The Hunger Games (2012)
Brief review: Based on Suzanne Collins' novel of the same name, "The Hunger Games" is an engrossing and smoothly-paced adaptation, that stays very true to its source material, but barely lives up to the potential of its dark and gritty premise. Still, it's a dramatically-charged story about sacrifice and bravery, with a touch of romance, led by the strength of its believable lead character. Set in a dystopian future in the country of Panem that consists of one wealthy chief city and twelve very poor, undeveloped districts, "The Hunger Games" combines the ultra-modern and avant-garde with the primitive in a very unique way. The futuristic look of the Capitol contrasts oddly with the poverty of the districts and the Robin Hood-like woods scenery, where the actual Hunger Games take place. That said, Gary Ross otherwise solid direction lack that edgy stylishness that could have made "The Hunger Games" a lot more dramatic, visually. Moreover, if you expect non-stop super-tense chases and stupendous set-pieces you may end up a bit disappointed. Yes, the action scenes are exciting, at times even electrifying, but the Hunger Games themselves never really turn into a startling spectacle. Jennifer Lawrence is undoubtedly the driving force of this film. She delivers a confident and powerful performance as the fearless Katniss Everdeen, without overpowering the capable, well-chosen supporting cast.