At Daily Grindhouse, our motto and our mission is “Tough Films For A Rough Crowd.” So why am I talking about a new film series aimed at ‘tweens? I’m a grown man, with stubble and scars and the whole nine. This stuff isn’t made for me. I dodged the entire TWILIGHT phenomenon, and while I read and liked the first HUNGER GAMES book, I was unthrilled by the first movie and haven’t seen the second, despite the fact that it has one of the best adult casts of 2013. (Maybe I should?) So far, I haven’t wrapped my head around this genre: I don’t entirely understand how these books come out of nowhere to sell in the millions, I don’t understand why they all have to be dystopian epics centered around doomed romances and love triangles, and I really don’t understand why all the character names are so kooky.
I love how these franchises are an indication of a changing world, action movies centered around female protagonists. I’m a Pam Grier man. You don’t have to go deep into the internet to dig up evidence there (but you can start here). The only thing I love more than a kick-ass movie about tough guys is a kick-ass movie about a badass lady. I think it’s great for girls, it’s great for women, and look, if I happen to enjoy the sight of a steely-eyed woman who knocks the crap out of dudes who had it coming, I hope you won’t judge me too harshly for that.
The casting here is great: Shailene Woodley, star of this year’s beautiful indie THE SPECTACULAR NOW, is the lead character, a young woman in a future Chicago who takes on a totalitarian authority. Kate Winslet plays the villain. Maggie Q plays a mentor role. Maggie Q! And Ray Stevenson, one of the few thoroughly convincing tough guys in modern movies, is in this movie. He plays the father of the love interest, the Franco-esque Theo James, who starred in the decent and cancelled CBS series GOLDEN BOY this past season. And Miles Teller, ironically Shailene Woodley’s co-star in THE SPECTACULAR NOW, here plays one of her worst enemies. That’s kind of an irresistible meta-throughline. “First they fell in love, but then…”
The director of DIVERGENT is Neil Burger, an offbeat choice who previously made THE ILLUSIONIST and LIMITLESS. I liked one more than the other but he’s certainly more of an interesting filmmaker than one might have expected of such a mainstream property. I’m not telling you I’m excited for this movie, but I am excited about the possibility of a “trickle-up” effect: If all these action movies for teenagers are female-led, maybe some of the adult action movies will be too. I mean, you’ve got Rosario Dawson right there. I’ve got all kind of ideas for badass-lady action flicks. Let’s open those floodgates.
Anyway, here’s the first trailer:
And here’s a new clip, released this week:
You’re going to be hearing a lot about this movie in 2014 — you may as well hear about it from us!
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