'Catching Fire,' out Friday, catches fire
For some of us, the idea of kids killing other kids for pleasure and political expedience reeks of cynicism and downright perversion, but fans should find "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" — available Friday on home video — a superlative advancement of the franchise.
Director Francis Lawrence ("I Am Legend"), taking the reins from Gary Ross, smoothly steers the characters through their latest course of depredations and abuse, allowing plenty of moments to sit back and groove on the eye candy. Everyone hits their marks with gusto and believability — even Liam Hemsworth, who has next to nothing to do as Katniss' hometown squeeze. But the engine of the entire operation is Jennifer Lawrence, who in Katniss has found a character that chimes perfectly with her persona as an earthy, blunt-speaking ingenue suddenly thrust into a world of celebrity and media-fueled idol worship.
The DVD (Lionsgate, $30) includes commentary and deleted scenes, while the Blu-ray ($40) adds a nine-part, feature-length making-of documentary.
Colin Covert says: "Catching Fire" is the new "The Empire Strikes Back," a smashing sci-fi sequel that takes its blockbuster franchise into deeper, smarter, more dramatically engaging territory.
Movies: "The Grandmaster," "Hours," "Oldboy," "12 Years a Slave."
TV: "Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor," "Untold History of the United States."
Blu-ray: "The Agony and the Ecstasy," "An American Tail," "Big Fat Liar," "Somewhere in Time."
Set your life to music
Smartphone users have gotten into the habit of taking snaps to share favorite memories. But what about snips?
Snippit, a free audio app for iOS devices, allows users to pull 4- to 10-second clips from songs in their iTunes libraries to share with captions and pictures. (Users can also pull from 30-second samples on the iTunes store.) The app will work with users' Facebook or Twitter accounts, or they can opt to keep their updates on the Snippit network.
The app is a fun way to add a little extra something to the memories you record on your smartphone and moves us a little closer to realizing our secret desire to live a life that comes with a soundtrack.
Top 10 PC games
1. "Our Darker Purpose"
2. "The Banner Saga"
3. "Broken Age: Act One"
6. "Might & Magic X: Legacy"
8. "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance"
9. "The Walking Dead: Season Two — Episode 1: All That Remains"