Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Adam Sandler's so-bad-it's-unfathomably-bad-that-it's-actually-kind-of-genius 2011 movie Jack and Jill added another bragging right to its already rich film heritage. In addition to being the first (and fingers crossed, last) movie to feature Oscar-winner Al Pacino rapping about Dunkin' Donuts, the universally panned flick became the first movie in Razzie history to sweep the, eh, 'prestigious' awards.
The 32nd Razzie Awards, which cleverly moved from their usual pre-Oscar ceremony date to April Fool's Day, was dominated by the stunningly inept comedy about an ad exec named Jack (Sandler) who is visited over the holidays by his annoying twin sister Jill (Sandler, in drag.)
As chosen by the 657 members of the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation, Jack and Jill emerged victorious in all ten categories, including Worst Picture, Worst Screen Ensemble (which was chosen by voters on Rotten Tomatoes and narrowly edged out The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part I), Worst Director (Dennis Dugan, who also earned that for his work on Sandler's other 2011 misfire Just Go With It) and Worst Actor and Worst Actress (both of which were won by Sandler, another Razzies first.) While Sandler opted to not pull a Sandra Bullock or Halle Berry and show up to collect his Razzie(s), the star will likely get another shot next year with his upcoming feature That's My Boy. The guy is an awards show (dedicated to horrendously bad movies) darling if there ever was one.
Check out the full list of "winners" -- including some of Jack and Jill's supporting cast members like Pacino, Katie Holmes, and David Spade-- from the 2012 Razzies here:
Worst Picture: Jack and Jill
Worst Actor: Adam Sandler, Jack and Jill and Just Go With It
Worst Actress: Adam Sander (as “Jill”), Jack and Jill
Worst Supporting Actor: Al Pacino (as “Al Pacino”), Jack and Jill
Worst Supporting Actress: David Spade (as “Monica”), Jack and Jill
Worst Screen Ensemble: The entire cast of Jack and Jill
Worst Director: Dennis Dugan, Jack and Jill and Just Go With It
Worst Remake, Rip-off, or Sequel: Jack and Jill (remake/rip-off of Ed Wood’s cross-dressing camp classic Glen or Glenda)
Worst Screen Couple: Adam Sandler and either Katie Holmes, Al Pacino, or Adam Sander, Jack and Jill
Worst Screenplay: Jack and Jill, screenplay by Steve Koren & Adam Sandler, story by Ben Zook
Jack and Jill, in case you inexplicably missed it in theaters, is currently out on DVD.
Jack and Jill Review
Jack and Jill Trailer
Jack and Jill Clips
Dolores Fuller, who was portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker in Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's 1994 Wood biopic, was the cross-dressing director's one-time girlfriend and star of his most famous 1950s films Glen or Glenda and Jail Bait.
The Indiana-born actress, who was a former model, met Wood at a casting call while she was working as a stand-in for Dinah Shore on the entertainer's TV show in 1952. He cast her as his leading lady in 1953's Glen or Glenda and the couple became lovers.
They split in 1955 after Wood cast another actress as the lead in his Bride of Frankenstein film - and she moved to New York to study under acting guru Stella Adler.
She also impressed as a songwriter, co-penning Elvis Presley's Rock-A-Hula Baby for his 1961 movie Blue Hawaii.
The success inspired her to write more hits for Presley films and standards like Someone to Tell it To and Losers Weepers.
Fuller also launched Johnny Rivers' recording career.
She chronicled her life in her 2009 autobiography, A Fuller Life: Hollywood, Ed Wood and Me.
When we last saw our favorite carrot-top psycho toy at the end of 1998's deliciously campy Bride of Chucky his wife Tiffany (voiced by Jennifer Tilly) had just given birth to a razor-toothed baby and as with every Chucky movie the dolls return to being dolls again. The demon seed has since been abducted by a British ventriloquist who names him Shithead keeps him in a cage and forces him to compete for the ventriloquism world championship. The gender-confused androgynous child (voiced by Billy Boyd)--who looks like the bastard child of The Lord of the Rings' Gollum and Ziggy Stardust--finds out that a movie is being made in Hollywood about his parents. The gentle soul escapes mails himself to the set and "reanimates" his parents by reading an ancient voodoo inscription on his necklace. After a quick inspection of their child's Barbie-doll crotch fails to settle the gender conundrum Chucky and Tiffany name it Glen-Glenda (a nod to hack director Ed Wood) and begin to bludgeon set folk. Tiffany is flattered that her favorite actress Jennifer Tilly is playing her in the movie and they devise a plan to capture the Oscar nominee and impregnate her with yes the seed of Chucky. Will Glen-Glenda take up the family vocation and help turkey-baste Tilly and eviscerate everyone in sight or will Papa Chucky push the troubled tyke one bloody step too far?
You can thank or blame Jennifer Tilly for reinvigorating this series when she shamelessly hammed it up in Bride of Chucky as Tiffany's human form. Here she takes it one step further by playing an exaggerated (we hope) caricature of herself and someone should hand her an award for her spirited self-deprecation. She bites into the opportunity with demented gusto as she endures cracks about her weight airy voice promiscuity and career relevance. "I should have played Erin Brokovich--I could have done it without the Wonderbra " she seethes about Julia Roberts to Redman the "rapper/director" who is thinking about casting Roberts as the Virgin Mary in his biblical flick. To change his mind Tilly uses her home as a casting couch and brings Redman over for some very un-virginal antics. As the two sip champagne and nibble on each other the rapper admits that his favorite Tilly flick is Bound. "Bound? Yeah everyone loves that one " she coos. "Me and Gina [Gershon] are very close friends. Gee maybe the three of us could hang out." Tilly's personal assistant tells her that she's going to hell for putting out to play the Virgin Mary. "Hell " says Tilly "would be ending up on Celebrity Fear Factor in a worm-eating contest with Anna Nicole Smith." It's in these moments when Tilly takes jabs at herself and Hollywood that you wish someone would cast her in more comedies pronto. In the other roles Billy Boyd makes ambiguously sexual Glen-Glenda almost sympathetic A Dirty Shame director John Waters expertly plays a slimy paparazzo and Redman just looks well confused about whether he should play it straight or follow Tilly over the top.
Writer Don Mancini who penned the entire Chucky oeuvre steps up to the director's plate for the first time with Seed. From the title sequence which features animated doll sperm racing through a vagina it is apparent that this is going to be another unapologetic unabashed camp encounter of the crass kind. It's never once scary or even suspenseful but Mancini isn't shy about spilling gore for shock value like the steaming disembowelment of Redman or John Waters' sulfuric acid-eaten face. He gets laughs as Glen struggles with his parents' killing addiction which culminates in an inevitable Baby Jane makeover and subsequent conniption. Pop-culture and movie refs abound such as when Chucky hacks through a door with an ax a la The Shining and "can't think of anything to say." Some jokes fall flat like when Chucky runs a Britney Spears look-alike's car over a cliff and he utters "Oops I did it again " but we appreciate mean-spirited ridicule of banal pop blips nonetheless.