The Morning After: Nov. 24, 2014

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

It’s easy to sour on one of the most popular film franchises in cinema history, but The Hunger Games‘ third film has gotten a lot of negative attention for what is ostensibly a fairly strong outing.

Perhaps a more experienced director could have energized the film in ways that made it sometimes more exciting than it was. Francis Lawrence took a very commonplace approach to the filmmaking this time out. His second film in the franchise lacks visual flair and frequently repeats itself. However, with a story like this, the propulsion is still there and the audience can still feel satisfied in finding the natural evolution of these characters.

Jennifer Lawrence has the strength of purpose to carry the film, but she’s ably assisted by a chilly, rational Julianne Moore; a likable, purposeful Philip Seymour Hoffman; a compassionate, guiding Woody Harrelson; and the shining star in a sea of gray played by Elizabeth Banks. These are all characters the actors have perfectly grown into and Josh Hutcherson more than handles himself with masterful dedication. The weaknesses are once again in the film’s younger actors who are given strong characters that help mask their limited acting capabilities. The production design is deliberately minimal, but everything coalesces into a captivating and passionate whole even with its handful of problems.

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