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'The Hunger Games' reviews are wide-ranging in their assessment

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Daybreak Daily’s afternoon visit to the pop-culture theatre finds the best reviews for one of the more talked-about movies in years (“The Hunger Games”), a situational update, and the mystery music video.

CREDIT: Lionsgate

VULTURE: “The audience at Monday’s packed preview of The Hunger Games came out juiced and happy, ready to spread the good word, while all I could think was, They’ve just seen a movie in which twenty-plus kids are murdered. Why aren’t they devastated? If the filmmakers had done their job with any courage, the audience would have been both juiced and devastated.” http://bit.ly/GMn1cO

ROLLING STONE: “Relax, you legions of Hunger Gamers. We have a winner. Hollywood didn't screw up the film version of Suzanne Collins' young-adult bestseller about a survival-of-the-fittest reality show that sends home all its teen contestants, save the victor, in body bags. The screen Hunger Games radiates a hot, jumpy energy that's irresistible.” http://bit.ly/GDlMmx

LOS ANGELES TIMES: “Like other strong-minded women who have driven book sales into the stratosphere — think Lisbeth Salander of the "Dragon Tattoo" triology and even Bella Swan of the "Twilight" series — ace archer Katniss Everdeen is an indomitable heroine whom nothing fazes or flusters for long. Making a successful "Hunger Games" movie out of Suzanne Collins' novel required casting the best possible performer as Katniss, and in Jennifer Lawrence director Gary Ross and company have hit the bull's-eye, so to speak.” http://lat.ms/GHYQxB

HUFFINGTON POST: “The film is exciting and goes by shockingly quickly considering it's two hours and twenty-two minutes long. But, it's more than a love triangle or an adventure film. It's a cautionary tale. We figuratively sacrifice the children of others in order to lead the lives of comfort we lead. How long could it be before we do it literally?” http://huff.to/GMhnMC

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: “The arrow hits an outer circle of the target in The Hunger Games, an amply faithful adaptation of Suzanne Collins' monster young-adult best-seller that could have used a higher blood count in more ways than one.” http://bit.ly/wtE23a

NEW YORK TIMES: “The graver problem is a disengaged performance that rarely suggests the terrors Katniss faces, including the fatalism that originally hangs on her like a shroud. What finally saves the character and film both is the image of her on the run, moving relentlessly forward.” http://nyti.ms/GFVIqr 

VARIETY: “Any real sense of risk has been carefully ironed out: The PG-13 rating that ensures the film's suitability for its target audience also blunts the impact of the teen-on-teen bloodshed, most of it rendered in quick, oblique glimpses; whether this is the morally responsible decision is open to debate. Weirdest of all: Hunger, the one constant in Katniss' hard-scrabble life, barely even seems to register.” http://bit.ly/zR1NmB

TELEGRAPH: “The Hunger Games is an essential science fiction film for our times; perhaps the essential science fiction film of our times. Whatever your age, it demands to be devoured.” http://tgr.ph/xLAtWk

WASHINGTON POST: “Like “Winter’s Bone” before it, “The Hunger Games” goes to torturous, even off-putting extremes to prove its heroine's mettle. (The movie isn’t likely to win over anyone who isn’t already enthralled by the book.)” http://wapo.st/GEQucK

INDIEWIRE: “I wouldn’t warn people away; the film’s success even may spur a better, riskier sequel (the way the third Harry Potter, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, soared above the earlier two). There isn’t anything wrong with The Hunger Games that some soul and style wouldn’t fix, but that kind of safety is not what anyone - except the film’s investors - might have hoped for.” http://bit.ly/GHl3kP

UPDATE: Despite supposed clarifications, the outlet that broke the story is sticking by its initial account, per TMZ, “The Situation is in rehab not just for prescription drugs, but also for alcohol, TMZ has learned, and this turn of events could pose big problems for next season's "Jersey Shore." Sources involved in the situation (sorry) tell us ... the Situation went through detox at a facility before he checked into Cirque Lodge in Utah, and the detox involved alcohol.” http://bit.ly/GFeslc

AND FINALLY: Today’s mystery music video. http://bit.ly/9nLRdj

--Skip Wood (Follow me on Twitter @DaybreakSkip)

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