Rockaway Reviews

 Rockaway Reviews

By Lucas Battista

“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

Beneath the veneer of an expectedly over-stylized and flamboyant picture is a watery, flaccid plot, with characters so shallow that the movie itself becomes reminiscent of the Capitol’s caricatured denizens.

The newest addition to the Hunger Games saga, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (streaming on Hulu+, and starring Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Josh Andrés Rivera, Peter Dinklage, and Hunter Schafer) has made for an unserviceable and weak prequel. Essentially, we are supposed to be witnessing the first of the Hunger Games, with a young Coriolanus Snow as the protégé of its nefarious gamemaster (Viola Davis), who’s meant to guide Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler)- one of the “tributes.”

We are given a very tight window into the world that it paints, and the finale is horribly rushed and fractured. None of it is emotionally evocative whatsoever. The only redeeming aspects were the fantastic costuming and colorful sets, but for a two-hour and thirty-eight-minute runtime, it’s Swiss cheese. Movies suffering from weak, un-cathartic third acts are by no means an uncommon phenomenon. Hell, “Lawrence of Arabia” as great as it is, starts to lose grip at a seemingly triumphant denouement. The problem is we, as the audience, are supposed to have some kind of emotional investment in a young President Snow, and without disclosing too many details, his descent into evil is completely lame and unnecessarily expedited. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to my dog’s fire hydrant.


“Society of the Snow”

The movie is a long and dynamic reel of ingenuity, integrity, and hope against seemingly unending disaster.

“Society of the Snow” (streaming on Netflix, and starring Enzo Vogrincic Roldán, Matías Recalt, Agustín Pardella, and Diego Vegezzi) is a stark and candid depiction of the events that occurred during and following the crash of Flight 571 in the Andes. Described by one of the survivors, Numa Turcatti (Enzo Vogrincic) as a miracle to some, and a nightmare to others, we are shown in living color how solid the human spirit really is.

Even after the initial crash, after loved ones are torn to pieces before their eyes, after flattened limbs and men turned into icicles, after the remaining passengers are enveloped in an avalanche, and after the Chilean air force’s search is called off, the survivors do not just give up hope, but thrive off of their grim predicament. They devise machines and networks and systems that satiate their needs, both immediate and seemingly distant comfort.

At the very end, after all we are shown, after they send a party to galivant across the snow into bleak wilderness, after some of the most terrible horrors any person could ever endure have occurred, a helicopter returns to their rescue. Before they board it, the survivors take pictures of each other and collect souvenirs, cherishing their stay in what was seemingly a cold hell. Their spirit, still unshattered.

I’d absolutely recommend this film. It sticks intently to what it sets out to do with mechanical precision.

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