Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Well, that was fast. Just five months after giving birth to daughter Hattie Margaret, Tori Spelling, 38, has revealed some pretty big news: she's expecting again.
The star made the announcement on her website on March 23, writing, "Dean, Liam, Stella, Hattie, and I are beyond thrilled to announce that another little McDermott is on the way. Love, Tori xoxo."
The statement was accompanied by a photo of her growing, bare belly, which all three of her children are seen touching.
The baby-to-be will be the actress's fourth child with husband Dean McDermott, 45, whom she married back in May 2006. The couple welcomed their youngest daughter Hattie back in October 2011 and also shares a son, Liam, 5, and another daughter, Stella, 3.
At this rate, Spelling is going to give the Jolie-Pitt crew a run for their money. But, as Hollywood.com proved earlier, this is certainly the year of celeb pregnancies and baby bumps.
Congratulations to the growing family!
Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott are now the proud parents of a little baby girl. Spelling announced the exciting news like any traditional mother would -- via Twitter, and revealed the baby's name and time of birth as well (almost as if she wanted this story to make headlines). The actress tweeted, "Our family's so happy 2 announce [that on] 10/10/11 [our] baby girl Hattie Margaret McDermott was born at 7:08am! Xoxo." She even included a picture of the baby, or rather of the baby's feet I should say, but we take what we can get around here. The couple decided against learning their third baby's sex until she was born, and it looks like Baby Hattie was well worth the wait (the name alone is adorable).
Tori and Dean are no strangers when it comes to the wonderful world of parenting. The pair already have two other children together: Stella, who is 3-years-old and Liam, who is 4. Dean also has a 13-year-old son, Jack, from a previous marriage. When she first announced her pregnancy back in April, Tori even mentioned the idea of wanting to add a fourth kid into the mix, but then later admitted in September that this would probably be her last pregnancy. Can't say I blame her -- three sounds like more than enough.
Congrats to the happy parents on their newest addition!
Click on the image below for more photos of Tori Spelling!
Last night, Tori Spelling announced on Twitter that she and her husband of five years, Dean McDermott, are expecting their third child. The reality TV star and author of five books told an E! Online reporter that she and Dean were looking to expand their brood (they already have daughter Stella, 2 and 1/2, and son Liam, 4) by at least a few more. This time around, however, they do not plan on finding out the sex of the baby. "We've been blessed with a boy and a girl already, so this time we've decided to do it the traditional way and not find out," Tori said at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, where her satin Moschino gown accentuated a new and slight curve in her figure. She also said that Liam beats Stella up, so hopefully a new person thrown in the mix can take the heat off of Stella and re-focus it on bath toys that don't float.
Sources: People, E!