Thursday, February 06, 2014

What I Watched in January

We finally got out to see the second HUNGER GAMES film last month and I was thrilled to find myself really enjoying it. I liked the first film pretty well but I was put off by the spastic editing of the action scenes and a strange distance I felt between the characters. The editing problem has gone away with this film and luckily it feels as if the cast has gelled much better this time out giving the relationships more strength. Also, the improved ensemble cast work has the benefit of making the story much more compelling. Or it could just be that I find this second part of this long form tale more interesting because I have seen variations of the first part so often before. CATCHING FIRE brings the story to a more interesting place, deepens the character's motivations and broadens the future world in visually fascinating ways. Much like it took until the third Harry Potter film to have a compelling movie onscreen this is a leap forward in bringing this dark, totalitarian world to cinematic life.

I shouldn't be too surprised by my enjoyment of this movie, really. I love dystopian stories in which the current versions of beloved institutions are laid bare as hollow shells packed with lies. These are the kinds of stories I soak up with a sick joy even when they aren't very well done, so its great to see one done with this level of skill. I'm looking forward to the final chapter(s) of this tale.

HITCHCOCK (2012)- 8 (fun telling of the making of PSYCHO)
MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE MOVIE (1995)- 7 (rewatch)
THE WORLD'S END (2013)- 9 (excellent SF comedy)
JACK THE GIANT SLAYER  (2013)- 5 (with a few tweaks this could have been great)
THE MATRIX (1999) - 10 (rewatch)
THIS IS THE END (2013)- 7 (apocalyptic comedy mostly works)
FINGERS AT THE WINDOW (1942)- 6 (slight but fun thriller)
KNOCK OFF (1998)- 3 (terrible Van Damme Hong Kong action)
BLACKOUT (1954)- 7 (very good British Noir from Hammer)
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (2006)- 6 (the least of Christopher Guest's comedies but it has its moments)
MADAM SATAN (1930) - 5 (bizarre romantic/comedy/musical/zeppelin disaster film)
THE 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER (1984)- 8 (insane Shaw Bros. action!)
MAN OF STEEL (2013)- 8 (rewatch)
ONLY GOD FORGIVES (2013)- 8 (dark, arty crime tale)
SOMETHING IS CRAWLING IN THE DARK (1971)- 7 (Italian supernatural horror)
NINJA 2 (2013)- 7 (basic script plus excellent action equals fun movie)


Holger Haase said...

The first HUNGER GAMES movie was one of my surprise Likes last year as I didn't expect much (being turned off by Teen fantasy thanks to TWILIGHT) but ended up liking it a lot!!!!

Rod Barnett said...

Then I think you might well like this second one even more. It really is an improvement in many ways and feels like a damn fine beginning to an impressive large scale rebellion story for the next movie(s).