02-24-2018  7:52 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Breaking Bread Breaking Barriers, Feb. 26

Monthly dinner aims to build relationships between communities of color and police ...

Local Group Researches African American Ancestry

This Genealogical Forum of Oregon special interest group holds monthly meetings ...

Last Day to Apply for Affordable Housing is Feb. 22

Longtime and displaced residents of N/NE Portland receive preference for new housing, apply before midnight Thursday ...

NAACP Announces Key Partnerships

Voter mobilization for 2018 midterm elections takes precedence among issues uniting groups ...

Winter Donations Needed, Warming Centers Open Through Thursday

Locals encouraged to check on neighbors, winter gear needed ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Painting President Obama's Portrait Was Life-Changing

Artist Kehinde Wiley represented the president's life using color, composition and flowers ...

Raising Emotionally Competent Children

Lynnette Monroe on how her grandparents taught her to love herself ...

Black Dollars Matter: The Sales Impact of Black Consumers

Black consumers are spending jumi.2 trillion annually and are demanding that brands speak to them in ways that resonate...

Guest Opinion: Skipper Osborne’s Testimony on HB 4005

In testimony to legislature, Osborne says bill could decrease access to important therapies ...

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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