11-21-2017  9:35 am      •     
MLK Breakfast
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NEWS BRIEFS

SEI, Sunshine Division Offer Thanksgiving Meals to Families in Need

Turkeys are being provided to fill 200 Thanksgiving food boxes for SEI families ...

NAACP Portland Monthly Meeting Nov. 18

Monthly general membership meeting takes place on Saturday, 12 - 2 p.m. ...

Multnomah County Animal Services Waives Adoption Fees Nov. 17

Special runs from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday ...

Fitzpatrick Presents 'Pathway 1000' Plan Before City Council

Plan would restore involuntary displacement by building 80 homes per year ...

Sisters Network to Hold Monthly Meeting Nov. 11

Meeting to take place Saturday morning at June Key Delta Center ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Local Author Visits North Portland Library

Renee Watson teaches students and educators about the power of writing ...

Is the FBI’s New Focus on “Black Identity Extremists” the New COINTELPRO?

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.) talks about the FBI’s misguided report on “Black Identity Extremism” and negative Facebook ads. ...

ACA Enrollment Surging, Even Though It Ends Dec. 15

NNPA contributing writer Cash Michaels writes about enrollment efforts ...

Blacks Often Pay Higher Fees for Car Purchases than Whites

Charlene Crowell explains why Black consumers often pay higher fees than White consumers, because of “add-on” products. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Kam Williams

Despite only being introduced in 2008, The Hunger Games trilogy has so captured the collective imagination of kids the world over that it has already eclipsed Harry Potter as the best-selling children’s book series of all time. Suzanne Collins’ post-apocalyptic adventure is set in Panem, a disturbing dystopia marked by the brutal subjugation of the overwhelmingly-poor majority by the very powerful, privileged few.

                In the first installment, heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) grudgingly participated in a winner-take-all death match against other teens, each representing his or her home district. Known as the Hunger Games, the annual competition is staged as entertainment ostensibly designed to distract the masses from their pitiful plight.

                Wise beyond her years, underdog Katniss emerged triumphant at the end of the first episode by virtue of a combination of craftiness, compassion and her skills as an archer. However, she did break a cardinal rule by sparing the life of her co-winner, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), her friend and male counterpart from District 12.

                At the second installment’s point of departure, we find the pair embarking on a government-sponsored victory tour around the country. However, when their speeches stir up revolutionary fervor in the crowds, a vindictive President Snow (Donald Sutherland) breaks a promise by drafting them to take part in the Quarter Quell, a tournament of champions comprised entirely of former Hunger Games winners.

                So, it’s not long before they’re back in training for another free-for-all, this time engaging elite opponents blessed with gifts ranging from fang-like teeth to uncanny intuition to chameleon-like camouflage to the ability to harness electricity. Each of the entrants, known as tributes, is introduced by Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci), the festivities’ unctuous master of ceremonies.

                Once the pomp and circumstance of the decadent opening ritual are out of the way, the relatively-gruesome main event begins. Allegiances are forged, and bargains are made, followed by literal and figurative backstabbing in a desperate contest which ultimately mandates a cruel betrayal of any loyalties.

                For all its frenetic action, this uneventful installment nevertheless suffers slightly from a classic case of inbetweenie-itis, since it basically serves as a bridge to the trilogy’s exciting conclusion. A water-treading sequel that achieves its goal of satiating the fans’ bloodlust while whetting their appetite for the franchise’s grand finale.

Very Good (3 stars)

PG-13 for profanity, intense violence, frightening images, mature themes and a suggestive situation

Running time: 146 minutes

Distributor: Lionsgate Films 

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