Weekend Movie Guide 03/22: Hungry for Action?

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The Hunger Games' tagline is "The World Will Be Watching", which isn't that far off. It's the biggest opening in Lionsgate's history - according to Deadline.com, at least 10,000 prints will play in North America, with another 7,700 prints across the world. Like Harry Potter & Twilight before it, The Hunger Games' original book series brings a huge built-in audience (who have already shown their dedication locally). And like those other teen-lit adaptations, I was set to write it off (without passing judgment) as a cultural phenomenon that just wasn't "my thing". Then I saw the cast list and my cine-senses started tingling.

Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) leads as another tough-as-nails teen, pitted against Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan) and a host of other killer kids in a nationally televised battle royale. Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks & even Lenny Kravitz (?!) have supporting adult roles. Behind the camera, fans of the novel will take heart in the fact that author Suzanne Collins wrote the first draft of the screenplay and remained involved throughout. Writer/director Gary Ross' background balances social commentary (Pleasantville) and spectacle (Seabiscuit), with final writer Billy Ray (Flightplan) bringing the tension.

Should you hunger for even more fighting this weekend, Indonesian actioner The Raid: Redemption promises wall-to-wall carnage. When an elite squad of cops pursues a crime-lord into a fortified complex, he cuts the lights, barricades all exits and unleashes his own cadre of killers. The ensuing chaos encompasses multiple martial arts styles, all of which look frenetic & effing brutal. The film has blown away critics & audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance & SXSW, with truck-driver turned fighter Iko Uwais poised to break out as an international star. The Raid: Redemption opens exclusively at ArcLight Hollywood, Century City & The Grove.

That's all for this week. What will you fight for the right to see this weekend?

Wide Release
The Hunger Games (Reviews) (Showtimes)

Limited Release
4:44 Last Day on Earth (Reviews) (Laemmle's Monica 4-Plex)
Agent Vinod (Reviews) (Laemmle's Fallbrook 7)
Brake (Reviews) (Laemmle's Noho 7)
The Deep Blue Sea (Reviews) (The Landmark) (Laemmle's Playhouse 7) (Laemmle's Town Center 5)
The Raid: Redemption (Reviews) (AMC Century City 15) (ArcLight Hollywood) (The Grove)