Friday, December 19, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

My View:  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) PG-13  When we last left Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), things were in dire straits.  Smaug the dragon (Benedict Cumberbatch) had been awakened and released into the world.  Gandalf had been imprisoned, and the dwarves had been separated. Now, Bilbo and the gang  will have to fight off Smaug and a number of combatants from acquiring a massive fortune and keep Middle-Earth free.  This isn't a bad film - it's quite enjoyable, but it doesn't match the scope or punch of the Lord of the Rings films. The film never gives you the big emotional moment you want from a finale, and there are too many "video game" like action sequences. I did enjoy the 3-D effects, and the battle sequences are spectacular (Better, more descriptive word?).  There is a great scene involving some larger than life animals that make the film fun to watch. I just wanted more from the film.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Website
Indiefest:  Foxcatcher (2014) R Mark (Channing Tatum) and Doug Schultz (Mark Ruffalo)  are both Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestlers.  Mark is struggling to make a living, and when the wealthy heir to the Du Pont fortune, John du Pont (Steve Carell), calls him out of the blue to train on his estate, it seems like a godsend.  What should have been a great experience, quickly turns bad and could have disastrous results.  One of the best films of the year! Unbelievable performances by the three main cast members.  Many are talking about Carell's performance as the weirdly creepy du Pont, and it's a great performance, but I loved Channing Tatum as the slow-witted, easily controlled Mark. I think it's the best Tatum has ever done and shows he has great range. Not to be outdone, Ruffalo is amazing as the older, much savvier Doug.  The film slowly builds tension to the final outcome.  A fascinating look at how power and money can overwhelm common sense and can corrupt even the best intentions.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again  Foxcatcher Website 
My View:  Night at the Museum: The Secret of the Tomb (2014) PG The Tablet of Ahkmenrah, which brings all the museum exhibits to life at night, is slowly losing its power.  Larry (Ben Stiller) with the help of his son Nicky (Skyler Gisondo), take Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Jedidiah the cowboy (Owen Wilson), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Octavius (Steve Coogan), Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck) and Dexter the Capuchin monkey to London to try and restore its powers. This film will probably be the last of the series, and they should have stopped after the second one.  This film feels very tired, the actors seem to be just going through the motions and the jokes are all repeats from the other two films. There is a scene near the end of the film with the late Robin Williams that will make some audience members shed a tear or two.  But it's not worth sitting through to get to that moment.   My Rating: Cable  Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Website
Forgotten Film:  Christmas in Connecticut (1945) Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is the most famous food writer in the country, writing about her idyllic life on her farm as she creates some of the most amazing meals while taking care of her husband and child. The problem is Elizabeth is single and lives in a small New York apartment, where the most she does in preparing a meal is dial for takeout. Her publisher has decided to give a returning war hero a Christmas he will never forget, one at Elizabeth Lane’s country farm. Stanwyck’s character was loosely based on a real magazine writer, Gladys Taber, who lived on a farm in Connecticut. This is a warm and funny movie with Stanwyck at her best.  The film has a great supporting cast, and it’s one of the better Christmas films out there.  My Rating: Full Price  Christmas in Connecticut Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb:  Laa prosthetics makeup FX

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near you:  Cake (2014)  Claire (Jennifer Aniston) investigates a suicide of a member of her support group.  As she delves into the woman's life, she begins to tackle demons of her own.  Many critics are saying that Aniston will get an Oscar nomination for her gritty but humorous portrayal.  Cake Info
Until Next Time!

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