant twists throughout the first season are far too delicious for me to spoil here, but Maslany is utterly magnificent in the leading role(s). In addition to Sarah, she portrays soccer mom Alison Hendrix, brainiac Cosima Niehaus and deranged sociopath Helena. It's truly dazzling to watch the actress embody each character with distinctive mannerisms and personalities, and Maslany has better chemistry with different versions of herself than any actor-actress pair on television. Even when the clones are pretending to be each other, the beauty of Maslany's performance is that we know each of her characters, and we can immediately distinguish between them based on tiny details elegantly communicated by the actress. Though Orphan Black often delves into hard sci-fi, Maslany's stunning and emotional performance keeps the show both refreshingly grounded and spectacularly compelling. What's Next: Season 2 of Orphan Black hits BBC America next April. Maslany also stars alongside Richard Dreyfuss in dramedy Cas & Dylan, which hit screens in Canada this past September. [h2]Lake Bell - In A World...[/h2] In-a-World-with-Lake-Bell-August-2013-movie_124644 Why: The triple-threat directed, wrote and starred in one of the year's best comedies. As a director, Bell proved her skills behind the camera, keeping In A World...'s plot (about a young woman performing voice-overs for movie trailers) zipping along with considerable energy and enthusiasm. As protagonist Carol, Bell is utterly magnetic, expertly toeing the line between snarky self-awareness and cheerful peppiness. Finally, Bell's razor-sharp screenplay makes a case for In A World... as one of the most strongly written comedies in recent years. The film didn't get as much recognition as it should have, but no one can deny just how powerfully Bell broke onto the Hollywood scene this year. What's Next: Bell will appear in 2014 sports drama Million Dollar Arm, lend her voice to next year's animated comedy Mr. Peabody & Sherman, star in a thriller called The Coup alongside Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan then take on the lead role in Man Up, a British comedy co-starring Simon Pegg. [h2]Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens - Spring Breakers[/h2] springbreakers Why: I'm grouping these two because, though they were both known before for roles in teen-targeted fare (Hudgens headlined all three of Disney Channel's High School Musical films, while Benson stars in ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars), both actresses delivered stunning, star-making performances in Harmony Korine's booze-soaked satire Spring Breakers. Korine's film is full of nightmarishly queasy titillations, as the group of girls at the film's center delve into the shady criminal underworld of Miami, but it's the acting from Hudgens and Benson that really sells Spring Breakers as something much more troubling and complex than Girls And Guns Gone Wild. Hudgens completely threw herself into the part of terrifyingly immoral ringleader Candy, while Benson turned in a truly demented performance as the deceptively wide-eyed Brit. Their scenes with James Franco's gonzo gangster Alien are as darkly humorous as they are gripping. More than any other actresses this year, Hudgens and Benson broke out of the teen-star mold with startling force. What's Next: Hudgens will take on starring roles in coming-of-age drama Gimme Shelter (due in January) and the 2015 horror comedy Kitchen Sink, then voice a wild salmon in animated family film The Great Migration. Benson will also contribute her voice to The Great Migration while continuing to star on ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars. [h2]Jane Levy - Evil Dead[/h2] evil dead Why: The Suburgatory star delivered a terrifying performance as heroin-addict-turned-possession-victim Mia in Fede Alvarez's blood-soaked Evil Dead remake. Levy swung for the fences in her first leading role in a feature film and hit it out of the park, alternately breaking our hearts and making them jump out of our chests. It's rare that an actress in a horror flick is capable of playing the petrified damsel and the vile antagonist (a gleefully depraved demon), but Levy does impressive work in both roles. Though the film was too gory for many to handle, Levy's brilliant turn makes a strong case for her as one of horror's next greats. What's NextSuburgatory returns for its third season on ABC this January, but the actress also has some big-screen projects in the works. Levy will take on supporting roles in comedy Frank and Cindy and drama About Alex, then she'll star in psychological thriller In A Dark Place, as a governess hired by a strange British family to watch over a porcelain doll. [h2]Elizabeth Debicki - The Great Gatsby[/h2] the-great-gatsby-elizabeth-debicki Why: As enigmatic, coquettish socialite Jordan Baker in Baz Luhrmann's decadent take on The Great Gatsby, Debicki made one hell of a first impression. The Aussie newcomer fit in perfectly with the glamorous, glittery atmosphere of the film and nailed every one of her gorgeous, ruminative lines ("I like large parties... they're so intimate," she exclaims at one point). Debicki's bold turn as Jordan won her praise from many critics and fans of Fitzgerald's classic novel. Though the character often took a backseat to Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, Debicki's performance was truly hypnotic. What's Next: Debicki has landed a role in Guy Ritchie's adaptation of the classic spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which already has Armie Hammer, Henry Cavill and Hugh Grant attached to star. [h2]Brie Larson - Short Term 12[/h2] Short-Term-12-still-2 Why: Larson had already built a small fan-base for herself with supporting roles in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and 21 Jump Street, but Short Term 12 marked Larson's arrival as an overpoweringly strong, capable dramatic actress. As passionate foster-care supervisor Grace, Larson anchored an illuminating, moving gut-punch of a movie, showing off a truly staggering range. Grace was an incredibly difficult character to play, both emotionally and physically, but the actress succeeded wildly in the role, capturing Grace's insecurities and strengths with unmistakable zeal and deep feeling. What's Next: The actress will star in musical rom-com Basmati Blues then play Mark Wahlberg's love interest in crime drama The Gambler.
Thanks for taking a look at our list of the breakout stars of 2013! Did we leave anyone off who should have been considered, or were any of the actors or actresses we listed undeserving? Let us know your picks in the comments section! " ["post_title"]=> string(33) "The Breakout Performances Of 2013" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(283) "2013 has been a great year for entertainment. We've seen a surplus of phenomenal, Academy-bait films in the past few months, from big-budgeted blockbusters like Gravity to character-driven indies like Nebraska, that will make the upcoming Oscar race one of the most crowded in years." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(26) "breakout-performances-2013" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(53) " http://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/man-steel-review/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-05-11 21:31:32" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-05-12 02:31:32" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=319606" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "4" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#350 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(319762) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "317" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-11-28 11:15:26" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-28 16:15:26" ["post_content"]=> string(17644) "

In the midst of endless bickering over all the various things movie franchises are doing completely wrong, the Hunger Games franchise appears to be doing just about everything right. The popularity and staying power of the series has been confirmed by the overwhelming success of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which has been almost unanimously embraced by critics and is currently setting records at the box office. It’s easy to get disoriented by the shameless merchandising and ubiquitous marketing of the movies and lose sight of the actual quality of the films themselves. Yes, it’s ridiculous (intentionally so?) that makeup companies are trying to appeal to people who dig the look of the gluttonous Capitol residents. Yes, there’s something weird about a popular movie purportedly geared towards young people in which teenagers kill each other for their ancestors’ punishment and for the detached amusement of the 1%. Even the push to make Josh Hutcherson a huge star feels a little forced—not necessarily undeserved, but maybe a tad bit soon. Many folks will dismiss the entire series as pulpy nonsense, chalking up its cultural significance to marketing and research. Fortunately, most people are celebrating both Hunger Games movies for what they are: popular cinematic storytelling that is actually well-told; or perhaps, quality filmmaking that has been deservedly widely adored. Yes, both movies. It shouldn’t be forgotten that the first movie was actually a tremendously solid film in its own right, even though Catching Fire seems to be an even bigger hit. So, on that note, here are 8 qualities that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire either continued or improved upon from the first movie. The spoiler-phobic may proceed at their own risk. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]1) The feel of the different districts, especially District 12[/h2]

One quality stood out above all others the second time I watched The Hunger Games back in 2012. The first time through, I was distracted by the relatively fresh version of Panem that I had envisioned based on my reading of the book, so I couldn’t appreciate many of the bold choices director Gary Ross had made with his adaptation. The second time, though, I was struck by the level of confidence shown in the introductory scenes, up to and including the Reaping. The aesthetic employed in these District 12 moments in the first movie was surprising from an aspiring blockbuster. The scenes were stripped of virtually all color, both in terms of the images as well as the expressiveness of the characters. It almost feels as though Katniss and Gale are being defiant by briefly joking around. There’s next to no music underscoring the action. It feels precisely like a neglected region, stripped down, with no stylistic flourishes or liveliness to speak of. Some members of the audience were likely lost by doing this; others, like me, were shaken into actually paying attention and taking this action seriously. Catching Fire maintains and expands on this template, with a slightly different look to District 12 reflecting the signs of life and lively dissonance in the country. This is one of the things that make the Victory Tour sequence so effective: the overwhelming sense is that these are profoundly downtrodden people looking for something to latch onto, and that ends up being Katniss. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]2) The absurdity of the Capitol[/h2]

My personal favorite portions of the Hunger Games franchise feast have to be the performances of Stanley Tucci and Elizabeth Banks, both previously under-appreciated actors who seize every opportunity to draw out the magnificent weirdness of these Capitol-representative characters. Banks as Effie is perfectly over the top, and Tucci as Caesar Flickerman is probably the most fun any actor has ever had with any character in history. They stole the show in the first movie, but in Catching Fire we get to see their goofy facades break down slightly—Effie by her sympathy for Katniss’ and Peeta’s misfortunes, and Caesar by the stunning defiance of the victors. There were glimpses of the Capitol in the previous film, primarily through Flickerman’s talk show. Like virtually every aspect of Panem, we were eased into it at first, seeing things as briefly as Katniss and Peeta are allowed to view them in the whirlwind of press leading up to the arena. And so again with our tributes in Catching Fire, we’re somewhat better acquainted with the city and are able to take a closer look on the second visit. The party scene encapsulates the setting’s purpose nicely. There are shades of Gatsby as they arrive at the presidential palace, but the excess of West Egg seems like child’s play compared to the habits of Capitolists. Despite Plutarch’s recommendation to suspend moral judgment, Katniss can’t, and neither can we. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]3) Balancing the violence with an avoidance of sado-voyeuristic pleasure[/h2] The Hunger Games: Catching Fire There is one central paradox that adapting The Hunger Games into a movie franchise poses, and that is the problem that the novel criticizes the gross spectacle of elites sending young people into this bloodbath of a reality show, but the very act of watching the Games unfold in the film puts us in the position of an audience complacent to horrific violence. Reading gives us distance from the people tuning into this atrocity; watching makes us complacent. Some have complained about the filmmakers’ aim to make the films “PG-13 friendly.” This is likely true, but I suspect the decision to turn the camera away from some of the more gruesome moments is an attempt to wrestle with this paradox. It could be said that it’s a cowardly move to let viewers off the hook regarding the real darkness of the material. I think it could also be said that the artful execution of these moments is to avoid turning us off completely, making us more effectively relate to the spectacle-hungry viewers of Panem. So when we see Cato snap a young boy’s neck in the first movie, the sound is cleverly muted, from Katniss’ deafened aural perspective, making it less immediately real, but still shocking and disturbing. The genius of Catching Fire's arena sequence is that our reaction to it, the fact we’re rooting for the tributes to just get along and turn their efforts against President Snow and his regime, is precisely the feeling in a country with a revolution brewing. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]4) The strength of its supporting players[/h2] The Hunger Games Catching Fire Not even the snobbiest of cinephiles can scoff at the likes of Jena Malone, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jeffrey Wright. These are established and respected veterans in their field, and get a chance to surprise and delight us in a more playful environment than we may have watched them in previously. Hoffman gets the least time to show off in Catching Fire, but the mystery surrounding his endgame—what his moves and countermoves are meant to be leading toward—is made all the more intriguing by his guarded demeanor. I have a soft spot for a muted Philip Seymour Hoffman. Wright gets to be the weird nerd, and he’s always good playing eccentrics. Few other actors would have the authority to insist some dubious technology to work simply by stating “I invented it. It’ll work.” Most seem to agree that Malone steals the show, though. Her open defiance and crass expressiveness easily makes her an instant fan favorite. She gets to say what we’re thinking at several key points of the movie. Adding to the aforementioned talents of Stanley Tucci and Elizabeth Banks from the first installment, this new set of actors that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see in a blockbuster franchise only serves to build up the formidable strength of the Hunger Games ensemble even more. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]5) Showing restraint with Gale and Peeta[/h2] The Hunger Games: Catching Fire I admired the first movie for how little it allowed us to latch onto its two male co-stars, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson. My biggest worry was that it would play up the love triangle aspect of the story for a post-Twilight movie audience, which was my most loathed part of the books. Gary Ross and company seemed to share my thoughts on the matter, focusing the movie entirely on Katniss and how busy she is trying to not die which ultimately gives her little time to think about which boy is cuter (especially since it’s obviously Gale). Similarly, Catching Fire keeps these two in the background and maintains Katniss’ role as hero, even though it’s becoming more of a collaborative effort in which she’s a kind of catalyst or symbol or whatever the Mockingjay stuff is meant to be about. The less time Hemsworth is allowed to talk, the better, and in his recuperative silence following his little scuffle with the Peacekeeper who is so badass that he doesn’t even need a helmet, we’re treated to some tender moments with him and Katniss. Hutcherson, to his credit, makes Peeta one of the most subtly exciting sidekicks ever. He’s actually far bolder than Katniss in the sequel, in his mind at least, but he still falls down a lot more than she does. Still, his efforts become increasingly admirable, and Hutcherson finds a way of bringing out the simmering anger in his character that may not even be detectable at first. After all, it takes Katniss quite a bit of time to notice. If only he were hotter! Continue reading on the next page... [h2]6) Jennifer Lawrence, obviously[/h2] The Hunger Games: Catching Fire The fact that Jennifer Lawrence is as seemingly baffled by her own real life rise to stardom as Katniss is flummoxed by her own status as a revolutionary symbol in Panem shows just how perfectly suited she is for this role. Her suitability was immediately evident in the opening scenes of the previous film. She acts as though she’s carrying the weight of her entire district, or at the very least her entire family, on her shoulders. There is not a single moment where she signals any awareness of her importance to the public hungry for revolution, and her obliviousness to many things, from politics to personal relationships, is one of her endearing qualities. Even after we’ve all had a bit more exposure to Lawrence’s work, most notably Silver Linings Playbook, it’s still almost immediately a forgone conclusion that she is wholly and completely Katniss. It’s not so much that Jennifer Lawrence disappears as it is a kind of morphing her traits into this similar yet entirely different character. I think of (as many will, surely) the scene where Johanna confronts them in the elevator, taking off her parade costume with Peeta’s assistance and Haymitch’s elated eyes. Katniss’ eyes have a different reaction, and it takes the abundant expressiveness of Lawrence and channels it in a subdued Katniss way. She’s very good. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]7) The power of the arena[/h2] The Hunger Games Catching Fire The Quarter Quell is meant to promise spectacle unlike anything the Hunger Games have presented thus far, and the movie, appropriately, replicates that, showcasing the entire arena portion of the movie in stunning IMAX format (if you have the opportunity to see Catching Fire in an IMAX-equipped theater, it’s a must). People who have read the books were expecting big things from this arena and the people who made the movie had big ambitions with this arena. It retroactively makes the arena from the previous movie seem suitable, since if it was too dazzling, it would be harder to top. There can be no disagreement on this: the arena sequence of Catching Fire is far grander than that of The Hunger Games. Much of this is due to the imaginative design by Suzanne Collins in the original novel. The IMAX format not only emphasizes the scale of the setting, though; it also magnifies each and every detail. Every bead of sweat becomes noticeable, and in a tropical arena, this really gives you a sense of the heat and dehydration the tributes are experiencing. It has the added bonus of making those blisters from the poisonous fog really pop. Those things are wonderfully hideous. Expanding the ratio of the film for this sequence also aids in the sense of disorientation, both physical and emotional, that Katniss experiences in this moment. This movie is a much more visceral experience than the first, with the arena serving as viscera central. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]8) A promise of what’s to come[/h2] The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Both movies end with a sense of foreboding and a clear nod to the fact that audiences will have time to anticipate the next instalment of this story. The Hunger Games very nearly feels like a completely story unto itself. Its ending could hint to further exploration of the universe, but doesn’t demand it. We see President Snow walk away, but the games are over and Katniss and Peeta are alive and together and seem to be prepared to go home. Catching Fire demands more. It’s not just that it ends in an Empire Strikes Back vein with our fellowship separated and our heroine fleeing the villain to meet up with the rebel alliance. It’s that the entire film builds up such rage in us as an audience that never really gets satisfied. It gets interrupted. The anger we feel towards Snow and the Capitol is unquenched. The closing shot of Katniss’ face is therefore a perfect one, with fear and confusion quickly transitioning to a simmering fury that assures us there will be retribution in Part One and/or Two of Mockingjay. I prefer to avoid comparisons of movies and their sequels, but the first movie in this franchise deserves enormous credit if for no other reason than its degree of difficulty. People had fairly specific ideas of what a visual representation of The Hunger Games ought to be, right down to the skin color of some characters that didn’t even align with what was in the actual text. It didn’t matter though, because the emotional attachment was so profound that there is an intrinsic sense of deflated imagination when you see your personal impressions trumped by something as definitive as a movie. The brains behind this franchise (producer Nina Jacobson et al) seem to be in control of a smooth operation. I was so pleased with the first movie—eventually, like after watching it a few times—that a sequel that rivaled it in quality would have been satisfying. Most seem to think that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire does that and then some, and I have to agree. The odds seem to favor the continued success of its upcoming episodes. What are your thoughts on the Hunger Games franchise? Share them in the comments section below." ["post_title"]=> string(86) "8 Areas In Which The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Matches And Surpasses Its Predecessor" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(418) "In the midst of endless bickering over all the various things movie franchises are doing completely wrong, the Hunger Games franchise appears to be doing just about everything right. The popularity and staying power of the series has been confirmed by the overwhelming success of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which has been almost unanimously embraced by critics and is currently setting records at the box office." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(52) "the-hunger-games-catching-fire-surpasses-predecessor" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(92) " http://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/latest-hunger-games-installment-catches-fire-moviegoers/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-05-11 21:46:41" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-05-12 02:46:41" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=319762" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#352 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(319353) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "406" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-11-25 09:01:08" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-25 14:01:08" ["post_content"]=> string(2225) "Willow Shields and Jennifer Lawrence in Catching Fire The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the sequel to the first movie in the series that opened in March 2012, swept through theaters this weekend with an estimated $161.1 million gross. Catching fire, indeed. Fans of the Girl on Fire helped make the movie the best November opening of all time, ahead of another "genre" movie with a female protagonist, the Twilight series' New Moon, which scored $142.9 million in the box office during its debut in 2009. It also currently holds fourth place for the top movie debuts of all time, behind The Avengers ($207.4 million), Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169.2 million). According to the numbers, the only movie to beat Catching Fire - the latest installment of Suzanne Collins' novels about a world where a deadly competition pits children against children for the entertainment of the people of the fictional city of Panem - in 2013 was Iron Man 3. But if you take into account the Marvelfilm's high number of 3D ticket sales, which certainly boosted ticket prices, the latest installment in Katniss Everdeen's story looks even more impressive. Also of note is the fact that this weekend's release of Catching Fire is the biggest box office opening for a movie featuring a woman as the main character...ever! In addition, the gap between the percentage of men vs. women seeing the film shrunk slightly in comparison to the demographic make-up of the first Hunger Games film; with the first film, 39% of the audience was male, but with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, 41% of those in attendance opening weekend were male. Remember all that talk about how movies that star women don't make money? Looks like it's time to re-think that and give Katniss the respect she deserves." ["post_title"]=> string(60) "Latest Hunger Games Installment Catches Fire With Moviegoers" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(202) "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the sequel to the first movie in the series that opened in March 2012, swept through theaters this weekend with an estimated $161.1 million gross. Catching fire, indeed." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(55) "latest-hunger-games-installment-catches-fire-moviegoers" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2013-11-25 19:33:29" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-26 00:33:29" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=319353" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#353 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(319153) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "393" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-11-25 01:29:09" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-25 06:29:09" ["post_content"]=> string(10431) "Willow Shields at the LA Catching Fire Premiere Most actors have to work their way up. Willow Shields, on the other hand, kicked off her career off at the top. She snagged the coveted role of Primrose Everdeen, Katniss’ little sister, back in April of 2011 and it’s been non-stop prepping, filming and promoting ever since. All the hard work paid off when The Hunger Games scored a $152.5 million opening week in March 2012 and now even more so as the sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, just kicked off its run with a record-breaking $161.1 million. In the second installment of the critically acclaimed franchise, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) vies to make Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) pay for defying the Capitol with her stunt with the Nightlock berries in the 74th Hunger Games. While Snow tries to destroy everything Katniss holds dear, Prim is there to pick up the pieces when she can, putting her healing capabilities to use and ensuring the fire within her sister continues to burn, giving the people of Panem a source of hope. Katniss may have volunteered for Prim when she was reaped for the 74th Hunger Games, but now it’s Prim’s turn to step up. We get a glimpse of what she’s capable of in Catching Fire, but get ready because she’s about to become a pivotal part of the rebellion in Mockingjay, Part I and Mockingjay, Part 2. Recently, we sat down for an exclusive interview with the young actress to talk all things Catching Fire. She spoke about her experience transitioning from the first to the second film, her thoughts on Prim’s screen-time boost for the franchise’s final two installments, how she unwinds and much more. Check it out below, and enjoy! We Got This Covered: To start, can you give me a sense of what you’re up to now? You’re in the middle of the Catching Fire press tour and you’re also in the middle of shooting Mockingjay, too? Willow Shields: No, I’m just going to start Mockingjay pretty soon. We’re filming them both back-to-back and we’re probably going to start in a couple of weeks, which I’m really excited about. WGTC: From the moment you got this role, it seems like the franchise never really took a break. Did you yourself get much of a break between the first and second films? Willow Shields: Yeah, between the first and second films there was a pretty large break and that gave me the chance to just take in everything, but now it’s just crazy because after all the press for Catching Fire, we’re already jumping on to filming Mockingjay 1 and 2. WGTC: How do you unwind when things get crazy during the press tours and shooting? Anything in particular you like to do just for fun? Willow Shields: On set I just hung out with Jennifer [Lawrence] a lot, but other than that, I actually had quite a bit of downtime everyday so I did a lot of school and then I hung out with one of my friends that lives in Atlanta. WGTC: Now, Catching Fire had a much bigger bank account than The Hunger Games, so was there anything noticeably different for you on the two sets?  Willow Shields: No, I don’t think so. Not really, honestly. Everything was top notch like in the first movie as far as great set design, costumes, all of that. On the second movie there was new cast members, which was different, but other than that there was nothing, except for that I was more comfortable on set for Catching Fire than when I went on set for The Hunger Games because on Catching Fire, we all knew each other already. 0008298c-630 WGTC: I spoke to you and Amandla [Stenberg] back at San Diego Comic Con for Hunger Games and you two seemed really close. I imagine it must be tough to move on without her and the other original cast members that you got so close with. Did you keep in touch with them while filming? Willow Shields: Yeah, we kept in touch. It was a little bit harder for me just because I was 12 when filming Catching Fire and I think the next youngest person was probably like 19, so it’s a big difference in age. But it’s still a blast. It’s just different. WGTC: Have any of your friends from the first film seen the new one? Willow Shields: Yeah. Actually, a couple of them were at the LA premiere. WGTC: Did they like it? Willow Shields: They loved it. They absolutely loved it. It was exciting to see them there supporting the second one. WGTC: And how about working with Francis instead of Gary? Is there anything specific you missed about Gary and anything new that Francis brought to the table that you were excited about? Willow Shields: I really thank Gary for casting me in the first movie. I can never forget that. He was such a good director and did a great job of bringing the book to life. Francis did an amazing job with this one as well. There’s differences, but it’s not anything huge. I feel like each director brings their own feelings to each movie they do. WGTC: Does Francis like to give you a lot of notes in between takes? Willow Shields: Not really. What was fun about this film set is he’s really chill about me and Jen just hanging out, talking – sometimes we goof around a little too much – and then he’s good at just letting us actors explore and do what we want to do for our roles. He trusts in us and what we’re doing, which was really fun. He’s definitely a great director to work with. WGTC: Now how about developing Prim? When we see her in Catching Fire, she’s changed big time since The Hunger Games. I’m sure the entire experience of watching Katniss go through the Games is what lit the fire inside her, but is there anything specific that you thought made Prim want to step up more than anything? Willow Shields: I think it's that she realizes that Katniss is what’s going to create hope in their world and is what’s going to create the rebellion. Katniss definitely is everyone’s hope at that point so I think with Prim realizing that, it kind of opens up this world to her and her being there for Katniss. WGTC: How was it delivering that one big line in your scene with Jen when you literally declare just that? Was it hard nailing that line just the way you wanted? Willow Shields: No. I feel like with me and Jen, because we’re kind of like sisters off camera too, so it’s kind of easy to deliver each of those lines because we’re so connected that it was just really natural to be able to do that. Willow Shields and Jennifer Lawrence in Catching Fire WGTC: What happens when the cameras stop rolling with the two of you? Is it easy to jump in and out of the roles or does reality blur with the fiction at all? Willow Shields: Yeah, Jen is really good at that. I’m learning. [Laughs] She’s so hilarious and is always joking around, so one minute she’ll be telling this joke and we’ll be laughing and then the next second, they call action and she’s crying and I’m laughing [laughs]. I’m starting to learn how to do that on set. WGTC: Prim is also starting to step up as a healer-in-training. Did you yourself get to do any training or research for that part of the role? Willow Shields: I did a little bit. I actually had taken this class before where you learn about things in nature that can heal you, so I did kind of learn a bit about that.  WGTC: Can you tell me about the post-whipping scene? Are those wounds just painted on to Liam Hemsworth’s back? Willow Shields: Yeah, we were all up so early that morning because, well, Liam had to get his makeup done on his back, so that took like two hours, so he was there at like three in the morning and everyone else got there at like five in the morning. We took almost a full day to film that one scene because there’s so many people in it. But yeah, they did a ton of makeup on Liam’s back. He had to kind of lay on his stomach in the corner all day because he couldn’t sit in a chair. WGTC: Did anyone accidentally bump into him and get some wounds of their own? Willow Shields: No, everyone was very cautious about that. [Laughs] WGTC: How are you with blood and needles in real life? Does that stuff gross you out at all? Willow Shields: Oh my gosh, I’m so scared! Me and Jen both on set, when I had to do that the first time, we literally had to stop filming because we both got so grossed out. Obviously it’s a fake needle, but it looks like it’s real, so it was kind of a little gross and scary for me to be doing that. We literally had to cut. We were like, oh my god. WGTC: Where is that needle going? Is it retractable? Willow Shields: Yeah, it is. WGTC: To wrap up, let’s say Katniss never volunteered and Prim went into the Games. How do you think she’d do? Willow Shields: I think she could survive for a little while, but she would not win. I feel like she could hide and survive for a bit, but when it comes down to it, there is no way she would win. WGTC: But she does have all that medical knowhow and we’ve never really seen a tribute with that. Willow Shields: It’s true! It could create a lot of allies, that’s for sure. That concludes our interview but we'd like to thank Willow for her time. Be sure to check out The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, now in theatres everywhere." ["post_title"]=> string(74) "Exclusive Interview With Willow Shields On The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(509) "Most actors have to work their way up. Willow Shields, on the other hand, kicked off her career off at the top. She snagged the coveted role of Primrose Everdeen, Katniss’ little sister, back in April of 2011 and it’s been non-stop prepping, filming and promoting ever since. All the hard work paid off when The Hunger Games scored $152.5 million opening week in March 2012 and now even more so as the sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, just kicked off its run with a record-breaking $161.1 million." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(61) "exclusive-interview-willow-shields-hunger-games-catching-fire" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2013-11-25 01:42:43" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-25 06:42:43" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=319153" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [5]=> object(WP_Post)#354 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(318603) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "405" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-11-21 14:07:47" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-21 19:07:47" ["post_content"]=> string(1663) "hunger games With The Hunger Games: Catching Fire set to storm into theatres this Friday, the film has been making stops around the world to hold red carpet premieres. On Tuesday, it touched down in Toronto for its Canadian premiere and we were on hand to cover the event. Taking place downtown at the Scotiabank Theatre, walking the red carpet were Jena Malone (Sucker Punch) and Sam Claflin (Snow White and the Huntsman), who play Johanna Mason and Finnick Odair in the film. For those unfamiliar with their characters, both are participants in the 75th Hunger Games, also known as the Quarter Quell, and both are former victors, meaning that they know their way around the arena quite well. During the games, protagonists Peeta and Katniss join up with Finnick and Johanna in hopes of getting out alive. Though our time with the two stars was quite limited, we did manage to speak to them about what physical challenges their roles presented and what they found to be the hardest part about embodying these characters. You can check out what they had to say in the video below. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire arrives in theatres tomorrow. Tell us, are you excited for the film, or were you unimpressed by its predecessor? And which character do you like better, Johanna Mason or Finnick Odair? Let us know in the comments! [ctv-1]" ["post_title"]=> string(91) "Talking To Sam Claflin And Jena Malone At The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Canadian Premiere" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(259) "With The Hunger Games: Catching Fire set to storm into theatres this Friday, the film has been making stops around the world to hold red carpet premieres. On Tuesday, it touched down in Toronto for its Canadian premiere and we were on hand to cover the event." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(67) "talking-sam-claflin-jena-malone-hunger-games-catching-fire-premiere" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-09-03 00:47:18" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-09-03 05:47:18" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=318603" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "2" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [6]=> object(WP_Post)#355 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(318246) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-11-20 14:46:12" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-20 19:46:12" ["post_content"]=> string(2076) "hunger-games-catching-fire-picture-74 To celebrate the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, we have a prize pack to give away to one lucky reader. For a full list of what's included, see below: Set to hit theatres this Friday, the hugely-anticipated sequel has scored a very impressive 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately, our very own Dom Mill doesn't seem to agree with the general consensus, saying in his review that while the film has its moments, it also has its fair share of flaws.
 Too long in some parts, too short in others, there’s no denying the film’s flaws. But all in all, there’s also no denying that it’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
To enter our contest for your chance to win the prize pack, simply Like us on Facebook and then Re-Tweet our contest message. A winner will be chosen on November 26th. Good luck! tweet-button" ["post_title"]=> string(55) "CONTEST: Win The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Prize Pack" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(115) "To celebrate the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, we have a prize pack to give away to one lucky reader." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(49) "contest-win-hunger-games-catching-fire-prize-pack" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(70) " http://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/hunger-games-catching-fire-review/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2013-11-20 14:47:45" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-20 19:47:45" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=318246" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [7]=> object(WP_Post)#356 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(318194) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "425" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-11-20 00:22:19" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-20 05:22:19" ["post_content"]=> string(1917) "hunger-games-catching-fire-picture-75 We all know that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is going to destroy the box office this weekend. No other film in theatres stands a chance against Lionsgate's juggernaut and without a doubt the highly-anticipated sequel is going to rack up a huge sum of money. Like most blockbuster films these days, increased ticket prices from IMAX screenings will factor heavily into that box office total. Before you go making your decision as to whether or not it's worth paying extra to see Catching Fire in IMAX though, you should know that the film will feature 50 minutes of footage that was shot in the format. Now, this isn't the most IMAX footage that we've ever seen in a film (as that record stands at 72 minutes thanks to The Dark Knight Rises), but it is the most footage that we've ever seen in a continuous sequence. And, running at just under 2 and a half hours, this means that a third of the film will be a visual spectacle, granted you see it on an IMAX screen. Though it currently sits at an awesome 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I'm hearing very mixed things about The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Personally, I didn't care much for the first film and while I do think that the sequel looks a bit better, I'm going into it cautiously optimistic. Stay tuned as we'll have footage for you from the Canadian premiere of the film, which took place tonight in Toronto! Until then, be sure to leave a comment and let us know if you're looking forward to seeing the next instalment in The Hunger Games series." ["post_title"]=> string(68) "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Will Have 50 Minutes Of IMAX Footage" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(266) "We all know that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is going to destroy the box office this weekend. No other film in theatres stands a chance against Lionsgate's juggernaut and without a doubt the hugely-anticipated blockbuster is going to rack up a huge sum of money." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(42) "hunger-games-catching-fire-50-minutes-imax" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-01-19 23:07:31" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-01-20 04:07:31" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=318194" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [8]=> object(WP_Post)#357 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(316285) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "386" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-11-19 13:12:36" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-11-19 18:12:36" ["post_content"]=> string(7264) "hunger-games-catching-fire-pictures-38 The Hunger Games is a distinctly modern phenomenon, a piece of teen-lit turned blockbusting film franchise chronicling a dystopian near future of class wars and ritualistic Murderbowls. Whilst the first cinematic iteration of the series was rightfully praised for its strong female lead and a refreshing departure from the drippy norms usually targeted at teenagers, it never quite escaped that moniker of "Battle Royale with cheese." Its sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, fails to learn from the mistakes of its predecessor. And yet, there's something strangely special about it. Bigger it may be, and arguably no better, but still, this is popcorn entertainment the way it should be made. Once more we are dropped firmly in the muddied boots of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), fresh from her victory in The Hunger Games (an annual fight to the death in which the upper classes pit children from the lower orders against one another in a kind of blood-fueled anti-Marxist nightmare). As opposed to immediately opening on the idealistic and daring deeds of the good guys, the film initially takes a refreshingly cynical stance as Katniss and her fellow champion Peta (Josh Hutcherson) are hurled into a lifestyle dictated by media manipulation and political spin. It is of course evident that this isn't going to last, and with the appearance of Philip Seymour Hoffman's stoney-faced new Games commissioner, it is only going to be a matter of time before Katniss is thrown back into the arena. The first thing that really struck me about Catching Fire was its chronic unevenness. There is well over an hour of rhetoric and world-building before the prospect of the Games is even raised, which - whilst initially interesting - begins to drag and leaves the film's near two and a half hour runtime looking bloated and indulgent. The pacing here is all over the place. The rushed ending is borderline comical and far too much time is spent trying to postulate heavy themes - all issues that could have been solved with a less sparing attitude to editing. As it is, the movie feels oversized and often confused. However, when it does kick into gear, it often becomes an utter joy. There are some genuinely interesting concepts floating around in there and when the latest round of the titular Games eventually arrives, it's so utterly ridiculous (complete with raining blood and murderous howler monkeys) that it takes a joyless disposition not to have a good time. The excessive amount of time spent fleshing out the dystopia could have been somewhat justified were it a fully realized vision, but the cinematic half of the Hunger Games universe feels confused as to just what it wants to be. The costumes worn by the upper echelons are a hilariously nightmarish cross of Terry Gilliam and Vivienne Westwood, implying a bizarreness that just isn't present in their surroundings. We are instead thrown dull and poorly CGI'd cityscapes (yet another issue plaguing the first film that hasn't been rectified) and occasional flashes of eccentricity that more often than not feel shoehorned in for a cheap laugh. Truly great fantasy worlds require a cohesion unfortunately lacking in this franchise. What's the point of crafting such a massive vision if the basic building blocks won't fit together? hunger-games-catching-fire-picture-75 Whilst Lawrence is magnetic as ever, both she and her fellow cast members struggle with a script that is too poorly written to convey much of its thematic power. Many of the dialogue exchanges feel awkward and the characterization of peripheral figures is paper-thin and highlighted somewhat comically when the fellow Games competitors are introduced as if they were video game bosses, each possessing a single trait and nothing else. This unfortunately isn't aided by an incredibly defined sense of right and wrong - you are either a good guy or a bad guy, there are no moral grey areas, which is a shame for a film that is otherwise quite ideologically complex. The Hunger Games franchise seems to demand an affection for its characters that I just don't have. They're too bland and the dialogue is too clunky for me to really get involved. As for the love triangle between Lawrence, Hutcherson and the incredibly wooden Liam Hemsworth, I struggle to see why Katniss holds any kind of affection for either of them as they're both utterly dull. It may sound like I'm getting down on the film, but at the same time there is still so much to admire about the franchise. I will be the first to admit I love a good slice of popcorn entertainment, and Catching Fire is a rather unique slice at that. The fact that a film blending Marxist doctrine and Rollerball is being targeted at pre-teens is both phenomenal and admirable. Obviously the popularity of the novels all but guaranteed success, but it's still nice to think that in an era populated by PG-13 Hollywood-produced drudge, that something this madcap slipped through the cracks. The opening throes' emphasis on pragmatism over idealism, the second act's shift into the (literally) bloody ridiculous and the frankly bizarre ending all serve to make The Hunger Games: Catching Fire one of the most out-there mainstream flicks in years. If nothing else, it's not a film you're going to forget easily. Equally, in spite of all its troughs, Catching Fire also holds some captivating peaks. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a sinister joy during his brief appearance and there are some brilliant scenes to behold. The sight of our heroes scrabbling away from a blanket of poisonous fog lingers especially strong in the mind. Catching Fire is more a film of moments than a cohesive whole - think of it as a melting pot of ideas where plenty of stuff doesn't quite work. That being said, I'd much rather see a semi-failed grand vision than something put together by a committee over lunch. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is not a great movie, and in many ways it's not even a good one, but whenever it threatens to fall to pieces there's always something brilliant to pull it back together. It takes its time to get going, but The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is - if nothing else - a joyous and unique bit of mainstream cinema. Brooding and bonkers in equal measure, an uneven plot and hammy script are redeemed in a wave of grand concepts and monkeys with violent dispositions. Too long in some parts, too short in others, there's no denying the film's flaws. But all in all, there’s also no denying that it’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch. [ctv-1]" ["post_title"]=> string(38) "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(249) "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire fails to learn from the mistakes of its predecessor. And yet, there's something strangely special about it. Bigger it may be, and arguably no better, but still, this is popcorn entertainment the way it should be made." 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thordarkworld-firstlook-thor-hammer-full

November is here, fall is in full swing, and most importantly, studios are rolling out their hottest sequels and more award contenders. November is almost always a great time for movies, and this year doesn’t look like it’ll be any different, meaning you'll probably want to spend every second possible watching as many movies as you can. With that said, it probably isn’t realistic for you to spend every day at your local theater watching every single release in hopes of finding the best ones. You likely have a job, and other life commitments besides movies, so you’re faced with the daunting task of deciding which films are worth your time and money this month. In order to help you make up your mind, I’ve put together this list of 5 must-see films releasing over the course of November. There are certainly some other quality films hitting theaters, but these are the 5 that you need to make sure that you don’t miss. So without any further ado, read on for our list of 5 movies to see in November.

Ender's Game

ender's game It has taken a long, long time for Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game to finally make it to the big screen, but it was definitely worth the wait. With the progression of visual effects and CGI, Gavin Hood's adaptation gives the novel the feature film sci-fi treatment it deserves. For those who aren't familiar Ender's Game, the story follows the titular Ender, a brilliant boy who has the fate of all humankind resting on his shoulders. Most of the movie focuses on his training, with the ultimate goal of leading Earth's forces against an alien invasion. Our own Sam Woolf is a pretty big fan of the film, giving it 4 stars out of 5 in his review. Check out an except below:
Ender’s Game has brains and an interest in ideas that’s been sorely missing from the rest of this year’s big budget sci-fi herd. The combined strength of Butterfield’s lead performance and Hood’s direction turn Ender’s Game into an actual movie instead of just another “for the fans” YA novel adaptation, and it’s a pretty good one at that.
With some pretty good sci-fi flicks coming out this year, I was a bit hesitant about this one, especially since last time we saw a big-budget sci-fi film with a child lead it turned out to be pretty terrible (After Earth). Thankfully, Ender's Game doesn't make the same mistakes.

Thor: The Dark World

thordarkworld-firstlook-portman-hemsworth-full It's safe to assume that anything turned out by Marvel Studios is going to be on most people's must-see lists, at least until a sharp decrease in quality is seen. Considering that the Marvel films we've seen so far have all been excellent, and Thor is one of the better ones from the studio, there's no way you can miss Thor: The Dark World this month. The film is already out in the UK, and our own Sam Woolf gave it a decent review, though he wasn't completely thrilled by it. Check out an excerpt from his review below:
Thor was always going to be the toughest franchise nut for Marvel to crack, but rather than treating the task delicately, The Dark World attacks it with the brute force of Mjolnir, leaving viewers with a fitfully enjoyable, but mostly flavorless mush to tide themselves over with until next year’s offerings.
Personally, Thor is my favorite of the Phase one Marvel films. I think Chris Hemsworth is just about perfect as the titular hero, and Tom Hiddleston is no less impressive as Loki. Plus, I'm never opposed to adding Natalie Portman to a film, and it looks like she'll play an even bigger role in The Dark World than she did in the first time around. The Dark World is a definite must-see for not only Marvel fans, but for anyone who loves an epic action blockbuster.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

2013-movie-preview-the-hunger-games-catching-fire_0 The second huge young adult adaptation releasing in November, The Hunger Games: Catching Firehas been highly anticipated since the first film in the franchise hit the big screen in 2012. Since then, not only has Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar, but she's solidified herself in an iconic way as the down-to-earth actress in Hollywood. As a result, Catching Fire should soar at the box office. While most are in agreement that the second book isn't quite as good as the first, many times the second film in a series is when the actors are able to really thrive in the role. They've had time to get comfortable with things and reflect on their performance from the previous movie. The trailers we've seen for the film are pretty great too, including the most recent one, so if you've somehow missed it, head on over and check it out. Even if you aren't a huge fan of the first film, the previews should get you pretty excited to head to theaters on November 22nd to check out the second entry in this mega franchise.

Oldboy

oldboy-poster-trailer-josh-brolin Spike Lee’s upcoming remake of the Park Chan-wook cult classic Oldboy has a lot of people really excited, and rightfully so. The original film is some pretty badass entertainment, and with Josh Brolin in the lead of the remake, there's no reason why the English version can't be more of the same. Granted, the new film supposedly isn't going to be a dead-on remake, but rather more of a re-imagining. Still, it's building off some really strong source material and unless someone really messes something up, it should channel at least a bit of that success. We've seen a fair bit of promotion for this film, and the first trailer is definitely worth watching. It sets up a very exciting story and shows off Josh Brolin wielding that hammer, which is exciting in itself. There have also been some quality clips and posters released too, so there's no reason why you shouldn't know about this film by now. In addition to Brolin, Oldboy also stars Sharlto Copley, Elizabeth Olsen and Samuel L. Jackson. Those names make for a pretty formidable foursome at the front of this movie, and if all goes well, Oldboy should give you one more thing to be thankful for this November.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Mandela Long Walk to Freedom review_0 A few years ago we got to see Invictus, which, while it wasn't necessarily about Nelson Mandela, featured Morgan Freeman in quite an enjoyable performance as the famous South African leader. So initially, it seemed a bit odd, at least to me, that such a different actor was being cast as Mandela for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.  Idris Elba is definitely not the sort of actor I'd pick to take on the same sort of roles as Freeman, but early reports say Elba is absolutely spot-on in his portrayal. In fact, many have him pegged as an Oscar favorite due to how great his performance is. The film should be worth seeing purely because Elba is going to receive Oscar consideration for it, but it looks like he may not be the only bright spot. Our own David Baldwin says in his review that Naomie Harris is nearly as strong. Check out an excerpt below:
The story problems are easily overshadowed by an excellent performance from Harris and an absolutely brilliant one from Elba as Mandela. It is not an easy film to watch, but you will be happy you did.
Personally, I'm excited to see a movie fully focused on such an influential man. In the last few years we've seen more and more great biopics and I'm confident that this film will fall in line with the quality that such a storied figure deserves. Those are our picks for movies to see in November. Which ones will you be checking out? Let us know in the comments section below. " ["post_title"]=> string(27) "5 Movies To See In November" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(342) "November is here, fall is in full swing, and most importantly, studios are rolling out their hottest sequels and more award contenders. November is almost always a great time for movies, and this year doesn’t look like it’ll be any different, meaning you'll probably want to spend every second possible watching as many movies as you can." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(17) "5-movies-november" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(209) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/enders-game-review/ http://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/thor-dark-world-review/ http://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/hope-stronger-fear-final-trailer-hunger-games-catching-fire/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-05-11 21:52:06" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-05-12 02:52:06" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=310629" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [11]=> object(WP_Post)#358 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(312432) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "389" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2013-10-28 11:07:26" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-10-28 16:07:26" ["post_content"]=> string(2183) "The Hunger Games Catching FIre How do you ensure that your movie trailer has the greatest impact possible? You unveil it during a sporting event – which is exactly what Lionsgate did, as they debuted the final trailer for their highly anticipated The Hunger Games: Catching Fire during the World Series. Directed by Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend, Water For Elephants), and based on author Suzanne Collins’ sequel, Catching Fire, the second of The Hunger Games trilogy sees Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) return from the 74th Hunger Games as heroes. Their euphoria is short-lived, however, as they are forced to head back into the arena for a special edition of the games. This final trailer reveals in greater detail the combination of stunning visual effects and powerhouse performances, which make this film a very exciting prospect indeed. We are left with no doubt that Catching Fire will take things to a whole new level, as the proclamation that ‘hope is stronger than fear’ is juxtaposed with a menacing voiceover from Sutherland’s President Snow stating simply, “They were games. Would you like to be in a real war?” Returning alongside the two leads are Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci. This time however, they are joined by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone and Jeffrey Wright – rounding out one of the more intimidating cast lists of the year. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is set to be released on November 22nd, 2013. Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think in the comments. " ["post_title"]=> string(85) ""Hope Is Stronger Than Fear" In The Final Trailer For The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(274) "How do you ensure that your movie trailer has the greatest impact possible? You unveil it during a sporting event – which is exactly what Lionsgate did, as they debuted the final trailer for their highly anticipated The Hunger Games: Catching Fire during the World Series." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(59) "hope-stronger-fear-final-trailer-hunger-games-catching-fire" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2013-10-28 11:11:46" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2013-10-28 16:11:46" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=312432" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post_count"]=> int(12) ["current_post"]=> int(-1) ["in_the_loop"]=> bool(false) ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#395 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(326058) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "317" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-01-06 13:44:36" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-01-06 18:44:36" ["post_content"]=> string(16792) "

Anchorman 2

I’m on record as being relatively ambivalent when it comes to an opinion on the virtues of remakes, sequels and reboots. Simply put, any story, whether it’s a retelling or continuation of an old story, or one that’s entirely “new” (if there is such a thing), is dependent on the people telling it more than where it’s drawn from. For every person who can claim that the second movie in a series is always the best (like The Empire Strikes Back), another can claim that movies should usually be left as standalone successes (like Jaws or Psycho). This past movie year offered plenty of examples of franchises (to use the term relatively loosely) that saw their story strengthened, broadened and sometimes explored more deeply through their continuation. Others were perhaps failed attempts to make lightning strike twice, but I find it weird to begrudge their undertaking. From a business angle, it seems to make sense. Even from a storytelling angle, most beloved stories from recent years have consisted of fairly old storytelling templates and tropes, as the mind seems to have an affinity for a mixture of old and new ideas. Call it a sense of the familiar to accompany what could otherwise be too newfangled to grasp. To illustrate this point, here are 5 sequels from the past year that succeeded marvelously, and 5 that fell a little flat. I don’t want to create the impression that the field was entirely even, but if this were baseball, 2013’s sequels would have a perfectly respectable average. Continue reading on the next page... [h3]The Good:[/h3] [h2]1) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire[/h2] The Hunger Games Catching Fire One thing its fans and detractors seemed to almost universally agree upon regarding The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was that it had improved on its predecessor. Some of us who marveled at the quality of the first movie were less impressed by this sequel, but nevertheless, it turned out to be either a pleasant surprise or a relief to anyone worried about a new director and a larger scope in this story’s continuation. In my viewing, this second film took some of the greatest strengths of the first movie and gave them more screen time and greater depth. These included Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Elizabeth Banks as Effie, the latter of which really standing out in scenes where her overly chipper façade could not help but slip ever so slightly in the midst of horrifying actions taken by the Capitol. The area where Catching Fire may have exceeded The Hunger Games the most is in that closing shot of Katniss, at first confused and heartbroken at the surprising outcomes of the games, but quickly turning to anger and vengeful determination, making the final two films feel like far too long a wait. A fire has been lit, indeed. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]2) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug[/h2] The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug This is arguably the largest upgrade for any movie franchise in 2013, and not only does it all but eliminate the snooze factor that plagued An Unexpected Journey, but The Desolation of Smaug features possibly the best action sequence of the year: the river barrel scene. Let’s start by talking about that sequence a little bit. At last, it seemed, the number of dwarves to keep track of in this story was used to an exciting effect rather than a dulling one. Yes, they make a sizeable singing ensemble, but watching them eat and do dishes is too reminiscent of excruciating Thanksgiving dinners past. Having them hurling down a river, escaping their elvish quarters and running into an attack by their Orc pursuers, is in itself a recipe for delight. The execution, though, is perfection—it ends up being a weird mishmash of the Ewok battle in Return of the Jedi with the single shot sequence of The Avengers, a feast for slapstick action and sight gag lovers. Lovers of the book, of course, may not be as enthused by the deviations from the text, but from the involvement of the elves to the interaction with Smaug the dragon, all the way to the introduction of the people of the Lake-town, there is a sense that pieces are being moved into position, but their placement is far more enjoyable to watch this time around. For more on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, check out our coverage of the film's world premiere below. [ctv-1] Continue reading on the next page... [h2]3) Thor: The Dark World[/h2] Thor The Dark World The Thor character was already somewhat redeemed by The Avengers (not everyone seemed as bewildered and annoyed by the first Thor movie as I was; it’s my Green Lantern), but what Alan Taylor was able to do with this Asgardian space opera saga is nothing short of remarkable. I credit him for the improvement in Thor: The Dark World because he is one important distinguishing change that was made, because he has done excellent episodic work on Game of Thrones (I wonder if more franchises will turn to TV directors, who are used to working with episodic storytelling?), and most importantly, because I choose to believe it. In terms of the cosmic story that sets the action in motion in this movie, I barely understood it any more than I did in the first one. There’s some weird thing called Aether and an evil looking elf alien guy and a portal on Earth that kids like to play in. None of that mattered when Loki showed up though, because the team behind this new movie realized—so much so that they reportedly reshot scenes so he had more screen time—that Loki is the best part of Thor. You have Chris Hemsworth being his usual meathead self, Natalie Portman collecting a paycheck, and others who seem equally disinterested, but Tom Hiddleston brings it, as does, surprisingly, Rene Russo. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]4) Iron Man 3[/h2] Iron Man 3 Whether Iron Man 3 surpassed 2008’s Iron Man in terms of quality is up for debate. Most seem to agree that the ugly stepchild of this franchise was the second installment, a forgettable rehashing of generic superhero storylines that squandered the unique character established by Jon Favreau’s first collaboration with Robert Downey Jr. Despite being released all the way back in May (and who the hell remembers anything more than a month ago, am I right??), Iron Man 3 contained several moments that remain memorable at the end of the year. The climactic sequence was not one of them, mind you. The reveal of the Mandarin’s true identity, however, was one of the most surprising and satisfying setups of movie audiences in all of 2013. The scenes involving Tony Stark trudging in the snow and his new young friend Harley possess the best moments though, with Tony being Tony to the end. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]5) Before Midnight[/h2] Before Midnight It has made a number of year-end lists and taken home plenty of awards already, particularly for its screenplay, but it ought to be noted that Before Midnight is the third episode of a kind of indie franchise, one of the most celebrated of all time, in fact. Writers Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy have now set an expectation that the relationship between Jesse and Celine, which began back in 1995 with Before Sunrise, will be worth revisiting every 9 years, with the new film following 2004’s Before Sunset. That these collaborating filmmakers, with Linklater at the helm, can continue to create an entire movie essentially around watching people converse is as incredible a feat as it was 18 years ago. These are artists who know their characters inside and out, and use the reality in which they’re grounded to stage heartwrenchingly authentic scenes that expose a plethora of relational truths. Another movie that followed this 9-year break method was Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which has divided critics and audiences. I, however, would maintain it is a worthy torchbearer of an original movie that was so strange that few people found it funny the first time around back in 2004. Fast & Furious 6 is another example of an episodic movie hit, with some hailing it as a franchise understanding its strengths and firing on all cylinders at last. Alas, as much as it is worth rooting for them to succeed, some of this year’s sequels and threequels and septequels were not as fun to sit through. Continue reading on the next page... [h3]The Bad:[/h3] [h2]1) Kick-Ass 2[/h2] Kick-Ass 2 There were a number of titles that didn’t quite measure up to their previous efforts. Kick-Ass was a divisive movie, but Kick-Ass 2 seemed to unite everyone in recognizing that it kind of sucked. Maybe we all underestimated how crucial Nicolas Cage was to the tone of the first film. Maybe Matthew Vaughn directed the hell out of that first movie, and went on to direct the hell out of X-Men: First Class, and newcomer Jeff Wadlow wasn’t up to the task. Who knows? Defining marks of the first Kick-Ass that I appreciated included its ironic detachment, exemplified by the weird style of the aforementioned Nicolas Cage part, its awareness of the absurdity of its hyperviolent fights, and its nods to stylistic forebearers like Pulp Fiction. Kick-Ass 2 was not humorless, but its application of its humor seemed misplaced and less effective. Jim Carrey had little to do despite putting a rather remarkable stamp on his character. The film also seems to want to explore Hit-Girl a bit more, but only does so in superficial ways. Here’s hoping it’s the Iron Man 2 of the franchise, and the next film, if it gets made, rights the ship. This one was sparingly entertaining, at least, which makes it far better than the next entry on this list. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]2) A Good Day to Die Hard[/h2] A Good Day to Die Hard No one seems less into A Good Day to Die Hard than Bruce Willis. Credit to the guy: even in his press appearances leading up to the movie, he seemed as though he was telekinetically preparing us for a stinker of a film. He tried to warn us, and we didn’t listen, those of us who actually saw it (to all those who didn’t see it—kudos). I can’t quite relate to those who consider the very first Die Hard movie to be a kind of pop masterpiece, although compared to this movie, the 1988 film is unequivocally sublime. In this instalment, you have your standard aged hero’s son plot, a John McClane who has gone from semi-realistic standby cop to full-out Robocop, and bland action that mostly consists of guns missing their targets. I was almost ready to dismiss any other work Jai Courtney ever did, but then I saw Felony and saw that he actually has acting skills. And Bruce Willis got paid, so whatevs. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]3) Star Trek Into Darkness[/h2] Star Trek Into Darkness There’s a contingent of movie people who found the follow-up to 2009’s Star Trek to be downright bad. I’m not one of those people, but it’s hard to deny that Star Trek Into Darkness lacks a few things the original reboot had going for it. I actually mildly enjoyed J.J. Abrams’ second instalment in the series, with its genuinely strong action sequences, development of the friendship between Spock and Kirk, and a reasonably engaging use of 3D. I share the feelings of those who found the reveal of Benedict Cumberbatch’s oh so mysterious character to be severely anticlimactic, which Abrams himself has since admitted may have been a mistake in its execution. But in addition to the dullness of this revelation, I found the inclusion of Cumberbatch and his performance to be disappointingly lackluster. Standard villainous characters are so 1990. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]4) Despicable Me 2[/h2] Despicable Me 2 Call it minion fatigue, or a sequel reduced to repetition and conventionality, but something about Despicable Me 2 fell completely flat for me. It may be because I saw it after Halloween, when everyone and their cat had dressed up as a minion. It could also be because the first one was such a surprise to me in its shrewd take on the stock villain caricature that was impossible to repeat. I try to avoid thinking that any movie inherently must be a one-off standalone feature, but it’s awfully tempting with this one. To call Despicable Me 2 a disservice to its brand would likely be false, as audiences seemed to enjoy it and it has made almost a billion dollars worldwide. The animation and visual gags are still fun to watch and the minions are fun just to look at, within reason. It’s clear, though, from the upcoming spinoff film due out in 2015 titled Minions, that Gru’s henchmen are the real focus of the team behind the Despicable Me franchise. Continue reading on the next page... [h2]5) The Hangover Part III and more[/h2] The Hangover Part III There were actually quite a few sequel duds this year, though I’m not sure if anyone actually expected them to be anything but duds. The Hangover was a surprising success 4 years ago, but its subsequent followups were rather poor by comparison (and I wasn’t even a big fan of the first one). The good news is that its stars all gained higher profiles and have done exceptional work since their breakthrough back in 2009. Other sequels from this year that I didn’t watch because I heard they were so bad: The Smurfs 2, Insidious Chapter 2, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Monsters University (this one may not have been bad but nah), Red 2, and whatever number Scary Movie is at now. It’s understandable to assume that anything with a “2” in the title is a cynical attempt by some movie studio to capitalize on the success of a previous movie by making audiences think they’ll be getting the same product if they pay to see the new one. This is often the case. My wish is merely that franchises themselves are treated on an individual basis based on the quality of the filmmakers and finished products themselves, because dismissing good movies based on a prejudice like sequelphobia is a tad narrow-minded." ["post_title"]=> string(34) "The Best And Worst Sequels Of 2013" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(557) "I’m on record as being relatively ambivalent when it comes to an opinion on the virtues of remakes, sequels and reboots. Simply put, any story, whether it’s a retelling or continuation of an old story, or one that’s entirely “new” (if there is such a thing), is dependent on the people telling it more than where it’s drawn from. For every person who can claim that the second movie in a series is always the best (like The Empire Strikes Back), another can claim that movies should usually be left as standalone successes (like Jaws or Psycho)." 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