It was all Hobbit at theaters over the weekend as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug took in $73.7 million and the box office crown while last week's champ, Frozen thawed a bit with $22.2 million for second place. Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas underperformed with just $16 million.
Nebraska - Paramount - Rated R
The delightful, Nebraska caught me completely by surprise. Bruce Dern
stars as a senior citizen who everyone thinks is losing it when he starts walking to Nebraska to claim a million dollar prize. His son, played by a terrific Will Forte, humors him and the two go on a road trip.
The writing is impeccable, with a plot that includes some of the most deliciously awkward family moments ever recorded on film. The film features perfect performances, from Dern who is sure to get an Oscar nomination, and most notably, from June Squibb who plays Dern's wife. Her Oscar - worthy performance is one of the best this year by anyone. I am sorry it had to end. You'll love traveling to Nebraska. It's one of the very best movies of the year. 5 Stars Out of 5
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - New Line - Rated PG-13
I watched the high frame rate version of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug which makes it look less like a movie and more like real life. The process dramatically improves 3-D, and provides for a movie experience unlike any other. I wasn't a fan of the first installment of the Hobbit trilogy, but this is far improved. Although padded with much that isn't in the book, there is more action, and more entertainment than in the first film. It's still a butt - throbbing 3 hours…it seems Peter Jackson is incapable of making a shorter film…but the hours go by more quickly. Since it is the middle of a trilogy, it keeps you hanging. You'll have to wait until July to see how it ends. Smaug is a dragon but definitely not a drag. 4 1/2 Stars Out of 5
The Armstrong Lie - Sony Pictures Classics - Rated R
Lance Armstrong has captivated the world with his cycling feats, all done after battling cancer. The Armstrong Lie started out as a film documenting his comeback in 2009. It turned into a documentary on the implosion of a once great athlete whose entire career was based on cheating and lies. Love him or hate him, his story is riveting and so is this documentary. If you love cycling, probably best to stay away. 4 Stars Out of 5