APART from the arrival of the final Hunger Games instalment, there isn’t a whole lot going on in silver screen land this week. That being said, this relatively low-key schedule might end up being a blessing in disguise. See, as we enter into the final days of November, cinemas across the country are preparing to host a plethora of awards hopefuls, including Steven Spielberg’s latest outing and a Johnny Depp performance apparently steeped in revitalisation.

Those are for next week though. For now, there’s The Dressmaker starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth, the latter making his first of two appearances this time out. Winslet plays the central protagonist, a dressmaker (surprise, surprise) who returns home to oversee the care of her ill mother.

The film, based on Rosalie Ham’s novel of the same name, has been in development for many years: Ham initially attempted to adapt her own work over a decade ago, but the final script was co-penned by director Jocelyn Moorhouse and P.J. Hogan. Much has been made of the film’s erratic (and potentially fun) genre-bending tone, which appears to invoke western tropes, splashes of comedy, and an arc of dramatic revenge.

Also out is The Perfect Guy, a thriller about a woman whose choice in men unwittingly invites mystery and violence into her life. Sanaa Lathan plays the lead; her portfolio includes Out of Time and Contagion, as well as voice work on the likes of Family Guy and The Cleveland Show. Next year she’ll star in the sequel to recent magician escapade, Now You See Me.

Reviews for her latest film, though, haven’t been too forthcoming with praise. Intriguingly, The Perfect Guy has done well at the worldwide box office, having taken around $60 million from a $12 million budget thus far, which may well be an indication that the movie is in fact a crowd-pleaser. Only one way to find out.


It is one of the year’s most anticipated outings and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is finally doing the cinematic rounds this week, 12 months removed from the release of its anti-blockbuster predecessor. Mockingjay – Part 1 received fairly mixed reviews, though I personally thought its more deliberate approach was both admirable and very well executed.

Francis Lawrence’s latest offering, part four of four, picks up almost exactly from where the last one left off: Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), the reluctant symbol of the rebellion, heads up a team of insurgents including best mate Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and conflicted Games partner Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) as she seeks to conquer the oppressive President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

Jennifer Lawrence once again carries much of the adaptation’s emotional weight on her back via an entirely affecting performance that is full of rage and anguish. The various characters, now plentiful following three other trips to Panem, don’t all get significant screen time, but when they do fleetingly appear there is a sense of purpose (Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee, for instance, says a whole lot with just a few simple glances).

The franchise continues to be notable for its willingness to challenge the norm and not present baseless material. Once again geopolitics are at play in the form of a propaganda-fuelled joust between two warring factions led by Snow and District 13 President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore), neither of whom are morally distinct.

It’s a rare thing, a series that primarily plays to a young adult audience and treats said audience with the utmost respect, offering them the chance to interact with bulkier themes and not just popcorn action.

When the large scale blockbuster elements do come around, we feel more indebted to the characters on screen and therefore genuinely fear for their safety. A sewer scene that involves zombie-esque monsters – not the ponderous Walking Dead type either – is particularly tense and stretches the film’s 12A rating to within an inch of its life.

It’s sad to see such a smart franchise take its final bow, especially given how The Hunger Games films have simultaneously reflected our world’s current tumultuous climate whilst also providing genuine entertainment. It might be a long time before we catch a glimpse of another equally important young adult series.