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Biopics are so hard. It always happens where they try and cram a lot into a tiny two hour time period and therefore everything seems rushed. That happened a couple of times here, but it was done better than normally because they were shown clearly as time jumps, rather than just rushing through everything. What I really liked was that it wasn't just a Stephen Hawking biopic, but we also saw Jane's side of it too, and the story was more about their relationship as a whole and we saw how it coincided with his career. To start with, this is visually great to watch. There's some really great stuff happening, and also switching back and forth between normal movie format and home movie type footage is really cool. The main reason to watch this, honestly, is Eddie Redmayne. He is beyond brilliant, an Oscar worthy performance. I can't say enough good things about him. Felicity Jones matches him in every way as Jane. I will say that it meanders a little bit in the middle. Also, the full scope of the whole movie didn't hit me until the very end, but that was ok. This was a wonderful movie that I definitely recommend.
I rather enjoyed the first Horrible Bosses, and 22 Jump Street has recently renewed my faith in comedy sequels. But unfortunately this brought it back down. It's honestly just a typical comedy with a hare-brained scheme and it's all just ok. The whole fighting over each other bit that Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day have was really funny in the first movie, but feels stale in this one. Don't get me wrong, there are some funny moments, and Chris Pine injects a little bit of life into everything, but overall, it's just another mediocre comedy sequel
I think what I liked most about this was that it doesn't shy away from showing a "non-inspirational" side of the whole thing. If that even makes sense. Instead of being "I have this disease but I'm still here" type of inspirational story, it's a lot more realistic. Yes, the inspirational moments are still there, but it also shows the sadder, bleaker moments. It was more realistic. Which is partially thanks to Julianne Moore. She went for it. This is one of my favorite performances from her since The Kids Are Alright. She's brilliant. You see her condition debilitate while at the same time still seeing the person underneath realize she's debilitating and trying to control it. Also, the focus on the family is interesting as well, with Alec Baldwin playing her husband and Kate Bosworth, Hunter Parrish, and Kristen Stewart playing her kids. They were all very good, with particular focus shown on trying to balance their own lives with now taking care of Alice's. Overall, this is a heartbreaking drama that will probably go into my "really liked it, but don't know if I want to watch it again" list. But, it is worth that first watch.
It's no secret I'm a big fan of the Hunger Games franchise, and one of the main reasons is that it keeps improving. This was the smartest written Hunger Games movie yet. It casts a wider scope than just what's happening to Katniss with showing the mini acts of rebellion in the districts, and the political subtext is on it. I've read other reviews claiming about the lack of action, and I wholeheartedly disagree. Rebellions aren't all about wars and rioting, it's about the forces behind it as well, which this movie shows wonderfully. It's a constant battle of Katniss basically selling herself out to be the Mockingjay, but it's for the greater good. This is especially jarring when she has the pain and anger filmed moment in District 8, which is then turned into a propaganda commercial. (Awesome scene transition there too). Yeah, it's basically using her, but it's what gets the other Districts to do something. Let's not even begin to compare this to the current political climate, which is a whole other conversation entirely-and also puts this movie in a whole different mindset. The acting is awesome, as always. Jennifer Lawrence continues to make Katniss a complex character who is also based in something very real. Josh Hutcherson is borderline heart breaking as Peeta, and Liam Hemsworth's transition to a soldier is really well done. Elizabeth Banks was back as Effie (she was added into more scenes in the movies) and it was wonderful. And also, Effie's character development over the past couple of movies has been so well executed. There were also a ton of new, very important characters that were introduced. Julianne Moore as Coin, who I liked but I was also waiting for a little bit more ruthlessness. I really liked Natalie Dormer as Cressida. The book gave me this impression of someone more on the using side of Katniss as the Mockingjay, but Dormer brought to it a sense of truly wanting to help the rebellion. It was visually beautiful, as always, overall, I was not disappointed and anxiously await the final movie.
I'm going to cut straight to the chase on this one. This is just really bleak. And sad. Bleak and sad. Throw in some poignancy. But that's about it. Common is really impressive as the Uncle. It's a really complex and fascinating character. You could really see both sides. The side that his nephew, Woody, idolizes, and the part that landed him in jail. Michael Rainey Jr. is also really good as Woody. He's got a good career ahead of him if he keeps it up. But this is an interesting movie, although quite sad.