Custom Search




banner2

banner3

banner1

banner2


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 • Horrible Bosses 2

November 27, 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (**)

The trend for the last several years is to break a popular film series’ final installment into two films and The Hunger Games franchise is no exception to this rule. The problem is that rarely does this type of thing succeed as intended for the casual viewer. In most instances all but the die-hard fans are left with an unmistakable feeling of bloat doggedly looming over the proceedings. This was the problem with the final installments of the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises and it’s a problem that constantly hangs over Mockingjay, Part 1. In fact, Mockingjay, Part 1 may be the worst offender of them all as the film rarely rises to the occasion that the rousing second installment did. It even proves to be inferior when compared to the initial Hunger Games installment, which wasn’t a good film in the first place, but was certainly better than Mockingjay, Part 1.

The film’s target audience will lap it up like a dog chewing on a tootsie roll but it’s a long slog for the rest of us and admittedly led this viewer to doze off not once but twice during the film’s first hour.

The film picks up immediately where the previous installment, Catching Fire left off as Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is reluctantly thrown into the role of revolutionary.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in Mockingjay, Part 1

One would think this would lead to some big action set pieces but instead what we get are interminable scenes featuring the lead heroine crying, moping, and, even at one point, staring out across a lake and singing (yes, you read that correctly). 

The film’s one big action scene, wherein the revolutionaries blow up a dam, seems to be over in the time it would take to blink one’s eyes. And, yes, there’s another scene featuring Katniss shooting down a bomber of some sort with a bow and arrow but it’s hardly worth the price of having to sit through two plodding hours of this stuff. You can see it in the trailer and save your money for the second part of Mockingjay, which is certain to be superior to this. 

Of course there are the usual cast of well-compensated actors filling the supporting roles. The late Phillip Seymour Hoffman (the film is dedicated to him), in one of the most subdued performances of the actor’s career, returns along with Julianne Moore, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson. Unfortunately, few of them are given much of anything of interest to do except to sit around and emote in long expository speeches that are guaranteed to bore all but the most undiscriminating Hunger Games devotee. To put it in perspective, there’s not even enough plot in the film to fill an average episode of The Walking Dead.

The saddest thing about all of this is that it just reeks of an excuse to pick the pockets of the American moviegoing public and I’m sure it will succeed at that. Unfortunately, it doesn’t succeed as rousing cinematic entertainment and for movie fans that’s what really counts. 

Horrible Bosses 2 (* ½)

I know it’s been a little over three years since I had the experience of seeing the original Horrible Bosses but if memory serves me correctly, I don’t recall the thought of ‘Boy, I can’t wait until there’s a sequel to Horrible Bosses.’ Anyone who’s seen the 2011 original can tell you that it wasn’t exactly the type of thing that lends itself to sequels, but of course when a summer comedy returns over a hundred million dollars in domestic grosses, studio heads do tend to take notice. One need only look to The Hangover sequels to see that it’s not always a good idea, from a quality standpoint, to add future installments to films whose stories don’t necessarily lend themselves to that sort of thing.

And so it goes with Horrible Bosses 2, a sequel that no one really wanted or needed. Nevertheless the film has arrived and it’s further proof of the law of diminishing returns. The film reeks of desperation and by the midpoint I was just ready for the blasted thing to end, having disconnected myself from the film somewhere just shy of the one-hour mark, once it became apparent that the film had nowhere to go but downward as far as laughs were concerned.

The film gets off to a bad start right from the word go with a gag involving silhouetted figures doing something that looks seemingly perverted. This looks as if it were taken directly from an unused Austin Powers script, except that in this film, there’s no mention of Mike Meyers in the credits, which should constitute some legal action on his Meyers’ part, but never mind.

The gang’s (sadly) all there in Horrible Bosses 2

Soon thereafter we learn that the three characters from the first Horrible Bosses (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis) have quit their jobs and have now gone into business for themselves with some sort of an invention known as a Shower Buddy. The trio attempt to get a wealthy CEO (Christoph Waltz) to invest in their invention so they won’t have to bankroll the promotion and distribution of their product. The CEO offers them a sweet deal, a cool $3 million for the first 100,00 units, which ultimately proves to be not such a good thing when it’s revealed that the wealthy investor is actually just attempting to put the trio out of business and reneges on the deal.

At this point they have no legal recourse but decide to take matters into their own hands and kidnap the CEO’s son (Chris Pine) and hold him for ransom as a way to get back in control of their investment. If this sounds awfully thin that’s because it is.

The film reeks of desperation so much so that the filmmakers opt to bring back Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey from the first film. Instead of welcoming their return, viewers will instead be reminded of the original film and wishing they were watching that one instead.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

ARCHIVES:

Dumb And Dumber To

Birdman & Interstellar

Nightcrawler

Ouija

Fury

The Judge

Annabelle & Gone Girl

The Equalizer & Happy 75th, GWTW!

The Drop • A Walk Among & The Tombstones

No Good Deed

The Identical

As Above, So Below & November Man

If I Stay & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

The Giver • Code Black & The Expendables 3

Boyhood • Into The Storm & Magic In The Moonlight

Get On Up & Guardians Of The Galaxy

Lucy

Begin Again & The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Chef & Tammy

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Jersey Boys

22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault Is In Our Stars & Edge Of Tomorrow

A Million Ways To Die In The West

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Maleficent

Godzilla • Summer Preview

Neighbors • Godzilla

The Amazing Spiderman 2 & Belle

The Other Woman & Brick Mansions

A Haunted House 2 & Heaven Is For Real

Oculus & Rio 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Noah

Divergent

The Grand Budapest Hotel & Veronica Mars

300: Rise of the Empire

Non-Stop & Son Of God

Three Days To Kill

Robocop & The Past • About Last Night

The Monuments Men

Labor Day

I, Frankenstein

Inside Llewyn Davis & Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Lone Survivor & August: Osage County

Her • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Anchorman 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation & Of Smaug • Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club & Oldboy & Out Of The Furnace

Philomena & The Book Thief

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Delivery Man

About Time & All Is Lost

Thor: The Dark World & 12 Years A Slave

Ender’s Game & Last Vegas

Bad Grandpa &The Counselor

Carrie & The Fifth Estate

Captain Phillips, Enough Said & Machete Kills

Gravity & Runner Runner

Metallica: Through The Never , Rush & Don Jon

Prisoners & Rush

Insidious: Chapter 2 • The Family & The Spectacular Now

Riddick

Getaway

The World’s End You’re Next

Lee Daniels’ The Butler • Jobs • Blue Jasmine

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters & Elysium

2 Guns

Blue Jasmine • The Wolverine & Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station • The Conjuring & The Way Way Back

Pacific Rim & Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2

The Heat & White House Down

Monsters University, World War Z, Before Midnight & The East

Man of Steel & This Is The End

The Internship & The Purge

After Earth, Now You See Me & Frances Ha

The Hangover Part III Before Midnight

Star Trek: Into Darkness & Fast and Furious 6

The Great Gatsby & Frances Ha

Iron Man & Peeples

Pain and Gain & Mud

Oblivion & Lords of Salem

42 and Scary Movie 5

Evil Dead & Jurassic Park 3-D

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Spring Breakers Admission

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone • The Call

Oz: The Great And Powerful West Of Memphis

Jack the Giant Slayer The Last Exorcism, Part II

Dark Skies & Snitch

A Good Day to Die Hard & Safe Haven

Side Effects & Identity Thief

Bullet To The Head Warm Bodies


 

 

 

Banner-Sample-1.jpg   Banner-Sample-1.jpg

PO Box 1721 | Hickory, NC 28603 | 828.322.1036 | Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm | focusnews@centurylink.net

Home • Reviews: MoviesAdam Long • Editorials: FocusHave Chainsaw Will TravelSid On SportsBobbi GSara MawyerPeople PicturesPlaces/PeopleExtra Events Listing
Out Of Focus • News: Local NewsNational NewsHoroscopes • Info/Links: Staff/ContributorsList Of AdvertisersOnline AdvertisingOnline ClassifiedsContact UsFocus BLOGStoreLinks

© 1978 - 2014 Tucker Productions, Inc.