Mockingjay Part 2 Review

The Mockingjay War

3.75 / 5

A dark and tense final chapter which settles the future of Panem.

The incredible journey of Katniss Everdeen comes to a close in this eagerly anticipated Mockingjay Part 2. Following on from the stale Part 1 which was somehow deemed by Hollywood producers important and entertaining enough to be a film of its own, Part 2 is inevitably a more exciting prospect. But it differs from the earlier films, in that Katniss, Peeta, Gale and other rebels are making their way through  war-torn Capitol and threatened with a multitude of booby traps, while Snow and Coin are vying for the loyalty from the Panem populace. Part 2 is much darker, political and personal than the other films, and it brings to a close the epic Hunger Games saga. 

Mockingjay P2

If this war occurred in our whole, undoubtedly media outlets, social media and the people would have called this war The Mockingjay War, given the significance of Katniss, the insignia and her whistle. Part 2 is all about war. Part 2 is less spectacular than the first two films, in that it shows less blood-pumping action sequences which were especially characteristic of Catching Fire, given the clockwork structure of the arena. There is more focus and attention paid to the effect of war on the common people and the competing politicians’ agendas, which demonstrates Collins’ critique on warfare and the politicians involved in the orchestration of such events. Collins’ original novel and the film have plenty of differences, but the differences neither added or detracted from the storyline in a major way, or affected the standard of the film. Though some of the scenes included in the film that did not feature in the book were pretty pointless.

One aspect in the book that was superior to the film was the togetherness of the group that entered the Capitol. The group’s journey through the Capitol and their maneuvering through the myriad of dangerous pods that are interspersed along their route to Snow’s mansion takes up the most screen time, but we seen very little of any bond between the members of the group. The beginning of their journey through the Capitol, the black tar scene in particular, was spectacularly shot, but it seemed to stand out as a set piece rather than flow smoothly as part of the storyline. The two action sequences, the black tar booby trap and the mutt scene in the sewage tunnel network were both idiosyncratic of Hunger Games action, but those two were the only notable scenes, in this otherwise politically focused installment. The relationship between the group comprised of wistful looks at each other as they make steady progress further into the Capitol and keeping one eye on an unpredictable Peeta.

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson were both excellent again in their respective roles, Hutcherson in particular, as Peeta battles his inner demon that has been unleashed by the Capitol through a process called “hijacking”. The gradual rediscovering of Peeta was paced well and plausible, with credit going to both Peeta and director Francis Lawrence for the way they handled Peeta’s hijacking and his acclimatisation. Lawrence, was once again terrific as Katniss Everdeen, the Girl on Fire, the Mockingjay. Her internal fight with herself concerning Peeta’s condition and the lives lost in the name of the Mockingjay is evident, and her emotional moments are captured perfectly. Most notably, her dance with Prim, her meeting with Snow and her return to District 13.

Tense and stylish was the director’s apparent aim for this film, rather than the raw emotional immediacy that came with the two best films (Hunger Games and Catching Fire). Granted, that is in part to the Mockingjay book, which does not possess the unique Games format which has made it successful. However, the book manages to convey the Capitol’s pods, Peacekeepers and mutts as obstacles that make up the Capitol’s own Games scenario, but the film was not able to achieve this, even with Finnick saying “Welcome to the 76th Hunger Games”. The action was intense and typical of the last two films in attempting to establish a building crescendo of emotion that would be unleashed as they reach Snow’s mansion. But while in the book, the shock factor which came with the ending was brutally brilliant, the film lacked it somewhat and the moment passed too quickly. The film builds and builds but fails to achieve a big finish which would have ended the film in a blaze of glory.

I will miss this genre-defying franchise that has expertly blended together an Orwellian view of politics and war, with the allegorising of the reality TV culture, to create this successful, slick and unique film series that will see it break the $3bn worldwide box office. The series has launched Jennifer Lawrence into the Hollywood spotlight which has seen her reap the rewards with her involvement in three David O. Russell films, which included a Best Actress Oscar in Silver Linings Playbook. Part 2 also seen the last film role of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died while the film was still being shot. Hoffman played the perfect Plutarch, a masterstroke by the casting department, his quiet, clever and aware persona was depicted by Hoffman to a T.

Which Film Are You Waiting For?

Which film are you waiting for?

The last 5 months or so of 2015 seems to have an abundance of quality films coming out and I was wondering which film everybody is looking forward to the most. Bond? Star Wars? Mockingjay? Something else?

Scorch Trials, The Martian, Bridge of Spies, Spectre, Mockingjay Part 2, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Snowden and The Revenant are the films I have chosen that will be the most popular and talked about over the next few months and afterwards.

Anticipated Films

Continue reading

Mockingjay Doesn’t Quite Catch Fire

Mockingjay Part 1

3 / 5

After the dramatic conclusion of the Quarter Quell, Katniss finds herself in District 13 but Peeta has been captured by the Capitol, thus a game between Coin and Snow ensues as they appeal to the people of Panem. Coin uses Katniss as the symbol of the rebellion, while Snow uses Peeta to psychologically torture Katniss and also to attempt to keep the rebelling districts in check.

Mockingjay Poster

Continue reading

American Hustle

American Hustle

5 / 5

Funny, clever and totally brilliant.

American Hustle Film

American Hustle is an aspirational, romantic and exciting comedy-drama which sees an elaborate con set up between con artists and the FBI to entrap many powerful people in New Jersey. The film has been nominated for 10 Oscars and has recently won 3 Golden Globes, including Best Musical or Comedy, Amy Adams won for Best Actress for Musical or Comedy and Jennifer Lawrence won for Best Supporting Actress for Musical or Comedy.

Irving (Bale), Sydney (Adams) and Richie (Cooper) are the definition of a dysfunctional team. After Irving and Sydney get caught doing some dodging dealing, they come together to even things up, and that is by trying to catch some important men who are also committing criminal activities. This dysfunctional team becomes even more when Rosalyn (Lawrence), Irving’s wife gets involved. The back talk and behaviour towards each other becomes more personal as they get deeper into the con that keeps dragging on until they are doing deals with Sheikhs, the Mafia and Congressman. There are tense moments, comedic ones too and not to mention the unpredictable.

The plethora of acting talent that is on show is very impressive. Each actor takes on a role completely different to anyone else in the film. We have; Christian Bale, who plays a complex, self-pitying and expert con artist. Amy Adams plays a sociopath and a serial liar while using her beauty as way to help with the cons she and Bale’s character carry out together. Bradley Cooper takes on the role as hyperactive and ambitious FBI agent Richie. Jennifer Lawrence is the highly strung wife of Bale who is devilishly troublesome to everyone concerned. Finally, Jeremy Renner completes this fine cast as he takes on the role as Mayor Polito of New Jersey, a man who hopes to revitalise the state through bringing back gambling to Atlantic City.

A hilarious running gag throughout the film which I want to bring to people’s attention, is when Richie’s boss Stoddard (Louis C.K.) tries to tell him a story of time he and his brother were on the ice in Canada during winter and his father comes out to them. But at various stages of the story Richie attempts to predict the moral of the story before he finishes, but he never successfully guesses. The hysterical rapport between Richie and Stoddard is encapsulated when Richie returns having caught a Mafia overlord’s lawyer of admitting criminal activities can be done with the money they bring to him. He returns to the jubilation of the entire office, this was just the beginning of the hilarity as he then impersonates Stoddard’s unimpressed reaction which received the largest laugh from the fellow FBI agents and also the watching audience.  

Director, David O Russell takes us on a journey that leaves the audience disorientated. While still feeling the after effects of the brilliant fast comedic rapport of the characters, we feel mixed emotions at the film’s end as the characters have varying degrees of success and happiness that they gained from this elaborate plot. I fully recommend this film to any keen film lover, there’s a reason this film has been nominated for so much, it is up to you to find that out!

Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook (Film)

4.5 / 5


Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence both acted absolutely brilliantly in this enjoyable and funny story which was a huge hit at the box office last year. Pat (Cooper) has been released from a psychiatric hospital and he has moved back in with his parents. He suffers from bi-polar disorder and his estranged wife has taken a restraining order against him. But Pat is determined to show her that he is a fit and capable man who is a much better person and can deal with his disorder.

Pat meets Tiffany (Lawrence) through a mutual friend and they strike an unusual bond between them. Tiffany is recently widowed and they both help each other during a difficult time for the both of them. Through this friendship, Pat is able to communicate to Nikki, his wife, she is willing to see him again once he proves he is trying to become a better person. Tiffany offers him the chance to do this through a dance competition.

Cooper and Lawrence play their roles beautifully, and the relationship that develops between them is one which is dealt with expertly due to precarious and sensitive topic. Director David O. Russell deals with their shared neurosis as part of the relationship very skilfully and despite the sharp rapport that Pat and Tiffany share, their chemistry between them is undeniable.

With 8 Academy Award nominations, 3 BAFTA nominations, 4 Golden Globe nominations along with a huge list of other award nominations. Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Tiffany and she definitely deserved this accolade for taking on a role of a widowed woman who has endured a tough time. The combination of Lawrence and Cooper was a perfect match and they both performed in my opinion their best acting roles to date. The fun they make at each other’s expense is testament to Russell’s brilliant way of creating humour out of mental illness and marital failure. But the humour is not cruel or insensitive, if anything it brings the duo closer as they become more aware of the extent of each other’s problems. I also found the relationship between Pat and his father (Robert De Niro) quite something to watch and the scenes they share together are acted superbly, therefore it is clear why they both received Oscar nominations.

This film is terrific and the ending is just magical. The cast and crew created something brilliant by making this movie and it deserved all the accolades it received. Highly recommended to  all keen film-goers!