I have never really been into films or film series that were based on teen book series like Twilight and so many more. Nonetheless, I thought that for the sake of this challenge that I would change my mind. So, I did that and for today’s film I watched The Hunger Games. In the world of Panem, there was once an uprising against the government, but when it became time for peace, an agreement was made and The Hunger Games was born. Every district has to give up one male and one woman who will compete in a game to the death that is televised. Afraid that her sister wouldn’t survive, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers herself into the competition, but she’ll have to learn to play the game if she wants to survive. The film also stars Stanley Tucci (Jury Duty) as Caesar Flickerman, Wes Bentley (American Beauty) as Seneca Crane, Elizabeth Banks (The Lego Movie) as Effie Trinket, Woody Harrelson (Rampart) as Haymitch, Josh Hutcherson (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) as Peeta, Toby Jones (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) as Claudius Templesmith, Alexander Ludwig (Lone Survivor) as Cato, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Liam Hemsworth (The Expendables 2) as Gale Hawthorne, Donald Sutherland (MASH) as President Snow, Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen, and the film was directed by Gary Ross (Big).
There is something to be said about these films that are taken from popular teen books because I enjoyed watching the Harry Potter films I watched and I even enjoyed this one. There catchy and when turned into films with great actors involved in it then they actually work. I liked the story of the film and I really liked the premise of it, but I did think it was a little log for my liking. The actual battle scenes are very cool, but there are points in the story that I could have done without. I do however understand that the scenes I could have done without were definitely needed for the drama aspect of the film. I thought the acting for the most part in the film was really good from everyone like Harrelson, Banks, Tucci, and Lawrence to name a few. The sets and costumes for the film were awesome and the way some of the people in the Capitol looked interesting. The film has an interesting concept of how the government controls everything from lack of food to how everyone must conform to their rules. It could kind of reflect certain societies for sure. Governments are always trying to figure out ways to control everything and this is definitely reflected in this one. I’m not completely positive if you’ll get another Hunger Games film for the challenge, but I’ll definitely check out the rest of the series. I a going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
The film I chose for today is one of those films that I just couldn’t miss out on seeing because of how much buzz it has garnered. The name of the film that I chose for today is Hell Or High Water and it stars Chris Pine (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Ben Foster (Lone Survivor). Things haven’t always been easy for Toby Howard (Pine) whose family ranch is about to be foreclosed on by Midland Bank. Along with his brother Tanner (Foster), they decide to go and rob every branch of the bank to try and raise the money to save the ranch. The only problem is that they acquire the attention of a relentless Texas Ranger named Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) who is close to retiring, but needs this one last hunt. The film also stars Katy Mixon (Eastbound & Bound) as Jenny Ann, Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3) as Elsie, Gil Birmingham (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1) as Alberto Parker, Amber Midthunder (Priceless) as Vernon Teller, Buck Taylor (Gunsmoke) as Old Man, Marin Ireland (Homeland) as Debbie Howard, Kevin Rankin (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) as Billy Rayburn, Heidi Sulzman (Laurel Canyon) as Ranger Margaret, and the film was directed by David Mackenzie (Perfect Sense).
As soon as I read that the film was written by the same guy who wrote Sicario (Taylor Sheridan) I can instantly see the similarities in styles and the overall tone of the film. The film is just absolutely tense from beginning to end and it is definitely one heck of a thrill ride. You don’t even have to question the acting in the film because Bridges, Pine, and Foster were just absolutely amazing. I loved how Bridges character is one of those old school Texans who is just an absolute ball buster to his partner. Pine and Foster are a great combination together in the film and they play their roles perfectly. Pine is the quiet, reserved, do right by someone kind of a guy while Foster is definitely the reckless wild man. The writing is so good in this film that they create tension through the dialogue which is not an easy task as we’ve seen in a lot of films in the past. They also capture two sides of a coin where there are some people that can sympathize with them robbing the banks and those gun toting Texans who want to capture them. One of the other elements of the film that I loved is the cinematography. I’ve been to Texas and there’s a lot of land that could look desolate and desperate to which they do a great job capturing those feelings as you watch the film. There is a reason why this film has a plus 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and high 80’s/90’s on other sites. It’s just that damn good and a must see for any real cinema fan. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
There is only one day left until we do Eddie’s 31 Days Of Halloween so I wanted to check out the newest Peter Berg (Lone Survivor) film. Peter Berg has been doing one film after another that are based on true stories and you can Deepwater Horizon to that list. BP (British Petroleum) has just set up a drilling site in the ocean in the Gulf Coast and it’s time to get it going. Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell) doesn’t want to start drilling until all the tests have cleared and have been determined safe. Unfortunately, after a test shows that the rig is safe (even though it’s still questionable), they commence on the drilling and the rig explodes and creates the worst oil spill in US History. The film also stars Mark Wahlberg (Lone Survivor) as Mike Williams, Douglas M. Griffin (10 Cloverfield Lane) as Landry, Gina Rodriguez (Interstate) as Andrea Fleytas, John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich) as Vidrine, Dave Maldonado (Trumbo) as Kuchta, Ethan Suplee (American History X) as Jason Anderson, Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner) as Caleb Holloway, James DuMont (Dallas Buyers Club) as O’Bryan, Joe Chrest (22 Jump Street) as Sims, Brad Leland (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) as Kaluza, and Robert Walker Branchaud (Stranger Things) as Doug Brown.
As far as the film is concerned, it’s everything you would expect from a Peter Berg movie where they explain what is going on and then they get right to the meat and potatoes of the film. The build up to the action is a little slow, but that is because they want to inform you about everything that happened from the negligence of BP in every single detail. Mark Wahlberg is Mark Wahlberg so if you saw Lone Survivor then you know what exactly to expect from him in this film. He just goes from a Seal to an engineer for this film. Now I am not an expert on fire, but there were some confusing moments in the film like from a far away shot, the whole rig looks like it’s on fire, but close up the control room looks like there’s no fire near it. Fires could be deceiving from far away so I am willing to let that one go. I have to give the directors props for this film because they built an oil rig just to film the movie. That is a pretty incredible fun fact for all of you out there. Every time I saw Kurt Russell in this film, I kept thinking of Backdraft, but he was amazing in the film for sure. One thing the film does for sure is they make BP exes look lie absolute idiots in this film. They make them look like fools coming up with any excuse possible as to why they should start drilling instead of investigating. If that is what you seek plus some really good acting then check out the film. I just wanted to add that Kate Hudson still looks amazing in this film. I am going to give Deepwater Horizon an B+ for a final grade.
This could just be a sign that I miss football season even though it’s only been a couple of weeks or so since the big game. I have always been a fan of the sport and films about the sport of football so it was only natural for me to pick Friday Night Lights as today’s film. The film is based off of the book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream which was by H. G. Bissinger. It tells the tale of a football team from deep in the heart of West Texas in Permian High School. There is a lot of pressure on the team to win a championship as the film focuses on it’s coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thorton) and five of his players Boobie Miles (Derek Luke), Mike Winchell (Lucas Black), Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund), Ivory Christian (Lee Jackson), and Brian Chavez (Jay Hernandez) as well as the struggles they all go through with all the pressure. The film also stars Lee Thompson Young (The Famous Jett Jackson) as Comer, Tim McGraw (The Blind Side) as Charles Billingsley, Grover Coulston (The Lone Ranger) as L.V. Miles, Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights-TV Series) as Sharon Gaines, and the film was directed by Peter Berg (Lone Survivor).
The guys who wrote Varsity Blues (also based in Texas) must have read this book because they borrow some of the elements. The guy who wrote the script for When The Game Stands Tall must have been watching this film. How do you ask that this could be possible? The star player with all the division one scholarships goes down with a knee injury, does that sound familiar? The father who is so obsessed with football that he literally gives his kid a hard time, does that sound familiar to you? You might be saying no way can Friday Night Lights and When The Game Stands Tall be the same because they are both true stories that took place at different times and different states. I know that, but you probably didn’t know that Alexander Ludwigs character of Chris Ryan was made up. In fact, he is a combination of guys that played for the team. This was an amazing football movie that shows how quickly a team of guys can bond over a season. It also teaches you about brotherhood and what that really means. Now the film isn’t as crazy and over the top as Varsity Blues was, but it had plenty of drama in it. The film was so amazing that it would spawn a television show that Connie Britton stars in as well as the coaches wife once again. If you love football movies, then give this one a shot because it is that good. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.