Mockingjay Part 1 Review

Mockingjay Part 1 Review

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
Director: Francis Lawrence 
PG-13/123 min. 
**½ (out of 5)

 

“Mockingjay Part 1″ continues the story of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in her ascension to be a leader of the rebellion out to topple the evil Capitol. “The Hunger Games” has always been an interesting series to watch, as the previous two films were imminently weird, but still fun and enjoyable. But with this second to last entry, it seems as if all the fun has been sucked out, and replaced with drab political speeches. I think a number of factors are to blame for this disappointing entry in the series, so let’s dive into what those are.

Unfortunately, like many other franchises these days, the adaptation of the final book of “The Hunger Games” is being split up into two parts. This decision was purely financial, and the movie suffers because of it. What should have been an exciting action packed finale is now a prodding directionless mess, which ultimately doesn’t hold a candle to the other films in the series. The previous movies were vibrant and full of color, with lots of bright blues and reds filling up the costumes and locations. Now we are stuck in a depressing concrete dungeon, with constant streams of gray and black to keep us company. I know that a lot of this has to do with the source material, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have made this a better film.

As “Mockingjay: Part 1″ is essentially just a prologue to the actual finale, not a lot happens in the 123 minute movie. After being rescued by the rebels at the end of the last film, Katniss is reunited with her family and friends from her own District 12, which has since been destroyed by the Capitol. The members of the rebellious District 13 are stationed in an underground facility that serves as a base of operations. The group is led by President Alma Coin, played by Julianne Moore. She is advised by the former Capitol member Plutarch Heavensbee, portrayed wonderfully by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is by his urging that Coin decides to utilize Katniss as a political weapon against the Capitol.

What follows are numerous scenes of Katniss being followed by a team of military professionals who double as her camera crew. In what the movie calls propos, which I understand is short for propaganda pieces, the camera crew follows Katniss around and films her interacting with various citizens of the other districts. In doing so they are hoping to show Katniss in the best possible way in order to drum up support to their cause, which would in turn lead to a better chance for the rebellion to succeed. Some of these scenes are actually effective at stirring up emotion, but I believe a lot of this has to do with the goodwill built up over the past two movies than anything actually happening in this film.

Lawrence is quite good in this role, and she does admirably decent work here as well. Her scenes are generally the most effective in the movie, and you really feel a sense of longing as she agonizes over her fellow Hunger Games champion Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson. He is being held captive in the Capitol, and is being tortured and manipulated into delivering his own filmed propaganda pieces for the oppressors. Hutcherson and Lawrence have been wonderful in the previous films, which is why it’s a shame that they barely have any time together here. Similar praise must also be heaped onto the other performers in the film, everyone is fully on board with selling this world. Unfortunately the majority of this film ultimately proves unnecessary in the end.

“Mockingjay: Part 1″ suffers greatly from the decision to split the final book into two films. There are a number of extraneous scenes which feel wholly like filler, used simply to pad out the running time. It is a disappointment based on the quality of the previous films, and a shameful attempt to cash in on a very popular franchise. We are essentially left with half a movie, and as the film approaches its climax the feeling of mounting tension is palpable. But just as it feels as if the movie will finally kick into gear we cut to black, only to have to wait another year to see the conclusion. Did I mention how much I didn’t like the decision to split this film up?

Jeffrey Irvine
Life in Cinema
 
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I Saw the Devil 2011

I Saw the Devil 2011

I Saw the Devil 2011I watched on Netflix.

CAST

Byung-hun Lee, Kim Soo-hyeon

Min-sik Choi, Kyung-chul

In-seo Kim, Se-jung

Seung-ah Yoon, Cannibal’s Girlfriend

Chun Ho-jin, Section Chief Oh

Kap-su Kim, Planning team deputy head

San-ha Oh, Joo-yeon

Gook-hwan Jeon, Squad Chief Jang

Yoon-seo Kim, Se-yeon

Moo-Seong Choi, Tae-joo

Jin-ho Choi, Planning director

Yoon Chae-Yeong, Nurse Han Song-i

Park Seo-Yeon, Woman at pension

Bo-ra Nam, Section chief’s daughter

Tae-goo Eom, Detective 4

I’ve never seen this movie and, before I even press PLAY I have to say that I stupid excited to see Min-sik Choi!!!  Oldboy (2003) was the first Asian movie I ever saw and it’s in my top 5 favorite movies ever!

The movie starts with a girl stranded, in the snow, with a flat tire.  She’s been out to visit the “cute children” at the orphanage and says that, if she ever has children, she might raise them near there, in the country.  Her boyfriend appears to be some sort of Secret Service type of guy…little wire hanging from his ear and he’s dressing in a nice suit.  A car pulls off and asks if she has a flat tire.  She says she does but she has called a tow truck and it should be there soon.  In this weather, he says, it might take a while for the truck to arrive and says that he’ll take a look.  She informs her boyfriend of what’s going on and he, smartly, tells her to lock the doors and wait for the tow truck.  It’s obvious that the couple on the phone are in love.  He signs, sweetly, to her until someone enters the room.  He apologizes for working on her birthday.  A few seconds, after the 2 hang up, the man comes back to the girl’s window and tells her that her car is “sunk”.  She thanks him, with her window partially rolled down, but says she’ll wait for the tow truck.  She puts the window back up.  He places his hand on the window, smiles, and heads back to his car.  He doesn’t get in his car, come to find out, because, as she’s wondering why he isn’t leaving, she flashes her brights at his car.  After she does this, he attacks her driver’s side window.  As she attempts to crawl out of the other door, he gets in the car.  She fights him but she is hit, repeatedly, on the head with a hammer.  He pauses and looks at her.  She is pleading with him with her eyes, blood streams from her head.  He isn’t deterred and hits her, once again, with the hammer.  This ends when we see his blood splattered face.  Apparently, a few moments pass.  We see the bloodied car, door opened, and her phone is ringing as it lies in the snow outside of her car.  There is a trail of blood leading from the car.  We see the killer dragging her lifeless body across the ground.

Pretty exciting start!  I’m not even 10 minutes in!!!

The 2nd scene starts out just as exciting!  We see the girls nude body with plastic over it, apparently dead until she moves.  The man with the hammer, smoking, takes the plastic off from where it is covering her head.  He wraps a long chain around one of her wrists and ties it off to a pole.  He fiddles with a plethora of sharp instruments, hatches, knives, etc.  “Your skins so soft, looks like it’ll be easy”, he says as he touches her arm.  She, weakly, asks him to not kill her.  “Why?”, he asks.  She’s pregnant.  He looks at her, as if pondering the idea.  The scene ends with a big surgical type of knife…like an ax, coming down.  During this scene, a ring comes off of her finger.  The killer hears the *ding* of metal hitting the floor but can’t find what it was.  When he cleans up the area, the ring, which landed near a grate, the ring gets flushed down the grate.

Just a little time goes by (minutes), a little boy finds a plastic bag with an ear piece.  The scene immediately changes to police checking the area in the grass and the stream.  The head is found while the boyfriend and her dad (police chief) are present.

That’s all of the step-by-step that I’ll give you.  Here comes my description and synopsis.

There are more victims that willingly get into his van.  Why?  Because he drives a school bus (van).

Kim, the fiancé, on a 2 week leave from work, finds out the top 4 suspects the police are checking up on.  He beats the hell out of the first 2 guys he tracks down.  The third is our guy.  He finds this out when he gets to Kyung-chul’s house and breaks into a locked filing cabinet filled with purses, bras, shoes and phone.  He finds the “kill room” (yep, I’m a Dexter fan) and finds the ring that belonged to his love.

The remained of the movie involves a large amount of fights, various forms of torture, etc.  There’s a side storyline that served, in my opinion, no purpose at all to the main story.  There are also a few beatings that would kill anybody but the people don’t seem to be dazed for more than a day or two.

I’ll tell ya this, any movie than hold my attention for 2 hours and 20 minutes is a damn good movie!  I really enjoyed this!  It was a bit gory for me and I had to look away a few times but, man!  Great flick!

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Broken City Movie Trailer Review

 Broken City Movie Trailer Review

Broken City Movie Trailer

Broken City Movie Trailer Review – We’ve all seen our fair share of crime drama-thrillers, some of which changed the landscape of the film industry as we know it: ‘The Departed’, ‘Scarface’, ‘Goodfellas’, ‘The Usual Suspects’, the list goes on and on. Director Allen Hughes (‘The Book of Eli’, ‘From Hell’) and the previously-unknown writer Brian Tucker appear to have fielded a new film that shares that pedigree: ‘Broken City’. At first glance, it’s impossible to ignore the quality of the cast: Mark Wahlberg, Russel Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and one of my personal favorites: Jeffrey Wright (‘Source Code’, ‘Casino Royale’, ‘The Manchurian Candidate’). With that kind of cast, how could you possibly go wrong? Scratch that, my fault: ‘The Expendables’, ‘The Expendables 2’. Anyway, onto the trailer:

Crowe: “Some wars you fight, and some wars you walk away from. This is the fighting kind.”

It appears that Billy (Wahlberg) is a seasoned SWAT officer who has a reputation for getting physical while getting the job done. If you were wondering– yes, this appears to be another film where Mark is frequently beating people to a pulp while asking rhetorical questions. (“Do you know who I am?”) Surprise! We then discover that Mayor Nicholas (Crowe) is running for re-election in New York City, based on the premise that he’s changed things for the better. His speech begs the question: how bad was it before this guy took office? We then discover that there’s more to Crowe’s character than his political agenda: Nicholas recruits Billy, a ‘hero’ in his book, to become a private investigator to spy on (Read: “hunt”) his allegedly unfaithful wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Billy and his assistant are utterly shocked when they discover the identity of the man involved, and are reluctant to hand over the documents to Nicholas. Ultimately, we discover that Nicholas had a master plan after all. By using what we presume is footage of Billy murdering another individual in cold blood, Crowe attempts to manipulate Wahlberg into doing his dirty work for him. (“Did you ever think of why I chose you? Because I own you.”) Just like other movies of its type, it looks like ‘Broken City’ will demand your attention for its full duration, all while racking up a pretty high body count. Obviously it won’t be a genre-changer, but count me in! ‘Broken City’ is slated to premier January 18th, 2013, and I know where I’ll be that night.

Zeta-Jones: “He’s a dangerous man, Billy.”

Wahlberg: “He only knows people who kill people.”

From IMDb: “An ex-cop trailing the wife of New York City’s mayor finds himself immersed in a larger scandal.”

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