Lynn Cohen

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Review

Don’t worry, you’ll still get your reaction post! It just so happens that we’re all so busy seeing the movie, we can’t find a time for all three of us to get together and TALK about it. It’s a good problem, no?

In the meantime, we’re going to give you a conventional SPOILER-FREE review to go alongside the reaction post to come!

Effie, bigger and bolder!

Effie, bigger and bolder!

Let’s start from the very beginning (a very good place to staaaaart)! When Katniss and Peeta win 74th The Hunger Games and return to their new home, broken and distant. They’ve survived, but they’re tentative friendship turned showmance is tepid at best after Peeta learns Katniss’ true motivation. Not to mention that they’re both plagued with PTSD.

It all leads up to The Victory Tour, which is where Francis Lawrence really gets to sink his teeth in and show us what this movie is made of. We don’t see much of the individual districts, but we’re offered a few shots that serve as shining examples of the bigger budget and Francis’ eye for detail.

Gale gets his rebellion on

Gale gets his rebellion on

This movie is mostly character driven, which we found super refreshing. Without adding significant film time (THG and CF are actually the same length), we see Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Effie, and Show’s roles expanded. It’s not just extra lines– the characters seem richer, with deeper personalities and more individual significance outside their relationship with Katniss and Peeta. Some people weren’t thrilled that other scenes were fast-moving, but we think it was worth it to get some character development in there.

It’s at the end of the Victory Tour that we meet Plutarch Heavensbee, portrayed with gusto by Philip Seymour Hoffman. You can’t help but marvel at his unprecedented political savvy and manipulations. He doesn’t lose his cool for a single moment and meanwhile, we were totally freaking out.

Chemistry-wise, the relationship between Katniss and Peeta seems more organic and palpable this time around. It goes without say that Jen and Josh are both extremely talented actors and dear friends in real life, which translates beautifully. That being said, Catching Fire is significantly more Gale-centric. Jen and Liam have presented a strong case for Kale/Gatniss/whatever else we want to call them. Their relationship plays off as a look at two friends falling for each other, brought together by the stress of impending rebellion, but still plants hints of what’s to come in the Mockingjay films.

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Family feels

When the Third Quarter Quell is announced, we finally get some new victors! And what a group they are! Sam Claflin is our Finnick. He embodies the character’s dramatic preening and sensitive soul with a stunning fluidity that we doubt we could have gotten out of many of the laughable fan suggestions that came out during casting. And it doesn’t hurt that he is really, really, ridiculously good-looking. Jena Malone is able to capture Johanna’s anger with such ease and honesty that you know it’s her true spirit, not just an act. Jeffrey Wright gives a master class in acting as he transforms so perfectly into unusual techie extraordinaire Beetee, but Amanda Plummer gets the scene-stealer award for her zany portrayal of Wiress. And Mags? Forgetaboutit! We all want to adopt Lynn Cohen as our new grandma!

With a more appropriate level of violence this time around, the Career pack actually felt menacing. Bruno Gunn’s guns and his expert snarl were intimidating. Meta Golding has the Enobaria growl down to a science. And despite being living barbies, Cashmere and Gloss were surprisingly badass. However, this group did feel a bit under-utilized given that they were meant to pose an immediate threat to Katniss’ life.

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We feel you, Johanna!

The ending is heart-breaking and devastating and everything we ever wanted it to be after reading the books! We’re not saying the movie was perfect down to the very last detail. There’s a lot to consider and we’re sure everyone will find a little something to gripe about (Don’t we always?), but this movie is an extremely faithful adaptation and for us, the clear winner of the franchise so far. Though we loved Gary Ross’ work, Francis Lawrence provided us with a smart, pulse-pounding, emotional journey that had us thanking him by the end.

How Many Days Until Mockingjay Part 1?!
The Girl With The Pearl

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Catching Fire Character Chaos

This week, The Hunger Games fandom was blessed with TWENTY new stills from Catching Fire via The Hunger Games Explorer!

Besides being really choice photos of the actors, we think these photos reveal a lot about the characters and what THEY have to say! So we took a shot at translating some character thoughts presented in these images. Enjoy!

Katniss Everdeen Jennifer Lawrence Catching Fire

“I’m trying to stay cool, but I’m pretty sure this full body suit just split down the middle…”

Josh Hutcherson Peeta Mellark Catching Fire

“And suddenly that ‘lean muscle’ workout seems like a really bad idea.”

Alan Ritchson Gloss The Hunger Games Catching Fire
“You should try years of steroid use and scowling instead. Does me wonders.”

Sam Claflin Finnick Odair The Hunger Games Catching Fire
“I’ve seen almost everyone in this room naked… and let’s just say those steroids aren’t doing much for Gloss where it counts.”

MORE MADNESS BELOW THE CUT!
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What the Catching Fire Characters are REALLY Thinking!

Disclaimers, warnings, etc!

First and foremost, SPOILERS AHOY!

Thought of a really fun post, but it involves those Catching Fire set photos that everyones been talking about! To be fair, it is UNDER THE CUT (or further down the page, if you’re already in the full page link!)

Here comes that super repetitive reminder that we’re three. different. writers. with different opinions. For instance, Them There Eyes is really not a fan of these things. However, I’m more lenient. Personal preference: We dig it! These photos have been up on the Internet for days without any sites receiving notifications to remove them, so we’re not secretly, scandalosuly posting them against the will of the mothership. Breathe in, breathe out!

Plus, we’re gonna get hella wicked maaaaad funny with it!

In short: You have been warned. We have explained our position. Nobody is making you look if you don’t want to. QUIT YA BITCHIN.

Ya bitchin’. Quit it.

Willing to check out the rest of the post? Venture UNDER THE CUT!

(more…)

They’ll Cut You

Within the last several weeks we’ve got not quite a deluge of casting confirmations for our beloved Catching Fire, but a good healthy sprinkling or two or three. Last two days we finally got our Enobaria, in the remarkably attractive Meta Golding, and our Brutus is now a Bruno,

Brutus is a Bruno

and he looks a might Italian, and it turns out– he totally is (other name is Gioiello, Gunn’s a stage-name). I don’t know why I find this appropriate? No, wait, I do– ’cause the original Brutus, the Roman figure actually, he was refined, deceitful, bit of a mama’s boy some people have interpreted, also conflicted (but who isn’t when you’re plotting to murder the leader of an empire?), also Rome’s in Italy, so there’s that. Personally, I always pictured both Enobaria and Brutus to look ethnic, and having a woman who’s Haitian, and a square jawed Italian guy from Ohio, well– works with my head canon like you wouldn’t believe.

It’s kind of astounding really how the supporting cast is jelling, so to speak, and that the people they’re pulling from the ranks are very much so filling the pictures many already had had in their minds for years. Take Lynn Cohen for instance– who I think I can say no one has anything bad to say about, except she’s not Betty White, right? It has to be addressed though, to those who wanted Betty White, that was never going to happen, she makes a living off of being Betty White, not being an actress– and the role of Mags requires someone who’s known for her acting chops, not her public persona. So, if you’re sad that Mags will be embodied by a respected actress, instead of a public figure, I don’t know, go watch re-runs of The Golden Girls? Lynn Cohen though, she’s the real deal– and we should be satisfied that they chose her, ’nuff said. 

Which brings me to the sad and somewhat disconcerting realization that some characters

Lynn Cohen

won’t even make the cut. Enobaria, Brutus, Mags, and all of the other tributes/victors, they’re going to make it, we know this from viewing CatchingFireCasting.com innumerable times. But, there are secondary characters who aren’t victors who don’t have a name plate and an empty spot on that virtual board: I’m speaking of characters like Darius, Cray, Thread, Hazelle Hawthorne, all the Hawthornes really, Leevy, Bonnie, Twill, and possibly even Annie Cresta. Thread may make the cut, because we’ve seen rumblings just this week about Sons of Anarchy’s Patrick St. Esprit being in talks, but rumors are rumors, and we can’t believe them as far as we can throw our computer monitors. All of these characters are subject to being either cut down, or cut out of the story entirely, just like Madge Undersee, Lavinia, Mr. Mellark, and Greasy Sae were cut out of The Hunger Games. All of these characters serve, or served a purpose in the story, Madge’s purpose was replaced by a merchant in The Hob and a concerned look on the

Thread is that you?

woman’s face, Sae was maybe just someone in the background, and Mr. Mellark, well– he just doesn’t exist in Gary Ross’ version of the story, which makes me more sad than I thought I would be, because his scene with Katniss was extremely moving in the novel, and it would have given a bit more depth to both Katniss and to Peeta if they’d kept him in. From what we know about Catching Fire and the vision behind the film its self, is semi reassuring though, for the fact that we’ve repeatedly heard from actors, and from the director that the screenplay is the book, and they want to make the film the book. But is this a watered down, chopped up version of the book, where characters like Darius won’t see the light of day, because his actions, and humor can be replaced, or ignored? Will they omit Hazelle Hawthorne, and not give Gale the depth of having a face and a voice to embody a huge part of his family, and thus in a way ignore that his family is why he pretty much does EVERYTHING. I don’t know, all I know is– there are a few things I can see within reason removing or omitting from the story, but in many cases omitting secondary characters will do a disservice to the humanity, the expanse, and the diversity of the story as a whole.

Also, I like gingers.

Them There Eyes