The weekend warriors of December 19, 2014 includes The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Annie, and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars, Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others and determine who will be victorious.
Last weekend, Exodus: Gods and Kings proved victorious against the three-time champ, Mockingjay – Part 1. However, the sword and sandal epic did not come up on high, and an established franchise is on the march for war. Can Moses defend its top spot against five armies? Where there’s a whip, there’s a way! This is the Box Office Battlefield:
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (Peter Jackson) Rated PG-13 [144 min] – The Company of Thorin has reached Smaug’s lair; but can Bilbo and the Dwarves reclaim Erebor and the treasure? And, if so, can they hold on to it? Starring Martin Freeman, Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Armitage, and Evangeline Lilly
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 61% • Audience – 81%
What I’m saying:
In an epic conclusion of one of the most proclaimed novels in the history of literature, from everything from a captivating story, emotional character arcs, engrossing action, and beautiful cinematography, this film absolutely nails it. But enough about The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. The final chapter of the exhaustive Hobbit trilogy is a bombastic orgy of CGI monsters and weightless narrative. There is maybe 50 lines of dialogue, and Peter Jackson maybe makes five of them count. Story arcs are scattered everywhere with battle scenes that look like they were ripped out of a video game. It’s a mess. WAIT FOR IT ON TV! (I’ve never seen a LOTR movie on Netflix.)
Annie (Will Gluck) Rated PG [118 min] – Business tycoon and mayoral candidate Benjamin Stacks launches a campaign to take in Annie, a young girl who has been living with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan since her parents left her as a baby. Starring Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Cameron Diaz
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 28% • Audience – 57%
What I’m saying:
Fairing better than I would have thought, Gluck’s reimagining of the timeless Annie is not a wasted effort, but not anything to run out to the movies for. It’s pretty much whatever. There are some changes to certain characters that I found to be refreshing that took me by surprise. There is some Gluck sensibility that I’ve seen in Easy A and Friends with Benefits, but this is his most commercial work yet. WAIT FOR IT ON NETFLIX!
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (Shawn Levy) Rated PG [97 min] – Larry leaves New York City for London on a quest to save the magic before it is gone forever. Starring Robin Williams, Dan Stevens, Ben Stiller, and Rebel Wilson
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 48% • Audience – 77%
What they’re saying:
“Even for the third entry in a family franchise, the construction is lazy to the point of indifference.” – Andrew Lapin (The Dissolve)
“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is a fun enough trilogy-capper for every family or fan that has followed the series.” – Kofi Outlaw (ScreenRant)
What I’m saying:
I was not able to catch this one, but if you like the franchise, I’d say this looks like a pretty substandard sequel. Not awfully offensive in any way, but nothing ground breaking as a third entry into the series. I think the new characters are decent additions. WAIT FOR IT ON NETFLIX!
Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh) Rated R [150 min] – An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner’s life. Starring Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson, and Marion Bailey
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 98% • Audience – 64%
What I’m saying:
I saw Mr. Turner back in October during the San Diego Film Festival and I thought it was absolutely detestable. If you consider longing looks, grunting, and unintelligible dialogue to be brilliant acting, then by all means Timothy Spall should win the Oscar. You have to really strain yourself to try and get anything out of the plodding narrative. I think the cinematography had some inspiring moments of beautiful artistry that resembled a classical painting itself, but other than that, the film is a real slog to endure. The two and a half hour run time is insufferable and sleep inducing. SKIP IT!
Everyone will want to go see the final chapter in Jackson’s supposed last visit to Middle-earth. It’s a noteworthy franchise that serves as mindless entertainment. With 3D, IMAX, HFR and the likes available for screenings, Warner Bros. is going to gain every nickle and dime it can off this film. Annie is too kiddie for most audiences and the Night at the Museum franchise is tired. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend shall be:
Winner: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
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