17 April 2012

Cabin in the Woods



Why are you not at the theater right now.

02 April 2012

The Hunger Games


It’s nice to see something good come out of the Twilight poop-cloud. I’m assuming that’s largely why this movie was made anyway; the money-people saw a billion little girls swarming over a female-centric young-adult property and said “NEED MORE.” Very thankfully, this one happens to be based on an apparently quality series of novels that can be compared rather easily to a Japanese film called Battle Royale, which would never be released in theaters in the US. There are no sparkly vampires here.

It’s a weird dystopian future where a bunch of districts in some country are totally ruled by the Capitol, and must give up a young boy and girl each year to fight in a tribute deathmatch. They’re also really hungry, ergo the title, although that part wasn’t given too much explicit attention in the film. This girl Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence of Winter’s Bone and X-Men: First Class, offers herself up to save her younger sister. This is a big deal because no one has ever volunteered from her district before, although it’s not at all unheard of in others. Thusly she becomes something of an unwilling star in the game of killing her peers.

Given the concept you might think this could get pretty violent and be not all appropriate for the intended audience of pre-tween girls and boys, but they’ve managed to keep it pretty clean for the most part, and garnered a PG-13 rating so they could get all the moneys. It still works alright, and if you really want to see teenagers dismember each other bloodily then check out the aforementioned Battle Royale, coincidentally just released on BD and DVD in the US! There are a number of pretty emotional scenes, but even there it doesn’t get that heavy. I think the super-fast characterization and attachment required to really pull the heart-strings was done much better in The Grey.

The dystopia bit is really quite well done, with endlessly weird costumes and frightening TV show hosts, hearkening back to stuff like Running Man. It’s long but kept me entertained for the full running-time. Jennifer Lawrence is great. Explosions. Woody Harrelson. BIG BUCKS.