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FLICKS: The Hunger Games & The Invisible Bands

Posted on 29 March 2012 by LeslieM

By Dave Montalbano


For all of the marketing hype surrounding The Hunger Games, it is hard to believe that this young adult novel by Suzanne Collins was published less than four years ago.

This book has definitely struck a nerve with popular culture that is multi-generational. At the screening I attended, the theater was filled with senior citizens seemingly enthralled with the film.

Set in the not-too-distant future, the film takes place in the United States of America, which has fallen and been rebuilt into the 12 Districts of Panem. To recall the rebel uprising that caused the fall of the U.S.A., the totalitarian government selects 24 teenagers (two from each district) to be sacrificed in the nationally television sports/reality television show The Hunger Games. These young people (called Tributes) are chosen by lottery to forge for food and outlast their 23 competitors.

Meet Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), who has had experience hunting for food with a bow-and-arrow since her father died in a mining accident. She becomes a 12 District Tribute with her neighbor Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), the son of a baker who had a long, unrequited crush on Katniss. The pair enter the Hunger Games as rivals and allies.

Part one of a trilogy, The Hunger Games is science fiction myth more in common with Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and George Orwell’s 1984 than Star Wars and John Carter.  The message is important, but a satirical sense of humor keeps the story from being mundane. Other than two poorly-edited fight scenes, the film lives up to the hype of the novel.

Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones portray two foppish commentators who narrate The Hunger Games. Elizabeth Banks and Woody Harrelson also  portray broad characters, though with far more depth than the characters played by Tucci and Jones.

As the leading lady, Lawrence deserves kudos. Given her persona in Winter Bone and X-Men First Class, Lawrence enhances her image as the central character. Hutcherson offers strong support without upstaging. Silent scenes between these two are just as interesting as brutal action sequences.

• For those seeking live entertainment and a show, Cinema Paradiso will be presenting Invisible Bands, a documentary about South Florida’s punk rock scene circa 1979 – 1985.  If you recognize bands like The Eat, The Reactions, The Front, The Cichlids and Charlie Pickett & The Eggs, you may want to check out Cinema Paradiso Saturday night! www.fliff.com.

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