<p>Peeta Meelark and Katniss Everdeen will hit the road to visit every District in Panem so we can all help them celebrate their controversial win in the 74th annual Hunger Games</p>

Peeta Meelark and Katniss Everdeen will hit the road to visit every District in Panem so we can all help them celebrate their controversial win in the 74th annual Hunger Games

Credit: Lionsgate

Exclusive: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Victory Tour poster immortalizes Peeta and Katniss

The victors hit the road to celebrate their controversial win

If you're a fan of the Hunger Games each year, then you're probably still just as stunned as I was by the way the 74th annual games wrapped up.  I'll admit, at first I was upset by the idea that they had thrown out the rules and changed things just to give Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Meelark a happy ending, but the more I've thought about it, the more I think they deserved to win.

After all, the Games are about out-thinking your opponents just as much as it's a physical challenge, and it was just plain strategically brilliant for Katniss to make the move she did.  It was the only way either of them was really going to "win," and it forced the Capitol to really decide what they want.  Is the point of the Games to crush every player, no matter what, or is it to give us a new hero every year, someone to remind us of the best of what we can be and do?  If that's the goal, then this year is the bonus plan, because I think both of these players are worth our admiration.

We here at HitFix are pleased that the Capitol reached out to us to help premiere this Victory Tour poster, and I don't know about you, but when Katniss and Peeta make their stop in my district, I'll definitely turn out to see them live and in person.  It's strange… I know they're still part of the system, and nothing has really changed, but there's something about the way they pulled off their win that has given me something akin to real hope for the first time in a long time.

I wonder if that makes President Snow nervous at all.  Because it should.

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<p>Might I suggest you move your potentially life-threatening conspiracy conversation indoors where you're less immediately visible together?</p>

Might I suggest you move your potentially life-threatening conspiracy conversation indoors where you're less immediately visible together?

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Review: Dwayne Johnson's 'Snitch' is no action movie, no matter what the trailers say

HitFix
C+
Readers
n/a
A small-scale issue movie about mandatory minimum sentences may shock action fans

The most surprising thing about Ric Roman Waugh, the co-writer/director of "Snitch," having started his career as a stuntman from a family of stuntmen is that "Snitch" is, for the most part, a drama and not the action movie that the poster and the trailers would want to make you believe it is.  That's not really a problem with the film so much as it is a case of misleading marketing.  Taken on its own merits, "Snitch" is a solid, small-scale story about what a father is willing to do to help correct an injustice he sees landing on his teenage son after he makes an inexcusably stupid mistake.

Participant Media is one of the production partners on the film, and if you know them as a company, you know that their mandate is making movies that deal in some way with social issues, and I was surprised to see that this is really a movie about how flawed the mandatory minimum sentencing system is in the war on drugs.  At the start of the film, Jason Collins (Rafi Gavron) is at home, and a college friend tells him that there's a package coming that he'll need to sign for, a package he'll pick up as soon as he gets home from school.  It's a huge shipment of Ecstasy tablets, and when it arrives, he not only signs for it, but he opens it, and right away, the DEA descends on the house.  They were ready for him to accept ownership of the package, and they treat Jason as a major drug dealer.  Thanks to the amount they caught him with, they've got him on the hook for at least ten years, and they can go as high as thirty years if they choose to.  The US Prosecutor on the case is the politically ambitious Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon), and she seems more than happy to throw the book at this dumb kid.

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<p>It's not fair to judge a screen cap from a streaming presentation of a live-event, but it's safe to say today's 'Watch Dogs' demo was one of the highlights of today's PS4 demonstration.</p>

It's not fair to judge a screen cap from a streaming presentation of a live-event, but it's safe to say today's 'Watch Dogs' demo was one of the highlights of today's PS4 demonstration.

Credit: Playstation

Sony puts their best foot forward at the New York debut of the Playstation 4

We look at the presentation and the promise of this next-gen console

"Social" seems to be the biggest buzzword for the Playstation 4, as it is for pretty much any device that connects in any way to the Internet at this point.

Sony held a major press event tonight in New York to officially premiere the next generation console as well as some of the launch titles that will be available for it.  The first one that flabbergasted me was "Driveclub," which is basically a virtual reality racing game that is based around team-based racing, and the racing footage they showed was so remarkable, so close to photo-real, that it really does feel like a jump forward, something I haven't felt from gaming in a while.  It's been incremental steps for the last few years, and that's fine.  I understand that we live in an age of technical marvels, and I don't take for granted how spectacular something like "Sleeping Dogs," which I just finished playing is, even if gamers in general greeted it with a shrug as a knock-off of "Grand Theft Auto."  That may be true, but it's still eye-popping and the game play is mind-blowing considering I remember when "Spy Hunter" was the state of the art.

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<p>You remember how it felt when 'Jedi' first opened and this moment first played out and everyone in the theater was like 'Ohhhhhhhh daaaaaaaaaaaaamn!'? Because that was awesome.</p>

You remember how it felt when 'Jedi' first opened and this moment first played out and everyone in the theater was like 'Ohhhhhhhh daaaaaaaaaaaaamn!'? Because that was awesome.

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm Ltd.

Mark Hamill discusses the wonderful surprise of 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

He confirms that he is discussing his return to the role of Luke Skywalker

Okay, now it's getting exciting.

There is no Luke Skywalker but Mark Hamill.  At least, that's always been the way I've felt about it.  While Harrison Ford is the one who became the giant movie star, what Hamill had going for him was the feeling that he belonged in the world of "Star Wars" completely.  Watch him dealing with the mundane details of the world, like doing the maintenance on the droids or seasoning his meal in Yoda's home or any of a million other little things he does that sell it as real.  It goes beyond talking about performance for me, and all I can really say is that as a seven or a ten or a thirteen year old kid seeing the "Star Wars" films for the first time, Hamill was a big part of making me completely believe in that universe.

In an interview with "Entertainment Tonight," Hamill compared the announcement that there will be an "Episode VII" to finding a pair of jeans in the closet with a $20 in the pocket.  That's probably my favorite reaction to the new "Star Wars" movies so far, and Hamill confirms what Lucas said initially, that he'd already started speaking to the principal cast.

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<p>Seth MacFarlane may have been all smiles at HBO's Golden Globes after-party, but we'll see how he's looking by the end of Sunday's Oscar ceremony.</p>

Seth MacFarlane may have been all smiles at HBO's Golden Globes after-party, but we'll see how he's looking by the end of Sunday's Oscar ceremony.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello/Invision

Seth MacFarlane's comedy Western is ready for auction and should be set up soon

Will Universal repeat the success of 'Ted' with the comedy superstar?

It is vaguely amazing that Seth MacFarlane has become the media titan that he is today, and no matter what you think of his work, you have to give it up to the guy for the way he turned things around.

There was a point, after all, when he was just the guy whose show got canceled not once, but twice.  It would have been easy, between 2002 and 2005, to pretty much count MacFarlane out.  Now, here we are eight years later, and not only is he hosting the Academy Awards this coming Sunday night, but he's actually nominated for one of those Oscars, his film "Ted" is a gigantic worldwide megasmash hit, he's got three different animated shows running at the same time, and he's gearing up to make his second movie.

I'd say that qualifies as one of the greatest bounces in recent memory.

Media Rights Capital is underwriting the film, and I like the way MacFarlane's played it this time around, putting together an entire package before finding a studio partner.  And despite Deadline's insistence that this is a "kindred spirit" to "Blazing Saddles," something MacFarlane directly disputed in this week's Entertainment Weekly cover story, they seem to have the details on how the auction is coming together on the film.

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<p>Yep, there they are, right where we left them at the end of 'Toy Story 3'</p>

Yep, there they are, right where we left them at the end of 'Toy Story 3'

Credit: Pixar

That 'Toy Story 4' rumor is completely false

And here's why you shouldn't believe what you're reading

It seems like each week now, we get some new lesson in just how fast information, both true and false, can spread online.  The moment someone breaks a story like El Mayimbe's Harrison Ford scoop last week, it is everywhere.  And while there's been no official confirmation of that story yet, most online organizations picked the story up because they trusted the origin of the information.

But what about when people suddenly create headlines around something that comes from a totally untrustworthy and untested source?  Why do things that have no immediate credibility suddenly become worldwide trending topics on Twitter?  Is is just a case of people wanting a rumor to be true so much that they don't care about reality?  As Wilco once sang, "All my lies are only wishes," and it sounds today like a lot of people wish there was a "Toy Story 4" arriving in theaters in 2015.

The problem is, it's not.

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<p>Sarah Polley listens as her father records his version of the story of her life in 'Stories We Tell,' a remarkable new film.</p>

Sarah Polley listens as her father records his version of the story of her life in 'Stories We Tell,' a remarkable new film.

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Review: Sarah Polley's 'Stories We Tell' emerges as an early favorite for 2013

HitFix
A+
Readers
A+
A devastatingly personal documentary is one of this year's best films

This past weekend, I sat down with Michelle Williams to talk about her role in Sam Raimi's "Oz The Great and Powerful," and we'll have that interview for you soon here at HitFix.  Before we started, though, I mentioned to her that I just saw Sarah Polley's latest film, a personal documentary called "Stories We Tell," and that it completely changed the way I thought about Polley's previous film, "Take This Waltz."  Williams lit up and we chatted about both films until they told me they needed to roll tape, and it's obvious that she is very fond of Polley as a filmmaker and just as impressed by her work as I am.

When I saw "Take This Waltz" at the Toronto Film Festival, it pretty much flattened me emotionally.  I put it on my top ten for 2011, and I have seen the film three or four times since then, loving it just a little bit more each time.  Polley has a strong, fascinating perspective, and it's not just because she's a woman.  Yes, there are things about her work that are distinctly feminine, but she's also just got this huge curiosity about the really painful parts of life and the way those painful parts relate to the joy we feel.  If you've seen "Waltz," you know it's about a married couple who come to a parting of the ways, and it's not anything the guy does.  It's because the wife is simply open to life in a way that leaves her unguarded. She falls in love. She doesn't mean to do it, but she's wired to do it.  She can't help but do it.  She falls in love because that's the sort of person she is.  That's what is important to her.  She is so full of a certain kind of vitality and energy and when she finds someone who connects to it, she can't resist.  And why should she?  It's her nature.

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<p>Michael Caine is forced to make some tough moral choices in pursuit of his wife in the adventure film 'Ashanti,' available now on Blu-ray.</p>

Michael Caine is forced to make some tough moral choices in pursuit of his wife in the adventure film 'Ashanti,' available now on Blu-ray.

Credit: Severin Films

My Blu-ray Shelf: Michael Caine tries to rescue his wife from slavers in 'Ashanti'

HitFix
B-
Readers
n/a
An adventure film set in the world of human trafficking is less sleazy than expected

Severin Films normally handles things that fall closer to the sleazy end of the scale, and that's not a judgment of their overall identity, just an observation.  You looking for the absolute best master ever of a particular European softcore title from the '70s?  If anyone's put it on home video, it's probably Severin.

I can understand why they probably wanted to put out "Ashanti" as one of their latest releases.  The film has a certain reputation, and I've never seen it before, in part because of that reputation.  Finally having seen it, though, it's far less exploitative than I expected it to be, and instead, it's pretty much a straightforward adventure film using human trafficking as the backdrop.

While he's in Africa with his wife, Dr. Anansa Linderby (Beverly Johnson), Dr. David Liderby (Michael Caine) is horrified by her disappearance.  She's taken by the slaver Suleiman (Peter Ustinov), and for the rest of the film, Caine does his best to catch up with Ustinov before she can be sold into a life of bondage.  I was worried at the start of the film that it was going to be rapey and disturbing, but the film avoids that sort of thing entirely.  Instead, it's all about the chase and the various allies that Caine is forced to call on in his quest to find his wife.

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<p>This is as close to a 'meet cute' as you're going to get in William Dear's 'Timerider,' which arrives on Blu-ray in March.</p>

This is as close to a 'meet cute' as you're going to get in William Dear's 'Timerider,' which arrives on Blu-ray in March.

Credit: Shout! Factory

My Blu-ray Shelf: 'Timerider' stands up as charming science-fiction Western

HitFix
B
Readers
n/a
How many would-be franchises did Fred Ward star in, anyway?

I need to get better about sharing thoughts on the mountain on home video that ends up on my shelves here at the house, and it doesn't need to be long-winded or overly-complicated.  It's amazing how often I forget that.  I also want to start including links out to Amazon (you'll find one at the very bottom of this piece) from these DVD and Blu-ray pieces so, if you choose to, you can support the ongoing efforts of Film Nerd 2.0 as I continue to add titles to the library to share with the boys in the months and years ahead.

For example, this morning's movie is one of those films that I know I've seen the cover of about a thousand times over the years.  "Timerider" has been a home video mainstay since not long after its 1982 theatrical release, and for some reason, I've always put it off as one of those "that looks fun on some rainy afternoon" movies.  Finally arriving on Blu-ray seems like a good enough excuse to finally watch it, and my first observation is that this is probably as good a print of this particular title as you are every likely to see.

I had no idea this was co-written and directed by William Dear, who was also responsible for the late-'80s Amblin' film "Harry and the Hendersons," or that producer Michael Nesmith was also a co-writer.  The film is a somewhat goofy adventure film about a motorcycle racer who accidentally rides into the middle of a test of a time machine.  He ends up in the Old West, where he squares off against a gang of bloodthirsty bandits made up of Peter Coyote, Tracey Walter, and, as unlikely as it sounds, Richard Masur.

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<p>Kevin Costner appears not only in 'JFK' by Oliver Stone, but in the JFK-themed film 'Thirteen Days'</p>

Kevin Costner appears not only in 'JFK' by Oliver Stone, but in the JFK-themed film 'Thirteen Days'

Credit: Warner Bros

From JFK To Jed Bartlet: A closer look at how Hollywood has treated the US Presidency on film

Which President, real or fictional, has been your movie favorite?

So it's President's Day.  As with any holiday, you should celebrate with a movie, obviously, but which one?

If you're going to the theater today, then "Lincoln" probably remains your best bet.  After all, not only does it manage to actually raise the 16th U.S. President from the dead via medium/movie star Daniel Day Lewis, but it also does a fantastic job of showing how the power of the Presidency can be used.  There are so many movies about U.S. Presidents that trying to pick from, and so many different types of films, that picking one to enjoy today can be as brutal as your average election season.

Oliver Stone has made a career out of exploring the uses and abuses of power in America, and he may be the only working filmmaker who has made three different films named after U.S. Presidents.  Of the three, I think "JFK" is the best of the bunch, even though it's not really about the President.  There are few films that have ever done a better job of exploring the elusive nature of truth in the media age or that have dramatized the way we can disappear down a rabbit hole in search of answers where there are none to be found.  It is a film about obsession and the way power is brokered in the post-Eisenhower era, and it is nothing less than dizzying to witness.  Stone has never been more technically exciting to watch than he was at this point in his career, and "JFK" is one of the most amazing theatrical experiences he has ever signed his name to.  I'm quite fond of "Nixon" as well, but that may be because I have been fascinated by Nixon for as long as I've been aware of him. 

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