The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

GoMovieReviews Rating:
The Hunger Games MockingJay Part 2Director: Francis Lawrence

Screenplay: Peter Craig, Danny Strong

Based on ‘Mockingjay’ by Suzanne Collins

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrleson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore.

I had to play catch up with this one, having missed the last two releases.

Catching Fire was a pleasant surprise. I love the characters going back into The Games. And what a pleasure to see Philip Seymour Hoffman on the screen again (sob, sob). What an amazing actor (Capote (2005), Doubt (2008), The Ides of March (2011), A Most Wanted Man (2014), to name a few). It was a nice touch to dedicate the Mockingjay Part 1 to him in the credits. The reworking of the script to include a letter written by Hoffman’s character, Heavensbee, for the final instalment was well done by director, Francis Lawrence (director of the final three instalments). The letter read by Woody Harrelson’s character, Haymmitch Abernathy. See article in The Los Angeles Times here…

There was potential for Mockingjay to become saccharine, with the propaganda, and emotive speeches that became the focus of Part 1. Thankfully, the character Johanna Mason (Jena Malone, well cast, I say), had the hard authentic nasty to bring the film back from too much cheese.

Mockingjay 2 takes us to the final battle against the Capitol and tyranny of President Snow. Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), has become the symbol of the rebellion and under the direction of Coin (Julianne Moore), the leader of District 13, the Districts are aligning behind the symbol of the Mockingjay.

Facing battles from all sides, including her once trusted ally, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Katniss must stay strong to overthrow Snow. But Snow won’t go quietly, and hence the battle for the Capitol becomes the final Hunger Games.

I haven’t read the books so the story with its twists and turns was a welcome surprise for me. The characters were becoming a little flat, the story a bit too: bad guys versus good guys in Part 1; Part 2 has enough twists to keep the story interesting.

The inclusion of Katniss singing The Hanging Tree in Part 1 as the rebels’ anthem was genius. Jennifer Lawrence has a lovely, simple warm voice that was a nice finishing touch in Part 2.

I liked this film. It was a well thought-out conclusion to the saga, and I left with a satisfied, warm feeling.

 

SPECTRE

GoMovieReviews Rating:
SpectreDirector:              Sam Mendes

Screenplay: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade; Jez Butterworth

Story: John Logan, Neal Purvis; Robert Wade.

Starring:  Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Monica Bellucci;  Naomie Harris.

An entertaining Bond classic with great acting, brilliant cinematography (Hoyte van Hoytema) and a neat story.

This is the second Bond film directed by Sam Mendes, Skyfall being the first.  Who can forget the terrible oversight of casting Kincade, the groundsman of Skyfall, up in the Scottish Highlands, with an American accent?! Myself and the attending audience heaved a huge sigh of disappointment, tainting the rest of an otherwise good film.   Besides this oversight, I found SPECTRE to be the more entertaining.

Bond’s childhood is once again the subject of this movie, his upbringing drawing Bond into the world of SPECTRE and its world domination through Orwell’s nightmare – Big Brother watching us all. Information is power, and being the classic Bond, M wasn’t having any of it – indeed! Yes, a classic – Bond battling the hi-tech villain, Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz), the Bond girls, with Monica Bellucci still such an elegant, beautiful woman. And I just loved the car, an Aston Martin DB10, yum, yum.

There was a quiet section where I then noticed the young teen kicking the back of my seat, and then the young guy next to me chewing his fingers off… It’s a long movie for some (2 hours 30 mins), as are all the Bond films. But then it was back to the action and I was absorbed again.  ‘You’re like a Kite dancing in a hurricane’, is one piece of dialogue that stuck in mind.

There’s certainly a formula to the Bond films, and yes, there was a bit going on here… But I found SPECTRE to be an entertaining movie, shown with a wry sense of humour.

And you’ve just gotta love the sincere look of Daniel Craig as Bond.

 

The Last Witch Hunter

GoMovieReviews Rating:
The Last Witch HunterDirected by: Breck Eisner

Written by: Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless

Starring: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood and Michael Caine.

I don’t mind a bit of trash as long as it’s good trash. If it’s just trash, well, then it’s just a waste of time. The Last Witch Hunter fell somewhere in between, so, not so good trash?

At first I noticed how lovely Vin Diesel’s eyes are, so surprisingly warm. And then I noticed how clichéd the portrayal of witches was becoming. I mean, witches drinking Absinthe and being cat lovers? Come on! I was expecting more than some bullshit Goth flick. Then the story got a bit better.

Kaulder (Vin Diesel) becomes immortal after being cursed by the Witch Queen, to live forever with his memories of loss. The Witch Queen’s belief that humans hide in fear behind walls of stone and destroy the earth being her reason for her reign of terror. And yes, I can see something in that.

The movie was visually entertaining with giant burning trees and swarms of flesh eating insects and surprisingly pretty butterflies. Yes, a fair few bugs in this one. The story did take a few unexpected turns, but, I admit, I was a little disappointed. I could see the actors trying to make the dialogue work, Chloe, played by Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) was particularly forced. So it was painful to watch at times, realising the actors themselves didn’t believe what they were saying.

Look, if you’re into this supernatural-type movie, you’ll go and watch it no matter what the review. Just don’t expect greatness.