GIVEAWAY: advance screening passes to EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING on Tuesday, April 11 (Philly, PA)

Happy Friday MMT Fam! We’re excited to give away passes to the advance screening of EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING that’s showing on Tuesday, April 11th at 7:30 at the Ritz Bourse theater in Center City, Philadelphia.

“Everything, Everything” is a wondrous coming-of-age love story based on the New York Times bestselling YA novel by Nicola Yoon.  It stars Amandla Stenberg who audiences know as Rue in “The Hunger Games” and Nick Robinson who is best known as Zach in “Jurrasic World.”

The film’s first trailer (below) has become an internet/social media phenomenon with more than 106 millions views to-date.  EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING’s relatable themes of wish-fulfillment and young love combined with an amazing soundtrack will make the film the must-see movie of the Summer.

To try your luck at a pass, click here to get to the Warner Bros. landing and follow the “Get My Passes” prompt. Tickets, like theater seating, are not guaranteed and on a first-come, first-serve basis.

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, from MGM and Warner Bros. Pictures is directed by Stella Meghie and opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, May 19.

Good luck!

 

MMT Quick Review: ‘THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2’

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (photo: Lionsgate)

Happy Friday MMT Fam! Well, at long last I am writing my final thoughts on The Hunger Games. This is a bittersweet moment – as I’m sure those of you who have followed along, while I excitedly anticipated each movie since the first, can well imagine. It all started with my old college friend, Denise, joining me on my first MS Walk and, upon discovering that I had not seen the original, beautifully summarizing it for me – especially the ill-fated friendship of Katniss and Rue. I was hooked by her narration and made a point to rent and watch the movie as soon as I could. Several months later, I was one of many press/journalists/bloggers at The Hunger Games: Catching Fire screening – eager to find out what was going to happen next (yes, I’ve intentionally refrained from reading the novels until the film franchise was completed).

And now, with the exception of a couple of spoilers I learned within the last year, I and other film fans who hadn’t read the novels know the story in its completion with this final installment – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. We finally get to see what becomes of Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and her fellow warriors in their quest to free Panem from the tyranny of the capital and President Snow (Donald Sutherland). There is reunion and celebration early on in the film – before Katniss sets out with her team in what could best be described as a suicide mission to kill President Snow.

Now you know I try not to do spoilers – and I certainly wouldn’t do to you what someone did to me very recently by spoiling the death of a primary character that I love – but I will say be prepared. This part two shows Katniss and her team in full-blown war, literally, so expect that some of your faves may or may not make it.

So this is atypical, but I’ll start with what I didn’t like about this final installment. Although I mostly enjoyed the story, I felt that it was a bit rushed at parts. I’m told by my sister Tomeka, whose read the novels and been my informant when needed, that the novel wasn’t as brief with the death of one major character as in the film. Won’t share who, but I’ll say I had a major issue with the brevity of this character’s death and the actions after – oh, and if you’re a softy be prepared.

(Slight spoiler) I also questioned what happened to one of the minor characters – who unfortunately met his end in an underground scene by a means that wasn’t well explained in the film. It has something to do with light and I’ll leave it there!  If you read the books, this most likely isn’t an issue, but I needed some things explained after I left the theater.

I believe, since the last two films were shot back-to-back, it would not have appeared so rushed if parts one and two were one movie. Or maybe more of the novel could have been added to part 2 to make some scenes a bit more coherent. Oh, and personally I could have used a bit more screen time with Evan Ross (Messalla) – who said like two words – and Jeffrey Wright (Beetee), but it wasn’t pertinent to the central story needed so I guess I can’t fuss much 😉

I’ve loved this cast of characters, and will especially miss the chemistry between Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss and Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta – and oh I how love to hate Donald Sutherland’s President Snow, which he so brilliantly portrays in the films. In my part one review I gave isolated props to Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) and Elizabeth Banks (Effie), but in all honesty I’ve enjoyed most of the actors in this franchise – especially the animated ones like the aforementioned and Stanley Tucci as television host Caesar Flickerman and Sam Caflin as tribute/rebel Finnick Odair.

And I actually met and interviewed Elden Henson, who plays the lovable cameraman/rebel Pollux in Mockingjay, on his press tour in Philly. You can read the interview, including what advice he says director Francis Lawrence shared that prepared him for role, at my examiner site here.

In short MMT Fam, I believe this film is great to see in theaters, but you definitely want to adhere to that PG-13 rating where the little ones are concerned because it is the most violent of the four movies. I would also recommend anyone who hasn’t seen the other films, catch up! This one isn’t as easy to follow as say, Catching Fire, if you don’t know any of the story.

Alright, y’all know the drill! Leave a thought or two in the comments when you see it! I love to hear what you guys think.

Until next thought, Thomasena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY: ROE passes for ‘The Riot Club’ (Philly, PA)

The Riot Club (photo: IFCFilms)

Happy Monday MMT Family!  We’ve got run-of-engagement passes for THE RIOT CLUB starring Sam Claflin, aka Finnick Odair for us Hunger Games fans!  The passes will be valid for the film’s run at the PFS Roxy in Center City Philadelphia.

Want to put your name in the hat? Make sure you are signed up as a subscriber of this site, and send an email with the subject line “RIOT” and your full name in the body to thinkmusicmovies@gmail.com.  Ten winners will be selected at random and notified by Thursday, April 2.

You can check out the trailer and synopsis for THE RIOT CLUB below and get additional info at the official website here.

Good luck family!  Until next thought, Thomasena

THE RIOT CLUB synopsis

Filthy. Rich. Spoiled. Rotten. A band of overprivileged rich boys run wild in this savagely funny satire of money, sex and power. In the elite realm of Oxford University, no society is more exclusive than The Riot Club, the ultra-selective fraternity for Britain’s most privileged sons. When he’s recruited to join, down-to-earth first-year student Miles (Max Irons) is at first amused—but he’s about to get a taste of upper-crust entitlement at its ugliest when a hedonistic night of drinking and drugs spins out of control. The Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin co-stars in this deliciously dark look at boys behaving badly from the Oscar(R)-nominated director of An Education.

 IN THEATERS APRIL 3RD AT THE PFS THEATER AT THE ROXY

MMT Quick Review of ‘The Divergent Series: Insurgent’ and interview with Mekhi Phifer

Insurgent - Tris Portrait (photo: Lionsgate Publicity)

Happy Friday MMT Family!  With this latest MS episode (shout out to MS Awareness Month), I haven’t been able to screen many films – but I made it a point to go see the latest Divergent installment The Divergent Series: Insurgent and was fortunate enough to interview star Mekhi Phifer, who plays the Dauntless faction leader Max.

For those who don’t know the series, “Insurgent” is set in a futuristic, dystopian society where folk are divided into five factions based on their abilities, temperaments and personalities. Members of the Abnegation faction are identified as selfless, Amity are peaceful, Candor are honest, Dauntless are brave and Erudite are intelligent. People who display tendencies towards all five are labeled as Divergent, and considered a threat to society-at-large. Those who belong to no faction are known simply as Factionless. The audience is taken on the journey of protagonist Beatrice, Tris for short, who – since the first movie – has gone on the run with other “Divergents” and is trying to find sanctuary and evade capture.

Now, I’ll admit I have not read any of the books – but I’m in good company because Mekhi Phifer also hasn’t read them (see my Examiner interview here for his reason). However, I understand there have been some changes to this film, to better adapt the over 500 page novel to the big screen, and some are taking issue with those changes. The author of the books, Veronica Roth, responded to those critics in a Hollywood Reporter article saying, “Insurgent has the most complicated plot of the three books, and that the book-to-film changes make it so that the movie isn’t just constantly explaining itself to the audience.”

With that said, I enjoyed “Insurgent” and thought the CGI was fun and the action heart-stopping. I felt the story dragged a bit at a point, but I certainly was all-in once the story started moving again and Tris – played by Shailene Woodley – really had to woman up and face some hard truths – but no spoilers remember, so I’ll leave it there. 😉  If you’re a sci-fantasy lover, and aren’t influenced by the books or hard-pressed for the film to be exactly like them, I believe you will enjoy it as well. But for us folk who haven’t read the books, we are of course left with a major cliffhanger until the next installment arrives!

Insurgent - Max Portrait (photo: Lionsgate Publicity)Which brings me back to the Mekhi Phifer, lol!  When I asked him what attracted him to the film series and the role of Max he shared,

“I’ve never done a trilogy series before so it seemed like a lot of fun. I didn’t know where they were going to go with it. Usually I get a script, I know where my character is going to go. I have no idea what they’re doing to this character until I read the script. What attracted me was he was the leader of Dauntless, he had influential power and I felt he was an important character – and I thought it would be fun to do something different.”

Now, we’ve seen Mekhi in many films where he’s the good guy or the guy we love rooting for – the characters Mitch (Paid In Full) and Lem (Soul Food) are two of my favorites. But I read that he enjoys playing the bad guy, so I asked him why that was.

“If you’re an actor you don’t want to just play one thing. You want to diversify and do different things.  The fun thing about playing the bad guy is the moral compass can go out the window and you don’t necessarily follow a moral guideline. You can improvise and sort of “fly off the cuff” and it’s kind of fun to have the audience not know what you’re going to do. You’re not Dr. Do Right, so it makes it a little more edgy and it’s a lot of fun.”

Don’t worry MMT Fam, I also got in the signature question, and can you guess which musical artist Mekhi said he would love to portray in a film? “If could do any artist I would love to do Al Green.  I think he has a great story and a great journey that he’s gone on and I love his music – it’s iconic.”

The Divergent Series: Insurgent is out nationwide in theaters today, and I hear Lionsgate is sharing a Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 teaser in the coming attractions – so hint, hint fellow Hunger Games lovers!

In addition to the interview, Mr. Phifer was kind enough to record a short promo for my Walk MS campaign – I’ll share more on that and promos with other artists in a later post – but I’d sure appreciate your support in the meantime at teamwalkinbyfaith.org!

That’s it for me family, and you know the drill! Stop back and leave a thought or two after you see the film!

Until next thought, Thomasena

MMT Quick Review: ‘THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART I’

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (photo: Lionsgate)

What’s new MMT Family?  I know some of you may be surprised I didn’t post a quick review sooner for this one, however I really wasn’t certain I was going to until this morning.  Why you ask?  First off, the film is part of a serial juggernaut, and being it’s the third installment you’re either a fan or you aren’t – so surely you don’t need me to twist your arm.  And mostly, this film was going to be huge regardless of my meager offering – it pulled in 17 million with its Thursday night opening alone. But a fellow writer reminded me that with as much excitement as I’ve shared while anticipating the film, I needed to give my thoughts about this penultimate entry in the franchise. Shout out to LeAnne Lindsay of the film and food site Tinsel & Tine – see her review in link.

Now, unlike my good friend LeAnne, I really enjoyed Mockingjay  – for reasons very similar to fellow writer and friend Sharon Abella of One World Cinema whose review can be found here (some slight spoilers, but not bad ones). If you haven’t read any of the books – like myself – by author Suzanne Collins, who also worked on this film adaptation, Mockingjay Part 1 may be the hardest of the three to simply follow.  It doesn’t have the speed of the first film, nor the grandeur of the second, and you should have familiarity of characters and plot to aid you in being engrossed – though for me I have my sister Tomeka that I rely on to answer my questions after I’ve viewed each installment! However, if you’ve enjoyed the first two films and don’t mind that the final book has been split into two parts for the big screen, Mockingjay serves as a great setup for the climax due out November 2015.

The film’s cast was dynamic and both Elizabeth Banks (Effie) and Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) give much-needed comic relief in a few scenes, as this one is the most grim of the series by far.  Jennifer Lawrence as lead character Katniss literally carries much of the film – as the audience is taken through the journey of her being shell-shocked from the Quarter Quell, rescue mission, and the subsequent district destruction to her decision to fulfill the role of Mockingjay and be the face of the Panem rebellion.

Highlights for me include the score – which has Lawrence singing a tune entitled “The Hanging Tree” that she reportedly was hesitant to do (see RadioTimes interview with director Francis Lawrence discussing here).  The scene with the district rebels singing the song while heading into an attack was haunting and I’ve literally had the tune in my head since I’ve screened – check out Jennifer Lawrence singing in below video. I was also on the edge of my seat during the film’s victor rescue mission – and I’ll just leave it there because you know how I do! 😉

Lastly, it was bittersweet to watch the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee) in this film, and he is given a nice acknowledgement at the end – so heads up if you tend to get that little something stuck in the eye corner! 🙂  Oh, and another heads up for the non-book reader – pay attention to Finnick’s camera speech, particularly the info shared about President Snow.  I’m told this will be extremely handy for Mockingjay 2.

Okay family that’s my take!  Did you see the film this weekend?  What were your thoughts? What do you think about my friends’ reviews?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next thought, Thomasena

The Hunger Games #AskMockingjay one day only social event on Monday November 17

AskMockingjay (photo: Lionsgate)

Hey MMT Fam! Join the cast and filmmakers of THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 – including Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Jeffrey Wright, Donald Sutherland, Willow Shields, Sam Claflin, Mahershala Ali and Natalie Dormer, along with director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson – for a one day only global social event: #ASKMOCKINGJAY.

On Monday, November 17, fans from around the world will have the opportunity to participate in a series of social media events including live chats, Q&A’s, exclusive clip debuts, and a live stream from the Los Angeles premiere.

Starting TODAY, fans can submit their questions on Facebook and Instagram by using the hashtag #AskMockingjay. Check out the full schedule of events below!


MONDAY- NOVEMBER 17TH – #ASKMOCKINGJAY

10AM PT / 1PM ET: REDDIT AMA with Natalie Dormer
11AM PT / 2PM ET: TWITTER Chat with Francis Lawrence
4PM PT / 7PM ET: FACEBOOK FAN EVENT with the cast of MOCKINGJAY including an exclusive NEW clip
6PM PT / 9PM ET: YAHOO & TUMBLR Live Stream from the LA PREMIERE with NEW footage from Mockingjay Part 1

Presented by Samsung Galaxy

A Quick Review of ‘Captain Phillips’

Captain Phillips

Hey there MMT family!  I want to first apologize for not posting last week.  My family and I are dealing with a chronically ill relative, and that has been very taxing.  I’ve still been posting a bit more frequently on the Facebook page, so please make sure you are following us there for info and random giveaway links as well.

Even though I’ve been MIA, I did get a chance to screen Sony Pictures’ Captain Phillips last week and I must say I really enjoyed it. Directed by Academy Award nominee Paul Greengrass (United 93), the film stars Academy Award winner Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, Forrest Gump) as title character, merchant marine Captain Richard Phillips, who was held hostage for five days by Somali pirates in 2009.  The US marked cargo ship carrying the captain and his crew of approximately 20 men, was the first American ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. The screenplay, written by Billy Ray (Hunger Games), is based on the book “A Captain’s Duty : Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS and Dangerous days at Sea” written by Phillips with Stephan Talty.

Even though the film is based on a true story, and I pretty much knew the outcome, I was still on the edge of my seat as a “viewer” of the harrowing experience with which the lead character was faced. It was very hard for me to imagine what someone in Captain Phillips’ position would think or do, and it certainly was impressive to witness how savvy and “quick on his feet” he was dealing with armed pirates. I was also impressed with the direction Greengrass chose in telling this story. Although the primary focus is on the title character and his eventual rescue, the film does briefly highlight issues such as the illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping that have impacted local food sources and led some Somalis to choose piracy.

I felt it was pretty even storytelling; however I must have missed The Avengers sign that perhaps was posted in the lobby since some of my fellow viewers, with their cheers and inappropriate laughter, must have been watching a different film.  It was quite disheartening to witness, since one of those Somali pirates was in fact a 16-year-old boy.  I understood the necessity in the deaths that were certain to come in the hostage stand-off portrayed; however I would think the humanity in the situation, coupled with the fact that it is based on a true story, would give someone pause before “yelling and applauding” when a person is killed.

Though Hanks dominates the screen, first time Somalian-born actor Barkhad Abdi as lead pirate Muse was very good.  With a 134 minute running time, and PG-13 rating, Captain Phillips is a lengthy but well worth it watch.  There is already Oscar buzz this season for Hanks in the lead, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he receives a nod.  The film opened Friday 10/11 in theaters nationwide.

Okay that’s it for me family.  You can check out the Captain Phillips trailer below, and stop back by and share a thought or two if you see the film.  And don’t forget to follow our sister Facebook page. 🙂

Until next thought family, Thomasena

Sneak peek of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire during MTV Movie Awards

Hunger Games

Hey there Music Movie family!  This post serves as a heads up for all my Hunger Games fans.  Next Sunday, April 14, the exclusive teaser trailer to the highly anticipated movie sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire will première live during the 2013 MTV Movie Awards.  To celebrate the première, Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth will introduce the 2 1/2 minutes of exciting footage. The teaser trailer will then be available online at TheHungerGamesExplorer.com following the award show.

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” begins as Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence) has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark (played by Josh Hutcherson).   Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts.  Along the way Katniss senses that rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.  “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is directed by Francis Lawrence, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. The novel on which the film is based is the second in a trilogy that has over 50 million copies in print in the U.S. alone.   Lionsgate will release “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” on November 22, 2013.

MovieAwards.MTV.com is the official site for the “2013 MTV Movie Awards” where fans can visit to vote and get up-to-date info on this year’s show, watch video of last year’s biggest occurrences, get the full list of 2012 show winners, and check out fashion and celebrity commentary from the red carpet.  Fans can head to MovieAwards.MTV.com through Saturday, April 13 to vote.  The MTV Movie Awards will air live on MTV at 9 p.m. ET.

You can get a mini first look at “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” at the link below.  If you watch the awards show and/or catch the official teaser, stop back by and share your thoughts. 🙂

Until next thought family, Thomasena

2013 MTV Movie Awards first look at “Hunger Games: Catching Fire”