Watch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Online Movie Review 2013

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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 Escape From Tomorrow Online Movie Review 2013

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Release Date: October 11, 2013 (limited)
Studio: Producers Distribution Agency
Director: Randy Moore
Screenwriter: Randy Moore
Starring: Roy Abramsohn, Annet Mahendru, Elena Schuber, Katelynn Rodriguez, Alison Lees-Taylor, Danielle Safady, Amy Lucas, Trey Loney, Kimberly Ables Jindra, Lee Armstrong
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: R (for strong disturbing violence, pervasive drug and alcohol use, sexuality/nudity and language – all involving teens)
Official Website: www.escape-from-tomorrow.com
Review: 5,8/10
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available

Plot Summary : The most provocative film of Sundance 2013, “Escape From Tomorrow” should not exist, and yet it does. Like nothing you’ve ever seen, Randy Moore’s directorial debut is a bold and ingenious trip into the happiest place on earth. An epic battle begins when a middle-aged husband and father of two learns that he has lost his job. Keeping the news from his nagging wife and wound-up children, he packs up the family and embarks on a full day of enchanted castles and fairytale princesses. Soon, the manufactured mirth of the fantasy land around him unravels into a surrealist nightmare of paranoid visions, bizarre encounters, and an obsessive pursuit of a pair of sexy teenage girls. Chillingly shot in black & white, “Escape From Tomorrow” dissects the mythology of artificial perfection while subversively attacking our culture’s obsession with mass entertainment.

Movie Review

FINALLY!  A film that depicts Disney World the way that I see it!  “Escape from Tomorrow” was an eerie and disturbing film about a family’s last day of vacation.  Unfortunately, the father (Jim, played by Roy Abramsohn) learned that he would not have a job to come home to after Disney.  He wanted nothing more than to make the last day at Disney the best day ever.  That wasn’t going to be the case.

As Mom (Emily, played by Elena Schuber) and Dad took each child to their respective favorite rides, Dad seemed distracted.  You would think he would have been distracted by the fact that he no longer had a job, but he was actually distracted by two cute, young teenagers roaming the park.  As his curiosity with the teens peaked, he began to accidentally happen upon the same rides!  Parenting frustration along with marital frustration exemplified the typical, but not admitted to, experience at Disney.  As was stated in the movie, “You can’t be happy all the time,” definitely played out in “Escape from Tomorrow.”  In fact, while in the park, we had glimpses of something evil lurking or having happened in the past.  These glimpses became more frequent, but still didn’t give the viewer enough information to figure anything out.

One of my favorite scenes in this film was how Dad toured Disney’s Epcot.  He drank his way around the world!  CHEERS!  That’s exactly how I dealt with it! This black and white film gave a creepy 1950’s feel to it.  You knew at the beginning that this was going to be Disney Gone Bad.  Overall, I would categorize this film as a horror flick…A Disney HORROR FLICK!  How many Disney Horror Flicks are out there!  Here’s the kicker.  Disney had no idea that this film was taking place on its grounds!  Oh, dear!  Oh, me oh my!  I bet there might be some frowns that can’t be turned upside down on the grounds of Disney this week!

This was a film that kept me guessing.  The kids in the film were adorable, however I don’t think they pulled off being bratty.  My guess is, that these kids are pretty sweet kids.  “Escape From Tomorrow”  was a unique film not only because of the black and white aspect, but because of the setting.  The story-line was at times a bit too quirky and far-fetched, but not enough to make me not want to see what happened at the end.

Kudos to Randy Moore, Director Extraordinaire, for pulling of a feat only I could have dreamed of!  Or maybe I have!  Yes, I did go to Disney and it really was a nightmare.movieboxoffices.wordpress.com

Watch Riddick Full Movie Stream Online

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Release Date: September 5, 2013 (2D theaters and IMAX, p.m. screenings)
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: David Twohy
Screenwriter: David Twohy
Starring: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, Jordi Molla, Matt Nable, Katee Sackhoff, Bokeem Woodbine, Dave Bautista, Conrad Pla, Raoul Trujillo, Nolan Funk, Keri Hilson
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
MPAA Rating: R (for strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity)
Official Website: Riddickmovie.com
Review: 6/10 rating | 7/10 rating
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: View here

Plot Summary: The latest chapter of the groundbreaking saga that began with 2000’s hit sci-fi film “Pitch Black” and 2004’s “The Chronicles of Riddick” reunites writer/director David Twohy (“A Perfect Getaway,” “The Fugitive”) and star Vin Diesel (the “Fast and Furious” franchise, “XXX”). Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick, a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy.

The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he’s encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty.

The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won’t leave the planet without Riddick’s head as their trophy.

Riddick also sees the return of Karl Urban (“Star Trek,” “The Bourne Supremacy”) as Vaako and introduces to the series Jordi Molla (“Bad Boys II,” “Colombiana”) as Santana, the arrogant captain of the mercenary ship; Matt Nable (“Killer Elite”) as Boss Johns, a man looking for answers; Katee Sackhoff (TV’s “Battlestar Galactica”) as the Nordic mercenary Dahl; and Bokeem Woodbine (“Total Recall”) as bounty hunter Moss. Rounding out the cast are Dave Bautista (“The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption”), Conrad Pla (“Immortals”), Raoul Trujillo (“Apocalypto”), Nolan Funk (TV’s “Aliens in America”) and two-time Grammy Award-nominated singer Keri Hilson.

Movie Review

I saw Pitch Black in 2000, and quite frankly I was amazed. What I found truly significant about that film was the build-up. Pitch Black spent somewhere around an hour in heavy character development before unleashing the monsters. By the time you saw serious action, you already had feelings towards each character, you cared whether they lived or died, you could relate.

In sharp juxtaposition, Riddick offers none of that. What makes this contrast so devastatingly drastic is that the stories consistently parallel one another. If we step back and view them side by side, we have the same formula: tremendous hardship occurs, people hunt Riddick/ character development, darkness falls and monsters ensue, run for fuel cells, escape. This formula worked well for Pitch Black for several reasons: the acting was well above average, the characters (and their subsequent actions) were plausible, the CG was pretty state-of-the-art at the time, and the story, although not untold, was given a novel approach.

What we’re faced with in Riddick is one tired cliché after another. I feel like we spent a large portion of the movie either watching Riddick heal himself, or converse with his dog. As was mentioned in other reviews, the monster was spoiled within the first few minutes of the movie. By the time you get to the characters, you’ve almost had enough. Once Santana arrives you may think that things will speed/shape up, at least development-wise. Sure he works well as a comic relief, but I’m sorry to say that significant development will not be had. Santana, who is immediately identified as a psychopath, simply continues in that vein, offering no substance to the role other than what is plainly superficial. What’s more is that each character follows in much the same way. They come into the scene, state who and what they are, and that is as much character development as you’ll get.

I’m not sure if I needed to state this explicitly or whether it was implied in my comments on development, but the script was drab and uninteresting. Having characters that were sub-par only made the futility of each uttered word more obvious. You would find a chuckle here and there, but most of the time you’d find yourself thinking “I’ve heard that line a dozen times before”, or, as I was, thinking the lines that were about to be said.

It’s as if, in this movie, the director/writers were intent upon building Riddick’s character solely. This put them at a huge disadvantage. Riddick’s character alone was never enough to drive a movie, as he’s an anti-hero. Take the two proceeding movies: in Pitch Black what was ultimately fascinating was Riddick’s interaction between Johns, Fry, and Imam; in CoR, his interaction between Vaako, Toombs, Aerion, and the slew of other characters.

The bottom line is that this movie suffers dearly from an unoriginal story, poor character development, deplorable writing, and very little suspense, basically all the things that made the first two, especially Pitch Black, enjoyable. I give it 6 out of 10 because I’m a fan of the series and was happy just to see a progression, even if it wasn’t, in my opinion, the best direction. My hopes rest in this series furthering itself beyond this travesty of cinema and the next (movie) being more worthy of its predecessors than this bland rehash. https://movieboxoffices.wordpress.com

Watch Gravity (II) (2013) Full Movie Stream Online

 

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Release Date: October 4, 2013 (3D/2D theaters and IMAX 3D)
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Screenwriter: Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón
Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language)
Review: 8/10 rating
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Production Stills: View here

Plot Summary: Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone–tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

Review Gravity 2013 Movie

I had a chance to see Gravity at TIFF last Monday. Now, English isn’t my first language and I’ve never felt secure enough to write on IMDb, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone for Gravity. The reason is twofold: First, I’ve always been very grateful to those few, who watch a movie before the others and provide helpful reviews – now I can try to do the same. Second, I absolutely loved the movie and although I spoke about it to everyone who would listen, I feel like I need a bigger portal to express my overwhelming emotions.

This review contains some minor and major spoilers, so read on at your own risk. FYI: I wasn’t able to hide them, but the paragraphs containing major spoilers were clearly marked.

Gravity is a visually stunning masterpiece that got me engaged and interested from the very first minutes. It builds up at a perfect pace – we get to know the characters and the mission, while watching the incredible view on the background. I’d heard the movie was shot using some new technology and since I was too busy or lazy to do my research, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was a little worried that the filmmakers might have been tempted to go overboard and the space/earth would look too cartoonish. I was so happy it didn’t happen. The movie is shot in 3D and the tricks you normally see in movies that are shot in 3D (e.g.a bird flying directly at you, etc.) aren’t overused. Still, you feel like you’re are in there – gliding in the space, spinning out of control… I even felt sick to my stomach at one point, I kid you not!

Anyways, the movie cunningly draws you in for the first fifteen minutes or so and then the crash happens – the Russians accidentally destroy their own satellite, causing the chain reaction. The debris of many broken satellites approaches Explorer at an incredible speed and smashes into the ship and its crew. I’m not a space scientist and I really do hope they had some very bright consultants, who are. I would hate to learn that this wonderful journey and the breathtaking fight for survival could not possibly happen in the space. I want everything to be perfectly correct, down to the tiniest details, because they all did seem to have been thoroughly thought through. What do you think was floating in the Russian station? A chess piece! How about the Chinese station? Yes, you guessed right – a ping pong racket! 🙂 I wonder what would we see in the US station… hm… 🙂

I expected a grand visual spectacle but I didn’t know that Gravity would also be an emotional roller coaster. There are several heartwrenching scenes masterfully scattered throughout the movie.

*** Warning: major spoilers start below ***

When I was watching slowly distancing Kowalsky and listening to his assuring voice I couldn’t hold my tears back. A scene with Stone’s desperate plea and Kowalsky’s stubborn silence was so subtly selfless and courageous.

When Kowalsky came back… I knew he wasn’t really there from the very beginning. I knew it because, right before he appeared, I could clearly see Stone’s breath coming out of her mouth in the bitter cold, and a minute later the vapour was gone. It was hard to believe, that there would be such an obvious continuity error in this major scene of the movie hailed by everybody. But I wanted him to be there, I wanted him to be there so bad! But when he wasn’t, I reluctantly thought: good! it would have ruined the movie.

And when Kowalski was keeping silent to prevent Stone from embarking into the doomed rescue mission, I wish she thanked him for saving her life. Or she could have said something humorous just the way he would have liked. She knew he was listening. 😦

*** Warning: major spoilers are done ***

I didn’t like Stone’s back story too much though. I guess, they thought they needed it to show her personal development and explain the reason for some of her actions. But it didn’t work for me. It would probably have been OK for some other movies, but at that point I expected nothing short of extraordinary from Gravity. I think they could have come up with something more creative, something more original.

However, regardless of minor flaws that you might find, go, see Gravity when it opens. I’ve seen some love or hate movies, but I think this will be love or like one. Even if you don’t care for the story and the acting, just sit back, relax, turn off your brain and mindlessly watch the amazing visuals, it’ll still be worth of the admission price.