Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hunger Games (2012)

Written by Gary Ross, Billy Ray, Suzanne Collins (book)
Directed by Gary Ross
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson & Woody Harrelson

This is an enjoyable movie. It has all the elements you could ask for; Forbidden Love, oppression, government propaganda, social politics, raw emotion. It’s a real coming of age tale… oh yeah, and ritualistic brutal sport killing for a sloth of commercial onlookers cheering on the adolescent violence.

The story is basically this; the social order intimidates the masses by requiring they submit a young boy and girl to compete in the annual “hunger games” to project fear and power over the lower classes. Interestingly, this film only covers the first book and so the injustices are still very real at the end of this movie.

A strange characteristic of this movie is how deep and intense each characters emotions are. They have such strong feelings for one another even though they are all aware they will have to kill one another in the end. But the movie is done well and the audience is drawn in and can’t help but caring for each character even thought their all destined to die.

No rating. This was obviously going to be a hit with the following of the books. It’s done well enough to bring the crowds and its enjoyable to watch. It might be good to read the book before you see the movie.

Friends With Benefits vs. No Strings Attached

Written by  Keith merryman... +                      Written by Elizabeth Meriwether... +
Directed by Will Gluck                                    Directed by Ivan Reitman
Starring   Justin Timberlake & Mila Kunis        Starring Natalie Portman & Ashton Kutcher

This is a cumulative review on first Friends With Benefits and No strings attached. Both of these films have wildly similar plots about sex and friendship between two consenting adults of the opposite sex.

Friends with benefits portrays Kunis and Timberlake as two powerhouse career oriented business types who can’t seem to find relationships that work on their schedule. Ofcouse these two meet for work and end up becoming friends without sexual tension, leading them to have sex with each other. Just sex no relationship.

No Strings Attached introduces Kutchers as an emotional affectionate man who has been hurt and alone while Portman shows no sign of tenderness. Portman has physical needs that she asks Kutcher to fulfill without the relationship. Of course Kutcher immediately falls for Portman and their complications ensue.

Both films have simple plots that play out well for the audience. Kutcher and Portman have great chemistry on screen and they both play their rolls with dignity and class. Kunis and Timberlake don’t show as much chemistry as they could but they both are immaculately sexy. Unfortunately in a few scenes Timberlake and Kunis are forced to make pop culture references and erroneous banter that reeks of Hollywood packaging while Kutcher and Portman seem to glide through similar dialogue with ease.

No strings attached is clearly the favorite in this heavy weight smack down of chick flick projects… but its not over yet. No strings attached ends with a very kind and heart warming moment where Kutcher and Portman finally come to terms with their feelings for each other and are prepared to peruse a committed relationship. Unfortunately it’s a little bland and obvious. Friends with benefits, on the other hand, ends with a bang Timberlake chooses to go all out and confess is devotion to Kunis and completely sweep her off her feet. Timberlake is a born performer and his vivacious bold nature comes through and actually sells the over the top moment this film ends with.

This is a classic case of movie envy. I wish these movies could hook up, commit to one another and then merge as one amazing chick flick.

Neither get a rating. Both are plain fun relationship movies.

Why does Hollywood habitually pit similar movies against each other???