Liam Hemsworth

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.

The Many Fandom Reactions to any Gale Post

During movie off-season, as we’re in now, Lionsgate keeps the social sites active by posting something at least once a day. Since we’re months away from anything substantial from Mockingjay Part 2, it’s usually a recycled still or maybe an edit of the Mockingjay Part 1 content. So for the most part, a non-event. But when they post something concerning Gale, I take another look.

Not because I particularly like Gale. Liam Hemsworth is nice to look at, so I’m not complaining, but he’s not a character that I spend much time thinking about within the scope of the series. There are lots of other characters I prefer to think about. No, I enjoy when Lionsgate posts something about Gale because THE COMMENTS GO CRAZY IN EVERY KIND OF DIRECTION and I find that really entertaining.

Lionsgate posted this still over the weekend with the caption: Gale Hawthorne… a soldier, a friend, her strength. #Mockingjay

Click the image to go to @TheHungerGames Facebook post and read the fun comments for yourself.

Click the image to go to @TheHungerGames Facebook post and read the fun comments for yourself.

Oh yeah, they gave fans a lot to work with on that caption. Well, some people were just focused on the fact that Liam is a hottie so there are comments like “bae” followed by 10 hearts. Some people were excited that they called him a friend, which meant lots of FRIENDZONED comments. Others were mad that he was called Katniss’s strength, cause damn it, Katniss has her own strength. She don’t need him! Some comments questioned why do you always post Gale and not Peeta? More PEEEEETA. And some people just flat out wrote MURDERER.

Yikes. Without question, Gale brings out a lot of emotion in the fandom. It’s only going to get more extreme as we head into Part 2. I’m sure Lionsgate will be ready with lots more pictures and captions to bring out those reactions. Cause, come on, they totally know that fans will react this way.

Thanks for keeping us entertained in the meantime, fandom.

JJ

My One Mockingjay Part 1 Gripe

It’s hard to believe it but after three films in The Hunger Games franchise, and after so many gripes about Gary Ross’s treatment, and then my barely there gripes about Francis Lawrence’s treatment of Catching Fire– I only have one, count it ONEMockingjay-gale-poster gripe about Mockingjay Part 1. And that gripe is this, Gale Hawthorne is effectively an orphan.

I know, I know there’s something wrong with me, ’cause my gripe is for all intents and purposes the stripping away Gale of pretty much everything that made him sympathetic in the first place. The fact that he had a family to take care of, not just Katniss, and Katniss’s family, but one all of his own. There was Posy, and Vic, and Rory, and his mother Hazelle. But like Madge Undersee, or Greasy Sae, or Delly Cartwright, Gale’s family was cut down to a brief mention of his “brothers” in The Hunger Games, and then a feigned responsibility to them in Catching Fire by taking up work in the mines, and then finally in Mockingjay Part 1, they’re just no where.

So what happened to Gale’s family? Were they seen as extraneous, or an unneeded distraction from the main points of the story? In my head I’d like to imagine that Gale’s family was on the story boards for a while, they may have even had thoughts of casting them. But then it got away from the creators of the franchise, that they figured Gale alone, stately, tall, and handsome would be enough, and that expanding his home life would not have made him more easy to love, and more of a rival for the affections Katniss has for Peeta. But from where I’m sitting, even though Gale is all of those things, stately, strong, handsome, and solo– he’s not an island, and knowing more about him as a person rather than just a hunter, and a soldier, and a friend– may have been a boon to the story, and perhaps to Liam Hemsworth as an actor. That being said, I loved Mockingjay Part 1 as a film, and if Gale’s family was the sacrifice they made to make it as good as I believe it is, I’ll take it.

So, that’s my one gripe– Gale Hawthorne’s is a storyboard orphan.

Them There Eyes

REVIEW: Mockingjay Part 1 Is The Ultimate Game Changer

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** THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE!**

The Hunger Games Franchise: Come for the action. Stay for the bigger, more important message.

KATNISSIf you’ve been following reviews for Mockingjay Part 1 so far, you’ve probably noticed some media outlets griping about the change of pace or fewer action sequences or the lack of the games. But The Hunger Games has always been about more than just the games. The first two films did an excellent job conveying the danger and inequality in Panem through the games, but the story cannot simply be the games, otherwise the whole message Suzanne Collins intended for her audience is lost. The franchise is about the tragedies of war but also the need to question society’s parameters and to fight against injustice, even if it comes at a personal cost. That’s right, folks– We’re moving past the “Whoa, all these people are in a bubble trying to kill each other!” pull and into legitimate political thriller territory.

Mockingjay Part 1 is a tantalizing slow burn. Its pacing, emotion, and action are different from the other films, but in the best way possible. It starts out dark, ends pitch black, and finds moments of levity, anger, sadness, and just about everything else in between. As Katniss attempts to adjust to life in District 13 and reluctantly accepts her role as the voice of the rebellion, a new story element unfolds into something much deeper. Katniss and District 13 go back and forth in the ultimate game of cat and mouse with President Snow, one in which everyone they know is a pawn. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone supporting her in District 13 is really truly on her side, either. The result is a harrowing journey to incite a revolution, one that featured fewer action sequences but kept us more emotionally invested than any Hunger Games movie before it.

Mockingjay-Part-1-Phillip-Seymour-Hoffman-and-Julianne-MooreThere’s a stunning tension created throughout the film by the entire cast. Jennifer Lawrence proved herself as our Katniss long ago, but earns new respect as she handles Katniss’ fragile emotional state with realism and care. Donald Sutherland is an absolute maniacal genius now that he has a chance to flex those baddie muscles. Julianne Moore is a smart, welcome addition as President Coin, who plays beautifully off the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee. The decision to keep Effie in the story was a stellar one and Elizabeth Banks is more perfectly Effie than ever before. Liam Hemsworth plays Gale with much more vulnerability and depth than recent promos have suggested– the rage scene is definitely there, but many others prior to that make it easy to see just how truly torn he is. However, if there’s a “Stepping Up To The Plate” award for this movie, it goes to Josh Hutcherson. Peeta’s transformation is gut-wrenching and visceral, the stuff that makes your breath catch in your throat every time he comes on screen because the agony and instability feels so real. It’s the first time in the series Josh has really been asked to be something beyond the caring, careful version of Peeta we all know so well and he exceeds expectations.

There is still action in this film but it isn’t scene-to-scene as it was when Katniss fought off danger after danger in the arenas. However, please don’t confuse less action with a plodding pace. This movie’s action sticks in your brain and feels much more warranted than in previous films. It is not, as the games were, for anyone’s entertainment. Even in the scenes without explosions and hovercrafts and arrows flying, there’s still plenty of things happening and for us, the entire film felt like it moved very quickly, faster than its actual run time.

mockingjay-part-1-peeta-beatenBecause this movie is a Part 1, you’re not going to get instant gratification around every turn (another sticking point for critics, it seems). But ask yourself– Did you really with The Hunger Games or Catching Fire, either? Francis Lawrence, Danny Strong, and Peter Craig used the opportunity to get more in depth with the story very wisely. Rather than being thrust into District 13, there’s a world-building that you don’t always get in film. President Snow and Plutarch in particular benefit from the books expansion into two parts, in terms of both screen time and character development. Boggs, Cressida, and the film crew are also rewarded a richer understanding than we’d expected. Random gushing: Elden Henson as Pollux was easily our favorite part of the film crew without saying a word, though everyone else played their part very well too.

For all the guessing in the world at the ending, we will only tell you this: You know the ending, but you don’t. You’ll leave the theater feeling charged up and overwhelmed, already eager for the final film.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the film is perfect. We have a few gripes but realize that in the grand scheme of things, they’re pretty minor. We’ll nitpick at a later date because to do so would be to spoil everyone. Even so, we know that Lawrence Squared and the rest of the team have delivered us a stellar film that is sharp and thought-provoking.

We can’t wait to discuss it with all of you!

Mockingay Part 1 Premiere Day Fan Frenzy

It’s another milestone day. The LA premiere! Reddit AMA, Twitter Chat, Facebook Fan Events! So much goodness all at once, it’s hard to pick just one.

mj la premiere starsWe were very excited to see the Facebook Fan event, because we saw previews of it from when it occurred on Saturday. It did start, how should we say, fashionably late so we haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, because it was PREMIERE TIME.

But while we waited for the Facebook event and the Premiere Livestream to start, we noticed something interesting. Music that seemed very much to be the Mockingjay Part 1 Score started playing. And then that theory was cemented when a female voice started singing The Hanging Tree. At first it was confusing. Who is that singing?

OMG THIS IS JEN SINGING THE HANGING TREE.

Yes, I kept listening because it was on and IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. So beautiful. I can’t wait to see it on film. The score beyond that sounds great, with tones from the previous films.

More bts stories!

More bts stories please!

But onto the Premiere! The WHITE carpet looked super cool and everyone was there. New faces like Patina Miller, who wanted to keep her Commander Paylor boots because it helped her immediately get into character. Mahershala Ali told us that Francis Lawrence made blooper reel that documented how things were so wacky off camera and then would immediately become serious at the word “action.” WE MUST SEE THIS. THIS MUST BE A DVD EXTRA PLEASE.

The livestream hosts kept asking about pranks. It seemed to be their go to question. So we learned that Jeffrey Wright had a close call when Jennifer tried to push him in Beetee’s wheelchair. Liam shared that he tries to be zen when around the Jen and Josh craziness. Jen’s favorite costume was her tribute parade costume in Catching Fire and Josh wanted to keep Finnick’s trident from Catching Fire. A lot of soundbites given. A lot of pictures taken. But the best thing about today is that we can now say this is the week the movie opens!

It’s almost movie time!

JJ

Gale or Not Gale? Mockingjay Part 1 and RAAAAAAAGE

When we saw the first promo spot that featured Gale talking smack about Peeta, there was a sense of foreboding. We actually asked “If there were a richter scale for asshole behavior, how far are we pushing Gale here?”

Gale is angry at ALL OF Y'ALL!

Gale is angry at ALL OF Y’ALL!

The answer? Pretty damn far, it seems.

First, let’s establish something. On the whole, Gale was never incredibly nice in Mockingjay. His thoughts on warfare were full-on destructive and awful like…

“If I could hit a button and kill every living soul working for the Capitol, I would do it. Without Hesitation.”

Or this gem regarding his plan to implode The Nut, block off the only exit, and let the people inside, including many innocents, slowly suffocate:

“Is that everyone’s problem? That our enemies might have a few hour to reflect on the fact that they’re dying, instead of just blowing them to bits?”

Or ya know… developing a double-exploding bomb identical to the one that killed Prim meant to target rescue workers, though those bombs that fell on THE DAY may or may not have been his.

Gale has some rage. He’s a fiery one, as Suzanne Collins pointed out on a number of occasions in the novels. BUT Book!Gale usually has a halting point: Katniss, namely in discussing her relationship with Peeta.

As long as he doesn't turn into this, plzkthx

As long as he doesn’t turn into this, plzkthx

In the beginning of Mockingjay, Gale is surprisingly patient with Katniss. He wants her to be the Mockingjay as much as everyone else, but he knows the method isn’t peer pressure and constantly prodding her. It may be manipulative underneath at all, but he does come off like he’s trying to be supportive. After the Peeta videos, he has his infamous “He’s still trying to protect you” line and generally seems sympathetic to Peeta’s plight.

Movie!Gale’s hate, thusfar, seems mainly directed toward Peeta. All that stuff about how he’d rather Peeta die than do what he did? Those veiled accusations of betrayal? IT’S NOT COOL. After everything he’s been through, Gale does have the right to be angry about a lot of things. The idea that he’d project that anger toward Peeta’s forced attempts to “support” The Capitol isn’t even all that implausible, if it was one outburst. We’ve only seen a couple instances, but when that’s all your see of Gale, it comes off like he’s just one uber-jealous mofo.

My least favorite book of 2014 (lest I should read something worst in the next six weeks or so) was one that solved a half-baked love triangle by having one character suddenly become a crazed verbally-abusive control freak in order to make the other more favorable. The sudden change was totally out of character and left me angry, hating the book and all its lazy, convenient writing. We just never ever ever want to feel that way about Mockingjay. We don’t want Gale to become some ANGRY RAAAAAAGE MONSTER that the audience is quick to hate.

What we want– No, NEEEEEEED– in this movie is to see that Gale is angry, but his anger is mostly at The Capitol and sometimes misdirected elsewhere. We need to see that underneath it all, he doesn’t hate or blame Peeta for doing what he did and Katniss for feeling what she does.

Thankfully, the full clip Liam Hemsworth has been taking around the late night TV circuit shows that Gale is seriously scarred by everything that went down in District 12 on the day of the firebombing. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that teasers just don’t give you the full picture. Gale could be remorseful or admit to anger issues, we’re just not seeing it in the spots. He can be angry, but it has to be balanced.

So on a scale of 1 to asshole, let’s give Gale another few days before we assign any numbers for sure, okay?

He’s Normally A 6. Way Higher In District 2. But About Peeta? Naaaaaaw!
The Girl With The Pearl

Mockingjay Press Has Begun!

Over the last several years of covering all things and everything Hunger Games, there are a handful of things that always remain the same. Two of them are that when there’s no news, it’s like a desert wasteland. However, when there is Hunger Games news and/ or press, it’s like a crashing avalanche down a mountain side. I can’t keep track of all the press, and the announcements for press that have come out within the last couple of days! I know that the majority of the cast are in Europe in preparation for the world premiere of Mockingjay Part 1 this coming week in London. So when Liam and Jennifer show up on German television sans Josh, ’cause Josh is ill– I’m not in as much of a clamor as

Perfectly coiffed, and fresh from the ER, that's our Jen!

Perfectly coiffed, and fresh from the ER, that’s our Jen!

I maybe should be, ’cause if I am at level 100 on the excitement scale every single time these people show up on TV over the next few weeks, I think I’ll die of exhaustion, or an aneurism, take your pick. All that being said and done, if anything is like how it was last year during and after the whirlwind press for Catching Fire, the cast are going to be sick as dogs by the time they get to Los Angeles– and in perfect Jennifer Lawrence fashion, she’ll be whisked off to the emergency room with acute abdominal pains, then show up to the premiere looking coiffed, and refined in Chanel.

I suggest you start somewhere though, press coverage wise– because following it all as it unfolds is near impossible unless you spend your life on Twitter, or your phone– or both. Most of the top Hunger Games fan-site are keeping track of everything for us lazy lots though, so if you get lost– go here, and just start clicking! You can’t go wrong with watching a few of the interviews that have come out, or will be coming out, but mix it up a bit, because they are going to start repeating them selves, ’cause journalists have a tendency of asking them same questions over and over again. So if Josh Hutcherson starts to look glazed over, and not just from the fevered illness he’s already infected with, and he starts sounding incredibly robotic, switch to something else! Like perhaps Jennifer Lawrence drawing horses on cakes.

Pace your selves guys! And remember to hydrate. BTW, props to Jen for still doing press while she feels like death warmed over!

Them There Eyes

More Blue Steel and a Pony

I’m just going to say it, Liam Hemsworth is giving us more Blue Steel, and there’s nothing we can do 10402038_900209023322649_5942859702756527118_nabout it. I think we just have to accept that that’s his face, and until he’s old, like 80 something, and will likely be one of the handsomest old men we’ve ever seen– maybe then he’ll be able to pull his jowly face into some semblance of an expression that’s not his un patented Blue Steel– we’ll just have to deal. Boo hoo, such an unfortunate face to endure! Kidding, he’s hot– everyone with eyes can see it plain as day, and at this point in the game– we’re practically begging for promotional material. Therefore Liam’s expressionless face is a welcome reprieve!

Now it must be addressed, or re-addressed, but Natalie Dormer may prove to be the break out star of Mockingjay Part 1. Or, at least that’s what the posters, and the pictures we’ve been slowly getting are saying to us. Cressida didn’t have a massive part in the novel however, but once again liberties have likely been taken– and we’ll just have to deal, grudgingly or not. I’m not going to argue it to death, because I like Natalie Dormer, and I think Cressida is a character that deserves a little expansion. Plus, um– Natalie’s real purtty.

I think it’s been said before, probably here at Victor’s Village even, perhaps by yours truly–
but Caesar Flickerman reminds me of a My Little Pony. It’s the hair ya’ see? It’s got this pompadour thing going on, and then there’s

You're like a magical pony.

You’re like a magical pony.

the tail bit, and obviously the ever-changing color of it that screams Pony to anyone with a memory for pop culture that goes back further than 1998. I’m not ragging on the choices that the hair and makeup heads came up with, because I think it’s a brilliant choice. Also, bear with me, I totally think that Caesar Flickerman could fit in the court of the Sun King, AKA Louis XIV. The brocade suits, the hair, the colors, the stance.

Maybe Caesar Flickerman is a time traveler?!

Them There Eyes

What We Learned From The New Mockingjay Part 1 Stills

In case you missed it, with “The Mockingjay Lives” trailer also came a new edition of Hunger Games Exclusive featuring interviews with Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, and Natalie Dormer, quick bios of Boggs, Pollux, Castor, and Messalla, and a boatload of new stills.

And oh, there’s messages behind messages about the movies in those stills!

1) Gale and Cressida either hate each other or totally get each other

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There are a couple pictures of Gale and Cressida together that make us wonder about how other character relationships will be expanded in the TWO parts of Mockingjay (because hell, that’s definitely room to expand things!) Yes, they’re facing away from each other which suggests that this isn’t a romantic twist– THANK GOODNESS– but there’s some sort of deal going on between these two. On one hand, neither looks particularly happy and they won’t look at each other. On the other, they have each others’ back and it seems like these two share a similar ideology that might have them teaming up quite a bit.

Are we just talking nonsense? We’ll find out in two months!

2) Jen’s wig is pretty solid.. except for when there’s running.

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Witness ZEE WIG.

Not bad, right? Flowy, realistic frizz, and a hair line that doesn’t make you facepalm. It’s not very noticeable at all!

Now.. a second glance:

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IT JUST GOT SO MUCH MORE NOTICEABLE.

Stills of action scenes are very rarely kind to the characters involved. This just proves it. We probably won’t notice it so much with actual, rolling footage, but this shot is a definite reminder that our homegirl got wigged up for these movies.

3) There’s always that one guy.

Extras. Very rarely does one really catch your eye because they’re out of place, but it happens.

Take the District 8 shot. Almost everyone looks tense, resilient, perhaps even a bit frightened and then… Wait. Is that one guy smirking at her?

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It may not be enough to draw most people’s attention, but something about this guy’s look here says “Dude! They put me right next to her! I’m totally going to be in the movie.”

4) Everyone posed in those D13 uniforms (also, see #1)

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Military or not, we’re guessing everyone had a photo-op in District 13’s gray fatigues, just to reassure us that all the characters hate them and even the pretty ones look a bit drab. Alas, more reassurance that District 13 is a fashionista’s worst nightmare.

5) Someone put a tiny braid in Natalie Dormer’s hair EVERY. DAY.

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And yet we can barely manage to braid our own hair without it looks like a rat’s nest. Kudos to Mockingjay’s official braider (we assume that’s their title) and their tiny little hands!

Don’t Blink! Trailer Teaser Time

Happy trailer eve!

Tomorrow we finally, FINALLLLLLLLY get the trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. “About damn time” doesn’t even begin to say how much this trailer is needed, but we’ve already talked about that.

Instead, we’re going to discuss the mini-previews of the trailer that have been released in anticipation of the big day.

First off.. Don’t blink. Not because there’s weeping angels or anything.

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Just kidding, there totally are weeping angels here. Just to make you aware that we are THAT serious right now! (Non-Whovians: These things can kill you in the blink of an eye. Pay attention to the previews!)

These bits are about 10-15 seconds, but how much is actual footage?

3 seconds of footage, 7 seconds of President Snow quotage.

TOMORROW – #TheMockingjayLives

A video posted by The Hunger Games (@thehungergames) on

2 seconds of footage. Almost 3. 2 1/2, to be fair.

The trailer is short, so we suppose it should be no surprise that even their trailer previews are short. Most movies give you a solid 5 to 10 seconds of actual footage in mini-teasers. Buuuut we’re nitpicking because we’re desperate for more.

There’s really not much to comment on, but we are liking what we see. Katniss looks positively horrified as she discovers the beautiful white rose amongst the dead flowers in her abandoned house. Katniss and Gale fighting off Capitol predators together in District 8 is pretty much the only form of Katniss/Gale “togetherness” we can get behind.

And that right there is the big point:
The campaign for this movie has been very slow and some fans are losing enthusiasm, but we’re still pretty damn sure the movie will be among the best for the year. Why? Because the movie was made by Lawrence Squared, J-Hutch, Hemsy, Nina Jacobson (we don’t have a fun nickname for her), and some of the most celebrated actors out there and the promotional packaging, well… isn’t. In the end, the overall experience feels dimmed, but the movie will probably still leave us all like “OHMYSWEETGOODNESS DID YOU SEE THAT?”

And hopefully the trailer makes us super excited too. Because if we’re only getting one full trailer, it better be freaking glorious.

Looking For To Basking In The Glory With You (Hopefully),

The Girl With The Pearl