Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

My View:  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)  Set sixty years before “The Lord of the Rings,” a Hobbit named, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), is picked by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to journey across Middle Earth with thirteen Dwarves to reclaim their homeland from a giant dragon. I think the biggest problem with the film is that it tries to show too much - as if Director Peter Jackson tries to capture and film everything that happens in the book. Films based on books usually have to be cut back, because they would just be too long, but Jackson seems determined to make three films out of one single book. The film is way to lengthy, at times looks like a video game, and just doesn't quite have the soul and majesty of the Lord of the Rings films. I liked Martin Freeman as Bilbo, a sort of everyman's Hobbit, but there really isn't a standout Dwarf in the film like in the Rings films where so many distinct characters created such a rich character-based film.  I was excited to see the creepy Gollum again (the character from Lord of the Rings) but alas, his part, while important, is small in a very long film. I also didn't like the 48 Frames Per Second look of the film as it gave almost an HD TV look to.  Check your theater's website to determine if it's being shown chains in HFR for High Frame Rate. The film was shot in 3-D and it is worth it to see it in that format.  Overall this is an enjoyable adventure film, but just doesn't measure up to the Rings Trilogy.   My Rating: Full Price    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Website
Indiefest:  Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)  Set in 1939, this film is about the love affair between President FDR (Bill Murray) and his distant cousin, Margaret Stuckley (Laura Linney). The backdrop of the film is the coming to America of King George IV (Samuel West) and the historic meeting at Hyde Park between the Roosevelt's and the King/Queen of England. This is an interesting film, especially since we get to see the behind-the-scenes workings of the FDR White House and how the press and others treated Roosevelt being confined to a wheel chair. While I liked Murray's performance (he has the smile down pat, but not the voice of FDR), it's Linney, as his shy distant cousin, whom we see grow more confident as she spends more and more time under the spell of FDR. While it's not the level of another historical drama about a President (Lincoln), it is a film that is enjoyable to watch.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Hyde Park on Hudson Website
The 50 (A Movie From My Best/Worst Film of All Time)
#11 Worst Film
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot  (1992)  Anytime the words comedy and Sylvester Stallone are mentioned, you should run the other way. Golden Girl Estelle Getty plays his mom who gets involved with a case that her son is working on and high jinks abound. Look!  His mom has a gun as big as she is! Stallone considers this the worst film in his career, so that says a lot.    Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot Info
Forgotten Film:  Explorers  (1985)  Ben (Ethan Hawke) is obsessed with space travel and aliens and reads comics and watches old B-movie sci-fi films. One night, he dreams of a circuit board, and, with the help of his friend, Wolfgang (River Phoenix), they set out to build not only the board but the spaceship they are convinced will take them to space. Will the ship fly and what will they find when they get into outer space? This film is about taking chances and the will to live your dreams. Hawke and Phoenix are perfect as the two mismatched boys who get together to create the impossible. My Rating: Bargain Matinee    Explorers Info
In Case You Missed it (A Film Just Released on DVD):  The Bourne Legacy (2012) I like Jeremy Renner taking over the Bourne films as I think he makes a credible action star. The plot, though, is confusing, and takes place at the same time the last Matt Damon Bourne film is happening, but the final chase sequence leaves much to be desired.  The film seems to end abruptly and left me unsatisfied.   My Rating: Cable    The Bourne Legacy Website
In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I've Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea)Texas Chainsaw 3D  (2013)  Okay, there is only one Texas Chainsaw film that is worth seeing, and that's the original 1974 film. This looks a lot like a Saw knock-off but with Leatherface.   Texas Chainsaw 3D Website
Weird Credits: From the credits of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Equine horse make up artist
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Quartet  (2012)  Directed by Dustin Hoffman, this film stars Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly and Tom Courtenay as residents of a retired musician's home. The annual fundraising concert is disrupted by the arrival of Jean (Maggie Smith), an Opera diva who is the former wife of one of the residents. Think The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel but set in Great Britain and with music.    Quartet Info
Until Next Time!

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