Friday, November 20, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2

My ViewThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2  (2015)  PG-13   Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is heading for a showdown with President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Katniss goes on one last mission and is determined to bring down Snow or die trying.  I liked Part 1, but this is a much better film, mostly due to the action sequences, including a brilliant scene where Katniss and her friends battle “Mutts” in the sewers of the capital city. The film moves at a quick pace, and Lawrence gives an intense and scintillating performance.  It is very evident that the script had to be rewritten when Philip Seymour Hoffman died before completing his work as Plutarch.  Though it was handled well, I think one of the last scenes of the film would have had more impact if Hoffman had been on-screen in that scene. I think both fans of the books and the movie series will be happy with this final installment.     My Rating: Full Price   The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2  
My View:  The Night Before (2015)  R  Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogan) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have a tradition of going out on Christmas Eve.  Because Isaac is going to be a father and Chris has become famous, the guys decide to have one more night of adventure before their lives become too busy. This movie, while it’s message of the importance of friendship and family is well-meaning, it never really finds if momentum and very often the laughs are lacking. The last third of the film almost makes the film worth watching, mostly due to some surprises, but overall the film just doesn’t work. I did like Seth Rogan as a family man given a free pass for one night by his wife, and Michael Shannon as a creepy drug dealer who gives out marijuana like it is going to cure every ill. But overall the film never gives you the comedy buzz you want.     My Rating: Cable    The Night Before Website
My ViewSecret in Their Eyes  (2015)  PG-13   Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Jess (Julia Roberts) are two FBI investigators whose lives are changed when Jess’s teenage daughter is found brutally murdered.  Thirteen years later, Ray thinks he has located the murderer and needs the help of a former flame, Claire (Nicole Kidman). This film is based on the 2009 Academy Award winning Argentina film of the same name, which I loved. Unfortunately, what made that film work, brings this film down. There is absolutely no chemistry between Ejiofor and Kidman, who are supposed to still be attracted to each other after all the years gone by. I felt that aside from the scene where Roberts finds her murdered daughter, she sleepwalked through her role. Ejiofor seems to be the only actor who put out an effort in this film, and, while he is exceptional, it doesn’t make up for this lackluster film.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Secret in Their Eyes Website 
IndiefestBrooklyn  (2015)  PG-13   Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) leaves her sister (Fiona Glascott) and mother (Jane Brennan) behind in Ireland to go work in Brooklyn, NY in the early 1950’s.  She finds a job and a boyfriend (Emory Cohen), which makes her life seemingly full. But Ireland is calling, and she may have to choose between her new life in the US and her old life in Ireland.  I loved this film and especially the performance of Ronan, who is picture perfect in the role of the determined Eilis. She sparkles on the screen and makes the film worth watching. The second half of the film drags a bit, mostly due to a love interest in Ireland that is quite boring, but Ronan even makes those scenes better.   My Rating:  Full Price   Brooklyn Website     
IndiefestMan Up  (2015)  R   Nancy (Lake Bell) is tired of being set up on dates by her friends.   On her way across London, she meets Ben (Simon Pegg) who mistakes her for his blind date. Nancy decides just to go with it, and this chance meeting changes both their lives.  I love a good romantic comedy, one where the two future lovers are witty, fun and full of life. Actually, that’s not true.  I do love romantic comedies, but I like more than just your formulaic plots and fortunately “Man Up” is one of those creative films that you just don’t want to end as it is so much fun to watch. It takes the genre and turns it on its ear, giving us a movie about two unique characters whom you would never guess would end up together. Lake Bell is dazzling in the role of Nancy, the woman who is ready to try something new at a moment’s notice, although she is always waiting for something to go wrong. Bell gives us a cynical character, but who still hopes for the best. Bell’s comic timing is perfect, and she wins us over from that first meeting in the hotel room. She would be home in those spitfire roles of the classic screwball comedies of the 1930s.  And let me say this, her British accent is one of the best an American has ever attempted, coming off natural and real. Pegg is equal in Bell’s comic timing, and his facial expressions are the perfect capper to some very funny scenes. Pegg brings to life a character who, while full of anger, doesn’t let it dominate his performance. The two actors make us want for this crazy romance to work out against all the odds.    My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Man Up Facebook Page   
IndiefestTab Hunter: Confidential  (2015)    This documentary centers on one of the biggest stars of the 1950’s, Tab Hunter.  Hunter, the object of desire for millions of women, had a secret:  he was gay. I never have been a big fan of Tab Hunter, the actor, but because of this film, I am a fan of the man. This film gives you an idea of what it was like to be a gay man in Hollywood during the 1950s. Hunter was a big star under the studio system, but the minute he rebelled, film executives let rumors go to the press about his homosexuality, and his career was finished.  This is an interesting and moving documentary that makes me appreciate both the actor and the man.    My Rating:  Full Price    Tab Hunter: Confidential Website
Forgotten FilmThe Paper (1994)  R   Henry (Michael Keaton) is a hard-driving editor of a New York City tabloid, who thinks nothing of blowing off dinner with his pregnant wife (Marisa Tomei) if there is a big story brewing. Henry has to mull over a job offer from the New York Times, a job that will let him have a normal life. He just about takes the job when a news story comes around that makes him thinks about staying. This film is part drama, part comedy and uses an outstanding cast to great effect. It’s a smart film that says a lot about the state of media today.   My Rating: Full Price   The Paper Info   

Weird Credits:  From the credits of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2:  Stunt Monsters

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Sisters  (2015)  Two sisters (Amy Poehler, Tina Fey) decide to throw one last party at their family home.  You got me at Poehler and Fey in a movie together.   Sisters Info
Until Next Time!

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