Mags

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Review

Don’t worry, you’ll still get your reaction post! It just so happens that we’re all so busy seeing the movie, we can’t find a time for all three of us to get together and TALK about it. It’s a good problem, no?

In the meantime, we’re going to give you a conventional SPOILER-FREE review to go alongside the reaction post to come!

Effie, bigger and bolder!

Effie, bigger and bolder!

Let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to staaaaart)! When Katniss and Peeta win 74th The Hunger Games and return to their new home, broken and distant. They’ve survived, but they’re tentative friendship turned showmance is tepid at best after Peeta learns Katniss’ true motivation. Not to mention that they’re both plagued with PTSD.

It all leads up to The Victory Tour, which is where Francis Lawrence really gets to sink his teeth in and show us what this movie is made of. We don’t see much of the individual districts, but we’re offered a few shots that serve as shining examples of the bigger budget and Francis’ eye for detail.

Gale gets his rebellion on

Gale gets his rebellion on

This movie is mostly character driven, which we found super refreshing. Without adding significant film time (THG and CF are actually the same length), we see Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Effie, and Show’s roles expanded. It’s not just extra lines– the characters seem richer, with deeper personalities and more individual significance outside their relationship with Katniss and Peeta. Some people weren’t thrilled that other scenes were fast-moving, but we think it was worth it to get some character development in there.

It’s at the end of the Victory Tour that we meet Plutarch Heavensbee, portrayed with gusto by Philip Seymour Hoffman. You can’t help but marvel at his unprecedented political savvy and manipulations. He doesn’t lose his cool for a single moment and meanwhile, we were totally freaking out.

Chemistry-wise, the relationship between Katniss and Peeta seems more organic and palpable this time around. It goes without say that Jen and Josh are both extremely talented actors and dear friends in real life, which translates beautifully. That being said, Catching Fire is significantly more Gale-centric. Jen and Liam have presented a strong case for Kale/Gatniss/whatever else we want to call them. Their relationship plays off as a look at two friends falling for each other, brought together by the stress of impending rebellion, but still plants hints of what’s to come in the Mockingjay films.

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Family feels

When the Third Quarter Quell is announced, we finally get some new victors! And what a group they are! Sam Claflin is our Finnick. He embodies the character’s dramatic preening and sensitive soul with a stunning fluidity that we doubt we could have gotten out of many of the laughable fan suggestions that came out during casting. And it doesn’t hurt that he is really, really, ridiculously good-looking. Jena Malone is able to capture Johanna’s anger with such ease and honesty that you know it’s her true spirit, not just an act. Jeffrey Wright gives a master class in acting as he transforms so perfectly into unusual techie extraordinaire Beetee, but Amanda Plummer gets the scene-stealer award for her zany portrayal of Wiress. And Mags? Forgetaboutit! We all want to adopt Lynn Cohen as our new grandma!

With a more appropriate level of violence this time around, the Career pack actually felt menacing. Bruno Gunn’s guns and his expert snarl were intimidating. Meta Golding has the Enobaria growl down to a science. And despite being living barbies, Cashmere and Gloss were surprisingly badass. However, this group did feel a bit under-utilized given that they were meant to pose an immediate threat to Katniss’ life.

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We feel you, Johanna!

The ending is heart-breaking and devastating and everything we ever wanted it to be after reading the books! We’re not saying the movie was perfect down to the very last detail. There’s a lot to consider and we’re sure everyone will find a little something to gripe about (Don’t we always?), but this movie is an extremely faithful adaptation and for us, the clear winner of the franchise so far. Though we loved Gary Ross’ work, Francis Lawrence provided us with a smart, pulse-pounding, emotional journey that had us thanking him by the end.

How Many Days Until Mockingjay Part 1?!
The Girl With The Pearl

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Catching Fire Character Chaos

This week, The Hunger Games fandom was blessed with TWENTY new stills from Catching Fire via The Hunger Games Explorer!

Besides being really choice photos of the actors, we think these photos reveal a lot about the characters and what THEY have to say! So we took a shot at translating some character thoughts presented in these images. Enjoy!

Katniss Everdeen Jennifer Lawrence Catching Fire

“I’m trying to stay cool, but I’m pretty sure this full body suit just split down the middle…”

Josh Hutcherson Peeta Mellark Catching Fire

“And suddenly that ‘lean muscle’ workout seems like a really bad idea.”

Alan Ritchson Gloss The Hunger Games Catching Fire
“You should try years of steroid use and scowling instead. Does me wonders.”

Sam Claflin Finnick Odair The Hunger Games Catching Fire
“I’ve seen almost everyone in this room naked… and let’s just say those steroids aren’t doing much for Gloss where it counts.”

MORE MADNESS BELOW THE CUT!
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Tick Tock, Another Countdown Is On the Clock

Catching Fire has been trending on the World Wide Twitter trends board off and on all day, and it’s all due to a few things that happened today. If you’ve been at work all day, Smartphone in a drawer, or no access to the Internet at all, The Hunger Games Explorer broke loose like an Easter egg, releasing a whole bunch of goodies on us.

1st we got the news, with links, to the first single off The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, yep– the already much teased to “Atlas” by the British band Coldplay. There’s even a handy-dandy contest for the lyrics sheet that the head songwriter, and band leader of Coldplay hand wrote, in the mix. So, if you’re a sucker for Coldplay, or contemporary music memorabilia, I suggest you follow the rules, and try your best to get that piece of paper. You probably know the deal by now, but participating involves having a Twitter account, and the copious use of the hashtag #TickTock12. And now I must share the unfortunate place my brain goes when ever I hear the phrase, or read the phrase, “tick tock…” Click now, or forever hold your peace. You’re about to lose your minds.

2nd, up we had the preemptive news, or better yet, information, that those of us who are the thinking-ahead types, will have the option to pre-order their tickets to finally see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Yeah, it’s not exactly a chocolate covered treat, but sometimes practicality has it’s place, especially if you’re one of the people who will be

Peeta, where ya' been all my life!? Inside Suzanne Collins' head!

Peeta, where ya’ been all my life!? Inside Suzanne Collins’ head! Damn.

traveling a far distance to see the film. I say that because I know of several parties who are traveling super super far to see the film with friends, and I mean crossing oceans kind of far. Any who, October the 1st, tickets will be available for pre-order. Have your credit and debit cards at the ready you saucy minxes.

Third, yep… there was a third. It’s like Chanukkah, I know! Where are my peanuts, and my set of crappy pens? Finally some stills of all of the principle cast, and most of the supporting cast as well. They include the likes of Beetee (Jeffrey Wright, who you can catch on Boardwalk Empire within the next few weeks), Enobaria, a knife wielding Gloss, his cunning looking sister Cashmere also wielding a knife, a hard faced Brutus, and in contrast a brightly smiling Mags, and of course– a snarky faced Finnick, dimples dimpling. All the usual suspects were included in the run down, yep even a purple belted Plutarch. But, alas again no Woof– but do you really think Woof would make the cut? His name is Woof? Whatever, we got twenty stills to fawn over like idiots!

Stay frosty, there are eleven other eggs to be cracked open! Bring on #TickTock11.

Them There Eyes

Media Dump

1070007_392057160896551_1850415740_nSo, everyone and their mother is now privy to a myriad of Catching Fire promotional material. Yes, even mine– although probably ’cause I showed them to her. However, that’s beside the point, because– oh dear god, the last several days has been a veritable media dump where it comes to our as yet to be released favorite film! I wish I had the lack of education to use multiple exclamation points right now, but my English degree precludes me from displaying that level of excitement by showcasing a classic, and very common misuse of one of the written languages most excitable punctuation marks.

Yesterday; as you should know if you have a Smartphone, a Facebook account, a Twitter, use Instagram, have the phrases “The Hunger Games”, “Catching Fire”, several of the cast of characters names on Google Alert, or check any number of entertainment news media sites on Tuesdays– know that Lionsgate dumped eleven character posters on our unsuspecting heads. Not only did they dump eleven beautifully executed, and designed posters on our heads, they let ’em rip all over us in a span of less than an hour. So, if you were one of the few who was taking an Internet breather, you likely came home, checked your messages, and saw a whole lot of misused exclamation points. I’ll use the phrase again, but– oh dear god, that’s a lot of media to take in in such a short amount of time, and by the end of that collection of minutes I was personally ready to take a nap.

Now, about the posters themselves. For me, I think they’re great, I think they were desperately needed, because this fandom, and the media at large benefit greatly by finally getting clear, and artfully designed posters featuring the Tributes. A few months ago, as you hopefully remember, Lionsgate dropped the ball where it came to releasing the Tributes casting announcements, i.e. they seemingly forgot to update the Facebook photo page they had set up for the purpose of telling the world who was playing who. Yes, and after all that forgetting, they remembered, and updated the entire cast list in one fell swoop, taking any potential glory, or rightfully placed attention from the media away from the newly revealed cast members. It wasn’t a good move, and I hoped by now we would have forgotten about it, but we haven’t– or I haven’t.

Personally, I don’t like having a butt load of media like the new character posters, dumped in my lap in such a short span of time. I think staggering the release would have been a better method, giving due attention to each Tribute, or set of Tributes– rather than eleven all at once. It was literally like “oh my god, where do I look!? Who do I look at?! Too many choices!” But, it’s over, it’s done– they can’t take it back, and we have eleven posters to stare at, and a whole other mass of media being squeezed out seemingly everyday. Yes, like this, and this.

The posters though: The posters– I said I think they’re stupendous, and I’m not kidding about

The teeth are no longer in question!

The teeth are no longer in question!

that. I’m ecstatic to be finally seeing clear, medium-sized shots of all of these characters, who up until a matter of days ago were abstract in my mind. I’m relieved that we finally have certain specific physical characteristics of certain characters confirmed for us, like we now know for sure that Enobaria is sporting her scary looking pointy teeth. We also know for sure that they went another route with Johanna Mason’s hair, because previously we only had poor quality paparazzi shots of Jena Malone in her arena costume, or walking around behind the scenes. We’re getting fantastic introductions to this unforgettable set of characters, like Gloss standing upright, hands behind his back, chest out, stoic look upon his face, looking like GI Joe in a futuristic wetsuit. We finally see Mags, mature, strong, but sweet looking– like everyone wishes their grandmother to be. Brutus standing proudly, an undefinable look upon his face. Prideful? Maybe. Stoic? Perhaps. But there’s something else there, at least to me, something soulful. Cashmere is as beautiful, and stately, and classical like Georgiana Duchess of Devondshire, she’ll confuse the hell out of newbies though– because they won’t understand why someone so striking is standing amongst that collection of people. And then there’s our Finnick, if anyone was still questioning whether or not Sam Claflin is handsome enough, in shape enough, or both– to play Finnick, I hope his character poster has calmed your worries. Because Sam’s embodying Finnick in that shot, and that’s exactly why he was cast. I love seeing all the Tributes, really I do– I just wish the release of their first introduction to us didn’t feel like someone doing something else all over my face. Oh yeah… I went there.

Whatever… WE HAVE CHARACTER POSTERS “U GUYZ!”

Them There Eyes

What the Catching Fire Characters are REALLY Thinking!

Disclaimers, warnings, etc!

First and foremost, SPOILERS AHOY!

Thought of a really fun post, but it involves those Catching Fire set photos that everyones been talking about! To be fair, it is UNDER THE CUT (or further down the page, if you’re already in the full page link!)

Here comes that super repetitive reminder that we’re three. different. writers. with different opinions. For instance, Them There Eyes is really not a fan of these things. However, I’m more lenient. Personal preference: We dig it! These photos have been up on the Internet for days without any sites receiving notifications to remove them, so we’re not secretly, scandalosuly posting them against the will of the mothership. Breathe in, breathe out!

Plus, we’re gonna get hella wicked maaaaad funny with it!

In short: You have been warned. We have explained our position. Nobody is making you look if you don’t want to. QUIT YA BITCHIN.

Ya bitchin’. Quit it.

Willing to check out the rest of the post? Venture UNDER THE CUT!

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At Least Honey Bunny Was Real

Well, that was fast. I’m of course referring to the rumors that have now been mostly dashed upon the proverbial rocks, and not even pretty rocks like, say– the White Cliffs of Dover. Nope, just boring ole’ basalt rocks, not even the column kind. Anyway, so it turns out Melissa Leo, yeah, she’s not going to be Mags. Unfortunately, what it’s shaping up to look like is either she was never up for Mags, she might be up for something else entirely in the franchise, or– she was up for Mags and she didn’t get the gig. It’s a might ambiguous really, which is hell-a annoying if I do say so myself. If she’s still up for something, my guess is she’s up for Seeder. Look at this, “The woman, Seeder, looks almost like she could be from the Seam, with her olive skin and straight black hair streaked with silver. Only her golden brown eyes mark her as from another district. She must be around sixty, but she still looks strong, and there’s no sign she’s turned to liquor or morphling or any form of chemical escape over the years.” Sounds like Leo to me, especially if you take into account that the Seam look is now defined as looking like Jennifer Lawrence, and Liam Hemsworth. Also, Leo’s no stranger to dye jobs, case in point basically every role she’s known for she does not sport her natural hair color. So, Leo– no idea what’s going on with that, all I know is it would, will, could have been amazing if she’d got a part in this mad house killing machine of a franchise.

And then there’s Sam, I’m just going to call him Sam from now on, because it feels a bit more friendly-like. So, Sam– my good friend who is not my friend at all, ’cause we’ve never met, and face it, I know nothing about football (soccer), so he’d probably think I was lame anyway (the guy’s a big football fan). Ugh, where was I!? Hours after the Finnick rumors about Sam surfaced with a roaring cry, it was announced that he’s been cast in an other film, an action packed action film with none other than the venerable Khaleesi herself, Emelia Clarke (Game of Thrones). Oh, also Bones from Star Trek (2009), AKA Karl Urban as well. Sadly, or not sadly if you’re not on the Sam-Train-to Fun-Town (probably located in Brighton), the film is slated to begin shooting later this summer (guessing August). Yep, so that puts a damper on the real possibility of Sam taking the role of Finnick (that’s if he was offered it at all, let alone auditioned), ’cause scheduling no matter what will be a major bitch to get around. By the way, I’m still demanding that even if these rumors come to nothing, that you watch Sam’s work outside of Pirates of the Caribbean and Snow White, just for the fact that they are good projects with impeccable writing, direction, and casts that he just happens to be be a part of, okay? Come on, one has David Tennant, and an alum from Skins in it, and another stars Eddie Redmayne, EDDIE REDMAYNE!

Now that that’s outta the way, scheduling appears to be the bane of many of my personal favorites for this particular role’s existence (Finnick). Armie Hammer, who is obviously my top choice if you’ve been paying attention all these months, if you haven’t– um, hi Armie Hammer is my top choice for Finnick, and I run a campaign for him to get noticed for the role, as well as support from fans. However, he’s tied up with Lone Ranger until probably September, and then he’s scheduled in the fall to film an Indie with Michael Sheen, and John Malkovich (go him!). So, schedules once again rear their ugly, beady eyed heads at us. They are so ugly, guys– so ugly, they made Lionsgate push filming up sooner for Catching Fire, because Jennifer Lawrence needs to be in England, naked, and painted blue whilst her boyfriend/ co-star tries not to stare at her boobs, by January. After that he can stare at them all he wants, probably.

Enough with my sour face though, at least we’ve got Philip Seymour Hoffman, and at least we’ve still got Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer), in the bag.

So, consolation prize is– PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, or as I will dub him from now on, The Man. Because he deserves a nick-name better than something that looks like a sound.

Them There Eyes

Honey Bunny, Monk, The Brit, and The Other Oscar Winner

Where do I even begin? Right, from the top! So, this morning, well this morning for me anyway, the official news was broken on the good ole’ Catching Fire official casting page over on le Facebook, that none other than Amanda Plummer has snagged the addled role of Wiress. And I proceeded to then shake, quake, shiver, and scream a little in complete and utter joy. Plummer, as some of you may know has been in the acting business a damn long time, and she’s got game– damn does she have game. Also, I kid you not, when I was thinking about possible Wiress’ a few months back, she did cross my mind, but (there’s always a but), this was before the likes of Philip Seymour Hoffman was rumored to be wanted for a role in the franchise as well. Sadly, I regret that I never did a fan-casting article on Wiress, and that when I was on the HG Fireside Chat which was focused on Wiress and Beetee’s casting, that I didn’t mention her. I just wasn’t yet in the mind frame that they could, and would, and actually did, go for actors and actresses with such diverse, pedigreed, and respected bodies of work. Plummer’s an extremely bold, and solid choice for this small but important role, and her voice– I have to say it, her voice is unique, which is perfect for a character like Wiress who’s famous for one line being repeated over and over again. I love this choice with a fiery passion, but her being added to the cast isn’t the only news or information to reach us today!

Seemingly less than two hours later, a new Finnick rumor popped up! And it’s about none-other than my second choice for Finnick, Mr. Sam Claflin. According to Zap2it, and then subsequently other publications caught on to it as well, Claflin has allegedly been offered the role. Look, Claflin is not my top choice, but he is without a doubt in my mind an inspired, solid, reputable choice for this role. I say this because his body of work, and his own personality has proven to me, and to others that he’s more than capable of taking on this role, and not just doing an okay job, but doing a great job. Other casting choices, other rumored favorites and front runners in my opinion have not shown the level of talent that Claflin has in his short, but diverse career. I know most people know him from the flashy, and strongly hyped films like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Snow White and the Huntsman, but those are not the roles that have show cased his real abilities. Claflin is a British actor, and most British actors seem to either cut their teeth on The BBC, or other British networks or companies known for making quality mini series’, or made for TV movies. And, Claflin has done that, he has 9 credits to his name, and five of them were made by reputable British Entertainment studios/ companies, almost all of them were received by critics and the public with praise, not disdain.

I’m not going to suggest now, no– I’m going to demand that everyone who reads this

I just like this photo, okay?

article goes and finds copies of these titles, Pillars of the Earth, United, Every Human Heart, and White Heat, and then watch them. Here’s a little preview of a scene, I’ll set it for you: White Heat, his character is a confident, sexy, idealistic to a fault, a radical.  He’s sitting on the roof top patio of his flat, and one of his new flatmates joins him. He’s smoking a joint, it’s 1965, and she’s a good girl from the suburbs, a virgin, 18 or 19 years-old. He chats to her, offers her a pull or two off the joint, and sidles up to her with the ease and confidence of a guy who knows that people find him attractive, and what does he do? He cups her breast and waits for her to react. Bam! If that’s not a more adult version of the sugar cube scene from Catching Fire I don’t know what one is. But, he did that– and I watched it and went, “Daaaaaamn, that is so bloody Finnick with an R rating!” Fine then, enough about Claflin, you know my thoughts– and those that are not on board for reasons that sounds like “va fay fee wooks”, no one will ever fit your head canon for Finnick, NO ONE. And, if I can embrace this possibility after spear-heading a campaign for another actor in this role, you can as well.

I’m still not done, can you believe it! Don’t run away, I know people’s attention spans have been greatly affected by technology now a-days, but I’m covering a days worth of news that we haven’t received on this franchise is probably a year! So, read! Melissa Leo, yep

Mags?

Academy Award winning, Melissa Leo, is allegedly a top choice for Mags. Lemme just say, this is a superb choice for this role. Before you pass judgement, like I did when this unsubstantiated bucketful of information hit me in the face. Yes, Leo is in her early 50s– but there’s a method to this supposed madness. It was pointed out to me that while Mags is written as an octogenarian, having an actress who actually is an octogenarian portraying this role might prove to be a liability. Think about it, an 80-90 year old traipsing about the Hawaiian jungle, the heat, the bugs, the off chance that they might trip over a root and break their hip. These are not good things, and while it’s not what many of us imagined when we imagined Mags, having an actress who is more than able bodied, being made up to look 20 years older, sits better with me, and possibly the studio than the possibility of an actress who’s been a member of AARP for 30 years potentially gravely injuring themselves in an action sequence. Right then, but if I really had my choice, Leo would be playing Coin, but I won’t pitch a fit if she’s Mags, the lady swore in her acceptance speech on live TV, I love her, and you should too!

Oh dear god, I am still not done! I told you we got a lot of news today! So, um… how do y’all feel about Adrian Monk playing Beetee? Adrian Monk? Adrian Monk? Who’s that!? Why, that’s Tony Shalhoub the veteran actor who will always be Antonio Scarpacci from the beloved sit-com Wings in my heart. This guy has such a chock-a-block dossier, and none of the roles are repeats of the same kind of people, he’s played cab drivers with big hearts, doctors, OCD sufferers, dads, actors, aliens, and, and… he played opposite Stanley Tucci. I think that may be what tickles me the most, the fact that it may be a reunion of sorts between those two, because they played brothers in this tiny passion project that Tucci had, and was able to make with an amazing group of people, including Shalhoub. I hope this rumor is true, I really, really do.

Okay, I’m done, I’m gonna go scrape my face off the floor now, how about you?

Them There Eyes