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Non-Review Review: The Hunger Games – Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire suffers from a problem comic to the second story in planned trilogies. It lacks its own clear arc or structure, instead serving as a little more (or perhaps a little less) than half a film. There’s no conclusion or resolution here, just a lot dangling plot threads and insinuations – the suggestion of a larger and grander conflict looming on the horizon that might offer some measure of closure.

While it improves on quite a few flaws from the first film, it ultimately feels rather hollow; like an extended trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.

Hungry for more?

Hungry for more?

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My 12 for ’12: The Raid (Redemption) & An Action Aesthetic…

I’m counting down my top twelve films of the year between now and January, starting at #12 and heading to #1. I expect the list to be a little bit predictable, a little bit surprising, a little bit of everything. All films released in the UK and Ireland in 2012 qualify. Sound off below, and let me know if I’m on the money, or if I’m completely off the radar. And let me know your own picks or recommendations.

This is #12

It’s a bit of a stereotype that critics don’t like action movies. It’s one of those handy clichés that gets trotted around whenever some mega-blockbuster brings in a ridiculously large number at the box office after a thrashing from the pundits. I can’t speak for the critics, of course, but I can tell you that the reason I disliked The Bourne Legacy or Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon had nothing to do with an innate dislike of action movies as a genre. I’m a big fan of action movies. However, like any other genre, an action movie needs to be done right.

The Raid does an action movie right.

theraid1

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Does Cabin in the Woods Out- “Hunger Games” The Hunger Games?

Sometimes I form weird movie connections in my head – tying two particular films together even if there’s very little common ground on which to link them. For example, I sat through quite a bit of Shame thinking of Collateral, a film linked tangentially thematically, as both offered rather scathing portraits of anomie against the backdrop of a major American city. On the other hand, I also formed a rather strong connection between the superb Cabin in the Woods and the mega blockbusting phenomenon The Hunger Games. As I watched Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s powerful exploration of the horror genre, I couldn’t help but feel that this was exactly what The Hunger Games wanted to be, even if the film adaptation couldn’t quite manage it.

The show must go on!

Note: This article contains some background information on Cabin in Woods. Nothing too big, but I would honestly recommend that you see the film as blind as possible. It is, by some considerable margin, one of the best films of 2012, and entirely deserving of both your time and your money. This article will still be here when you get back.

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There Will Not Be Blood: Thoughts on Movie Ratings and a PC Culture…

I feel decidedly behind the times in writing this. After all, the gigantic scuffle over the MPAA’s rating of the documentary Bully seems to have resolved itself, with both the Weinstein company and the MPAA reaching a settlement that both can agree on to get the film distributed with a rating that won’t alienate its target audience. However, I can’t help but feel like this single case of compromise managed to avoid the heart of the issue at question. By allowing this single film to slip through the net, the censorship authority avoid an actual discussion on the role and obligations of a ratings authority. It’ll only be a matter of time before another controversy erupts, and that will undoubtedly be dealt with on its own terms as well, avoiding any actual debate or discussion about how censorship bodies rate particular films.

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Non-Review Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is a solid science-fiction action movie that brushes fleetingly with greatness. Borrowing liberally from various sources of science-fiction cult lore, director Gary Ross provides an efficient little adventure movie that alludes to depths it seems afraid to explore. The result is a stylish little film, one constructed with considerable style and technique. It keeps the audience interested for most of its two-and-a-half hour run time. The problem is that it feels like it should be so much more than it ultimately ends up being. It lacks the killer instinct that it needs to define itself as a truly exceptional piece of work.

Straight arrow?

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Batman: Danny Elfman Film Music at the National Concert Hall (Review)

This event was held as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

One of the best aspects of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival is the way that it extends beyond the cinema, into a wider appreciation of film and cinema all around Dublin. From the Jameson Cult Film Club screening of Reservoir Dogs through to the Dublin Film Critics’ Circle awards and even the Untitled screenwriting competition, the eleven-day celebration of cinema seems to encompass all the city and all walks of life. The wonderful folks at the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the National Concert Hall have a long history of getting into the spirit of the festival, offering high-profile tributes to cinema. Last year, for example, they held a screening of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse with a live orchestral accompaniment. This year, they took the penultimate evening of the festival to host a tribute to Danny Elfman, undoubtedly one of the most iconic and influential composers working today. And it was an absolutely brilliant evening.

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