LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - The latest "Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" teaser explores the concept of "choice" -- pondering who actually has one in the desperate fight against the Capitol. In the new trailer, the rebels of District 13 witness Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) acting as a mouthpiece for President Snow (Donald Sutherland) in a piece of propaganda, prompting Gale (Liam Hemsworth) to condemn him for making that choice when he knows what's at stake.
But while Peeta is left without options, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) still has the freedom to take a stand and launch a rescue attempt, insisting that "when you love somebody, you don't leave them behind."
"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" hits theaters on November 21.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - When Matthew McConaughey began receiving raves for a string of dramatic roles in films like "Mud," "Killer Joe" and "Dallas Buyers Club," there were many who praised the actor for turning his back on the romantic comedies that helped make him a star. McConaughey himself was not one of them.
"I love those movies," he said in an interview with Variety in January, shortly before winning the Academy Award, praising hits like "The Wedding Planner" and "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." He even defended the ones that weren't as well received. " 'Failure to Launch' got panned, but I like it!"
McConaughey is well aware of the spin that others try to put on his career; that he abandoned easy roles and paychecks for darker parts. "The narrative that people keep wanting to get at is the then and now," he said. "The then and now narrative is that romcoms aren't critical hits and they're easy. And they're not."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - James Gunn didn't shy away from teasing spoilers about his "Guardians of the Galaxy" sequel at Variety's Entertainment & Technology Summit Tuesday.
"It's going to be a really surprising open. What happens is all the characters are killed in the first 10 minutes," Gunn joked. "In really horribly brutal fashion."
Jokes aside, Gunn confirmed that all five original Guardians will be back, along with unspecified other characters from the first film, and that fans may see the team adding members. Gunn also said the new film will uncover some secrets posed in the first.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Spoiler Warning: Do not read on unless you've seen "The Walking Dead" season five, episode two, titled "Strangers."
After the adrenaline rush of last week's season premiere, "Strangers" gives our newly expanded group some much-needed breathing room, but as Abraham presciently points out during the hour, whenever our survivors get a chance to slow down, "shit inevitably goes down."
In the aftermath of the escape from Terminus, forgiveness is in the air; Rick and Maggie officially welcome Tara into the group despite her previous association with the Governor -- an especially poignant act of grace for Maggie, given what the Governor did to Hershel -- and Tyreese insists that the rest of the gang must forgive Carol for her actions back at the prison. Rick also shares another meaningful moment with Carol (during which she finally returns his long-lost watch), telling her that he owes her everything for helping to bring Judith back safely. Carol gives Tyreese most of the credit, but Rick recognizes the lengths she's gone to for the safety of her companions, simply offering her a "thank you" that contains multitudes.
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - When it comes to sex and violence, the more parents see, the less they care.
That's the takeaway form a new study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center on the attitudes that parents of children aged 6 to 18 have towards film content that may be objectionable or disturbing.
Researchers showed bloody or erotic scenes from PG-13 and R-rated movies such as "8 Mile," "Collateral," "Die Hard" and "Casino Royale" to 1,000 parents and found that they grew desensitized as the body count mounted and sexual activity heated up. The research was conducted online last January.
Brent LangLOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Brad Pitt and a squadron of up-and-coming actors held off "Gone Girl" at the multiplexes this weekend as "Fury" topped box office charts with a $23.5 million debut.
Despite surrendering first place after two weeks wearing the crown, "Gone Girl" showed some impressive stamina. David Fincher's adaptation of Gillian Flynn's best-selling mystery dropped just 32% to $17.8 million. Its total now stands at $107.1 million and is striking distance of surpassing "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" ($127.5 million) as Fincher's highest-grossing domestic release. Water cooler effect achieved.
"It's one of those movies that it's so provocative that if you haven't seen it yet, you have to in order to be part of the conversation," said Chris Aronson, distribution chief at 20th Century Fox, the studio behind "Gone Girl." "It's as simple as that."
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Brad Pitt's World War II drama "Fury" is ruling the battlefield.
"Fury" opened to No. 1 at the U.S. box office on Friday -- ahead of two-time champ "Gone Girl" and newcomer "The Book of Life" -- with $8.8 million. This includes $1.2 million from Thursday night showings. The tank tale looks to haul $25 million in its debut weekend.
Pitt stars as an army sergeant who commands a Sherman tank and a five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines in Germany during the end of WWII. This is a record opening for director David Ayer, who wrote and directed 2012's "End of Watch" and scripted "Training Day." The movie also stars Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman and Michael Pena.
The 23rd annual Philadelphia Film Festival kicked off yesterday. Hosted by the Philadelphia Film Society, the 10-day festival will bring hundreds of films from all over the world to screens here in Philadelphia and our suburbs. We got the inside scoop from PFF Artistic Director Michael Lerman on what LGBT flicks are not to be missed in this year’s festival. From British lesbian erotica to a Brazilian coming-of-age story to a campy road trip set in Greece, this year’s festival has a lot of gay to experiment with.
"The Way He Looks:" Daniel Ribero’s "The Way He Looks" is the simple, sweet story of a blind teenager trying to gain independence from his family while fostering a secret crush on a boy in his class. Leonardo has been blind since birth and relies on his best friend Giovana for guidance, both physically and emotionally. When new student and heartthrob Gabriel shows up at school one day, Leo quickly develops a crush and complications soon arise. "The Way He Looks" is an affectionate coming-of-age story that reminds us of the complications of falling in love for the first time. Run time: 96 minutes. In Portuguese with subtitles. Friday, Oct. 17 at 2:30 p.m. (Ritz Bourse) and Friday, Oct. 24 at 6:40 p.m. (Ritz East).