Get ready for another busy weekend at your local cinema. The final ‘Hunger Games’ installment will draw huge crowds, but there’s also a better-than-expected, crude Christmas comedy opening alongside it.
The second part of the adaptation of the last ‘Hunger Games’ book finally hits theaters today. ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2‘ kicks off on more than 4,100 screens. When the final ‘Harry Potter’ book was done justice by a two-part adaptation, ‘Twilight’ needlessly, greedily and wastefully followed suit. Unfortunately, the final ‘Hunger Games’ split is more like the latter. ‘Mockingjay, Part 2’ kicks off right where ‘Part 1’ ended – Peta still wants to kill Katniss and Katniss still whines as she shoots her propaganda films. Along with the third wheel in their love triangle and a dozen flat cannon-fodder characters, they’ll make their way through the capital with a mission to kill President Snow. With a dull climax, the last movie proves exactly why the final book is the least favorite among fans.
Our next wide release is the R-rated holiday comedy ‘The Night Before‘. From the director of ‘50/50‘ and ‘Warm Bodies‘, this instant Christmas classic stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie as a trio of friends who once healed from a tragedy by starting an epic Christmas Eve tradition. Like ‘A Christmas Carol’, the past, the present and the future will collide in a most unexpected way on this drugged-up, lovesick and desperate evening. Hilarity and even a little heartfelt sentiment ensue.
An English-language remake of a critically acclaimed Argentine film is the weekend’s third and final wide release. ‘Secret in Their Eyes‘ tells the story of a group of murder investigators who are shaken by a new case. When they arrive at the scene of a crime, the discovery that the victim is the daughter of one of their team members is devastating. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman star.
Universal’s crime drama ‘Legend‘ was originally expected to be a major player this awards season, but a stint on the festival circuit said otherwise. Tom Hardy stars in two roles as the real life identical twin gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray. Set in the 1960s, the film tells the dark tale of the British brothers. Universal is rolling the movie out to four screens this weekend prior to its expansion over the coming weeks. Emily Browning and Taron Egerton co-star.
The indie festival film with more buzz is ‘Carol‘. In Todd Haynes’ new drama, Cate Blanchett stars as a 1950s woman whose life has become mundane thanks to her loveless marriage. When she distances herself from her husband (Kyle Chandler), she begins a relationship with a young new friend (Rooney Mara), the ramifications of which might be bigger than Carol expected. The performances are said to be knockouts, so look for the movie when it expands in the coming weeks.