The Hunger Games
With the Harry Potter series finally milked bone-dry and the Twilight franchise one two-part chapter away from the DVD dust-bins, Hollywood adopted The Hunger Games as its latest Young Adult cash cow. And while fans of the novel mustered their nervous excitement and critics rolled back their "not again" glances, few expected the movie to be anything more than a stylish adventure flick, let alone a wonderfully directed, smartly depicted film.But The Hunger Games proved to be one of the year's biggest surprises, providing audiences of any age with a thrilling tale of teen-vs-teen in a dystopian future's macabre Olympics. Director Gary Ross elevated the material beyond it's mere check-cashing potential into a rich world brimming with engaging characters, emotional encounters and pulse-pounding action sequences. All of which leaves us excited for the release of Catching Fire later next year.