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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

June 3, 2011 at 10:27 AM

News roundup: “Hunger Games,” “Hobbit,” “Stooges,” and more

(First, a digression: Yesterday I went to “The Importance of Being Earnest” at SIFF, and left after Act I. Part of that had to do with being tired after a busy week, and knowing that I didn’t need to review the film, but mainly because I just don’t think that filming a Broadway play and then showing that film in a theater does any favors, to the play or to the film audience. While I enjoyed the cast (particularly Brian Bedford as Lady Bracknell) and the lovely sets and costumes, the experience was a surreal exercise in the difference between stage acting and movie acting. Essentially, this was a series of semi-close-ups of people standing around bellowing, which is what a stage actor must do and which, if you’re sitting in row W in a theater, works wonderfully. Shown up close (as they were never intended to be) the performances feel obvious and overblown. And isn’t the whole point of theater that it’s live — that you’re experiencing something that will never be done quite the same way again, and that you’re part of something magical that’s happening right now? Cameras can do wonderful things, but I’m not sure filming a play is one of them.)
Anyway. The week’s at an end (well, sort of; I have to go review “Giselle” at PNB tonight) and there’s been plenty of movie news, even as we all debate “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
— Taking a page from the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” playbooks, Lionsgate is indicating that “The Hunger Games” will be four movies rather than three. There are, of course, just three books; the third book will be split in two, and the studio has cleverly taken pains to sign the cast for four films (so as to avoid expensive renegotiations). Also, a handful of other actors have been signed for the franchise in the last few weeks: Donald Sutherland (as President Snow, ruler of Panem), Toby Jones (as the host/narrator of the games, alongside Stanley Tucci) and Woody Harrelson (as Katniss’s mentor Abernathy). Still haven’t read the book yet, but it’s on my list . . .
— Meanwhile, Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” finally got a release date: Dec. 14, 2012. This was enough to cause Ang Lee’s “The Life of Pi,” which had already been scheduled to open that week, to scoot out a week in deference; joining Philip Noyce’s “Hunter Killer” and an untitled Judd Apatow comedy on Dec. 21, 2012. Just in case you plan your calendar that far out.
— This is all I have to say about “The Three Stooges”: Jennifer Hudson, Jane Lynch and Larry David are playing nuns.
— Moving right along . . . well, I can’t imagine what kind of news would follow that last bit. So I’ll just bid you all a happy weekend, in the sunshine. Oh, and if you’re at all a Woody Allen fan, do check out “Midnight in Paris”; it’s a treat.

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