This weekend proves to be another rather quiet one, at least in the scheme of the December release schedule, featuring a diverse palette of festival winners and documentaries. And, of course, Peter Jackson makes his long-awaited return journey to Middle Earth. Guess there wasn't really any way to compete with 3D dragons, elves, and giants shot at 48 frames per second. Enjoy your immersive HD experience, Tolkien-disciples and technophiles, and tell us what else you'll be seeing below!
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." Directed by Peter Jackson. Starring Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Ian McKellan, and pretty much everyone else you'll remember from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Our review: "As epic, grandiose, and emotionally appealing as the previous pictures, 'The Hobbit' doesn’t move far from the mold, but it’s a thrilling ride that’s one of the most enjoyable, exciting and engaging tentpoles of the year." Metacritic: 58 Rotten Tomatoes: 65% The Playlist: B+
"Stand Up Guys." Directed by Fisher Stevens. Starring Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, and Christopher Walken. The critics are split on this one, likely a result of the all-star cast. Reviews range from calling the film entertaining and realistic to a juvenile bore. You'll have to let us know what you think. MC: 41 RT: 42%
"Any Day Now." Directed by Travis Fine. Starring Alan Cumming, Frances Fisher, Garret Dillahunt, and Isaac Leyva. Our review: "Like another Tribeca hit given a quiet release, last year’s 'Puncture,' 'Any Day Now' feels the need to take its compelling true story and stack the deck in favor of what we know is the outcome, presenting all obstacles as engineered by sneering, callous villains with disdain for those who would trumpet a more progressive cause." MC: 60 RT: 89% PL: C-
"Save the Date." Directed by Michael Mohan. Starring Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Mark Webber, Geoffrey Arend, and Martin Starr. Our review: "While it doesn’t dig deep enough to really get under your skin, the picture is still a respectable, highly entertaining effort with an endearing ensemble cast (each with their own cult following) headed up by two strong performances by Caplan and Brie. Light in tone without being insubstantial, this is what more romantic comedies should aspire to be." MC: 51 RT: 41% PL: B
"Trashed." Directed by Candida Brady. In order to illuminate the global waste problem, Jeremy Irons travels to what were once the world's most beautiful locations, now besotted landfills. Depressing! And full of crucial information. MC: 73 RT: 80%
"Let Fury Have The Hour." Directed by Antonino D’Ambrosio. Our review: "As a primer on creative response to regressive politics, 'Fury' is a passionate look at those who took the shifting sands of the world around them, and tried to effect change, and make their voices heard, through art." However, "one wishes that D'Ambrosio had taken it one step further." MC: 50 RT: 25% PL: B
"Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet" opened Wednesday. Directed by Jesse Vile. This heartfelt, inspiring documentary about the rock star who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease will attract audiences within and outside Becker's fan base. MC: 67 RT: 80%