Harry Potter did it, Twilight did it and now The Hunger Games has gone down the same path. The one thing each of these film franchises based on immensely popular young adult fiction have in common is that they all split the final book into two parts. And it’s really annoying. That aside though, fans of the series will not be disappointed. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) awakes in District 13, fresh from her extraction from the Third Quarter Quell and grows – somewhat reluctantly to begin with – to fully embrace the persona of the Mockingjay; the one who will unite the Districts and lead them in rebellion against the Capitol.
Somewhat inevitably, the film suffers from a sense of padding, as large amounts of time are spent underground with the rebels biding their time, planning how to best bring President Snow’s tyrannical reign to an end, when in reality, they could be out there actually doing it. Of course if you’re up to speed with the previous films or have read the books, Mockingjay – Part I is a must-see. For everyone else, though, director Francis Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer) doesn’t spoon-feed and a great deal of prior knowledge is assumed, so it’s probably best to start at the beginning.
Review by Matt Blackwell
Life After Beth
The latest addition to the relatively new genre of rom-zom-coms, Life After Beth tells the story of Zach Orfman (Dane DeHaan) and his recently deceased girlfriend, Beth Slocum (Aubrey Plaza). Much to his confusion but overwhelming delight, Zach finds that Beth has miraculously come back to life and the two fall back into their old routine. The only noticeable difference is that Beth’s pyshical appearance begins to deteriorate as her hunger for flesh increases. Writer-director Jeff Baena delivers his feature debut with a deadpan humour, keeping everything just on the right side of believable.
The Good Lie
Set in the aftermath of the Second Sudanese Civil War that raged from 1983 to 2005, The Good Lie follows a trio of Sudanese refugees who are chosen for resettlement in America. Charity worker Carrie Davis (Reese Witherspoon) is on hand to help them find employment, although the three men find that putting their old lives behind them isn’t as easy as first thought. Based on true events, the film delivers its message without preaching, offering heart, hope and lighthearted moments in equal measures.
Yudi (Saif Ali Khan) is a commitment-phobic writer who got lucky with the success of a novel and hasn’t produced anything since. Caught between finding love and finding inspiration, he is approached by a fading film star (Govinda), who asks him to pen a Bollywood script in Hollywood style.
The Broadway musical is being brought into the 21st century, starring Quvenzhané Wallis in the title role alongside Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz. Annie is an orphan living in New York City under the cruelty of Miss Hannigan (Diaz). Mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Foxx) decides to take Annie in as a PR stunt and the two end up forming an unlikely bond.