Watch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Online Movie Review 2013

The_Hunger_Games _Catching_Fire_62

Release Date: November 21, 2013 (2D theaters and IMAX, p.m. screenings)
Studio: Lionsgate
Director: Francis Lawrence
Screenwriter: Simon Beaufoy, Michael deBruyn, Scott Frank
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Toby Jones, Woody Harrelson, Jena Malone, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amanda Plummer, Lynn Cohen, Patrick St. Esprit, Meta Golding, Bruno Gunn, Alan Ritchson, E. Roger Mitchell, Maria Howell, Stephanie Leigh Schlund, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Wright
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language)
Official Website: TheHungerGamesmovie.com | Facebook | Twitter
Review:  7/10 rating

Plot Summary:

“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.

Movie Review

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” opens months after the “The Hunger Games” (an awful excuse of an ode to Suzanne Collins masterpiece, even though she was heavily involved with production) as we find Katniss Everdeen suffering from extreme moments of PTSD. We watch her endure the fake, Capitol induced life and the desire for the simplicity of that in District 12.

The opening of the film is strong. Actually- almost near-perfect. Much darker and more visually attractive, these sparse moments give you a feeling that the film could actually live up to everything it should be. Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”, “Constantine”, “Water for Elephants”) works hard to undo previous director Gary Ross’ established bland visuals, and succeeds. But the cinematography can’t save the shaky dialogue and pacing.

Watching Katniss and Peeta’s struggle through the tour is beautiful. It really is. And the revelation of the Quarter Quell plays out exactly as you hope. It’s after the emotional tension releases that we’re left with a boring shell of a film. The acting breaks (even J. Lawrence’s..sometimes), the pacing seems as though the writers gave up, and the visual effects…well, it’s nice to see that the VFX artists from 1980 wanted to keep the same continuity between the horrid attempts in this film and the awfulness of the first one.

But, it makes a comeback…sort of. As soon as the Quell starts- BAM. You’re back in it. The charming use of 65mm IMAX is a nice touch, but immediately reminds you, “oh yeah- I’m NOT watching ‘The Dark Knight Rises’…I should probably re-watch that”. Hawai’i is shown off beautifully, the VFX, again, are not. And the pacing feels rushed. Then slows back down. And then speeds back up. And then slows…and never finds it’s balance again.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” reminds me a little bit of when I first watched Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige”. I was left with that “wait…what?!” feeling. The difference, however, is that “The Prestige” is supposed to feel like that. You want to watch it over and over. Films should be like that. Instead, “Catching Fire” leaves you feeling that you just want to move on. It can’t find that perfect balance between beautiful, tragic, and slow; intense, bloody and fast.

It’s an improvement from the first film, this is true. However, is it a great film? No. It is a film that has a beautiful opening and a perfect introduction into Francis Lawrence’s interpretation of Collin’s novel, that falls apart with dead pacing and laughable dialogue.

“Catching Fire” is forgettable (not box office-wise, obviously). But, hopefully, “Mockingjay” (slated to be a two-parter released within the next 2-3 years) will finally be The Hunger Games that the book establishes.

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Watch Bad Grandpa Online Movie review 2013

Jackass_Presents _Bad_Grandpa_7

Release Date: October 24, 2013 (p.m. screenings)
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Jeff Tremaine
Screenwriter: Jeff Tremaine, Preston Lacy
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicholl
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: R (for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use)
Official Website: Jackassmovie.com | Facebook | Twitter
Review: 7,1/10

Plot Summary :

86-year-old Irving Zisman is on a journey across America with the most unlikely companions, his 8-year-old Grandson Billy in “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.” This October, the signature Jackass character Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) and Billy (Jackson Nicholl) will take movie audiences along for the most insane hidden camera road trip ever captured on camera.

Along the way, Irving will introduce the young and impressionable Billy to people, places and situations that give new meaning to the term childrearing. The duo will encounter male strippers, disgruntled child beauty pageant contestants (and their equally disgruntled mothers), funeral home mourners, biker bar patrons and a whole lot of unsuspecting citizens.

Real people in unreal situations, making for one really messed up comedy.

Movie Review

Bad Grandpa is a hidden camera comedy movie, written and directed by the creators of Jackass: Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze and Jeff Tremaine. I always considered Jackass to be silly in an unfunny way, and I was never much of a fan of pranks in general, so I was immediately turned off by Bad Grandpa. Also, the second main actor in this movie is a child, and pranks with children are usually the cheapest and least funny ones, since authors know they can make the kid say/do anything and always get a reaction from adults. In short, this movie looked like another comedic failure to me, but amazingly it proved to be very funny and entertaining.

The story is fairly simple: Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) is an 86 years old man whose wife has just died, and that makes him very happy, since he’s now free to pick up young women. Unfortunately, his joy is soon ruined, as his daughter leaves her son – Irving’s grandson – Billy (Jackson Nicoll) with him because she’s being sent to jail for drug use. Irving is supposed to take Billy to his father, and he accepts just to get rid of the kid, even if he doesn’t like the kid’s father – and so, a quasi-road trip movie begins. The story isn’t really that important, since this is a hidden camera movie, but it’s nice to see that the writers didn’t just dismiss the story for that reason and didn’t make this movie a collection of unfunny and loosely connected sketches that are going nowhere (like Grown ups 2).

Jackson Nicoll, who plays Billy, is one of the best child actors I’ve seen in a long time. He’s extremely convincing and talented, and even if you don’t like kids (in general or in movies), you’ll end up loving Billy. Knoxville is great as the ever-horny, foul mouthed old man, especially as he manages not to laugh at all of the sketches he put up and, in case some of you haven’t realized this, he’s completely shameless: for example, he agreed to pretend to have his penis stuck in a vending machine, among other things! There aren’t any other (relevant) actors in the movie, but the people’s reactions to the pranks are priceless. No “real” movie could have created such great comedy, because an actor’s reactions are rarely so well enacted, spontaneous and sincere. Like, if someone tried to mail a child and the post office employees found that out, in a movie they would immediately call the police. In Bad Grandpa, after finding out just that, one of the two employees just stood there confused, while the other tried to explain politely that they “cannot mail a person”.

I loved the (intentional?) social criticism in the beauty pageant scene. Irving dresses Billy like a girl and enrolls him in a pageant for little girls, hoping to win the first prize that is $5000. While performing, Billy’s dance song suddenly changes to “Cherry pie” by Warrant, he takes his clothes off and starts pole dancing in just panties, a bra and stockings. You can see all the other contestants’ mothers staring shocked and in disbelief, as if what they were doing to their daughters was any better. or less embarrassing and degrading. In conclusion, I don’t know why everybody seems to hate this movie: there are just a few fart jokes in it, everything they do is really funny, and there’s even a story you can follow and characters you can learn to love. If you want to have fun and you haven’t seen Bad Grandpa yet, do it, because you’re guaranteed to laugh for the entire duration of the movie!

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Watch Pulling Strings Online Movie Review 2013

pulling strings

Release Date: October 4, 2013 (limited)
Studio: Pantelion Films (Liongsate)
Director: Pitipol Ybarra
Screenwriter: Oscar Torres, Issa Lopez, Gabriel Ripstein, Georgina Riedel
Starring: Laura Ramsey, Jaime Camil, Omar Chaparro, Tom Arnold, Stockard Channing
Genre: Comedy, Romance
MPAA Rating: PG (for language and brief smoking)
Official Website: PullingStringsmovie.com
Review: 6/10

Plot Summary :

“Pulling Strings” is a bilingual comedy starring Jamie Camil. Alejandro (Jaime Camil) and his loyal best friend Canicas (Omar Chaparro) are hardworking mariachi singers looking for fame in Mexico City. More than just a mariachi, Alejandro has a second full time job – he’s a single dad. When Alejandro tries to secure a visa for his young daughter to visit her grandparents in the U.S. Alejandro’s request is flatly denied by a young embassy worker, Rachel (Laura Ramsey.) Later that evening, Alejandro and Canicas run into Rachel while playing a gig – which turns out to be a celebration of her promotion to a post in London. Alejandro seizes the coincidental encounter as a chance to change her mind on his rejected visa, and with Canicas by his side, they whisk her into an unforgettable adventure. And, while he gets busy pulling strings for a visa, it turns out the strings of his heart are pulled too.

Movie Review

Having successfully demonstrated with the recent box-office smash Instructions Not Included that the Hispanic audience is largely underserved, Pantelion Films has come up with another winner in Pulling Strings, a slight but sweet effort that serves as an excellent showcase for its Mexican star, Jaime Camil. The effortlessly charismatic performer delivers a winning performance in this romantic comedy that somehow manages to work despite its endless contrivances.

The singer/actor plays Alejandro, a mariachi singer struggling to raise his young daughter (Renata Ybarra) on his own. Deciding that she would be better off being raised by her grandparents in Arizona, he applies for a visa to take her there, only to be brusquely rejected by the embassy employee, Rachel (Laura Ramsey), who can barely be bothered to look up from his paperwork.

When Rachel later shows up at a party at which he and his band are performing, Alejandro doesn’t bother to hide his resentment. But when he later spots her drunkenly sleeping at a bus stop after indulging in one too many shots, he takes pity on her and takes her home with him to sleep it off on his sofa.

Waking up with a hangover the next morning, the aghast Rachel is mostly concerned with finding her laptop, which contains vital embassy documents. Thinking that if he gets close to her she might reconsider his case, he hides it and proceeds to go through an elaborate charade of helping her recover it with the aid of his loyal friend (Omar Chaparro).

The ensuing complications — the computer soon goes missing for real when Alejandro’s apartment is broken into by the crooks to whom he owes money — are both too predictable and drawn-out. Naturally, the previously buttoned-up Rachel, who’s about to be transferred to London, suddenly realizes the ample charms of both Mexico City and the handsome mariachi singer with an angelic voice.

That voice is unveiled on so many occasions — including an impromptu serenade by the band to a lovelorn man’s girlfriend — that the film nearly qualifies as a musical. But it’s understandable considering its lead performer’s musical gifts.

It all goes on for too long, with the third act machinations, including a manic chase through an airport when Alejandro tries to prevent Rachel from going through with her plans, feeling all too familiar. Such familiar American presences as Tom Arnold as Rachel’s solicitous boss and Stockard Channing as her mother are largely wasted, with the latter’s dramatic scenes not exactly meshing with the surrounding frothiness. But these are small quibbles about this otherwise winning vehicle that should provide its male star easy entry to Hollywood films.

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Watch The Factory Online Movie Review 2013

the factory

Release Date: 1 June 2013 (Japan)
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Morgan O’Neill
Screenwriter: Morgan O’Neill, Paul Leyden
Starring: John Cusack, Dallas Roberts, Sonya Walger, Mae Whitman, Katherine Waterston, Mageina Tovah, Cindy Sampson, Conrad Pla
Genre: Drama, Horror
MPAA Rating: R (for strong violence including disturbing images, language throughout and sexual material)
Official Website: Not Available
Review: 5,5/10

Plot Summary :

“The Factory” is a character-based horror film about a detective in present-day Buffalo whose daughter is kidnapped. There’s been a rash of missing girls in the city and the detective has to go to a very dark place to find his daughter.

Movie Review

This film has quite polarized reviews from suspicious 10 star glowing reviews to 1 star reviews of ‘Most Horrible Movie Ever’ and other similar variations.

Okay… I really had to think about how I would rate this one because MANY times I read horrible reviews of films that are made very well, but the ‘reviewer’ just didn’t like it so obviously it’s just crap. I honestly thought that technically and quality and acting wise that the film was made very well; the pacing and editing, etc. were indeed quite gripping and intense. The overall premise was mildly intriguing because as you went along you were genuinely curious as to WHY this guy was doing this. And of course as ALWAYS Cusack’s performance was good (although, quite honestly he DID look like he was kinda sleepwalking through most of it)

Now, as far as the ‘Ending’… Well… Firstly it DID catch me totally by surprise; I was actually sitting here saying ‘NO WAY!’ out loud. But, that is a double edged sword because it was so incredible that many here found it almost ridiculous. I wouldn’t put it that strongly but I personally think it could have been worked a little better than just kind of attached onto the end of an otherwise competent film; and then the continuing scenes after that also not really quite matching the quality of the rest of the movie.

So, again, is it well made? Yes. Thus my somewhat generous rating of 6. If a film is put together well (except for perhaps the last 10 minutes) I think that that should be acknowledged so that others reading reviews and trying to decide whether they should bother to see it will know that. It is really great? Well, no… But, if you can take the ending with a teaspoon or two of salt and just enjoy the intensity, pacing, and entertainment value of the majority of the movie, then you might like it.

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Watch All Is Lost Online Movie Review 2013

all is lost

 

Release Date: October 18, 2013 (limited)
Studio: Roadside Attractions
Director: J.C. Chandor
Screenwriter: J.C. Chandor
Starring: Robert Redford
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website: AllisLostfilm.com
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available

Plot Summary :

Academy Award winner Robert Redford stars in “All Is Lost,” an open-water thriller about one man’s battle for survival against the elements after his sailboat is destroyed at sea. Written and directed by Academy Award nominee J.C. Chandor (“Margin Call”) with a musical score by Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros), the film is a gripping, visceral and powerfully moving tribute to ingenuity and resilience. Deep into a solo voyage in the Indian Ocean, an unnamed man (Redford) wakes to find his 39-foot yacht taking on water after a collision with a shipping container left floating on the high seas. With his navigation equipment and radio disabled, the man sails unknowingly into the path of a violent storm. Despite his success in patching the breached hull, his mariner’s intuition, and a strength that belies his age, the man barely survives the tempest.

Using only a sextant and nautical maps to chart his progress, he is forced to rely on ocean currents to carry him into a shipping lane in hopes of hailing a passing vessel. But with the sun unrelenting, sharks circling and his meager supplies dwindling, the ever-resourceful sailor soon finds himself staring his mortality in the face.

Movie Review

In 2011, director Michel Mazanavicius brought a black and white silent film called The Artist to the Cannes Film Festival. The film dazzled the French crowd, but bringing a silent film into the trend-setting North American market was anything but a safe bet. Released domestically in January of 2012, the film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture proving that American audiences were willing to accept films with limited speaking roles.

As a result of the critical success of The Artist, we have seen some daring and spectacular projects of scripts with limited dialogue. Ang Lee’s Life of Pi was basically a boy on a boat talking to a tiger with little verbal sparring after their ship capsizes. And this week, Alfonso Cuaron opened Gravity to $55 plus million despite the film having but two characters drifting alone in space with limited conversational communication. Both films proved to be both a critical and commercial success and The Artist Effect may have paved their way to box office glory.

The Artist Effect is next to be realized in J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost. Starring Robert Redford (and ONLY Robert Redford), All is Lost showcases the story of a sailor who after a freak collision with a floating shipping container must use his resources to stay afloat and alive against both the odds and the elements that harshly attack survival.

With the ship taking on water, Redford’s character must use his resourcefulness as a seasoned boatman to counter the inevitability of his sinking vessel. With limited tools and a survival kit that can provide for a single person a handful of days on the ocean, we watch engrossingly as the elements take their toll both physically and mentally on the deteriorating sailor. With food dwindling, fresh water unavailable and a life raft being torn apart with each impending storm, all is but lost for the seaman and a message in a jar seeking forgiveness tossed to the sea might be the only lasting connection to the loved ones left behind.

J.C. Chandor showed that he could handle the complexities of multiple characters in a complex financial market with 2011’s Margin Call. With All is Lost, Chandor strips away subplots, multiple character developments and compounded locations for a simpler story that rides the back of the credible Redford who commands the screen in a dazzling performance that will be considered one of his best.

The script, also penned by Chandor, stays away from many of the usual clichés and easy jump scares or moments of awe that would be easily picked from the Stereotype Tree by a less confident director. The story is not fed to its audience with narration or a man talking to himself to education the audience on his thought process. Instead, All is Lost trusts that the audience will be able to understand the decisions and actions of the protagonist and in this venture the film succeeds admirably.

Robert Redford shines as the sole actor on the call sheet and only once before Academy nominated actor (for 1973’s The Sting), might finally get his due with his riveting portrayal of a man that slowly loses hope in his survival.

Simple and without plot edges, All is Lost was worth the excursion. movieboxoffices.wordpress.com

Watch The Big Wedding Online Movie Review

The big wedding

Release Date: April 26, 2013
Studio: Lionsgate
Director: Justin Zackham
Screenwriter: Justin Zackham
Starring: Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Ben Barnes, Christine Ebersole, David Rasche, Patricia Rae, Ana Ayora
Genre: Comedy, Romance
MPAA Rating: R (for language, sexual content and brief nudity)
Review: 7.5/10 rating

Plot Summary 

With an all-star cast led by Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, with Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams, “The Big Wedding” is an uproarious romantic comedy about a charmingly modern family trying to survive a weekend wedding celebration that has the potential to become a full blown family fiasco. To the amusement of their adult children and friends, long divorced couple Don and Ellie Griffin (De Niro and Keaton) are once again forced to play the happy couple for the sake of their adopted son’s wedding after his ultra conservative biological mother unexpectedly decides to fly halfway across the world to attend. With all of the wedding guests looking on, the Griffins are hilariously forced to confront their past, present and future – and hopefully avoid killing each other in the process.

Movie Review

“The Big Wedding” seems to be following in the footsteps of the recent Hollywood romantic comedies – gather as many big name stars as you can and put them all in a romantic comedy storyline. It’s the best of the bunch, even though that’s not saying anything at all. It’s also based on a French film “Mon frère se marie”, and that’s not really saying all that much either.

Any description of the plot is just going to read as a listing of who’s who of Hollywood. But let’s do it anyways: We have the patriarch and matriarchs (Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton and Susan Sarandon); we have the up-and-comers excited for their big day (Ben Barnes and Amanda Seyfried); and then we have the middle siblings who have had their time in the spotlight and are starting to fade away (Topher Grace and Katherine Heigl).

The wedding revolves around lies (obviously) and religion – with Robin Williams as the drunken Catholic priest. And it also includes lots and lots of sex jokes. The surprising thing that audiences are taking away from this film, especially in spite of the decidedly negative critics’ responses, is that it is hilarious. Fans of the film will find themselves laughing from beginning to end. But to give you fair warning, all of the jokes are sexually-based, and I mean all of them.

Laughing at the Catholic stigma of don’t have sex but if you do, don’t be safe; laughing at people who have too much sex; laughing at people who don’t have sex; and worse of all, laughing at divorced and married couples who have sex with one another. While some of the jokes were funny, they’re also responsible for creating the uneasy dynamic amongst the characters – all of whom are family (or, at least, are about to become in-laws). At times the film crosses the line from funny dysfunctional family to repulsive dysfunctional family.

The one line that “The Big Wedding” straddles well is that between comedy and drama. The film is effective when it moves from funny jokes to touching family honesty and back to some more funny jokes. The story lines are very predictable, and sometimes the jokes are too simple and too wrong, but it tries to add in the right amount of drama, and ultimately, it should be entertaining to fans of the genre.

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Watch The World’s End Online Movie review 2013

the world end

Release Date: August 22, 2013 (p.m. screenings)
Studio: Focus Features
Director: Edgar Wright
Screenwriter: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike
Genre: Comedy
MPAA Rating: R (for pervasive language including sexual references)
Official Website: FocusFeatures.com
Review: 7.5/10 Rating

Plot Summary: Director Edgar Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite for a third film following the successes “Shaun of the Dead” (2004) and “Hot Fuzz” (2007). In “The World’s End,” 20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hellbent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by Gary King (Simon Pegg), a 40-year-old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their hometown and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub – The World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind’s. Reaching The World’s End is the least of their worries.

Movie Review

Five pre-middle-aged male friends are drawn to Newton Haven, the site of their failed dozen-pub crawl as students in 1990. They’re led by Gary King (Simon Pegg). He’s the one who couldn’t move on from that night; couldn’t get a job like them, or get married like them. Reluctant revelry and bad-tempered banter ensues, before the gang discovers that the residents of the town have changed. That is, they have BEEN changed…

The World’s End is considerably better than the ostensibly similar This Is The End, a super-indulgent American comedy which mistook f-bombs for humour and name-dropping for satire. Edgar Wright’s film is indulgent also, but at the service of audience enjoyment, as opposed to the enjoyment of the players. The script is surprisingly dense and intricate, many of its jokes arriving bittersweet. In an era when so many comedies are heavily (and lazily) improvised, it’s refreshing to watch a tightly woven story unfold for once.

The action scenes are given equal attention, lovingly choreographed like some kind of slapstick dance. Chief pugilist is Andrew, our sort-of-hero, played by Nick Frost with remarkable agility. This instalment is far less bloodthirsty than its predecessors – more Scott Pilgrim than Shaun.

The rest of the group is made up of Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan, and Martin Freeman. The performances are all top-drawer, although it takes time for their individual personalities to emerge. But then, the fact that they are now practically indistinguishable may be the point – for all their disapproval of Gary, they are the ones playing it safe.

What’s most impressive about The World’s End is the fact that it’s actually about something. Nostalgia is easy to indulge but difficult to deconstruct, but this film genuinely aspires to explore the idea of selective memory – as with a bad hangover, our memories tends to return in subjective spasms, and the truth is only accessible by gathering multiple witnesses. And the truth isn’t always what it cracked up to be.

The World’s End is, for me, the best of the “Cornetto Trilogy”. Highly recommended.Movieboxoffices.wordpress.com