Jena Malone

Teenage

This week sees the release of an extraordinary new teen movie, adapted from a book, involving social rebellion. I’m not talking about Divergent. And to be fair the film already opened last Friday but expands to Los Angeles this weekend followed by Austin, Atlanta, Boston and other major cities over the next two months. It’s titled Teenage, and it’s a documentary, and while it’s heavy on the archival footage, it’s very accessible, cleverly constructed and even quite entertaining. It’s produced by Jason Schwartzman, features character narration by Jena Malone and Ben Whishaw and features Alden Ehrenreich. And like any good teen movie should, it has a memorable soundtrack — albeit one totally in the form of an anachronistic electronic store by Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox. Although there were qualifiable entries here and there beforehand, the teen movie really was born in the 1950s, which is also around the time when we think of teen culture first beginning to emerge. The second part isn’t necessarily the case, though, even if it’s when the term “teenager” and the acknowledgement of adolescents’ pop culture finally caught on in the mainstream. Taking its basis from Jon Savage’s Teenage: The Prehistory of Youth Culture 1875-1945, the documentary takes us back much further in time to the last quarter of the 19th century. Think of it as the prequel or back story to every teen movie of the last 60 years. Except maybe Swing Kids, which deals with a social group also included in Teenage. 

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The Hunger Games Catching Fire

At the tail end of 2013, Iron Man 3 received one of the biggest bitch-slaps of the year, courtesy of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The teen novel adaptation swooped in and eclipsed the Marvel superhero’s spot as the highest grossing movie of the year, at least in terms of domestic box office. While The Hunger Games: Catching Fire didn’t overcome the worldwide box office of Iron Man 3, it had its own victory by besting the first installment by more than $200m worldwide. As the movie-going audience prepares for the first of two final sequels releasing later this year, they can stave off their hunger by checking out The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on DVD and Blu-ray. Included on the discs is a commentary with director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson. Lawrence had already been working on the final two films at the time of recording, so his insight goes beyond the production of this film and extends into the grand finale. Even if you’re not a huge fan of these films, you can take solace in the fact that the filmmakers behind them are striving for something better and deeper than the previous box office champs in terms of young adult fiction. (Yes, I’m talking about the thank-god-it’s-over Twilight films.) Now, with that dig against Stephenie Meyer and all things sparkly out of the way, on to the commentary.

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Hunger Games

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quarter quell katniss

You didn’t think that just because society had transformed into a dystopian nightmare where children are forced to murder each other for sport while the rich clap along that we would totally abandon Twitter, right? If the newly released posters for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire that call for the citizens of Panem to #celebrateyourvictors are accurate, then some form of the social networking site is alive and well in the future. The new series of one-sheets [via First Showing] depict the group of Hunger Game victors who are now forced to participate in the Quarter Quell, as if winning that last tournament wasn’t bad enough. Featured are: Cashmere and Gloss of District 1 (Stephanie Leigh Schlund and Alan Ritchson), Brutus and Enobaria of District 2 (Bruno Gunn and Meta Golding), Beetee and Wiress of District 3 (Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Plummer), Finnick and Mags of District 4 (Sam Claflin and Lynn Cohen), Johanna of District 7 (Jena Malone) and of course, Katniss and Peeta of District 12 (Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson).

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In Our Nature

Writer/director Brian Savelson‘s In Our Nature features a ton of pithy bits of wisdom. Along with John Slattery, Gabrielle Union, Jena Malone and Zach Gilford, these poetic nuggets are on display in the film’s trailer which also promises family tension and vegan-bashing. In the film, an estranged father and son accidentally bring their girlfriends to the family cabin on the same weekend, causing friction and confrontation for a group with a lot of issues to work through (and more than a few clever turns of phrase). Get ready to bite-sized chunks of insight and check out the trailer for yourself:

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While rumors have been swirling for months over possible candidates for some meaty roles in the upcoming The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, today brings the first news that even remotely resembles a casting confirmation. THR reports that Jena Malone is in talks to play tribute Johanna Mason in the upcoming film. “I volunteer as tribute!” says Malone. Sigh, say fans of the franchise. The role of Mason is a key one – along with fan favorite Finnick Odair, Johanna is one of the most essential new characters we meet in Suzanne Collins‘ second novel in her three-book series. Snide, snarky, mean, and biting, Johanna is one of many other former tributes who get introduced in Catching Fire, and she’s one of the most complex and confusing. She’s also one of the most severely damaged.

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There’s been little chatter about Deborah Kampmeier‘s (Hounddog) biopic of classic American writer Carson McCullers, Lonely Hunter, since the filmmaker picked Jena Malone for the lead role last October, but a fresh press release now reports that a rising star has been selected to play Tennessee Williams in the film. Logan Marshall Green will play the writer, one of America’s most celebrated (if not the most celebrated) playwrights, in Lonely Hunter. Williams was McCullers’ best friend and her “longtime confidant,” so the role is a crucial one when it comes to sketching out McCullers on screen. Green was last seen in Brooklyn’s Finest and Devil, but he’s already poised to break out this year – he’s got a co-starring role in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Kampmeier herself said, “Logan is amazing for Tennessee Williams. People think of him as a leading man but I think he’s also a character actor in a leading man’s body. He is so talented and with his theater background and training he is perfect for the role.”

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Drinking Games

Just because the hot girls in Zach Snyder’s visually assaulting film Sucker Punch aren’t old enough to drink, nothing is stopping you from watching the movie and playing this drinking game… unless you’re as old as the main characters of the film. While Sucker Punch has its ups and downs, it’s a visually interesting flick with plenty of fishnets, stockings, push-up bras and a bad Russian accent courtesy of Carla Gugino. What’s stopping you from watching it on DVD or Blu-ray and knocking back a couple sips of your favorite spirit? You know you want to.

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This time a week ago I never would have imagined I’d stay up all night Thursday, having my own little tea and scones party, to watch a wedding of two people I didn’t know. Even if the festivities were thrown by the English Royal Family in honor of the most recognizable union of royal and commoner. It wasn’t until Wednesday that I caught the bug and started feeling a connection to these two genetically gifted kids who had the balls to get up in front of 15 billion people and pledge themselves to each other and their country. I had Royal Wedding fever, and I was going to do everything I could to make that moment last. The decision to keep many details of the wedding a secret and the media inflated love story spanning almost a decade was too much for even my cold heart to keep from melting. It was the real life movie version of all those BBC costume dramas and Jane Austen adaptations I spent years watching. The chaste, passionate love of two people who shouldn’t be together defying the odds, marrying, and starting a life so many of us will never experience. But at the same time it was relatable and sweet—just like Jane Austen always promised.

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Right around ten years ago Zack Snyder had an idea. An idea that would come to take up about thirty seconds of Sucker Punch, but lend to the film its main character, its title, and its sex appeal. That original idea revolved around a girl named Baby Doll who escaped into the recesses of her mind while dancing for some very bad men. He then partnered with his school buddy Steve Shibuya to start working that into a script. Things were probably going pretty okay on that, but they were about to get a lot better when Snyder found himself helming Dawn of the Dead, my personal choice for best zombie movie ever. You heard that right, Romero. Sitting next to Snyder at the press junket, the man did no less than doodle an X-Wing on a pad of paper while talking, as if he needed anything more than Watchmen to solidify his nerd-cred. Before talking about the visually complex Sucker Punch, Snyder, sitting alongside wife and producing partner Debbie, the director took a moment to give us a glimpse into his filmmaking past, revealing as one might expect he was an early overachiever. One of his student films in the basic introductory film classes was a World War I epic, complete with trenches dug by a rented backhoe. Before you get antsy, I’ll tell you what he said about his upcoming Superman movie: nothing. As in, he’s not allowed to speak of it. Duh. What he did express was […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr felt so trapped by the weight of the world that he escaped into an amazing world inside his mind. Ironically, this world bore a striking resemblance to Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, what with all the scantily clad, kick-ass hotties running around. Once free of oppression, Kevin took his kids to check out the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie in a desperate hope for Rachel Harris’s approval.

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Zack Snyder’s return to (mostly) live action hits screens today, bringing to life the fetishistic dreams of many a teenage boy as a mostly female cast in anime-inspired garb storm through mind of the troubled Babydoll, battling dragons, orcs, and samurai. On paper it sounds pretty amazing: sexy young actresses, plenty of firearms, the directing of Zack Snyder, wild nightmare action sequences, and a minimum amount of leather inspired clothing. In small doses, say in trailers and commercial spots, the film looks amazing. Fast paced action, again the sexy ladies, and amazing, lush digital sets, brimming with fireballs and bullet hits. Then some slow motion, and some fast motion and some slow motion again. By now you’re probably starting to predict where I’m going. I said it’s amazing in small doses and in paper, but how is it stretched out to two hours?

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Sucker_Punch_EmilyBrowning

The word from Comic-Con was that Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, while difficult to explain, was one of the more stunning highlights of a quality overall showing. The posters we showed you mere days ago were hot, wet and on fire. Cole Abaius’ report from the Hall H panel talked about a some of the strongest female characters we’ve seen on screen in a while. It all sounds like a wild Kill Bill-esque ride through the visually supercharged mind of director Zack Snyder. Nothing about that seems underwhelming. At least not to me. Today brings us the first bit of bonafide proof that Sucker Punch is going to be off-the-rails, both visually and conceptually. It’s a trailer that features badass ladies, burlesque musical numbers, dragons, samurais and suits of armor. As Cole said in his report, it’s breath-taking. And it awaits you after the jump.

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Strong female characters are not the norm in Hollywood, but if you thought of one name that would use his directorial clout to bring a few more of them to the world, would it be Zack Snyder? The same man who was lambasted for being sexist after 300 is now being praised by his actresses for loving women and creating the best possible roles for them with his new movie. “Women are always looking for layers because women are complex creatures. For this movie, you don’t have to be just one thing. For men in action, you can be all things, but for women people see that maybe she’s dressed sexy so maybe it’s not empowering. It’s a tough line, but the truth is that women can be all of those things,” said star Carla Gugino. She got to be all of those things on Sucker Punch specifically because of Zack Snyder’s vision and appreciation for creating rounded female characters. Oh, and the footage they showed today has samurai warriors and a giant dragon. Feminism and fire-breathing. Something for everyone!

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Sucker_Punch_EmilyBrowning

Our Comic-Con 2010 coverage is in full swing, and while the gents on the ground in San Diego continue to bring you their assessment of what’s happening in and around Hall H, I’ve got the lovely task of keeping up with all of the hot materials being released by studios. This means trailers, posters and hot breaking news. This little update is red hot — a set of character posters for Zack Snyder’s stylish, sexy actioner Sucker Punch. If you remember, we showed you the first photo last week. Now we’ve got individual looks at each of the film’s dangerous ladies — and you’ll be hard pressed to be able to take your eyes off of them. Check them out after the jump… Click here for more from Comic-Con 2010

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Sucker Punch

The upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly, their yearly look at Comic-Con, has drawn a lot of attention even before hitting news stands, as it is showing off some of the hot geek properties that will grace the stages of the San Diego Convention Center next week. Yesterday it was a first look at Green Lantern. Today we get a look at the cast of Zack Snyder‘s girl-power shoot ‘em up Sucker Punch. It’s got sexy and dangerous visions of Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung. And as an exclamation point on the whole affair, Scott Glenn as a Nazi. Check out the full image after the jump.

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I Liked This Movie, Dammit!

The Ruins is one of the creepiest, most disturbing tales to hit theaters in months. The last time I saw such a visceral, effective thriller was when Neil Marshall released The Descent. It’s bleak and it’s gory, and if there is a film that is guaranteed to make your skin crawl, this one is it.

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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