Stanley Tucci

Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Mockingjay Part 1

When The Hunger Games first came out, I said eh, I’m not the target audience, a teeny bopper version of Stone Cold and The Condemned? Not interested. When Catching Fire came out I said, well what the hell, I’ll give it a try. And the moment that film cuts out with Jennifer Lawrence staring at the camera, I was screaming for more. I had finally watched the first one right before, and felt a little eh about it. But Catching Fire hooked me in. I have been ready and waiting for this two part finale! But what was it going to be for me, another hit like the 2nd, or back to the first? Well, I’ll tell ya, it was, slow.

Mockingjay Part 1 is once again directed by Francis Lawrence who took over for Gary Ross after the first installment, and brings back Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Little Thor (Liam Hemsworth) Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, and Sam Claflin, along with adding in Julianne Moore. The film continues the story of Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) a reluctant symbol of a massive rebellion after surviving not one, but two years of the dreaded and deadly Hunger Games. Can she ignite the nation and lead them against the Capitol? And what about Peta? Has he really turned his back and does he really believes in the Capitol? Can Katniss save him, and the other victors?

The film is good, the problem is this trend of splitting the third books into 2 films. Twilight, Harry freaking Potter, thanks a lot. While Mockingjay is the shortest of the 3 Hunger Games books, it really hurts the film to split it. After Catching Fire I was really hyped and ready to see Katniss kick a lot of @$$, but sadly, the scene they have promoted so much I the trailers of her shooting down the jet with an arrow (which is much more believable within the context of the film) is really the only scene of action in the entire film. This installment plays out like a propaganda war. With the Rebels using Katniss to film commercials and videos, and the Capitol using Peta, trying to convince the districts whose side to be back. There is a lot of story and exposition and it is all set to build up to the next film. Perhaps I would have liked it more had I been able to watch Part 1 and part back to back rather than wait an entire year.

But with all that like I said, it’s not a bad film, just not what I was expecting. I was all set for the action and not ready for the story. The story seems like it’s going to be great once the back half plays out, it just seems a little stale by itself, however it is well played out. The characters, while a lot of them, are all acted incredibly. Lawrence shows us once again how incredible she really is. Claflin returning as Finnick is given so much more heart and emotion. I even really liked Little Thor, who in the past when given major roles has kind of come out short. And while the film can be very slow and drag at times, it honestly set you up and get ready for next year when Part 2 arrives. It is the journey that makes the film so fun.

Being someone who hasn’t read any of the books, I was a little lost not knowing how Mockingjay played out, my buddy assured me it was exactly how he had envisioned it and that Part 2 was really set up beautifully. So while Mockingjay Part 1 may not have played out how I expected it, I still call it a Good time at the theater, with a Jeebus score of 4.3.

Transformers 4: Age of Bayisms

Transformers 4: Age of Extinction! The fourth installment of the multimillion dollar franchise is here. This go around we have a whole new story arc, leaving the past human characters in the past. The film is once again directed by Micheal Bay and stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammar, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, T.J. Miller, and Peter Cullen. I for one will start by saying I am a huge fan of Michael Bay, and the first three Transformer films. Coming into this one I was really excited, DinoBots, a new story arc, what was there not to be excited about?! Little did I know.

Walking out of the theater I fully planned to give this film a decent score. Not great, but decent. I felt that it had problems but was still at its core ok. Then I started thinking about it on the way home, and go to my score card and saw the final and just realized, this was kind of slap in the face. The entire freaking film. It has a few redeeming qualities which I will get into, but for the most part, it’s the first time I see what most people say about Bay films. I never thought I could be bored during an intense action scene, but I got actually got a little bored at one part during an amazing action sequence. So lets take a look at this

We’ll start with the characters. Human first. Mark Wahlberg plays generic guy number 1, who you shouldn’t care about, but since its Mark Wahlberg you kind of do. His daughter is played by Nicola Peltz, she has absolutely no redeeming qualities to her. I actually wanted to see her get taken out by a deception. Her boyfriend, played by Jack Reynor, also, no character development, and someone you don’t care about. T.J. Miller plays the early on comic relief, and is fun to watch while he’s there but once his minor role is over, they try to turn Stanley Tucci into your comic relief, and fails miserably! For the most part Frasier is good at his role as the generic bad guy. But not someone who really has substance.

The Autobots are pretty cool. Cullen once again is phenomenal as Prime. And John Goodman steals the show as Hound. Ken Watanabe does a great job voicing Drift. But at the same time, there is no focus on them. The film tryst to focus on the humans too much. I At least found myself caring about these AutoBots. The major Deception, or villainous Robot is Lockdown. A galactic bounty hunter that is on a mission to hunt down AutoBots and Deceptions. And he is cool, and villainous, but nothing can make up for a lack of Megatron. As a fan of the series, I want to see Megatron. No one will ever make up more than the Deception leader.

The story is horribly weak. It follows down on their luck family that gets thrust into a battle to save the planet. Some old story right? Just without any likeable characters, or redeeming Dialog! The dialog in this film was horrendous! The AutoBots were done all right, but the when the humans had to speak it was like a bad Saturday morning television show! The CGI as well was not on par with previous films. The Transformers looked alright at times, but the new transforming mechanisms of the new Transformers looked like cheap animation. And the blue screen effect were terrible. There is a part where someone is falling out of a building, and no joke, it worse the Dick Jones falling at the end of the Original Robocop.

And finally. The Dinobots. Or lack of. This film is built around the belief that the DinoBots were going to be there. Well, they are, for a very minor role. In a 2 hour and 45 minute film, you get 30 minutes of DinoBots, their back story makes no sense! Their arrival makes no sense. It gets set up, and you think you know how they will show up, then right out of left field, boom, crappy arrival. It made no freaking sense! And to be honest, again as a fan of the source material, THESE WERENT THE FREAKING DINOBOTS! THEY WERE CHEAP IMMITATIONS! It just makes me mad! And the mnore I think about it, the angrier I get!

So all in all, when I look at this one I can’t say it is the worst of the series, because Revenge of The Fallen had its flaws too, and major ones. But it definitely comes behind the original, and the Dark of the Moon. I looked at it, scored it, and went with a Jeebus Score of 2.7, Redbox It!