DVD

MOCKINGJAY PART 2 DVD GIVEAWAY

Looks like this will be the last time we’re doing one of these giveaways, so please feel free to hold us while we weep!

The Mockingjay Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray is here and IT’S HARD TO LET GO, GUYS. We’ve been obsessing over DVDs and special features for so long, and now they’re available to the general public.

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Of course, not everyone was able to get their DVDs right away, because life happens. Or maybe you got the 4-Film Collection, but didn’t get your own standalone Mockingjay Part 2 DVD. Well, good news: We’re giving away two copies of the Mockingjay Part 2 Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack!

Simply click the link below to enter!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Contest is open internationally, but you must have a Region A compatible blu-ray player.

Contest ends at 11:59pm on April 3rd!

May the odds… and all that jazz,
The Girl With The Pearl

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Breaking Down the Mockingjay Part 2 Audio Commentary

We’re enjoying going though all the special features in the Mockingjay Part 2 home media releases. One of our favorite features is always the audio commentary with Francis Lawrence and Nina Jacobson. Let’s go through some of the bits that stood out.

The Last Time

Right at the start there is a super cute moment where Francis mentions this is the last time they get to do an audio commentary… on these movies. This isn’t news – we know they’re planning on adapting The Odyssey together – but that quibble was fun to hear them acknowledge.

These movies start and end with Katniss (well, Francis’s movies)

Francis mentions how he deliberately structured the films this way.

The Nut’s destruction, not close up but through Katniss’s eyes

In a refreshing difference from the popular superhero movies of the day, they decided not to show the spectacle of the Nut’s destruction, but focus on how Katniss experiences it. (Bonus, it also saves them a bunch of cash).

No crying until the end

During the District 2 scene, a tear fell from Jen’s eye due to cold which was digitally removed. Suzanne and Francis felt Katniss should not cry in this movie until the end because she’s so numb from everything she’s experienced.

Francis’s assistant/MJ2’s associate producer was working double time

He’s the one who shoots Katniss in District 2.

jena scalp doubleJena had a scalp double

Francis didn’t have the heart to ask Jena to have her head shaved for a year (for 10 days total of shooting) but he thinks bald caps look fake. The solution – he hired scalp doubles and digitally added them in.

They thought about cutting Finnick and Annie’s wedding (gasp!)

They were concerned about the wedding slowing the pace of the film, but Nina knew the fans wouldn’t stand for this scene not being included (imagine the anger lol). They found a way to incorporate the elements they needed to keep propelling the story forward within the backdrop of the wedding.

Noisy le Grand residents (site of the black oil scene) were suspicious when the team came in to scout locations, and later shoot

The location scouts needed to come back with security after someone threw an egg at them. Then when they shot the scenes people started throwing things as well so they needed more security. They even ended up hiring one of the kids who was throwing things (made him security too) to bring him over to the team Mockingjay side.

Francis was looking forward to shooting the sewer sequences, but then reality set in

Francis was excited to shoot the sewer sequences for a chance to do a scene that was really scary in these movies. Unfortunately it meant about a month of shooting in cold, claustrophobic tunnels to get the footage for these sequences (but thanks for doing it, guys).

The fun of messing with audience’s expectations

Francis had fun subverting audience’s expectations during the sewer sequence. He enjoyed building the suspense, mentioning how he set up certain shots to make you think Pollux was going to get attacked… but then of course that NOT being the moment of attack.

The importance of Finnick’s “Hero Moment”

They spent a lot of time developing Finnick’s fight scenes in order to give him a “samurai’s death,” as Nina put it. Also, Francis loves how the film requires you to keep moving right after Finnick’s death. There is no ability to take a beat and absorb it. The mourning has to happen during the continued chase and they used the music to communicate that.

The difficulty of showing the consequences of war within PG-13

To keep it within the rating, there had to be a minimal amount of blood and some very carefully constructed shots. They had to go back and forth with the MPAA several times nonetheless because of the intensity of the movie. Francis also had to focus more on the emotional consequences.

Scar-free Katniss

I mentioned this in an earlier post how I was disappointed that they did not choose to show Katniss’s burns except momentarily and had the magic Capitol medicine erase them away. Nina explains that, just like not having Peeta lose his leg, they decided to focus more on the emotional, and not the physical damage. I stand by my opinion that this was a mistake that reduced the impact of the story, so I guess we’ll have to disagree on that one. (I also still disagree on their choice to have Peeta keep his leg).

Goodbye, Gale

The ending of this scene originally ended with Katniss telling Gale to “get out,” but when it was screened for Suzanne, she said this was the first time that she didn’t like Katniss. Well, we don’t what THAT, so they revised the dialogue to the ending as we have it now.

kat capitol hgThe Capitol Hunger Games decision

Was Katniss’s decision based on a desire for revenge, or is Katniss saying yes just as a ruse to get rid of Coin? I believe it’s the latter, but they built the scene to allow the audience to decide for themselves.

No animals were harmed in the filming of the cat scene

Were you worried for dear Buttercup’s safely when Katniss threw the cup at that beloved cat? Well, the cup was added in digitally, so nothing was actually thrown. No worries.

Hand holding is all you get, kids

Nina knows there are lots of fans that wanted a more than just some hand holding during the Real or Not Real scene, but doesn’t have much sympathy, saying “too bad” for them. We’ve always been on the side that thought a full on love scene would be waaaaaay out of place for the movie, but we also think the hand holding/general mood of the scene was too subtle to truly give weight to what is going on between these two when they exchange the words. I actually wish they’d said nothing during this scene, rather them have the “real or not real” exchange happen too early.

Did you watch the audio commentary yet? Any other parts you thought were interesting?

Last one, guys 😥

JJ

 

 

The Unsung Heroes

We’re REALLY HYPED as the Mockingjay Part 2 and 4-Film Collection Blu-ray release date approaches– that would be March 22nd, in case you’ve been living under a rock. A big part of that is the obvious: Deleted and extended scenes, cast shenanigans, commentary. But a big part of it is also because home video releases often introduce us to the unsung heroes behind the film projects we love.

Yes, everyone wants to fangirl over the cast because they are spectacular and Francis because he’s the leader of the pack. But if you’ve ever watched a movie with crap make-up and effects, you know that no amount of acting skill or good intentions can save a movie that just doesn’t have all the elements.

For that, we turn to people like Ve Neill, Nikoletta Skarlatos, and Glenn Hetrick. You probably don’t know their names (unless you’re really into makeup as an artistic medium,) but you’ve got a lot to thank them for if you love this franchise– along with lots and lots of other people, of course.

In anticipation of the home video release, we’re seeing some full-length interviews with the three and they are so freaking endearing. We talk a lot about The Hunger Games “family” and the fandom, but people who work behind the scenes don’t get nearly enough credit and THEY ARE A MAJOR PART OF THAT FAMILY.

We couldn’t help but smile when we watched Ve and Nikoletta’s interview quickly go awry and the wild giggle fit that followed, because this is what we do with the people we love. Plus, they were so honest and sweet about feeling at home and embraced on The Hunger Games franchise.

Glenn Hetrick, on the other hand, talks about how competitive the field of special effects makeup is and how hard it is to brush the ego aside sometimes. But working on a major motion picture franchise with tons of moving parts teaches humility and helped make him part of a team.

So yes, these movies are special for the cast and Francis and the fans. But some people built (or at least seriously fattened up) their careers around this franchise behind the scenes. Even though we don’t know them, they’re a bigger part of the family than we’ll ever be. And we owe them tremendously!

Every Effie Trinket Cosplayer Out There, Raise Your Glass!
The Girl With The Pearl

Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch and the Deleted Scene We’ve Been Waiting Four Years to See

The first deleted scene from the Hunger Games Complete 4 Film Collection was released this weekend via Popsugar, and excuse us for having a mini-meltdown about it, but WE DID. Because it was one of those scenes that we knew existed. There was BTS footage of them filming this scene. WE WANTED TO SEE THIS SCENE SO BADLY.

So here it is – Katniss and Peeta having a little chat in the Tribute Center.

First of all, who didn’t immediately get a little nostalgic for the beginning of the series with this clip? They look SO young here. So much tragedy and angst. Our Everlark hearts are in pain at their pain.

The kicker in the scene that we didn’t know about is the inclusion of Haymitch eavesdropping on them. What is that, Haymitch? Do we see concern, empathy for these kids? (Of course we do). It was a great way to bring something extra to the scene, and build upon the “Haymitch as mastermind of the star-crossed lovers storyline” that ultimately saves them in the first games. And of course we end the scene with Haymitch chugging some booze, something he really didn’t do much of in the first movie, but is a significant part of this character.

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It’s a particularly great way to end the scene because it implies to us regret about giving a damn about these kids, and regret about what he’s going to set in motion to try, however impossibly, to give (at least one of them) a chance to live.

We admit to being very disappointed that the Hunger Games Blu-Ray didn’t have deleted scenes,  but getting these treasures from the past now is pretty exhilarating. Like a really really really belated birthday present.

We’ll take it.

JJ

 

More Hints at the DVD/Blu-Ray Extras!

As we get closer to the home entertainment release of Mockingjay Part 2 and the first 4- film collection, we’re finding out more about what extras are in store for us. HitFix has a new trailer with some details on the 4-film collection, and we’re excited.

12 Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes from The Hunger Games
• 6 Deleted Scenes from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Including 1 Never Before Seen
• 9 Deleted Scenes from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
• 2 All-New Featurettes: “Picturing Panem” and “Capitol Cuisine”
• 70 Additional Featurettes (Blu-ray); 69 Additional Special Featurettes (DVD)
• Audio Commentaries, Music Videos and More

The trailer HitFix has up is definitely worth a look, for some glamour shots of the oh-so-pretty art included in the collection, and hints at what some of this new extra content will be. The very quick shot of little Prim running through the forest definitely caught our eye.

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Can it be? The mysterious scene of Prim in a tribute costume that we’ve wondered about since seeing some BTS shots from the Hunger Games DVD? Looks like we’ll finally get to see it. (That’s 1 thing to mark off our wish list -woo!).  With 12 never-before-seen deleted scenes from the first movie, we’re really excited about what other surprises are in store. Catching Fire has only one never-before-seen one, so place your guesses on what that is (Morphling painting Peeta’s arm is my bet, though if I can only have one, my heart wants the Katniss & Peeta rooftop scene BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT).

Inevitably, there is going to be repetition with the extras if you’ve owned earlier versions of the movies, but it looks like they’re putting in just enough new stuff to make us NEED this.

Yes, we’d already seen this shot of the last day of filming in earlier home entertainment promo material, but it’s too cute to not post. Ahhhhhhh.

last day

More sneak peeks please, things are too quiet.

JJ

What’s Up with Those Kissy Clips?

To gear up some excitement for the Digital/HD/Blu-Ray/DVD etc release of Mockingjay Part 2, Lionsgate released a new trailer. Makes perfect sense. They also have released clips from the movie to some media outlets.

These are clips from the movie, so if you’re a fan, you’ve already seen these. The benefit here is that you get to see the moment again while you wait for the home entertainment release. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s another chance to convince skeptics to give the movie a chance.

And if you like kissing scenes, man are you in luck! Well, you’re in luck if you’re a Galeniss or Hayffie type person. All us other people can just chill some more and wait I suppose.

You’ve got the awkward Katniss and Gale “it’s like you’re drunk, it doesn’t count” kiss via teen.com (’cause of course that would be the site).

Then the Hayffie shippers rejoiced at the release of this clip.

Don’t get us wrong, that’s quite a touching scene. We love that “Promise me you’ll find it… The life of a victor” exchange, but we were really rolling our eyes that these 2 clips were the first that hit the web for promotion.  There have been other clips released since then thankfully that relate to other elements of the plot. If not, one MIGHT be tempted to think this film was just some sort of romance-driven soap opera. Many people already wrongly have that impression, let’s not encourage it.

There’s still about 2 months to release, and in the days leading up to that we’ll likely get some sneaks of the new BTS/featurette content. And inevitably Peeta-related content because they know fans go nutzo for that stuff. We’ve been around long enough to have a good idea of the playbook.

I guess these were early Valentine’s Day presents from Lionsgate (though we could have done without that Gale kiss tbh).

JJ

 

Shiny New DVDs: Mockingjay Part 2 and the 4-Film Collection!

Seriously guys, how good is JJ? She posted late last week with some hopes for the Mockingjay Part 2 DVD release and while didn’t come true yet, there were some goodies that have been confirmed!

First, let’s talk about the actual DVD release for the movie that just happened, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2!

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Per usual, there’s lots of behind the scenes goodness, including commentary with Francis and Nina (none with the cast! *weeps*), the “Pawns No More” Making Of documentary, and lots of photo marketing goodness.

Also featured is a look into The Hunger Games: The Exhibition that has us reeeeal nervous because the camersa were there when we were there for the preview but OMG NO OUR FACES WEREN’T READY WE SWEAR! And sadly, that terrible “Jet to the Set” special that spent more time on a Real Housewife of Atlanta than the cast is there as well.

Overall, we’re very excited to grab to final DVD. BUT THEN BUT THEN BUT THEN…

The 4-Film Collection, you guys. THE 4-FILM COLLECTION.

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It’s like a freaking buffet spread of Hunger Games deliciousness!

Particularly, THIRTEEN never-before-seen scenes. Twelve from The Hunger Games (here’s hoping for all the ones JJ mentioned) and one from Catching Fire. So much new information! Let’s not kid ourselves, half of it is probably hallucinations, dream sequences, and the like, but WE CARE NOT. We want it all.

On top of that. there are two new featurettes: “Picturing Panem” and “Capitol Cuisine.” We’re guessing that the first one is about the early visualizations of the Capitol. The second is a little clearer, focusing on all the crazy foods Suzanne Collins created in the books, though we don’t think they were necessarily emphasized in the movies.

That being said, we don’t expect that this is the actual DIAMOND MAC DADDY EDITION we’re all hoping for. This is just the initial collection, but it’s not going to give away all the secrets of the final film with that DVD coming out. Oh no! This is just a start. There’s gonna be an anniversary edition in the future that’s gonna make us cry fat happy tears, even more so than this baby.

Will you snag Mockingjay Part 2 or the 4-Film Collection? It all drops on March 22nd!

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The Girl With The Pearl

Our Blu-Ray Extras Wish List

As we move into February, the release of Mockingjay Part 2 on Digital HD and then Blu-Ray/DVD is inevitably coming soon. Along with the benefit of being able to watch the movie over and over and over again comes the fun of digesting all the extra stuff they add in to entice you to purchase.

We expect the features to be similar to previous Hunger Games movies – audio commentary with Francis and Nina, a few deleted scenes, and lots of behind the scenes featurettes on making the film. The fact that this is the last film makes us a little antsy about what bits they add to this release versus what they choose to add to any ULTIMATE, SUPER-SHINY 4-MOVIE SET that will be coming later in the year, or in 2017, or both. You know they’ve got to hold something back for those later editions. What do they have in that treasure trove to look forward to?

So now we present our not-very-grounded-in-reality wish list of Hunger Games movie (all of ‘em) extras that we’re dying to see at some point:

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Prim, what kind of nightmare sequence was this? Gary, stop holding back.

Those scenes we’ve seen in stills or BTS footage but never the actual footage. Prim in the tribute costume? Gary, what was that about? Katniss and Peeta having a chat in the tribute center. Again Gary, share that with us! Peeta getting his arm painted by the morphling. Francis, please!

Catching Fire Katniss and Peeta rooftop footage. We know something was filmed. We suppose it hit the cutting room floor early because why would you NOT include this footage as a Catching Fire extra? We’ll forgive the quality. Whatever it is, we JUST NEED TO SEE IT.

Revisions to the end of Mockingjay Part 2 after the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman. We know about the places where footage from other scenes was added. We know Haymitch reading Plutarch’s letter was a change. But we’re curious what the plan was originally, had tragedy not occurred.

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Don’t tell us you don’t want a cast audio-commentary. Not possible.

Cast audio-commentary. The Francis and Nina audio-commentaries give us some great insight into the making of the movies. But the fandom would completely lose their shit if Lionsgate were ever able to wrangle Jen, Josh, Liam, Woody, Liz et al into doing audio commentaries for the films.  It’s the dream, people. THE DREAM.

Everlark sex. JUST KIDDING, but with all the messages Francis gets about that from fans, we couldn’t NOT mention it. The thought of that actually being filmed makes us feel really awkward, and the inclusion of a scene of that nature would HAVE NOT fit the end of Mockingjay Part 2. If you want that, there’s a whole wide world of fan fiction to explore. BUT I would be really curious to know about the creative decisions that took place in the execution of the actual, final “real or not real” scene. As much as I hate to say it, as more time passes, I find it disappointing. Or maybe I just need to watch the movie again when it comes out and learn to let it all go.

What other extras should we be pleading for?

JJ

 

Serena Movie Review and Blu-Ray/DVD Giveaway

No, not another bit of Mockingjay Part 2 news, but there is a new Jennifer Lawrence movie to watch (and win). Yes, it was a movie that we’ve been wondering about for a while, and now Serena, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper is coming to Blu-Ray, DVD, and Digital HD June 9.

jennifer-lawrence-serena-2In the film, based off the novel of the same name by Ron Rash, Cooper plays George Pemberton, an aspiring timber tycoon in North Carolina facing the economic pressures coming from the stock market crash in 1929. He meets Serena (Lawrence) and they immediately fall in love. Yes, immediately. He sees her riding a horse at an exhibition, his sister tells him the sad story of how she grew up in a timber industry family but the rest of her family died tragically. Then boom, he follows her on that horse. They have a brief interaction where he says they should get married, then there’s some cuts in of a ballroom and a sex scene. It’s quite abrupt, and intended as a “love at first sight” scenario so we’re just supposed to go with it, because there’s lots more story to go in this film. When the happy couple returns to the timber camp in North Carolina, they face financial pressure, threat from the US government to take over the land for a national park, and a “complication” between George Pemberton and a former employee, Rachel. There’s even more twists and turns, a great many of them tragic, that shape the characters and their decisions. Not to mention there’s a panther roaming around that George Pemberton is obsessed with hunting which I’m sure has more thematic relevance in the novel.

The characters are designed to be flawed and thus they make some really bad decisions along the way, motivated by ambition, jealousy, and self-preservation. George and Serena Pemberton aren’t particularly likable characters, but you do have moments where you feel sympathy for them. Cooper and Lawrence do a fine job in their roles, but the quick jumps from one subplot to the next never give them enough time to fully develop these characters (and their relationship) enough. I haven’t read the novel, but I have to imagine that Rash fleshes out at least his title character more than we have time to see here. You’ll also notice The Hunger Games’ Claudius Templesmith (Toby Jones) as the town sheriff. Overall, the visuals of the film are impressive with care taken to reconstruct Depression-era rural North Carolina.

The Blu-Ray features include deleted scenes and some featurettes on the making of the film. The deleted scenes help to fill in the blanks of some of the plot points, especially dealing with the character of Rachel. The behind the scenes featurettes include interviews with the director, producer, cast and crew (Hello, Jen and her 2012 Hunger Games promo hair!)

Bottom line – if you’re a big fan of Jennifer Lawrence, you’ll want to check it out just from pure curiosity. But be prepared to NOT approve of some of her character’s decisions.

We can make the decision to see it even easier for you! Enter here to win a copy of the film*.

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*Contest is only available to US residents. Ends at 11:59pm EST on Monday, June 8.

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Liam Hemsworth’s CUT BANK Is a Gritty Conspiracy Thriller

The Hunger Games world is mostly quiet these days, but a Hunger Games actor still has a big movie release happening today! Liam Hemsworth’s Cut Bank is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Digital HD today. We’re celebrating with a review AND something for you!

First off, let’s freak out over the amazing cast: Liam Hemsworth stars alongside Teresa Palmer (Cut Bank is not to be confused with Love and Honor, another straight-to-DVD release they co-starred in), but we’ve also got John Malkovich, Billy Bob Thorton, Bruce Dern, Oliver Platt, and Michael Stuhlbarg on board. And it’s easy to see why all these great actors signed on– This film has a definite allure to it!

cut-bank-poster-11Dwayne McLaren (Hemsy!) wants nothing more than to get out of his small idealistic Americana hometown– Cut Bank, Montana. While recording a video of his girlfriend (Palmer), the two witness the brutal murder of an elderly postman, Georgie Wits (Dern). Better yet, they catch it on tape. Now, Dwayne is set to gain $100,000 in reward money from a Postal Service agent (Platt). It doesn’t take long to realize that there’s much more to the video than anyone suspects and the local sheriff (Malkovich) isn’t equipped to deal with the first murder that’s ever occurred in town.

Even worse? The loss of the postman and his parcels has incidentally set off the only person in town who’s a genuine threat to society.

In the DVD special features, screenwriter Robert Patino describes Cut Bank as a 70s-style conspiracy thriller. It’s pretty accurate. It’s not just about the grand scheme. It’s about the unexpected ways that scheme can go horribly, horribly wrong. But the movie has its hits and misses– There’s some amazing character acting, but it starts off slow. Things pick up and get intriguing, but you never quite get the big Tarantino-style “OMG WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” moment that you anticipate. Still, there’s a decent amount of suspense and twists that’ll have insanely curious to see how to all plays out.

With the actors involved, it’s no surprise that the characters are superb. The script goes for dark humor and doesn’t always hit the mark, but the actors make the best of it and develop unique, fun characters. Extra points go to Michael Stuhlbarg– an actor whose name you might not know but whose face you probably recognize– for expertly playing the creepiest creepster in existence, Derby Milton. The performances and the aesthetics of Cut Bank really made the kitschy town stuck in the 1950s come to life and an amusing, believable way.

Cut Bank is plenty enjoyable, all crime and conspiracy with a touch of modern-day Western. It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you want to see Liam Hemsworth play a more in-depth, calculating role than Gale Hawthorne.

Want to watch? Well, you could win the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo Pack!

cutbankblu

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

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*Contest is only available in countries utilizing Region A Blu-Ray systems. Ends at 11:59pm EST on Sunday. May 31st.