Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games - Mockingjay - Part 1 (2014)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)

Mockingjay – Part 1 is unsatisfactory not simply because it’s telling half a story, but because its ideas are given neither sufficient depth nor a sufficiently engaging narrative to wrap around them. Much like fellow threequel Matrix Revolutions, it trades the diverse visual palette of its predecessors for drab bunkers and ruins painted in endless…

Philip Seymour Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man (2014)

A Most Wanted Man (2014)

Zero Dark Thirty was one of the best films of 2013 (going by Australian release dates), but its relentlessly American point-of-view is arguably a failing. I don’t think that Bigelow’s film unambiguously views Bin Laden’s murder as a success, but the controversy/conversation that developed regarding the film as “pro-torture” was predicated on that very assumption.…

God’s Pocket (2014)

“I don’t see nothin’ but what I’m lookin’ at.” This line – or variations thereof – is repeated in John Slattery’s God’s Pocket, as ordinary folk reassure one another that they have no interest in the other’s minor misdeeds. It’s also a reasonable description of my reaction to the film; it’s not bad, but it…

Brad Pitt in Moneyball (2011)

Moneyball (2011)

I admire Moneyball for telling a story of baseball and statistics without embellishing with a romantic subplot – unless you include the professional chemistry between Oakland A’s general manager, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his number-crunching number two, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). I also admire its ability to make that story engaging, with its confident…

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Cinematic adaptations of popular young adult fantasy series may be guaranteed to rake in the profits, but they’re also guaranteed to bring in the same exact complaints from the fandom every damn time. Specifically, rabid fans of the original novels – whether it’s Twilight, Lord of the Rings or The Hunger Games – always take…