KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Will the Hunger Games live up to its expectations? Watch the reviews above.
1) THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 2 (PG-13)
They stretched it out as long as possible and the padding shows, but the “Hunger Games” saga has finally come to a mostly satisfying conclusion. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” succeeds mainly because of its star, Jennifer Lawrence. She hits the bull’s eye as the reluctant leader of a political rebellion in the dystopian future.
Yes, Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence is money. I totally agree. She does hit the bull's eye. But the rest of the cast also hold their own. To be honest it's the source material that's mediocre. The acting, directing, art direction and special effects are top notch. It's the story that's basic.
It’s hard to see how this violent action flick got away with a PG-13 rating, but it’s an involving spectacle. Thanks to Lawrence’s riveting presence, Katniss Everdeen will go down as one of the great characters in the history of action movies.
It is a great character. And for the fans "Mockingjay Part 2" is more than satisfactory even if it is padded, a bit slow in the beginning and faithful to the book to it's own detriment.
RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags
2) SPOTLIGHT (R)
Open Road Films
Riveting, spellbinding and flat-out interesting. "Spotlight" the true story of how a team of journalist at the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover up in the the local Catholic Churches is stuff Best Picture winners are made of. Nothing flashy or groundbreaking. Just terrific acting, solid directing and top-notch storytelling.
RUSS: Did Not Screen
SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags
3) SECRET IN THEIR EYES (PG-13)
Strong performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman propel “Secret in Their Eyes,” an English-language remake of the 2009 Argentine drama that won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
Roberts severely deglamorizes as an FBI agent whose daughter was brutally raped and murdered. Ejiofor plays a colleague obsessed for years with finding the killer and Kidman is a lawyer who helps out on reopening the case. There’s not much chemistry between wannabe lovers Ejiofor and Kidman, but if you can get past some of the plot’s eye-rolling coincidences and absurdities, then “Secret in Their Eyes,” might prove to be an enjoyably dark, brooding thriller.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: Did Not Screen
ALSO OPENING THIS WEEK:
-"By the Sea." Angelina Jolie wrote, directed and stars alongside husband Brad Pitt in this arthouse drama about marital discord.
-"The Night Before." Seth Rogan, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie play adult pals who party hardy on Christmas Eve in this R-rated comedy.
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