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Trailer Talk: This Week In Movies - 'The Hunger Games,' 'The Raid: Redemption,' & More

March 19th, 2012 11:00am EDT

The Hunger Games Poster Honestly I didn’t have high hopes for the Jonah Hill/Channing Tatum comedy “21 Jump Street,” but I was very pleasantly surprised last week. I laughed my ass off at the antics of the two hapless cops sent back to high school on an undercover mission. Equal parts parody and homage, it simultaneously mocks buddy cop movie clichés and celebrates them. Hill and Tatum are the perfect team, thoroughly convincing you that they’re best buds. My Grade: B+

Things have quieted down a bit at the box office this week in terms of the number of films coming out, but I think a lot of that has to do with the highly anticipated release of “The Hunger Games.” Given all of the fan fever surrounding it, I get the feeling not too many other studios wanted to compete against it. If “The Hunger Games” isn’t your cup of tea though, you’ll get the chance to see the Indonesian action flick “The Raid: Redemption,” the Rachel Weisz romantic drama “The Deep Blue Sea,” and the pro-life drama “October Baby.”

MY PICK FOR THE WEEK: The Raid: Redemption

THE HUNGER GAMES

In a not-too-distant future, a weakened North American has been divided into a nation called Panem, comprised of the Capital and 12 districts. Every year two young people from each district are chosen by lottery to compete in The Hunger Games, a brutal television competition to the death. When her 16-year-old sister is chosen to participate, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her place. After joining forces with her male counterpart Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the two must fight against bigger, stronger opponents who have trained their whole lives for this event.

Director/Writer: Gary Ross (“Seabiscuit,” “Pleasantville”)

Co-Writers: Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), Billy Ray (“State of Play,” “Breach”)

Based On: The popular novel by Suzanne Collins

Notable Supporting Actors: Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Toby Jones, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland

ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. I can’t say the concept for this story is super original since it very closely mimics the Japanese tale “Battle Royale,” in which high schoolers are forced to kill one another until only one is left standing. However this trailer differentiates the picture with its highly stylized future, filled with larger than life characters like Casear Flickerman (Tucci) and Effie Trinket (Banks). This trailer gives people who love the book a taste of the visual styles and an introduction to the actress playing their beloved Katniss without giving too much away. Alternatively it also provides you enough to understand what’s happening even if you haven’t really read The Hunger Games. Given the involvement of Suzanne Collins and the passionate commitment to the project by director Gary Ross, I have high hopes for this flick.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Fans of Suzanne Collins’ book series should be the first in line to see this film. If you haven’t read the novels, but you appreciate situations where children are forced to kill on another for survival like in the movies “Battle Royale” and “Lord of the Flies,” then you should watch “The Hunger Games.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Opening night.

THE RAID: REDEMPTION

A SWAT team gets trapped inside a tenement run by a merciless mobster and his army of murderous thugs.

Director/Writer: Gareth Evans (“Merantau,” “Footsteps”)

ORIGINALITY RATING: Medium. Though it slightly reminds me of “District B13” combined with “Cell 211,” this flick looks pretty freakin’ badass. The trailer keeps it simple with its initial titles, “20 Elite Cops,” “1 Ruthless Druglord,” and “30 Floors of Chaos,” painting a vivid picture of what’s in store. Then it hammers home these points with fast-paced music and extremely well-choreographed fight scenes which illustrate what a nasty situation these cops are walking into. Even though it’s in Indonesian with English subtitles, this thriller looks like a nail-biter that I can’t wait to see.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Action junkies who enjoy lots of hand-to-hand combat. If you love intense crime thrillers and you don’t mind reading subtitle, then you should seek out “The Raid: Redemption.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Opening night.

THE DEEP BLUE SEA

The wife of a British Judge (Rachel Weisz) becomes caught in a destructive love affair with a Royal Air Force Pilot (Tom Hiddleston).

Director/Writer: Terence Davies (“Of Time and the City,” “The House of Mirth”)

Based On: A play by Terence Rattigan

ORIGINALITY RATING: Low. It seems like perhaps the simplicity of this trailer is meant to copy the bare bones set pieces and props that you’d find in a play, like the one the movie is based on. Unfortunately the trailer it really doesn’t give you much information on the story or the characters to get you interested. There’s nothing really there to differentiate this tale of sordid affair from others out there.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Viewers looking for something more serious and less action-filled this weekend. If you like actress Rachel Weisz in everything she’s in, or you love the Terence Rattigan play on which this movie is based, then you should catch “The Deep Blue Sea.”

WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait for DVD.

OCTOBER BABY

A college freshman’s life changes after she learns that she is the adopted survivor of an attempted abortion.

Co-Directors: Andrew and Jon Erwin (“The Mysterious Islands”)

Writers: Theresa Preston and Jon Erwin

Based On: A story by Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin, and Cecil Stokes

Production Company: Provident Films (“Courageous,” “Fireproof”)

ORIGINALITY FACTOR: Medium. The main character certainly finds herself in a unique position of surviving an abortion, something that hasn’t really been explored on screen. However the remainder of this movie looks like your average drama about an adopted child trying to find their birth parents. What the trailer promotes is one part love story, another part road trip, and a third part dealing with the moral/ethical repercussions of the decisions made this young woman’s birth mother. I’m not particularly sold on this sappy looking drama being anything special.

WHO SHOULD SEE IT: Audiences that dig the faith-based plots of films like “Courageous” and “Fireproof.” If you are someone who is steadfastly pro-life, then “October Baby” is the drama for you this weekend.

WHEN TO SEE IT: Wait for DVD.

Related: Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Gary Ross, Jennifer Lawrence, October Baby, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, The Deep Blue Sea, The Hunger Games, The Raid: Redemption, Woody Harrelson, Starpulse Exclusives, Movies, Movie Trailers, Columns, Weekend Movie Preview

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Photo Credits: © Lions Gate Entertainment

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