07-27-2017  9:40 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Organizers Announce Aug. 6 March for Freedom, Solidarity and Justice

Endorsers include Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance, VOZ Workers Rights Education Project and Council on American Islamic...

PAM Presents African American Portraits

Exhibit demonstrates diversity of the African American experience, late 1800s to 1990s ...

Humboldt Sewer Repair Project Update

Construction continues on a project repairing more than three miles of public sewer pipes ...

Augustana Lutheran Church Hosts Summer in the City Aug. 6

Free event includes BBQ, book sale, children’s games, music ...

Health Officials Warn of Spike in Heroin Overdoses

Emergency providers urge use of nalaxone, which is available without a prescription ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Welcoming Immigrants Keeps America Great

Trump’s plan to bar immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries is unlawful and un-American ...

EDITORIAL: It’s Time to Sunset the 48-Hour Rule

This week Mayor Ted Wheeler will ask Portland City Commissioners to end the hated 48-hour rule ...

Throw the Doors of Opportunity Wide Open for Our Youth

Congressional Black Caucus member Robin Kelly says it’s time to pass the “Today’s American Dream Act.” ...

Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts Threaten Civil Rights

Charlene Crowell of the Center for Responsible Lending talks about the impact of President Trump’s budget on civil rights...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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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