Jennifer Lawrence

Josh and Franco

While we’ve been toiling away wishing for more Mockingjay Part 2 news, the principle cast of our favorite franchise have all gone off and got them selves some fancy new gigs. Now this is where I’d usually wax on and on about Jen working with David O. Russell again, but not today! Today it’s all about James Franco. Yes, you read me right– JAMES FRANCO, shout-y letters and all. Our beloved Peeta is currently filming a film with James Franco, the man who collects advanced degrees, and makes memes out of himself on Instagram, has about 80 different jobs at once, is starring and directing. Awkward runs on sentences aside, this is pretty interesting news! Why? ‘Cause the film is an adaptation of one of John Steinbeck’s lesser known novels, In Dubious Battle. Steinbeck of course is the American fiction writer best known for novels like East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row, and a collection of short stories including The Red Pony.

This is the second Steinbeck adaptation I have heard anything about in the last twenty years. The last was oddly enough Gary Ross’s announcement that he’d like to try his hand at a two part adaptation of East of Eden, starring Jennifer Lawrence no less. However, instead of our dear Jen stepping into a role created by Mr. Steinbeck– it’s Josh. I gotta say I like this development.

Now everyone stare at Josh in Great Depression Era clothes, and not think “District 12 is calling for its clothing back!”

Check out that pageboy cap!

Check out that pageboy cap!

Yes, that's Selena Gomez.

Yes, that’s Selena Gomez.

All right, that’s enough! Now everyone go read In Dubious Battle!

Them There Eyes

Breaking Down The Mockingjay Part 1 Documentary Snippets

You know, holding out for the DVD isn’t nearly as hard as we’d expected. Why? Because half the special features are already online anyway!

Not that we’re complaining, of course! We have no problem on getting closer to the Digital HD watchers level. And we’re learning A LOT from these documentary mini-clips! For instance…

1) BREAKING SHIT IS FUN!

Destroyed District 12 was an actual demolition site– an abandoned factory plant– with some set pieces added in. And tearing apart District 12 was apparently really cathartic for the crew, especially Production Designer Philip Messina!

2) DISTRICT 8 ALMOST HIT HORROR MOVIE LEVELS

Though the film wanted to portray realistic injuries, Francis Lawrence asked that most of the make-up be toned down from the department’s original plans, because they wanted to make people look gnarly. REALLY GNARLY.

3) THIS CAST IS MADE OF AWESOME

Not that we didn’t already know this, of course. Still, it’s great to hear how Julianne Moore was enticed into the series and Mahershala Ali checked off multiple boxes on his career bucket list by working on these films!

4) RAPPELLING FASTER THAN AN ELEVATOR DROPS IS INTIMIDATING

This was one of the few moments of the story caught and videotaped during the filming process, but back then, we didn’t realize how big of a deal it was. Considering our stomachs sometimes flips when an elevator lurches too quickly, this is kind of a thrill ride.

5) IT’S MIGUEL’S FAULT

We didn’t really like the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack much (CUE THE TROLLS! ..It’s a matter of opinion, y’all. Deal.) The most heinous song of all was The Chemical Brother’s and Miguel song, “This Is Not A Game”. We liked the intro of the song, but then it just went straight to hell. If we’re understanding Lorde correctly in this short, the intro is the only part of the song that The Chemical Brothers crafted. Soooo yeah… that disaster is Miguel’s fault.

Mockingjay Deleted Scene Goodness

To promote the release of Mockingjay Part 1 on Digital next Tuesday, Lionsgate is releasing some of the extra features to the media. Behind the scenes with a little snippet of the Finnick underwear scene! And now some of the deleted scenes too. One with Katniss and Effie and another of Katniss and Haymitch. Both very touching, great scenes, that due to time, tone, or continuity, were left out of the final cut. In the interest of conserving emotional energy, we’re going to pace ourselves here. It’s rare that we get such multitudes of goodies on one day. So today, the Katniss and Haymitch “We’re Still in the Game” scene!

The Katniss and Haymitch scene seems to occur right after she first sees him again in District 13 and is walking away to avoid speaking to him.

Katniss Haymitch 13 reunion

She’s pissed that he didn’t save Peeta. And then she tells him to “say it” as well – put some blame back on her for letting Peeta out of her sight. It shows how in sync these two are. He knows she’s going to blame him for one thing AND that she wants him to blame her for losing Peeta to the Capitol as well. Also a nice touch is the “distill my own turnips” line. District 13’s food staple of turnips didn’t make the movie, but it’s fun to know it made the screenplay.

This scene here is as much of a pep talk as Haymitch can give, considering his personality, but it’s great to see this side of him. He’s trying to give her some hope and motivate her. It’s clear she hears him, but she’s not quite ready to truly BELIEVE him yet – that their efforts here could actually save Peeta. It’s such a solid scene between the two it makes me wonder why they took it out. Again, maybe the time constraints or concern about the flow of the story. But it’s great that we’ve got it now.

Blu-ray/DVD extras are a beautiful thing.

JJ

Diving In With Lawrence Squared

Rejoice, my friends, for Lawrence Squared LIVES ONNNNN!

Okay, that might have been a little dramatic. But we’re not sorry because we’re really psyched that Jennifer Lawrence and Francis Lawrence are teaming up for a new movie post-Hunger Games.

Ferraras and Mestre

Ferraras and Mestre

Directed by Francis and starring Jennifer, THE DIVE will tell the true story of Audrey Mestre and her husband Francisco “Pipin” Ferraras. The two competed as freedivers, diving into the depths of the ocean without a breathing apparatus. Jen is playing Audrey Mestre, who died while attempting to break her own world record of 577.7 feet when the safety equipment meant to help her return to the surface failed. The movie is also a passion project for its producer, James freakin’ Cameron.

Let’s just mention now that Fox has not officially confirmed this in a press release. However, the story was broken by The Wrap, which tends to be a reliable source, and republished by multiple entertainment outlets. We likely wouldn’t be getting a press release until after an actor is cast as Mestre’s husband.

It’s not all action like The Hunger Games, but we’re suckers for a good, strong character story. And we all know J-Law has the chops for one of those! There may also be a bit of mystery, too. Mestre and Ferraras were reportedly on the brink of divorce with the abuse allegations flying (as Mestre became a much more beloved figurehead for the sport than her husband/mentor) at the time of her death in 2002. With his jealousy being fairly well known in the community, some have accused Ferraras of disabling Mestre’s safety equipment– or at the very least, not properly ensuring its functionality– before the dive. Cameron and Ferraras seem to be friendly, however, so the story may not explore that angle.

Thanks to Jabberjays, we got sucked into this really interesting documentary about the woman who inspired it all:

We know Jennifer Lawrence can act the hell out of any role, so we’re thrilled for that. But we’re also really intrigued to see how Francis works with a piece that’s fantastical in a more definite, real world sense. The director is mainly known for solid sci-fi and fantasy worlds, but we can’t wait to see how he tackles something more intimate.

We Don’t Envy All The Constant Underwater Scenes, Though!
The Girl With The Pearl

Awards Season and the Hunger Games Fandom

The new year brings new opportunities for the entertainment industry to get together and receive AWARDS. So many types of awards. There are the most prestigious awards: The Oscars, SAG, BAFTA, Golden Globes, Writers’ Guild, Producers’ Guild, etc.

There are a lot of highly lauded actors in the Hunger Games franchise, but their fancy awards are all for non-Hunger Games movies, sadly, because big blockbuster movie performances are rarely considered by these groups to be worthy of recognition. (One caveat – The Critics Choice Awards which has an “Action Movie” category, but those awards are somewhere down the line in terms of prestige). Some of our favorite actors will no doubt be in attendance for these prestigious awards. Julianne Moore is in awards contention for her role in Still Alice. Jennifer is a past winner of pretty much every award so she may present at some of these awards (definitely at the Golden Globes, where she won last year). Lorde will no doubt be at the Golden Globes since Yellow Flicker Beat has the sole Mockingjay-related nomination there. The Hunger Games movies only seem to get love in the original song category, so it seems that will continue again this year. We’re used to it. We know how it goes. We’ll be watching them in all their Capitol-esque glory where everyone comments on the dresses, the hair, shoes, jewels, and the inane interviews that go along with it. But some are a good time, especially the Golden Globes, because Tina Fey and Amy Poehler make it soooo fun.

good times at the pcas

The Good ‘Ol Days, when Lionsgate forced these guys to do these type of appearances.

There are also highly corporately sponsored entertainment events masquerading as “awards” like the People’s Choice Awards brought to you by seemingly every single brand P&G owns (It’s a lot). The fandom seems to get really excited about the People’s Choice Awards, but I think it’s only because in 2013, the big three attended and were cute buddies together. Ever since the franchise moved to debut movies in November however, the movies have been too off-schedule to be “nominated” (the “nominations” began before Catching Fire or Mockingjay came out in theaters).  Jennifer Lawrence has nominations this year, and there are rumors that she could attend, but my money is on a tapped “thank you appearance” at best. She doesn’t need these type of appearances anymore, the events need her to get ratings. So we’ll see how that ends up.

Outside of the glamour of these award shows, the popularity of our Hunger Games movies means that so many websites want to draw us in with their own magical internet pony voting awards where usually you can vote as many times as you want to encourage hits on the site.  (Yes, the People’s Choice is like that too, though most other magical internet ponies don’t get televised on CBS).There were a few of these in December, and there will no doubt be more soon to come, like MTV’s Movie Brawl, which I bet they’ll do again this year. And it’s so exhausting. But we get it. You want the thing that you love to be recognized in some way as “the best” so you get sucked in and vote and vote and vote. Just don’t let it take over your life and your social accounts too much.

At least it fills the dark time when there is no movie news.

JJ

A Hunger Games Movie Prequel Idea We Don’t Hate

Happy 2015, or as it’s otherwise known, THE YEAR MOCKINGJAY PART 2 COMES OUT AND EVERYTHING IS OVER. Granted, 11 months from now is still quite a bit of time, but the questions swirl around about what will happen after the final movie comes out. The pipeline of Hunger Games stuff won’t be completely over then. For fans of the Hunger Games stories, there’s the curiosity of what they will do with the London stageshow in 2016. And there’s that theme park that Lionsgate keeps bringing up during their conference calls that concerns us a lot.

Beyond putting the story into those formats, what about more movies? Or tv? We think there needs to be a lot more time (like 15 yearsish) before thinking about a true reboot. Prequels or sequels are something that could come sooner. Hollywood loves to tap into successful franchises again and again so it’s not a ridiculous notion for it to happen. Suzanne Collins would presumably need to be behind it, and all public indications are that she’s not really looking to go back to Panem for an extended period of time. We’re not so sure we want to either. A huge part of why we love this story is because of these characters and expanding the world beyond the core characters is a risk.

Uncle Haymitch, tell us a story?

Uncle Haymitch, tell us a story?

But what about a prequel that’s already been teased in the books? In the Catching Fire movie, a lot of fans hoped to see Haymitch’s Games in some form, but it was not to be. He’s a beloved character, and as a teenager he was smart, charismatic, snarky, and rebellious, with tragic results. His games were also a Quarter Quell, which would satisfy Hollywood’s Capitol-esque tastes for MORE MORE MORE.

I have a huge amount of love for Haymitch, so developing his story further is the one prequel/sequel idea that I think I could really get behind. Especially if they frame the movie flashing back/forward to Haymitch, Katniss, and Peeta in the Mockingjay Epilogue-era for a few scenes (and that means getting Woody/Jen/Josh to come back for a little reunion, who wouldn’t love that?)

If/when this or other movie ideas come around, I hope it’s not for a few years. If another film idea comes right on the heels on Mockingjay Part 2, it would be too soon. Let us have our ending for a while before asking us to dive back in. In the meantime, we can watch the now “classic” Mainstay Productions version of the 2nd Quell.

Maybe it’s too soon to start thinking this way, but we can’t help it.

JJ

 

The Girl on Fire, Made of Wax

Her face has been everywhere the past few years for the movie promotion, but yesterday marked another milestone in the cultural life of Katniss Everdeen. Yes, she has made it to another level now. Wax.  She’s a popular enough character that Madame Tussaud’s has made Katniss Everdeen wax figures for its London, NYC, and LA locations.

Here they are:

London Katniss

London Katniss

Katniss in NY (top) and LA (bottom)

Katniss in NY (top) and LA (bottom)

The likeness to Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss is pretty incredible. And we like the choice to have District 12/Catching Fire Katniss in two of the locations. This isn’t Katniss all glammed up for the Capitol in her fire dresses (although when you’re modeled after Jennifer Lawrence, you’re going to be gorgeous no matter what). This is Katniss in the woods (or in the woods of the first Hunger Games). She’s frowning. She’s concerned. She’s sad. She’s not fake smiling for the audience.

We’re happy they chose to immortalize this version of Katniss, and not “The Mockingjay.” Potential promotional partners, take note.

But while we really do like the serious take on Katniss, we wouldn’t mind if Jennifer Lawrence paid a visit and did some Jon Hamm/Don Draper type silliness.

hamm1

THAT, we think, would burn down the internet.

JJ

Best and Worst of Mockingjay Part 1 (MOVIE EDITION)

It’s that time of year when Best and Worst of the Year Lists abound. We know the haters gonna hate (and clickbait), so as an antidote, here’s a Mockingjay Part 1 movie version from people who write about Hunger Games stuff just cause we love it.

Stay tuned for a Best and Worst of the Mockingjay Part 1 marketing campaign later in the week (heh heh, so fun).

WHAT WE LOVED

Peeta’s Interview Scenes

We’re Peeta fans for life at Victor’s Village, so we tend to love ALL Peeta scenes (in the Francis Lawrence era movies at least). We knew that Peeta time would be scarce in this one, even with that bonus “Stay With Me – Always” Catching Fire scene redux.  Peeta’s progression from healthy to emaciated, shaking ball of pain was done so well it hurt even more than we imagined. From Josh’s acting, to the wardrobe choices, and that CGI, it was so well done.

mockingjay-part-1-peeta-beatenHijacked Peeta

Yes, this gets its own call out. Josh said that he went for it, and YEAH HE REALLY DID. And it made the strangling scene all the more disturbing, as well as the final scene of the film which has haunted us every day since opening night. Great job bringing that to life, we’re scared (in the best way) to see more of this transformation.

Effie Winning our Hearts, and Bringing Some Much Needed Comic Relief

Effie’s character development in the movies, and what Elizabeth Banks has done with the role has added so much to these movies. THANK YOU, thank you for making a change from the book to include Effie in District 13. She brought comic relief and her growing relationship with Katniss was touching to see. We don’t mind changes from the book when they’re so lovingly and purposefully done.

cf vs mj previewDistrict 12’s Horror Brought to Life

The devastation of the firebombs on District 12 was brought to life in such staggering scale. In my limited mind it wasn’t quite so awful. Now I see things more realistically, and the evil of Snow is that more evident.

If You Thought Snow Was a Bad Dude Before…

All around, this movie franchise is blessed with actors who have done a stellar job bringing the characters to life. I’ve already mentioned two in just this post. Donald Sutherland has upped the ante with Snow in this chapter. In the hands of a different actor the level of callousness and evil could verge on campy or ridiculously monstrous. Sutherland’s Snow radiates power and resolve to maintain his order at any cost, and you don’t hesitate to believe it.

District 7 Rebels

We made fun of it a bit when we saw the fast climbing lumberjacks in the teaser trailer. But hey, that scene as a whole delivered for me. When the rebels blew the peacekeepers to bits, I was cheering along with them.

Bonding Time Between Katniss and that Damn Cat

Earlier in the year, we were excited that the crazy cat scene would be included in the film. That’s not the scene I’m talking about here. What I loved was when Katniss found Buttercup crawling through the window of her Victor’s Village home. Again, some much needed levity in a very dark scene. Well timed meows and lots of disdain from Katniss. Perfect.

The Hanging Tree Sequence

It’s not just the song, or just the arrangement, it’s how the sequence was all put together to start as a solemn end to the trip back to District 12, to the rebel attack on the District 5 dam. Including this song was a risky move, it could have driven the movie to a halt and felt very out of place in a whut when did this become a musical bout of confusion but it was woven into the story so well that there would be a gaping hole within the movie without it now.

Every Second of Jennifer Lawrence

Sure, tell the fun BTS stories of how she’s so jokey on set. But at the end of the day, the moments that Francis Lawrence captured of her on film are pure Katniss. She owns this role. For those 2 hours she is completely Katniss Everdeen.

WHAT WE DIDN’T LOVE

primPrim Going After the Damn Cat

Listen, we all have affection for that cat. I loved Katniss’s interaction with Buttercup in Victor’s Village. But I don’t like the scene of Prim going after her cat during the air raid from the book and it’s my least favorite part of the movie. I know Prim is only 13, has lost a lot, and she’s very attached to the cat, but it’s just so cliche that it makes me groan every time. I know plenty of people who would risk life and limb for their pets, but it feels out of place in both the book and movie. And the whole countdown  “oops Gale barely made it through the doors before it crushed him” sense of urgency is a bit too heavy on the “made it just in time” trope.

The Prolonged Rescue Scene that Showed Us Too Little

I’m happy we got the rescue scene in the film. Extra scenes from the book are a fun movie bonus. And arguably the night-vision and the gas bombs help to create an accurate representation of the visual confusion of being there and help build tension. But I would’ve liked to see more from those sequences. We basically saw some stairwells, creepy test tubes and syringes, and then some empty cells. The sequence went on far too long in comparison to what they actually showed us. COME ON SHOW US MORE.

Lastly, Not Enough Peeta. Or Johanna. Or Annie.

Cheap shot, sure! And unavoidable unless they were going to add more Capitol scenes. BUT TRUE. There’s a Peeta/Snow scene that may make the DVD features, but overall, I do wish we saw a little bit of them in the Capitol.

Are you mad at me for saying Prim should’ve abandoned the cat? Buttercup would’ve been fine anyway. That thing’s indestructible.

JJ

 

That Tone-Deaf Hanging Tree Remix

Remember when we saw the movie and LOVED The Hanging Tree sequence? How we bought the Mockingjay musical score and listened to James Newton Howard’s rendition over and over? How thrilled we were to see it rise to #2 on the iTunes charts (and #1 in many other countries)? How it debuted at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100?

hanging tree

Katniss singing the next Capitol club hit? We don’t think so.

Well someone decided to fuck it all up with an upbeat remix that kills the emotion and message of the song. If you’ve been online the past day, you’ve probably seen a link to it, or heard it.  If you haven’t heard it yet, you may just want to sit it out. Our friends at Jabberjays.net and Hunger Games DWTC have great editorials about why this remix is just so wrong, and we agree wholeheartedly that it needs to be pulled. The original version is what made the song a hit, it didn’t need its entire heart and soul ripped out to play on radio. It just needed enough people to like it and request it. If you want to shorten the arrangement, cool. But change the WHOLE MOOD OF THE SONG INTO SOME KIND OF CAPITOL PARODY? This move was clearly led and made by people who don’t care about the message of the song, and had no clue about why we love it.

But they did it. And it’s a major bummer that something we were so happy about was bastardized and could be played to the masses as if it were the real Hanging Tree track. We’ve noticed that the song has disappeared from the soundcloud and YouTube sources, so that gives us hope this remix might get buried. But in case it doesn’t, what can we do? Well, we can ask radio stations to play the original version instead. Tell Republic Records. Buy the original track from the movie. Watch the original version on YouTube.

No remixes needed, thanks.

If I hear that remix on the radio, I’m changing the station, and then tweeting them to play the original version.

JJ

The Hanging Tree: Breaking All the Rules

Jennifer Lawrence may have been more apprehensive shooting the pivotal Hanging Tree scene in Mockingjay Part 1, than she was shooting most other scenes in the entire franchise, but I think her nerves benefited her performance rather than hindered it. Money talks in so many ways, if people don’t spend it items for sale are considered failures, if people buy them in droves they’re a success– The Hanging Tree by that definition is a success then, because it’s breaking sale records left and right. As of Saturday the 29th of November, The Hanging Tree is the second most purchased song on the US iTunes chart. In the UK it’s in the number seven position, and on the Continent in countries like the Netherlands it’s at number four, and Germany where it’s at number one. I’m not sure if the popularity of this song is due to the fact that it’s sung by Jennifer Lawrence, that it’s part of the Hunger Games mythology, or that it’s just a good song– so I’m going to chalk it up to all three factors.

Jennifer Lawrence has said it numerous times that she doesn’t think she’s a good singer. The proof is in the recording however, ’cause as much humming and hawing as she did pre-Mockingjay Part 1’s release, the audience and her co-workers and friends say otherwise. I’ll even admit that I believed the pre-movie hype that Jen’s singing chops were sub par, but I think all the objections she’s made may be the vocalizations of years of childhood insecurity rearing its ugly head. Jen, lemme put it into words that you will never read, ’cause this is a fan-written blog, and you’re clearly a smart young woman who stays away from the Internet 90% of the time– but, you’re a good singer, and you should be nicer to your self, and also stop listening to your dad– dad’s are notorious assholes to their daughters. Dad’s pour ice water on us to wake us up before school, they also tell us there are monsters in our closets, or that gummy worms are real worms, or that chocolate is dirt– or they make fun of our singing voices after talent shows–so, for the love of god, tell your memories of your dad making fun of you to the back the hell up, and look at the song buying charts, and feel a little proud.

Give Jen a hand, she sang in front of people and she didn’t die! She cried a little, but she did not die!

Them There Eyes

P.S Anyone hoping Hanging Tree gets nominated for an Oscar? If that even possible?