By Mounzer Bissat
Eagle Staff Guest Writer
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire does everything right that the first film did wrong, assembling the story, focusing on the characters and rising, and more important, clarifying the stakes. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the new “The Empire Strikes Back,” a smashing sci-fi sequel that takes its blockbuster franchise into deeper, smarter, more dramatically engaging territory. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire builds to a cliff-hanging conclusion pulled off with confidence by director Francis Lawrence and actress Jennifer Lawrence. Katniss Everdeen is a force of nature on screen in a role that Jennifer Lawrence was born to play. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is one of this year’s best and most thought-provoking blockbusters. Seeing as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is all about hope and what it represents, here’s hoping the next two are just as good, if not better.
Brilliantly directed and stunningly shot, Prisoners is a powerfully gripping, morally complex thriller with a superb script and Oscar-worthy performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s also one of the best thrillers of the year. It’s an emotionally intense edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that won’t let go of your mind, body and soul until the title card appears in the end credits. Prisoners is, above all, an effective thriller, but it wants you to take it more seriously than that. There’s no reason not to. With a running time of 153 minutes when about 130 minutes might have been more effective, I would have ranked Prisoners higher with the films The Silence of the Lambs and Zodiac.
NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Director Ron Howard is definitely not last adding another winner to his resume with this hip, cool-running crowd pleaser that’s also a terrifically made movie all-around. If you’re not a fan of Formula One racing, as I am not, it doesn’t matter. Rush is tense, thrilling, funny, and extremely well-acted. Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl are outstanding. Their story is what drives the movie, two men different in every way except for their unyielding desire to win. Rush may be the best movie about car racing ever made.
To watch the film Captain Phillips unfold in real-time onscreen with Tom Hanks is pretty irresistible. Director Paul Greengrass has made a hell of a white knuckle thriller out of a story in which most people know the ending going in. Captain Phillips truly pays off in a powerful closing scene that features some of the best screen acting Tom Hanks has ever done. Tom Hanks will most likely find himself busy come the 2014 Oscar season. Captain Phillips is the best kind of emotionally charged filmmaking: it will thrill, it will engross, and it will move you to reach out to those you love and embrace them.