Scott Marks 9:04 a.m., March 2
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Katniss Everdeen won her murder tournament in The Hunger Games. Now she has to deal with the aftermath. Once again, the best reason for seeing a Hunger Games movie is star Jennifer Lawrence, whose protean, Old Hollywood visage brings to mind the line about how They Had Faces Then. And once again, the second best reason is the just-committed-enough supporting cast: Stanley Tucci as the game show host from hell, Elizabeth Banks as Lawrence's style-is-life handler, Donald Sutherland as the quietly wicked President Snow, and now, Philip Seymour Hoffman as the strategy-happy head gamemaker. (Woody Harrelson is fun to watch, but not nearly dissipated enough as the alcohol-soaked mentor.) The worst reasons? The soggy romantic entanglements, followed closely by the CGI-ridden Games themselves. Director Francis Lawrence (Water for Elephants) brings a steadier hand to the proceedings than his predecessor, and there's some fun political playmaking, but the series still stumbles over its brutal, bloody centerpiece. 2013.