Bilbo turns tougher and more cunning and “The Hobbit” turns altogether more entertaining in “The Desolation of Smaug,” Peter Jackson’s livelier, funnier and action-packed middle film in his trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s slight delight of a novel.
LOS ANGELES — Nothing unites the people of the Internet quite like hatin’ on something together. So the recent press release announcing a sequel to the beloved holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” was met with the sort of overwhelming derision that really brings people together.
“Out of the Furnace” takes place in a small Pennsylvania town where generations of men have followed their fathers into grueling, thankless jobs at steel mills. The work is hard and unsatisfying, but it’s steady and reliable and it pays just enough to cover the bills.
Forget the eight forgettable tunes and Disney’s “Frozen” finds a pleasant home in the ranks of Disney’s animated “princess” musicals. The songs may place it closer to “Tangled” than “The Little Mermaid,” but there’s wit and whimsy in this 53rd Disney cartoon, a distant cousin of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, “The Snow Queen.”
It begins with a 90-minute fashion show masquerading as a sci-fi epic, and ends abruptly. Because “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is the most female-friendly/runway ready sci-fi franchise ever, and the latest film in the four-film trilogy is meant to be a cliffhanger, after all. But once things get going, FINALLY, this humorless chatterbox of intrigues, rebellion and a love triangle that seems “Twilighty” in its lovelessness packs in some real pathos. And while it may leave fans begging for more, and right away, the rest of the universe can ...
Late in Steve McQueen’s astonishing “12 Years a Slave,” we get a long, still close-up on Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a formerly free black man in upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1840s American South. What followed were years of unthinkable abuse, backbreaking labor, fading dreams of his unreal-seeming former happy life with his wife and children. That pause in the movie, coming at a time when neither we nor Solomon can bear much more, lets us just look at his face — and ...
Awash in blood and tears, a woman howls in unspeakable anguish as she gives birth in the harrowing opening moments of “Carrie.” She is ashen and alone, her face gnarled with fear. Believing the child to be the devil’s spawn, she grabs a pair of scissors to stab the infant to death. Only the baby’s soft mewling, the pureness of its gaze, spares it from the knife.
It wasn’t that long ago and we remember how it turned out. So there’s no way that “Captain Phillips,” the movie about the 2009 pirate attack on the M.V. Maersk Alabama, should be as surprising and entertaining a sea tale as it is.