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items tagged with Francis Lawrence

Compound Fractured: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-11-21 19:02:06

Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part ITHE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 1

Like its immediate predecessor Catching Fire, director Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is reasonably gripping and rarely dull, although its presentation – as was bound to happen – does make the movie feel less like a satisfying two-hour entertainment than the not-bad first half of a much better four-hour entertainment. (Or five-hour entertainment, depending on how plushly Lawrence and Lionsgate pad the goodbye in next year’s Part 2.) But I was really put off by one moment in the film, which found Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch complaining that the makeup worn by Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss needed to be scrubbed off, as it was making the young warrior look 35. The line was amusing and Haymitch wasn’t wrong, but why wasn’t anyone bothered that the rest of Mockingjay 1 was making her look 13?


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Kat-and-Mouse Game: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-11-25 03:44:23

Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Catching FireTHE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

My unfamiliarity with its source material was, I’m convinced, a large part of why I enjoyed last year’s The Hunger Games movie so much. To be sure, I dug the film itself, with its exciting and moving survival-of-the-fittest encounters, and its fierce Jennifer Lawrence performance, and its bevy of grandly outré supporting figures (and, in the Capitol sequences, beyond-outré production design). But not having read any of the three books in Suzanne Collins’ seminal young-adult adventure series, what I was most taken with was the surprise of the experience. Hunger Games newbies such as myself were allowed to take in Collins’ richly imagined dystopian saga with gradual understanding and horror, much the way (I’m presuming) the books’ readers did, and while we had every reason to expect Lawrence’s teen warrior Katniss Everdeen to survive, the storyline was just spiky and unpredictable enough to make us wonder how, exactly, she ever would.


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Cirque du Soulful: "Water for Elephants," "Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family," "Rio," and "African Cats"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-04-24 04:27:54

Robert Pattinson in Water for ElephantsWATER FOR ELEPHANTS

After his where’s-my-paycheck? turn in The Green Hornet, I was mildly concerned that, following his Oscar-winning Inglourious Basterds portrayal, Christoph Waltz might be resigned to a career of forever playing Euro-trashy über-villains in Hollywood action dreck. With director Francis Lawrence’s Water for Elephants, though – a Depression-era romance based on Sara Gruen’s beloved novel – my fears have proved unfounded. As the egomaniacal, possibly sociopathic owner and ringleader of a second-tier traveling circus, enraged by the blossoming affections between his star-performer wife (Reese Witherspoon) and the troupe’s young veterinarian (Robert Pattinson), Waltz is every bit as mesmerizing – charming, unpredictable, terrifying – as he was in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II opus. Yet fantastic though he is, Waltz’s talents here aren’t a shock. The bigger surprise is that the movie itself is so bloody marvelous.


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Survivor: Manhattan - "I Am Legend" and "Alvin & the Chipmunks"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-12-19 08:22:07

Will Smith in I Am LegendI AM LEGEND

In Francis Lawrence's sci-fi/thriller I Am Legend, the images of a desolated Manhattan island are so extraordinarily rendered, and Will Smith is such an appealing one-man-show, that it's heartbreaking - and more than a little annoying - that the movie itself isn't better than it is. Based on Richard Matheson's novel, the film concerns a virus that has (seemingly) annihilated the entire human race save for Smith and a pack of predatory, zombie-like humanoids, and it presents a weird dichotomy; everything about the digitally-enhanced locale, and much of Smith's performance, feels absolutely real, and nothing else feels nearly real enough. It's B-grade comic-book material severely outclassed by its visuals and leading man.


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"Constantine"’s Moments of Inspiration Can’t Save It: Also, "P.S."
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-03-02 00:00:00

Keanu Reeves in ConstantineCONSTANTINE

At one point in Bryan Singer’s original X-Men film, Wolverine stares at the fetishistic black-leather duds he and his teammates are wearing and asks, incredulously, “You actually go outside in these things?” To which Cyclops, in-joking on the character’s original Marvel-comic attire, replies, “What, would you prefer yellow Spandex?” God, yes.


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