This week, Cineast offers previews of the new movies The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, Horrible Bosses 2 and Reach Me. Read synopses and watch the trailers.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1
It has been reported that Francis Lawrence, who directed The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, refused to create a CGI Phillip Seymour Hoffman to fill in missing scenes for the deceased Hoffman, who died while working on the film. True, it may have been a bit of a macabre spectacle to create such a PSH simulation, but given the otherwise completely fabricated imagery and video game-like action that pervades the film, it’s a little hard to see why Lawrence drew the line where he did. There are very few scenes in the film that go by without heavy doses of digital enhancement and action. And, while we are assured that it is the real Hoffman playing in every scene he appears in, audiences could be forgiven for harboring doubts about whether the wild-eyed version of Donald Sutherland that appears in the film is that actor himself—it could just as easily be the frightening Donald Sutherland fever-dream of some hyper-caffeinated digital animator who mistakenly took the brown acid. So why not a digital Phillip Seymour Hoffman? The expense of creating such a thing would obviously have been enormous, but surely, once perfected, it could be easily used in many more films. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 also features Woody Harrelson, or a grizzled, drawling computer representation of same.
Horrible Bosses 2
Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis are back for more in Horrible Bosses 2. The trio spent the first installment of the series as lowly employees dealing with their horrible bosses, but now they’ve cast off their managers and are looking to go into business for themselves. Together, they’ve designed a sort of plumbing accessory they call a “shower buddy,” although there is some disagreement over the name—“shower daddy” is favored by the volatile Charlie Day character. Now they’re looking for an investor to get their product to market. Of course, what is an investor if not a horrible boss with, if anything, less concern for the fates of those in his power—the dreams of entrepreneurial success soon turn to dust as the trio’s investor makes off with their idea and goes to market without them. Revenge takes the form of a kidnapping scheme straight out of the old Dolly Parton film 9 to 5.
A cast that might remind you of the ’70s TV movie-of-the-week model: Sly Stallone, Nelly, Tom Berenger, Kyra Sedgwick, Kelsey Grammer, Danny Aiello—sorry, no Dick van Patten. This accumulation of marquee names is put into service in what seems like both a tribute to and a satire of self-help books. Reach Me looks pretty weird.