starring Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Philip Seymour Hoffman
screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Michael Arndt, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins
directed by Francis Lawrence
by Walter Chaw Portentous, eagerly-anticipated, ending on an abrupt cliffhanger aboard a spaceship... Yes I'm talking about The Matrix Reloaded--I mean, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (hereafter Catching Fire), which for all the conceptual visual improvements inherent in moving from The Hunger Games director Gary Ross to director Francis Lawrence for this instalment, still suffers from hilarible, unspeakable dialogue and a scenario seldom honoured by the execution. Those who haven't read the books (myself included), fair warning that you'll not be able to follow a moment of this one without revisiting the first film--again like The Matrix Reloaded. From what I could glean based on the fragments of The Hunger Games I haven't blocked out is that this girl, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence, earnestly dreadful), has won a televised deathmatch sponsored by a monolithic government to keep control of twelve impoverished, racially- and class-coded districts. I get it, it's a metaphor and, um, a satire of some sort.