Friday, 20 November 2015

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" | Movie Review

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)
The long-awaited final installment of The Hunger Games franchise is finally here...and it doesn't disappoint. I've loved every movie in this series so far, getting thrown into the disturbing dystopia that is Panem. Just a heads up: this is coming from someone who hasn't read the books yet (shocking, I know), so this is my (spoiler-free!) take on the movie, based only on the movie.

The movie opens where the last one left off: Peeta has just tried to strangle Katniss, and now she's in the infirmary healing and trying to get her voice back. We're quickly thrown back into the politics of Katniss' world, where the Mockingjay is taking matters into her own hands to try and assassinate President Snow. Her mission involves ass-kicking, explosions...and a lot of heartbreak.

This being the final film in a series about the cruel savagery of humanity, I knew there were gonna be some deaths. There was one in particular that I could just sense was coming at any time, so I was bracing myself for almost the whole movie to lose a character I loved. I can't say much more about this without naming characters, so I'll just say this: the deaths were really, really sad and left me quite teary-eyed.

Mockingjay – Part 2 was very tense throughout. This isn't surprising, given that we're seeing a brutal story unfold in a war-torn world, but it's a testament to how good the movie is at building up the story, and how good the actors are at making us love their characters. Much of the action left me squirming in my seat, to the point where Christine over at Padfoot's Library, whom I saw this with, asked me if I was ok!

As always, Jennifer Lawrence is amazing as Katniss. As with the other movies, there's so much action in Part 2 and she, along with the rest of the cast, is so good with the action. She completely embodies Katniss' bold badassery and the very deep emotions that come with leading a revolution like she's doing. She sees so many terrible things happen every day and Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal is at once subtle and striking. And the way she delivers inspirational speeches? Ugh, she gives me goosebumps, she's so good!

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I also wanted to mention PTSD for a moment here – it's definitely a prevalent theme throughout the movie, especially where Peeta is concerned. Throughout the movie, we see the ways he's been affected by his time at the Capital where he was tortured by Snow. It was interesting and very sad to see the way the events that unfolded triggered his PTSD. At first I thought the epilogue was a bit gratuitous, but I think it was important to close the story while acknowledging that Peeta's PTSD is something he continues to struggle with. This is such an important thing to talk about and represent, and I think Josh Hutcherson did a great job.

Everything to do with the plot made sense and flowed well, in my opinion. There was at least one scene that I guessed they'd changed from the book because it seemed like it should have been a Plutarch scene, but sadly Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away during filming. Given those sad circumstances, I think the film still does a good job of honouring the character he portrayed. It didn't feel disjointed or like there was anything missing (even though, with this being an adaptation of a book, I know there was).

I can't say I'm 100% satisfied with the outcome of the love triangle, because I was always torn between Gale and Peeta as Katniss' love interest. Having said that, I can absolutely understand why she chose who she did. There was really no other way it could have ended.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is an epic end to an epic series. There's action, heartbreak, redemption, love, tragedy...if you've loved the first three Hunger Games movies, you'll likely enjoy this one too. It's a good sendoff as we say goodbye to our favourite characters, some forever, some for now.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is now in theatres. Watch the trailer here:

"Secret in Their Eyes" | Movie Review

Secret in Their Eyes (2015)
Thirteen years ago, FBI investigators Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Jess (Julia Roberts) were called to a murder scene, only to find that the victim was Jess' teenage daughter. Now, after thirteen years, Ray believes he's found the murderer and wants the case reopened - they won't let him get away with it this time.

Secret in Their Eyes is based on the 2009 Spanish-language, Oscar-winning film called El Secreto de sus Ojos. The entire cast gave outstanding performances, but Chiwetel Ejiofor and Julia Roberts stole the show. The scene toward the beginning where they find Jess' daughter in a dumpster was done so well...they were both so incredibly believable in their grief and it felt so real to me. I can't rave enough about that scene, it was so emotional.

There's such a stark contrast between the Jess of thirteen years ago and the Jess of today. Julia Roberts gives a brilliant performance as a mother who's lost her child and never been able to recover any part of herself as a result. She went from a vibrant, playful woman to being a shell of herself. Roberts essentially plays two different people, which is how I would imagine many parents who have lost a child would be – there is no coming back from that completely or, for some people, at all.

The story progresses in such a way that you think you know what's coming because all roads seem to lead to one conclusion, but there are definitely some surprises along the way - there are twists at every turn.

This is a disturbing, heart-wrenching, edge-of-your-seat thriller. You won't see the end coming.

Secret in Their Eyes is now in theatres. Watch the trailer here:

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Friday, 13 November 2015

2015 Reading Challenge | Progress Post

A book written by an author with your same initials - Yes, My Accent is Real by Kunal Nayyar

Ok, I might be twisting this one just a liiiiiiittle bit...our initials are reversed, but we DO share the same initials, since my last name begins with a K!

You can check out my review here!

Photo Credit: I added text to the original "book sale loot" by Ginny via flickr in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

October Book Haul!

This month I got a handful of books - some that I'm already loving and some that I'm looking forward to!

1. The Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester

2. The Walk (previously published as To Reach the Clouds) by Philippe Petit

3. Burlesque Baking by Charlotte White

4. Crap Taxidermy by Kat Su

5. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Have you heard of any of these? What books did you get this month?