Tag Archive: lenny kravitz


UK Release Date: 22nd November 2013

Stars: Francis Lawrence (director), Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Jena Malone, Sam Claflin, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Plot: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Arguably the most anticipated film of the rest of the year, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire trailer has just debuted at San Diego Comic Con and it looks fantastic! The original star studded cast has been improved and got even bigger than before for a film that is all but guaranteed to break a few records upon release later this year.

While The Hunger Games went down very well people have argued that the action moved at a pretty slow pace. As a follow up, this is unlikely to be the case again. Since Katniss and the incredibly annoying, never-going-to-be-good-enough-for-Katniss Everdeen, Peeta triumphed in the battle to the death, an uprising has begun around the Districts and the Capitol wish to put an end to any hope that might have stirred by making an example of the two heroes.

I’m sure that a reason will be established as to why all the previous victors don’t just kill the leaders of Capitol and really bring things home but despite that, there is a lot to be excited for and it won’t just be a rehash of the events of the first film (although a few parts seem familiar). There seems to be more drama, more action in the Districts, more Liam Hemsworth, and a lot more action. A real sense of human revolt can be felt and the trailer does an excellent job of exceeding all expectations.

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A VERY happy Mr. James Marsden

James Marsden is a recognisable face in the world of movies. Marsden has been in some very popular films of a couple of genres so it strikes me that he is not more famous than he is, but there is a very good reason (or very bad, depending on how you look at it) as to why his career hasn’t quite reached the heights that I thought it would earlier in his career. This reason is the cause of the title for this post and all will become clear in a few minutes.

James Paul Marsden began acting in the 1990s and his career began like so many others, with bit part appearances here and there in a number of, what can only be deemed unsuccessful, television shows. Luckily, in 1996 Marsden landing a lead role in family drama TV series Second Noah and this ran for two seasons, with a further three final episodes being commissioned after fan campaigns. After the shows cancellation Marsden moved into films; after a couple of made for television movies he appeared in Disturbing Behaviour alongside Katie Holmes (the film didn’t do very well) and then Gossip which only made half of its budget back and again failed. After this start it’s a wonder Marsden made it as big as he has done, but he could have been bigger. Here’s what happened…

In the year 2000, after the success of Blade, a movie was being made out of another popular Marvel property. It was of course, the best superhero team of all time, the X-Men. And James Marsden was cast in the role of Scott Summers, or as he is more popularly known Cyclops. This SHOULD have propelled James Marsden into a huge Hollywood star, should being the most important word here. Anyone who knows anything about the X-Men knows that Cyclops is the rightful leader of the X-Men. However, this was a characteristic drastically overlooked during the X-Men films (although this was the only real complaint I have about the first two films, the third is a different kettle of fish altogether). So really, Cyclops and James Marsden should have taken centre stage in one of the most successful trilogies of all time and would have rightfully become a household name; the unfortunate truth is that unless you take a real interest in the X-Men films or make a habit of watching romantic comedies, you probably won’t know who he is. Why? Simple.

Wolverine. The popularity of Wolverine among comic book fans is very rarely matched by another character and it is for this reason that in all three of the X-Men films featuring James Marsden Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine took centre stage. This forced the character of Cyclops into the background and he became a bit of an unimportant character, seemingly his only function was to marginally get in the way of Wolverine and Jean Grey’s romance and he didn’t even do that well. You can’t blame James Marsden for taking the part as leader of the X-Men but surely he would have hoped for a more heroic role in the films before tragically being sort of (I still don’t believe he actually died) killed off in X-Men: The Last Stand.

The reason for Cyclops disappearing in X-Men: The Last Stand was because James Marsden had taken a part in Superman Returns, another film in which he had a relatively small and unimportant part, there again to have his on screen ruined by the main hero of the piece (he does get a bit of bad luck this James Marsden chap) and of course Superman Returns disappeared into comic book movie obscurity rather unsurprisingly as it was very dull. But aside from comic book movies James Marsden has mainly stuck to romantic movies. He had a role in arguably one of the most popular films of all time – The Notebook. He has also starred in romantic comedies such as 27 Dresses and Sex Drive; the musical Hairspray; the fantasy half animated-half live action Enchanted and a film some critics called the worst of all time The Box.

This year, Marsden made a successful move back to television with a role in comedy 30 Rock although his time on television this time looks set to be short lived with 2013 having quite a few films slated for release with James Marsden attached. There’s dramedy As Cool As I Am, thriller The Loft, Enchanted 2 is in the pipeline to be made in the next couple of years. Perhaps the most exciting movie James Marsden is attached to at the minute though is something I am very much looking forward to and is a shoe-in for a few Oscar nominations when it is released. This is The Butler about the life of Cecil Gaines who served as White House butler to eight American presidents over three decades. The cast is full of real Hollywood stars and emerging talent: James Marsden, Forest Whitaker, Alan Rickman, Robyn Williams, Alex Pettyfer, Melissa Leo, Minka Kelly, John Cusack,  Jane Fonda, Terrence Howard, Liev Schreiber and Lenny Kravitz. James Marsden will be playing the great John F. Kennedy himself.

With The Butler, James Marsden has the chance to get the recognition he deserves and reach the heights of fame that he should have done a decade or so ago. If the films had been more true to the comic books with the X-Men then James Marsden would already have achieved so much more than he has. Of course, this isn’t to say that his career has been a washout because he has still had it pretty good; but if X-Men didn’t focus so much on Wolverine it could have all been so different for James Marsden. He never looks disappointed though, I’ve never seen a picture of him without a smile on his face!

James Marsden on set as John F. Kennedy – he’s either blinking or sneakily checking out Minka Kelly… you decide.

The Hunger Games: Reviewed.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

The Hunger Games has been impossible to avoid over the past few weeks, maybe even months. Aside from the three big superhero films, The Hunger Games is probably the most anticipated film of the year. It has been adapted from Suzanne Collins’ worldwide best selling novel and directed by Gary Ross who is best known for The Tales of Despereaux and Seabiscuit.

The Hunger Games is set in the future; a future where teenagers are forced to compete as ‘tributes’ in ‘the Hunger Games’ where it is every man for himself and only the last man standing survives. These games are broadcast on televisions throughout each ‘district’ of the world. Katniss Everdeen is our hero and she volunteers to compete in the games in place of her sister.

The film relies a lot on the acting ability of Jennifer Lawrence who plays Katniss. Lawrence is an absolutely wonderful actress and she needs to be brilliant in this film to keep the audiences attention. Despite having a supporting cast that includes Josh Hutcherson, Lenny Kravitz, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland and Woody Harrelson most of the scenes involve Katniss and require Jennifer Lawrence to hold the audience and she proves that she can do that.

It is a horrible world we are taken into that gives the audience a feel of the bleak future which our heroes inhabit. From the offset, even from the trailers, anyone with half a bran could predict the ending considering there are a couple more books (and probable films) to follow The Hunger Games. But it is the journey we go on that holds the audience, how everything unfolds, this is what we are interested in.

The visual elements of the film are spectacular and it is such a wide world in which events take place that the effects need to be perfect to really suck the viewers into the arena. From the fire in the forest to the spaceship flying above the district, the special effects are really powerful without distracting from other aspects of the film which is great as it the story could have easily been lost in the big wide world of The Hunger Games.

Katniss is a conflicted character in terms of film making. We are introduced to her as this strong, family kind of girl who sacrifices herself for her sister. Yet, as the film goes on, to me, she actually seemed like a weak person, completely opposite to what we were promised at the beginning. Whilst she proves that she is smart and adept with a bow and arrow, she still needs saving a couple of times and gets overruled by feelings inside the arena with a love story that really was not needed.

The poor character development is not unique to Katniss, however, and it is this that lets the film down in my opinion. Other characters are not given enough time to develop really and Josh Hutcherson’s character Peeta Mellark, I thought, was really really unlikeable and I was actually hoping that Katniss would kill him at the end of the film, but alas it was not meant to be.

The Hunger Games has proven successful with audiences already, opening to the third biggest weekend in history. It sets the foundation of the franchise and is an entertaining film, but character growth and strength of story hold back Jennifer Lawrence’s fantastic job in the lead role.

My Rating: 7/10