Posts Tagged ‘suzanne collins’

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Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 (2014-2015)

November 29, 2015

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore
Director: Francis Lawrence (Catching Fire, I Am Legend)

Bottom Line: Mockingjay, the finale of the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series, clocks in at a brutal 4 hours and 30 minutes – and it’s excruciating. I liked the first movie just fine and the second one I felt was okay, but this final film is 4.5 hours of not much at all. Katniss has escaped the Quarter Quell games and is now holed up with the rebel alliance, a group of people led by Julianne Moore’s President Coin looking for someone to rally behind as their poster child and Katniss Everdeen fits the bill perfectly. And that’s what Mockingjay part 1 is and very little else. It’s a total snooze fest. Part 2 might be worse. In that film, the rebels march towards the capital to take out President Snow, which seems like it might have a climactic end to it, but even Snow’s demise is a let down and so is the whole finale.

I love me some Jennifer Lawrence, but I’m grateful that her ties to this series are over. It’s just not that good. Katniss is a good character, but I’m not sure anyone else in this series is. I just hate to see Lawrence’s talent wasted on something so simple. I’ve never been a fan of the two main guy characters in this series. The Jacob-Edward love triangle is trite and takes away from Katniss’ real fight, which is with the Capitol. Honestly, how necessary to the plot is the character of Gale? How likable is Peeta? These characters only exist to provide side conflicts for the heroin. Mostly, Mockingjay was way too long and for a blockbuster popcorn flick, it seriously lacked action. This movie had two hours of material that could have hit the cutting room floor, but the new trend in Hollywood is to break the last book of a successful movie franchise into two parts. It was smart for Harry Potter, but it’s been utterly ridiculous for everyone else that has tried it.

I would only recommend either of the Mockingjay movies to someone that is already predisposed to liking them. Or maybe they won’t. My wife has been watching Harry Potter on repeat to wash the taste of this movie out of her mouth. If you like the concept of The Hunger Games, I’d recommend Koushun Takami’s novel Battle Royale or the Japanese film adaptation of his book; it’s way more interesting, violent, and action packed, with none of the silly love triangle filler.

Replay Value: No way I’d ever watch this last entry again.
Sequel Potential: Is it possible? The Hunger Games are a cash cow, so some sequel or spin off or remake will almost certainly surface some day.
Oscar Potential: Maybe some technical categories, but probably not.

Grade: 3.5/10 (Forgettable/Just Skip It)

SPOILER: How is Collins going to kill off Primrose after Katniss sacrifices her life for her and sets the whole series in motion? I can’t imagine how fans of the series would be happy with that ending.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Last Vegas (2013)

November 24, 2013

It would be nice if I could get to a point where I updated this blog on a daily basis. It really shouldn’t be that difficult to find 20 minutes a day (or even less) to write about something interesting that happened that day. My current excuses are that my schedule and my girlfriend keep me from doing much writing. I tend to work, hang out with Dina, stay up late, spend my free time playing or studying poker, and sleep away most mornings and early afternoons. Also, Dina doesn’t care much for sharing my attention, even with inanimate objects like computers and cell phones. Regardless, 20 minutes a day to write seems like a reasonable goal. But since I’ve had trouble updating this blog even a couple times a month, I’m starting smaller: one post a week and see if I can improve from there.

Obviously I like to write about movies, so what have I seen lately? Friday I saw Hunger Games: Catching Fire and I’m honestly not entirely sure how I felt about it. I read the first book, but lost interest very early into the second one so I have no basis to compare it to the source material. I will say I found it mostly enjoyable, even if it felt like it retread a lot of ground covered in the first movie. I was pretty excited when Jennifer Lawrence was cast as Katniss Everdeen, but this is probably the least interesting role I’ve seen her in. I’m looking forward to her next film American Hustle much more than I was this movie. Still, there are moments in Catching Fire that gave me goosebumps, particularly when Katniss and Peeta landed in Rue’s district on their victory tour. Truthfully, the story works best when Katniss is defying The Capital rather than when it focuses on it’s boring love triangle. The contestants in this Quarter Quell version of The Hunger Games which finds former victors facing off with one another are much more fleshed out and interesting than in the first film, but unfortunately, after quite a bit of build up the movie ends rather abruptly. I definitely thought: wait, where’s the climax? I wasn’t expecting too much of Catching Fire so overall, I found it enjoyable, but far from spectacular. Fans of the series will almost certainly enjoy it. 6/10

I also saw Last Vegas a couple weeks ago and it was also an okay movie. Obviously taking its cue from The Hangover, it’s a similar film for an older generation with a lighter sense of humor. Not many gross out gags, just a bunch of old guys gathering in Vegas for a wedding and shenanigans ensue that often play on their elderly state. The film is rather predictable, but I found it funny and liked it more than I thought it would. Older crowds with realistic expectations (i.e. recognizing none of these veteran actors are going to be on their A-game) should enjoy it quite a bit and even younger crowds should find it amusing. There’s not much meat to this movie so I don’t have too much to say about it. Worth a rental, I guess. 5.5/10