There are just three new releases opening in Australian cinemas this week, but it makes for potentially one of the strongest release days since Jan. 12. They are the hugely anticipated action blockbuster, The Hunger Games, an adaptation of the first novel in Suzanne Collins' ridiculously popular novel series, The Raid, which is an Indonesian film, and in short, one of the best action films to grace screens in some time, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which is for a different audience altogether, but one I am sure they will all wholeheartedly enjoy. I have been lucky enough to see both The Raid and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel so far, and I will also have seen The Hunger Games before its release on Thursday, so check in on Thursday morning (unfortunately it won't be online before then) for my thoughts on the film.
The Hunger Games - Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which "Tributes" must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. Strong early reviews out the U.S should have fans hopeful of a fantastic adaptation.
The Raid - As a rookie member of an elite special-forces team, Rama (Iko Uwais) is instructed to hang back during a covert mission involving the extraction of a brutal crime lord from a rundown fifteen-story apartment block. But when a spotter blows their cover, boss Tama (Ray Sahetapy) offers lifelong sanctuary to every killer, gangster and thief in the building in exchange for their heads. Now Rama must stand in for the team's fallen leader (Joe Taslim) and use every iota of his fighting strength - winding through every floor and every room to complete the mission and escape with his life. Fantastic film. The brutally intense fight sequences start out more as shootouts but later become hand to hand (and knife to machete) skirmishes. Some of it must be seen to be believed. A new pinnacle of action filmmaking.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Follows a group of British retirees who decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.
Weekly Recommendation: I think each of the films will be worth seeing - but it depends on your interests. The Hunger Games could be one of the best blockbusters of the year, and considering the pre-sales, it is going to make a lot of money. The Raid is essential for action junkies and those with strong stomachs. Marigold will draw people purely because of the cast, and though it looks a bit whimsical and sentimental, don't dismiss it, because there are some good laughs and some genuinely moving moments.
Here is a trailer for The Raid, and below is an awesome clip from the film. If you need convincing on whether to see it or not, check it out, though be aware it does contain one of the film's best action sequences. If you have already seen the film, enjoy the carnage all over again.