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The honourable mentions are people I believe should have gotten at least an Oscar nomination.
Updated for 2016 nominations!
Saw III (2006)
Not quite as good as its predecessors but still a lot better than the following sequels
Rather sadly Saw 3 isn't quite as good as the first two films in the franchise but at the same time the bar was set very high by those two films. What held this film back was some inconsistent acting by the supporting cast, too many games taking place in a short amount of time with some of them having very little relevance to the story and although the plot was once again very strong the final twist wasn't as shocking nor as complex as the previous two films. Making it appear as if the writers took less care on the plot and more interest on the gore content.
The acting was rather strong in this film but not as good, consistent or as strong as the previous films with some of the leading cast being a little bit inconsistent with their characters and performances. For instance, Bahar Soomekh delivers a good performance overall but there are a few certain scenes in which she made Lynn an unbelievable character which removed some tension from some scenes. Shawnee Smith reprises her role as Amanda once more and on the whole is amazing but once again there are a few scenes which were a bit under acted which made me very aware that I was watching a film and therefore it made it a little less compelling. Tobin Bell, however, once again excels as Jigsaw and is marvellous throughout.
The supporting cast was very mixed indeed, but overall I felt that they were pretty weak unlike the previous two films where the supporting cast were just as brilliant as the leading cast. For example, Mpho Koaho seemed like an amateur and anyone could have played his role and it wouldn't have mattered or made a difference. Another pretty weak performer was Barry Flatman who portrayed the Judge, who wasn't bad but was also far from being good as well. The other victims were pretty believable though and did quite a lot for the screen time they were given. As for the rest of the supporting cast, I felt that Dina Meyer especially shone in her role for once and it's her scenes which stood out for me personally. Costas Mandylor and Betsy Russell were only on screen for less than a minute and only had about line each but they still managed to deliver their best performances in the series!
The plot was good but as I stated before the ending wasn't as impressive as the previous two. Elaborating on the overall plot, it was good but for me there were too many traps and this became a problem because now it's starting to get repetitive. One trap that really was not necessary was Dina Meyer's for we already know that Amanda created an inescapable trap and I personally would have liked to have seen Miss Meyer in future instalments but at the same time, that trap had a major presence and it was this trap which haunted me for a while after seeing this film. The rest of the plot though was rather good in my opinion and it was interesting to get a deeper insight on Jigsaw's and Amanda's perspective.
On that note, this film accomplishes something that the upcoming Saw films completely fail at. Flashback scenes. They primarily revolve around Amanda and these scenes make her seem more humane and empathetic than we might have first thought. We get a better insight on why she cuts herself and it clarifies some mysteries that the previous instalments did not answer and I loved this effect as it was effective and unique in the telling of this story and it also made the telling of this story more fluent too.
Another feature that I love about this film is the slow evolution of characters, especially Amanda and Allison, both of whom are minor characters in the first film but by this point they are pivotal characters in the series who are continuously referenced after their demise.
So in conclusion, this film once more has a good plot and a good ending. The acting on the whole is mixed and does effect the quality of the film just a little bit which is a great shame. What is also made apparent in this film is their focus on gore content which in turn shifts them slightly from the plot and it is this that ultimately spells disaster for the future Saw films. Nevertheless, Saw 3 is a very enjoyable instalment and a must see for fans of the franchise.
The Hunger Games (2012)
A lot of wasted potential
First of all I have seen Battle Royale. This probably alters my perspective on this film as I just can't help myself but compare the two films. Just a heads up.
Firstly, I feel as if this film is too slowly paced and is dragged a bit too long, what makes it worse is that in these two and a half hours there is very little character development so when a child dies within the film it isn't very emotionally impacting and both aspects are better handled in Battle Royale as many of the characters in it are sharply introduced and just as sharply cut off and the shock and horror within their introduction and demise make it all the more impacting.
However, the performances in The Hunger games are rather strong. Josh Hutcherson does a very good job as Peeta but is overshadowed a bit by the wonderful performance by Jennifer Lawrence. She manages to display a large variety of emotions with such ease and accuracy that it makes the film fill out some of it's potential but only a little. Nevertheless the performances by some of the supporting cast members are rather weak. The careers are prime examples...to me they seemed to overact their malevolent side and made it less emotionally impacting which was a major purpose of the film. After all they're children killing other children they're meant to represent innocence. Yet all they represented were heartless killers from a typical slasher film. Once again I think the performances in Battle Royale were far better than in this. Not only are the main cast amazing but so are the supporting cast. I can't think of a major character in that film who wasn't convincing at all.
The fight scenes. For me it didn't work. Why they used a jumpy camera all the over the place was beyond me. We weren't seeing from anyone's perspective, they made that clear. It also didn't make sense, one second Katniss is on her feet, a few seconds of the camera trembling horrendously and then she is on the floor and restrained with the viewer being none the wiser on how she got there. When compared to Battle Royale...well the fight scenes in it made it all the more tragic watching adolescents break down with fear and paranoia before your eyes make the horror in it stand out even more.
One thing I did like in this films were the visuals. The budget on that truly paid off.
So in conclusion, if you have the choice between Battle Royale and the hinger games, then choose Battle Royale, it is a very well made movie with plenty of positives which scold into your mind for a very long time. This just had far too much wasted potential.