And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part Two

I had to re-read my review – from exactly one year ago – of Mockingjay – Part One to reaffirm what I already knew: Mockingjay, Part Two is definitely my least favorite of the four-movie franchise. Not surprising, considering “Mockingjay” was my least favorite of the best-selling “Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins and never should have been split into two movies. It just doubled the disappointment. That’s not to say fans of the book and the movies shouldn’t see Mockingjay, Part Two. OF COURSE they should. You need the closure… that final cinematic salute to symbolic rebel leader Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), her rival love interests Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), and the whole nation of Panem. One last chance to declare, “May the odds be ever in your favor!”

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Hollywood can be so cruel. Splitting the third and final book of The Hunger Games trilogy into two movies feels so… unnecessary. Lucrative, in a “hey, Harry Potter and Twilight got away with it” kind of way. But still, totally unnecessary. Thus Mockingjay – Part 1 is a good movie that could have been great. It’s a means to an end – and that means fans of the franchise will (and should) see it despite my frustrations with a narrative cut short. Then – come next year – we will all surely see it again, as part of a movie marathon, when Mockingjay – Part 2 bows in theaters. Just in time for Thanksgiving 2015! May the odds of remembering what happened in the books – and the first three movies – be ever in our favor.

Mockingjay – Part 1 finds our reluctant heroine Katniss Everdeen (still played brilliantly by Jennifer Lawrence) waking up in the rebel safe haven of District 13 after having put a fork (okay, an arrow) into the craziness that was the Hunger Games – where kid ‘tributes’ from the districts of Panem had been forced to fight to the death as part of some annual penance devised by the autocratic Capitol. Why? It’s complicated. If you really care to know, read the books. See the movies.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Catching Fire is both satisfying and frustrating in that it definitely leaves you hungry for more. Sadly, the final installment of the Hunger Games trilogy won’t be dished out for a while, and even worse, it’ll be broken up into TWO additional flicks! As sequels go, Catching Fire is about as good as it gets. The characters, old and new, are well-drawn and well acted. There’s humor, horror, anticipation, allegory and dread as our heroine, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is forced back onto the battlefield for another fight to the death, along with her Hunger Games co-victor and fellow tribute Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). If none of that makes any sense, you’re probably going to skip the movie anyway. So cruise around the Chickflix site for some other cinematic options! For the rest of you, here’s all you need to know as Catching Fire sets the box office ablaze: