Rapid Review: The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part II (2015)

the hunger games mockingjay part 2

“Our lives were never ours, they belong to Snow and our deaths do too. But if you kill him, Katniss, all those deaths, they mean something.”
– Peeta Mellark

SYNOPSIS: As the war of Panem escalates to the destruction of other districts by the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion, must bring together an army against President Snow, while all she holds dear hangs in the balance. – via IMDB

finnnick mockingjay mutts

GRADE 7I was excited for this, I really was. I was unhappy with the split of this book into two movies, and it seems that that was justified. I just don’t quite get it… you all know I was not really a fan of Mockingjay Part I. It felt unnecessary, though it was interesting to explore some of the political issues there. Then there is Mockingjay Part II, and it is uneven, and a mess, and somehow manages to feel so rushed. I don’t get it. There are also things that really irritated me. The main two offenders being SPOILERS that Finnick’s death was not done more justice – because it was really just glossed over in the book, and that Prim barely featured, so her death  meant absolutely nothing here. The movie felt cluttered, and it was not nearly as smooth as Catching Fire, which remains the crowning moment for this franchise. I maintain that Jennifer Lawrence succeeded in making Katniss Everdeen far more likable than she ever was in the books (ask anyone – Everdeen is a total pet peeve of mine, ugh, whiny brat). This is not the worst way to end out the franchise, but really less oomph than I was expecting. Visually, of course, the movie was great to look at, but I was extremely disappointed in the pods at the outer edge of the city. Way less bang for my buck than I was expecting. The conclusion is also portrayed in a far more upbeat manner than the book, which is much better for me because the book made me want to throw it out of frustration because Katniss is such a selfish child. The trailer contained all the really good things, unfortunately, so there was spans of filler stuff (for me) while watching this. I feel that the cast again did a fantastic job with their characters, bringing all of them to life, though many characters were glossed over. Sam Claflin is still fantastic as Finnick Odair, Josh Hutcherson is precisely what you would expect Peeta to be, and Liam Hemsworth is a really good Gale, exactly what I pictured him to be (don’t know why he gets so much hate – but then I have only ever seen him in this franchise). That’s just glossing over the main cast, as it really is just too large to talk about them all, but just know that they all worked very well with what they were given. I liked this alright, but I did not love it – it just feels like it never really took off like it was supposed to. It felt unpolished, unfinished, and uneven. That being said, it is still a fun franchise, and I am totally looking forward to a nice box set to add to my collection!

January Blind Spot Review: The Ides of March (2011)

the ides of march movie poster

“I’ll do or say anything if I believe in it, but I have to believe in the cause.”
– Stephen Meyers

SYNOPSIS: Stephen Meyers is a young idealist who’s brilliant at communications, is second in command of Governor Mike Morris’s presidential campaign, and is a true believer. In the middle of the Ohio primary, the campaign manager of Morris’s opponent asks Meyers to meet; he offers him a job. At the same time, Morris’s negotiations for the endorsement of the man in third place, a North Carolina Senator, hit a snag. A young campaign intern, Molly Stearns, gets Stephen’s romantic attention. Republicans have a trick up their sleeve; Stephen may be too trusting, and Molly has a secret. What’s most important, career, victory, or virtue? – via IMDB

the ides of march

GRADE 8There we go, first movie on my blind spot list checked off. I have been putting this off for years, and not so much intentionally as that I keep forgetting that it needs to be watched, and when I remember, my other half rejects the idea of a political film. So not his thing. So now I had to watch it, and I had to make the time. It was on a list, right? Right. The Ides of March was a smart and engrossing film. That is the first thing that I would like to say. From the opening scene and from thereon out, it demands your attention, and I’ll bet you it will receive it. Ryan Gosling gives another hell of a performance here, though it is something I have come to love about him. He is very talented. It was really great to see how Stephen preps all of Morris’s stuff, and practices and tests it, and how phenomenally different it sounds when you see Clooney step up as Morris and pull it off. Evan Rachel Wood was good again, as was to be expected. I liked the story for this quite a bit, and thought that it was pulled off really well. Philip Seymour Hoffman was at his finest here, and captured the essence of his jaded character perfectly. He exuded the power and control he was supposed to, and owned every second he was on screen. The whole cast was solid, and all contributed really good efforts that are seen throughout the film. I thoroughly enjoyed the pacing, how everything starts gradually and then just snowballs into this huge and out of control situation, with everyone stabbing someone else in the back, and Stephen learning all about how being an idealist is a really difficult thing to be in his line of work. I actually enjoyed the romance between Stephen and Molly, and really wished that the movie had focused on that a little bit more, giving it some more meat. Overall, I think that The Ides of March was a successful political drama all around that I would recommend if this is your scene. It was definitely my cup of tea.

Review: The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part I (2014)

the hunger games mockingjay part 1 poster

“I never wanted any of this, I never wanted to be in the Games, I just wanted to save my sister and keep Peeta alive.”
– Katniss Everdeen

SYNOPSIS: With the Games now destroyed and in pieces, Katniss Everdeen, along with Gale, Finnick and Beetee, now end up in the so thought “destroyed” District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her friends, Katniss becomes the “Mockingjay” and the symbol of rebellion for the people. – via IMDB

katniss rose snow mockingjay

GRADE 6.5So we all know that the entire world has been waiting for this with bated breath and immense amounts of participation. The reviews came back, mixed. Very. Irrespective of, I had to go see this. Now that I am free of my exams, I could do this without stress and worrying about anything. Yay. Now, there are a lot of things this movie did right, and there were a lot of things that I was not fond of. There was a lot that they stuck to in the books, and other things that they certainly could have developed more that they just didn’t (big eyes here at the Gale and Finnick sections). I mean, Gale ended up looking like a jackass at a stage when he freaked about Peeta, simply because there was no proper build up. Haymitch was underused, and the fact that they dropped the Finnick in his underwear scene was criminal. I was not expecting a huge action film going in, knowing how they split the book into two films, I knew that Part I was going to be significantly slower (the first half of the book was, too). What I didn’t expect was it to feel like it was dragging, trying to fill up the runtime at the best of times. Pity, too. I don’t mind a slow burn or a drama or anything, but then those elements have to take over and keep you completely enthralled, which did not really happen here. I was not happy either when Finnick delivered his huge exposé speech either, because they kept punctuating it with the rescue scenes, which would have been fine (I mean I understood what they were going for), but they let those scenes drag on too long without Finnick talking or focused too much on the event punctuating his speech, so when he comes back and he’s saying something, you have forgotten what he has said already, and the OMG bit of all of it is underplayed, and it was an important bit. The performances from the cast were very good all round though. Julianne Moore was great as President Coin, Philip Seymour Hoffman was still a wonderful Plutarch, though I wish there had been more of him, Liam Hemsworth finally gets more screen time (though I still think they needed to do so much more with his character), and Sam Claflin was solid as Finnick as always, though I really wish we had seen more of him (the mistreatment of his character in here was criminal), and Elizabeth Banks was entertaining as always, though she was not really supposed to be such a big part of events. I liked her nonetheless. There were some logic issues that got under my skin (most of it having to do with the hiding in the bunker thing), and the shaky cam stuff annoyed me endlessly, too. I was happy that the reunions were done well (Finnick, Peeta, etc). I was worried they would manage to screw that up, but it worked wonders. Overall this is not a bad flick, it’s just that so much more could have been done.