Watch the whole thing HERE!
Posts Tagged ‘Peeta Mellark’
Richard’s “Canada AM” reviews for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn,” the Seth Rogen Christmas comedy “The Night Before” and the Julia Roberts thriller “Secret in Their Eyes.”
Watch the whole thing HERE!
Sometimes you just know.
In my line of work, hype and celebrity are occupational hazards. Every day my inbox is stuffed with news releases touting the Next! Big! Thing! You get numb to it after a while, but every now and again someone will come along you know is destined for something big.
Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t a star the first time I met her but you could tell it would only be a matter of time until she was. It was 2010, years before she would win an Academy Award or be known internationally as Katniss Everdeen. She was a struggling newbie with just a handful of credits, but a great big buzz surrounding her performance in Winter’s Bone. Her steely but vulnerable take on an Ozark girl who will do anything to keep her family together was garnering good reviews and the usual phrases like “breakout performance” were being thrown around, but this time it felt different. Real.
I was asked to host a question-and-answer period with her after a screening of the film at a theatre in Toronto, but first we planned a quick dinner with a publicist at a nearby hotel. I’ve eaten with a lot actors who order a piece of steamed fish, no butter, no oil and then, rather than actually put it in their mouth, simply move it around the plate until the waiter takes it away.
Not Jennifer Lawrence. She ordered a steak dinner with sides and ate it all while showing us a cell phone snap of her costume for the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo audition. As she chatted, laughed and enjoyed dinner, it was apparent what she wasn’t. She wasn’t precious or overwhelmed at being on the cusp of something big. She was doing something rare in this business — being herself and enjoying the ride. In other words the woman you now see photo-bombing Taylor Swift on red carpets or starring in this weekend’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is the real deal, someone completely at ease with herself in a business that doesn’t usually allow for that.
Later, on the way to the theatre, she opted not to take the provided limo. Instead we walked down Bloor Street. It was on the chilly side, so she draped my suit jacket over her shoulders. Along the way her high heel caught in a crack in the pavement and snapped off. Rather than hobble down the street, she kicked off both shoes and walked barefoot the rest of the way, her broken designer shoes in hand.
At the theatre I don’t remember what we talked about on stage. When I think back on the night I reflect on the sweet spot she was in, career-wise. She was about to become one of the youngest Oscar nominees ever for best actress in a leading role and yet there wasn’t an ounce of pretension about her. Charisma? Yes. Talent? In spades.
I don’t claim to have some sort of celebrity ESP, but that night I knew in my gut I had met a star, a feeling reaffirmed when I saw her carry the Hunger Games movies on her back and become a leading voice in the fight for pay equality for women in Hollywood.
Want to see a superstar? Watch the last scene of the Joy trailer. Shot on an iPhone as test footage it’s a close-up of Lawrence’s face as she fires off two shotgun rounds. “My name’s Joy, by the way,” she says. It’s a simple image but a magnetic one. It’s a movie star moment from the rare actor who commands our attention every time she’s on screen. Sometimes you just know.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” the final part in Jennifer Lawrence’s quintet of blockbusters based on Suzanne Collins’s novels, begins seconds after the last movie ended. There’s no “previously on The Hunger Games.” It’s as if no time has passed since the last movie. It may leave newbies to the series a bit baffled but fans should appreciate getting right down to business.
The broad strokes of the story are easy to get even if you haven’t seen the other movies. Know that Katniss Everdeen is the Mockingjay, a symbol of hope in a country torn apart by Civil War. She’s also a butt-kicking warrior with a conscience. Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), her ex boyfriend-turned-propaganda-tool for the government, now suffers from PTSD but has re-joined the efforts to bring down the evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland).
Publicly Snow calls Everdeen, “A poor unstable girl with nothing more than a talent with a bow and arrow,” but really he understands her value as a symbol to the revolution against him. For her part she is done with making speeches and propaganda videos and sees her job as eliminating Snow. “He needs to look into my eyes when I do it,” she says.
She sets off to the Capitol to hunt down Snow and faces her greatest challenges yet.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” is a cut above other young adult action movies. It skilfully blends politically charged action with elements of horror—how about those pasty white subterranean creatures?—romance and, it must be said a dollop of mush. It’s dark and dangerous, unafraid to explore the gritty side of the story.
It’s strongest asset, however, is its star, Jennifer Lawrence. She brings the complex character alive, displaying equal parts heroism, vulnerability and determination. She is the glue that binds all the elements together and is, far and away, the most interesting YA heroine in recent years.
Julianne Moore, Sutherland, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman (who died before shooting was complete) round out the cast to create an interesting ensemble, but this is Lawrence’s movie.
“The Hunger Games” franchise has taken what is essentially a fancied up Civil War story and created a complete world, ripe with detail and intrigue. “Part 2” adds in a city that is basically a giant booby trap and some crazy creatures but stays true to the core of Everdeen’s story of survival.
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2,” will satisfy fans and please newcomers to the franchise. The long coda that wraps up the franchise is probably only for hardcore fans hungry for details about Katniss and Peeta, but felt like padding to me. On the upside, there might be a great drinking game in here. Do a shot every time Katniss is knocked out and fights to regain consciousness and my guess is you’ll be just a shell-shocked as she is by the end of the movie.
Synopsis: Combatants and sweethearts Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) have returned victorious from the 74th Annual Hunger Games. While on a Victory Tour to Panem’s various downtrodden districts, revolution is in the air. The people see Katniss as a symbol of freedom, which, of course, doesn’t sit well with President Snow (Donald Sutherland), the country’s autocratic leader. To quell the revolution he and his head gamesmaker (Philip Seymour Hoffman) devise the trickiest Hunger Games yet, the Quarter Quell that will pit former winners against one another in the battle to the death.
• Richard: 4/5
• Mark: 3/5
Richard: Mark, I’m glad I saw the first Hunger Games movie because I’m not sure if I would have a clue as to what was going on if I didn’t have that background. I may have been taken in by the beautiful art direction, or Jennifer Lawrence’s intense performance, but I don’t think I would have been able to connect all the dots. Plot points become more obvious in the second hour, but for non-Hungerites it might be confusing. What did you think?
Mark: I don’t think anyone who didn’t see the first one would even be interested in seeing the second instalment. So the question becomes: how do they compare? And surprisingly, I kind of prefer the sequel. The issues of state control, of media manipulation, and of income disparity are sharper and less cartoonish here. But more important, the secondary characters are more interesting and better drawn. Some of the contestants are intriguing, like Jeffrey Wright’s techno-nerd, and his partner Amanda Plummer, doing her nutso thing. I even liked Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci this time around — the characters seemed more grounded in the story.
RC: I do think this is a better movie than the first instalment. It is set decorated and costumed to within an inch of its life, but nonetheless has a gritty edge. It doesn’t feel like a budget big franchise movie and that’s a good thing. Visually as well as thematically it has more edge than any of the recent Marvel movies. And it skirts around the thing that upset many people about the first movie — the idea of kids killing kids — by setting the action between former victors ranging in age from in their 20s to in their 70s.
MB: You know what else it skirts around? The killings themselves, many of which happen off-screen, to protect the delicate psyches of our tweener population. But that’s OK; this isn’t really a film about body count. The only thing that left me queasy was the cliffhanger ending, with a plot twist that will seem arbitrary until we catch the next instalment.
RC: The cliffhanger ending is a bit of a shock after the almost two-and-a-half hour running time, but I felt as though enough had happened to keep me interested for the next one.
MB: And I think the next one may show Woody Harrelson to be the trilogy’s most valuable player.
I’m glad I saw the first “Hunger Games” movie because I’m not sure if I would have a clue as to what was going on if I didn’t have that background. I may have been taken in by the beautiful art direction, or Jennifer Lawrence’s intense performance, but I don’t think I would have been able to connect all the dots. Plot points become more obvious in the second hour, but for non-Hungerites it might be confusing.
If you haven’t seen the first movie, or read one of the 26 million copies of the book that are currently in print, here’s a glossary of terms to get you up to speed.
Katniss Everdeen: Sixteen year-old protagonist and citizen of District 12, a poor mining area in the dystopian nation of Panem.
Peeta Mellark: A baker’s son, who, according to Wikipedia has “extensive strength and cake decorating skills that contributed to the art of camouflage.”
Both are “tributes” chosen from the young people of District 12 and forced to participate in an annual Hunger Games, The Hunger Games, an annual televised event in which one teenaged boy and girl from each districts surrounding the Capitol are chosen by lottery to fight to the death until only one remains.
There’s more, but you’ll figure it out.
In the new film combatants and sweethearts Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) have returned from the 74th Annual Hunger Games victorious to become the toast of the nation. While on a Victory Tour to Panem’s various downtrodden districts, revolution is in the air. They see Katniss as a symbol of freedom, which, of course, doesn’t sit well with President Snow (Donald Sutherland), the country’s autocratic leader. To quell the revolution he and his head gamesmaker (Philip Seymour Hoffman) devise the trickiest Hunger Games yet, the Quarter Quell that will pit former winners against one another in the battle to the death. If Snow gets his way Katniss will be killed and the revolution squashed.
“Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is a better movie than the first installment.
Set decorated and costumed (as played by Elizabeth Banks, District 12 minder Effie Trinket has the most elaborate futurist art deco costumes since “Metropolis”) to within an inch of its life, but has nonetheless has a gritty edge. It doesn’t feel like a budget big franchise movie and that’s a good thing,
Visually as well as thematically it has more edge than any of the recent Marvel movies. And it skirts around the thing that upset many people about the first movie—the idea of kids killing kids—by setting the action between former victors ranging in age from 20s to 70s.
It creates a world with it’s own rules, style and customs and does so convincingly. In part it’s comprised of things we’ve seen before in everything from the human sacrifices of Greek Mythology to reality television to stories of government corruption on the news, but author Suzanne Collins and director Francis “I Am legend” Lawrence tie it together to create something new.
In many ways it breaks the mold of what we expect from a young adult a blockbuster. The focus is on the characters and the underpinning of romance that snakes throughout the story. The action sequences are few and far between and it takes almost an hour before any of Katniss’s trademark bow-and-arrow dexterity comes into play. (Silly complaint: the number of arrows in her quiver changes from shot to shot! Just when you think she’s out, arrows magically appear.)
Sure there’s poison fog, angry animals and vicious victors but it’s about survival and relationships not the wholesale slaughter of the characters. It’s grim, shot in hues of grey with a perpetually overcast sky, which lends it a classic feel, more like 1970s sci fi than the brightly couloured eye catchers Hollywood makes these days.
“Hunger Games: Catching Fire” has a who’s who of a cast—Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Jena Malone, Brit heartthrob Sam Claflin and Amanda Plummer—who all perform well, lending some gravitas to the story, but it is carried by Lawrence whose vision for Katniss is as straight as an arrow.