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The Hunger Games then came knee-sliding in to capture fans around the world with its gritty portrait of a dystopian fascist society, arriving just in time before that genre became exhausted by the Divergent and Maze Runner series.
There’s some superb filmmaking to be found in these four films, though the series definitely has clear peaks and troughs: the first film is great, the sequel Catching Fire is outstanding, and the split threequels, Mockingjay Parts I and II, are completely stupid.
However, the cast is riveting, with Stanley Tucci, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland and Woody Harrelson each having a whale of a time with their parts.
I’m saving the best for last, of course: this is the franchise that turned Jennifer Lawrence into a star, and even though her fame had far outstripped this series by its conclusion, she remains a committed and utterly compelling lead till the bitter end.
In a bid to rejuvenate the holiday rom-com with a queer twist, actress/writer/director Clea DuVall (Veep) helms this story of a lesbian couple named Abby and Harper, played by Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis respectively, who travel to Harper’s family home for Christmas, only for Abby to discover that Harper’s not out to her family and that she’s been invited under the pretence of being her roommate.
The usual Christmas rom-com hilarity and hijinks ensue, as well as a surprising amount of pathos, as DuVall’s script, co-written with star Mary Holland, interrogates the heartbreaking barriers queer people face when coming out to their families, and how this impacts their romantic relationships.
While the film isn’t reinventing the genre, and its comedy doesn’t always land, this is an utterly charming wintry watch, the perfect thing to settle down in front of with a warm meal on a chilly night.
If you like your entertainment a little more campy, this is a new Amazon Original film that promises to “breath new life into the forgotten genre of the erotic thriller”.
Sydney Sweeney and Justice Smith, both stuck playing teenagers on HBO shows, but finally allowed to play their own age here, star as a young Montreal couple named Pippa and Thomas, who move into their dream apartment, only to discover they can see directly into the apartment opposite.
Their observations of the couple opposite set in motion a disastrous chain of events, which, based on the trailer, seem to hem fairly close to whatever Netflix’s The Woman in the Window was trying to do earlier this year.
Let’s hope it’s better than that: director Michael Mohan is the creator of the great Netflix series Everything Sucks, so we should be in safe hands.
Based on the 1960s spy parody TV series of the same name, this big-budget remake stars Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Alan Arkin.
Despite middling reviews, it was a commercial success upon its 2008 release, likely down to its crowd-pleasing attributes: while it won’t knock your socks off, there are some great gags, and Carell and Hathaway are unsurprisingly great in their roles.
In a world where the next Bond film keeps getting delayed, delayed and delayed, sometimes a send-up of the whole genre is just what you need.
Charlie Plummer (no relation to Christopher Plummer, which I had mistakenly been telling people for a good year or two) is one of the best young actors currently working – I would highly encourage anyone who hasn’t seen Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete to seek it out immediately, especially if you’re in need of a cry.
In Words on Bathroom Walls, he plays a teenager struggling to fit into his new school following a mental illness diagnosis.
Based on a novel by Julia Walton, this 2020 indie was praised for its sensitive and empathetic depiction of rarely-represented mental health issues.PUT 1xbet