- Published: Monday, 20 November 2023 01:04
- Written by Lupe R Haas
The holidays are approaching and there are plenty of good viewing options at movie theaters. Check out our roundup of new film releases.
HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES
The prequel revolves around a young Coriolanus Snow, the character played by Donald Sutherland in the Jennifer Lawrence films. The Frances Lawrence-directed film stars Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth as Snow, Viola Davis, Hunter Schafer (Euphoria), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) and Jason Schwartzman.
The trailers failed to excite my senses for a HUNGER GAMES prequel so expectations were ground-level low coming in, and at two hours and 45 minutes, THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES was sure to drag.
However, actor Tom Blyth is mesmerizing in the role with deep, soulful eyes that convey his thoughts and feelings for Lucy Gray (Zegler). Viola Davis also shines as the mad scientist Dr. Volumnia Gaul who shapes Snow into President Snow. As a young Lucky Flickerman (originally played by Stanley Tucci), Jason Schwartzman also kills it in an imitation of the older character. Rachel Zegler’s voice is like a songbird who breaks out in song a few times throughout the movie, which is off-putting at times.
Luckily the movie doesn’t drag because it feels like two entirely different movies. The first half of the film is set in the Capitol, and then it transitions to District 12. The transition is awkward at times, but Lawrence keeps up the stakes.
While the change in setting is often times awkward, following Snow in his journey is what keeps the story interesting. I will dare say BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES is a more intriguing dynamic of this apocalyptic world than the original films.
The prequel is much more layered than the Jennifer Lawrence films. The previous films plunged viewers into an unfamiliar world for non-fans of the Suzanne Collins' novels. In the latest film, we see the progression to the events of the trilogy, and the events leading to the man who will become the future President Snow and his obsession with Katniss.
For that reason, this movie is far superior to its predecessors in my book.
THANKSGIVING is Eli Roth’s most enjoyable film to date. The holiday horror film is his most socially-relevant film executed with humor and scares. The opening scene at a Black Friday sale is a jaw-dropping commentary on where we are at as a human race.
THANKSGIVING is a crowd-pleaser and something to experience on the big screen in a communal environment.
It works on many levels as a campy horror flick, comedy, and satire. The holiday puns are abundant and fitting.
The young characters (Addison Rae, Nell Verlaque) fit the standard horror tropes but the older cast like Patrick Demsey and Rick Hoffman stand out.
If you’re looking for a good time with scares, we give thanks to this THANKSGIVING movie.
TROLLS BAND TOGETHER
TROLLS BAND TOGETHER is an entertaining family-friendly film that delights even those unfamiliar with the franchise.
In the third film in the franchise, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) discovers Branch (Justin Timberlake) was once part of the boy band, BroZone with his long-lost brothers. When one of them is kidnapped, Poppy and Branch set out to find his other brothers for help.
Directed once again by Walt Dohrn, the animated sequel will satisfy young children and their parents with the animation and classic 80s and popular tunes.
Where most franchise sequels fail is the addition of many new characters which bog down the story, the introduction is gradual with different memorable personalities and traits.
For boy band fanatics, TROLLS BAND TOGETHER pays homage to the most popular ones and also pokes fun. The wordplay on the boy band names is probably the most hilarious aspect of the movie.
Venture out to see Eugenio Derbez in RADICAL, a true story of a Mexican border teacher who made a difference in children’s lives by diverting from the usual school curriculum and giving them a chance at a better life.
The heart-warming true story is inspirational and relevant, and Derbez delivers a powerful performance.