News for fans of The Hunger Games

There’s a lot of excitement going on in the world of Hunger Games fans (of which I am one) at the moment. The first full-length trailer for Catching Fire was released yesterday at the MTV Movie Awards! I don’t know about you but if you’re a fan, I’m sure this trailer has more than whetted your appetite for the movie. Let me know your thoughts on the trailer by leaving a comment below.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire release date – November 22, 2013 (I am so impatient!)

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Silver Linings Playbook: a movie review

Silver Linings Playbook movie poster -- all rights remain with the originator(s)

Silver Linings Playbook movie poster — all intellectual property rights remain with the originator(s)

A few nights ago, I headed off to see Silver Linings Playbook (2012), based on the début novel (2008) by Matthew Quick. For the IMDb page for the movie, click here. I watched the trailer and a few publicity clips on YouTube a few weeks ago and it caught my interest, specifically because of the cast. Bradley Cooper plays Pat Solitano, a former teacher who lost his job after problems caused by undiagnosed bipolar disorder. At the beginning of the movie, we see him move back in with his parents after leaving a psychiatric hospital in Baltimore. The move back home does not come without its problems as Pat attempts to rebuild his life and return to his wife, who has cut off their relationship. The complications increase when he meets young widow, Tiffany Maxwell, played by Jennifer Lawrence, at a friend’s dinner party.

Silver Linings Playbook is punctuated with sharp outbursts and flare-ups between characters; the sudden ups and downs of the drama reflect Pat’s bipolar swings. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence proficiently portray their characters with performances that keep viewers gripped. I had a few doubts about whether Lawrence would be too young to succeed in a competent performance opposite the much older Cooper (she was twenty-one when the movie was filmed and he was more than a decade older) but my doubt dissolved when I watched it. Both actors deliver performances which are believable and emotional to watch.

The IMDb keywords for the genre of the film are “comedy”, “drama” and “romance”. Although it is true that it contains all of these to a certain extent, I am very hesitant to label it as a rom-com, as I have seen many other reviews describe. It is a drama containing many complexities and “rom-com” is too sappy a word to describe it. There are a few laughs in between the bittersweet moments but if you are looking for a movie which is a 100% fluffy feel-good film (as I would personally expect a rom-com to be), this is not it.

It is sensitively directed by David O. Russell and does not exploit the subject matter of bipolar disorder and mental health issues. Although the ending was perhaps not as realistic as I would have liked, that did not detract one bit from my opinion or enjoyment. If you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it.

‘The Burning Plain’ movie review

The Burning Plain is an independent movie directed by Guillermo Arriaga, who also directed Amores Perros, Babel and 21 Grams, and starring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger.

Because of the non-sequential narrative, it is very difficult to summarize The Burning Plain without giving anything away but the official website (http://www.burningplainmovie.com) has a synopsis which begins: “THE BURNING PLAIN is a romantic mystery about a woman on the edge who takes an emotional journey back to the defining moment of her life”. However, if I were you, I would avoid reading the full website synopsis before watching the movie because part of the enjoyment of the movie is putting together the different segments until they form a continuous whole.

At first, I was unsure about the movie and the way in which the story is told but the lack of a sequential format does make it incredibly gripping. Initially, it seems as if the bunch of people in the movie are characters who are completely disconnected from each other but as it progresses, the story of each character unfolds and their relationships with each other are slowly revealed. 30 minutes into the movie and I was hooked on finding out what happens. It is a powerfully told indie gem which is well worth seeking out.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn trailer 2

Another trailer arrived for the upcoming movie, Breaking Dawn: Part 1. If you don’t want to know what happens in Breaking Dawn, the trailer shows quite a lot of the story, so look away now if you don’t want spoilers. So far, it looks pretty faithful to the book which is good because I think it’s a mistake when film-makers choose to stray from the original plot line.  More drama, more hype, more melodramatic tension… but I am looking forward to it!

 

 

Video sourced from YouTube. This clip is the property of Summit Entertainment. I do not own the copyright or any rights to this trailer whatsoever.

“I’m just a summer girl”: Country Strong movie review

I just watched the movie, Country Strong, and I feel let-down by it. Some movies I watch leave me with varying emotions but the only lingering trace of Country Strong is the extremely catchy tune, Summer Girl, which Leighton Meester’s character sings in the movie.

I am a fan of country music and so I settled down to watch Country Strong, expecting a plot-driven movie with some pleasant interludes of country tunes. I got the catchy music scenes; in fact, these took up a large part of the movie. But the plot was sorely lacking.

Country Strong focuses on a country music star, Kelly Canter (Gywneth Paltrow), who has just gotten out of rehab, as well as an up-and-coming country music singer, Chiles Stanton (played by Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl fame).  A few romantic entanglements are thrown into the mix by the arrival of ambitious song-writer, Beau ( Garrett Hedlund). Kelly’s husband/career manager, James (Tim McGraw), completes the character line-up.

However, the characters failed to successfully hook me into the story. I can’t fault the acting; Paltrow, Meester, Hedlund and McGraw all performed well and the movie looks and sounds excellent. But I wasn’t left feeling satisfied at the end and my verdict is simply “meh”. Country Strong is not a bad movie but it is not a great one either because, in my opinion, it needs something extra. Maybe it was the lack of suspense  which meant that my attention wandered at times. Overall, I think the screenplay was too muddled and it would have been better if we had more focus on character tensions and less of the syrupy clichés. It just didn’t convince me.

My verdict: 5.5/10.

Videos sourced from YouTube.