Re-Watch: The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Amandla Stenberg
[Here’s my first review.]

Plot:
The USA don’t exist anymore. In its place are 12 districts and the Capitol that has the districts under its thumb. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in district 12, where at 16 she’s basically taking care of her mother (Paula Malcomson) and sister Prim (Willow Shields). Which means that she breaks the laws daily to go hunting with her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). But Katniss’ life changes radically when the kids for the Hunger Games of that year are reaped. In the Hunger Games every year 24 kids, 2 more or less randomly chosen from each districts, are pitted against each other in a battle to the death until only one remains standing. And in this year 12-year-old Prim is chosen. In desperation Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place. And so Katniss travels to the Capitol together with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) the baker’s son – to certain death for at least one of them.

Despite actually getting the story for the third time, I was completely into it again and it made me cry. Again.

The-Hunger-Games

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Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O. Russell
Writer: David O. Russell
Based on: Matthew Quick‘s novel
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Anupam Kher, John Ortiz, Julia Stiles, Shea Whigham

Plot:
Pat (Bradley Cooper) was just released from a psychiatric hospital where he got committed after a violent episode and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. His mother Dolores (Jacki Weaver) takes him home, where his fahter Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) carefully tries to reconnect with him. Pat is obsessed with winning his ex-wife Nikki back. So when he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), the sister of his best friend’s (John Ortiz) wife (Julia Stiles) who is still in touch with Nikki, all Pat sees in Tiffany is another chance to contact Nikki. But Tiffany who is just getting over her husband’s death brings her own set of problems. Among them a dance competition she doesn’t have a partner for. So she and Pat come up with a deal: Pat dances with her and Tiffany will deliver a message to Nikki.

On the surface, Silver Linings Playbook is pretty much your standard RomCom. But underneath that, it’s one of the most realistic and smartest films about mental illness Hollywood ever produced. I loved it.

silver-linings-playbook

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The Beaver (2011)

The Beaver
Director: Jodie Foster
Writer: Kyle Killen
Cast: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Riley Thomas Stewart, Cherry Jones

Plot:
Walter Black (Mel Gibson) suffers from depression. It’s gotten so bad that his two sons Porter (Anton Yelchin) and Henry (Riley Thomas Stewart) have completely turned away from him and also his wife Meredith (Jodie Foster) doesn’t know anymore what to do and kicks him out. Having reached rock bottom, Walter gets drunk and tries to kill himself. But before he can go through with it, a beaver hand puppet that he found in the trash takes over his life.

I’m not exactly sure what I expected of The Beaver (apart from not much), but it certainly wasn’t the movie I got – which was a lot better. Mel Gibson didn’t blow me away, but the entire film pays off for Anton Yelchin and Jennifer Lawrence.

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The Hunger Games (2012)

The Hunger Games
Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray
Based on: Suzanne Collins’ novel
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Amandla Stenberg

Plot:
The USA don’t exist anymore. In its place are 12 districts and the Capitol that has the districts under its thumb. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in district 12, where at 16 she’s basically taking care of her mother (Paula Malcomson) and sister Prim (Willow Shields). Which means that she breaks the laws daily to go hunting with her best friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth). But Katniss’ life changes radically when the kids for the Hunger Games of that year are reaped. In the Hunger Games every year 24 kids, 2 more or less randomly chosen from each districts, are pitted against each other in a battle to the death until only one remains standing. And in this year 12-year-old Prim is chosen. In desperation Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place. And so Katniss travels to the Capitol together with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) the baker’s son – to certain death for at least one of them.

The Hunger Games is a tense and excellent movie that could have been better if it had dared to be as grizzly and outlandish as the book. Instead they played it safe. It’s still a really good film but I can’ thelp but feel ever so slightly woeful for missed opportunities.

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X-Men: First Class (2011)

X-Men: First Class is Matthew Vaughn‘s newest film, written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt, January Jones and Michael Ironside.

Plot:
Erik (Michael Fassbender) survived the Nazi concentration camps, mostly because he has the power to move metal and scientist Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) wanted to study him. After the end of the war, Erik starts continually hunting down Nazis, trying to get at Shaw.
At the same time, Charles (James McAvoy) is a leading scientist in the field of genetic mutation – and himself a telepath. He is approached by CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) who saw Shaw with a couple of mutants and tries to figure out what’s going on. Charles and his adoptive sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), who can take on the form of other people, start working with the CIA and pretty soon the cross paths with Erik.
Despite their different backgrounds, Erik and Charles start working together to find other mutants – and to get at Shaw.

X-Men: First Class is not a perfect film – but it’s pretty damn close. The performances are mostly amazing, the script is intelligent, the action is wonderful and there is a lot of fodder for discussion.

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Winter’s Bone (2010)

Winter’s Bone is Debra Granik‘s second movie, starring Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser and Dale Dickey.

Plot:
Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) is only a teenager, but she’s been taking care of her family – a psychotic mother and two little kids – ever since her father got arrested for drug dealing. When the sheriff (Garret Dillahunt) turns up to tell her that her father gave their house and land as security for his bail and disappeared, Ree can’t take the risk of losing everything. So she starts to look for her father. But it seems that nobody wants her to find him.

Winter’s Bone is an excellently cast, wonderfully shot and very atmospheric film. Despite being not that “actiony”, it’s a very tense film and one that will draw you in right away.

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