Film Review “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2”

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
Directed By: Francis Lawrence
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 137 minutes
Lionsgate

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

It’s a sad day for diehard fans of the “Hunger Games” series, while people like me will remember it for its long drawn-out speeches about war and the long clarifying conversations about the plot after heroine wakes up after getting knocked out. The conclusion to the much beloved series doesn’t go out with a whimper, but it doesn’t go out on a high note either. The “Hunger Games” movies will end as they started, just alright; nothing spectacular.

“Mockingjay – Part 2” picks up right after the ending events of “Mockingjay – Part 1”. Peeta (Hutcherson) has been brainwashed by the Capitol and Katniss (Lawrence) is in shock that man she once began to develop feelings for expresses hate and displeasure to the mere sight of her. Meanwhile the resistance, made of all the Districts, is planning their final assault on the Capitol. They’re led by the suspicious President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore).

Coin plans to keep Katniss safe and out of harm’s way, mainly wielding Katniss as a propaganda piece, much like Katniss was in the first “Mockingjay” movie. That doesn’t sit well with Katniss who stows away, joining soldiers on the front line as they prepare for an invasion. Her ultimate goal for this final chapter is to kill President Snow (Donald Sutherland) with her own bow and arrow.

The real fun, a block by block journey through the heart of the Capitol while alluding deadly booby traps and fighting creatures, doesn’t come until we trudge through long bits of tediously familiar dialogue. The middle of “Mockingjay” should have come sooner, or at least began the movie. Teasing the inevitable action for half an hour is disingenuous for fans and viewers of the movies, adding to the complaint that the “Mockingjay” sequel is too long. While parts of “Mockingjay” work on a superbly entertaining level, too much of it feels like unnecessary filler.

The excessive length takes away from the main theme of the movie, which is fairly basic: war is hell. For being a somewhat anti-war movie, it seems to solve a lot of its problems through violent conflict and murder. The hell aspect of that statement gives viewers some of the series best emotional scenes. The mature content of how painful and heartbreaking war can be, isn’t explored enough. Its message about how difficult the civilian toll during war can be, on either side of the battle, is sandwiched between expositions, taking away from the gut punch it should be. For a series that prides itself off its adult themes, it seems to misjudge how to present its most interesting topic in its final movie.

Overall, I’m not disappointed that I watched these movies. At times I quite enjoyed them, and I think that the series has multiple, bold adult messages directed at an audience with a young, developing mind. Like the others, I have to praise the acting throughout. It’s the best of any young adult franchise, save for the “Harry Potter” series. At the end of the day though, “Harry Potter” handled the split of its final book into two movies, incredibly well, while “Hunger Games” overcompensated for how much content they had to stretch into four hours. “Hunger Games” is another instance where the story would have been much better off as one impactful final movie than two alright flicks.

Blu-ray Review “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1”

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore
Director: Francis Lawrence
Number of discs: 2
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: March 6, 2015
Run Time: 122 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Unlike the rest of the world “The Hunger Games” franchise, hasn’t delivered for me at all. The first one was just one. I thought that “Catching Fire” was awful and “Mockingjay Part 1” is another long drawn out lead in for the final film. Personally, I love Jennifer Lawrence much more than I did after the first Hunger Games and her character is more likable but the film is not. I will definitely watch the second part of this film to finish the series but expectations are low. I think the whole “Part 1” and “Part 2” business of these epic films are really getting old.

Official Premise: The worldwide phenomenon of The Hunger Games continues to set the world on fire with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, which finds Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in District 13 after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and a nation moved by her courage.

Lionsgate is delivering this release as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD copy included. Even though, I am not crazy about the film, the Blu-ray merits are very impressive. The 1080p transfer is gorgeous. The CGI in the film is well-blended. I was most impressed with the audio tracks. First we get a Dolby TrueHD Atmos, which basically translates to Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for those units that are not compatible. It is an amazing track that delivers the epic feel that the film aims for. There is also an interesting track, which is a 2.0 Dolby Digital Optimized for Late-Night Listening, not very epic but still a neat option.

The special features are also quite impressive. “The Mockingjay Lives: The Making of Mockingjay – Part 1”: is an eight-part feature-length documentary. If you love these films, this is a must watch. There are two featurettes included. The first is “Straight From the Heart: A Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman” and the second is “Songs of Rebellion: Lorde on Curating the Soundtrack”. There is also a music video for “Yellow Flicker Beat” from Lorde. Lastly there is an Audio Commentary from Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson and some deleted scenes.

Film Review “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Julianne Moore
Directed By: Francis Lawrence
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 123 minutes
Lionsgate

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The final piece of a series is no longer a bloated epic detailing the final time we’ll see our heroes, but now cut in half, with the first part generally being the weaker of the two. That makes it easier to scrutiny because of how much of an obvious cash grab it is by the Hollywood executives hoping to squeeze out those last remaining pennies before finding their next franchise to milk. “Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part – 1” isn’t about to break that stereotype, but it comes pretty close.

For a movie that seems to be advertised as an explosive and heart pounding action flick, it’s surprisingly thoughtful. “Mockingjay – Part 1” picks up moments after the events of “Catching Fire”. Katniss (Lawrence) is still nursing some mental scars and having to come to terms with the fact that District 12 no longer exists. It’s nothing but rubble and piles of charred bodies. The visuals of blackened skeletons is enough to paint a horrific picture and further imply the brutal extent the Capitol will go to strengthen it’s iron fist grip over the districts.

Katniss is taking refuge underground in District 13, long believed to have suffered the same fate that has recently befallen District 12. There she meets a military society headed by President Alma Coin (Moore). This is the first introduction of President Alma in the series and while it’s easy to trust the person supplying food and supplies, there’s something ominous about a character who never seems to view Katniss more than a puppet for political manipulation. On the other end, Peeta (Hutcherson) is being used to discredit the defiance that grows in the districts.

Katniss and Peeta are clearly being used as propaganda. While Katniss is used to inspire hope to those fighting, through her fiery eyes of anger and bitter words of revenge, it appears that Peeta is nervously regurgitating lines, but we never see or fully know what purpose the Capital is using him for. “Mockingjay” focuses more on President Alma’s use of Katniss to beat the drums of rebellion in the hopes of getting ubiquitous support for their uprising against the Capital. Luckily this disinformation chess match is interrupted by scenes of retaliation around Panem and a third act covert mission to rescue Peeta.

The theme doesn’t say anything new, but it’s refreshing to see a movie, that’s been coined as “young adult”, use such a mature idea in a very presentable and easy to understand fashion. It’s not difficult to see the positive and ill effects of spin that two warring factions can create. Personally, I was expecting CGI explosions and Jennifer Lawrence whipping her hair all about while firing off multiple arrows like Hawkeye in “The Avengers”, but for what we’re given, it is proficient with it’s message and it simply wets our appetites for an explosive finale come next year.

The big problem with the first part of this oversized first course of Mockingjay is that it feels too much like a prologue to something a lot more monumental. There’s a lot of moving pieces, but a lot of downtime that involves staring, sitting and inconsequential dialogue. The obvious payoff for our two hours of time won’t happen until Part 2, but it’d be nice to have some kind of reward for our investment into the lives of these characters. It doesn’t help that Jennifer Lawrence, who’s shown such a wide range of emotions throughout this series, is a bit limited to angry reactions and fear.

Regardless, if it wasn’t for Lawrence’s commanding presence, this movie wouldn’t have the drive and Katniss wouldn’t radiate bravery. All the regulars are back for this movie, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and the stupendously talented Philip Seymour Hoffman. Without this cast, this movie would have fizzled out like “Percy Jackson” or “The Mortal Instruments”. It’ll be easier to reflect on “Part 1” once the series completes next year. We’ll know if it’s a good enough primer for the grand ending we’re all expecting. For now though, it’s simply an appetizer to keep us content until the main course arrives.

DVD Review “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Directors: Francis Lawrence
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Lionsgate
DVD Release Date: March 7, 2014
Run Time: 146 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When I saw “The Hunger Games”, I plain out hated it. No, I have never read the books and have no interest in doing so either. I thought the movie was completely bland and watered down of what it could have been. It was also during a time when I was not a huge fan of Jennifer Lawrence. Well, thanks to “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle” that has changed and I have actually become a huge fan of Lawrence now. Unfortunately it only pains me more to say that this sequel could actually be worse the first film. Firstly, it is WAY too late at nearly two and half hours. Nothing happens for the first hour and then is so anti-climatic throughout the rest of the film that the cliffhanger ending just makes you slap your head in disgust.

Official Premise: Based on the best-selling second novel of Suzanne Collins’ award-winning trilogy, with a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael DeBruyn and directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire begins as, against all odds, Katniss and her fellow tribute Peeta have returned home after surviving The Hunger Games. Winning means they must turn around, leaving their loved ones behind and embark on a “Victory Tour” through the districts. Along the way, Katniss senses a rebellion simmering – one that she and Peeta may have sparked. At the end of the Victory Tour, President Snow announces a deadly 75th Hunger Games that could change Panem forever.

Since this film was in such high demand (no idea why), we only were able to snag this on DVD. The DVD also comes with an HD Digital Ultraviolet copy. In terms of special features, the DVD once again gets the short end of the stick. There is an audio commentary track from director Francis Lawrence (not relation to Jennifer) and producer Nina Jacobson. No cast involved at all which is a shame since it could have added some life to this track. The only other real special feature are a few deleted scenes. Then there is a sneak peak of “Divergent”, which looks even worse than this film if that is possible. The Blu-ray release comes with a nine-part feature-length documentary called “Surviving the Game: Making Catching Fire”, so fans of the film should be sure not to miss that. I am sure I will still see “Mockingjay: Part 1 & 2” but I really hope they are a vast improvement on these first two.

Film Review “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth
Directed By: Francis Lawrence
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 146 minutes
Lionsgate

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I’m guilty of not being wowed by the first Hunger Games movie. I agreed with those who called it a repackaged “Battle Royale” for American teens. Regardless of my criticism I saw some potential. The potential wasn’t wasted, but was instead misguided and stumbled around until the characters entered the arena. Gary Ross, the man who brought “Dave” and “Lassie” to audiences during the 90’s, was not the right choice to direct the first chapter of the adolescent, bloodbath trilogy. Luckily for people like me and fans of books, the studio has found the right man for the job.

Some time has passed since the 74th annual Hunger Games and things have yet to improve in the life of our heroine, Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence). She’s continuing her tricky love triangle with fellow victor Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson) and hometown lover Gale (Hemsworth). She also suffers from memories of last years games while her mentor, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), continues to sulk behind a bottle of booze. President Snow (Donald Sutherland) is still trying to weather the storm and keep Katniss in line by threatening her family and friends.

His plan is to have the two “lovers” embark on a victory tour to each district in the hopes of extinguishing any hopes of rebellion. The Capitol hands Katniss and Peeta some scripted speeches and touts them as the happy couple. With the threat of harm to their families, Katniss and Peeta know they have to play along, but once they start speaking from the heart, the somber crowds begin to show glimmers of hope and disobedience to the Capitol. So what is a President a to do? To declare that the 75th annual Hunger Games will draw from previous winners each in district. God bless those loopholes.

Sure we’re about to start treading the same ground and you can’t help but feel you’re watching a rehashing of the first movie, but “Catching Fire” has taken huge strides in every category. Director Francis Lawrence has delivered us a far more superior sequel that will leave you wanting more. His pacing and direction make every minute of this movie tense and each scene has sense of purpose towards the final moments. Even though were once again thrown into the gauntlet, poisonous fog and skilled killers pump up the action this time around.

The director is obviously the biggest change for this movie, but let’s just go ahead and admit that the foundation and glue of this movie is Jennifer Lawrence. Without her, Katniss wouldn’t appear to be so strong, but feel so fragile. The supporting actors like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone and Lenny Kravitz are a fine addition, but they wouldn’t have as much purpose without the commanding presence of Lawrence. Her acting doesn’t smother any scene, but instead leads the way for others.

This time around we’re not presented with a couple of terribly presented moral questions, but instead the movie holds up a mirror to society. The very people who create the political ripples and waves are instead masqueraded as media darlings in the hopes of discarding their true meaning. The men behind the curtains hope to keep the ignorant, ignorant by presenting and talking to our heroes like they’re TMZ celebrities. And of course we have the typical bloodlust of the general populous. This dystopian world doesn’t seem so far, far away. “Catching Fire” is a thrilling movie that increases the stakes and expectations for “Mockingjay”. Let’s hope Francis Lawrence can keep distancing himself from the child’s play of the first movie and really deliver the exciting conclusion, “Catching Fire”, has set-up.

 

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Complimentary Passes to Orlando, FL Screening for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.

If you would like to enter for passes to the following advance screening:

Log on to www.GOFOBO.com/RSVP

Enter RSVP Code: MEDIAMA22S

Passes are VERY limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Screening Information:
Date: Monday, November 18th
Time: 9:30 PM (View the Live Stream from the LA Red Carpet Premiere); 10:30pm (Film Starts)
Place: Regal Waterford Lakes

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE is directed by Francis Lawrence, from a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael DeBruyn, based upon the novel “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins and produced by Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik. The novel is the second in a trilogy that has over 50 million copies in print in the U.S. alone. THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE opens on November 22, 2013. Lionsgate presents a Color Force/Lionsgate production.

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Carey Means talks about voicing Frylock in “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”

Carey Means is known for voicing the character Frylock  in “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”, renamed this season to “Aqua Something You Know Whatever”.  With the show going on 12 years and over 100 episodes, Media Mikes took out some time to chat with Carey about voicing Frylock and what he enjoys most.

Mike Gencarelli: Over 100 episodes, what do you to keep voicing Frylock fresh?
Carey Means: They usually call me the day of and say can you be at the studio at 2pm and it’s 1pm. I think on my feet! I improv. This show is actually 60% improvised. I just keep coming to work until they fire me and they did once [laughs].

MG: You ever get recognized for voicing the character?
CM: When I was homeless between 2008-2009 for seven months, stuff happens, I was on the train, and I don’t wear a sign saying that I am Frylock. Though today I am wearing a Mooninites shirt, but that is a different story. So I am on this train car and it is filled with Stromtroopers from a parade and all of the sudden, I hear “Frylock” called out and it was the Emperor. I gave him a fist-pound and I nealed before him and he told me to “Rise! Darth Means”. True story. I play a lot of video games online under the name “Darth Means”.

MG: Besides Frylock, you ever voice any other characters throughout the seasons?
CM: I am just Frylock, dude! Actually I also voiced a tree also when Carl was getting his back skin ripped off. Besides “Aqua Teen”, I got asked to try out for a few characters on “Squidbillies” but they used someone else of course.

MG: How long does it take you to record one entire season?
CM: It depends. They might call me for one show and it might take only 20 minutes and I might only have one line. They will also call me something for four shows and I like those since that means more money.

MG: When you record are you with anyone else?
CM: Usually I am with Dave Willis. Matt is on the phone. Dana does his stuff seperately.

MG: What can we expect from the show going forward?
CM: I hope this show lasts longer than “The Simpsons”. They need to do another movie. I hope Frylock isn’t abroad again, since I wasn’t a fan of that. We need to start a viral bug to get that made.

 

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“Aqua Teen Hunger Force” co-creator Matt Maiellaro chats about new season

Matt Maiellaro is the co-creator of “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”, titled “Aqua Something You Know Whatever” this season.  Matt was also the producer/writer on such Adult Swim shows as “Space Ghost Coast to Ghost”, Sealab 2021 and “12 Oz. Mouse”.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Matt about the new season and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli:
Tell us about the title change for this season to “Aqua Something You Know Whatever”?
Matt Maiellaro: We had four baskets filled with pieces of paper with one word on them. We just reached into each basket and whatever we picked was going to be the title [laughs]. Our ratings have been so incredibly high that we’ve been embarassing the other shows. So we decided to change the title of the show and no one will be able to find it, which would cause our ratings to drop. It didn’t work though, we are still doing good. People are seeking us out despite the title change [laughs].

MG: What we can expect from this season of show?
MM: Just making fun of everybody’s stuff [laughs]. Seth MacFarlane was going to re-imagine “The Flintstones” and we did a whole parody on that. We did a parody of “Titus Maxium”, because we love the show. We are spoofing “The Human Centipede”. We are kind of all over the map but we they are really good this year. It is the first time we reached out and messed with other peoples material but we are having fun with it.

MG: After 100 episodes, what did you find was your biggest challenge to overcome this season?
MM: There is no challenge. This show is so easy to make. Well, the biggest challenge is actually what hotel I am going to stay at when I fly into Atlanta to meet with Dave (Willis) [laughs]. That is pretty much it.

MG: What is your favorite episode this season?
MM: Shoot man, everyone is so good. We got to work with Queensryche and Mastadon, so that was pretty cool. That is a hard call though honestly.

MG: What has been your favorite voice to do for the show to date?
MM: Well, doing Err is pretty fun because he is just drunk and yells stuff. He has really bad ideas. In fact when we write a show we don’t even write Err in the script. I just go in and hell stuff out. I haven’t done the Cybernetic Ghost in a while. My fee has gone up enormously for that character, since it really hurts my throat [laughs].

MG: What can we expect from the future of the series?
MM: We are just going to continue making the thing till America realizes that they don’t want to watch it anymore. We are digging it.

MG: Are you shocked that it has been on for so long?
MM: I do, when I tell someone about it and they go “Shit, 12 years?!” I am just glad we are still at it. It is fun to do. Whatever makes Dave and I laugh we just do it and it’s been successful. It is one of the longest running shows…I mean we beat “M.A.S.H” [laughs].

MG: Any update on the second “Aqua” movie “Death Fighter”?
MM: It is all written and great. We are just trying to convince the network do it again. The first one was such a cash cow for them, not just box office but also ad sales in the movie. So it is kind of a no-brainer. So hopefully one day.

MG: What else do you have planned upcoming?
MM: I have a pilot with Disney XD that is real kid friendly. My show is broke the mold with pilots, it is went really well. So right now it is testing and it is called “Shred Force”. So keep an eye out hopefully.

Exclusive “The Hunger Games” Giveaway [ENDED]

THANK YOU FOR ENTERING, THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EVERY WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

Thanks to the good folks at Lionsgate Films, MediaMikes has obtained a couple of rare promotional items to give away to celebrate the new film “The Hunger Games.”

We have (12) sets of “The Hunger Games” lanyards and lenticular Katniss book marks to give away. All you have to do is “LIKE” our Facebook page and then post “HG” and the name of your favorite “Hunger Games” character. If you’re already a fan of our Facebook page, just head over and post “HG” and the name of your favorite character. (12) winners will be randomly selected from all entries. The contest will run until Midnight on Sunday, April 8, 2012. Good luck!

Film Review “The Hunger Games”

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Stanley Tucci
Directed by: Gary Ross
PG 13
Running time: 2 hours 22 mins
Lionsgate

Our Score: 4 out 5 stars

It happens every year. Called “The Reaping,” it consists of children being randomly selected to fight to the death in what has been known as, for the past 73 years, The Hunger Games. The winner is treated to a life of luxury. The losers…you know.

In District 12, 16 year old Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) is hunting for food. No, really. Bow and arrow in hand she scopes out a deer. But the deer is startled by the sudden appearance of Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth). It’s obvious the two are sweet on each other but there are more serious things afoot. Like the upcoming “Reaping.” To be eligible, a child must be between the ages of 12 and 18. Katniss’ sister Prim just turned 12 this year and is nervous that she will be picked. With only one entry in the drawing her chances seem slim. But when the time comes it is Prim who is called. To save her sister Katniss offers herself up as tribute. Together with Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson), Katniss is sent to the Capitol to prepare herself for, literally, the battle of her life.

Based on the first of a series of popular novels by Suzanne Collins, “The Hunger Games” is a smart cross between “The Running Man” and “The Truman Show,” with a little “Romeo and Juliet” thrown in for good measure. In a brief intro we are informed that, many years ago, 13 districts tried to overthrow the government. When the rebellion was quashed, those in charge declared that, because of their actions, each year two children (a boy and a girl) would be “chosen” to fight to the death on live television. That’s right. “The Hunger Games” is a national phenomena….the Super Bowl of Carnage. “May the Odds be forever in your favor” is the often repeated phrase that the participants hear. But when there can only be one winner, the odds are pretty much stacked.

I haven’t read the books but I do know of the outcry fans of the novels had when Lawrence was cast. I liken it to the screams that came from Anne Rice fans when Tom Cruise was picked to play Lestat in “Interview With a Vampire.” The fans I talked to after the “HG” screening seemed pretty pleased with Lawrence and with good reason. Coming off an Oscar-nominated breakout performance in “Winter’s Bone,” Lawrence is continuing to prove herself as one of the best new talents working today. Cute as a button, Lawrence also manages to project the quiet strength needed to make Katniss believable. As Peeta, Hutcherson comes off a little whiny. If I had to bet on the outcome of the games I think I’d take the little 12 year old girl over Peeta. The supporting cast shines, even if they do so in hairdos that look like they were left over from a Tim Burton film. As the games master of ceremonies, Tucci chews the scenery in huge teeth and what appears to be a chonmage (the official name of the hairstyle you’d find on a Sumo wrestler) on his head. As Haymitch, the “mentor” for the team from District 12, Woody Harrelson hits all the right notes. As a past “winner,” he can’t help but be cynical about his charges chances. And a true tip of the hat to musician Lenny Kravitz for a strong performance as Cinna, the District 12 style guru. Coupled with fine work in “Precious” a couple of years ago, Kravitz could easily build a fine career in films.

As he has in previous films like “Pleasantville” and “Seabiscuit,” director Ross manages to get inside the characters he’s filming, allowing them to not be overshadowed by the action on screen. And speaking of the action, the film carries a rating of PG 13 largely because of the subject matter. There is some violence on screen but I don’t think it’s anything too rough for the book’s tween-age readers.

One thing I caught that might confuse those who haven’t read the books (and this is not a spoiler). During the opening “video” it is announced that 13 Districts revolted yet in the film only 12 are represented. I asked someone who read the books and was informed that the 13th District was destroyed…something that is made more of in the later books. Thought I’d share this so, like me, you’re not sitting in the theatre trying to figure out how two times thirteen equaled twenty four!

Book Review “The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook”

Author: Emily Ansara Baines
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Adams Media
Release Date: December 1, 2011

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

The worldwide phenomenon, “The Hunger Games” is finally hitting theaters this week and what way to celebrate that to get a chance to cook the same food from your favorite trilogy. I have NOT jump on board the whole “The Hunger Games” and in fact strongly dislike it…but this book does have some really cool recipes. If you are of die-hard of “The Hunger Games”, this will definitely spark your interest especially since it packs more than 150 Recipes Inspired by “The Hunger Games” Trilogy, everything from Lamb Stew to “Groosling”.

So the whole point of “The Hunger Games” is survival right? For the first time, you will be able to create the same delicious recipes from the both sides of the series ranging from District 12 to the Capital. Some of the notable recipes are: “Katniss’s Favorite Lamb Stew with Dried Plums”, “Capitol-Grade Dark Chocolate Cake”, “French Bread from the Mellark Family Bakery” and “Brined and Bagged Wild Turkey”. Of course they are the impractical ones just for the fans like “Mr. Mellark’s Favorite Fried Squirrel”.

One thing I do like about this book is that every single recipe actually comes backed with a great reference and description from where it is located in the series. I think that is pretty cool, actually. Overall this book does have a nice variety of recipes. Of course it is obviously though this is really only for hardcore fans of the series. If you’re hungry for more from “The Hunger Games”, this cookbook is sure to leave you satisfied and full.

 

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“The Hunger Games” Wraps Principal Photography

THE HUNGER GAMES IS A WRAP

Close Of Principal Photography Confirmed

SANTA MONICA, CA (September 15, 2011) – LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company, today announced the close of principal photography on the highly anticipated film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ runaway bestselling novel The Hunger Games.   Lionsgate will release THE HUNGER GAMES on March 23, 2012.  The film is the first in a series that Lionsgate is making based on the book trilogy that has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Filmed entirely in North Carolina, the locations spanned from a dense forest in which the arena that hosts the games themselves was created to a town that stood in for Katniss’ home, District 12, to a sound stage that was the platform for the fantastical sights and sounds of The Capitol, the futuristic capital city of the nation of Panem.  Principal photography on the 84 day production began on May 23rd.

The film pairs Oscar® nominee Jennifer Lawrence (WINTER’S BONE, X-MEN FIRST CLASS) with Josh Hutcherson (THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT) and Liam Hemsworth (THE LAST SONG) in the key young adult roles.  Rounding out the cast is a who’s who of acclaimed adult actors: Oscar® nominee Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Oscar® nominee Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley and Toby Jones.

“It has been an absolute thrill watching THE HUNGER GAMES, a project that has truly become part of Lionsgate’s DNA since our acquisition of the book in 2009, come to life.  What I observed on set was impressive on every level, and reinforced my confidence that we have assembled precisely the right team to bring Suzanne Collins’ brilliant novel to the big screen,” said Joe Drake, Lionsgate’s co-COO and Motion Picture Group President.

Although the intensely anticipated sets were closed to press and visitors, Lionsgate and the filmmakers were able to reach out and touch the incredibly eager fans several times during the production process.

Lionsgate debuted the central cast trio through two Entertainment Weekly covers, featuring Jennifer Lawrence in character as Katniss and Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in character as Peeta and Gale.  It marked the first time that a studio has revealed a principal cast of film characters on sequential national magazine covers.

Winners of “The Ultimate Hunger Games Fan Sweeps,” a global contest where fans entered to win the opportunity to be flown to the set of THE HUNGER GAMES, was the one exception to the film’s closed set policy.  In mid August, five winners from around the world and their guests got a glimpse of the sets, observed the filming of a scene and met the cast.

A heavily promoted first look at footage from the film debuted on MTV’s 2011 Video Music Awards on August 28th.  The show attracted MTV’s biggest audience in the network’s history with a record-breaking 12.4 million total viewers.

About THE HUNGER GAMES

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.  Part twisted entertainment, part government intimidation tactic, the Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.

Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy.  If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

THE HUNGER GAMES is directed by Gary Ross, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, from a trilogy that has over 12 million copies in print in the United States alone, has developed a massive global following.

Lionsgate will release THE HUNGER GAMES on March 23, 2012.

About Lionsgate 

Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution and new channel platforms.  The Company has built a strong television presence in production of prime time cable and broadcast network series, distribution and syndication of programming through Debmar-Mercury and an array of channel assets. Lionsgate currently has 15 shows on more than 10 networks spanning its prime time production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as “Mad Men”, “Weeds” and “Nurse Jackie” along with  the comedy “Blue Mountain State, ” the upcoming drama “Boss” and the syndication successes “Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne”, its spinoff “Meet The Browns”,  the upcoming “For Better or Worse,” “The Wendy Williams Show” and “Are We There Yet?”.

Its feature film business has generated more than half a billion dollars at the North American box office in the past year, fueled by such successes as THE LINCOLN LAWYER, TYLER PERRY’S MADEA’S BIG HAPPY FAMILY, THE EXPENDABLES, which was #1 at the North American box office for two weeks, THE LAST EXORCISM, TYLER PERRY’S WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?, KICK ASS and the critically-acclaimed PRECIOUS, which won two Academy Awards®. The Company’s home entertainment business has grown to more than 8% market share and is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 13,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company’s core businesses. The Lionsgate brand remains synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.

 

Related Content

Lionsgate Joins Scribd, Donorschoose.org, and Scholastic, for “The Hunger Games” National Literacy Month Campaign

LIONSGATE JOINS SCRIBD, DONORSCHOOSE.ORG, AND SCHOLASTIC, FOR THE HUNGER GAMES NATIONAL LITERACY MONTH CAMPAIGN

Innovative Collaboration Allows For ‘Social Reading’ Of Book Content

Sweepstakes Winner Will Receive Library Of Books To Donate To School Of Choice

 SANTA MONICA, CA (September 1, 2011) – This National Literacy Month, LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), in cooperation with Scholastic and Scribd, is thrilled to announce that new fans of The Hunger Games can read a never-before-released sample – the entirety of Chapter 2 – from Suzanne Collins’ bestselling book.

Fans can read and share the previously released first chapter along with the exclusively released second chapter of The Hunger Games using a new application built in partnership with Scribd, the world’s leading social reading platform. The app enables users to read the chapters from directly within Facebook and share them with their friends on Scribd, Facebook and Twitter.

Both the content and the application are part of Lionsgate, Scholastic and Scribd’s efforts to promote reading and books during National Literacy Month. To that end, the three companies have joined with DonorsChoose.org, a non-profit organization that was named one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies,” to create a sweepstakes.   Throughout the month of September, any fan that reads The Hunger Games in the Scribd social reader application will be entered in “Read a Chapter, Win a Library” for a chance to win a classroom library of books for one of the public schools served by DonorsChoose.org.

All four companies are supporting the program with their full online weight, including website promotion, social media support including Facebook and Twitter, email blasts, blog posts and in-app featured placement on iPhone and iPad apps.

Said Lionsgate’s Chief Marketing Officer Tim Palen of the four way collaboration, “People who read The Hunger Games adopt a must see attitude to the film – the story is so gripping and urgent that fans of the book literally can’t wait to see it translated to the big screen.  We are so lucky to have the partners we do at Scholastic, who have recognized from the beginning how momentous the synergy between the book and movie could be.  This is a great joint marketing initiative for the books and the film, and we’re very excited that it was made possible in such an innovative way by Scribd.  The fact that we are also able to partner with the ingenious charity DonorsChoose.org to donate an entire library of books to a school is a true honor.  The Hunger Games is an incredibly powerful book- the experience of reading it is exciting enough to turn people of all ages onto books with a new fervor, so the National Literacy Month connection couldn’t be more fitting.”

Lionsgate is releasing the feature film adaptation of THE HUNGER GAMES on March 23, 2012.

About the film THE HUNGER GAMES

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.  Part twisted entertainment, part government intimidation tactic, the Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.

Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy.  If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

THE HUNGER GAMES is directed by Gary Ross, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, from a trilogy that has over 12 million copies in print in the United States alone, has developed a massive global following.

Lionsgate will release THE HUNGER GAMES on March 23, 2012.

About Lionsgate 

Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution and new channel platforms.  The Company has built a strong television presence in production of prime time cable and broadcast network series, distribution and syndication of programming through Debmar-Mercury and an array of channel assets. Lionsgate currently has 15 shows on more than 10 networks spanning its prime time production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as “Mad Men”, “Weeds” and “Nurse Jackie” along with  the comedy “Blue Mountain State, ” the upcoming drama “Boss” and the syndication successes “Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne”, its spinoff “Meet The Browns”,  the upcoming “For Better or Worse,” “The Wendy Williams Show” and “Are We There Yet?”.

Its feature film business has generated more than half a billion dollars at the North American box office in the past year, fueled by such successes as THE LINCOLN LAWYER, TYLER PERRY’S MADEA’S BIG HAPPY FAMILY, THE EXPENDABLES, which was #1 at the North American box office for two weeks, THE LAST EXORCISM, TYLER PERRY’S WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?, KICK ASS and the critically-acclaimed PRECIOUS, which won two Academy Awards®. The Company’s home entertainment business has grown to more than 8% market share and is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 13,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company’s core businesses. The Lionsgate brand remains synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.

About Scribd

Scribd is the largest social reading and publishing site in the world with more than 75 million readers each month. We’ve made it incredibly simple for anyone to share and discover informative, entertaining and original written content on the web and mobile devices. Our mission is to liberate the written word, to connect people and organizations with the information and ideas that matter most to them. Our innovative HTML5 document reader technology has lowered the barriers to publishing by enabling anyone to easily upload and share their work in any file format. Scribd is a venture-backed company based in San Francisco. For more information, please visit http://www.scribd.com/about.

About DonorsChoose.org

Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org (www.donorschoose.org) is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need.  Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom requests, from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class.  Then individuals can browse and fund projects that speak to them. After completing a project, the donor hears back from the classroom they supported in the form of photographs and teacher thank-you letters. To date, 212,000 public and charter school teachers have used the site to secure funding for $86 million in books, art supplies, technology, and other resources that their students need to learn. Through DonorsChoose.org, individuals from all walks of life have helped 5.1 million students.

About Scholastic
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and related services and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality books, print and technology-based learning materials and programs, magazines, multi-media and other products that help children learn both at school and at home. The Company distributes its products and services worldwide through a variety of channels, including school-based book clubs and book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, on-air, and online at www.scholastic.com.

“The Hunger Games” Sequel, “Catching Fire”, Gets Release Date

WORLD TO CATCH FIRE NOVEMBER 22, 2013

CATCHING FIRE – FILM BASED ON SECOND BOOK IN THE HUNGER GAMES SERIES TO UNSPOOL WORLDWIDE

Santa Monica, CA, August 08, 2011– LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF), a leading global entertainment company, announced today that it will release CATCHING FIRE, the film adaptation of the second book in Suzanne Collins’ runaway bestselling HUNGER GAMES trilogy, on November 22, 2013. The announcement was made by Joe Drake, co-COO of Lionsgate and President of its Motion Picture Group. No further details about CATCHING FIRE have been confirmed at this stage.

Said Drake of the date, “The magical thing about the Hunger Games trilogy is that the books have such a vastly broad appeal. The stories truly offer something for everyone, and the period around the Thanksgiving weekend is such an opportunity for families and friends to make an event of going to the movies.”

THE HUNGER GAMES is currently in production and will be released on March 23, 2012. THE HUNGER GAMES is directed by Gary Ross, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. Alli Shearmur, President of Development and Production at Lionsgate, is overseeing the production on behalf of the studio. Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, which has over 3 million copies in print in the United States alone, is the first in a trilogy of novels which have developed a global following.