THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Review

by     Posted 3 days ago

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At one point in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Dwalin (Graham McTavish) tells a greedy, paranoid Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), “You are lesser now than you have ever been.”  The same could be said to director and co-writer Peter Jackson and the conclusion of his prequel trilogy.  In an interview with EW earlier this year, Jackson stressed that it was important to keep cutting back to main characters during the action scenes, “otherwise the audience gets battle fatigue.”  He should have taken his own advice as this trilogy is clearly spent and left with almost nothing but hollow spectacle, hypocrisy, poor characterization, and at times becoming an outright embarrassment.  If The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of cinema’s best, then Battle of the Five Armies cements The Hobbit trilogy as one of its most disappointing.

16 New THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Images Highlight Familiar, Battle-Worn Faces

by     Posted 17 days ago

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The final push towards the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is in full swing.  We’ve already seen a collection of new images and the first clip, and now Warner Bros. has released some additional, more revealing The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies images that evoke a somber, dark tone.  The first reviews for the film are mostly quite positive, with many singling out The Battle of the Five Armies as the best of the Hobbit trilogy.  That’s certainly encouraging to hear, and with Peter Jackson revealing that there will be around 30 minutes of additional footage on the Extended Edition, fans should rest easy when hearing that the theatrical cut of The Battle of the Five Armies is also the shortest Middle-earth film yet at 144 minutes.

Check out the intriguing new The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies images after the jump.  The film stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard ArmitageEvangeline LillyLuke EvansBenedict CumberbatchStephen FryCate BlanchettIan HolmChristopher LeeHugo WeavingKen StottJames Nesbitt, and Orlando Bloom.  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

New Full-Length THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Trailer Teases Massive Spectacle, Big Emotion

by     Posted 43 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a new The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer for the final chapter in Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy.  The film concludes the Hobbit saga as five armies descend upon the Lonely Mountain in order to claim its now unguarded treasure, and it also acts as as prelude to Jackson’s other J.R.R. Tolkein trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.  With the release a little over a month away and the final visual effects shots coming in, this trailer goes big on the spectacle.  This thing looks absolutely massive, but there’s a strong focus on emotion and hot tempers as well, as Thorin’s desire to reclaim his people’s mountain trumps anything that stands in his way.  And yet, I still can’t shake how much CG is involved.  The film is at least 60% animated feature, and the all-CG creatures aren’t threatening in the least (one looks like a giant baby).  My hope is that the live-action character work is strong enough to overcome the “fake” feeling, but seeing as how most of the film takes place during the titular epic battle, I’m not exactly holding my breath.

Check out the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer after the jump.  The film stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando BloomThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

The Onslaught of THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Posters and Banners Continues

by     Posted 65 days ago

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Have you had enough of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies posters and banners yet?  Of course not!  Science shows that unless a movie has at least 23 posters, it will drastically underperform at the box office.  Thankfully, in addition to all of the other posters Warner Bros. has recently released for the movie, we now have three more posters along with three banners.  With this many posters and banners, how can you not see this movie?

Hit the jump to check out the new posters and banners.  The film stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, and Luke Evans with Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug.  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in 2D, 3D, HFR 3D, and IMAX 3D on December 17th.

The Parade of THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Posters Continues with a Close-Up on Gandalf

by     Posted 73 days ago

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Yesterday, we got a The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies poster for Bilbo (Martin Freeman), and today we’re getting one for Gandalf (Ian McKellen).  Warner Bros. loves doing character posters, and we can expect plenty more for this movie, especially since there are so many dwarves whose names we still don’t know because they’re basically background to set pieces.  I will say that I’m glad we got to see McKellen play Gandalf again, and I hope this conclusion gives him another chance to shine.

Hit the jump to check out the new The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies poster.  The film also stars Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, Luke Evans, and Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug.  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in 2D, 3D, HFR 3D, and IMAX 3D on December 17th.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Trailer and Poster: Peter Jackson’s Trilogy Concludes in Epic Fashion

by     Posted 144 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released the first The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer for the final chapter in Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy.  This is the trailer they showed us at Comic-Con on Saturday, and it’s interesting to see how the prequel trilogy is trying to pull into The Lord of the Rings by using “The Steward of Gondor”, which was sung by Pippin (Billy Boyd) in The Return of the King.  The song still works here because it’s sad and somber, but the line that sticks with me from this trailer is when Thorin asks his company, “Will you follow me one last time?”  It’s a line that’s really directed towards the audience, but there’s a weariness to it that’s surprising.  It’s almost like saying, “Well, we’ve already come this far.  May as well finish it out.”

Check out the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer and new poster after the jump, and click here to read our full Comic-Con panel recap.  The film stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando BloomThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

New THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Image Featuring Ian McKellen and Luke Evans

by     Posted 155 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a new The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies image ahead of the film’s big presentation at Comic-Con next week.  In the conclusion to the trilogy, Smaug and an army of Orcs descend on the Lonely Mountain, and elves, men, and dwarves must unite to save Middle-earth.  Since Smaug and the orcs are all CGI, this image focuses on the flesh-and-blood characters of Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Bard (Luke Evans) whose stunned faces are presumably looking at things that are still in post-production.

Hit the jump to check out the image.  The film also stars Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, John Bell, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Graham McTavish, Michael Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Ken Stott, and Aidan Turner.  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in 2D, 3D, HFR 3D, and IMAX 3D on December 17th.

First MR. HOLMES Image Reveals Ian McKellen as the Legendary Detective

by     Posted 163 days ago

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The first Mr. Holmes image has arrived, revealing Ian McKellen as a 93-year-old iteration of author Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detective Sherlock Holmes.  Previously titled A Slight Trick of the Mind, the film is being directed by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Kinsey) and takes place in 1947, where Holmes is now living in retirement with his housekeeper and her amateur-sleuthing son.  Holmes is haunted by a cold case from fifty years ago, and sets out to solve it once and for all without his dear Watson at his side.  McKellen shared the first image of himself in costume on his Twitter, and while it’s not the best quality, it’s certainly exciting to see the versatile performer tackling such an iconic role.

Hit the jump to get a look at the debut Mr. Holmes image.  The film also stars Laura Linney.

Here’s a Look at That X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Deleted Scene Featuring Rogue and Magneto

by     Posted 210 days ago

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When the cast for X-Men: Days of Future Past was getting announced and more and more original castmembers were confirmed to be returning, some fans wondered how director Bryan Singer was going to fit so many characters into one film.  As many surmised, the primary focus of Days of Future Past is on the First Class characters in the 1970s, with a frame story set up in the Sentinel-overrun future.  As Singer and editor John Ottman were working to refine the movie, it was inevitable that some material was going to be cut, and screenwriter Simon Kinberg previously confirmed that a sequence involving the future-set rescue of Anna Paquin’s Rogue was cut.

Now that the film has hit theaters and we’ve had a chance to see what made the finished film, we can see that this deleted Rogue sequence was actually teased in the very first trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past.  The full scene will likely be on the Blu-ray, but for now we’ve screengrabbed the image and included the video after the jump, along with Kinberg’s description of the scene in question and why it was cut. 

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Review

by     Posted 211 days ago

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As I’ve re-watched all of the X-Men movies over the past week, it’s been a little difficult to nail down a common theme, especially since two of them are spin-offs.  Ignoring the Wolverine movies, the plots are similar: mutants-vs-humans mixed with mutants-vs-mutants with an emphasis on how to deal with persecution.  Xavier always wants peace, but from Magneto’s perspective, he’s tried assimilation (X-Men), annihilation (X2), mobilization (X-Men: The Last Stand), and retribution (X-Men: First Class).  But thus far we’ve only seen a nebulous notion of “Peace Is Good” from Professor X.  X-Men: Days of Future Past brings substance to Xavier’s beliefs and brings a new characteristic to the series: salvation.  Although this approach mostly removes the ensemble aspect I’ve enjoyed in these movies, the latest X-Men has the most admirable values thus far.  And while the action, pacing, and visuals aren’t quite as sharp as a couple of the other movies, director Bryan Singer has still managed to reclaim the series’ past, present, and future.

“Born into a World Divided”: Matt Revisits X-MEN: THE LAST STAND

by     Posted 215 days ago

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[With X-Men: Days of Future Past opening on Friday, I'm taking a look back at the X-Men movie franchise.  These reviews contain spoilers.]

Even if Bryan Singer had returned to direct the third X-Men movie, X2 would have been a tough act to follow.  However, he hinted at a clear path forward, or at least enough of a hint that it allowed fans to imagine what could have been.  When Singer decided to direct Superman Returns instead, he left a sequel in limbo.  Fox was going to move forward with or without him, and it was a bumpy road just to put someone in the director’s chair let alone find a way to get the right script.  Even with these issues, X-Men: The Last Stand isn’t a disaster.  If X2 didn’t exist and this was the direct sequel to 2000′s X-Men, it would be on par.  But X2 raised expectations, and in The Last Stand‘s attempt to pursue two potentially great plotlines, it reduces the impact of both.

“Evolution Leaps Forward”: Matt Revisits X2

by     Posted 216 days ago

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[With X-Men: Days of Future Past opening on Friday, I'm taking a look back at the X-Men movie franchise.  These reviews contain spoilers.]

If X-Men (and to a lesser extent Blade) had reopened the door for superhero movies, Spider-Man blew the door off its hinges.  It became the first movie to ever make over $100 million over a single weekend, and the movie was unabashedly colorful and comic book in its origins.  Sam Raimi‘s movie may not be perfect, but it knew exactly what it wanted to be, and audiences embraced it.  As for Bryan Singer, X-Men was a hit.  It was the ninth-highest grossing film of 2000 and received positive reviews.  Keep in mind that he did this after losing six months of production time.

Now with X2 the director had found the characters, established the world, and had the financial and creative freedom to let loose.

“The Key to Our Evolution”: Matt Revisits X-MEN

by     Posted 217 days ago

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[With X-Men: Days of Future Past opening on Friday, May 23rd, I'm taking a look back at the X-Men movie franchise.  These reviews contain spoilers.]

I’ll always have a soft spot for X-Men.  They had a huge impact on my life.  I still remember watching the first episode of the animated series with I was eight-years-old, and from there I went down a very geeky road.  I collected the X-Men cards, constantly tried and failed at drawing X-Men, and even attempted to keep up with the comics, although I could never quite get hooked.  Before the X-Men, I knew Superman and Batman from their live-action series, but the X-Men changed my perception of what superheroes could be and do.

Cut forward eight years later, and the X-Men were now coming to a theater near me.  The mutants were here to save the day and make way for a geekier tomorrow even if they weren’t quite sure how to do it.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 227 days ago

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The prospect of Peter Jackson directing an adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit was an exciting one.  After all, this was the guy behind the brilliant Lord of the Rings trilogy, and now he had even more advanced technology at his fingertips to bring Tolkein’s world to life.  That excitement, however, was dampened by the release of the first film in Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, as the result was a bloated, CG-filled disappointment that seemed to relish in meandering instead of advancing the plot.  The sequel, then, was released to significantly lowered expectations, and while Jackson’s second film is an improvement over An Unexpected Journey, it still carries many of the same faults.  Hit the jump for my The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Blu-ray review.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Writer/Producer Simon Kinberg Talks Deleted Scenes and Anna Paquin

by     Posted 241 days ago

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At WonderCon this past weekend, Steve sat down with Simon Kinberg to talk about the writer/producer’s high-profile projects.  Among Kinberg’s slate of films is X-Men: Days of Future Past, which opens next month.  During their conversation, Kinberg talked about deleted scenes as well as what’s happening with Anna Paquin being in the film.  Four months ago, director Bryan Singer said her scenes had landed on the cutting room floor, but last week a representative for 20th Century Fox said she was still in the movie.  Attempting to clear up the confusion, Steve asked Kinberg about it point blank.  Kinberg replied, “She’s not in the big main sub-plot that we shot with her in it. That’s all I can say.”  When pressed to answer if she at least has a cameo, Kinberg laughed and replied, “I can’t.”

Hit the jump for my theory on how she could still be in the movie, and to learn about the X-Men: Days of Future Past deleted scenes including a subplot featuring the future Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen).  X-Men: Days of Future Past opens in 2D and 3D on May 23rd.  For more from Kinberg, click here for what he had to say about The Fantastic Four.

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