Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games."
The week ahead's a good one for entertainment. The most awaited movie of the year, "The Hunger Games," hits theaters, "Mad Men" returns to TV and a whole bunch of great movies come to DVD and Blu-ray. Between this and the NCAA tournament, there's a lot to feast your eyes upon.
"The Hunger Games" is part of an enormously popular book series, like "Twilight," and like "Twilight," it features a young woman torn between two young men. But there the comparisons end. No vampires in "Hunger Games," and heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) doesn't depend on a man to save her -- she goes out and fights to survive all by herself. Warning: If you don't already have your tickets, you may not be able to see this one right away. Tickets went on sale Feb. 22, and early screenings sold out in many theaters weeks ago. (Opens March 23.)
The sexy 1960s ad men and women of "Mad Men" are back for season five. Star John Slattery told TV Guide, "There are some surprises coming this season that are so out of control. I wish we had cameras in people's houses and could watch them go, 'No way!' as they watch the show." The magazine says the two-hour season premiere is "built around a memorable party" and calls it "a clever and often bitterly amusing piece of writing by creator Matthew Weiner." (Premieres March 25, 9 p.m., AMC.)
DVD and Blu-ray
It's time to play the music! It's time to light the lights! "The Muppets" bet it all on their 2011 comeback movie, and it seems to have worked -- the movie was critically acclaimed and names such as Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and Fozzie Bear are now familiar to a new generation. And the classic "Man or Muppet?" won the Oscar for best song. Manly Muppets and Muppets of men (and women) will want to see this. (On DVD and Blu-ray March 20.)
Stieg Larsson's "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" books have spawned not one but two separate movie series. The Swedish film trilogy was so acclaimed that many wondered why Hollywood even needed to make an American version. But the first film in that series, with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara starring, earned raves. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! (Out on DVD and Blu-ray March 20.)
"Hop" might make a fun Easter basket addition for the kids in your life. Animation and live-action blend in this entertaining offering, with Russell Brand offering the voice of a young rebellious Easter Bunny and Hugh Laurie as his dad, who dreams of passing his title down to Junior. Pick up the movie and nestle it right in there next to the chocolate bunny. (Out on DVD and Blu-ray March 20.)
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" didn't earn all the headlines that "The Artist" did, but the film was nominated for three Oscars, including Gary Oldman as best actor. Many fans of John LeCarre's spy novels felt that his hero, George Smiley, could never be played better than Alec Guinness did in the 1979 miniseries, but then came Oldman. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calls his performance "flawless in every detail." (Out on DVD and Blu-ray March 20.)