On DVD & Blu-Ray: March 22, 2016


Ultimately, The Hunger Games films as well as the books are about sacrifice and that this final installment of the film franchise encapsulates this theme to its fullest while still maintaining a clear narrative drive that is moved along by several exhilarating action sequences allows it to be nothing short of wholly fulfilling. In all honesty, as a reader of the books, I don't know that one could have asked for a better interpretation of the novels. Even in retrospect, the splitting of Mockingjay into two parts now seems a genuine decision rather than a financial one as it allowed more time to fully grasp the multiple changes and conflicts our protagonist, Katniss Everdeen (the ever-steady Jennifer Lawrence), would experience while also allowing plenty of space to develop the idea that both sides of a war use the same kind of propaganda to strike fear into their followers hearts. This development as well as the fact both parts of the Mockingjay films were not shackled by the narrative constraints of the actual games make for a much more involving and complex set of moral decisions and real world repercussions that don't typically apply to young adult literary stories. Whether it be through the casting of the terrific Donald Sutherland as President Snow who makes the overriding threat seem all the more vile as he eloquently executes his intentions of power over the classes of Panem through his politics or the unexpectedly layered Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) that brings about not only an epiphany in Katniss concerning the vicious circle that human beings naturally put themselves in when systems inevitably become corrupted, but also in realizing the necessary differences in the two men in her life that will finally bring about a peaceful decision. As much as The Hunger Games series is about sacrifice it is also about holding true to ideals no matter the sacrifice it takes to keep such principles relevant. Some may counter Katniss with the argument that there is no need to fight for ideals if there will be no one left to carry them on and if that is to be the result it seems Katniss thinks we might not deserve to exist at all. It's a bold statement, one that the films could have easily smoothed over with a toothless and sentimental final act, but instead they embraced the complexities and let them play out in an honest sense only making it all the more interesting to watch come to an end. Full review here. B+

The Other Guys is a brilliant piece of satire that really gave way for director Adam McKay to go in the direction of crafting something like The Big Short. The Other Guys was also helped by the oddball pairing of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg who proved to have almost as much chemistry as Ferrell and John C. Reilly. So, it was natural for the two to want to reunite given their past success, but The Other Guys Daddy's Home is not. This was clear from the beginning. Whereas The Other Guys felt like a film, an actual, real, weighted film with an objective and a structure that felt inspired without being standard, Daddy's Home feels like a rushed job of a couple of funny men getting together and seeing what they can hammer out. Daddy's Home is a movie and one that has seemingly been dropped off the Hollywood assembly line in hopes that it will appeal to enough people to make its money back on the broad appeal of Ferrell and Wahlberg. There is nothing particularly insightful about the picture, there isn't even anything particularly funny to the point I'll remember it tomorrow and the product placement is so abhorrently obvious the whole thing might as well be a commercial, but beyond these heavy complaints lies a movie that still stars the likes of Ferrell and Wahlberg. Both are very likable guys with a supporting cast that includes the always-pleasant Linda Cardellini, the outrageous Thomas Haden Church, a surprisingly funny extended piece enlivened by Hannibal Burress and, of course, a couple of cute kids saying inappropriate things. Given these factors, despite the sub par script and despite the fact the film has little to no visual flair, Daddy's Home comes out the other end being rather enjoyable for what it is. It is a movie one can put on in the background and still keep up with if the need to do other things arises while at the same time guaranteeing a couple of chuckles from friends or family that might also be in the vicinity. Daddy's Home goes a long way on the charm of its cast making the product as a whole more endearing than it appears on first glance. Full review here. C