(KCBS) — KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl reviews the second installment of the Hunger Games series “Catching Fire”, based on the best-selling novel set in a dystopian future. Also reviewed is “Nebraska,” a road-trip movie from acclaimed director Alexander Payne.
KCBS Entertainment Reporter Jan Wahl:
Buckle up for a road trip like no other. Remember a few great movies: “The Descendents,” “Sideways,” and “Election?” Now the same director, Alexander Payne, gives us ‘Nebraska.’ After receiving a sweepstakes letter, a cantankerous man is sure he has struck it rich. His loving son takes a road trip with him to claim his fortune.
They travel across four states and meet family along the way. Everything changes when money enters the picture. It’s the performances that make it all work (especially June Squibb, Will Forte and Bruce Dern). It has authenticity, humor and total believability. Oscar worthy, especially for director Payne and a very funny Squibb. Is it comedy, is it drama? Like life, it’s both.
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It really helps if you’ve seen or read the first Hunger Games because this sequel provides no backstory. It’s still an interesting, intelligent story about a brave young woman and the battles she fights to survive. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are forced to go back on a victor’s tour. The monstrous President (Donald Sutherland) is someone willing to kill entire districts full of people unless Katniss and Peta play his game. He is helped by Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Master of the Game.
Every actor plays it with truth and director Francis Lawrence has paced the thrills and drama well. At 146 minutes, it is long. Part three is coming, but for now see it on IMAX if you can.
You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl’s movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.
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