The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1

Likely the most self-reflexive blockbuster of 2014, this third installment of the Hunger Games series considers the creation of mass spectacle and how different groups employ the same showbiz tactics to advance different political aims. The story finds Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), once the pawn in a dystopian government’s propaganda spectacle, joining forces with a revolutionary army, which turns her into the mascot of their rebellion. It’s remarkably cynical for a movie aimed at young adult audiences, presenting both politicians and revolutionaries as hypocrites more concerned with public image and consolidating power than with politics. The cynicism is never really convincing, though, since the filmmakers are in the business of creating mass spectacle themselves. In any case, the impressive supporting cast (which features Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Jeffrey Wright, and Woody Harrelson) keeps this highly watchable. Francis Lawrence directed.