Director: Gary Ross
Year Released: 2012
Everyone's said it, but I'll just repeat it: this is Suzanne Collins' mash-up of The Most Dangerous Game, Battle Royale and Logan's Run but with a strong female lead. Dirt-poor Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers - in her sister's place - to participate in some grueling blood-sport in which 24 teens are forced every year to go into a simulated woodland area (actually North Carolina!) and murder each other until only one is left standing (and I thought high school gym class was brutal). This exists for purely mindless entertainment only: thinking about the psychological motivations or countless contrivances (my favorite is the sudden change in rules midway through that allows two people from the same district to survive; what, nothing similar ever happened in the 74 years the Games took place?) will only lead one to completely dismiss this as popcorn junk (which it is), so it's best experienced with an empty, juvenile mind. Ross cuts around the violence to make it some kind of blur - the desire for a PG-13 (to rake in teen cash at the box office) overwhelms any kind of artistic honesty. Some have indicated that this is some kind of criticism of the Iraq Occupation (?), to which I can only add: poppycock!