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Amazon’s List Of 100 Books To Read In A Lifetime Includes Dune, 1984, And More

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The Internet does love a list. (And who am I kidding, so do we.) But of all the random, clever, or ludicrous lists out there cluttering up cyberspace, we tend to perk up a bit when the list in question involves books we really ought to read. Amazon recently compiled just such a list, their definitive guide to “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.” Which is, I think you’ll agree, a bit more cheerful of an outlook than the usual variant, “100 Books to Read Before You Die.”

Our beloved science fiction genre doesn’t always get the attention it deserves on these, with many such lists favoring more “respectable” mainstream literature. To that, we say poo-poo. And while our personal list would almost certainly include more SF, Amazon’s 100 does at least have several of the genre’s biggest talents included. Check out the lucky winners below, then stalk off muttering about how they left off your favorite Star Trek paperback.

1984

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How Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death Will Affect The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

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PHS Catching FireOver the weekend tragedy struck with the unexpected death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent drug overdose. He was one of the most celebrated and beloved actors in Hollywood, appearing in movies from world-class directors Paul Thomas Anderson, Bennett Miller, and Joel & Ethan Coen. At the end of his life, Mr. Hoffman appeared in a supporting, yet major, role in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. He played the new Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee. At the time of his death, he was in the middle of shooting its sequel films Mockingjay – Part One & Part Two. Many have wondered how his death would affect the production, and now we know.

According to THR, Lionsgate executives held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the future of The Hunger Games film franchise without Hoffman. Director Francis Lawrence was shooting Mockingjay – Part One & Part Two at the same time, and it was reported that Hoffman finished shooting on the first of the two films, but still had seven more days left of shooting on the second. Apparently, one major scene in part two will have to be re-written before production can start up again in Atlanta, Georgia. According to the outlet, there are only five months left in production on Mockingjay – Part Two.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Teaser Poster Released

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the-hunger-games-mockingjay-teaser-one-sheetThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part One is likely to be one of the biggest hit movies of 2014. With Catching Fire about to be released on home video in a few months, it’s never too early to start the marketing push for the next installment. Now Lionsgate has released the film’s first teaser poster, which features a variation of a very familiar logo.

If you watched Catching Fire (and considering its hefty box office, there’s a good chance that you did), you’ll recall that the film ends with Katniss Everdeen waking up to the evils of The Capitol and President Snow. She becomes the new face of the rebellion that hopes to bring an end to the oligarchy, as the film smash cuts to black and the Catching Fire logo turns into the Mockingjay symbol. It’s a powerful conclusion to the film, and the teaser poster sticks with that image, putting the Mockingjay logo front and center.

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Catching Fire Is The First Female-Led Film To Top Annual U.S. Box Office In At Least 40 Years

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CatchFireThere’s no question that Lionsgate’s Hunger Games franchise is a massive box office success, taking over where the Harry Potter and Twilight films left off. Thankfully Hunger Games has more in common with the former series than the latter, and that’s at least partially due to the charisma, acting talents, and all-around awesomeness of series star Jennifer Lawrence. In fact, the latest Hunger Games installment, Catching Fire, ended the year strong, surpassing Iron Man 3 as the biggest box office earner of 2013 here in the States (Tony Stark still wins internationally, with a ridiculous $1.2 billion worldwide). But there’s one other accomplishment that is just as impressive, if a bit sad. Journalist Mark Harris recently pointed out that Catching Fire is the first film with a solo female lead to top the annual box office since either The Exorcist or Funny Girl, depending on how picky you want to be. Those films, for the record, came out in 1973 and 1968, respectively.

Either way, that’s pretty depressing, if not entirely surprising. As Buzzfeed points out, there have been top earners that featured prominent female characters, such as the Harry Potter films’ Emma Watson or Avatar’s Zoe Saldana, but those were, at best, co-leads, and you’d have to really reach to suggest that either was the primary focus of those stories. Hunger Games has a large cast of characters, but it is clearly and indisputably Katniss Everdeen’s story.

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Jennifer Lawrence Almost Died Filming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

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Katniss is ready!When you’re in the midst of filming what will, in the end, be a multi-billion dollar movie franchise about a dystopian future, you certainly want to put your young lead in peril on screen. One thing you don’t want to do, however, is kill her off in real life. A few days ago, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay came dangerously close to doing just that. During the filming of one particular scene, star Jennifer Lawrence was almost choked to death by a malfunctioning fog machine.

Yahoo reports that the renegade piece of equipment almost accomplished what President Snow (Donald Sutherland) has failed to do over the course of two movies, kill Katniss Everdeen. According to their sources, the Atlanta-based production was in the process of filming a scene where the heroine, Katniss, played by Lawrence, leads a group of people through a tunnel. If you’ve read Suzanne Collins’ novels that serve as the basis for the Hunger Games movies, you have to assume that this is when a crew of rebels attempt to infiltrate the heavily-guarded Capital through the sewer system that runs beneath the city.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Concept Art

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Concept Art From Catching FireThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire is one of the biggest blockbusters of the year! The sequel film has already made $573 million worldwide and is poised to make over $1 billion when all is said and done. There are even people out there who are calling it the “Empire Strikes Back” of the Hunger Games film franchise. If you’ve seen the film, you can easily see that more money has been poured into the production, with grander set pieces, heavier action, and more luxurious art design.

Much of Catching Fire‘s can be attributed to Dawn Brown, one of the sequel film’s set designers and concept/costume artists. Brown previously worked on The Last Airbender, Oz: The Great and Powerful, and J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot. In an interview with Film Sketchr, Brown talked about Panem’s overall look. Part of the challenge for Catching Fire was to establish a new look, but keep it in line with the first Hunger Games movie. Brown explains:

‘These films are coming out a year apart, so we really have to keep moving. And thankfully we have a very close art department. Phil Messina is the production designer, and I’ve been a part of his crew for many years. There’s a kind of shorthand — an efficiency — that develops when the crew is all on the same page. We’ve been working very hard to establish a vocabulary, a stylistic foundation for Katniss’ world. Once that foundation is established, we are free to build on it and push it and break it and make it bigger, better, cooler, with each film. There is definitely an effort to be respectful to the books, yet we want to surprise people with something new as well.