Some very serious allegations are being thrown at the creator/writer of HBO's True Detective series, Nic Pizzolatto. While Pizzolatto has acknowledged the influence of horror writer Thomas Ligotti on his work for the series, some people are now saying that the "influence" is actually plagiarism.
Mike Davis of The Lovecraft E-zine has written a strong argument highlighting some troubling moments in the script, and he's also been working with the founder of Thomas Ligotti online.
He cites the famous car ride scene in the first episode as one example of Pizzolatto's plagairism:
"It is a fact that (in that crucial, character-defining scene) almost every one of Rust’s infamous lines is either taken word for word or is a paraphrase of Ligotti’s distinctive prose and ideas from 'The Conspiracy Against the Human Race.'"
You can read the full article here and decide for yourself. Did Pizzolatto plagiarize some of the best moments from True Detective?
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The year 2013 has been good to several actors. A number of Hollywood's best and brightest have had big roles in at least two films, some of these turns much more impressive than others. For each actor, we pit these roles against one another, and after much discussion, and break-room fisticuffs, we decided a winner. So which roles came out on top?
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) vs. Rosalyn Rosenfeld (American Hustle)
Katniss is a fierce competitor and is tasked to be the symbol of a burgening revolution, but Rosalyn is a gale force wind of pure charisma, and she could have the entire world wrapped around her little finger if she wanted. We get the feeling she could topple dictatorships and fell regimes without needing a bow and arrow. Plus, using weapons would totally mess up her clear coat and she can't have that. She just can't.
Winner: Rosalyn Rosenfeld
Barbara Sugarman (Don Jon) vs. Samantha (Her)
Barbara is a no-nonsense Jersey girl with strong opinions about how her man should conduct herself, but Johansson really flexes her acting muscles when she's limited to a voice-only role as Samantha in Her. In Spike Jonze's latest, she perfectly captures what it's like to be a person trapped in circuitry, yet yearning for real, tangible love.
Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street) vs. Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)
Both Belfort and Gatsby only saw the color green, but while Jay built his wealth in the pursuit for Daisy from accross the bay, Belfort wallowed in the depravity of extreme greed for the relentless hunt for the almighty dollar, preaching his sermon of wealth to his baptized followers. Gatsby was lavish for sure, but Belfort made being despicable look like a hell of a lot of fun before it all came crashing down around his ears.
Winner: Jordan Belfort
Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (The Heat) vs. Dr. Ryan Stone (Gravity)
Agent Ashburn was the kind of straight-laced stick in the mud that everyone loves the hate until Det. Shannon Mullins teaches her to stop being such a "Naach" and loosen up a little, but Ryan Stone's journey from depressed scientist to fierce survivor was probably the most life-affirming thing at the movies this year.
Winner: Dr. Ryan Stone
Russell Baze (Out of the Furnace) vs. Irving Rosenfeld (American Hustle)
Russell Baze is a blue collar working stiff who goes up against a terrifyingly evil version of Woody Harrelson, but there's something electric in Bale's performance as Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle. Irving might have gotten the short shrift in terms of '70s hairdos in the movie, but he works that wispy comb-over of his like nobody's business.
Winner: Irving Rosenfeld
Ron Woodroof (Dallas Buyers Club) vs. Mark Hanna (The Wolf of Wall Street) vs. Mud (Mud)Matthew McConaughey is fun as Mark Hanna, an experienced stock broker who teaches Leo's Jordan Belfort the basic philosiphies of scheming suckers and taking barells of illicit substances in The Wolf of Wall Street. He's also hits the mark as island hobo (don't call him a bum) in the adventure story Mud. But the actor really shines as the emaciated cowboy who starts an HIV drug trafficking ring in Dallas Buyers Club.
Winner: Ron Woodroof
FBI agent Richard DiMaso (American Hustle) vs. Phil Wenneck (The Hangover Part III) vs. Avery Cross (The Place Beyond the Pines)
We've seen Cooper play the straght man opposite The Hangover's gaggle of weirdos in two movies already, so he's wasn't really breaking new ground as Phil Wenneck in the last film. In Place Beyond the Pines, Cooper is outshined by the far more charismatic Handsome Luke character, played by Ryan Gosling. But the actor is truly exciting as the manic and ambitious FBI agent Richard DiMaso, who seeks to create the bust of the century by recruiting some cornered con men.
Winner: Richard DiMaso
Yes, we all know that Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson know how to kick some serious ass in the Panem arena, but that's just child's play. The toughest arena out there is the infamous Saturday Night Live stage in Studio 8H. Many go in, but only few come out with their heads held high.
Competitors come from far and wide to wield their comedy swords against the fierce beast that is Lorne Michaels, eager to prove that they have what it takes to be both an esteemed performer and a relatable human being. Hunger Games stars such as Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, and Lenny Kravitz have taken to the stage before, and soon their fellow dystopia resident Hutcherson is set to master comedy on a chilly Saturday night. While all of our Hunger Games actors might claim to have a funny bone or two, only one can come out victorious. So who will it be?
Jennifer LawrenceSome might jump the gun and announce J-Law the victor without a second thought, but unfortunately, her natural good humor might just be tricking us into believing that she is the funniest of them all. Lawrence has what it takes to tackle the media and film, but her performance on SNL in January 2013 proved that nerves can get the best of all of us. After handling her monologue with questionable capability, Lawrence exhibited a handful of sketches that were surprisingly awkward. However, she delivered her sketch dressed up as dog quite well. Lawrence is one of those actors who doesn't care if she looks silly (or so we're lead to believe), so her confidence adds 10 points to whatever she's doing.
Woody HarrelsonDon't let the resident Hunger Games sourpuss fool you — Harrelson knows how to make a crowd laugh. Not only did he host in 1989 before either Lawrence or Hutcherson were born, but he took the stage by storm once again in 1992. During his first stint, his monologue consisted of a song mostly inspired from reading a thesaurus, and in 1992 he showed that he wasn't afraid to show some skin when he whipped off his shirt in a sketch aptly titled, "Take off Your Shirt." Not to mention that he was aided by the comedy gold that is Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, and Nora Dunn.
Lenny KravitzKravitz is definitely the wildcard in the pack. The singer and actor has never hosted the late-night variety show, but he has been the musical guest twice and has cameoed in sketches. Additionally, he showed his comedy skills when he played a considerable part in Jimmy Kimmel's "Handsome Men's Club" sketch on his talk show. However, until we're able to see Kravitz take on the role of host, we're not sure that he would be able to beat out the other tributes.
Julianne MooreMoore entered the battlefield in 1998 and proved that she can hold her own up against the likes of Tim Meadows, Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon, Cheri Oteri, and Darrell Hammond. Moore made her mark in "The Ladies' Man" sketch where she appeared in a sultry red dress in a bed alongside Meadows, and in the famous Gasteyer and Shannon sketch "The Delicious Dish" where she skillfully bantered on the radio as a brainwashed cult member. (Not to mention that she was paired up with musical guest Backstreet Boys, who were at their prime in the late '90s. Anyone that's deemed good enough for Backstreet Boys in 1998 must be doing something right.)
Josh HutchersonThis tribute is certainly the newest to the battle (and the youngest), but we have high hopes in his comedy skills. In his promos for SNL, he seemed like a complete natural next seasoned Bobby Moynihan. Moynihan puts him through the "SNL Initiation" to see if he's up for the challenge, and the good news is that he passes all of the tests with flying colors, which makes us think that he'll be quite the competitor.
Winner: Julianne Moore (mostly because we think she has the experience to handle anything), although we can't count out Hutcherson until this weekend when he hosts SNL alongside musical guest HAIM on Nov. 23 on NBC.
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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There may have been a time when Zoe Saldana was pegged as just another pretty face in Hollywood. By now, we all know the type: gorgeous, thin, kinda racially ambiguous, and talented enough to make it all work. But it seems that the actress has no intention of playing eye candy any longer. Over the past few years she's taken on projects like The Words and Colombiana, and even her roles in Avatar and the Star Trek franchise have allowed her to branch out. Considering the movies she has lined up right now, it looks like Zoe is making some truly exciting career moves. Here's a look at three new movies we can all get psyched about.
The web practically exploded with rage when it was announced that Zoe Saldana would be taking on the role of legendary jazz singer and activist Nina Simone in the upcoming biopic, due mostly to the fact that Saldana is lighter-skinned and more conventionally Hollywood-pretty than the fierce and fabulous Simone. Now that the fury has died down, and Zoe herself has spoken out about her decision to take the lead in Nina, we can't help but get excited about the movie. At the very least, it seems only fair that audiences take Zoe's advice and see the film before passing judgment. Here's hoping that Zoe -- a completely capable actress -- surprises the naysayers.
Starring alongside Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard, and Clive Owen, Zoe joins a seriously impressive cast in the new film from French director Guillaume Canet. The Brooklyn-set crime drama will be a gritty new look for Zoe, but she also brings some romance to the film, playing lover to Billy Crudup's character Frank.
Out Of The Furnace
It is impossible to not get excited about this one. Zoe will be in excellent company with Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, and Forest Whitaker on board. Although she's playing another love interest, we expect things to get really intense, really fast, and Zoe will certainly have the opportunity to prove that she can play hard with the big boys.
More:Zoe Saldana Speaks Out On Nina Simone RoleMarion Cotillard Has Exciting New Films In The WorksZoe Saldana And Her Sister Head Into The Production Biz
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After the central story of Nucky Thompson's conflicted enmity with protegee Jimmy Darmody was set to an ill-conceived rest, the show seemed to have set in place a new "villain of the season" formula - a phenomenon we could more or less guess was set to become tradition even in its first incarnation, Season 3's Gyp Rosetti, played by Bobby Cannavale. Already upping the ante in both quality and quantity, Season 4 seems to be presenting a dichotomy of danger in its two newest and most interesting characters. First, we have the way-younger-than-he-looks Brian Geraghty as Prohibition Agent Warren Knox, a character who puts on a dopey shtick (think Woody Harrelson in Cheers) to cover up his sinister, corrupt internality (think Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers). A fun watch in the contrast of his doe-eyed demeanor and his sociopathic machinations, Knox's introduction into the life of Nucky this week gives us hope for Boardwalk's fourth season. Whereas Gyp Rosetti was a firecracker who just kept acting loonier, dissolving his actions of any real surprise or emotional impact, Knox seems far more unpredictable. We don't know his angle. We just know he has one.
Also creeping his way into Nucky Thompson's life is one Dr. Valentin Narcisse, who takes a more sophisticated, almost Bond villain-like approach to criminality. Narcisse represents Cora Pastor — the woman who entangled Dunn Purnsley in a perverse act of sadomasochism that provoked him to kill her husband — not to mention an impassioned albeit slow-cooking movement for the progression of blacks in America. Narcisse views himself, and Nucky, as a king, bent on seizing the coveted Atlantic throne. Again, Narcisse is already proving to be a good deal more fun than Rosetti was. Sure, we've seen the eloquent and poised evil mastermind explored time and time again in film and television, but there's an added bonus here: Jeffrey Wright. A cinematic vet who could very well make the stoic, soft-spoken Narcisse into something more than a rehashed trope.
Another perk of this week's episode: its reunion with one of the series' best characters and performers: Nelson Van Alden/Harold Muller, played consistently charmingly by Michael Shannon. The disgraced lawman has become a glorified thug for Chicago's Irish mobster O'Banion... but succumbs to the threats and calls of Chicago's Italian crook Al Capone. Wading between two crime kingpins is not exactly an ideal lot, especially for the psychologically rattled Van Alden, who has got two children and a wife to care for. And ugh, that apartment does need a good wall papering.
Which of this season's new baddies are you gearing up to enjoy the most? The dopey crooked cop or the affluent, poised crime genius?
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On September 6 the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival kicks off, bringing with it a bevy of A-list star power and some of this year's biggest, buzziest movies, not to mention early Oscar contenders. The festival, now in its 37th year, will present 372 films over the span of just 11 days. So which films playing at the world's second most prominent festival (right behind the incomparable Cannes) should movie buffs be paying closest attention to? We've narrowed them down: Argo: Ben Affleck's movie about the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis has taken off first in the Oscar race. The film by Affleck, who is pulling double duty once again as star and director, already earned raves at the Telluride Film Festival, making TIFF audiences even more eager to see what the ensemble drama has in store. (In addition to Affleck, Argo stars Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Kyle Chandler, and Alan Arkin). A good showing at TIFF could give Argo an even bigger boost. Over the past few years, Best Picture winners The Artist, The King's Speech, The Hurt Locker, and Slumdog Millionaire all picked up steam in the Oscar race after a warm reception at TIFF. To The Wonder: Affleck is part of not one, but two of this year's can't miss films at TIFF. The actor stars alongside Rachel McAdams (also pulling a TIFF double-header with Brian De Palma's Passion) and Javier Bardem in the drama about a man who returns to his hometown after his failed marriage to a European woman. But it's not the marquee stars that are drawing attention to the project, but its elusive Oscar nominated director Terrence Malick. His sixth feature comes just one short year after his masterpiece Tree of Life was released, making it the shortest amount of time Malick fans have ever had to wait for one of his films. So you'd better believe this will be one hot ticket at TIFF. The Master: Paul Thomas Anderson, another brilliant filmmaker whose projects are few and far between, but always worth the wait (it's been five long years since the glorious There Will Be Blood) also has a film at this year's TIFF and, boy, does it look like a total knockout. (We've had chills just watching the trailers and clips). PTA's already intriguing The Master which is totally not about Scientology stars Philip Seymour Hoffman (also starring in buzzy TIFF feature A Late Quartet) as a the leader of a religion that is not Scientology. Did we mention it's not about Scientology? No matter, this one is not to be missed. Seven Psychopaths: Martin McDonagh's first full length feature, 2008's bloody good black dramedy In Bruges was not only a critical darling (it earned McDonagh an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and Colin Farrell a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical) but quickly earned status as a cult favorite. His follow-up Seven Psychopaths — stars Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Gabouey Sidibe and re-teams him with Farrell — is a dark comedy about a dognapping scheme gone awry in Los Angeles. Hey, at least they're not in f***ing Bruges. Cloud Atlas: One of this year's most anticipated films has fans of David Mitchell's beloved book of the same name waiting with baited breath. How will The Matrix masters The Wachowskis possibly be able to pull off the multi-layered, centuries-spanning tale for the big screen? The ambitious undertaking stars Oscar winners Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, and Hugo Weaving, among others. Eager moviegoers will find out at TIFF if the 164 minute running time (!) can match the intensity of the five minute-long trailer. The Silver Linings Playbook: No matter what there is to make of David O. Russell's off-screen antics, he has undeniably capture the attention and admiration of movie buffs and critics alike with works like Three Kings, The Fighter, and I Heart Huckabees. The Oscar-nominated writer/director's latest, Silver Linings Playbook, stars hot commodities Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper as two people grappling with mental health issues. The quirky dramedy could be the indie breakout of the fest. The Iceman: Ariel Vroman's The Iceman — pun completely intended — looks downright chilling. Based on the haunting true story of notorious hitman Richard Kuklinski, the film stars an Oscar-primed Michael Shannon (as Kuklinski), an unrecognizable Chris Evans, and an eclectic supporting cast that includes James Franco, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, David Schwimmer, and Stephen Dorff. The Iceman cometh to TIFF and festival attendees would be wise to goeth. The Impossible: While The Impossible isn't the only natural disaster film to play at TIFF (Aftershock does as well) nor is it the first to broach trying to capture the horrors of the devastating 2004 earthquake and tsunami (a story line Clint Eastwood's Hereafter dealt with the tragedy) but Juan Antonio Bayona's telling of an amazing true life story of a family during the disaster won't be one to miss. Starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, The Impossible will be a certified tearjerker that could very well capture the attention of the Academy as its starts its journey on the festival circuit. The Perks of Being a Wallflower: No, it may not be an Oscar contender like some of the other TIFF features, but like fellow TIFF entry On the Road, Perks is a beloved novel finally being brought to the big screen. With young talent like Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Emma Watson (in her first post-Harry Potter effort) on board, positive early buzz on Perks could turn the adaptation of Stephen Chbosky's book into a sleeper hit. Plus, with all the heavy fare playing at this year's fest, Perks could be a welcome, and much-needed, break for moviegoers. Much Ado About Nothing: We know, we know, haven't we seen this before? Sure, Shakespeare's classic has gotten the big screen treatment before, but never one that's a modern retelling from none other than Joss Whedon. Whedon, who is already having a banner year with The Avengers, is using some of the best actors from his arsenal of classics (including the likes of Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, and Clark Gregg) for the black and white flick. Movie geeks — assemble! Honorable mentions: Be sure to keep an eye out for some of these year's other must-see TIFF films including Cannes' Palme d'Or winner Amour; early Best Actor contenders like John Hawkes in The Sessions and Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt; early Best Actress contenders Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone and Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina; Lee Daniels' foray into noir, The Paperboy (yes, that one with Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron); the Blue Valentine reunion of Ryan Gosling and director Derek Cianfrance in The Place Beyond the Pines; David Ayers' latest cop flick End of Watch starring Jake Gyllenhaal; West of Memphis, the latest documentary on the always compelling West Memphis 3 case; and the film kicking off the fest, the mind-bending Blade Runner homage, Looper starring — who else? — Joseph Gordon-Levitt. [Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]More: Toronto Film Festival 2012: 'On the Road', Michael Jackson Documentary 'Bad 25' Added to Lineup Toronto Film Festival 2012: Films From Affleck, Redford, Malick Among the Lineup 'Cloud Atlas' Collides Past, Present & Future in an Epic Six Minutes — TRAILER
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.
Both movies are up for Best Film, alongside The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Moneyball, Midnight in Paris, Shame and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy while Drive's Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks are among the nominees for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively.
Competing with Gosling for the Best Actor trophy will be George Clooney (The Descendants), Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar), Michael Fassbender (Shame), Brendon Gleeson (The Guard), Tom Hardy (Warrior), Woody Harrelson (Rampart), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Brad Pitt (Moneyball) and Michael Shannon (Take Shelter).
The Best Actress prize will be a fight between Olivia Colman (Tyrannosaur), Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Vera Farmiga (Higher Ground), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Charlize Theron (Young Adult), Emily Watson (Oranges & Sunshine), Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) and Michelle Yeoh (The Lady).
The Descendants, Shame and The Artist each have six nominations, while The Help and Hugo have five apiece.
Leading the Satellite's TV nominations are dramas Justified, Downton Abbey and Mildred Pierce with four nominations each.
Downton Abbey and Mildred Pierce will compete with Cinema Verite, Page Eight, Thurgood and Too Big To Fail for the Best Miniseries/Motion Picture Made for Television gong, while Justified will battle with Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Friday Night Lights, Sons of Anarchy and Treme for the Best Television Series, Drama prize.
The Big C, Community, Episodes, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Louis and Modern Family will compete for Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical.
Special Achievement Awards will be handed out to Mitzi Gaynor (Mary Pickford Award), Peter Bogdanovich (Auteur Award), late filmmaker and photojournalist Tim Hetherington (Humanitarian Award), Jessica Lange (Outstanding Performance in a TV Series for American Horror Story), the cast of The Help (Best Ensemble) and Paddy Considine (Best First Feature for Tyrannosaur).
The 16th annual Satellite Awards will be held on 18 December (11) at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Both movies will go head-to-head for Best Feature, alongside Beginners, Drive, 50/50 and The Descendants, while filmmakers Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) and Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) will compete for Best Director against Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive), Mike Mills (Beginners), and Alexander Payne (The Descendants).
Take Shelter star Michael Shannon will battle it out with Ryan Gosling (Drive) and Woody Harrelson (Rampart) for the Best Male honour, while the female category will see Michelle Williams up against Elizabeth Olsen for their leading roles in My Week With Marilyn and Martha Marcy May Marlene, respectively.
Meanwhile, director J.C. Chandor's Margin Call has been named the recipient of the Robert Altman Award, which recognises the director, casting director and ensemble cast.
George Clooney's The Descendants, Drive, Beginners and Martha Marcy May Marlene each received a total of four nods when the shortlist was announced on Tuesday (29Nov11).
To be eligible for an Independent Spirit nod, all films must have been made for less than $20 million (£12.5 million). Movies must have either screened at a major film festival including Sundance, Toronto or Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival or run for at least a week at a commercial theatre.
The winners will be unveiled at a ceremony in Santa Monica, California on 25 February (12) - on the eve of the 2012 Academy Awards.