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November 28th, 2014

Hunger Games: Catching Fire ****

 

I like Joan Rivers. I enjoy her brash, offensive style of comedy.

 

However, in her old age, Joan Rivers has gotten a little out of touch about a few issues. I don’t like it when she makes fun of the Kardashian sisters for their habit of interracial dating (cringe). I don’t like it when she makes fun of actor Peter Dinklage for his height (double cringe).

 

But when Joan Rivers dared to call Jennifer Lawrence arrogant on Twitter, she had clearly gone too far. Oh, no, Joan! Not Jennifer Lawrence! You can’t criticize J-Law. She is the reigning Oscar winner for Best Actress and the most popular young woman in America right now.

 

If you really want to attack Jennifer Lawrence, you have to wait a few years. Eventually, the country turns against all famous women. Inevitably, J-Law will make a misstep. She’ll eventually make a bad movie. Or she’ll date a man that US Weekly doesn’t approve of. Or she’ll have the audacity to grow old.

 

But as of right now, Jennifer Lawrence is untouchable. She’s the queen of Hollywood. And “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is her crowning achievement.

 

The story begins one year after our young heroes – Katniss (Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) – won the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Following tradition, they are forced to take a whirlwind victory tour to give each district an opportunity to congratulate them.

 

It sounds fun, but Katniss is not enjoying her time in the spotlight. Katniss learns that her rebellious attitude and fearlessness has inspired downtrodden people from around the country to want to overthrow the government.

 

Basically, poor Katniss is the symbol of a revolution that she wants nothing to do with. And the government is none-too-pleased.

 

Evil President Snow (Donald Sutherland) comes up with an elegantly diabolical way to rid himself of Katniss. He decides that the 75th Annual Hunger Games with feature nothing but past victors.

 

That means that Katniss and Peeta will have to return to the arena and fight to the death against 22 experienced killers who have already won the game before. It’s like “Survivor All Stars” – only with a little less drama.

 

This sets the stage for a heart-pounding final hour full of suspense, surprises, and cool, great-looking new characters. If you didn’t love the first Hunger Games movie, I hope that that doesn’t dissuade you from seeing the sequel. This one is infinitely better.

 

So, Joan Rivers: please remember to lay off J-Law. At least until she makes a bad movie. “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” certainly is not it.

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