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on April 4, 2014
What I like about the HUNGER GAMES movies, is the fact that they stick pretty close to the book. How many books have you read only to be disappointed when you see it on screen and its 1) nothing, or barely like the book, 2) it is so poorly acted, or directed or subpar effects make it nowhere near as good as your imagination? Well, fortunately, CATCHING FIRE is not like the former or the later.

In this run, Jennifer Lawrence's character is ...Well...on fire! It was just as I imagined. The quarter quell finds Katnis and Pita in a huge dome resembling a tropical forest surrounding an island lagoon. At the center of the lagoon is an island. There is where the weapons are stashed for the brutal contest to come. The capital city has lavishley created a set like no other. All of the former winners of the games are pitched against one another upon this extravagant stage.

Lightning storms! Fogs of acid! Maniacal killer baboons! Tsunami gushing floods! All, Circle the inside of the dome causing mayham and death... seeming random at first. But the clever group that Katnis has drawn together to better their odds for survival, find that the random catastrophes are not so random. And together they begin to form a plan to use the events to their advantage. They desperately need help to fight the stronger and more vicious other group that hunts them relentlessly. For they know Katnis is by far the most popular and leathel among the contenders. She must die if one of them is to leave the dome alive!
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on March 22, 2014
Oh, this movie was great! No complaints whatsoever.

To be honest, whether it be the first installment, this one, or the next, I will always have doubts regarding how true-to-the-book and how well the directors will be able to bring this original book series to life, but I was blown away by Catching Fire! The Capital, the districts, the reaping were somewhat how I imagined it, and a WHOLE lot better. I would even say that it surpasses the first film by far. The games were more thrilling and had me on the edge of my seat!

The movie starts off with an eerie background music, and a scene of Katniss spending time in her district before the victory tour--that usually takes place after the games, and you really get to see how badly the victors are scarred from its experience. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing ... Not much to say about Josh Hutcherson and his character, Peeta Mellark, but how as equally fantastic they are. The actors, in fact, were all enticing, they really brought life to the characters they portrayed.

The training scene was surreal! I litterally had to stop the movie and rewatch it again and again. Like I said, way better than the first film.

The plot. Before Catching Fire was out in theaters, there were rumors that it will be split into two parts, I was not happy with that, which is why I am glad the directors and screenwriters decided to make it all in one film. With such a complex story, you would think how impossible it is to cram the events and details all together in a two hour or so project, but it worked! There are people who complain about "this detail was not in there!" or "why did they not add this or that scene?!" Well as I see it, the film has most of the important details and you have to keep in mind that not every single detail will be able to fit into the time frame, directors have to make the story make sense, as well as satisfying the different types of viewers, get over it.

Can I watch Catching Fire without watching The Hunger Games and still understand the story? Sure, why not? In this film, there are flashbacks of the previous installment, so even if you did not read the books or watch The Hunger Games, you will still be able to enjoy it. My family did! Though, by watching the the first film, you will be able to better relate with the characters, which makes the events much more emotional and thrilling.

Not much more to say. Simply, I Loved it and it was one of the best movies I have watched, in the YA genre, for a while. Cannot wait, for third installment, Mocking Jay! The ending of Catching Fire really has fans amped up!
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on April 22, 2015
I believe the reason this book/movie series interests people and is so popular because we see the dystopian society which has aspects of our society today. Its not that far a leap from the sports, martial arts arena fights, reality survival shows and popular video games evolving into something similar to the Roman times "bread and circuses & gladiators" to entertain the masses - In these movies, all that has evolved into the 'Hunger Games" Eventually, even killing the participants is seen as OK/justified. Note: I recognize that the premise is that the districts tried to rebel against Washington oppression...oops, I mean against the "Capitol's" oppression and this is the punishment so they will not forget who won the last time: and don't do it again! But oppression always, eventually, leads to rebellion so it is self defeating. A lesson we should all learn and make sure our government does not go too far either left or right. Or, especially, allow religious fanatics of ANY religion to gain power over our lives because it always leads to oppression of some minority too. The elaborate costumes/dress of the Capitol citizens also show how people will do anything to be like their neighbors and conform until it becomes the new norm. As proof, witness the culture change of opinion in our society about tattoos, piercings, unusual hair dye colors, etc that people show today that would have caused them social ostracism and shunning before. Rebellion can become the norm. [ FYI - No criticism about that here, enjoy standing out and not fully conforming myself with a little body art and dress, even at 59 years old!! ] The differences in dress and behavior also divides the people into 'us' and 'them' and when that happens history has repeatedly shown that then some dehumanization makes the people on top think they can do anything to the lower classes because "they are not really people anyway are they". People can see that under the right circumstances our society could head that way (improbable but possible enough to fascinate). These movies should be seen to make us open our eyes to the possibilities and warnings so we will not go down that road!!!
Read all three of the books several years ago and was very happy with first movie. This second movie was mostly just as good and followed ( again, mostly) the book BUT I had trouble viewing the night scenes - they were too dark to see on my HD screen/download. As an actress, Jennifer Lawrence has a difficult role to play but most people will not realize that she is actually doing an excellent job. Shows great promise as she matures and if she gets the right scripts. One to watch for.
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on June 6, 2014
The first half of the movie was more interesting to me, because it delved much deeper into the politics of the dystopian kingdom of Panem, where a totalitarian central government lords it over the capitol and 12 districts...the mysterious 13th District having been reportedly destroyed. We learn from President Snow (a menacing Donald Sutherland) that there may be a ground swell of rebellion in some of the districts..and that Katniss Everdeen is a source and inspiration for rebellion. So Katniss has to walk on thin ice, so to speak, while carrying on her bogus relationship with Peeta Mallark, and hiding her true feelings for Gale Hawthorne. Yet it appears that no matter how careful she is, her life and those who are nearest to her are still in jeopardy. This is an exceptionally well made follow-up to "The Hunger Games", and is adapted from the second book in the trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Jennifer Lawrence reprises her Katniss Everdeen characterization; and as with all her performances I've seen, she totally immerses herself in the character. Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth also reprise their characters of Peeta and Gale and do well. Woody Harrelson is back again, perfectly cast as Haymitch; as is Elizabeth Banks as the silly but loyal Effie Trinket. As for new characters, look for Phillip Seymour Hoffman, in a superb performance as the Master of the Games, Plutarch Heavensbee; and Jena Malone as the cunning, Johanna Mason, one of the tributes allied with Katniss and Peeta during the Quarter Quell games, which pits former Hunger Games victors against each other. The movie ends rather abruptly and you'll be left hungering for more...never fear, two more films are planned to portray the events in the third book, "Mockingjay"
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The second in the Hunger Games series seems to vary a bit from the book but really in an excellent rendition--maybe even better than the book. The duplicitous President Snow and the Panem Capital have decided to send the victors of the Hunger Games (promised a life of peace and exclusion from further "tribute") to a special Games in honor of the 75th year. Every 25 years is a "Quarter Quell" and this one is being used to take down Katniss, now the symbol of rebellion.

The action is well-handled, the supporting cast of victors (Mags, "Nuts", "Volts", Johanna and Finnick each are well-cast, well-scripted and make for an exciting ensemble cast.) The character of the new Gamesmaster Plutarch Heavensbee is excellent. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman plays him a bit ambiguously. Is he on the side of Snow, a sadistic creator of impossible-to-win situations, or is he secretly sympathetic with the rebels? He was perfectly cast and it's a shame he died before completing the next film (Mockingjay) though he did shoot a fair number of scenes. A loss of a talented actor.

My only complaint is similar to the one I have now in the trend to serialize novels. It ends on a cliffhanger and of course we're waiting for the next film. I just don't think it makes a standalone film to end on a surprise note and such unfinished business. But never mind, the third film is on the way and I'm certain it will be as good or better than "Catching Fire."
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Jennifer Lawrence, who seems to be in just about every other movie made in the last two years, returns as Katniss Everdeen in this second 'Hunger Games' installment and she is every bit as good as she was in the first one.
Lawrence, who has surprising range for a young actress, in fact plays the emotionally conflicted Katniss perfectly. I've tried, but I just can't imagine anyone else in this role. There are other actors who could match her physicality and some who might be able to match her emotional range but I can't think of anyone who could combine them in the way that she seems to do so effortlessly.
She isn't the only one who nails her role in this lavish dystopian film, however. Donald Sutherland as the evil President Snow, for example, brings exactly the right level of intense malevolence to the role. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman, in one of his last roles, is excellent as the new game master who has an agenda of his own, and Josh Hutcherson plays Peeta as though he was born into the role. Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Hemsworth also stand out in this remarkable movie.
If you liked 'The Hunger Games' then this movie is something you must see.
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on June 6, 2016
Short and Sweet - One of the best series of films (4) ever written. Each one seems better than the last. Jennifer Lawrence shows incredible talent in this series of films as she has in pretty much everything she has done. Still in her early twenties, she has racked up five major awards including an Academy Award (she was nominated for three others). The film takes place in the future, but is more drama than science fiction. Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen who becomes a reluctant heroin and future revolutionary. The rest of the story is for you to see (no spoiler here). I haven't seen a four pack yet, so if you haven't seen the movie, you might want to wait for all The Hunger Games films in a boxed set. But see them you must, Drama, Action, Suspense, Great Scripts, Well Directed and Superb Acting (especially by Jennifer Lawrence a star as long as she wants to be) - what else could you want.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 5, 2015
Five COMPELLING Stars! This is a great "Hunger Games" sequel bringing back many of the original cast members and adding in many new ones. President Snow of the aristocracy of Panem reveals to Katniss Everdeen that he was unhappy about her survival with Peeta during the 49th Hunger Games competition. He initiates a more dangerous competition based on the 25 year loophole that requires all previous victors to compete in battle. And by sending in brutal Head Peacekeeper, Commander Thread he comes down hard on 12th District, Katniss' home district. This competition is depends greatly on allegiances to aid in strategy and in person-to-person battles. This is a great action-packed sequel starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Woody Harrelson (who steals every scene he's in) as Haymitch, Elizabeth Banks as the audacious Effie, Donald Sutherland as the evil President Snow, the efferverscent Caesar Flickerman is again by Stanely Tucci, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, in one of his last films, as Plutarch. The new cast members are: Patrick St. Esprit as Commander Thread, Sam Clafin as Finnick, Jenna Malone as Johanna, Jeffrey Wright as Beetee, Amanda Plummer as Wiress, Stephanie Leigh Schlund as Cashmere, and Alan Ritchson as Gloss. This is a marvelous sequel to "Hunger Games" and a great prequel setting the stage for the upcoming "Mockingjay" editions to the Hunger Games movie series. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Five CAPTIVATING Stars (Directed by Francis Lawrence. PG-13. Time-1:46 minutes. Amazon Instant Video.)
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on November 17, 2014
I never read the last two books of this series and probably never will. So this review is just based on the film as it stands by itself apart from the book.

The first movie The Hunger Games caught my interest because of lead actress Jennifer Lawrence. And she continues to do a great job portraying the character Katniss. It was nice to see the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in this second film to give it star power which I don't think it needed considering the popularity of the books to draw in fans of all types. But that's Hollywood politics which I know nothing about.

Though the concept of the books of which the movies are based is nothing new it is sort of a refreshing take on it. For something in it's genre watch the Japanese film Battle Royale which was released over a decade ago.

The movie's pacing starts off well and ends well. Throughout the whole movie you are kept at the edge of your seat and in suspense as it takes you on a ride through yet another survival ordeal. There are neat new threats of course and watching them deal with their predicaments as corny or over the top it may appear at times is still entertaining.

It's not a bad movie if you're not looking for Lawrence of Arabia or Schindler's List or a Lincoln type film. Sure there are many better action/drama films out there but it keeps it's entertainment value and is worth renting the first time on instant video. I liked it enough I bought the first two movies on instant video.
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on December 11, 2014
When I saw Catching Fire in the movie theater, I had the feeling that I had seen this movie before, but it was titled The Hunger Games. Once again, Katniss has to compete in another Hunger Game. But it's a Hunger Games All-Stars kind of competition, like Survivors All-Stars or something. Past winners compete against each other. Still, I had a sinking feeling that's all it was going to be.

But this is a movie that is part of a series, so the "all-star" games is a prelude to what happens at the end of the movie, and you do have to wait until the twist ending to understand what you just saw. You say you want a revolution, well here is where it heats up in a big way. You might not like the idea that the movie doesn't really end. You're left with little explanation, in a kind of The Empire Strikes Back sort of way.

Yet we get another blockbuster performance from Jennifer Lawrence and supporting cast. Watch very carefully to Katniss' early signs of PTSD, which she obviously is suffering from after her experiences in the Hunger Game. Lawrence's ability to subtly bring out this aspect of the character is fascinating to watch.

Yes, it suffers from being the second act of a three (or four) act play, but that's OK. You've bought into it this far, you gotta see it through.
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