The games part is most definitely over as The Hunger Games saga reaches the beginning of the end in Mockingjay – Part 1, based on the first part of the final book in author Suzanne Collins’ bestselling teen sci-fi trilogy. After destroying the deathly reality show and being rescued by the leaders of insurgent District 13, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself positioned by rebelling President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and aide Plutarch Heavensbee (the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) into becoming a symbol of the movement against the totalitarian government. Meanwhile, her pal Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) has been captured and tortured by President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Again directed by Francis Lawrence, the movie also features Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Stanley Tucci.
Reported to be 78-year-old Ken Loach’s final dramatic feature, Jimmy’s Hall tells the true story of communist activist Jimmy Gralton, who in 1932 returns to his village in rural Ireland after 10 years in the US to reopen a youth center where locals are free to meet, dance, study and talk. His efforts prove popular with many, but his radical ideas attract the wrath of others. The screenplay is by regular Loach collaborator – and partner of Spanish filmmaker Iciar Bollain – Paul Laverty.
From cult director Don Coscarelli (the Phantasm series, The Beastmaster), the brazenly titled John Dies at the End is a surreal stoner comedy sci-fi horror – think Cheech and Chong meet the Men in Black – about two slackers, David and John (Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes), and a strange drug called “soy sauce” that seems to be provoking a clandestine cross-dimensional zombie invasion. Paul Giamatti also joins the wild ride as a weary journalist.
A Venice prize winner, Still Life is a British drama starring Eddie Marsan as an obsessive London council worker responsible for putting the affairs in order and tracing the nearest relatives of people who have died alone. Italian filmmaker Uberto Pasolini, producer of The Full Monty, writes and directs.
Homages to Catalonia
Featuring Sergi López, director Robert Bellsolà’s comedy Dos a la carta stars Adrià Collado and Andoni Agirregomezkorta as a city broker and country bumpkin who, after discovering they are brothers, are thrust together to run a rural Girona restaurant together.
Born is a Catalan historical drama set in Barcelona’s vanished Bornet neighborhood, which was destroyed after Bourbon troops took the city in 1714. Directed by Claudio Zulian, it stars Vicky Luengo, Marc Martínez and Josep Julien.