Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “The Hunger Games”

Movie Review – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Movie PosterUnlike its ho-hum predecessor, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a gripping film that tells a realistic and compelling story that kept me thoroughly entertained from start to finish. Directed by Francis Lawrence, best known for I Am Legend and Water for Elephants, the movie moves along at a brisk pace. By the time I got up to leave I didn’t realize 146 minutes had passed since the opening credits.

As with the first installment in the franchise, Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci are excellent in their roles. I’m  glad that Donald Sutherland, who is deliciously evil as President Snow, has more screen time this go around – he’s terrific!

Also worth noting is the score by James Newton Howard, which is fantastic. As usual, Howard’s emotionally-charged musical compositions elevate the visuals to another level and provide gravitas when appropriate. Below is my favorite track from the album:

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a strong film everyone should see. It has romance, action and suspense, as well as dramatic visuals. The acting is top-notch and the dialogue is believable. By the end of the last scene, I was ready for the next sequel. Unfortunately, that novel is being broken into two parts because Hollywood never passes up an opportunity to milk a cash cow for all it’s worth. With Francis Lawrence back at the helm, I’m sure those two films will be equally satisfying. Make sure to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – it’s a great film that’s worth the price of admission.

Official Movie Trailer

Movie Review – The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin In The WoodsI recently watched The Cabin in the Woods for the first time and, overall, it was enjoyable. When it came out in 2012, I remember hearing a lot of hype around it being a top-notch horror film, and it was marketed as “the Inception of horror.” Let me set something straight: This film wasn’t nearly as intricate as Inception, and, in some ways, that’s a good thing.

Being a horror-movie buff, I assumed that a film about a bunch of kids in the woods would be a straight-up slasher in the style of Friday the 13th. Thankfully, I was wrong. While there was plenty of blood and guts spilled in and around the cabin, the plot was deeper than that. Similar to The Hunger Games, it involved an organization controlling the action. What is this organization? And what is its purpose? These questions were answered towards the end of the film.

To me, the greatest horror film of all time was Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. This film doesn’t even come close to that. As a matter of fact, I don’t even think it’s more compelling or clever than the original Saw. But it is entertaining and it tried to do something different. The acting was a mixed bag, but some terrific thespians made up the supporting cast, one of which blew my mind when she appeared on the screen at the end.

If you like horror films, check this out. Just don’t expect it to be the next Halloween – no, not Rob Zombie’s Halloween – or Hellraiser.

Official Synopsis

Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes The Cabin in the Woods, a mind blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Teaser Trailer

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Exclusive Teaser TrailerThe teaser trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire has just been released. I think it looks awesome, but let me know what you think. Check out the trailer below and cast your vote in the poll.

Book Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games has become a pop culture phenomenon. Seemingly overnight, these books catapulted to the top of the best-seller charts and have remained there. Then came the movie, which grossed nearly $700 million since its release this past March. And you can rest assured that many children – and adults – will be dressing up as Katniss, Peeta and, perhaps, Haymitch for Halloween. Having just finished all three books, I’d like to share my thoughts on this trilogy. If you haven’t read the books, stop here because key plot points will be revealed.

I still think the first book is the best in the series. Being introduced to all of the characters and the nation of Panem for the first time was a delight. And unlike the movie, the book allowed relationships between characters to develop at an excellent pace. For example, when Rue died in the book, I was legitimately upset because I had spent hours getting to know her. In the movie, it seemed as if she died as quickly as she appeared. Furthermore, the romantic confusion between Katniss, Peeta and Gale was incredibly well done. But one of my favorite characters in the book was Haymitch. While he originally came off as a drunken fool, he was later revealed to be quite intelligent and an invaluable resource for Katniss and Peeta to call on while trying to survive the Hunger Games.

Favorite Passage:

“One more time? For the audience?” he says. His voice isn’t angry. It’s hollow, which is worse. Already the boy with the bread is slipping away from me. I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, and dreading the moment when I will finally have to let go.”

Many fans consider Catching Fire to be the best in the series, but I’m torn. It did a wonderful job of picking up where the last book left off, while also further exploring Katniss’ relationships with Peeta and Gale. Moreover, it introduced new, memorable characters and killed off another important person in Katniss’ life: Cinna. And it took the Hunger Games arena to another level by turning it into a clock with a variety of surprises for the tributes. However, I still feel it lacked a certain something that the first book had; I just can’t put my finger on it. Either way, it was a terrific read, and just like the first book, my favorite passage was at the end of the book.

Favorite Passage:

“Katniss,” Gale says softly.
I recognize that voice. It’s the same one he uses to approach wounded animals before he delivers a deathblow. I Instinctively raise my hand to block his words but he catches it and holds on tightly.
Don’t,” I whisper.
But Gale is not one to keep secrets from me.
“Katniss, there is no District Twelve.”

I just finished Mockingjay today, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know many fans were upset with how the series ended, but I wasn’t. In the beginning of the book, reading about Katniss becoming the Mockingjay and the face of the rebellion was fascinating. However, it seemed to drag a little in the middle, and then it picked up towards the end. I enjoyed the twist where President Snow revealed that the newly appointed President Coin was the one who ordered the final assault on the rebels that killed Prim. In the end, both Coin and Snow died, so I was happy. And considering the “romantic” relationship between Katniss and Peeta was the focus of this trilogy, I was perfectly fine with her winding up with Peeta instead of Gale, especially since his creation was used to kill Prim.

Favorite Passage:

“You love me. Real or not real?”
I tell him, “Real.”

Overall, this was a very enjoyable trilogy. If you like your novels packed with action, drama and romance, you should give these books a shot. And while you’re at it, check out the movie too; while it wasn’t perfect, it did the first book justice and has me excited for the sequel. To whet your appetite, I’ve included the trailer below.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: