Bottom Line: A sharply written, expertly acted, intensely nerve-wracking and intriguingly structured, post apocalyptic flick that’s sure to please both readers of the three book series as well as the casual moviegoer (Mrs. Brian the Movie Guy glowingly called it the best page-to-screen adaptation she’s ever seen – and gave it an 'A'). Minor flaws aside - I had a few nagging questions that will hopefully be covered in the continuing saga - this LORD OF THE FLIES meets THE TRUMAN SHOW by way of Schwarzenegger’s THE RUNNING MAN hybrid is completely accessible to both genders (unlike the awful cinematic incarnations of TWILIGHT). The first round of HUNGER GAMES may fill your belly – but loosen your belt ‘cause you’ll wantingly crave seconds and thirds!
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hensworth, Woofy Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Lenny Kravitz and Donald Sutherland
Directed by: Gary Ross (SEABISCUIT and PLEASANTVILLE)
Running time: 142 minutes
Story: Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which "Tributes" must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she's ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. (Lionsgate)