International Hunger Games: Catching Fire Trailer = Hot Stuff

Lionsgate wasted as little time as possible getting The Hunger Games: Catching Fire together after the first one proved to be a huge success at the box office. The sequel, based on the second book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, finds Hunger Games survivors Katniss and Peeta back in the death-dealing competition, this time facing off against other winners as a way to celebrate the games’ 75 anniversary as you can see in the newly released international trailer.

Here’s the official synopsis from Lionsgate:

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.

Directed by Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend), Catching Fire stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson and a boatload of others. The film opens on November 22nd.

Drive-In Double Feature: Harry Potter 8 (2011) & Horrible Bosses (2011)

Last night, the missus, our daughter and I went to the drive-in once again to watch one of the most mis-matched double features I’ve ever heard of. First up was Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (or what I like to call Harry Potter 8, or just HP8 for short), a PG-13 dark fantasy epic along with the R-rated, somewhat filthy dark comedy Horrible Bosses. It was pretty funny watching the cars with kids tear out of the drive-in parking lot 10-15 minutes into the movie. Thankfully, our daughter’s too young to understand any of the bad words, so we stuck around.

I wrote my thoughts on this movie’s predecessor here, if you’re curious. As I said over on that post, I’m not much of a fantasy fan and, while I respect Harry Potter, it’s not something I lover. My wife does, hence our viewing. Anyway, like that movie, I wound up liking this one and its dark tone. Man, is this movie dark. But what else would you expect from the build-up to the death of several characters. I’m still not sure why no one tried to shoot Voldemort in the face, but that’s just me.

As I mentioned above, this movie is pretty epic. Lots of things happen. Lots of people die. Lots of magic gets thrown around. Some of the moments were a bit ovbious if you’ve ever read anything in this genre, but overall I thought it was well done and actually kind of ballsy with how violent and terrifying things got. Plus, Neville Longbottom got to be a badass. Good for him.

In my review of the last movie, I said I didn’t like how the magicians had to say the spell they were using. This time there was less of that, though oddly enough Voldemort still says some of his. My only real problem with the movie was that characters seem to disappear and then show up in strange places with zero explanation. Luna Lovegood’s with the gang at a cottage and then she’s at Hogwart’s. Really, why’d she go there when it’s run by a kinda evil Snape? Then there’s the scene when Harry saves Malfoy (I wish that little bastard would have gotten what was coming to him), they go through some mystical door and then it’s just Ron, Hermione and Harry talking. Where’d Malfoy go? I guess it’s possible he scurried off and I happened to look elsewhere? I dunno, it was a problem I had throughout the movie, but all in all, I’ll give this one the thumb’s up. Kinda wish someone would edit the long boring parts out of the previous film and put them together with this one, because that would be one ass kicking movie. I would also be in full support of an 80s director remaking this movie with a snarkier lead who would drop some awesome one-liners when kicking bad guy ass.

I had heard nothing about Horrible Bosses before going in. I love stars Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day. I’m quite fond of their awful bosses Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston. But, I’ve seen most of those people in movies I don’t like–especially Bateman in Extract, woof, what a stinker–so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Thankfully, Horrible Bosses turned out to be a rollicking good time that played it’s leads to their strengths and mostly played the bosses against type. I guarantee even the most jaded people around will be at least a little shocked with the graphic talk coming out of Rachel-from-Friends‘ mouth. And yet, it was all pretty hilarious.

The plot is pretty well established in the trailers, these guys all have pretty terrible bosses and decide that the only way they will ever be happy in their lives is to murder their bosses (it’s actually less silly and more logical in the movie than it sounds). Even with them doing a lot of research, getting a murder consultant and getting pretty close to actually doing the deeds, I never bought for a second that these guys would kill anyone. I think that’s part of the conceit though. How would regular guys try to figure out how to find a hitman? The internet? Going to a dive bar? That’s probably where I would start.

My wife said she didn’t like how the movie kind of rapped up so quickly at the end. She said something like “it seemed like they were trying to keep it to 90 minutes and wrapped it up really quickly.” I can see where she’s coming from, but I thought the ending made a lot of sense within the story. Yes, it comes quickly, but it made sense and wound up being pretty funny.

On a side note, this movie was directed by the guy who made one of my favorite movies of the past decade: King Of Kong, the Donkey Kong doc. His name’s Seth Gordon and he’s also done a few TV gigs like directing Modern Family, The Office, Parks & Recreation and Community episodes along with a few other movies I haven’t seen. I like what he did here and would be curious to see what else he can do in the future.