Lionsgate’s ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,’ a spellbinding journey to love, arrives in theaters November 27, 2013

HungerGames: Catching Fire

Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, in theaters November 22, 2013.

*The sequel to The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, is a spellbinding journey to love set in a similar but alternative world where the rich use the poor for sport and games. Academy Award winning Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen winner of the 74th Annual Hunger Games when she was only 16. She will embark on a “Victors’ Tour,” that ends with an unplanned 75th Annual Hunger Games consisting of the last 75 years of winners. Fellow winner Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, is on the “tour” with her. Lionsgate’s presentation of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire brings to life the second book in the best-selling trilogy by Suzanne Collins; it arrives in theaters November 22, 2013.

Also starring in the sequel is Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne; Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson as the unstable victor Haymitch Abernathy; Elizabeth Banks as the flamboyant Effie Trinket the hostess of the games; David Sutherland as President Snow, and Grammy Award winning Lenny Kravitz as Cinna the stylist for Katniss.

“I have a design company,” said American Music Award winning Rock legend Lenny Kravitz when asked if he really had skills as a stylist. “I started the company 13 years ago…I’ve designed condominiums, furniture, wall paper… I just designed the set of ‘The Queen Latifah Show.’”

Katniss’ reading off Effie’s cue-card at the ceremonies sparks a small rebellion that grows. President Snow has plans to stop the rebellion with a 75th Hunger Games reunion of all winners, a game that would have no victors. Cinna, the stylist, even rebels by designing a dress with a surprise. During the game a deep bond is formed between Katniss and fellow games partner Peeta, as well as a sacrificial friendship between the other victors.

Surprises are in store in Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire which also stars Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jeffrey Wright; Tony Award winner Amanda Plummer; Jena Malone, and veteran actress Lynn Cohen.

The Color Force/Lionsgate production is executive produced by Nina Jacobson, directed by Francis Lawrence, screenplay written by Simon Beaufoy and Michael deBruyn, and produced by Jacobson and Jon Kilik. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is Rated-PG-13  

Fox Searchlight’s Black Nativity has a stellar cast offering performances of a lifetime, arrives in theaters November 27, 2013

black nativity scene

Church scene from the Fox Searchlight presentation of Black Nativity.

*“I was honored,” said three time Grammy Award nominee Tyrese Gibson about his role as the estranged father of the lead character, Langston, in the Fox Searchlight presentation of Black Nativity. Black Nativity is based on the Langston Hughes play of the same name. “I was on the set of Fast and Furious in London. She (Kasi Lemmons) wrote it for me. I got the script and it had Tyrese… This role is my answer to a prayer. I want the audience to be inspired…it’s the Spirit of God through music.”

Black Nativity is a contemporary musical starring Gibson, Jennifer Hudson, Jacob Latimore, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, NAS (Nasir Jones) and Mary J. Blige.  The outstanding music is executive produced by Raphael Saadiq.

“Raphael was there to provide me with coaching, that was helpful,” said Golden Globe winning Angela Bassett about her singing performance in the film. “It goes back to the story, the message you’re trying to convey. It’s such a beautiful song… you just imagine what the situation is.”

Directed and written by Kasi Lemmons Black Nativity is a holiday musical drama that follows young Langston, played by Jacob Latimore, a streetwise teen from Baltimore raised by a single mother. He has to journey to his mother’s parents’ house for the holiday. The grand-parents are Rev. Cornell, played by Forest Whitaker, and his wife Aretha, played by Angeles Bassett. They live in New York City. Langston is frustrated because he has never met them and wants to be with his mother during her crisis – eviction.

“I started studying different preachers,” said Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker about preparation for his role as a Reverend. “I talked with Rev. Butts of one of the oldest churches in Harlem. This preacher is a little bit of Southern Baptist preachers and just a touch of Pentecostal. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church and I tried to incorporate that. I looked at scriptures to see what I was preaching about and slowly he started to form.”

Rev. Cornell has a secret that neither he nor his daughter, played by Jennifer Hudson, will talk about. Langston is to his wits end and wants to know the truth, why is this the first time seeing his mother’s parents. This frustration is blinding him and he is making bad decisions. In steps an angel, Platinum, played by nine-time Grammy Award winner Mary J. Blige to save him and inspire.

“I read the script and said yes,” said multi-platinum selling Hip-Hop legend Mary J. Blige about the role as Platinum the angel. “Me playing Platinum…Just her being an angel is what draw me to the role. Helping someone, you know, that’s the story of my career. Not me, but through my music, how I help people get through their lives. So I needed to play that role, that character, for a little while.”

Black Nativity is executively produced by Bishop T.D. Jakes and opens in theaters November 27, 2013. 

Walt Disney’s Frozen is inspiring, funny and musically a masterpiece, arrives in theaters November 22, 2013

frozen 3d

Walt Disney Animation’s Frozen 3D arrives in theaters November 22, 2013.

*Director Chris Buck does an outstanding job on Walt Disney Animation’s Frozen (3D), an inspiring, funny and musical masterpiece that follows two sisters, Anna and Elsa, princesses of Arendelle as they discover who they are, make peace with it and use it to inspire their kingdom. Kristen Bell is the bubbly, fearless and optimistic princess Anna who is struggling with being shut out by her eldest sister Elsa, played by Idina Menzel. Elsa is a pessimistic fearful sister, soon to be Queen, who has a secret in her hands – the power to control the weather.

Elsa takes off her protective gloves just for a minute at her carnation and things start to freeze in her kingdom. Afraid of the stares and pointing fingers from those at the carnation, she runs away, builds a snow palace and locks herself in. Frozen follows Ana as she searches for her sister so that she can return the kingdom back to summer time.

Before her journey Anna falls in love with prince Hans, played by Santino Fontana, from a far off land come to see the carnation. Unbeknownst to Anna he has evil intensions that she is unaware of, but she leaves him in charge during her journey to find her sister. There is also the arrogant wing wearing Duke from Weselton, played by Alan Tudyk. He seizes the opportunity of the sisters’ absence to try and turn everyone against them. Anna meets a mountain man Kristoff played by Jonathan Groff and a live snowman Olaf played by Josh Gael, who helps her reclaim her sister and the kingdom.

“(Past characters) have not quit fell apart like Olaf,” laughed Mark Henn when asked how he dealt with the snowman melting and falling apart all the time. Henn is the lead animator at Walt Disney Animations and is animation consultant on Frozen for the character Olaf. “He is made of snow, branches, a carrot and coal. He is the most magical of the characters. We had to be able to take advantage of his material like I did with Winnie the Pooh, every time he bent down he’d come apart at the seems.”

As always with Walt Disney the animation was breathtaking and cutting edge. The realistic snow storms; Elsa’s all white hair and her beautifully flowing blue gown as the Snow Queen; the white streak in Anna’s hair gave just the right mixture with her natural red hair, reminding me of my silver streak; the blue crystal which Anna turns into when she can’t find true love fast enough, and the dance scenes were all memorable to me. The music, by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, and vocals were so outstanding the audience gasped. The script was full of jokes and cute funny punch lines which left the audience, and myself, laughing so hard from the beginning of the film until the end.

Jennifer Lee co-directed the Rated PG animation, Peter Del Vecho and John Lesseter produced the 3D movie, and the story line was written by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Shane Morris. Frozen, based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, premiers November 22, 2013 at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles and worldwide Tuesday, November 27, 2013.

 (Syndicated Columnist: Eunice Moseley, has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment – she is also a Public Relations/Business Management consultant. www.FreelanceAssociatesInc.com, www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com, www.UpliftingMinds2.com).