Philip Seymour Hoffman

REVIEW: Mockingjay Part 1 Is The Ultimate Game Changer

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** THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER FREE!**

The Hunger Games Franchise: Come for the action. Stay for the bigger, more important message.

KATNISSIf you’ve been following reviews for Mockingjay Part 1 so far, you’ve probably noticed some media outlets griping about the change of pace or fewer action sequences or the lack of the games. But The Hunger Games has always been about more than just the games. The first two films did an excellent job conveying the danger and inequality in Panem through the games, but the story cannot simply be the games, otherwise the whole message Suzanne Collins intended for her audience is lost. The franchise is about the tragedies of war but also the need to question society’s parameters and to fight against injustice, even if it comes at a personal cost. That’s right, folks– We’re moving past the “Whoa, all these people are in a bubble trying to kill each other!” pull and into legitimate political thriller territory.

Mockingjay Part 1 is a tantalizing slow burn. Its pacing, emotion, and action are different from the other films, but in the best way possible. It starts out dark, ends pitch black, and finds moments of levity, anger, sadness, and just about everything else in between. As Katniss attempts to adjust to life in District 13 and reluctantly accepts her role as the voice of the rebellion, a new story element unfolds into something much deeper. Katniss and District 13 go back and forth in the ultimate game of cat and mouse with President Snow, one in which everyone they know is a pawn. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone supporting her in District 13 is really truly on her side, either. The result is a harrowing journey to incite a revolution, one that featured fewer action sequences but kept us more emotionally invested than any Hunger Games movie before it.

Mockingjay-Part-1-Phillip-Seymour-Hoffman-and-Julianne-MooreThere’s a stunning tension created throughout the film by the entire cast. Jennifer Lawrence proved herself as our Katniss long ago, but earns new respect as she handles Katniss’ fragile emotional state with realism and care. Donald Sutherland is an absolute maniacal genius now that he has a chance to flex those baddie muscles. Julianne Moore is a smart, welcome addition as President Coin, who plays beautifully off the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee. The decision to keep Effie in the story was a stellar one and Elizabeth Banks is more perfectly Effie than ever before. Liam Hemsworth plays Gale with much more vulnerability and depth than recent promos have suggested– the rage scene is definitely there, but many others prior to that make it easy to see just how truly torn he is. However, if there’s a “Stepping Up To The Plate” award for this movie, it goes to Josh Hutcherson. Peeta’s transformation is gut-wrenching and visceral, the stuff that makes your breath catch in your throat every time he comes on screen because the agony and instability feels so real. It’s the first time in the series Josh has really been asked to be something beyond the caring, careful version of Peeta we all know so well and he exceeds expectations.

There is still action in this film but it isn’t scene-to-scene as it was when Katniss fought off danger after danger in the arenas. However, please don’t confuse less action with a plodding pace. This movie’s action sticks in your brain and feels much more warranted than in previous films. It is not, as the games were, for anyone’s entertainment. Even in the scenes without explosions and hovercrafts and arrows flying, there’s still plenty of things happening and for us, the entire film felt like it moved very quickly, faster than its actual run time.

mockingjay-part-1-peeta-beatenBecause this movie is a Part 1, you’re not going to get instant gratification around every turn (another sticking point for critics, it seems). But ask yourself– Did you really with The Hunger Games or Catching Fire, either? Francis Lawrence, Danny Strong, and Peter Craig used the opportunity to get more in depth with the story very wisely. Rather than being thrust into District 13, there’s a world-building that you don’t always get in film. President Snow and Plutarch in particular benefit from the books expansion into two parts, in terms of both screen time and character development. Boggs, Cressida, and the film crew are also rewarded a richer understanding than we’d expected. Random gushing: Elden Henson as Pollux was easily our favorite part of the film crew without saying a word, though everyone else played their part very well too.

For all the guessing in the world at the ending, we will only tell you this: You know the ending, but you don’t. You’ll leave the theater feeling charged up and overwhelmed, already eager for the final film.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the film is perfect. We have a few gripes but realize that in the grand scheme of things, they’re pretty minor. We’ll nitpick at a later date because to do so would be to spoil everyone. Even so, we know that Lawrence Squared and the rest of the team have delivered us a stellar film that is sharp and thought-provoking.

We can’t wait to discuss it with all of you!

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Top 5 Things We Learned From The Digital Look at Mockingjay

FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY!

He's in a bunker and NOW he needs a hat?!

He’s in a bunker and NOW he needs a hat?!

Lionsgate is done holding out on the fans and they’re making up for the wait in big ways!

Feast your eyes upon TheHungerGamesExclusive.com, which in its first incarnation includes..

  • Six Mockingjay Set Photos
  • A Video Interview with Julianne Moore
  • A Roundtable with Francis Lawrence, Nina Jacobsen, and Peter Craig
  • A Page from the Script (That You Can Win!)
  • The Hunger Games Franchise Motion Poster

THIS. This is the glorious stuff we were looking for when we found ourselves totally underwhelmed with the sheer consumerism of Capitol Couture! Not that the fashions aren’t cool, but it’s great to see that there’s some more tangible facts about the themes and overall filmmaking processes this time around.

In that spirit, let’s discuss the five most important things we learned today!

Look at that wonderful REAL PERSON who will be featured!

Look at that wonderful REAL PERSON who will be featured!

1) Plutarch Heavensbee will not be a freaky animation!

We were seriously concerned with rumors immediately following Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death that stated he would be added into his final scenes via CGI. It just seemed wrong and… what’s the word? CREEPTASTIC. Thankfully, it’s just a rumor!  Francis and Nina revealed that for PSH’s non-dialogue scenes, previously recorded footage of the other was cut into the scene (thank you, consistently monotonous D13 uniforms!) and his dialogue was written out, with some lines occasionally given to Haymitch or Effie when appropriate. There’s no mention of him missing out on a *major scene* as suggested in early reports.

2) Effie Trinket is in District 13, bitches!

Fulvia who?! Rather than work in Plutarch’s assistant, the script was repurposed to include Effie Trinket in District 13, at the request of Suzanne Collins! But don’t expect Effie is be a punchline– the filmmakers make it clear that while she brings some levity, Effie is NOT adjusting well and is not there for a higher moral purpose. We’re so glad with get more than one or two scenes of Elizabeth Banks in action!

3) The Capitol tunnels are NOT in Paris (at least not totally in Paris!)

In the intro to the roundtable, the indoor Atlanta set is described as being in part “filled with dingy tunnels”. And here we thought filming was going to Paris for the tunnels! It’s set possible that they will utilize the Paris tunnels to a degree, but it looks like a hefty part of that sequence is coming off a soundstage!

Yes! TELL ME YOUR SEEEECRETS!

Yes! TELL ME YOUR SEEEECRETS!

4) Danny Strong ain’t the only screenwriter up in here!

It turns out Danny Strong was not as involved in the Mockingjay films as we thought! Scripts go through multiple drafts and it looks like Strong only wrote draft numero uno. Obviously, that’s a damn important draft, but after that, things went into the hands of Peter Craig, novelist and screenwriter most famously known for his work on The Town. Not only did he finalize the script, he’s been a near constant presence on the set and works with Francis to help the script change and evolve as needed. In case you didn’t know, this almost NEVER HAPPENS. It’s like spotting a unicorn!

5) District 13 probably ain’t so techie in the film version!

In her interview, Julianne Moore described District 13 has a bomb shelter in which the citizens barely manage, which sounds like a far cry from the tech-savvy District 13 from the books. Sure, the look is minimalist and food rations are puny, but Book!D13 is still slick with both food and weapons technology. Movie version seems a bit bleaker, but we suppose they can develop double exploding bombs either way, right?

Now When Do We Get MOAR Mockingjay News?!
The Girl With The Pearl

The Creepy Factor

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s funeral was held yesterday in his adopted hometown of New York City. It was attended by hundreds of people, so many people attempted to attend actually that many had to be turned away because the church was over capacity. People like his co-stars Amy Adams and Joaquin Pheonix from the film The Master attended, as well as fellow New York based actors like Ethan Hawke– whom I

Jeff Bachner for New York Daily News

Amy Adams walking to Philip Seymour hoffman’s funeral. Photo by Jeff Bachner for New York Daily News

believe lives in the same neighborhood as Hoffman’s family, in attendance as well was Michelle Williams, as well as acting icons like Meryl Streep. All signs in other words are still pointing to the fact that Hoffman was, and is a highly respected figure in our current culture. Respect is the word I think I want to be emphasized here, because while many of us were shocked, and amazed at Hoffman’s sudden passing, we also a lot of the time seemingly automatically thought about the affect his death would have on the Mockingjay films.

Is that a sign of disrespect though? I remember when another highly beloved, highly respected, and talented actor was taken long before his time, right in the middle of filming another highly anticipated film, although not a Tent-Pole style film like the Mockingjay films– I’m speaking of Heath Ledger. Ledger was in the middle of filming the Terry Gilliam film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, when he too died of an unfortunate drug overdose, and his death sent the film production into a proverbial tails-spin of “oh my god what do we do!?” However, also with a healthy dose of “this is so sad, this is so sad, who cares about making a film… this is so sad.” The film was finished though, ingeniously by having three other actors come in and play Ledger’s character– turning the character into a sort of manifestation of philip-seymour-hoffman-picture-2everything the female lead desires at that moment in time. See the film, it’ll make more sense, and you’ll also get to see Andrew Garfield in his first American film in the process of watching, also Christopher Plummer is amazing in it as well. And to be completely indulgent, I’m still not over Ledger’s death, I don’t think I ever will be– because he was the first contemporary of mine, first famous contemporary anyway, who died so terribly, and so publicly. I still remember the day it happened, and just being so angry at the older people in the office where I worked, who said “who cares!” When even the radio shared the news, and my saying “his family does, he has a little girl, also… I care.” He was only four years older than me, now he’ll always be younger than me, and I still can’t not remember him at 17 in this awful Fox series called Roar, which I faithfully watched when it was trying to make something of its self– and I knew the show sucked, but I also knew that he didn’t. Eleven years later he’d been nominated for an Academy Award, and after he passed he won Best Supporting Actor posthumously on his second Academy Award nomination.

All this Heath Ledger remembering is making me feel things! Respect is still the word I’m focusing on by the way– because I think it was innovative, and perfect, and respectful the way that Gilliam got around, and in a way enhanced The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus by casting Colin Farrell, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp to pick up where Ledger unknowingly left off. With the Mockingjay films though there’s only one scene left to be shot that features Philip Seymour Hoffman– meaning unlike with Doctor Parnassus where nearly half of Ledger’s role was yet to be shot, recasting the role of Plutarch Heavensbee isn’t feasible at all. So, what’s to be done about this conundrum so to speak? Well, hours after Hoffman’s death was announced, and I reeled, and quaked, and cried a little after getting the initial news texts from several of my friends– the discussion started. How are they going to finish this thing without him? And I said they’d use technology, that there’s more than 20 years of voice samples for the sound team to choose from, and they could make a computer synthesize his voice, and have the computer be Hoffman for that one remaining scene. Well, looks like I was right, and on top of it all they’re allegedly going to make a digital visualization of Hoffman as well.

My quarry is this though… is this creepy, is this disrespectful, is it too much?

Them There Eyes

Good-bye Mister Hoffman

There have been countless tributes, and out pourings of admiration, and love, and respect for Philip Seymour Hoffman ever since the news of his death this past weekend. And I think you’re about to get another. I’m not old, but I’m not young, I remember when I saw Scent of a Woman for the first time, yep– in a theatre, and saw him do what he’s now known to do so well– playing an unpleasant person on the surface, who you also somehow find compelling and interesting. George Willis Jr. was a

This is one of the last portraits taken of Hoffman ever. Sundance, 2014 for Esquire Magazine.

This is one of the last portraits taken of Hoffman ever.  Sundance, 2014 for Esquire Magazine.

sniveling, conniving, snobbish, two faced, daddy’s boy– but, you kind of liked him. It was weird watching Chris O’Donnell play the sweet, innocent Charlie opposite pundgy, ginger headed, creepy George– but, honestly if you were playing attention– and I was even in 1992 amazingly, you somehow saw and likely thought, “who the hell is this guy, why is he making me pay attention to him, he’s only got three scenes!!??” But that’s simply the kind of performer Philip Seymour Hoffman was. The kind of actor who took small supporting roles from the start like in, Scent of a Woman— which got him his SAG card, and at the finish of his career, like the role of Plutarch Heavensbee in The Hunger Games franchise. And it must be said now, I absolutely, fucking, bloody hate saying the phrase “the finish of his career.”

Hoffman wasn’t done, that’s just the sad fact of it all. Not only was he far too young for this day and age to die at only 46 years old, but he wasn’t finished with multiple projects, like his new series Happyish, which is slated to be released this summer in North America, and he also had at least two directorial projects in the works– including one that had recently just had the boon of casting Jake Gyllenhaal for the lead in it, and then of course there’s the heart wrenching fact that he only had seven days left on his schedule for Mockingjay: Part 2, an that seven days was to film only one last pivotal scene. All these projects still in the proverbail air say a lot to me, and that a lot is this– he wasn’t planning on going anywhere. And we didn’t want him going anywhere for a very very long time.

Good-bye Mister Hoffman– I wanted to see you play Lear at 80.

Them There Eyes

“Howl, howl, howl, howl…” – Lear, Scene III

At a Loss

Inevitably you’ve heard that Philip Seymour Hoffman died yesterday. And like all of you, I’m sad. I’m also not feeling very articulate right now. There are many people who can write about his impressive career and talent better than me, so I’ll leave them to it. If you’re looking though, I thought these posts from Salon and The Atlantic were really good.

Happier times

Happier times

And I don’t feel like analyzing how the Mockingjay movies will be changed right now. My mind started going down that path and I realized how suddenly, the emotional weight that these films would have had just because of the STORY now have an added potency for the most awful of reasons. We can grapple with that later.

If you are anxious about the other ways it will affect the movies though, Lionsgate has released a statement on it.

Depending on your film-watching habits, you may have been familiar with his work prior to him gracing us with the performance of Plutarch Heavensbee. Or that role may be the your only experience viewing his work. Regardless, you saw in the outpouring of sorrow at the news yesterday that it’s clear that the man was respected by many and this is a tremendous loss. And we Hunger Games fans were lucky to have him as our Plutarch.

So what is left to say beyond that this is heartbreakingly sad? I don’t know. Instead, I’ll just leave you with this scene that I really love with him from Almost Famous.

 

Take care of yourselves.

JJ

The Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment this morning, reportedly from a heroin overdose. To say our hearts are broken is an understatement, but this isn’t about us.

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Rest in Peace

It’s true that Philip was our Plutarch Heavensbee, a part of The Hunger Games family. But The Hunger Games doesn’t have sole ownership over him. Career-wise, this man was a master thespian. If you haven’t acquainted yourself with films like The Big Lebowski, Capote, Doubt, and The Master, do yourself a favor and go watch them. The man knew how to embrace a character and captivate an audience. It’s imperative to remember that he was also much more than what theatrical audiences and fans think. He was also a husband, a father of three young children, and a friend to many others.

The immediate reaction we’re seeing from a surprising amount of fans is “Oh noes! What does this mean for the Mockingjay movies?!” Maybe it’s because the moment is still raw but seriously… How dare you?

Yes, there are surely decisions to be made and statements to be released, but they don’t matter. Films can be edited, rescripted, and reshot. Real life cannot. And what’s happened here is very, very real.

We’re not going to go on about addiction and who’s to blame for it, nor are we going to talk about angels or the unpredictability of our short, messy lives. We’re especially not analyzing The Hunger Games series or Plutarch. Right now, we’re just doing one of the things that made Philip Seymour Hoffman so good at his job: feeling. Grief. Sympathy. Appreciation. All of it.

Rest Easy,
The Girl With The Pearl

It’s All In The Accent

I should be writing about how Jennifer Lawrence has lost at the two most recent awards shows she’s attended, and how awful that is, and “poor Jen!”– but I’m not going to, because sometimes it’s not all about Jennifer Lawrence. Yes, even though it’s pretty much been scientifically proven that she is in fact awesome. Nope, today I’m going to wax philosophic over how much I am in hard like with IMDb, and all the amazing little nuggets of information it gives forth when I am quite honestly strapped for article ideas, ’cause there are only so many pieces that can be written about how awesome Jen is. Which she is, we’ve covered that, Jeez!

the_hunger_games__mockingjay_part_1__fan_art__by_phoenixpx-d6ul9fzToday I was perusing my crush object, AKA IMDb.com, reading through The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1’s full cast and crew list, because sometimes as proven in the past, there are nuggets of hidden information hiding in those lines of tiny, text. Like that time I found that Ripper had been cast and was for real in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, you’ll remember her, she was the woman Katniss helped during the raid aftermath at The Hob. However, this time around I spent an exorbitant amount of time looking at the technical and behind the scenes listings, searching out costumers names, and stunt people’s past and current projects, and then I found the name Francie Brown, and the annotation, “dialect coach: Mr. Cusack”. Now, I only know of one Mr. Cusack in the film business, I’m sure there are others, but most likely those Mr. Cusacks don’t require the employ of a dialect coach. So, if you’re on the same page as me, and I don’t mean webpage, I mean thought process, this particular Mr. Cusack is none other than John Cusack of Say Anything, Grosse Pointe Blank, Being John Malkovich, Serendipity (don’t lie, you saw it too!), High Fidelity, Anastasia, and about a million other known and semi known films– fame. I think I might be a little bit psychic, guys. Or, I don’t know what the hell is going on, but sometimes I have casting ideas that either do come true in full, or only in part. For instance I picked out Julianne Moore for Coin over 6 months before she was cast, I also secretly thought of Sam Claflin for Finnick a year before he was cast, I also thought that Stanley Tucci would have been a great President Snow way before he was cast in the role of Caesar Flickerman. Kind of glad he got Flickerman, actually.

Which brings me to Cusack being a rumored cast member, because I of course scrolled up on the page and saw that he was listed– but the pesky “rumored” annotation was there. Face it, if they’re hiring out a dialect coach for him though, and the said dialect coach is listed in the credits– I’m pretty damn sure he’s not a rumored cast member, but that he is one. And before anyone points out to me that anyone with an IMDb-pro account, can alter an IMDb page’s listings, the information that is more often than not altered, added, and retracted, is usually done by day-players trying to pad their resumes, not reputable dialect coaches who have been the coach to shocked_faceChristian Bale multiple times on multiple projects (like, all the Batman movies!)– she’s the real deal naysayers of the world. Almost a year ago in February I wrote this, an article fan-casting John and Joan Cusack in the roles of Boggs and Coin. Yep, so that didn’t happen, the casting of those specific actors in those specific roles that is, but John Cusack has magically shown up in the cast list for one of the Mockingjay films– and I’m just going to take that as a sign from the giant unicorn I worship, that something amazing is going on down at the casting offices for this film franchise.

Cusack is a boon– people, not quite as starry-eyed-amazing-and-shiny-fantastic as getting Hoffman, and Moore, but he comes with clout, and chops, and intelligence, and years, and years, and years of experience. There’s no information on what role he’s allegedly taken on, but judging from the whole dialect coach thing, I’m going to make an educated stab in the dark here, and say he’s playing someone from the Capitol– the only place in Panem with any discernible accent. However, if I had my way he’d be playing Doctor Aurelius, but unfortunately Aurelius is from District 13– an area of Panem that according to canon, has no noticeable accent. Cusack is a Name however, meaning his reputation precedes him, therefore I’ll posit that the role he’s allegedly taken is not a one liner– and that he’s going to pleasantly surprise us.

Let us wait and see! Until then, please check out The Paperboy— it’s one of those films that Cusack did that’s little known, but was seriously, seriously amazing in, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, and Zac Efron are in it as well. It’s a veritable feast for the senses, no lie.

Them There Eyes

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.

catching-fire-stills-101113-1

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.

New-Official-stills-catching-fire-35696751-500-310

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

What A Difference A Day Makes

Admit it, a half a day ago we were all kind of disillusioned because of the appearance of a certain photo that we perhaps had seen before, but were yeah–anyway. I’m going to pretend none of the negativity of the earlier part of the day ever happened, and that that certain picture is just something that happened months ago. Which brings us to only a matter of a couple of hours ago when this lovely photo finally became clear to our eyes, and we wept with joy, because– well, I don’t know why, but I’m sure some sleep deprived fool out there cried. If you cried, I assure you there’s no shame in that.529367_655185441164777_1352849081_n

So, what are we looking at here? Well, obviously it’s a photo of President Snow and Plutarch Heavensbee having a little chat. However, what else is in the photo other than those two fine gentleman, okay only one of them is a gentleman, the other is just a Tyrant who dresses really well. All right, if you’re a regular listener of The HG Fireside Chat hosted by our dear friends Savanna and Adam, then you know that I’ve been on the show, and I’m the one who went into insane detail about the chairs that most of the characters in the Capitol Portraits sat in. See, I studied interior design, and had to take several courses on the history of furniture. I know, sounds boring, but it’s not– basically I was studying many of the things that people on the very popular PBS series Antiques Roadshow have the ability to point out and prove about certain pieces brought to their attention. Not very funny stuff, but it’s interesting to me, and frankly– I love it, I want to get an MA in this stuff. But what’s in the picture!? Well, I can tell you that, and not just say “a desk”, “a chair”,  “a table.”, “an oil painting”, Because, dear readers, those aren’t just simple pieces of furniture, and that’s not just an oil painting. 

  1. The Desk: It’s an 18th century Chippendale pedestal desk. How I know it’s Chippendale, the marquetry (marquetry is all the gold stuff), the wood that’s been used (mahogany), and the fact that an extremely similar version of it is staring back at me from one of my many reference books. Yep, I have a little library of antique furniture, and decor books.
  2. The Sideboard: It’s probably not Chippendale, but it’s roughly from around the same time– maybe twenty years on, but on the cusp of the same style era. It’s Regency, it’s likely English, and yes it’s also mahogany. I’d be able to tell you more if I could see all of it.
  3. The Chair: We’ve actually seen this chair before if you recall? It’s the same chair Cinna sat in in his Capitol Portrait. And what it is is a William and Mary wing chair. Why it’s called a wing chair? ‘Cause it’s got tiny wings on the shoulders. Genius, I know. What it’s made of? Probably walnut, not everything can be made of mahogany, sadly.
  4. The Drum Table: That would be the table behind Plutarch, and it’s called a drum table, because it’s shaped like a drum. This one’s likely Regency style as well, but I think it’s American, which makes it American Federal. These are styles and eras that overlap, and basically only have an ocean between them, literally. Oh, and it’s also likely made of mahogany.
  5. The Occasional Table: The little guy in the foreground with either the marble top, or il_fullxfull.386449524_62hlthe tortoise-shell top. It looks Regency, but it could be a revival piece from the early part of the 20th century, making it perhaps Edwardian. Again, if I could see all of it, i.e. its feet and legs, I’d have more information for you all.
  6. Now for the decor! The oil painting on the wall is screaming symbolism to me! Why? because I wholly believe it’s an oil painting circa 1776-1800 that’s depicting a maritime American Revolutionary War scene. Just think on that for a second.
  7. And then we have the framed print on the drum table, it looks strikingly like an Audubon-esque picture of a Mockingbird. Audubon if you don’t know was a world-famous artist best known for his accurate, artful, and impeccable paintings of birds. Ever heard of the Audubon Society? Yep, same guy. Anyway, it’s telling that they have a print that while I can’t tell if it is one of his, but it looks a lot like his style, of a Mockingbird in his collection. President Snow has a print of the fated mates of his Jaberjays, the mother of his Mockingjays in his tastefully appointed office, that cannot be an accident of simply style, and taste.

Everything in that office means something, or at least it does to me. The fact that majority of the furniture is Regency style says to me “this man is temporary,” because that’s what a Regent is, someone who sits on the throne until the rightful heir comes of age. The oil painting of probably an American Revolutionary War scene says to me “a revolution is literally staring at the back of your head every bloody day, you fool.” His chair is a William and Mary wing chair, says to me “he is a conqueror, who likes people to think he’s kind, and noble.” And the bird print, that’s a symbol of his triumphs and his failures, because while the Mockingbird is as innocent as they come, unbeknownst to him he was the creator of the symbol of a revolution by letting that ancient bird mate with his abominable creation.

The King is dead, long live the King.

Them There Eyes

HG Fireside Chat’s 100 Things To Do Before Catching Fire

Just like with the first movie, our friends at HG Fireside Chat posted a list of 100 Things to Do Before Catching Fire. Of course, I had to go through the list and pick out my favorites and some of the ones I’ve actually done!

3. Visit your local bakery and ask if Peeta’s working that day.

There’s a blond teenage boy that works at a bakery near my work, and in my head I call him Peeta. Maybe I’ll actually do this… and confuse the heck out of everyone that works there.

22. Sing Alexander Ludwig’s “Liv It Up” at karaoke.

Oh yes, I already do this. In my own personal karaoke room called my car.

35. Blame the Capitol when something doesn’t work properly.

36. Then credit Beetee when it’s fixed.

I have a lot of electronics, and they quite often give me trouble so this one is a snap. And of course I’ll credit Beetee the day my Blu-ray player decides it wants to connect to my wifi.

42. Put a “Victor’s Village” sign on your door.

WHY HAVEN’T I DONE THIS ALREADY?

68. Get your picture taken next to the first Catching Fire poster you see at your local movie theater.

You bet I’m doing this. And I’m still holding out hope for my huge Sunset Blvd advertisements.

76. Search everywhere for a purple robe with a fur-trimmed collar for when you become Head Gamemaker.

…Doesn’t everyone do this?

No luck still, but I’m keeping an eye out!

80. Watch a Phillip Seymour Hoffman film in which he has a full head of hair.

I have quite a few of his older movies on DVD, but I’ve always got a special place in my heart for Dusty.

dustytwister

90. Buy a friend a Hunger Games-themed creation on Etsy.

I’ve done this! Got my lovely friend Courtney from Welcome to District 12 a Katniss Everdeen devotional candle from Banana Leviathan for Christmas. Also got myself one too. (Sorry, she’s out of them.)

Check out the full list at HGFiresideChat.com in video and non-video form!

How many can you do?
Twiffidy