Tagged: Alan Ritchson

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out Of The Shadows

Summary: As Shredder joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman and henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady to take over the world, the Turtles must confront an even greater nemesis: the notorious Krang.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 9th June 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United States

Director: Dave Green

Screenwriter: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Peter Laird (characters), Kevin Eastman (characters)

Cast: Quincy Acy (himself), Alessandro Ambrosio (herself), Stephen Amell (Casey Jones), Lou Amundson (himself), Carmelo Anthony (himself), Will Arnett (Vernon Fenwick), Andrea Bargnani (herself), Derek Binsack (Adam), Joslyn Brewster (Bumblebee), Peter Donald Badalamenti II (Splinter), Matt Barnes (himself), Phil Cappadora (Sailor Sam), Mike Catapan (Officer Grillo), Robert Clohessy (Deputy Warden Hamlett), Stephen Farrelly (Rocksteady), Noel Fisher (Michelangelo), Connor Fox (Trevor), Megan Fox (April O’Neil), Langston Arnold Galloway (himself), Brad Garrett (Krang (voice)), Matt Gorsky (Davy Lowry), Jeremy Howard (Donatello), Brittany Ishibashi (Karai), DeAndrew Jordan (himself), Shane Larkin (himself), Laura Linney (Chief Vincent), Jill Martin (herself), Tyler Perry (Baxter Stockman), Pete Ploszek (Leonardo), Jonathan Redick (himself), Alan Ritchson (Raphael), Austin Rivers (himself), Tony Shalhoub (Splinter (voice)), Brian Tee (Shredder), Gary Anthony Williams (Bebop), Jane Wu (Jade)

Runtime: 112 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

It seems like there are always going to be people that enjoy jumping over a film like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows. See this franchise finds itself in a strange predicament. The first film was pretty much considered ‘average’ by critics (not this one… I loved it) but seemed to be well received by fans of the turtles themselves.  Having grown up not only watching the turtles religiously but also being surrounded by a tonne of turtle merchandise I was one of those that adored Jonathan Liebesman’s fresh new take on the classic… and now I’m here to say that the new film is better than the first.

This time around we find the turtles, Michelangelo (Noel Fisher – ‘Red’), Donatello (Jeremy Howard – ‘Men In Black II’), Leonardo (Pete Ploszek – ‘Teen Wolf’) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson – ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’) still living in the shadows. They hide from New Yorkers and instead allow former cameraman Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett – ‘Despicable Me’) take all the credit for saving the city.

The turtles are soon forced from their life of eating pizza and watching the Knicks though when intrepid reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox – ‘Transformers’) discovers that respected scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry – ‘A Madea Christmas’) has hatched a plan to not only free the evil Shredder (Brian Tee – ‘Jurassic World’) but will once again give him enough power to take over the world. That plan soon leads to Shredder teeing up with cruel alien Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett – ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’) and taking control of two very tough, if not very dumb, henchmen (or should that be henchanimals) Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams – ‘The Internship’) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly – ‘The Escapist’).

Not to be out-numbered the turtles find a new allie (and April a love interest) in the form of determined prison guard Casey Jones (Stephen Amell – ‘Arrow’) who plans on putting Bebop and Rocksteady behind bars and in turn show Police Chief Vincent (Laura Linney – ‘Mystic River’) that he is more than capable of becoming a Police Detective.

Director Dave Green (‘Earth To Echo’) hasn’t just made ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows’ bigger and better than the original film he has also done something much more special and that is capture the magic of the original television series that made fans of the turtles fall in love with these tough mutants in the first place. Sure the fact that the screenwriters have introduced old favourites like Krang, Casey Jones, Bebop and Rocksteady into the franchise goes some of the way to re-create that magic but a lot of the credit must also be paid to Green who is in the difficult position of having to make this film appeal to people of all ages.

While some directors have to make a film appeal to both children and their parents Green is faced with the even harder task of having to make this film likable to two generations of turtles’ fans. Like The Simpsons the turtles have been long enough to be loved by people in their mid-30s and then right down to young children. Hence, a real problem for any filmmaker brave enough to take on directing in this franchise. While critics may want this film to be as dark as Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy realistically that is never going to work. You can’t have an actor playing a Heath Ledger Joker like bad guy when you’ve got small children involved. No instead Green does the right thing and has Tyler Perry over-act his role of Baxter Stockman and making it a little ‘lighter’ for younger eyes. The fact that the film works on all of these levels just shows that Green is an director to watch in the future.

Green and his screenwriters are also smart enough to know not to change too much in the Turtles universe as well. The newbies here, Casey Jones, Rocksteady, Krang and Bebop are pretty much the same as they were in the original series… with a very modern tweaks. Then there is the action, again Green goes back to what fans of the series know and love, there is a huge element of danger to New York but the fight scenes never last too long and unlike so many films these days aren’t just a flurry of movement. Even the trademark Turtle moral is there as the film reminds kids that just because they are different to everybody else they are still important.

Acting wise you got what you would expect from a film like this. Megan Fox does her usual ‘pretty girl’ thing while Tyler Perry, Will Arnett, Stephen Farrelly and Gary Anthony Williams provide enough comedic relief to keep everybody happy. And while Laura Linney does look a little lost at what she is doing in an action blockbuster like this Stephen Amell does provide a real breath of fresh air into the genre. Amell looks like he was born to play Casey Jones and seems to love being given the opportunity to play one of the turtles’ universes’ most popular characters. He has shown in TV’s ‘Arrow’ that he is a decent actor and once again Amell impresses.

Once again I suspect some critics won’t be as impressed with this film as much as I am but I like to give credit where credit is due. As a massive fan of the turtles I give ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows’ a huge thumbs up.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Adam Ross:

You can hear Adam Ross’s full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #180.

Stars(2.5)

 

 

Kyle McGrath:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of the Shadows is the sequel to the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This film finds the turtles hiding in the shadows allowing Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) to take all the credit for defeating the evil Shredder a year ago and saving the city. But all is not well, Shredder escapes captivity with the help of Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and to their surprise get roped into assisting inter-dimensional villain Krang (voiced by Brad Garett) open a portal which will allow him and his battleship The Technodrome to enter and destroy our world. It’s up to the turtles and their friends to save us all again.

This movie for all its grandeur is primarily a kids film, it’s not attempting to be anything other than a fun adventure movie for the family and unlike the recent Michael Bay directed Transformers movies I didn’t find myself rolling my eyes at the stupidity or vulgarity of the humor. The characters of the turtles are presented perfectly and the messages of friendship and teamwork are simple but important.

A definite strength of this film would be it’s fan-service to the audience who enjoyed the 80s-90’s cartoon series all those years ago. While there have been many other animated and live action TMNT films and tv shows since then none have left that same impact and the filmmakers know it. A major issue the previous film had was its misguided attempts early in production to stray away from what people expected of a TMNT movie, this I believe led to some hasty re-shoots in order to fix things that fans had expressed concern over. With this film however from the beginning it’s clear the intention was to appeal to those fans expectations. This reminded me of the approach Star Wars Episode 7 took which clearly worked wonders for that movie after the much derided prequel trilogy. This was a nice touch I thought and as a fan who grew up with the cartoon series it was endearing to see villains like Krang, Bebop & Rocksteady again.

Ultimately I think people’s opinions on this film will reflect their opinions on the last. Personally I thought this was an improvement overall. It’s the kind of film that’s easy to nitpick but when you see a giant mutant rhino trying to kill 4 mutant ninja turtles with a tank it feels somewhat misguided to complain of plot holes that the target audience couldn’t care less about.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick Gardener’s full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #180. You can also his review from The Wednesday Motley Crew.

Stars(1.5)

 

Sam Gironda:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, directed by Dave Green and starring Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnet with Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek and Jeremy Howard as the turtles. The film continues on from the first film and shows the audience the outcome of the turtles taking down the villain, Shredder.

As a kid I was never a truly big fan of the Ninja Turtles but I knew of them and did see some of the old TV shows.
The one thing that really stood out for me is the fact that the film really made you root for the turtles. For me anyway, I felt like the camera angles, the score to the film and the acting from the actors within the film, really made this a film that was highly enjoyable and fun to watch.

The newest addition to the Ninja Turtle team is Casey Jones played by Arrows, Stephen Amell. Seeing Stephen Amell as Casey Jones on screen was fantastic. I felt as though he portrayed the character perfectly and was very interesting to see him act in something other than the hit show Arrow.
The humour that was portrayed in the film was humour that was very enjoyable. It never felt forced, it always felt right to have in certain moments and reminded me of the kind of humour you would experience just by hanging out with your friends.

The storyline for the movie was a very enjoyable storyline. I felt like the movie was paced extremely well. I was never bored, I was never confused and I was never lost within the film. It all ran really smoothly in my opinion. The CG (computer graphics) used to create the turtles was amazing. For the film they used motion capture suits with the actors and you can tell in the film that using that technology really payed off in creating very realistic movements when the turtles were on screen.

Fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will very much enjoy the next installment in the franchise.

 

Stars(4)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows reviews: You can also listen to our full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #180.

Trailer:

 

The Wedding Ringer

Summary: Doug Harris (Josh Gad) thinks he has scooped the lottery. After years and years of being considered as a loser to all those around him he has now shown everybody by not only making it in the finance world but somehow managing to not only get the very good looking Gretchen Palmer (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) to date him but now she has said yes to his wedding proposal. Yes, everything is looking up for Doug, except he goes and causes a massive amount of stress by lying about how many friends he has, when secretly he has none at all.

Now Doug’s lie is haunting him because Gretchen and her over-zealous gay wedding planner Edmundo (Ignacio Serricchio) are eagerly wanting to meet all his friends so they can be prepared to become groomsmen. As he panics to what will happen if Gretchen discovers they don’t exist Doug is forced to hire Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), the wedding ringer extraordinaire who for the right amount of money can be your best man and provide you with the wedding you need to keep your loved one happy.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st January, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jeremy Garelick

Screenwriter: Jeremy Garelick, Jay Lavender

Cast: Karen Jin Beck (DJ Shy), Trevor Brunsink (Trevor), Patrick Carlyle (Andrew), Affion Crockett (Reggie/Drysdale), Whitney Cummings (Holly Munk), Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (Gretchen Palmer), Anthony L. Fernandez (Angel), Josh Gad (Doug Harris), Jorge Garcia (Lurch/Garvey), Mimi Gianopulos (Mimi), Dan Gill (Bronstein/Dickerson), Peter Gilroy (P.J. The Waiter), Steve Greene (Chris), Kevin Hart (Jimmy Callahan/Bic), Corey Holcomb (Otis/Alzado), Ken Howard (Ed Palmer), Tray Ireland (Ray), Neal Israel (Rabbi Steinsaltz), Ashley Jones (Babs Fremont), Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones (himself), Colin Kane (Fitzgibbons/Plunkett), Cloris Leachman (Grandma Palmer), Jenifer Lewis (Doris Jenkins), Joe Namath (himself), Amy Okuda (Marci), Lindsay Pearce (Alexandra Plylow), John Riggins (himself), Alan Ritchson (Kip/Carew), Mimi Rogers (Lois Palmer), Jeffrey Ross (Hal Lane), Ignacio Serricchio (Edmundo/Dirty Eddie Sanchez),  Aaron Takahashi (Endo/Rambis), Olivia Thirlby (Alison Palmer), Robert Towers (Lou), Nicky Whelan (Nadia)

Runtime: 101 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR THE WEDDING RINGER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Kevin Hart! The name can spring fear into fans of good comedy. After all this is a man over the years who has turned out some pretty questionable film roles… yes to be honest he deserves to be included in the same sentence as Adam Sandler or Chris Rock. For that reason there is always a little bit of trepidation when you are heading into a Kevin Hart, chances are it’s going to be ordinary, but then occasionally along comes a surprise like The Wedding Ringer which actually turns out to be a pretty decent comedy… as long as you like your comedy a little out there like with films like Horrible Bosses or The Hangover franchise.

Yes there are times you are going to feel guilty laughing at The Wedding Ringer, a small part of your brain will tell you that you shouldn’t be laughing at something as juvenile as a dog becoming attached to somebody’s genitals in a Bucks’ Night prank gone wrong or that you shouldn’t be chuckling at a poor unfortunate person with a speech impediment, but the larger part of your brain will overcome that little voice and whether you want or not you are going to find yourself laughing out loud to this film… largely because the screenwriters get a lot of things right.

One of the biggest problems with comedies over the past few years has been that the main characters haven’t been likable. That certainly isn’t the case here. Doug maybe a loser, but he’s still a nice guy and he’s the kind of guy that you want to see succeed so instantly you start rooting for him, the screenplay (which was put together by director Jeremy Garelik and Jay Lavender) also sees the character of Jimmy be presented in a likable light as well. A lot of films would have had him labeled as a shyster but here he seems to embrace the job as a wedding ringer because he is making people happy. He’s funny, caring and as we see later on has a softer side so what isn’t there to like.

Sure there are some parts of this film that are extremely predictable, I mean anyone who has watched a comedy over the last decade will work out where the Gretchen’s feeling for Doug storyline is heading before the film ever gets there, but Garelick (who is a debut feature director) also manages to throw in enough side-stories and surprises to keep his audience on their toes. Having said that though, some sequences such as the football game are over long. The biggest problem for this film should have been convincing the audience that someone that looks like Gretchen would ever date a loser like Doug and even that is well and truly explained for the naysayers.

Now let’s get down to the jury decision on Mr. Hart himself. Hart is actually okay in the role of Jimmy/Bic but to be honest his delivery still needs a lot of work. At times he mumbles or speaks so fast that the audience is left scratching their heads and wondering ‘what the hell did he just say?’ Luckily Josh Gad steps up to the plate and is actually manages to take a lot of the laughs away from Hart, whether it be through an old style slapstick laugh or a well delivered line. Gad like Hart hasn’t always delivered comedy gold but here he is more than serviceable. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting doesn’t do too much away from her Big Bang Theory persona, but another television ring-in, Jorge Garcia (known to many as Hurley from Lost) steals the show with one of the funniest lines in the film (the last final line before the credits), while Ken Howard also manages to steal a laugh or two as he plays the very politically incorrect Ed.

The Wedding Ringer is very much a guilty pleasure. It is the kind of film that serious film buffs will never admit they had a chuckle to because it is expected they wouldn’t like it, when really they were laughing out loud just like the rest of the audience around them. The Wedding Ringer is outrageous but does have a touching side as well and it does more than enough to be labeled a passable comedy.

Stars(3)

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s The Wedding Ringer review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(1)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2)

 

IMDB Rating: The Wedding Ringer (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Ringer reviews: You can also read our review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Poster3

Summary: From their home in the storm sewers of Manhattan, four Ninjitsu-trained turtles, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello and their sensei, Master Splinter, battle evil.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 11th September, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jonathan Liebsman

Screenwriter: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Evan Daughtry, Peter Laird (characters), Kevin Eastman (characters)

Cast: Will Arnett (Vernon Fenwick), Alison Fernandez (Rosa Mendez), Abby Elliott (Taylor), William Fichtner (Eric Sacks), Noel Fisher (Michelangelo), Paul Fitzgerald (Dr. O’Neil), Megan Fox (April O’Neil), K. Todd Freeman (Dr. Baxter Stockman), Whoopi Goldberg (Bernadette Thompson), Jeremy Howard (Donatello), Chance Kelly (Mr. Rivetti), Taram Killam (McNaughton), Johnny Knoxville (Leonardo (voice)), Tohoru Masamune (Shredder), Minae Noji (Karai), Harley Pasternak (himself), Pete Ploszek (Leonardo), Alan Ritchson (Raphael), Tony Shalhoub (Splinter (voice)), Malina Weissman (Young April O’Neil), Danny Woodburn (Splinter)

Runtime: 101 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles review on www.filmreviews.com.au

Stars(2.5)

 

Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #96

Stars(2.5)

 

David Griffiths:

Turtles fans beware Michael Bay is seeking to destroy your childhood the way he did for fans of the Transformers. That seemed to be the warning going around when it was first heard that Bay was set to be the producer of the re-boot of the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. But perhaps the warning went out a little bit early because there is more than enough to like about this latest superhero film.

Maybe to appease the true Turtles fans but the plot here not only calls upon the stories of the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series but also the popular comic book series. The film beings with New York City coming under attack by the evil Shredder (Tohoru Masamune) and his Foot Clan Soldiers. Now while most journalists are dismissing the so called Foot Clan the determined April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is doing all she can to prove their existence so she can finally become what she has always dreamed of… a crime reporter.

Her bid to find the truth though soon uncovers something else that New Yorkers should probably know about. The existence of some heroes, namely some teenage mutant ninja turtles known as Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Leonardo (Pete Ploszek/Johnny Knoxville) and Donatello (Jeremy Howard). These hard-shelled heroes are breaking all the rules set by their master, a mutated rat named Splinter (Danny Woodburn) and are doing all they can to help protect the city.

Now the first thing you will notice about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is that it is nowhere near as good as the recent Dark Knight trilogy or even most of the Marvel films, but the film still has its credits. Despite fears to the contrary the screenplay does allow for some characterization of each of the turtles (something that wasn’t the case for the robots in Transformers) while director Jonathan Liebsman does deliver some pretty intense action sequences, although that is only to be expected seeing he was the man at the helm of Wrath Of The Titans and Battle Los Angeles. The scene of the turtles, April and Vernon (Will Arnett) crashing down the side of a mountain in a truck while battling Foot Soldiers is a pretty decent scene, while Liebsman’s direction is aided by some pretty nifty special effects that bring the turtles to life.

As would be expected though the hand of Michael Bay is firmly over this film. There are a lot of loud noises and close ups of Megan Fox’s assets just as Mr. Bay likes it and while you can easily defend the much maligned storyline of April once being the owners of the turtles and Splinter by highlighting that happened in the comic book series it is harder to defend the ending of this film. Like it or not but Splinter’s grand plan at the finale of this film is way too close to what we have already seen in The Amazing Spider-Man as Dr. Curt Connors (aka The Lizard) tries to bring about his Armageddon.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also seems to be damaged by some of the re-writes that the film went through. From the background ‘trained in Asia’ story set-up of Eric Sacks through to the fact that he is never seen in a scene alongside Shredder in full uniform it is obvious that at some point in this film’s production Sacks was supposed to be Shredder, which actually would have worked very well. The most obvious reason for changing that is it may have been too obvious, but hey when you have William Fichtner turn up in a film your audience is already going to be expecting for him to be playing a bad guy anyway.

As far as the acting goes no-one is in any danger of being a threat on Oscar night. William Fichtner and Will Arnett both breeze through their clichéd performances while Whoopi Goldberg’s role is almost blink and you’ll miss it. Megan Fox does enough to silence her critics, she’s not as bad as everybody was expecting her to be, but again she hasn’t been given anything gritty to work with either.

If you’re prepared to walk into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and just expect a fun action film then you aren’t going to be disappointed. The film does its best to appease both fans of the comic book series and television show but the question must be asked which demographic is this film aimed at. The current series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles seems to be aimed at younger kids but most of the humor and violence of this film would suggest that it has been aimed at an older audience. Still Turtles fans can breathe a mild sense of relief, at least it didn’t turn out to be as bad as some of the later Transformer films.

Stars(3)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles′: For our full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #96 . You can also read Dave’s The Giver review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Poster3

With the world counting down the days now to those radioactive turtles once again hit the big screen Paramount Pictures have released a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles featurette looking at all the ins and outs of the creative side to the film.

The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman, produced by Michael Bay and stars Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, K. Todd Freeman, Danny Woodburn, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson and Minae Noji.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be released in Australia on the 11th September, 2014.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Poster

Paramount have just realeased a brand new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer as well as some character posters. The film which is produced by Michael Bay, directed by Jonathan Liebesman and stars Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, K. Todd Freeman, Danny Woodburn, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Minae Noji will be released on September 11th.

You can view the character posters here:

Tenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Character Poster 1Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Character Poster 2

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Character Poster 3Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Character Poster 4

You can also view the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trailer here:

The Hunger games Catching Fire Poster

Summary: Katniss and Peeta are dethroned from their respective victory riches and are put back into the arena for the most climatic and menacing of the Hunger Games, known as the Quarter Quell.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st November, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Francis Lawrence

Screenwriter: Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt, Suzanne Colllins (novel)

Cast: Nelson Ascencio (Flavius), Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket), Bruce Bundy (Octavia), John Casino (Woof), Sam Clafin (Finnick Odair), Lynn Cohen (Mags), Rita Conte (Hob), Stef Dawson (Annie Cresta), Rode Ferland (Marcus), Wilbur Fitzgerald (Cray), Meta Golding (Enobaria), Bruno Gunn (Brutus), Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy), Megan Hayes (Female Morphling),, Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee), Maria Howell (Seeder), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark), Toby Jones (Claudius Templesmith), Bobby Jordan (Blight), Lenny Kravitz (Cinna), Sandra Ellis Lafferty (Greasy Sae), Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen), Jena Malone (Johanna Mason), E. Roger Mitchell (Chaff), Amanda Plummer (Wiress), Jack Quaid (Marvel), Alan Ritchson (Gloss), Elena Sanchez (Cecelia), Stephanie Leigh Schlund (Cashmere), Willow Shields (Primrose Everdeen), Taylor St. Clair (Ripper), Patrick St. Esprit (Commander Thread), Donald Sutherland (President Snow), Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman), Jeffrey Wright (Beetee)

Runtime: 146 mins

Classification:M

OUR THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Adam Ross: You can read Adam’s full The Hunger Games: Catching Fire review on The Crat.

Stars(4)

 

Nick Gardener: You can read Nick’s full The Hunger Games: Catching Fire review on Southern FM

Stars(4)

 

David Griffiths:

The original “The Hunger Games” film left audiences in the middle. On one hand it was a better teenage genre flick than the later “Twilight Saga” films, but on the other hand the fact it was aimed at a younger audience meant that director Gary Ross held back on some of the darker elements that were portrayed in the novel.

Now comes “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” the difficult second film in the trilogy. Some three-part franchises choke when it comes to the second film, the film does nothing to bridge the first to the third film and becomes a dull affair for the audience. That certainly can’t be said for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” that equals the original film and overcomes a couple of flaws by director Francis Lawrence’s (“Water For Elephants,” “I Am Legend”) decision to allow the film to find its dark side.

Following the series of novels by Suzanne Collins “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is set twelve months after the original film. The young hero Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence – “The Devil You Know,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) is back living in District 12, although this time she is the nicer diggings of the Victor’s Village. Life is far from easy for her though as Katniss is forced to live a double life. Behind closed doors she is sorting out her feelings for good friend Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth – “Paranoia,” “Empire State”) while in public her fake relationship with fellow Hunger Games winner Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson – “Epic,” “Red Dawn”) must continue.

On the eve of joining the promotional train for the 75th Annual Hunger Games Katniss’ life is further turned upside down when she learns that her’s and Peter’s actions have seen them become the face of a threatened revolution. After a threat from President Snow (Donald Sutherland – “Jappeloup,” “The Best Offer”) Katniss realises that she must ‘tow the line’ but with that not working she soon finds her and Peter having to team up with Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson – “Out Of The Furnace,” “Free Birds”) to survive a new game thought up by Snow and his new right-hand man Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman – “A Late Quartet,” “The Master”).

Francis Lawrence does push the boundaries of this franchise a little more. He makes it a bit bloodier and even enhances the metaphor of Snow’s regime being similar to Nazi Germany but sadly Lawrence and his cinematographer Jo Willems (“Gotham,” “Limitless”) leave the audience a little underwhelmed with the film awash with a bland look.

Still that doesn’t put too much of a dampener on the film because the story really does come to the forefront. This film raising the stakes for most of the main characters certainly brings more suspense to the screen and despite some badly signposted areas of the film there are enough unexpected twists and turns to warrant the audience paying full attention. Unlike most teenage franchises you also get the feeling that this is one series that isn’t too afraid to kill off main characters if the story calls for that, at the end of the day that just enhances the suspense even more.

One disappointing thing about “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is that Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence just seem to breeze through their performances. Lawrence has shown in films like “Winter’s Bone” and “Silver Linings Playbook” that she is one of the finest young actresses going around but she never really gets to show those skills this time around. A real waste of an Oscar winner if I’ve ever seen one.

Liam Hemsworth also doesn’t get any decent screen time but Donald Sutherland is rewarded for his patience with the first film with the chance to really sink his teeth into a really menacing role… something that he seems to grasp with two hands. But stealing the show are Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci (“The Fifth Estate,” “Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters”). Harrelson continues to remind audiences what a fine actor he is with his great portrayal of the alcoholic Haymitch while Tucci shows his versatility by showboating as the energetic master-of-ceremonies Caesar.

There is no doubt that Francis Lawrence certainly lifts this franchise to a different level with his darker approach to “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Sure there will be some out there that simply want to put the film down because it is part of a popular franchise but truthfully this is fairly decent film that certainly isn’t a waste of time to take a look at.

 Stars(3)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3)

IMDB Rating:  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire′: You can also read Dave’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

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