‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2’ Movie Review

21 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Box Office: ‘Hunger Games’ Flies High With $16 Million on Thursday.

This week at the multiplex, we’ve got Katniss Everdeen (“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,”, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Julianne Moore), some party-hearty bros (“The Night Before,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen), and a dogged detective (“The Secret in their Eyes,” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Julia Roberts). It’s a strong and promising number — Jurassic World took home $18.5 million in its opening night — but one that trails behind all of the three previous Hunger Games films.

There are gripping action sequences and cringe-inducing monsters for the beleaguered heroine and her allies to slay—but, the franchise has lost much of its death-defying urgency and grit, with a perfunctory wrapup that feels trite and anticlimactic. Cast as Katniss Everdeen just a year after her breakthrough in Winter’s Bone, Lawrence was considered by many an undeniable talent but a little bit green, maybe not ready to carry the burden of such a massive franchise. That said, director Francis Lawrence’s political allegory has thematic aces up its sleeve that keep Suzanne Collins’ dystopian young adult saga viewable—not the least of which is Katniss’ memorable scene with her beloved sister’s purring kitty, limned to thespic perfection by J Law’s Oscar-winning chops. After all, just two years before being cast, she was still a regular on The Bill Engvall Show. (See below.) Lawrence, of course, killed it, and became not just one of the biggest movie stars in the world, but one of the most respected young actors in the business.

In a video shot by one of her traveling companions, the actress cavorts with joy on a bed in a plane, where she said she was (finally) able to get 12 hours of sleep. For Katniss, it’s no longer just about saving her sister Prim: She embraces the role of the Mockingjay to give the residents of the 13 districts who rally behind her a fighting chance against a lifetime of oppression!

In 2013, luxury e-retailer Net-A-Porter teamed up with Trish Summerville, costume designer for Hunger Games: Catching Fire, on a capsule collection based on the film. Anthony Mackie joins them in their latest collaboration, “The Night Before,” and critics say the result is a surprisingly warm holiday bromance, even if its drug-fueled humor sometimes misses the mark. Recent tracking suggests that “Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2” will launch to $120 million to $125 million at 4,175 North American locations. This time, all bets are off as the 74th Hunger Games champ teams up with Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth), Johanna Mason (Jenna Malone), Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and an odd army of blood-thirsty warriors raring to liberate Panem—and put a stop to Snow’s reign of terror!

The Capitol Couture line featured adaptations of designs that appeared in the movie including a laser-cut leather dress for $995 U.S. inspired by Katniss Everdeen’s chariot outfit. Russell into an A-list director again, she’s headlining a Steven Spielberg movie and a Darren Aronofsky movie and she’s setting a standard for a new type of female star, one who throws her weight around on the pay gap and doesn’t take any shit from anybody.

In the fourth and final installment of the science-fiction franchise, Katniss faces an unexpected dilemma: a game-changing twist involving ambiguous resistance leader Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), while everything—and everyone—she holds dear hangs in the balance. It’s a druggie comedy, to be sure, but a sweetness about vulnerability, honesty, friends and family cuts through the haze.” — Sandy Cohen, Associated Press Fresh: “Seth Rogen may have grown up a lot since Knocked Up, but The Night Before still fits precisely into that wheelhouse of raunch comedy with heart. Thank goodness he hasn’t grown up too much to make movies like this one.” — Katey Rich, Vanity Fair Rotten: “Motoring affably along from one comic set-piece to the next — and a few are very, very funny — ‘The Night Before’ never falls apart, but it never really comes together, either.” — Kimberley Jones, Austin Chronicle Rotten: “‘The Night Before’ wants to make you laugh and cry, but it doesn’t give us enough opportunities to do enough of either.” — Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic Not every American remake of a foreign language film is doomed to failure; some, like Best Picture winner “The Departed,” have equaled or surpassed the originals. Suffice it to say that the stakes are higher—and we’re not just talking about the difficult choice Katniss has to make between Gale and the brainwashed Peeta, even after his Tracker Jacker-induced attempt to kill the woman he professes to love! Katniss’ swan song wouldn’t be complete without fleeting parting shots from the unusually sober Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), Plutarch Heavensby (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Hunger Games’ commentator Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) and the lovably loopy Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), who’s back to make sure that Katniss is at her loveliest when she faces new foes in Coin’s “symbolic” Hunger Games—ironically intended to signify the end of tyranny!

Angelina Jolie’s intimate drama, “By the Sea,” operates on an interesting premise: Three years after a string of miscarriages, the marital woes of washed-up writer Roland Bertrand (Brad Pitt) and his emotionally volatile wife, former dancer Vanessa (Jolie), come to a head when the New York couple travels to a rustic seaside town in France and meets the young newlyweds next door, Francois (Melvil Poupaud) and Lea (Melanie Laurent). Wearing a daily uniform doesn’t have to be stifling, as many creatives and innovators have discovered (see: Sofia Coppola, Karl Lagerfeld, Steve Jobs). She has every reason to mail it in at this point; these movies have gone on forever, she’s moved beyond them, she has been making them for nearly 20 percent of her life at this point. As if following the adventures of Katniss didn’t come with enough ups and downs, fans will soon be able to take a real-life roller-coaster ride inspired by her train trip to the Capitol, and a simulated hovercraft tour of the Panem nation.

A recreation of District 12 complete with costumed characters is in the works for the complex in Dubai, but here’s what we would add to the mix: A Harry Potter-themed bar called The Lockhart recently opened in Toronto, featuring “potions & elixirs” that allude to characters and a decor that pulls from inscriptions in the book. With its brooding atmosphere and a storytelling style that is mannered and agonizingly slow, it spends too much time telling what is actually a simple story. As a filmmaker, Jolie tells compelling but often incohesive tales (“In the Land of Blood and Honey,” “Unbroken”), compromised further by yarn-spinning skills that lack punch and focus. Local city bylaws prevent weaponry from being in such close proximity to alcohol, so instead of a crossbow range on the patio we would settle on a dartboard where the bull’s-eye would be President Snow’s face. Consider The Flux Capacitors, a SoCal ensemble that bills itself as “the only official Back to the Future-themed ’80s band.” The group performs ’80s hits decked out as Marty, Doc, Biff and the like, and even brings a DeLorean replica to shows.

Panemonium is an obvious choice if we’re going in a punk direction, but we also like The Jabberjays for a hip-hop crew, or Peeta Burnt the Bread for the shoegazing crowd. Philip Seymour freaking Hoffman!) to take down the evil President Snow (a cackling, awesome Donald Sutherland) and save all the districts from the garden-variety dystopia their society has become. This is all pretty familiar stuff, and to be honest, a lot of the world-building and mythology of this franchise has started to become a little dense and irrelevant to me. The Capitol has been fighting the rebels for four movies now, drawn out as long as possible for maximum box office, and it’s not difficult to run out of patience for the whole process. There’s no shortage of songs about stickin’ it to the man to choose from: “Fight the Power,” “Killing in the Name” (natch), “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Any encore would have to include a haunting rendition of “The Hanging Tree,” followed by the anti-establishment anthem “Tubthumping.” Those Panem rebels, they get knocked down, but they get up again.

There’s also a sad but cathartic kick of seeing Hoffman on screen, one final time, nearly two years after his death; even in such a small, inconsequential role, he dominates the screen. (He’s so magnetic that much of the last 15 minutes of the film features people talking about him even though he was barely in the movie.) The movie feels weightier than the earlier films, even if it, still, keeps trying to shoehorn a love triangle that is not only pointless to the overall proceedings but also a bit embarrassing to the male particulars: Jennifer Lawrence picking between Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth is like a sitting President deciding whether or not to run for dog catcher or city comptroller. When you’re shooting arrows and busting gender roles and saving the goddamned world, who cares who she “chooses?” The only correct answer is neither. 5.

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