<p>Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy in &quot;The Hunger Games.&quot;</p>

Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy in "The Hunger Games."

Credit: Lionsgate

Woody Harrelson takes on the politics of politics in ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Game Change’

The actor's two seemingly incongruous roles point to a gaping cultural wound

When Woody Harrelson signed on to play Steve Schmidt and Haymitch Abernathy in “Game Change” and “The Hunger Games” respectively, he likely wasn’t thinking that the roles are actually strange mirrors of one another (although, who’s to say what Harrelson is thinking really?). Aside from the obvious similarities - both films are adaptations of books and they each have the word “game” in the title - there are some equally clear distinctions.

Steve Schmidt is, of course, the campaign strategist who functioned as the senior adviser on the 2008 John McCain Presidential bid. Haymitch Abernathy is a fictional character who resides within the world of author Suzanne Collins's novel “The Hunger Games,” an imagined dystopic future where North America has been reduced to a conglomerate of 12 “districts” which are presided over by a dangerously self-indulgent “Capitol.”

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<p>One famous wedding from the movies that shouldn't have too much in common with Kris and April's big day.</p>

One famous wedding from the movies that shouldn't have too much in common with Kris and April's big day.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Cinejabber: Wedding bells

Kris ties the knot today

Okay, we haven't done of these in a while -- welcome (back) to Cinejabber, your weekend open thread to kick around whatever's on your mind film-wise or otherwise, while we seek life beyond the movie theater.

This weekend, however, the biggest event in the In Contention family has nothing to do with the box-office blocks being predictably busted by "The Hunger Games," the current industry hot topic of Variety going up for sale or, indeed, anything to do with the movies whatsoever. Today, I'm happy to remind you, a certain guy we all know and hopefully love, Kris Tapley, is getting married to his longtime partner and fiancée, April Smith. And I'm sure I speak for us all when I say I couldn't be happier for them.

Not to get into speech mode or anything, but Kris has been an invaluable friend and colleague to me for over four years now, and it pains me that I can't be in Los Angeles to share the most important day of his life with him. I had the pleasure of meeting April in London back in 2008, and know what a special and storied relationship she and Kris share; I was delighted to hear of their engagement the following year, and am thrilled it's all coming together today.

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<p>Ana Moreira and Carloto Cotta in &quot;Tabu.&quot;</p>

Ana Moreira and Carloto Cotta in "Tabu."

Credit: Adopt Films

No subtitles needed to be seduced by trailer for Berlin sensation 'Tabu'

Fledgling distributor Adopt Films has U.S. rights to Miguel Gomes's film

We're not quite past the first quarter yet, but I feel comfortable saying that if December arrives and Miguel Gomes's "Tabu" isn't on my Top 10 of 2012 list, we have one hell of a year ahead of us. This Portuguese black-and-white marvel was, as I rather gushingly wrote back in February, the highlight of an unexpectedly strong Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Alfred Bauer Prize for Innovation. It stands comfortably as my favorite film of the year so far, which sounds like fainter praise than it is.

Earlier this week, a Portuguese trailer surfaced -- and while the absence of subtitles might leave you a little confused, the glimpses of its swoony imagery and soundtrack should hopefully give you some idea of why I'm so besotted with the film. To be honest, even with subtitles, chances are you wouldn't be much the wiser as to what's going on in this enigmatic fusion of contemporary absurdist comedy and luscious period romance -- though you would have a clearer sense of how rhythmically and poetically written it is atop its more immediate sensual delights.

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth in &quot;The Hunger Games.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth in "The Hunger Games."

Credit: Lionsgate

Tell us what you thought of 'The Hunger Games'

The long-awaited adaptation opens today

It's heeeeeere. "John Carter" may have got blockbuster season off to a false (if unseasonally early) start, but the real deal arrives today -- Gary Ross's adaptation of Suzanne Collins' young-adult publishing phenomenon "The Hunger Games" has been breathlessly anticipated for months, if not years, and early box-office numbers (not to mention a broad swathe of reviews) already suggest the hype has not been misplaced. I confess I haven't seen it yet. Ill health got in the way of press screenings this week, plus I've been dutifully catching up on the book -- which, rather to my surprise, I found entirely captivating. So I'll be queuing with all the other excited punters this weekend; in the meantime, if/when you've seen it, be sure to share your thoughts here.

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<p>Rachel Weisz in &quot;The Deep Blue Sea.&quot;</p>

Rachel Weisz in "The Deep Blue Sea."

Credit: Music Box Films

An early FYC plea for Rachel Weisz

The Oscar winner gives the performance of her career in 'The Deep Blue Sea'

First off, apologies for the slow business around here this week. As some of you may know, Kris is on leave, occupied with the small matter of his wedding on Saturday. And while I'm supposed to be keeping things on track in his absence, I've been hit by a mystery illness this week that hasn't done much for my posting efficiency. Unfortunate timing on my part, but things are looking up -- do bear with me.

One item I've been meaning to write that got unduly waylaid this week is a review of Terence Davies' "The Deep Blue Sea," which I saw at the London Film Festival last October and has been waltzing in and out of my mind ever since. It finally lands in US theaters tomorrow, and while I'm still hoping to finish an appraisal of the film as a whole -- which, as you'd expect from as rigorously mannered a stylist as Davies, is as fascinating in the ways it doesn't quite coalesce as in the instances it quite gloriously does -- I'd like to pre-empt that discussion with an unqualified endorsement of its standout feature: the astonishing lead performance of Rachel Weisz.

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<p>Julian Fellowes claims his take on the Titanic story boasts more historical credibility than James Cameron's.</p>

Julian Fellowes claims his take on the Titanic story boasts more historical credibility than James Cameron's.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Julian Fellowes aims to right perceived wrongs of James Cameron's 'Titanic'

'Downton Abbey' creator claims his take will "set the record straight"

For some reason, amid the building media hype about the release, I feel oddly disinclined to see "Titanic 3D" -- neither because I fear, as Roger Ebert bemoaned, the defacement of some kind of masterpiece, nor because I so dislike the film as to make an active point of not revisiting it.

That said, I somehow haven't revisited it since December 1997, though it certainly hasn't slipped from memory. What I remember fondly of it (and there's much to go under that column) I remember vividly enough not to crave a reminder. I also remember much that was lunky and crass and tin-eared, none of it likely to be remedied by an extra dimension. The film's charms are, in my mind, irrevocably tied to conditions of who and where I was when I first saw it, aged 14, smack in the middle of the demographic that rather infectiously lost their collective minds for it that summer. (Yes, I was in the southern hemisphere then.) Historical epic it may be, but it's a teenage time-capsule piece for me, and coating it in the ubiquitous 21st-century veneer of state-of-the-art 3D seems somehow anachronistic. I'm not claiming it's rational, but it's why I'm personally resisting.

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<p>Linda Cardellini in &quot;Return.&quot;</p>

Linda Cardellini in "Return."

Credit: Focus Features

Looking back on Linda Cardellini in 'Return'

Check out her award-caliber performance on iTunes and Video On Demand

We spend so much time in the blogosphere looking forward to things that we don't always notice, or at least sufficiently discuss, worthwhile work that is ready for viewing right away. For so many films, all conversation about them ceases the second they become available to audiences -- which is least kind, of course, to small specialty items that need sustained chatter to prod the viewers they deserve. 

This is a roundabout way of expressing my regret that Liza Johnson's independent drama "Return" -- which I saw and greatly liked in Directors' Fortnight at Cannes last year, and had been looking forward to spotlighting closer to its release -- actually hit US screens last month, and amid the flurry of Oscar-related coverage, I somehow didn't notice.

Hey, better late than never. The film, a modest, intelligent entry in the growing American genre of post-Iraq war-at-home studies, may have largely vanished from theaters, but Focus Features has made it available on iTunes and On Demand, and you owe it to yourself to dig it out. More pointedly, you owe it to Linda Cardellini, who has quietly delivered the performance of her -- or many an undersung TV actor's -- career here.

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<p>Penelope Cruz and Woody Allen on the set of &quot;To Rome With Love.&quot;</p>

Penelope Cruz and Woody Allen on the set of "To Rome With Love."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Woody Allen ups sticks from 'Paris' to 'Rome'

Allen's newly titled 'To Rome With Love' set for a June release

Having hit paydirt less than a year ago with "Midnight in Paris" -- which, in case you've forgotten, became the highest-grossing film of Woody Allen's career and nabbed him a fourth Oscar to boot -- Sony Pictures Classics is clearly keen to woo the same audience that fell for the film's romantic European charms to his next effort. Originally dubbed "Nero Fiddled," Allen's latest has been granted a new title that couldn't sound much more cannily focus-grouped if it tried: "To Rome With Love."

If you loved what Woody did for the City of Lights, one imagines the marketers thinking, just wait until you see him in the Eternal City. And fair play to them: with "Paris" and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" standing comfortably as Allen's best-received films of recent years, perhaps including the location in the title has become his lucky charm. (Meanwhile, uninformed viewers could be forgiven for mistaking the film for another entry in the popular recent series of portmanteau films that has given us "Paris Je T'Aime" and "New York, I Love You.")  

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<p>Bobcat Goldthwait at the Los Angeles premiere of &quot;World's Greatest Dad&quot; in 2009</p>

Bobcat Goldthwait at the Los Angeles premiere of "World's Greatest Dad" in 2009

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Interview: Bobcat Goldthwait on raising the crazy with 'God Bless America'

The filmmaker talks his latest film at SXSW

AUSTIN, Texas - When you live in a world filled with newscasts reporting terrible acts of inhumanity, reality television shows that celebrate terrible values and actual people who use their value system as a weapon against others who don’t share it, it feels like there’s plenty of motivation for almost any filmmaker to create a film like “God Bless America.” But if you ask writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait, he said the idea was inspired by decidedly more mundane circumstances: “It was a Christmas present to my wife, so the catalyst was me being a cheap husband.”

Goldthwait, of course, has been working for decades in Hollywood creating iconic characterizations and hugely successful comedy routines with a singular, supremely distinct voice. (It helps that he actually used a fake one for so many years.) But as a filmmaker, he said that the ideas for films like his latest come from what he shares in common with others, not how they stand apart. “It kind of was like a love letter to her, because Roxy and Frank’s conversations are the same ones we have at home. And I always say that the key to a good relationship isn't liking the same things, it’s hating the same things, because that will make a very smooth road."

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<p>Charlize Theron and Idris Elba in &quot;Prometheus.&quot;</p>

Charlize Theron and Idris Elba in "Prometheus."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Your space to geek out over latest trailer for 'Prometheus'

Latest glimpse of Ridley Scott's sci-fi blockbuster has internet abuzz

So, what did you see over the weekend? "21 Jump Street," possibly -- though to judge from recent chatter on Twitter and elsewhere, no new release got people more excited over the past two days than the 150-second trailer for Ridley Scott's "Prometheus," the possible "Alien" prequel with a dream cast headed up by Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender. Multiplex junkies and critics alike have been drooling over the possibilities since the first teasers debuted months ago; each new scrap that gets released seems only to heighten expectations.

Some readers asked why we haven't chimed in with our own take on the latest trailer -- it's certainly not because we aren't psyched for the film, which ranked at #3 in our Most Anticipated of 2012 list. Kris, of course, is on pre-wedding hiatus, though I'm sure he'd have thoughts on it otherwise. I, meanwhile, have no thoughts whatsoever on this or any other "Prometheus" trailer -- not least because I have painstakingly avoided seeing the lot. My no-trailers diet is still in effect for the most part, and I'm far too intrigued by this on-paper proposition to spoil my appetite now. 

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