Box office records and hearts -- and maybe some gender barriers -- will be broken this weekend by "The Hunger Games" and the franchise's star, Jennifer Lawrence. (The film already scored $19.7 million from midnight shows.) We don't usually recommend a box office giant as must-see viewing, but this is an exception. Don't be fooled into thinking that "The Hunger Games" is a "women's film" -- a term that desperately needs to be put to rest. It's great, conscious entertainment for all.
You may want to make it a double-feature weekend, since well-reviewed "The Deep Blue Sea" and "The Raid: Redemption" are also great indie options for lovers of historical romance or action, respectively. Abel Ferrara's "4:44: Last Day on Earth" is more divisive, offering yet another take on the end of the world.
Details, trailers and reviews below.
"The Hunger Games" Lionsgate, US | Dir: Gary Ross; Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Wes Bentley, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Willow Shields, Paula Malcomson, Toby Jones | Early Reviews Love Lawrence | Stars Talk its Culture-Shifting Power | Back when it all began... | How The Filmmakers Delivered a Home Run | 89% Fresh.
"The Raid: Redemption" SPC, US/INDONESIA | Dir: Gareth Evans; Cast: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian | 88% Fresh | Village Voice says: "Lean, fast-moving, and filled with game-changing fight sequences that have a brutally beautiful (or beautifully brutal) quality, Gareth Evans's Indonesian martial-arts film The Raid: Redemption lives up to its viral hype." | Indiewire says Action Fans Must See it Before the Remake.
"The Deep Blue Sea" Music Box Films, US/UK | Dir: Terence Davies; Cast: Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston | TOH! interviews Weisz and Hiddleston | 89% Fresh | Village Voice says: "Plumbing disquieting depth, Deep Blue Sea investigates the insoluble dilemma of romantic love: the expectation, contrary to experience, that we can or will find every quality that we want in a single person."
"4:44 Last Day on Earth" US/SWIS/FR | Dir: Abel Ferrara; Cast: Willem Dafoe, Natasha Lyonne, Paz de la Huerta, Shanyn Leigh | 44% Rotten | EW says: "Ferrara's thin idea for a movie — life goes on, even when it's about to stop — would have been a lot better had he given his characters more to do." | ThePlaylist intervews Ferrara.