(On Cable TV, December 2014) There are few surprises in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. If you’ve read the Suzanne Collins book, it’s a pretty faithful adaptation. If you haven’t, then it’s a straight continuation of the previous film, with somewhat better direction by Francis Lawrence and a structure that consciously echoes the first film… before breaking out of it. Jennifer Lawrence continues to be the anchor of the series, while Josh Huchinson does his best to stay out of the way. The background details of that imagined future still don’t make sense, and the story gradually picks up steam until it sparks into the long-awaited insurrection. Otherwise, though, it’s serviceable without being particularly memorable. It sets down the necessary element required for the sequel. If that’s less than enthusiastic as a reaction, it’s largely because there’s a glut of such young-adult films all crowding the marketplace and their cynical intentions are only too apparent. It is what it is, though, and as far as execution is concerned, this second volume is competent enough, with just a bit more spark to it than the first film. Bring on the third and fourth movies… it’ll have to end at some point.