“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1”: Not all fun and games anymore

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“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1” opens Friday at Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema and Sundance. PG-13, 2:05, three stars out of four.

Katniss Everdeen gets to shoot exactly one arrow during “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1” (although she makes it count). While “Catching Fire” essentially took the template of the first “Hunger Games” movie and made it bigger, bolder and more complex, “Mockingjay” daringly abandons the format for something bleaker and less triumphant. This is the “Empire Strikes Back” of the series, with the heroes constantly on defense — running, hiding, planning, hoping.

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“X-Men: Days of Future Past”: Mystique gets the bell-bottom blues

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“X-Men: Days of Future Past” is now playing at Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema and Sundance. 2:11, PG-13, three stars out of four.

“All those years wasted fighting each other, Charles,” Magneto (Ian McKellen) intones to Professor X (Patrick Stewart) at one point during “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” “To have a precious few back.”

I’m guessing he’s referring to around 2006, when Marvel handed the keys to the franchise to Brett Ratner and he promptly drove it into the ditch with the careless (in every sense) “X-Men: The Last Stand.” But the reboot “X-Men: First Class,” which cleverly followed the mutants’ younger selves in the early 1960s’, got the series back online.

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“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”: A sequel forever in your favor

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“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” opens Friday at Point, Eastgate, Star Cinema and Sundance. PG-13, 2:26, three and a half stars out of four.

If you want a reminder of how well “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” does what it does, make sure to get to the theater early to see the trailers for all the other young-adult films trying to emulate it. One plucky teenage girl after another fulfilling her destiny against a dystopian future — where have we seen that before?

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