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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A coroner has ruled former boxing champion Tommy Morrison died from a blood infection. The one-time heavyweight champion, who played Tommy Gunn in Rocky V, passed away on Sunday (01Sep13) at the age of 44.
Morrison's death certificate, which was filed in Nebraska and obtained by TMZ.com, reveals he suffered a cardiac arrest, caused by a blood infection known as Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Septicemia.
Morrison's body has already been cremated, according to the document, which makes no mention of HIV even though the boxer quit the sport in 1996 when he tested positive for the disease. He returned to the ring in 2007, insisting that his results had been false positives.
Boxing champion Tommy Morrison has died, aged 44. The former heavyweight champion passed away on Sunday (01Sep13) after a long battle with Guillain Barre Syndrome, according to DoghouseBoxing.com.
The cause of death was respiratory and metabolic acidosis and multiple organ failure.
Morrison beat George Foreman to win a WBO heavyweight title in 1993, but he quit the sport three years later (96) when he tested positive for HIV and was suspended from boxing in Nevada by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
He briefly returned to the ring in 2007, insisting that his tests had been false positives.
Outside the sport, Morrison played Tommy Gunn in Rocky V, and he also appeared in John Carpenter's They Live.
Any Arrow episode that opens with a nice shot of a shirtless Diggle is a successful episode in my mind. I mean, come on: those arms!
Sorry, I made myself a promise that for these last four episodes of Arrow Season 1 I would try to curb my gushing over the physical traits of Stephen Amell and David Ramsey and really any other guy on Arrow that make me drool and instead focus on the story, because gear up – it’s about to get really good.
Diggle and Oliver were training in the Arrow Lair, working on Diggle’s strength while biding time until Floyd Lawton – aka Deadshot – made his way back into the country so they could hunt him down for good. Too bad while they were training, Deadshot found his way into the states. Thanks to Felicity hacking ARGUS’s communication logs, the hunt for Deadshot is now afoot! Diggle lost his connection to ARGUS, however, since Lyla decided to do a little digging and found out why Diggle was so interested in Deadshot. Lyla wants to bring Deadshot to justice, but Diggle just wants him in a body bag. Something tells me one person in this equation will not be happy with the outcome, and when Lyla threatens to put Diggle in handcuffs we learn she means business.
Meanwhile, Oliver and Laurel have apparently mended their friendship enough to plan a lunch date, which she promptly cancels since work got crazy. Even though the lunch didn’t actually happen, I’m assuming Tommy won’t like that there were lunch plans at all now that he knows Oliver is the vigilante and Laurel and the vigilante have a working relationship. But so far, Tommy’s keeping his cool and telling Laurel he and Oliver are fine, and he only quit their club because the opportunity to work with his father was just too good to pass up.
Laurel canceled her lunch plans with Ollie to help a family who invested all their savings with a man named Edward Rasmus, who promptly stole it all. I wonder if Rasmus is on The List?
If Rasmus wasn’t on The List before, he sure is now. He hired a Gunn – ahem, I’m sorry, a hired gun (aka J. August Richards, or Gunn on Angel) to kill the family making a case against him. The parents were taken care of quickly but the boy, Taylor, got away out the window after getting a glimpse at his would-be assassin, Mr. Blank.
I have to break my promise already. You guys, Oliver, in a towel, dripping wet, post-shower. This show is killing me. Okay, resume recap! Oliver caught the news about the murdered parents that he had just met the other day, and with that, Edward Rasmus has just earned his spot on The List.
Since the boy’s grandparents wouldn’t be able to come get him for a few days, Laurel decided she would be his temporary guardian until they arrived. Oliver chose the wrong moment to come down and check on Laurel, since Tommy didn’t realize he even knew Laurel’s clients. With the realization that Laurel was planning lunches with Oliver and not telling Tommy, Tommy is starting to look a little peeved at their budding friendship. Trouble in paradise?
Back in the Arrow Lair, Team Arrow finalizes their plans for taking down Deadshot. ARGUS set up a sting operation to arrest Deadshot, but Diggle lets Oliver know he doesn’t want to see Deadshot arrested… and with that, Oliver makes the decision to cross Floyd Lawton’s name off of Diggle’s List.
While Det. Lance is gearing up to help protect Laurel’s home, Roy Harper shows up, but this time he’s at the police station of his own volition. He’s looking for the Hood, and figured he could get some advice from Det. Lance? Nope, turns out he just wanted to steal Lance’s radio!
Who would have thought the guy with the biggest daddy (and mommy) issues would turn out to be the greatest father material? While babysitting the newly-orphaned kid at Laurel's, Tommy proved to everyone that he is going to be such a good dad in the future, talking him through his grief over losing his parents.
This tender moment was so rudely interrupted when Mr. Blank showed up, and thanks a mistake on his fake badge, Laurel knew not to let him in. However, next time make sure your gun’s fully loaded, Laurel! One shot is not enough to take down a highly skilled assassin. Thankfully, the Hood came to the rescue and scared off Mr. Blank. Det. Lance wanted to place all three of them into protective custody, but Tommy understands that the safest chance for Laurel and Taylor to stay alive is close to Oliver, but only grudgingly and he doesn’t reveal the real reason why Oliver is able to protect them the best. Let the world’s most awkward slumber party at the Queen's estate begin!
Thea and Roy’s super cute date is interrupted when the police radio he stole from Det. Lance starts going off with reports of vigilante sightings, and he speeds off on his motorcycle to try and find the Hood. Too bad that Lance set the whole thing up to catch Roy, and he brought him in to the station in the back of a police car. Nice try, Roy.
Just when Oliver was about to go and take out Deadshot, one of Felicity’s alerts on Rasmus started pinging. The embezzler was going to run and booked a ticket to China (the benefits: wontons and no extradition treaty). So now Ollie had to choose: Deadshot or Rasmus. He had only one shot at either, but not both. What’s he going to choose? His loyalty to Diggle, or his newfound friendship with Laurel?
Oliver chose Rasmus! But what does that mean for Diggle and Deadshot? During the ARGUS operation, after a false alarm, Diggle and Lyla find out the hard way that Deadshot didn’t take the bait. Deadshot killed four ARGUS agents, and when Diggle went after him, the only reason Deadshot didn’t kill him was because no one was paying him. That’s quite an interesting philosophy to have but Diggle doesn’t care about Deadshot’s philosophy. He’s pissed Oliver wasn’t there to have his back like a real partner would. Diggle correctly assumed that Oliver made a choice: Laurel, instead of his partner. Clearly, Diggle abides by the Bro’s Before Ho’s life philosophy, while Oliver puts his lady friends in higher priority.
Rasmus ended up confessing his crimes to the police – he really had no choice in the matter – so Laurel, Taylor, and Tommy are free to go home, but they decide to stay the rest of the night at the Queens anyway. It’s a good thing they did, since Mr. Blank kills Rasmus and plans on killing Taylor since they’ve seen his face.
While Rasmus was getting murdered in the room next to him, Det. Lance tried to scare straight Roy and Thea with the corpse of a guy the vigilante killed, and we also learn the police have recovered 26 bodies from the vigilante’s one-man war on crime. Is this the actual number of bodies Oliver has killed since returning from the island, or just what the police have discovered? Because in all honestly, 26 seems kind of low. Unfortunately for Lance, his tactics don’t work and Thea agrees to help Roy find the Hood so Roy can make something of his life like the vigilante did.
Ollie and Laurel have a moment outside Taylor’s door since they think they’re out of danger. Laurel confides in Oliver, admitting she actually does see the changes in Ollie since he got back from the island. During an ill-timed hug, Tommy overhears and oversees the moment. Ouch, poor Tommy is having a terrible day: he had to admit his ex-best friend is the safest bet for his girlfriend, he had to hide with Taylor while Oliver scared off Mr. Blank, and then Laurel wanted to stay at Oliver’s even after the danger passed. I’m not sure Tommy will be able to take much more pain.
Time to put all the feelings on hold: Mr. Blank arrived at the Queen estate. Even though he loves the interior design of the house – such pain, loss, and regret in the wood paneling – he doesn’t hesitate to start shooting up the place, killing two guards before finding Oliver.
After an amazing fight scene – where you got to see Oliver Queen’s real, unrestricted, unmasked face in one of those rare moments where he doesn’t hide his true self – Oliver kills Mr. Blank with a fire poker and blames it on the security guard who Mr. Blank shot. Tommy backs up his statement to the police, but during a conversation with Oliver after, he realized that if Laurel ever knew the truth about Oliver she would choose him over Tommy. This leads Tommy to make what he probably thinks is a good, mature decision, but in hindsight is only going to speed up his downfall and descent into darkness: he broke up with her!
And as if Arrow wasn’t already breaking my heart enough, Diggle decides to rip it open even further and quit Team Arrow! I don't even know how to process all of these depressing turns.
And in this week’s island storyline of the week, Shado attempted to teach Ollie how to shoot a bow and arrow. There was sexual tension galore, and Slade was clearly jealous. There’s even a quick island makeout between Ollie and Shado! But he broke it off before it went anywhere else because of Laurel. And just when we thought Team Island was making progress into getting off the island, Yao Fei lead Fyers’ men to the airplane hideout!
Did Yao Fei really sell out Team Island? Did Diggle really quit Team Arrow? Will Tommy really go to the dark side with his father? We'll find out next week, but until then, enjoy some of the best quotes from tonight's "Home Invasion:"
Oliver: Feeling better?Diggle: I’ll feel better once we end Deadshot.
Felicity: I decrypted their communication logs. Which means I just hacked a federal agency. Which kind of makes me a cyber terrorist, which is bad because I really don’t see myself fitting in at Guantanamo Bay.Oliver: Don’t worry, Felicity, they don’t send blondes there.Felicity: I dye it, actually. I keep your secret!
Oliver: I wear a hood and I put arrows into criminals. So when it comes to complexity, I grade on a curve.
Det. Lance: You look after them, all right?Tommy: I spend most nights at your daughter’s anyways. There was probably a better time to tell you that.Det. Lance: Probably not.
Thea: Do you have a police radio in your pocket?Roy: No I’m just happy to see you.
Felicity: So you’re sniping a sniper. Kind of ironic, don’t you think? Yeah, me neither.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
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How would you like to spend a night shopping with the stars? It's all possible thanks to the ever-intimidating Anna Wintour! The Vogue editor-in-chief came up with an idea in 2009 where retailers in NYC would stay open past their normal hours and offer in-store events to promote shopping and help stimulate the struggling economy. She called the night Fashion's Night Out, and it always takes place the Thursday before New York's fashion week begins.
FNO has become such a phenomenon that celebrities even take part in the festivities. From performances to guest appearances, A-listers are stepping out to support this stylish shopping extravaganza. And so in case you plan to participate, here is a list of where you can go tonight (in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago) to rub elbows with some of your favorite Hollywood stars.
NEW YORK CITY
Bloomingdales (1000 Third Avenue New York NY 10022): Actor Eddie Cibrian (6-8 p.m.), star stylist Rachel Zoe (6:30-7:30 p.m.)
Bottega Veneta (699 Fifth Avenue New York NY 10022): Actress Rose Byrne (6-11 p.m.)
Coach (595 Madison Avenue New York NY 10022): Saturday Night Live's Seth Myers (7-9 p.m.)
Completely Bare (25 Bond Street NYC NY 10012): RHONY's Cindy Barshop (6:30-10:30 p.m.)
DASH (119 Spring Street New York NY 10012): Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Jersey Shore's DJ Pauly D (6-8 p.m.)
David Yurman (712 Madison Avenue New York NY 10065): Camilla Belle (6-11 p.m.)
Dolce & Gabbana (825 Madison Avenue New York NY 10065): Justin Bieber (6-11 p.m.)
Giorgio Armani (760 Madison Avenue New York NY 10065): Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett (8-10 p.m.)
Jeffrey New York (449 West 14th Street New York NY 10014): Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe (6-11 p.m.)
Kiehl's (109 Third Avenue New York NY 10003): AJ Maclean of the Backstreet Boys (6-11 p.m.)
Lord & Taylor (424 Fifth Avenue New York NY 10018): Solange Knowles (6-9 p.m.) and Ivanka Trump (6:30-7:30 p.m.)
Lucky Brand (535 Broadway New York NY 10012): Project Runway star Tim Gunn (6-11 p.m.)
Macy's Herald Square (151 West 34th Street New York NY 10001): Tommy Hilfiger (5:30 p.m.), celeb DJ Samantha Ronson (6-7 p.m.), Kelly Rowland (7-8 p.m.), Pretty Little Liars actress Shay Mitchell (8-9 p.m.)
MAC Cosmetics (109 Spring Street New York NY 10012): Beth Ditto (8-9 p.m.)
Manolo Blahnik (31 West 54th Street New York NY 10019): Sarah Jessica Parker (6-11 p.m.)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Men's (382 Bleecker Street New York NY 10014): Bar Refaeli (6-10 p.m.)
Marc Jacobs (163 Mercer Street New York NY 10012): Dakota Fanning (6-10 p.m.)
Michael Kors (610 Fifth Avenue New York NY 10020): Michael Kors (6-11 p.m.)
New York & Company (715 Lexington Avenue New York NY 10022): Real Housewives of NY cast mates Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, Kelly Killoren Bensimon and Ramona Singer (6-10 p.m.)
Payless Shoe Source (716 Lexington Avenue at 58th Street New York NY 10022): Designer Christian Siriano (7:30-9 p.m.)
QVC (428 Broadway at Howard Street New York NY 10013): Kris Jenner, Heidi Klum, Donald Trump (6-11 p.m.)
Rag & Bone (119 Mercer Street New York NY 10012): Stars of Lala's Full Court Life Carmelo Anthony and La La Vazquez (6-11 p.m.)
Saks Fifth Avenue (611 Fifth Avenue New York NY 10022): Kris Humphries (6:30-10 p.m.), Ne-Yo (8-9 p.m.)
Sephora Times Square (200 West 42nd Street New York NY 10036): True Blood's Kristin Bauer, Kat Von D, Kate Walsh (6-11 p.m.)
Stuart Weitzman (625 Madison Avenue New York NY 10022): Michelle Trachtenberg and Hayden Panettiere (6:30-10 p.m.)
Ted Gibson Salon (184 5th Avenue 2nd Floor New York NY 10010): Twilight star Ashley Greene (8-10 p.m.)
Tiffany & Co (727 Fifth Avenue New York NY 10022): Leighton Meester (8 p.m.)
Versace (647 Fifth Avenue New York NY 10022): DRAKE (7-10 p.m.)
Victoria's Secrets (591-593 Broadway New York NY 10012): Angels Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Erin Heatherton and Lily Aldridge (7-10 p.m.)
The Beverly Center (Beverly Blvd lvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048): Nicole Richie (5-11 p.m.)
The Grove (189 The Grove Dr Los Angeles, CA 90036): Lauren Conrad (7-8 p.m.)
Westfield Topandga Canyon (6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park, CA 91303, USA): Tori Spelling (6:30 p.m.)
900 Shops (900 North Michigan Avenue Chicago IL 60611): Bravo fashion guru Brad Goreski (6-9 p.m.)
Macy's State Street (111 North State Street Chicago IL 60602): Kelly Osbourne (6-8:30 p.m.)
Macy's Aventura (19535 Biscayne Boulevard Aventura Miami FL 33180): Real Housewives of Miami's Alexia Echevarria (6-7 p.m.), Real Housewives of NY's Jill Zarin (6:30-7:30 p.m.)