The Playlist

The Best & The Worst Of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • November 25, 2013 1:40 PM
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  • 66 Comments
Catching Fire, feature
Now officially the all-time November opening record holder, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" was always a fairly sure thing in terms of box office. But what's more impressive is the advance word on the film (our own included), and the buzz around it, which has been so positive, with it being touted as the rare sequel that improves on the original, and with many going so far as to compare it to "The Empire Strikes Back." (Though, to be honest, we think that comparison is more to do with how open-ended it feels, with the good guys separated and some of them still imperiled, at the film's close.) Some of us might not go quite that far, but certainly director Francis Lawrence has made good on delivering a broader, more nuanced and more layered film than the first, which is fitting considering he was adapting what we'd consider the best of the three books, by quite some distance.

10 Music Video Directors Turned Feature Filmmakers

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • November 13, 2013 3:06 PM
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  • 2 Comments
10 Music Video Directors Turned Feature Filmmakers
Many years ago, The Playlist started off as a blog dedicated to soundtracks, scores, music movies and the rest of the middle part of the Venn diagram where the worlds of music and film collided. Though we’ve evolved since then, that overlap is still something close to our hearts. One way those worlds are inextricably interlinked is in the number of directors who come from a music video background to work in features, and with most of us being that precise age that we can still remember the first heyday of the music video, it never ceases to surprise us how many of the promos we remember best were shot by filmmakers we now associate primarily with features. Arguably the form is experiencing something of a renaissance in relevance these days, not just via YouTube, but also with high-profile bands like Arcade Fire embracing and expanding their music videos’ artistic potential, even while the Robin Thickes of the world grab some extra headlines with risque or provocative content.

Review: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth & Josh Hutcherson

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • November 12, 2013 9:00 AM
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  • 17 Comments
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Francis Lawrence is a filmmaker I typically associate with bland proficiency, but “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” – which honestly required nothing more than that to be considered successful -- is something truly remarkable. Easily the most sophisticated and thoughtful franchise film of 2013, Lawrence’s adaptation of the second novel in Suzanne Collins’ young adult series is all-things-to-all-people entertainment, a follow-up that intensifies the first film’s thrills while simultaneously developing its characters, and even more crucially, expanding its themes. The rare sequel that surpasses its predecessor, “Catching Fire” tackles head-on the repercussions of the events of “Hunger Games,” deepening Collins’ cinematic mythology even as it proves that teen-lit is more than capable of tackling complex ideas.

New Photos Plus First TV Spot For 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Featuring Coldplay's "Atlas"

  • By Edward Davis
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  • October 15, 2013 4:43 PM
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  • 1 Comment
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The citizens of Panem only have to wait 37 days until the 75th annual Hunger Games begin. Translation: 'Catching Fire,' the sequel to “The Hunger Games” is right around the corner. Directed by Francis Lawrence this time (“Water for Elephants,” “I Am Legend”), the sequel brings back returning stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland along with new cast members Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin, Lynn Cohen, Jena Malone and more.

Francis Lawrence Says 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Will Have Stronger Love Triangle, No Shaky Cam & Better CGI

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • October 8, 2013 9:17 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
While word on the film has been somewhat tempered until just recently, the marketing for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” has started to swell with a passion in service to a hefty goal. Last month a staggering worldwide box office haul of just under $1 billion was projected for the Francis Lawrence-directed sequel, and to make sure that forecast promptly follows that track come November, the director has offered up a few promising tidbits of his new vision for the new adaptation.

Watch: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Preview Teases The Real Deal Trailer Arriving April 14th During The MTV Movie Awards

  • By Edward Davis
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  • April 3, 2013 2:21 PM
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  • 3 Comments
When we last saw Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), they had survived the perilous "The Hunger Games" and now they're on a victory lap tour or some such thing. Surely things aren't gonna stay that celebratory and happy in the "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" sequel for long. In fact, in the adaptation of Suzanne Collins' YA novels, Katniss and Peta are dethroned from their respective victory riches and put back into the arena for the most climatic and menacing of the Hunger Games, known as the "Quarter Quell" (whatever) that means. Directed by Francis Lawrence (using IMAX cameras in some segments), a new teasing teaser trailer (which, let's face it, shows next to nothing) has arrived.

New Behind-The-Scenes Image & Poster For 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 14, 2013 1:51 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The hunt will begin soon. Everyone's favorite humans-killing-each-other-for-sport franchise returns to the big screen (much) later this year, but that hasn't stopped the folks at Lionsgate from reminding you that it's coming. The marketing machine for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" continues today with a couple more bits and pieces.

Francis Lawrence Out, Angelina Jolie In To Direct WWII Film 'Unbroken'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 18, 2012 10:52 PM
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  • 1 Comment
This fall, Francis Lawrence suddenly got very busy. Not only is the director helming "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," he locked himself in for the final two movies of the franchise, parts one and two of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay." This effectively means he's busy with the series right through to the end of 2015, which means that the handful of projects he'd been linked to, some of those are going to fall by the wayside. And indeed, one of them has, but it's been picked up by a very big name.

'Catching Fire' Director Francis Lawrence Will Also Helm Both 'Mockingjay' Films

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 1, 2012 1:17 PM
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  • 1 Comment
When Gary Ross surprised many by exiting "The Hunger Games" franchise, Lionsgate was caught a bit adrift and began an intensive search to find a replacement. Francis Lawrence eventually nabbed the gig after a couple of harried weeks of rumor and speculation, and it seems everyone involved is very happy he's on board. Not only is he helming the currently shooting "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," it looks like he's going to see this series through right to the end.

'Toy Story 3' Writer Michael Arndt In Talks To Re-Write 'Catching Fire'

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 5, 2012 12:41 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire” is now packing some new heat. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Michael Arndt, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for “Little Miss Sunshine” and more recently wrote “Toy Story 3,” is being brought onboard to polish the initial drafts that were written by “Slumdog Millionaire” and “127 Hours” writer Simon Beaufoy. “Catching Fire” is, of course, based on the second book in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling young adult series and the follow up to Gary Ross' runaway smash from earlier this year.

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