Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Mockingjay Part 1 is the continuing story of Katniss Everdeen based on the popular young adult novels by Suzanne Collins. Katniss Everdeen is played by Jennifer Lawrence and also stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, her two romantic interests, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks, as Katniss’ mentors, and Julianne Moore and Donald Sutherland, as two opposing politician types.

mockingjaySummary from Wikipedia

The story continues to follow Katniss Everdeen; having twice survived the Hunger Games, Katniss finds herself in District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion, a mockingjay, against the Capitol and fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.

I give Jennifer Lawrence all due credit for this being an excellent film. Also, the writers, they deserve a huge round of applause. I found the story engaging and the characters believable. This was not the case for the book Mockingjay. I thought the book was the poorest installment in the series and only finished it because I wanted to know what the writer thought happened, but it was not what I expected from a book that followed the Hunger Games.

With Jennifer Lawrence as their paintbrush, the writers paint a picture of a bewildered young woman trying to take care of the people she love, trying to rise to the occasion, and trying to handle all the of the responsibilities that have been thrust upon her while remaining true to who she is as a person. Katniss is a great heroine, because she isn’t perfect, she has her faults, but she tries, she grows, and she succeeds. That is amazing, and Lawrence took the character by the throat and pushed her to new levels as a role model. (Can you tell, I have a small crush on Jennifer Lawrence?)


I really wish there had been more of Peeta in this first part, that was the only thing I was disappointed about. I wish there had been less Gale. Such a whiny character who busy so readily into the dogma of a military regime. Ugh. I didn’t like him in the books and I still don’t like him in the movie rendition of the story. But Peeta, I rooted for him in the books, and I love him in the movie version. So, I wish there had been a bit more about him.

Another brilliant piece of casting was Elizabeth Banks as Effie. She added warmth, spirit, and depth to a character that had very little of those qualities. Plus, she pulled off some amazingly outrageous costumes. I love how Banks is able to take on and slip into a role instead of turning the role into a version of herself. So, maybe I have a little girl crush on her as well.


Effie by Pseudolirium on DeviantArt

While I am still a little sore that they decided to take a rather unremarkable book and elongate it into two movies (for the sake of extra coins in the pocket I can only assume), but I ended up quite enjoying the film, more than I thought I would. And I swear it had nothing to do with the several cocktails I consumed. Ok, maybe a little. The movie was well paced, well written, and excellently acted. My only other complaint is that the ending was a little rushed, and my sister turned away from the screen for a few minutes to pay her bill and missed a crucial piece that just kind of flew by at the end. However, I’m looking forward to part 2 and then a Hunger Games marathon some time in the future when I can sit down and watch all four movies and revel in my girl crushes.


Movie Review: Walk of Shame

Walk of Shame stars Elizabeth Banks and James Marsden. Honestly, anything that stars Elizabeth Banks gets my attention and that was the sole reason I picked up the movie from Redbox. Plus, I like a good lighthearted comedy and this movie made me laugh, out loud, several times. Don’t be fooled by the previews before the movie. Mine included an advertisement for Jarhead 2 and the Scorpion King 4. I started to question my judgment in my movie pick, much like I imagined other people would be doing on their walk of shames the next morning. But I found myself having a wonderful time watching Elizabeth Banks navigate through a handful of hilarious situations with desperation and bad decision making.

When Meghan Miles finds herself one night having a pity party because her fiance dumped her and she didn’t get the promotion that she wanted, she decides to go out drinking with her friends. But a night of boozing becomes too much and during an attempted escape from a club of not so sober patrons, Meghan gets help from a charming stranger. Only so slightly sober herself, Meghan decides to go home with the charming stranger because only her emptied out rooms are waiting for her at her apartment. The two spend a night connecting, playing games, and laughing, but the next morning Meghan wakes up to find out that she might still get the promotion if only she can make it to an interview. In a panic Meghan leaves without her cell phone only to discover her car has been towed and just her luck her purse is in her car. Unable to even take a bus trip across town, Meghan begins a day of adventure in a pair of high heels trying to get her car and purse back and make it to her interview on time.


Meghan is a desperate woman, out of her league, who finds herself running from the police, drug dealers, and people who want to Facebook her “Walk of Shame.” Elizabeth Banks plays desperate perfectly. She is hilarious. I love her so much! Super girl crush on Elizabeth Banks happening right now. There is so much fun to this movie that I can only highlight a few of those moments.

Ghetto Crack House

The only people awake early in the morning as Meghan tries to get back her vehicle are hookers and drug dealers (and a jogger), so in desperation Meghan tries to plead with a drug dealer to let her use his phone. But the 5-0 are about to raid that particular corner and Meghan follows after the drug dealer into his ghetto crack house only to realize when he finally hands over the phone, that the only phone numbers she has memorized are her own, her parents, and her ex-fiances.

I laughed so hard at Meghan’s response to landing in a crack house with limited phone options. The scene plays out as genuinely bewildering and it is hilarious. Thankfully, unlike Meghan I could call my mom, explain what happened, and get support, not judgement. But poor Meghan, her only option is to call the man who just dumped her and have him completely fail to help her in any way. Even after a couple of drug dealers yell at him to man up, he responds by telling her not to call him. Interestingly, as their interactions increased, her relationship with the drug dealers reaches a different level of communication and support. A bit over the top, perhaps, the scene left me in stitches.

walk of shame crack house

Kid Pushing

It’s a tiny moment. But when Meghan tries to reason with a kid that she needs to borrow his bike, like most of the people she tried to ask for help, he bargains with her. And it’s for her body. So, she lures him close, pushes his glasses into his face and his butt onto the ground, and takes off on his bike. I laughed my own butt off. Perhaps this was because I dealt with some extremely annoying children at work the other day who broke an apparatus off of a wall, ran around the store despite us workers asking them to stop for their safety and the safety of the other patrons they were running into, and barged into the dressing rooms of other patrons after being asked not to do so. Not once did their parental figure tell them to behave properly and not treat our store like their personal playground. Not once. So seeing an annoying and misbehaving child, get his own. That just made my day.

bike walk of shame

Four Part Douche Test

Once Meghan’s friends realize she never made it home the night before and the only person answering her phone is a charming stranger, they head over to his place to look for clues and to find Meghan to make sure she is OK. When they arrive at Gordon’s house, Denise gives him a test to see what kind of man he is. My friend’s and I used to go through guys wallets. Each group of girls has their own way they sus out the character of a man, this one was pretty funny.  I started giggling just watching the clip again.

Does this movie have a few plot holes? Yes. Many Starbucks are open at 5 in the morning and would let her use their phone. But I’ve also found myself lost in certain areas of a big city that I had never been to before, it is scary, bewildering, and makes good judgement calls harder to hold on to, and I had my cell phone. In spite of more than a few plot holes, the solid acting comedy of this movie makes Walk of Shame a fun and laugh inducing piece of entertainment. But the biggest reason I liked Walk of Shame is that it isn’t about some girl’s walk of shame, it is really about a woman who has an adventure, owns her own story, and walks away from an experience having learned a lesson with a decision to move forward in her life toward that which makes her happy. It’s solid entertainment, and I quite enjoyed the movie.


Movie Review: The Hunger Games

First off, I really enjoyed the film and I thought it was excellent. Phew. Now you can all take a breath and decide if you really want to read the rest of the review or will go merrily on your way knowing that a huge fan of the series wasn’t let down by the film production of its characters. Honestly, I would have enjoyed the movie a whole lot more if I hadn’t been on the edge of my seat in fear that they would ruin it.

They didn’t.

Let us all clap our hands. ::CLAPHANDS:: I think this is probably due to the fact that Suzanne Collins had an instrumental part in the screen writing and production of the film. You go girl.

The Hunger Games is the story of one girl’s journey to womanhood, and along the way a nation grows as well. Katniss Everdeen is born in District 12, where they mine coal, and sent to the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death among 26 tributes, a pair from each District. The United States has been through a devastating war and divided into Districts centered around The Capital, a place of opulence, avarice, and stupidity. Sorry, can’t really think of a big word for stupid. Um, asshikery?

Katniss has some mad skills, fights for her survival, so she can simply return home to care for her sister and mostly catatonic mother. She enters the Hunger Games with her counter part Peeta, the baker’s son. A boy who understands how the play the game, and he plays it well.

Now for some spoilery bits for those who haven’t read the books after the break…

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Hunger Games Trifecta

1) Elizabeth Banks is awesome.

2) Read an interview with Woody Harrelson who says that he sees Haymitch as more than just a drunk. So did I, so I have no complaints with his interpretation of such a minor character.

3) I offer from the internets a Hunger Games not-quite-a-parody and not-quite-a-strict-interpretation-either music video. NOTE: SPOILER ALERT. This song basically gives away the entire first book. So, watch at your own risk. Actually I recommend shutting your eyes and just listening. WTF is up with all her eye make-up? Ugh. [via]

Torchwood, Doctor Who, and Batman Rises

A commercial for British drama. Torchwood and Doctor Who represent. (Point of interest some of the first actual footage of the new season of Torchwood, it’s like 3 seconds long, but still cool. )

Here is some casting news for Batman Rises.  Once again Torchwood represents.

More casting news here, Hunger Games gains its Effie Trinket.