Designer Marc Jacobs is leaving global luxury brand Louis Vuitton after 16 years. The designer whose clients include Kate Moss, Sofia Coppola and Victoria Beckham, has decided to part ways with the company to focus on his own brand.
The announcement was made by company chairman Bernard Arnault on Wednesday (02Oct13), on the same day Jacobs presented his last collection for Louis Vuitton at Paris Fashion Week.
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
The Cat pulled a load of cash out of his Hat this weekend at the box office.Proving you can have fun if you know how, Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat thing-a-ma-jigged its way to No. 1, opening with a respectable $40.1 million*, but paled in comparison to How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the previous Seuss' adaptation, which opened in 2000 with $55 million.Though mostly lambasted by film critics, The Cat in the Hat may hold up well through the holidays, Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations told The Associated Press. "Little kids, they want what they want, and they don't care about reviews," Dergarabedian said. "Parents do have some say in the decision, but most of the time they'll just go along with the kids." The ghostly Gothika also debuted strongly, taking second place with $19.6 million, while last week's No.1 Elf dropped to third with $19.1 million. The historical Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World captured the fourth spot with $15.2 million, and rounding the top five was the sweetly romantic Love Actually with $9.1 million.THE TOP TENUniversal Pictures' PG-rated Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat became box office champion on its opening weekend with an ESTIMATED $40.1 million at 3,265 theaters. Its $12,282 per theater average was the highest of any film opening wide this week.This colorful adaptation of the children's classic tale is about two kids visited on a rainy day by a six-foot talking Cat in an oversized red-striped Hat who shows them how to have fun.Directed by Bo Welch, it stars Mike Myers, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin, Kelly Preston, Alec Baldwin and Sean Hayes.Warner Bros.' R-rated spooky thriller Gothika took second place with an ESTIMATED $19.6 million at 2,382 theaters ($8,237 per theater).The story follows a criminal psychologist who finds herself in a nightmarish situation when she wakes up in a prison for the criminally insane without any memory of killing her husband. Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, it stars Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Penelope Cruz and Bernard Hill.Last week's champ, New Line Cinema's PG-rated holiday comedy Elf dropped to third in its third week of release with an ESTIMATED $19.1 million (-27%) at 3,381 theaters (unchanged; $5,657 per theater). Its cume is approximately $95.1 million.Directed by Jon Favreau, it stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, Zooey Deschanel and Mary Steenburgen.Twentieth Century Fox's PG-13-rated naval epic Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World fell to the fourth spot in its second week with an ESTIMATED $15.2 million (-39%) at 3,101 theaters (unchanged; $4,902 per theater). Its cume is approximately 47.2 million.Directed by Peter Weir, it stars Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany.Universal Pictures' R-rated romantic comedy Love Actually actually jumped up a spot to No. 5 in its third week with an ESTIMATED $8.8 million (+5%) in 1,690 theaters (+513 theaters; $5,385 per theater). Its cume is approximately $30.8 million.Directed and written by Richard Curtis, it stars Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley and Bill Nighy.*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.Warner Bros. R-rated sci-fi actioner The Matrix Revolutions dropped three notches to sixth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $6.7 million (-59%) in 3,024 theaters (-478; $2,229 per theater). Its cume is approximately $125 million.Directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, it stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving.Buena Vista's G-rated animated film Brother Bear slipped three spots to seventh place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $5.5 million (-54%) in 2,885 theaters (unchanged; $1,905 per theater). Its cume is approximately $70.4 million. Directed by Aaron Blaise and Bob Walker, it features the voices of Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Suarez, D.B. Sweeney and Michael Clarke Duncan.Warner Bros.' PG-rated live-action feature Looney Tunes: Back in Action dropped three rungs to No. 8 in its second week with an ESTIMATED $4.1 million (-56%) in 2,903 theaters (unchanged; $1,414 per theater average). Its cume is approximately 14.7 million.Directed by Joe Dante, it stars Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Steve Martin, Timothy Dalton and Heather Locklear.Dimension Films' PG-13-rated spoof Scary Movie 3 fell two spots to ninth place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $3.2 million (-44%) in 2,359 theaters (-601 theaters; $1,392 per theater). Its cume is approximately $106.6 million. Directed by David Zucker, it stars Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Simon Rex, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, George Carlin and Leslie Nielsen.Sony Pictures' PG-13-rated drama Radio slid down two notches to 10th position in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $2.6 million (-46%) in 1,925 theaters (-491 theaters; $1,351 per theater). Its cume is approximately $47 million.Directed by Michael Tollin, it stars Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris.OTHER OPENINGSFocus Features' R-rated 21 Grams opened in eight theaters with $256,434, a $32,054 per theater average.Following the lives of three people--a college professor balanced between life and death, a woman who has matured after her reckless past, and a religious ex-con struggling to provide for two children. A tragic accident that claims several lives places these people in each other's orbit. Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, it stars Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts.WEEKEND COMPARISON The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $128.8 million, up 5.55 percent from last weekend's $122.1 million take but down 11 percent from last year's $144.9 million.Last year, MGM's PG-13-rated Die Another Day opened in first place with $47 million at 3,314 theaters ($14,204 per theater); Warner Bros.' PG-rated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets dropped to second with $42.2 million in 3,682 theaters ($11,469 per theater); and New Line Cinema's R-rated Friday After Next debuted in the third spot with $13 million at 1,616 theaters ($8,051 per theater).
Go to our Box Office section for recent weekend movie analysis.