REVIEW: JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND

CAST

Dwayne Johnson (Central Intelligence)
Michael Caine (The Dark Knight Rises)
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Vanessa Hudgens (Powerless)
Kristin Davis (Couples Retreat)
Luis Guzman (Wiating…)
Branscombe Richmond (The Scorpion King)

It has been four years since the events of the first movie. Seventeen-year-old Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson) is caught by the police after a brief chase on his dirtbike which ended with him driving into a swimming pool while trying to evade them. Minutes later, his stepfather Hank (Dwayne Johnson) arrives where a police officer (Stephen Caudill) who is friends with Hank tells him that Sean has illegally broken into a remote satellite research center, and that he has talked Mr. and Mrs. McGillicutty (the owners of the swimming pool) out of pressing charges. Hank takes Sean home where his mother Elizabeth (Kristin Davis) is not pleased with his actions and/or the fact that he and Hank don’t get along well.Hank discovers that Sean trespassed the satellite research center in order to boost the signal of a code Sean received from someone he suspects is Alexander Anderson, Sean’s grandfather who had been missing for two years. Wanting to bond with his stepson the next day, Hank helps Sean decipher the code of Jules Verne characters which lead to three books: Treasure Island, Gulliver’s Travels, and Verne’s own Mysterious Island. Using the books’ individual island maps, Hank suspects they are books of the same island and uses a back light in order to make them all one completed land mass with the coordinates to its location. Hank manages to convince Liz to let both of them go in search of the island, in slight hopes of proving Sean wrong, that there is no so-called mysterious island there.They arrive in Palau where they need transportation to travel to this dangerous part of the ocean. A Palauan helicopter tourism guide Gabato (Luis Guzman) and his daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) who Sean develops an immediate crush on, agree to fly them out to the island for $3,000, but the helicopter gets caught in a category 5 hurricane and they crash into the Pacific, waking up on the island. Crossing into the island, they discover one of the laws of the Mysterious Island is that, all animals big are small and all animals small are big (inspiring Lilliput from Gulliver’s Travels). The crew discover tiny elephants and giant butterflies, which are the first creatures they come across on the island. The group decides to explore further into the island.After leaving that part of the island they come across an egg clutch belonging to a Giant Frilled Lizard, they are then saved by Sean’s grandfather Alexander (Michael Caine) who takes them to a large hut he’d built from the wreckage of the ship that brought him to the island called the Blue-Eyed Lucy. He has a working radio, but due to the positioning of the communications satellite it would be two weeks before they could call for help.The next morning, Alexander leads the group to the lost city of Atlantis which is usually submerged in the ocean and he also calculates that the island sinks once every 70 years. However, the sea water appearing from the ground is the evidence that Alexanders’ calculations are wrong, and that the island will sink in a couple of days. Their only means of salvation seems to be the legendary Nautilus (Captain Nemo’s submarine), hidden somewhere on the island. Kailani enters Nemo’s crypt and finds his journal, which has the whereabouts of the ship in a cave at Poseidon’s Cliffs. They decide to go to that cave through the heart of the island. They mount giant bees in order to fly over a high ridge and make up time, but encounter large birds that try to devour the bees. After saving Kailani’s life, Sean crashes and dislocates his ankle. Hank and Alexander later patch up Sean’s ankle the best way they can. Afterward, they have a good moment when Hank sings his rendition of “What a Wonderful World” to ease Sean’s pain.The next morning, the water has risen greatly and Hank deduces that the island will sink in a matter of hours, not days. Gabato is missing having gone toward the island’s golden volcano (which was the inspiration for Treasure Island) in search for the funds to give his daughter a better life. While Alexander and Kailani go after him, Sean and Hank head for Poseidon’s Cliffs to look for the Nautilus. Alexander also finally calls Hank by his preferred name, as up to that point he only called him “Henry” and the family makes up. To deal with the rising water after finding the Nautilus’ cave underwater, Sean and Hank make makeshift oxygen tanks and dive down fifty feet in order to obtain the Nautilus and are nearly killed by a giant electric eel. They are unable to power the ship however because the vessel’s batteries being 140 years old have run down. They find a way to power the submarine from the electric eel’s electricity.Meanwhile, Kailani and Alexander find Gabato and convince him to escape with them instead of trying for the golden volcano. They head towards the shore as the island begins to suddenly and violently rip itself apart. The golden volcano starts to erupt violently, pouring lava flows all over the area. Highly flammable lava bombs are thrown from the golden volcano into the air and suddenly land on the sinking island’s debris. Sean and Hank use a harpoon to get an electrical jump start from the electric eel swarming around them and they are able to power the machine, just in time to pick up the others who had fallen into the water. Gabato pilots the submarine out of harm’s way while Hank and Sean fire torpedoes into the path of falling island debris. As they clear the dangers, Kailani finally kisses Sean for his bravery.Six months later, Kailani and Gabato are well off. Gabato is now running the most popular tourist attraction on Palau providing tours aboard the Nautilus and Kailani is attending college. Kailani goes to visit Sean on his birthday. While they are celebrating, Alexander shows up with a book for Sean’s birthday present. Sean opens it to find Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, Alexander’s suggets for a new adventure with the family, to which Liz protests. Hank replies “What could possibly go wrong? It’s only the moon!” During the credits, the mini-elephants from the earlier scene are swimming underwater over Atlantis.Great family adventure film , if you enjoyed the first one you most likely enjoy this too.

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REVIEW: JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (2008)

CAST

Brendan Fraser (The Mummy)
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Anita Briem (Dylan Dog)
Seth Meyers (The Interview)

In the opening scene, Max Anderson (Jean-Michel Paré) is being pursued by a Giganotosaurus. Max then comes across a fissure vent. When he tries to jump across, he falls while calling out the name of his brother. Ten years later, Max’s brother volcanologist Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser) is visited by Max’s son, Trevor’s 13-year-old nephew Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson). In a box of items that belonged to Max is a book, Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. Notes written by Max are found inside the book.

In Trevor’s volcanology laboratory, a device shows activity on Snæfell, a dormant volcano in Iceland. Trevor and Sean travel to Iceland to investigate. They try to contact Icelandic volcanologist Sigurbjörn Ásgeirsson, but instead encounter his daughter Hannah Ásgeirsson (Anita Briem) since her father had died some years earlier.[3] It turns out that Sigurbjörn and Max were both Vernians, a group of people who believe the works of Jules Verne to be fact and not fiction.

Hannah offers to help them climb the volcano. While the group is hiking up the volcano, a lightning storm forces them to take shelter in a cave. The cave entrance collapses, having them trapped in what appears to be an abandoned mine. The trio then rides on out-of-control mine carts, in which the tracks start to branch-off in three ways. Hannah and Trevor get saved from dead-ends and Sean reunites with them. They reach the bottom of a volcanic vent, the floor of the vent breaks, and they begin to fall towards the center of the Earth. The volcanic vent eventually becomes a water slide which drops them safely into a lake in the center of the Earth, which turns out to be a completely separate world contained within the Earth.

The group starts seeking a way back to the surface. Along the way, they find evidence that someone had been there a hundred years ago. Trevor remarks that some instruments found are Lidenbrock’s (the name of a character in Jules Verne’s book Journey to the Center of the Earth). This suggests that another group had previously made the journey, somehow returned to the surface and recounted the tale of their adventure to Verne. They find some of Max’s things as well. While Trevor and Sean are examining what they’ve found, Hannah discovers Max’s body. They bury Max on the beach of the underground ocean and Trevor reads a letter to Sean found in Max’s journal. Trevor discovers that his brother died due to dehydration because of hot magma surrounding the center of the Earth.

Using information from Max’s journal, Trevor determines that they must find a geyser that can send them to the surface before the temperature rises to 200 °F (about 93 °C). Further, they must reach the geyser within 48 hours or the water for the geyser will have evaporated. They build a raft and begin crossing the underground ocean, but soon encounter a pack of Xiphactinus. They use makeshift clubs to bat them away, then a shoal of Elasmosaurus attacks the Xiphactinus, allowing the trio to escape. The raft’s sail becomes loose. Sean tries to hold on, but is blown away and separated from the two adults.

A little bird guides Sean towards the river. Meanwhile, Trevor and Hannah decide to take a rest, but are attacked by carnivorous plants. Hannah is captured and being strangled by the plants. Trevor defeats the plant that is holding Hannah by the neck, and they continue towards the geyser. When they arrive at the river Trevor calls out to Sean but gets no response. Trevor says he is going to look for Sean, but tells Hannah she should continue on to the geyser and save herself. Before he goes, Hannah kisses Trevor just in case he does not return. Meanwhile, Sean has entered an arid, bone-filled land. He hears roars, looks up and sees a Giganotosaurus coming after him. Trevor saves him. When they get to a river, they find Hannah sailing a boat fashioned from a Tyrannosaurus skull. They sail to a volcano with magma rising in its crater. They are too late; the water needed for the geyser has evaporated.

Sean notices that the crater walls are wet. Trevor hears water flowing on the other side of the walls and sees that the crater walls contain magnesium. After Trevor uses a flare to ignite the magnesium, a geyser shoots them up and out of the Center of the Earth. They emerge in Italy from Mount Vesuvius. When they fall, they accidentally destroy some of the vines in a vineyard. To make amends with the vineyard’s farmer, Sean gives the owner a diamond that he found while in the center of the Earth. Trevor sees that Sean has many more diamonds in his backpack. Trevor later uses them to fund his late brother’s laboratory. During the adventure, Hannah and Trevor gradually become closer and eventually share a kiss. After the adventure, Sean visits Trevor and Hannah in their new home purchased using some of the diamonds Sean took from the cave. Trevor hands Sean a book about another strange land, Atlantis: The Antediluvian World by Ignatius L. Donnelly, and suggests they get together during Sean’s Christmas break. Sean reveals that he has brought the little bird back from the center of the Earth to keep as a pet. However, the bird happily flies away.

Journey To The Center Of The Earth comes with two pairs of 3D glasses and watching the film in 3D really is amazing.  Watching the film normally is  enjoyable because it’s such a good fun film, which is taken from a classic fantasy novel. a Great film.

REVIEW: THE FORGER

CAST

Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Hayden Panettiere (Heroes)
Lauen Bacall (The Big Sleep)
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2)
Billy Boyd (Seed of Chucky)
Adam Godley (Powers)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)

Joshua Mason (Josh Hutcherson) is a troubled 15-year-old who is abandoned by his mother at a motel in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The story begins with Joshua finishing a painting at an old mission and selling it for $50, only to be caught by the artist who had left the painting on an easel. He returns to the motel room to sleep. When the motel manager comes to collect payment, Joshua grabs his belongings and runs out the back door. A social worker, Vanessa Reese, visits the manager and he explains that he hasn’t seen the boy’s mother for some time. He shows Vanessa the room and that the boy has painted some amazing art on the walls, mirror and ceiling. Joshua, meanwhile, wanders around the town and chats to a girl, Amber, through a school yard fence. One of the school’s faculty reprimands Amber for not returning to school and grabs her by the arm to take her to the principal’s office. Joshua becomes upset with how aggressive the teacher is, pulling at her arm, and shouts at him to give her a break and pick on someone his own size. Joshua climbs the fence and pulls Amber from the teacher’s grip only to be confronted by two boys – one of them her brother Ryan, who thinks she’s being harassed. Joshua punches Ryan, who then punches back. Joshua runs off, climbs the fence and shouts back he’s sorry to the girl. When it starts to rain, he hides in a culvert but gets caught in the flowing water. His hand is cut as he falls out of the culvert into the sea/coast below.

Joshua walks along the rocky coastline and happens upon a large sea-side mansion and finding a side door that’s been left open, ‘breaks’ in. He showers, cleans up his cut and now starving, makes himself a large sandwich. While exploring the mansion, he finds an art studio with a painting that is half complete (being copied from a photo) and finishes it before falling asleep. When he awakens he’s confronted by the police and taken to child services. He tells the social worker that he doesn’t know where his mother is.

Back at the mansion, the owner, Everly (Alfred Molina), finds the now-finished painting and believes the boy has real talent since he had been unable to find anyone to complete the portrait, let alone do it with such complete accuracy. Everly decides to take in the boy thinking that he might be able to exploit his art talent. While eating breakfast one morning, Everly gives Joshua an expensive fountain pen as a gift and the two talk about art. Joshua, knowing little on the history of art, jokingly tells Everly that his favorite artist is Hank Ketcham, the creator of Dennis the Menace. During a charity art benefit, Joshua meets a kind old woman named Anne-Marie Cole (Lauren Bacall). He also meets Ryan, Amber’s brother, and the two apologize to each other about what had gone down at the school yard the other day. Ryan says Amber told him the full story of what happened and thanks Joshua for looking out for his sister. The two talk about Anne-Marie and how she’s indeed cool but also loaded.

That night, Joshua breaks into Anne-Marie’s home but is unsure of why he does. He begins to go through some of her things and finds a leather-thong necklace with a small vial (filled with something that he later finds out to be cyanide) which he pilfers, as well as a picture of an unknown man. Anne-Marie discovers Joshua in the room and asks him what he is doing. He asks who the man is in the photograph. She tells him it is an artist named George and nothing more. She then calls Everly to come and collect him. The next day Joshua and Amber talk on the beach. When Amber asks what she could do to repay him, he states that she could give him a kiss. She laughs it off and races him down the beach but drops her keys in an effort to win. She beats him and while trying to get her keys back from him, he kisses her without warning. She pushes him off, demands for him to give her the keys before leaving him on the beach. There he finds a large black dog and learns that it is Anne-Marie’s dog Matilda. He takes Matilda home to Anne-Marie and the two of them talk over a bowl of soup.

Meanwhile, Vanessa continues her search to find Joshua’s mother and learns that she may be living with her boyfriend. Joshua goes to Amber’s and gives her a portrait of her that he had drawn. She smiles and comments that it looks good and invites him to sit with her. Joshua apologizes for what he did at the beach and that he was foolish for kissing her like that. She tells him that it was the worst kiss she had ever experienced and teaches him how to “properly” kiss a girl. Meanwhile, Everly has sold the painting that Joshua had completed earlier but needs to complete a Winslow Homer in just a couple of weeks or lose his art galleries along with everything he owns. He decides to take a risk and use the boy seeing as he is the only one who could complete the portrait accurately and on time. Joshua attends a party that Amber is throwing and sees her in the arms of another guy, who happens to be her cousin. He grows jealous and follows them in the house and is about to confront him but he is held back by Ryan. Joshua and Ryan fight, resulting in Joshua hitting Ryan with a pool ball.
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Joshua goes to Anne-Marie’s where she tends to his wounds. She tells him that just seeing something won’t give you the truth, that you sometimes have to look at something in a different light. She then asks if he would like to live with her. He tells her that he would have to think about it. Back at Everly’s, Joshua confronts Everly about his forgery scheme and how for $500 he will keep his mouth shut. Everly gives him a different proposition: If he does one more painting he will get half the money made from it – a possibility of millions. Joshua, amazed, says yes. For a week he learns what forgers have to do so their paintings pass as authentic. When the painting is finished, Joshua and Everly have an unpleasant conversation. Joshua, having second thoughts, then takes the painting from the house and hides it.
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Meanwhile, Vanessa finds Joshua’s mother living with her boyfriend and a child. Vanessa then calls child protective services to rescue the child. She goes back to her office and takes a closer look at Joshua’s file and learns that he has been abused by his mother. She discovers that Anne-Marie wants to become Joshua’s permanent guardian. She learns how Anne-Marie had been questioned by the police and fell under suspicion of forgery. Vanessa also learns that Anne-Marie lost her family in a house fire and was unable to save her only surviving daughter. Joshua goes to Anne-Marie’s after hearing a rumor from Everly that she was once a forger. He goes through her stuff and finds a forger’s hammer and a newspaper clipping about how she was suspected of art forgeries. He then runs away feeling that he cannot trust anyone. Vanessa then meets with Joshua and tells him she could not find his mother. Joshua then breaks down in tears feeling that he is unwanted.
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Ryan talks to Joshua and tells him he needs to apologize to Amber, which he does. Joshua then goes ahead and steals the painting. Anne-Marie goes to Everly’s to talk to Joshua and finds the door unlocked. She goes in and wanders into the art studio where she learns that Joshua has stolen the painting. Joshua then goes to the art exhibit and returns the painting, but before he leaves Anne-Marie, in front of everybody, slices the portrait and tells everyone that it was a forgery and that she at one time painted one of Everly’s forgeries and has regretted it ever since. The portrait is confirmed to be a forgery when an underpainting of Dennis the Menace is revealed. In the end, Joshua agrees to Anne-Marie’s request and lives with her, and is also in a relationship with Amber. He states that, “I wasn’t sure what I was looking for at first when I broke into Anne-Marie’s house, but now I know. I was looking for a place to belong.”mv5bnjk3mti1nzk2of5bml5banbnxkftztywodqzndez-_v1_uy317_cr820214317_al_Forget about all the weak points within the script and enjoy this movie as a very good piece of light entertainment.

REVIEW: RED DAWN (2012)

CAST
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Isabel Lucas (Immortals)
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games)
Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Edwin Hodge (The Purge)
Josh Peck (Aliens In The Attic)
Brett Cullen (Ghost Rider)
Alyssa Diaz (The Vampire Diaries)
Will Yun Lee (Elektra)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen)
Kenneth Choi (The Terminal)
An introductory montage shows the fallout of the economic crisis in the European Union and a weakened NATO alliance, amid increasing co-operation between an increasingly militant North Korea and ultranationalist-controlled Russia. The increased deployment of U.S. troops abroad (and the highlighted threat of cyberwarfare) leaves the mainland vulnerable.
U.S. Marine Jed Eckert is home on leave in Spokane, Washington. He reunites with his father, Spokane Police Sergeant Tom Eckert and his brother, high school football player Matt Eckert. The morning after a mysterious power outage, swarms of invading North Korean paratroopers and transport aircraft attack the city. The two storm out of the house and Matt witnesses an F-16 shoot down a Korean transport plane while they leave in a pick-up truck. Their father tells them to flee to their cabin in the woods while he helps the townspeople. They are later joined there by Matt’s fellow students Robert, Daryl, Toni, Danny, Julie, Greg and Pete. Tensions build as the teens try to decide whether to surrender to the invaders or resist, with Pete ending up betraying their position. North Korean soldiers, under the command of Captain Cho, bring Sergeant Eckert and the mayor out to convince the group to surrender, but Cho executes Sergeant Eckert after he refuses to cooperate and actively encourages them to resist (or die trying).
Jed intends to fight and the others agree to join him, calling themselves the Wolverines after their school mascot. After acquiring weapons, establishing a base in an abandoned mine, and being trained by Jed, the Wolverines begin a series of guerrilla attacks against soldiers and collaborators, including Pete. During one attack, they lose Greg, but rescue Matt’s girlfriend, Erica. The North Koreans retaliate by bombarding the surrounding woods to destroy the Wolverines’ base, killing Danny and Julie, with the remaining survivors fleeing deeper into the woods. The Wolverines encounter Marine Sergeant Major Andrew Tanner and Marines Smith and Hodges. They reveal that the Russian-backed North Korean invasion used an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon that crippled the U.S.electrical grid and military infrastructure, followed by landings of the invasion of the entire East and West Coasts. American counterattacks eventually halted their advances, leaving an area stretching from Michigan to Montana and Alabama to Arizona as “Free America.” They also reveal that Captain Cho carries a suitcase containing an EMP-resistant radio telephone that would enable the U.S. command to monitor invasion force radio traffic and regroup for a counter-offensive. The Wolverines assist Tanner, Smith, and Hodges in infiltrating the North Koreans’ center of operations at a local police station. They succeed in stealing the suitcase with Jed avenging his father’s death by killing Cho, though Hodges is mortally wounded.
The Wolverines escape with the radio and regroup at their base. The Wolverines are ambushed by Russian Spetsnaz, and Jed is killed by a sniper as he walks past a window. Matt and the rest of the Wolverines escape with the radio to the Marines’ extraction point. The next day, Robert comes to the realization that during the police station escape, Daryl had been tagged with a tracking transmitter and that the Russians have been homing in on him ever since. After some thought, Daryl accepts the fact that he cannot go on with them, Robert gives Daryl his M249 SAW, and Daryl decides to stay behind, presumably to ambush the pursuing group and likely die in the encounter.
The group delivers the radio to Tanner and Smith, who depart in a helicopter. The remaining Wolverines stay behind and continue to fight; a scene shows the Wolverines recruiting more members and raiding prisoner camps. Matt uses Jed’s speech to convince others to join their cause. In the end of the film, the Wolverines, under Matt’s command, raid a North Korean prison camp, setting hundreds of prisoners free.
Rising above the flaws of Red Dawn, i found it to offer an action packed & emotional ride along a fictional story that is somewhat as semi-believable now, as it was back in the 80’s. I quite like this version.

REVIEW: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2

CAST

Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Josh Hutcherson (The Forger)
Liam Hemsworth (Knowing)
Woody Harrelson (Zombieland)
Elizabeth Banks (The Lego Movie)
Donald Sutherland (The Italian Job)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Julianne Moore (Freedomland)
Willow Shields (beyond The Blackboard)
Sam Claflin (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Mahershala Ali (Alphas)
Jena Malone (Donnie Darko)
Jeffrey wright (Source Code)
Paula Malcomson (Caprica)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones)
Elden Henson (Daredevil)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Robert Knepper (Heroes)
April Grace (Lost)

Katniss Everdeen is recovering after being attacked by Peeta Mellark, who has been brainwashed by the Capitol. The rebels attack and disable the Capitol’s weapons arsenal in District 2. Katniss tries to rally the loyalists against the Capitol, but is shot and injured in the confrontation. Despite Katniss’ desire to kill President Snow personally, Alma Coin refuses to allow her into battle. At Finnick and Annie’s wedding, Johanna Mason suggests Katniss sneak aboard a supply ship leaving for the Capitol, where Commander Paylor is planning an invasion. Unable to bring her back, Coin has her assigned to the “Star Squad”, led by Boggs and includes Gale, Finnick, Cressida, Messalla, Castor, Pollux, Jackson, the Leeg twins, Mitchell, and Homes; they will follow in relative safety behind the actual invasion of the Capitol providing video of their incursion for propaganda purposes. Boggs carries a holographic map (the “Holo”) to help them evade known booby trapped “pods” which line the streets of the Capitol. Coin also sends Peeta to join the squad, even though he has not fully recovered from the Capitol’s conditioning.

As they venture deeper into the Capitol, Boggs triggers a pod which sets off a land mine and mortally wounds him, and transfers command of the Holo to Katniss before dying. The squad triggers another pod, which releases a flood of lethal black tar. Peeta momentarily succumbs to his conditioning and attacks Katniss, pushing Mitchell into the tar and killing him. The group takes shelter in an abandoned building, where Jackson, the second-in-command, attempts to commandeer the Holo, until Katniss convinces them she is under secret orders from Coin to kill Snow. Katniss and most of the group escape just before a squad of Peacekeepers arrive and destroy the building, killing the Leeg twins. The Capitol broadcasts a message announcing Katniss’s death, which is interrupted by Coin, who delivers an impassioned eulogy for her, to rally the rebels.

The team descends into the Capitol’s sewers to avoid further pods, but they are attacked by a horde of genetically engineered creatures called “mutts”. Jackson, Castor, and Homes are killed as the squad flees through the sewers. Finnick is overwhelmed as he fights off the swarm to allow the team to escape, forcing Katniss to set the Holo’s self-destruct, killing him and the remaining mutts. The surviving team members reach the surface but are chased by Peacekeepers, and Messalla is killed by a pod that melts and disintegrates him. The team takes refuge in a shop, where Tigris, a former Hunger Games stylist and rebel sympathizer, hides them in her basement.

As rebel forces gain ground, Snow invites fleeing Capitol citizens into his mansion for protection. Katniss and Gale join the crowd, posing as refugees to gain access to Snow. Rebels arrive and attack, killing many in the crossfire. In the chaos, Katniss pushes forward to Snow’s mansion, where Peacekeepers are herding Capitol children toward the closed gates. A hovercraft flies overhead, and drops small parcels by parachute into the pen of children. The parcels explode, killing them. A team of rebel medics attempt to help the injured, among whom is Katniss’s sister Prim. A second wave of bombs detonate, killing Prim and knocking Katniss unconscious. Upon recovering, Katniss learns the Capitol has been conquered, and Snow captured. When Katniss confronts Snow, he claims that Coin orchestrated the bombing outside his mansion to turn his soldiers against him. Katniss realizes that the incident resembles a trap that Gale had developed earlier. When Gale is unable to assure Katniss that the bombs were not of his design, Katniss cuts all ties with him. Coin invites the remaining Hunger Games victors to vote on a proposal to have another Hunger Games using the children of the Capitol, as a symbolic gesture to satisfy the districts. Katniss swings the vote in favor, in exchange for the right to execute Snow personally.

At the execution, Katniss shoots and kills Coin instead of Snow. The rebels take Katniss into custody, while Snow is tortured and killed by the angry mob. Katniss is eventually pardoned for her crime and returns to District 12, where she is joined by Peeta, who has recovered from his conditioning. Commander Paylor is elected the new President of Panem, and Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch bond over their shared trauma. Years later, Katniss and Peeta play with their two children, as Katniss contemplates the nightmares of her past, and somberly reflects that “there are much worse games to play.”

The special effects are amazing, and the film gripped me throughout. There are some chilling and sad moments and with some twists along the way. Music from previous films is used to powerful effect. Jennifer Lawrence puts in an incredible performance as Katniss, and there are other strong performances from the cast. I was sad to see this end series, but feel everyone involved can be incredibly proud of what has been achieved. An outstanding and thought provoking finale.

REVIEW: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1

CAST
Jennifer Lawrence (Behind Closed Doors)
Josh Hutcherson (Zathrua)
Liam Hemsworth (Triangle)
Elizbath Banks (Zack & Miri)
Donald Sutherland (The Italian Job 2003)
Woody Harrelson (Zombieland)
Willow Shields (Beyond The Blackboard)
Paula Malcomson (Caprica)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March)
Jeffrey Wright (Ali)
Sam Claflin (The Quiet Ones)
Jena Malone (Donnie Darko)
Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Mahershala Ali (Predators)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones)

After being rescued from the destroyed arena in the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen, along with fellow Victors Beetee and Finnick Odair, are taken to District 13, an independent district isolated from the rest of Panem that has been spearheading the rebellion, where she is reunited with her mother and sister Prim. While recuperating, she is introduced to President Alma Coin, the rebel leader, and is told that her actions in the arena sparked riots and strikes against the Capitol. Coin asks her if she will become the “Mockingjay”—the symbol of the rebellion—as part of their “hearts and minds” strategy. Katniss flatly declines, angrily reminding her that they left Peeta Mellark, her portrayed lover and fellow District 12 tribute, behind in the arena. At the suggestion of Plutarch Heavensbee, the former Gamemaker, she is taken to see the ruins of District 12, which was completely leveled by a Capitol bombing campaign (with the exception of the houses in the Victor’s Village). After seeing that Peeta is being used by Capitol state television to quell the rebellion, Katniss reluctantly changes her mind and agrees to become Coin’s Mockingjay, on the condition that Peeta and the other victors will be rescued and pardoned at the earliest opportunity, and that her sister, Prim, will be allowed to keep her cat.
After Haymitch notes that Katniss thrives on spontaneity, she is introduced to her film team (led by Capitol escapee Cressida), is dressed up in a specially-designed outfit, and given Effie Trinket as a stylist and close friend Gale as a bodyguard. They go out to District 8 to visit a hospital, but as the visit concludes, a Capitol bombing squadron arrives and bombs the hospital, killing everyone inside. In her rage, Katniss gives a rousing speech to the camera, which is broadcast when Beetee hijacks the Capitol’s news feed. After it is broadcast, strikers in District 7 kill an entire team of Peacekeepers with hidden land mines.
After seeing a weakened Peeta on a TV propo (propaganda shots) the team then go back to District 12, where Gale tells the story of its destruction, and Katniss is filmed singing “The Hanging Tree”. Soon after, hundreds of protestors in District 5, singing the same anthem, launch a suicidal human wave attack against a hydroelectric dam that is the Capitol’s primary source of electricity. The attack succeeds, forcing the Capitol to revert to backup power generators and weakening their ability to broadcast their propaganda.
That night, Katniss watches Peeta being interviewed by Caesar Flickerman, the Games’ former presenter, when, in an apparent defiance of his captors, Peeta suddenly shouts a warning that the Capitol is about to attack District 13. Coin orders a mass evacuation into the underground shelters. While Prim is nearly locked out when she goes back to get her cat, everyone manages to get inside safely, and the facility survives the attack unharmed. Upon emerging, Katniss discovers that the area is littered with white roses, realizes that President Snow has sent them to taunt her, and presumes that he is about to kill Peeta. As Peeta’s warning gave the District an additional eight minutes evacuation time, Coin dispatches an elite special forces team, which includes Gale, to rescue him, along with Johanna Mason, and Annie Cresta, the remaining Victors, from their prison in the Capitol’s Tribute center. The rescue is successful. However, when Katniss goes to greet Peeta, he unexpectedly attacks and strangles her into unconsciousness, before being knocked unconscious himself by Boggs.
Katniss wakes up in the medical facility, and is informed that Peeta has been “hijacked” — a form of physical/mental torture in which he is brainwashed into wanting to kill Katniss by associating memories of her with the psychological terror created by tracker jacker venom — explaining why the Capitol allowed Gale’s team to escape. Peeta is strapped to a bed and placed in a solitary confinement, while a serum is being developed to undo the effects of the hijacking. Meanwhile, Coin announces the successful rescue of the Victors, and that their next objective is the Capitol’s principal military stronghold in the ravines on District 2.
Excellent performances by actors and a very dramatic, dark mood rather.
An awesome film and a great build-up towards the grandiose finale .

REVIEW: THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

 

Untitled
CAST
Jennifer Lawrence (Behind Closed Doors)
Josh Hutcherson (Zathrua)
Liam Hemsworth (Triangle)
Elizbath Banks (Zack & Miri)
Donald Sutherland (The Italian Job 2003)
Woody Harrelson (Zombieland)
Willow Shields (Beyond The Blackboard)
Paula Malcomson (Caprica)
Toby Jones (Your Highness)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Jeffrey Wright (Ali)
Amanda Plummer (Drunks)
Sam Claflin (The Quiet Ones)
Jena Malone (Donnie Darko)
 After winning the 74th Hunger Games in the previous novel, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark return home to District 12, the poorest sector in the country of Panem. But on the day that Katniss and Peeta are to start a “Victory Tour” of the country, President Snow visits unexpectedly and tells Katniss that he is angry with her for breaking the rules at the end of the last Hunger Games, which permitted both Peeta and Katniss to win. Snow tells Katniss that when she defied the Capitol, she inspired rebellion in the districts.
The first stop on the Victory Tour is District 11, the home of Katniss’ deceased friend and ally in the Hunger Games, Rue. During the ceremony, Katniss delivers a speech thanking the people of District 11 for their participants in the Games. When she finishes, an old man whistles the tune that Rue used in the arena to tell Katniss that she was safe. The song acts as a signal and everyone salutes Katniss, using the same gesture that she used to say farewell to Rue. To the horror of Katniss, the old man and two others are executed.
Katniss and Peeta travel to the rest of the twelve districts and the Capitol. Hoping to placate the growing rebellion and settle the dispute between Katniss and President Snow, Peeta proposes to Katniss during an interview. Despite this, Katniss learns that their attempt to avert revolt in the districts has failed.
Shortly after returning to District 12, Katniss discovers on the mayor’s television that District 8 has had an uprising, and she fears that what she has done to placate the crowds is not enough as there may be uprisings in other districts as well. She then meets two runaways from District 8, Bonnie and Twill. They explain their theory which contradicts what the other districts have been led to believe: District 13 was not completely wiped out by the Capitol, and that its residents survive in underground shelters.Later, it is announced that, for the 75th Hunger Games, twenty-four victors from previous years will be forced to compete once again. This is the third occurrence of the “Quarter Quell”: an event that occurs every 25th year of the Games and allows the Capitol to introduce a twist. Knowing that she and Peeta will both be competing in the Games a second time, Katniss decides that she will devote herself to ensuring that Peeta becomes the Quarter Quell’s victor and convinces her mentor to help her. Likewise, Peeta is devoted to protecting her, but both Katniss and her mentor are determined that only Peeta returns home safely.
During the Games, set in a jungle with a saltwater lake, Katniss and Peeta join up with two other previous victors: Finnick Odair, a 24-year-old man who survived the Games at the age of 14, and Mags, Finnick’s 80-year-old mentor, both from District 4. The party encounters poisonous fog in which Peeta comes into contact with the gas and cannot walk. Mags sacrifices herself in order to save Peeta and dies in the poisonous fog. After Mags’s death, Katniss, Peeta and Finnick join forces with Johanna Mason, a sarcastic and often cruel victor from District 7, and Beetee and Wiress, an older couple from District 3 who are said to be “exceptionally smart”. Wiress soon proves her genius by revealing to Katniss that the arena is arranged like a clock, with all of the arena’s disasters occurring on a timed chart. After Wiress is killed in a battle with the Careers (tributes from the first three districts who train all their lives for the Games and are usually the winners), Katniss learns of Beetee’s plan to harness lightning in order to electrocute Brutus and Enobaria, the two remaining Careers Tributes from District 2. In the final chapters, Katniss instead directs the lightning at the force field that contains the arena, thereby destroying the arena and resulting in her temporary paralysis. When Katniss wakes up, she is being transported to District 13, joined by Finnick, Beetee, and her mentor, Haymitch Abernathy. She learns that Peeta, Enobaria, and Johanna have been captured by the Capitol, and is informed that there had been a plan among half of the contestants to break out of the arena— Beetee had been attempting to destroy the force field in the same way that she did. The book ends when Katniss’ best friend, Gale, comes to visit her and informs her that, though he got her family out in time, District 12 has been destroyed.
Incredible, memorable film, well worth seeing even if you haven’t the read the books.