Hunger Games: Catching Fire had its first and only all-media screening last night at the Century City Mall.

An insider tells us, “You would have thought you were going into the White House with all the security. I’ve been to a million screenings and this one was by far the most security intense. And a word to the wise: when you see it, make sure you’re in your seat from the get go. The film starts right from the last movie, really in mid-conversation. There are no credits, nothing. So make sure you’re back from the concession stand or the bathroom and have your booty in that seat.  You do need to have seen the last film, because it is a continuance in every way, and you’ll be confused if you haven’t.

Here goes: our fearless heroine, Katniss, (Jennifer Lawrence) continues to shine, and that’s putting in mildly. Really folks, is there anything our Jennifer can’t do?  She’s the Katherine Hepburn/Meryl Streep of this generation. This melodramatic saga is her story from beginning to end. Lawrence is surrounded by mega talent, for sure — stalwarts from the past flick including Stanley TucciLenny KravitzElizabeth Banks and Donald Sutherland. Now in Fire, there are some cool new faces: Philip Seymour Hoffman, who rocks every scene; Jeffrey WrightAmanda PlummerToby Jones and more.

The story is what we all know: Katniss and Peta (Josh Hutcherson) won the Hunger Games. They are miserable now, though, and can’t stand their celebrity. They are paraded around endlessly. To add to this, Katniss is in love with Gale (Liam Hemsworth), who is not in the film as much as the female audience would want, but still uses his on-screen time wisely.  The film takes off from there, and is a wild, wild ride.

Bottom line, folks: this is the Katniss show. Lawrence is well up to the task, she carries the film on her brave shoulders.  And the end! Wow! We are not going to spoil it, but even the most jaded film-goers will be solidly impressed. My media friends and I were kind of speechless. Listen, this movie is going to make a zillion dollars. And it should. Well done.


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