This Week at the Movies: ‘Mockingjay Part 2,’ ‘Carol’

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This week’s new theatrical releases are small in number, but mighty in importance: the conclusion of one of the era’s biggest franchises, one of the best indie movies of the year, one of the best documentaries of the fall, and… another one.

  • The 800-lb gorilla this weekend is, of course, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2. Reviews for this one have been a bit more mixed than previous chapters, with some critics complaining about the dour tone and (understandably) the continuing scourge of turning the last book of a series into two movies. But your film editor found it a satisfying conclusion, and another testimonial to the endless powers of Jennifer Lawrence. Read our review here, and some thoughts on the series’ gender politics here. (In wide release.)
  • And if there’s a Hunger Games for indie movie fans, it’s probably Carol, the highly anticipated, widely acclaimed new film from the great Todd Haynes. Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s pseudonymous novel The Price of Salt, Haynes’ story of two women tenuously embarking on a relationship amidst the pressures and prejudices of 1950s New York is a gorgeous, moving, brilliant film; read our review here, and our report from Haynes’ talk at this year’s New York Film Festival. (In limited release.)
  • With that kind of competition in the marketplace, you can’t blame distributors for mostly steering clear this weekend—or burying the releases they’re less confident in. Universal went so far as to schedule Legend’s New York media screening at the exact same time as Mockingjay’s; newbie distributor STX Entertainment may’ve figured their Chiwetel Ejiofor/Nicole Kidman/Julia Roberts-fronted Secret In Their Eyes could play as counter-programming for grown-ups, which might’ve worked, if it were good. It’s not. Read our review here. (In wide release.)
  • And finally, if you’re in New York, get thee to Film Forum for Democrats, a startlingly insightful and occasionally harrowing documentary peek at the political process in Zimbabwe—and, frankly, most everywhere. Read about it in this month’s indie guide. (In limited release.)