The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
Despite a challenging premise and an overlong runtime, the Hunger Games prequel makes the most of the hand it’s been dealt.
The character of Coriolanus Snow is an odd choice for a Hunger Games hero. In the original books and films, as played by screen giant Donald Sutherland, Snow was a cold-hearted, cruel dictator clearly meant to echo real world fascist leaders. Here, in the prequel story The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (say that five times fast), Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) is just a sensitive, emotional teen dreamboat whose main goal is to provide for his family in the wake of the violent revolution that tore apart Panem, the country formerly known as the United States of America. Continue Reading →
Even before the internet, certain movies had reputations they didn’t quite live up to. Some, like Salo or 120 Days of Sodom, earn their mythical status as movies designed to make your skin crawl and your stomach clench. Others, like the Faces of Death series, while unpleasant to watch, were just empty, acting as a controversy delivery devices and nothing more. Others still, like William Friedkin’s Rampage, never courted outrage. But unlike those others, whatever reputation it earned before the public got a chance to see it didn’t much help. As a result, at least partially, it remains one of the more obscure releases in Friedkin’s filmography. Continue Reading →
There’s something to be said for a ramshackle film that delights in itself and doesn’t take anything especially seriously. Unfortunately, what a filmmaker and their fans find fun may read as piffle or drudgery to less dialed-in audiences. Case in point: Kaboom. Continue Reading →