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REVIEW OF THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1

year: 2014 rating: ***1/2
Once again, Woody Harrelson receives most of the giggles, but it was nice hearing the late Philip Seymour Hoffman get the first real laugh…

When Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen erupts with angry passion about her captive soulmate, Peeta... who spends most of the film being filmed far away from the underground compound where the rebellion resides... Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee points at Katniss and shouts something like “That’s it” with genuine heartfelt emotion: for now they’ve found the perfect commercial girl for propaganda…

Propos, for short, are broadcasts to inform districts that still aren't aware of President Snow’s villainy, thus catapulting the masses into hopeful revolution. To explain the backstory would be a waste of time: if you haven’t seen THE HUNGER GAMES or CATCHING FIRE, maybe you should. And despite being a means to an end, this is the most fulfilling episode for a reason...

A posthumous Hoffman
From covert operations to code breaking to air raids to city ruins to dams being blown to bits, MOCKINGJAY PART 1 is a bonafide 100% good old fashion war movie. Taking a while to get rolling, the pace is intentionally slow until, as Katniss finds true motivation in battle, the action scenes occur but never without reason. 

Winning an Oscar isn’t the only proof of Jennifer Lawrence’s talent as an actress... The fact she pulls off being a terrible one during the first of several propos auditions is something that takes an experienced performer to achieve… Check out an intentionally monotone Julianne Moore in one BOOGIE NIGHTS scene and you’ll get the idea...

Speaking of whom, Moore is cast as the underground leader bringing the eclectic lot together. And the only real downer is exactly what the teenage target audience needs most… Romance!

During weepy moments where Katniss has second thoughts while brooding over Peeta, grownup viewers may wish they’d leave Romeo and Juliet for the last (upcoming) installment... Which, gladly enough, is the case here... And not without a strange last-minute twist that could blast PART 2 into melodrama overdrive. But that's another bridge to cross. Let's hope it doesn't go too far!
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