What are you watching this weekend? We recommend THE HUNGER GAMES – CATCHING FIRE #film

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 16.37.24If you had any worries or concerns that Director Gary Ross’s successor would be turning this sequel into a Twilight esq format, where each film has its own unique stamp per director, and the lead character looks more and more bizarre as the films progress, then fear not, as The Hunger Games – Catching Fire  continues the franchise brilliantly.

In the second installment of the hugely popular film adaptation, Tribute victors of the 74th Hunger Games Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem. As a result, President Snow decides to hold the 75th Hunger Games in which all previous victors will once again fight against each other.

If you have been a fan of the books and then watched the first film, you may have felt a little short changed in terms of the detail throughout the Games section itself. Catering to a 12a audience, the first installment of this franchise lacked some of the more graphic scenes of violence throughout, and replaced this with clever jump cuts and edits to keep the action flowing. I for one, was one of those people, and felt slightly underwhelmed when walking out of that original viewing.Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 16.40.18

However, this second film seems to have found its feet much more – realizing that there is a large share in terms of older audience members, it quite purposefully takes more risks. There is a whipping scene involving Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) the shooting of an old man who dares to acknowledge the revolution, and a very unceremonious punch to the face for Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). Although these are all wincing to the eye, they are a refreshing progression for the film, and as the film tackles more grown up subject matter, you very much feel like you’re watching a much more grown up film.Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 16.37.46

Once again the lead characters are portrayed well. Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen is brooding and thoughtful, more of the relationship between herself and Hemsworths Gale is explored, and Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta Mellark has realized that he must suppress his feelings in order to play the game and put on a great show. There is also an influx of new cast members (all the other Tributes get killed off in the previous film – in the style of a less brutal Battle Royale!) and one of the biggest surprises of this is Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair. With a flawless American accent, a smile to melt a lot of hearts in the female share of the audience, this British actor will probably use this character to cement his place in the Hollywood heart throb elite – Robert Pattinson better watch out!

Out with the old and in with the new is the way this second running of the film works, the style has been cleverly matched by Director Francis Lawrence to its predecessor and not a minute of filming is wasted. Even if you’re coming to the movie having loved the book, its truthful approach to what is written will be a welcome relief, and it may even hold some surprises for you too. Plenty of action for everyone, some eye candy for both boys and girls, and a very enjoyable film to watch. You will not be disappointed!

4 Stars

Get into the Capitol Couture as we celebrate The Hunger Games – Catching Fire!

Lionsgate and luxury clothing brand Net-a-Porter have developed  “Capitol Couture by Trish Summerville” which consists of 19 ready-to-wear pieces as well as jewelry and leather goods inspired by “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and designed by Trish Summerville, the film’s Costume Designer.  The collection comprises of dresses and separates including a laser-cut patent dress, leather bomber jacket, silk and leather jumpsuit and slogan t-shirt is out now!

What we particularly love about this collection is that it doesn’t go overboard with the Hunger Games theme, its subtly and stylishness allows for a sleek sophisticated look with the odd hint of Mockingjay!Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 23.13.02

Prices start at £60. 

Need to complete your look, then check out Barry M – they have a fab collection of masterful make up that would make any Tribute proud! Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 23.07.27

Prices start at £4.49.

So go watch a great film and get fabulously fashionable at the same time!

 

Love Game of Thrones? Then this might be right up your street… #HammeroftheGods #film

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We sent one of our fabulous film critics Andrew Jones (@ethanrunt) off to check out Nick Love’s brand new film offering Hammer of the Gods.  With all this blood, gore and action we thought it was a perfect “boys film” and here’s what he thought of it…

Historical settings are back in a big way thanks to TV’s Spartacus and Game Of Thrones, and with new Brit actioner Hammer Of The Gods we get to see a lot more of it on the big screen. A group of vikings in 800’s AD Britain venture forth through a dangerous land to find the king’s long-lost son, the future leader of the invading forces, and on the journey the viking lads do their fair bit of slicing and dicing through the British.

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 08.47.09As Hammer Of The Gods opens, we see leader of the pack Steiner scream charging towards a group of aggressive farmers like the leader of a firm on the terraces. In no small manner, the film is happy to be The Football Factory meets Game Of Thrones and 300, gloriously violent and laddish without weighing itself down in too much plot or dialogue between the big action scenes. Steiner’s father, the rightful king, is dying, and he has to lead the charge in finding the next king, lest his rat younger brother take the crown and destroy the vikings for Saxon gold. On the journey to find his long-lost brother, Steiner and his crew face up to a large boy-loving monster, a religious group using fear as a weapon and a cult around a supposedly immortal god. Steiner and his viking friends knock down everyone, reminding all they oppose that true power comes from the swords and hammers they possess. And if these people don’t believe that, they learn the hard way.

Hammer Of The Gods isn’t exactly historically accurate, noticeably in one action sequence the score becomes very dubstep, which I’m ninety-five percent certain wasn’t a genre back then, and the language is both foul and modern. The film is much more interested in entertaining the audience than being accurate or real in any way, and for that it works wonders. Blissfully short and simple, every dialogue scene finds its way to an important action beat, and all the action is exciting and violent, it’s just what you want from a viking film. Bloody, brutal, silly fun.Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 08.46.58

That’s not to say the film’s perfect, it does threaten to become a very odd arthouse film in the final act, as a lot of characters disappear and the long-lost brother arc becomes something out of a Twin Peaks nightmare, but even that finds its way to nasty bloody violence, so it’s not all bad. Perhaps the film has a bit too much of a Lord Of The Rings fetish because there are about two or three walking/riding sequences that feel like they’d rather show off the British country rather than continue the plot, and whilst it’s a good advert for VisitBritain.com, it’s not as exciting as seeing a man smash another man’s head in with a hammer.

Hammer Of The Gods is executive produced by Nick Love of The Firm and The Sweeney fame, and you can feel his filmmaking style all over here, a Gladiator for Nuts readers, but it’s undemanding stuff and good fun whilst you’re watching it, even if you don’t recall half of it once the lights come up at the end. Fun fluff with a brutal edge, Hammer Of The Gods is recommended for those needing a bit of blood of an evening, or if you want to watch a film with the lads that’s a little different than usual.

Hammer of the Gods is coming to cinemas in August after a debut at Film4 FrightFest.

3 Stars.