“Are we on a boat?” “Yeah.” *Cue reflective pop music*. This odd scene with Sabina making funny faces with a little girl exemplifies the fun femme B-movie charm that K. Stewart in particular brings (“I need you to exhibit some attention-seeking behavior.” “I have so many ideas!”); it’s just a shame the rest of the script is such an awkward mess, especially in the second half (see the unecessary asides with Fatima and Langston). Good fight choreography though, and the Brok break-in was well done.
The unexpected intro with “Toxic” followed by a big action movie “jump away from explosion” sequence is pretty fun, but the flashback story that follows mostly disappoints, with forced backstories (see dad issues x2), tired retreads of old plot lines (“It has to be a competition!”), and constant fishing for new filler (see the barely there romance and Bella baby). Amy’s still funny and the music’s still good though, so it remains decently engaging through to the nice wrap-up ending.
What the fuck’s up with the expository announcers? Asshole John is only countered by supposed straight-counterpart Gail half the time, so we’re left with a lot of just straight up offensive jokes in addition to the already strange amount of cultural stereotypes and fat phobia. The core of the film, fortunately, is just friendship, music, and montages, and it somehow manages to transcend its surface cheese to reach some pretty beautiful places (see the found sound around the fire, final song).
Grim, ghastly, great. Could’ve capitalized on the momentum of the simple and effective good rebels vs. bad Capitol set-up of the first two flicks, but instead chose to sit in the darkness underground for a while and meditate on media manipulation and the horrors of war that exist even when you’re fighting evil: a remarkable pre-climax storytelling maneuver that sits better the more you stew on it. Well-shot, scored (Lawrence’s “The Hanging Tree” is truly haunting), and acted, as always.
The first act is superb as rebellion brews and Katniss and Peeta deal with the complex aftermath to the previous Games. I wish it lingered here longer instead of rushing to the next Games though; the plan to taint Katniss’ image was dropped rather quickly, for example. Still, emotional scenes abound in the familiar plot structure of the next two acts (see Katniss and Peta’s powerful presentations to the sponsors; Katniss’ dress reveal), and the bounty of new supporting characters are memorable.
Captivating from the get-go thanks to the intimate, hand-held camerawork, bittersweet landscapes of poverty and natural beauty, and ethereal, haunting soundtrack. As the last two acts dive into the deep end of the disturbing dystopia while keeping these elements it becomes even more so; social commentary on class disparity, reality entertainment, and desensitization to violence intertwine to make numerous powerful scenes and a poignant lingering sense of despair and rebellion amidst victory.
In the 1960s, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson struggles with emerging psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece. In the 1980s, he is a broken, confused man under the 24-hour watch of shady therapist Dr. Eugene Landy. (IMDb)
Maybe it’s just the two different actors, but the past and future narratives just never really feel like they share the same protagonist, which is a shame, because each story is still strongly engaging in its own right: One showcasing Wilson’s quirky brilliance and burgeoning internal struggles, the other his road to recovery and love from under the thumb of a manipulative psychiatrist, each featuring solid performances, good music, and intentionally artful editing that keeps things interesting.
An ordinary Lego construction worker, thought to be the prophesied ‘Special’, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis. (IMDb)
A quick-witted script loaded with hilarious dialogue and one-liners is executed perfectly by a stacked and perfectly cast voice line-up playing a diverse set of wacky characters. Self-aware Lego-humour and wild animated action round out this awesome aesthetic for a story that’s simple but strong in its message about creativity, social conformity, and self-worth, particularly in its unique and startlingly beautiful conclusion that shifts the movie from good fun to a great film.