New movies this week
The Hunger Games
The gist: Twenty-four teenagers must fight to the death in a dystopian future North America in a literary cross between 1984, Ender's Game, The Running Man and the Sweet Valley High series. Except Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield probably never had to kill anyone with a bow and arrow (Read more on Page 27). PG-13
The cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz and Donald Sutherland.
The buzz: Speaking of Ender's Game, here's hoping that adaptation of a sci-fi series about children killing each other is half as good as this one sounds (although the critics who hated it really hated it). "The Hunger Games has epic spectacle, yearning romance, suspense that won't quit and a shining star in Jennifer Lawrence," Rolling Stone crows.
The gist: A young woman with medical problems discovers she's adopted and sets off to find her birth mother, before she's carted off to the Hunger Games in Panem. Just kidding. Seriously though, she was adopted. PG-13
The cast: Rachel Hendrix, Jason Burkey, John Schneider, Jasmine Guy and Tracy Miller.
The buzz: A serious pro-life message overshadows even a poorly made drama like this. "The film as a whole is amateurish and ungainly, can't find a consistent tone, is too long, is overladen with music that tries to paraphrase the story and is photographed with too many beauty shots that slow the progress," the Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert says. — Joshua Gillin firstname.lastname@example.org