1. The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies (Opened Wednesday, Warner Brothers, 3,875 Theaters, Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images): So, the legendary trilogy comes to an end, and we get to see our favorite characters for the last time. Unless, of course, Warners and MGM decide to mine everything Tolkien wrote on Middle Earth in order to get another mov–okay, let’s be honest here, another three movies out of it.
This trilogy seemed kind of lacking in comparison to The Lord of the Rings, perhaps because it was one story stretched out over three films. However, this one seems likely to have a lot of action in it to keep the non-Tolkienites entertained.
A maddened Thorin sets Middle Earth into war. Alliances are broken, old rivalries renewed, and destruction seems imminent. But could the introduction of a powerful common foe reunite the armies once again? For the sake of Middle Earth, one hopes so.
2. Night and the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (Fox, 3,784 Theaters, 97 Minutes, Rated PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language): This trilogy might not be as legendary as The Hobbit, but it also registers its final installment this week. Maybe. Just as above, I am skeptical if this will in fact be the end if this film does bonzo box office.
This time, Ben Stiller’s security guard character bounces across the pond to the British Museum in search of a way to keep the magic that brings exhibits to life going. He brings the usual cast of characters with him, and meets some new ones along the way.
The film takes on an air of melancholy as it will be Mickey Rooney’s last film and Robin Williams’ last on-screen role. Both actors died between filming and release.
3. Annie (Sony/Columbia, 3,116 Theaters, 118 Minutes, Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor): The ads for this film caught my daughter’s eye, and I took it upon myself show her the 1982 version of the film. She loved it. The soundtrack has become the only thing she wants to listen to, and she sings the songs constantly. I still think it was a flawed film but with enough good acting and charm to keep you interested and entertained. I especially like the radio scene.
Then comes this film. I’m sure that she will want to see it. But it has been slammed by critics (17% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes as I write this) and a lot of the criticism has to do with the updated soundtrack that takes the timeless, classic songs and either auto-tunes them to death, or changes them until they are unrecognizable.
Why couldn’t North Korea force this one out of theaters so I wouldn’t have to subject my family to it?