Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games

My View:  The Hunger Games  (2012)  In a film based on the bestselling book by the same name, Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss, a girl who tries to help her family survive everyday life.  This film, set in the future, is about the country of Panem, which is divided into 12 regions, where most citizens are suffering from starvation and poor living conditions. Each region has to submit one boy and one girl to compete in a deadly fight that is telecast live to the entire nation.  Katniss volunteers, instead, when her younger sister is picked for the games. Now Katniss must compete in the deadly game, a game that will only leave one survivor. Fans of the book will be very happy as the film follows most of the book plot with almost no exceptions. Jennifer Lawrence is perfect as the rebellious Katniss, a fierce hunter who isn't afraid to stand up for herself.  The rest of the cast is sound with outstanding work from Josh Hutcherson who plays Katniss's Hunger Games partner, Peeta, and surprisingly, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, the designer of Katness's look at the games (think Project Runway on steroids).  This film doesn't disappoint, and it’s fans will be counting down until the sequel.  My Rating:  Full Price  The Hunger Games Website

My View:  Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2012) Things are not going well in Afghanistan, and, meanwhile, the British government is looking for a feel good story. The PR person (Kristin Scott Thomas) for the Prime Minister discovers that a sheik’s (Amr Waked) dream is to bring salmon fishing to the Yemen river. A fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor) is brought in by the sheik’s advisor (Emily Blunt) with the sole mission to make salmon fishing a reality. This is one of those films you fall in love with because it has strong, unique, romantic characters and roles that McGregor and Blunt fill out perfectly as they play off each other extremely well. Thomas is very funny as the PR person who won’t take "no" for an answer, and there is a quiet dignity to Waked’s performance as the sheik with a vision that won’t be denied. See this romantic film and be charmed as much as I was.   My Rating: Full Price    Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Website       Disclaimer: This film is being distributed by CBS Films and the reviewer is an employee of CBS.

Indyfest: The 36th Annual Atlanta Film Festival Opening Weekend

Saturday March 24 4:00 pm Midtown Art Cinema
Flat Daddy  (2012)   This documentary is about 4 families and how the deployment of an armed service family member has impacted their lives. This film does a good job showing, not only the sacrifices our military men and women make, but also the strain that it puts on the lives of the families left behind. The title of the film comes from the idea that  life-size photo cutouts of the deployed are used to keep their children aware of what their military parents look like. A touching film that makes you appreciate what our military families deal with to protect our way of life.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee

Saturday March 24 9:15 pm Midtown Art Cinema
Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy  (2011)   In this drama, based on the book written by Irvine Welsh (Trainspoting), Lloyd (Adam Sinclair) is a party boy who works part-time as a drug mule for a local Scottish mob boss (Carlo Rota), a mob boss that he is in debt to. Lloyd lives for the club scene and becomes hooked on Ecstasy, until he meets Heather (Kristin Kreuk), an American who is in an unhappy marriage to a Scottish businessman. They instantly connect, but soon, Lloyd realizes that he will have to choose between his dangerous lifestyle and the woman he loves. Sinclair is perfect in the role of Lloyd, who, at the start of the film, never takes anything seriously, even the drug smuggling. He soon realizes, though, that he must become a better man if he is to have any life with Heather. Kreuk is cute as the girl who changes everything for Lloyd in this admirable film about a man who tries to redeem himself.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee

Sunday March 25 12:30 pm Midtown Art Cinema
Beauty Is Embarrassing (2011)  This is a funny and fascinating documentary about the amazing life of artist and performer, Wayne White. Wayne grew up in the Tennessee mountains and, after graduating college, moved to New York City. There he got a job designing sets and puppets on the first season of the Saturday morning TV show, Pee-wee’s Playhouse. He was the creative force behind the legendary music videos, Peter Gabriel’s, "Big Time" and The Smashing Pumpkins', "Tonight, Tonight."  He also branched out as an artist of paintings and sculptures. White is a fascinating man, and the film does an exceptional job capturing his humor and his energy in a film about a highly creative man.   My Rating: Full Price

Sunday March 25 12:30 pm Midtown Art Cinema
Shuffle  (2011)   Lovell Milo (T.J. Thyne) suddenly begins to experience time travel.  Every time he falls asleep, he wakes up in a different time in his life and moves back and forth between the years. In his time travels, he discovers that he falls in love and marries his childhood sweetheart (Paula Rhodes), only to lose her to some sort of accident. It’s an accident, that, if he can figure out how and when she died, he just might be able to prevent it. This film is part romance, part sci-fi mystery and, overall, it was a entertaining experience to watch.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee

Sunday March 25 4:30 pm Midtown Art Cinema
All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert  (2011)   This documentary shows that Winfred Rembert is not only an incredible man, he is a brilliant artist. Rembert grew up in the small town of Cuthbert, GA. While he did go to school, he spent most of his childhood time working in the surrounding cotton fields. As a young man, he participated in a voter rights protest in the 60’s. The police brutally broke up the protest, and Rembert was put into jail for seven years after convicted stealing a car while trying to run from the unlawful protest. In jail, he learns the art of leatherworking, and when he was released, began creating leather paintings of scenes from his past life. Rembert is as unique as his paintings, is a man who is quick to laugh and doesn’t dwell on his past hardships and is a man who has created art to share his life with others.   My Rating: Full Price

Sunday March 25 6:30 pm  Landmark Midtown Art Cinema
The Last Fall (2011) After spending a few years in the NFL, Kyle (Lance Gross) is at the end of his short career.   When he is released from the NFL, he returns to his hometown to figure out what to do with his life. He begins a relationship with his high school sweetheart (Nicole Beharie) , who is now a recent single mom. Life, though, gets complicated for them when her ex tries to get her back her, and Kyle is confronted, unexpectedly, with a tryout for an NFL team.  Will Lance fight for the love of his life or for his NFL career? This is a engaging film, and contains satisfying performances with Lance Gross’s acting standing out in this modest little romance.  My Rating: Bargain Matinee

Sunday March 25 6:45 pm  Landmark Midtown Art Cinema
Sweet Old World (2012) A family of four has been torn apart seven years ago by the death of an older son. The younger son, Ethan (Jacques Colimon), is a promising musician in the high school band with hopes of going to Julliard. His father is a wedding photographer who can't  seem to connect with his son. Things change when Jimmy, the older son’s former best friend, comes back into town. Ethan begins hanging out with Jimmy just to find out more about his dead older brother. The problem is that Jimmy is a bad influence and may bring Ethan down with him. While I liked this film, actual students were used for roles in the film, and this gives the film somewhat of an amateur feel.  My Rating: Cable

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