Well, kids, the next big movie series hoping to fill the franchise void caused by the climactic ending of ‘Harry Potter’ is finally here. According to pre-sales, it looks like the movie will cross over the $100 million mark and possibly even out-do ‘Potter’ box office numbers. The closest theater to my home has sold out all 19 screens with midnight showings tonight. They’re now onto selling 3AM tickets. This same theater always nabbed the North American record for highest midnight box office of the ‘Potter’ and ‘Twilight’ movies, so I don’t see why latest cool thing won’t do the same.
Based on a popular Young Adult book series, ‘The Hunger Games‘ is a sort of mix of ‘Battle Royale‘, ‘The Running Man‘, ‘Death Race 2000‘, ‘Rollerball‘ and ‘Gamer‘. A group of teenagers is forced to enter a televised arena death match game. Only one can leave alive. Despite being based on a novel made for teens, through strong filmmaking and acting (and violence that pushes the PG-13 limits), ‘The Hunger Games’ is a blockbuster that adults can enjoy just as well.
The internet has been buzzing since ‘The Raid: Redemption‘ premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. (You can read my review from Sundance, back when the movie was simply titled ‘The Raid’, here.) A Welsh director living in Indonesia has made the best martial arts film in decades. ‘The Raid’ follows a SWAT team on a suicide mission inside a crime lord’s 15-story apartment building, which is filled with people who work for the big boss. The team barely makes it a few floors up before getting trapped in the middle of hell. The first third of the movie relies on awesome gun fights, the second engages us with machetes, and the third is where great hand-to-hand combat begins. 101 minutes of non-stop action have never flown by so quickly. Sony Pictures Classics is giving ‘The Raid’ a platform release, so if it isn’t opening near you this weekend, it should shortly.
I’ve never heard of ‘The Trouble with Bliss‘, but with a cast including Michael C. Hall, Brie Larson, Lucy Liu, Peter Fonda and Chris Messina, I’m interested. In this dramedy, Dexter plays a thirty-something who begins questioning the bad decisions he’s made in life when he starts dating the 18-year-old daughter of a former high school classmate. As awkward as the movie sounds, the cast has me sold.
The IMBb plot description for Abel Ferrara’s ‘4:44 The Last Day on Earth‘ sounds awfully similar to ‘Melancholia’: “A look at how a painter and a successful actor spend their last day together before the world comes to an end.” Willem Dafoe is the only actor worth noting.