During Thanksgiving break I was able to sacrifice enough of my hard-earned free time to watch not one, not two, but three new feature films in theaters right now.
I’ve also used said free time to briefly review these movies. So without further ado, here are three decent movies you can watch in cinemas near Athens or your hometown.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2
An overall satisfying conclusion to the series
Mockingjay Part 2 is the fourth and final Hunger Games installment and is a thoroughly enjoyable action film. After seeing all the previous Hunger Games films each previous year, it’s safe to say this film was a satisfying conclusion to the series. But it really had to be after last year’s Part 1, which felt unnecessarily split. The franchise made like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hobbit by splitting its final film into two movies. Yet while the previous film felt devoid of plot and action, Part 2 was full of it. The film contains many enjoyable action sequences perfect for popcorn-munching blockbuster fun. The plot moves along quickly and never slows down until the movie’s conclusion.
Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and does a great job portraying Katniss once again, but the same can’t be said for the film’s other actors. Though this film is an adaptation of a novel, it seemed like it kept adding random characters the audience really doesn’t care about and isn’t emotionally invested in. On top of that, after four movies, the “love triangle” with Gale and Peeta seems very forced. The only other thing I disliked about the movie was its ending. It seemed that it adopted the Return of The King ending disease in that the film’s ending dragged on and on. This is a *spoiler*, but the final scene in the meadow with Peeta seemed like way too much of a cliche “happily ever after” ending for something that’s trying to be a dystopian political film. Regardless, Mockingjay Part 2 is still a very enjoyable movie and, all in all, a satisfying conclusion to the series.
This film receives 3/5 Athens bricks.
THE PEANUTS MOVIE
A well-done homage to the beloved comic strips and cartoons
I went into this movie as a diehard Peanuts fan with high expectations, and left extremely satisfied with what I had seen. I read the Peanuts comic strip all the time growing up, and the Halloween and Christmas holiday specials are an annual tradition in my family. When I saw the trailer for the film, it looked like another cheesy adaptation that ruins its beloved source material. However, in this case, I was proven wrong.
The Peanuts Movie is an extremely well-done homage to Charles Schulz’s original comic strip. Though you might expect that the classic feel of the comics and classic animated specials would be lost with 3D animation, it actually worked pretty well. Though the movie is in 3D, most of the scenes are set up like an actual comic strip because much of the movement is two-dimensional. For me, the film really had the look and feel of reading the comics. Besides aesthetics, however, the story was sufficiently entertaining. It combined several popular storylines from Shulz’s comics into one cohesive movie. The plot is centered around Charlie Brown trying to impress the little redheaded girl, and combines the stories of other well-known characters, such as his dog Snoopy, who embarks on a love story of his own. If you go into this movie looking for nostalgia, cuteness, and classic humor, you won’t be disappointed.
This film receives 4/5 Athens bricks.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
An extremely hilarious comedy that will get you in the Christmas spirit
I’m a sucker for raunchy comedies. For most movies, I’ll be trying to analyze it as much as I can to come to some kind of conclusion. But with hilarious, inappropriate comedies I get distracted and can only conclude that such movies were very, very funny. The Night Before was one of those movies. Though it’s definitely not the funniest movie I’ve ever seen, nor has is surpassed Elf in the world of Christmas comedies, it was still thoroughly entertaining.
The film follows the antics of three friends (Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Anthony Mackie) who have an annual tradition of fooling around in New York City each Christmas Eve. Seth Rogen’s character was particularly hilarious. He plays a Jewish father-to-be whose wife gives sample of literally every drug as a Christmas present, and he proceeds to be insane for the rest of the film. This happens in most movies he’s in, but “Seth Rogen on drugs” never fails to be funny, in my opinion. The film’s themes of friendship and growing up stay pretty consistent throughout the story, which serves as a satisfying Christmas tale. If you’re looking for a laughter-inducing holiday comedy, this movie is right up your alley, but certainly isn’t anything groundbreaking.
This film receives 4/5 Athens bricks.