Tag Archives: Donald Sutherland

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015) Film Review

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Having not posted my review for the first part of Mockingjay until after watching this one, I was pretty surprised at how excited I’d been. Given how much I was bored during the second part.

While the books kept my attention right through to the end, this film bored me deeply. I couldn’t care about how it all ended – despite going it at the start loving it. Yes, it follows the same mood and world created, but *yawn* I just got sick of it.

So Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) is sick of being the ‘face’ of the rebellion, so she sneaks off to do her own thing. Only then she ends up with a crew around her. And stuff happens. For me, not enough action, and these last two films should have been just the one.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) Film Review

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I’d been bit concerned that I’d lost my Hunger Games mojo… I couldn’t really recall the second film, and while I was very interested in seeing how they deal with the intense darkness of the third book, if the second film hadn’t stuck in my mind, would it be worth it? Me and a couple of mates watched the first two films in the lead up to Mockingjay and it still wasn’t sticking – though I was feeling a lot of love for the character and the overall story.

If you haven’t seen the first two and want to, here’s a big spoiler alert.

At the end of Catching Fire, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) had been rescued from the arena and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) had been left behind. Katniss is now with the resistance of District Thirteen, under the rule of President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and guidance of Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman). But, she is not willing to just be their face, they need to let her find her leadership, and she does. In the meantime, a whole heap of people die and are injured, and rebellion is happening all over the place.

It’s quite a slow film in that there is a lot of ground to cover. It seems to be the thing to break single books into multiple films and it sometimes works well (Harry Potter) and sometime less so (The Hobbit), but this seems to be a case of needing to split it. The really dark stuff is yet to come, although the end of this film saw the first hints of it. I just wish they didn’t make us wait a whole year for it – I know, I know, it’s all about the money, but I want it NOW!!!

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture.

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Animal House (1978) Film Review

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It’s 1962 and it’s a US College. There are good frats and bad frats, and then there is the Delta Tau Chi Fraternity, who are absolute disasters. Filthy, drinking, crazy. But ultimately, with heart. Or whatever – it’s really just like a series of ridiculous skits, and it is fun, but stupid. Oh so stupid. What I liked the most? All the familiar faces – I mean, John Belushi, ah, what a shame. Then there is Karen Allen from Indiana Jones, the magnificent Tom Hulce, Kevin Bacon, Donald Sutherland.

Is it worth watching? Perhaps for the nostalgia. Perhaps.

 

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Horrible Bosses (2011) Film Review

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Three guys are mates, and all are in jobs with bosses that are abusive and appalling. Nick’s (Jason Bateman)boss is Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), a man who is relentlessly cruel, mostly verbally. Kurt (Jason Sedeikis) loved his boss, Jack (Donald Sutherland) but when he suddenly passes away, the nightmare cocaine-addicted son, Bobby (Colin Farrell) steps in, but his plans involved prostitutes and running the company into the ground. And Dale (Charlie Day) is a strange little guy who is being sexually tormented by his dentist boss Dr Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston). So, like Strangers on the Train, they decide that if they all kill each other’s boss, they can get away with it. But they are fools, so it goes wrong. But, of course, ultimately right.

It’s such a nod to The Hangover – three guys, one kind of cool, one sensible and straight-laced and the other a bit odd and irresponsible. I kind of liked it – well, I didn’t hate it. I liked bits… I did like that they had one of the bosses be a woman, and the idea of her doing the sexual harassment, and that it is clearly a power thing, which a lot of people forget in relation to sexual harassment. But, I felt that it was kind of too much story for a 98-minute film, but not quality enough for a longer film.

 

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Pillars of the Earth – TV Review

Pillars of the Earth

Tom Builder (Rufus Sewell) is not having a good time. Winter is coming, and he and his family are struggling to find somewhere to live and work that will feed them all. After an arduous and disastrous journey, they end up in a small town in England a long time ago (the twelfth century, apparently) but the church burns down. So, Prior Phillip (Matthew MacFadyen) decides to build a cathedral with Tom Builder. However, the guy who is the next boss up, church-wise Waleran Bigod (Ian McShane) doesn’t want it to happen and will do whatever is in his power to stop it. Oh, and then there is whole heap of battling between the new king and the old king’s daughter who could not inherit the crown because she’s not male. And a boat sank, killing her brother, and there is a lot to do with that too.

I’ve been told by many that the books that this series is based on are fabulous. Certainly, it is a very good show, with a bit of a Game of Thrones feel to it, but everything gets beautifully tied up at the end.

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The Hunger Games (2012) Film Review

The Hunger Games

The twelve districts of Panem are ruled by the Capital. As a punishment/reminder of a past war, the Hunger Games are held each year. Two teenagers, one male and one female, are drawn from each district and put into a massive arena (as big as a whole separate world) two fight to the death. When Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers for her sister Primrose (Willow Shields), she and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) need to work together to survive.

Films based on books can be tricky, making the right choices about what goes and what stays in; what works best for the story of the film and what will work to tell the rest of the story. I felt that this representation was pretty darned good. The casting was fantastic; Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Liam Hemsworth, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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The Best Offer (2013) Film Review

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Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush) is an eccentric auctioneer who commands the highest respect of those in the art world. He is always wearing gloves and is very particular about how he does what he does. When he is commissioned to handle the categorization of the belongings of an elusive woman, Claire (Sylvia Hoeks) his life becomes far more complicated that he ever expected it could.

The character of Oldman is beautifully set up from the start of the film to be a man who is in total control of his life and everything in it. Consequently, it is hard to believe many of the decisions that he makes from here. Even the first few telephone conversations with Claire seem very out-of-character. There are any ways that this film could be spoilt, so I am treading very carefully, but I will say this: it just didn’t work for me. I’d recommend other films that I think work this kind of thing better, but even that could be a spoiler. Go watch it then see what you think.

The Best Offer was part of the selection at MIFF 2013. It has a limited release from August 29, 2013.

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