Yesterday the sport’s world lost a friend. Stuart Scott passed away at age 49. Watch this amazing tribute to his life here. Source: ESPN
The Talking Dead – your favorite talk show – won’t be on at Sundays at 8pm anymore. But don’t fret, it will be moving to the 9pm slot, in order to give Better Call Saul the 8pm slot. Things could be worse. Source: Twitter.
The Hobbit is still holding onto the Number 1 spot in the box office with 220.77 million made. Haven’t seen it? May be a good time now that people have to work again after the holidays. Source: Fandango
Hipsters went crazy when the Jurassic World preview came out last year. Now they will have to watch the Super Bowl to see a super-sized trailer. They may actually care about the game, too. Source: ABC News
A fan made LEGO movie is making the rounds. Jordan Haro created his very own Batman vs. Superman movie, and let me tell you, it is hilarious. Source: BrickFlix
DC Collectibles will be releasing a line of Li’l Gotham figures, based on the designs of Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs. It only makes since that The Joker and Harley Quinn are the best of this series. Source: GeekDad
Genre – Fantasy
Director – Peter Jackson
Cast – Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly
Alluring element – Based off J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel The Hobbit
Check it out if you liked – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Let me preface by stating that I am not the biggest Tolkien nerd ever. I do, however, enjoy his work immensely. The first book my mother and I read together was The Hobbit. I can remember being terrified for Bilbo while he was caught in the giant spider’s web. I have read it a dozen times since, most recently last year with my son. I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy in middle-school and thoroughly enjoyed all three films. On a scale of LOTR nerdiness, on a scale of Bilbo to Aragorn, I put myself at a Gimli. I am no where as nerdy as my poet buddy, Ken Arkind, who went to visit the actual Shire in New Zealand last year. I was thrilled when MGM announced a Hobbit film, but was deflated when I found out that it would be a three-part franchise. The LOTR books average 400 pages apiece. My son’s leather- bound copy of The Hobbit is exactly 276 pages long. It’s mathematically impossible to make a trilogy of three hour films from so few pages, unless you have filler – and filler, there is.
This is not to say that I completely disliked the film. Its run time of 161 minutes is entirely too long, but there are some gems that allow us to enjoy the wonderment of Middle-earth. Not to mention that it earned $73.6 million in its opening, although this is a drop from the first hobbit movie.
We are almost immediately whisked into the story where we left off in An Unexpected Journey. Our dwarves are still accompanied by a wizard, who looks remarkably like Magneto, and an unlikely burglar, Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo is played by the always entertaining Martin Freeman. The dwarves draw closer to Erebor, the lost dwarf mountain. The treasure of their conquered home is guarded by Smaug, the fire-breathing dragon. Benedict Cumberbatch (Khan!!!) pulled double duty, voicing the Godzilla-like flying lizard and the Necromancer. The real jewel of the dwarf vault is a most priced possession, the Arkenstone. Our dwarf leader, Thorin Oakenshield, plans to reclaim his bling and slay the dragon.
Our protagonists are still being hunted by Orcs. These grotesque brutes are merciless in their hunt for dwarf blood, but they are overplayed, and if you are like me you look forward to their appearance only to see how creative our heroes can be when they kill them. Since they pose no real threat, it’s hard to feel anxiety during battle sequences. There is one exception, the river-barrel ride from Mirkwood. Our short-of-stature heroes escape elven captivity and take a Universal Studios-like roller coaster ride downstream while being pursued by Orcs. They kill the Goblins effortlessly and almost to a rhythm. At times it feels more like a video-game than movie, but the sequence is whimsical and fun. I literally laughed a few times at its outrageousness. It had the same feel of the dinner party clean-up scene at Biblo’s from the first film. The dwarves are the stars of this film and deservedly so.
“How does my hair look?”
Speaking of elves, Tauriel (Elf for eye-candy), played by fanboy favorite Evangeline Lilly is the best and worst thing about the film. First of all, she is a certified dime-piece. When she first appeared, I almost forgot what movie I was watching. The character was created to add a love interest to our metro-sexual elven archer Legolas. And we need this to our classic tale because, “Who wants to watch a movie about a bunch of dudes lost in the woods?” But there’s a twist – Tauriel seems to have a Keebler-sized crush on the dwarf warrior Kili. This pisses Legolas off…a lot. This subplot is lost on me. Does a big budget film have to build an emotional investment in it’s audience? Yes. But does it have to lose integrity by adding meaningless romance arcs? No.
“C’mon, you realize he is like 4ft tall right?”
Any guesses as to what Gandalf is doing? If you said, wandering off on his own and getting captured you get a gold star. This angle is boring and unnecessary. He gets locked up every movie. Clearly he needs a Get-Out-Of-Mordor free card. The Necromancer theme is also overplayed and dull. We are all well aware that the middle movie in a trilogy is doomed from the start, but simplifying this film may have actually made it more enjoyable to the average movie-goer.
Where is my Hobbit?! You know, the cheeky little fellow with a big heart and hairy feet? The obsessive compulsive kleptomaniac with the ring of power? There and Back Again? It seems like our true hero was forgotten about, lost in a script filled with bully Orcs and pretentious elves. A huge draw to The Hobbit as a bookis the idea of a small person making a big difference. Bilbo inspires us and we need him to save the day.
There he is, in the best scene in the film, deep within Erebor face to snout with a dragon. Let me add that Martin Freeman adds credibility to this film with pure skill. He is as much Bilbo Baggins as we could hope for. The introduction of Smaug is amazing. He lays in dwarf gold like a crocodile in still water. He emerges in fantastic fashion. He is death on wings. Four stories tall with skin like metal. Peter Jackson sure does know how to do monsters well. As Bilbo has an epic showdown with the beast we are fearful for the Lake town of Dale, a human fishing port. Smaug had once burned this tiny village, and if his wrath is unleashed again there is no telling what is possible.
“Where is Khaleesi when you need her?”
The film is entertaining, but about 45 minutes too long. Your little hobbits may not make it all the way through without a potty break, but it’s a great holiday movie for the family. Tolkien purists will hate it. There is too much emphasis on the city of Dale, too little emphasis on our hobbit, and a lot of “meh” time. The casual nerd will debate with their friends about the height of a hobbit and the color of Orlando Bloom’s hair. Overall you will enjoy the adventure and hopefully pick up the book again, just as I did, and read these most important words, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”
Oh, December. The month of movies vying for the Oscar, the movies that didn’t fit anywhere else in the year, and the comedy to keep us laughing until the end of the year. Here is Hush Comic’s movie preview for December:
December 6 – Out of the Furnace
Starring: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, Sam Shepard, and Zoe Saldana
With such a stellar cast, there isn’t really much else to say about this movie. Ok, ok, I’ll talk about the plot. Two brothers are very close. Then, one goes missing. The police get involved, but don’t do much. The other brother takes matters into his own hands like Batman does. Oh my God, the guy who takes matters into his own hands is Batman! Crazy. Written and directed by Scott Carpenter of Crazy Heart fame, and starring a sundry of Academy Award nominated actors, Out of the Furnace is bound to be nothing less of impressive. – A
December 13 – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, and Benedict Cumberbatch
Come, don’t be shy… step into the light…err, I mean… The dark movie theater, to watch the second installment of The Hobbit – Desolation of Smaug. Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the rag tag band of Dwarves continue their adventure to retrieve the Arkenstone from the former Dwarf kingdom and now home of the dangerous and deadly dragon, Smaug. The Hush team is pumped to see Orlando Bloom return as everyone’s favorite archer (sorry Katniss, but you’ve got nothing on Legolas), as well as several other new characters Tolkien-ites will be excited to see on the silver screen. Previews have teased the public with glimpses of the lurking flame giant and come release day hopefully we’ll get a full frontal of the monster. In my personal history, second installments have been my favorite – The Two Towers, The Empire Strikes Back, The Matrix Reloaded (hate on haters) – and Peter Jackson’s most recent go-around is set to please. It’s going to be the best movie on Middle Earth this year – don’t miss it! – T
December 18 – American Hustle
Starring: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremey Renner, and Robert DeNiro
Hunger Games: Catching Fire was great – don’t get me wrong. But do you know what it was missing? Jennifer Lawrence’s boobs. And Amy Adams’ boobs. And a fat Christian Bale. This crime drama set in the late 1970s focuses on the ABSCAM project, a sting operation to help bring down corrupt politicians. Cooper’s FBI character enlists the con talents of Bale and Adams. However, the plot thickens when the grifters start their own side-hustles. This movie boasts an all-star cast and a pretty interesting story loosely based on real events. Jennifer Lawrence’s cry face in The Hunger Games drove us crazy, but she has some real emotional range and acting prowess. I wouldn’t recommend it over the other movies out this weekend, but I definitely think it’s worth checking out. For totally non-boob reasons, too. – S
December 20 – Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Starring: Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Vince Vaughn,Christina Applegate, and Baxter
I’m not usually a big fan of sequels to comedies, but I think Anchorman 2 will prove me wrong. Following the hijinks of the news crew from San Diego, this film takes us to New York City where the gang try become number one again, but this time with “GNN”. They say and do incredibly stupid things and in general make asses of themselves, as is expected. Steve Carell stole the show in the preview, so he probably will do the same with the movie, and I am most definitely O.K. with that. Stay Classy, New York? – A
December 20 – Saving Mr. Banks
Starring: Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, and Jason Schwarztman
Disney’s newest film, Saving Mr. Banks, is actually about Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), who tries, and obviously succeeds, to convince P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), the author of Mary Poppins, to give the rights to make a film version of her novel. Mr. Banks refers to Travers father, and the main inspiration for the father in Mary Poppins. With two of the best actors to live starring, the heart-warming plot and the light humor, Saving Mr. Banks is sure to be one of the best holiday time movies to come out and will be one I definitely see this year. – A
December 25 – 47Ronin
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kô Shibasaki, and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Keanu Reeves is back this holiday season in the awesome new samurai flick, 47 Ronin. The story follows Reeves as Kai and his 46 fellow samurai sword slingers as they work to avenge the death of their master who was taken down by a military shogun (fun fact – Ronin translates to “leaderless samurai” in Japan). This story has been told and retold for quite some time now – dating back as far as the 18 century as a playwright and a most recent rendition of a 1941 film. I’m excited to see Reeves back on the big screen – his first since The Day the Earth Stood Still remake. While that experience left the average sci-fi buff wanting more, I have much higher expectations for 47 Ronin. Released film footages tout glorious landscapes, vibrant characters, badass creatures of lore and – of course – plenty of sword fights. 47 Ronin promises to deliver flashy, action-packed samurai goodness into my Christmas week and I recommended you get it in yours as well. And don’t forget fans – this story is based on true events. So when you see Rinko Kikuchi transform into a flame spitting dragon, remember that it actually happened. – T
December 25 – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Sean Penn
Based off the original story published in The New Yorker in 1939 (the same year Batman first appeared in Detective Comics…. totally unrelated, but I had to…), The Secret Life of Water Mitty is my pick for best dramatic film of the year. It was actually made into a comedy movie in 1947 and starred Danny Kaye, but this is one case where I can fully endorse the remake. Starring and directed by Ben Stiller (who is in desperate need of a comeback), Mitty has been in production for nearly a decade, with names such as Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp and Sacha Baron Cohen attached to it. Judging from the trailer, Stiller was a great choice. The story follows a Life magazine reporter on a journey to find a missing photo, but is really about the journey to get out and experience life. Taking on a much more inspirational mood than the original, this film is sure to make you quit your job! – S
December 25 – The Wolf of Wall Street
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Favreau
“You can dis me all you want on a blog, or write whatever you want in this magazine and I’ll just be like, ‘Whatever, man. Scorsese thinks I’m awesome,” – Jonah Hill. Telling the story of Jordan Belford, a New York stockbroker who was BALLIN out of control. Literally, he was out of control. There was FBI fraud investigations and the mob got involved. It may seem outlandish, but it’s just the type of character that Leo knocks out of the park. Jay Gatsby, J. Edgar Hoover, Howard Hughes, Calvin Candie – all very powerful men who see everything go up in flames around them (alright, Candie was a joke). The film was pushed back to Christmas Day so that Scorsese could kill some babies to decrease the run time 30 minutes and to try to get it from an NC-17 rating down to an R rating. Should be a great showing, and do a lot to remind you of how broke and crappy you are at life. Because no matter what you got for Christmas, you didn’t get to throw midgets at a Velcro board at the office. – S