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13 December

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Director: Peter Jackson
Cast:   Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, Orlando Bloom
13 December
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

If it’s Christmas (or at the very least, the end of the year), it must be time for another trip into Tolkien by beloved New Zealand son Peter Jackson. When last we left our diminutive hero and his pack of revenge hungry dwarves, they were almost to the mountain where the dragon Smaug is sitting on a massive pile of gold. Apparently, this three hour installment will see Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) use his “robber” skills to defeat the evil lizard and then…well, who knows. Since this story has been dragged out over three installments, it will be interesting to see where Part 2 takes us, and leaves us.


 

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Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas

Director: Tyler Perry
Cast: Tyler Perry, Anna Maria Horsford, Larry the Cable Guy, Chad Michael Murray, Tika Sumpter, Eric Lively, Alicia Witt, Lisa Whelchel, Kathy Najimy, JR Lemon
13 December
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas

With the success of Best Man Holiday and the equally interesting returns for Black Nativity, it seems the African American renaissance started by the former gospel circuit performer is solidly in place. Perry can be slagged off by those who believe he is nothing but a low brow melodrama drag donning novelty, but with more the $750 million in receipts for his films (as well as the additional revenue from his plays, TV shows, and other media), he’s clearly here to stay. This time around, our gun totting, pot smoking granny is off to help reunite a family. Larry the Cable Guy and Kathy Najimy turn up as the token white people.


 

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Hours

Director: Eric Heisserer
Cast: Paul Walker, Génesis Rodríguez, TJ Hassan, Nick Gomez, Judd Lormand
13 December
Hours

This is going to be a tough one, both from a marketing perspective and a narrative ideal. Paul Walker’s recent passing makes this one of his last performances onscreen and those who’ve seen it say it’s his best work ever. The story centers around a father trying to get save his newborn daughter while both are stuck in the neo-natal ward of a hospital - all in the middle of Hurricane Katrina. Early reviews suggest that the plot works well considering the limits of its scope. Of course, all anyone will care about is that Walker’s memory is not marginalized by this movie.


 

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The Unknown Known

Director: Errol Morris
Cast: Donald Rumsfeld
13 December
The Unknown Known

Famed documentarian Errol Morris sits down with one of his most interesting subjects - former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld - and from all reports, the gloves definitely come off. As he did with his remarkable movie about Robert McNamara and Vietnam (The Fog of War), or the invasion of Iraq and our detainee policies (Standard Operating Procedure), this filmmaker is very good at setting up his targets and letting them talk themselves into very hot water. Rumsfeld avoids this pitfall - mostly - but we still end up with a telling indictment of his time leading George W. Bush and the rest of the nation into an unnecessary skirmish.


Since deciding to employ his underdeveloped muse muscles over five years ago, Bill has been a significant staff member and writer for three of the Web's most influential websites: DVD Talk, DVD Verdict and, of course, PopMatters. He also has expanded his own web presence with Bill Gibron.com a place where he further explores creative options. It is here where you can learn of his love of Swindon's own XTC, skim a few chapters of his terrifying tome in the making, The Big Book of Evil, and hear samples from the cassette albums he created in his college music studio, The Scream Room.


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