Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Hunger Games Catching Fire


Girl Still On Fire

8.75 out of 10 | Movie and DVD

Rated: PG-13  For intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Runtime: 2 hours 26 minutes

Director: Francis Lawrence
Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt, based on the novel 'Catching Fire' by Suzanne Collins
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Jack Quaid, Taylor St. Clair, Woody Harrelson, Josh Hutcherson, Willow Shields, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lynn Cohen, Jena Malone

SYNOPSIS:  Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

REVIEW: Francis Lawrence, director of I Am Legend and the upcoming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay films, takes over the reins from Gary Ross and brings Katniss and Peeta back to the games. Simon Beaufoy (127 Hours) and Michael Arndt (Oblivion) adapt the second book from Suzanne  Collins in the hopes that the tributes from District 12 can survive.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence, X-Men: First Class) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson, Epic) have returned to Panem's District 12 as victors of the 74th Hunger Games. Living in the Victors Village, the best homes in the desolate community, Katniss still desires to leave with Gale (Liam Hemsworth, The Expendables 2) into the forest and away from the rule and oppression of President Snow and the Capitol. Sensing an uprising in the Districts, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) urges Katniss to portray the 'in love' winner with Peeta to quell the ideas of rebellion. When their victors tour results in squabbling crowds and unrest, Snow changes the rules of the game by announcing that the 75th Hunger Games, the 3rd Quarter Quell, will reap its tributes from the past winners of the event. Peeta and Katniss are forced back into the fray as the games commence, banding together with some if the other tributes in order to stay alive and to remember who the real enemy is.

Jennifer Lawrence returns as the reluctant heroine Katniss in the second of the Hunger Games series. No longer novices from the first film, Katniss and Hutcherson's Peeta better understand the political machine behind the oppression and fear of the Capitol and the presidency. Katniss sees graffiti of her signature mockingjay everywhere she goes, signifying a change in attitude of the populace against the government. Winning the 74th Hunger Games in front of the entire world with the virtue of love and sacrifice has sparked a faint, but strengthening, life of hope throughout the Districts.

A darker and more stark entry, Catching Fire starts by reintroducing Katniss and Peeta in the aftermath of winning the Hunger Games. Winners of the games and living a slightly better life than their District 12 neighbors, the pair suffers a strained relationship as each tries to rationalize their true feelings. Katniss still loves Gale, Peeta pines for Katniss, and President Snow desires the continued success of his rule in the Capitol and over the Districts. More entrenched with politics and subterfuge, Katniss and the others have to deal with more painful emotions and the realization that they are again forced to fight against an almost infallible opponent.

Jennifer Lawrence has an even more raw edge in her second outing as Katniss. Josh Hutcherson, as Peeta, shows that he is not just that defenseless young man from the 74th games, growing into his role as a leader and defender of District 12 and Katniss. Under-appreciated Woody Harrelson shines as Haymitch, the tortured former winner of the Games. He straddles the line between gifted diplomat and ragged alcoholic. Effie Trinket, played by Elizabeth Banks, is softer and more humanized, showing that living in the shine and decadence of the Capitol does not necessarily mean that she has no heart. Philip Seymour Hoffman steps in as the new games master Plutarch Heavensbee. Sutherland and Tucci are phenomenal in their returning roles.

From a fairly faithful adaptation of the book, to superb performances by a stellar cast, to a story that seems to start off as a retread but ends up with intrigue, action, pain and suspense, Catching Fire takes The Hunger Games to the next level. Katniss may be the Girl on Fire, but she may set all of Panem ablaze.

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