“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” springboards from the first installment that depicted a dystopian future where a past, societal rebellion is memorialized by sending two kids from each district of the nation to fight to the death until only two were left.
Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s “Thor” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos… but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
Legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott and Pulitzer Prize winning author Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men) have joined forces in the motion picture thriller THE COUNSELOR, starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt. McCarthy, making his screenwriting debut and Scott interweave the author’s characteristic wit and dark humor with a nightmarish scenario, in which a respected lawyer’s one-time dalliance with an illegal business deal spirals out of control.
Controversy is brought to life in The Fifth Estate, as director Bill Condon tells the story of the website WikiLeaks, the problems it caused, the impact it made, and the man who started it all, Julian Assange. It’s a movie that’s informative, thought provoking, and wonderfully acted by a terrific cast, but it’s also exhausting, complicated, and not as entertaining as it needs to be.
Had Escape Plan been made 25 years ago, it could have become a classic with two huge stars in the prime of their career at the top of the bill. Unfortunately, Escape Plan was made in 2013 and relied on two former stars that are well past the peak of their career and are only pretending to be young enough to star in a movie like this. Even more unfortunate is that relying on over-the-hill actors isn’t the problem the movie has, as Escape Plan starts out promising, but gets in its own way far too often, doesn’t pace itself well, and disappoints the audience late in the film with its final twist, making it a rather forgettable action-thriller that will eventually be taking up space in the middle of the afternoon on a third-rate cable channel.
Director Kimberly Peirce took a bold risk by creating a re-make of the horror classic Carrie. The original Carrie was a memorable and influential classic of the horror genre, directed by Brian De Palma and based on the book by Stephen King, and there was a lot to live up to when doing a re-make of it. Peirce’s recreation of Carrie was never going to live up to the original, but it doesn’t fall short by much. It stays true to the original story with the addition of modern special effects and cinematic techniques we’ve come to expect from contemporary teen movies.
History (regardless how accurate it may or may not be) comes alive in Paul Greengrass’ captivating drama Captain Phillips. The movie depicts the story Rich Phillips, the captain of a cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009, who was ultimately kidnapped by the pirates for ransom and rescued by the U.S. Navy. It’s an extraordinary story, and this film will do for this particular event in history what Zero Dark Thirty did for the killing of Osama bin Laden; it will make the event come alive for us far beyond what we’ve read in magazines and heard on news broadcasts, and for good or bad, it will forever be associated with that historic event.
Director Robert Rodriguez follows up his 2010 exploitation film Machete with a sequel that’s appropriately titled Machete Kills. Just like the original, Machete Kills is intentionally over the top and delivers great humor and entertainment throughout the entire movie. It may not seem like it on the surface, but Machete Kills is well thought out, well planned, and with a good collection of acting talent assembled, the movie accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do, and there’s something to be said about a movie that does that.
There is an almost endless list of words that can be used to describe director Alfonso Cuaron’s new science-fiction drama Gravity, but the word “incredible” is probably the one that comes to mind most often while watching the film. Gravity, especially when it’s seen in IMAX 3D, gives audiences incredible graphics, an incredible story, and incredible performances by stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
On the surface, Runner Runner may seem like an enticing thriller, with a proven writing duo, an up and coming director, and two great and appealing actors in Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake leading the cast, but nothing could be further from the truth. It does just enough to prevent audiences from feeling cheated out of their money as they leave the theater, but it’s greatly disappointing on several fronts. Essentially, Runner Runner is a shortcut thriller; it cuts corners that it shouldn’t and tries to move forward too quickly without ever really knowing where it wants to go.