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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

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If I wasn’t already in the minority thinking that Peter Jackson was right to turn J. R. R Tolkien’s beloved, timeless classic “The Hobbit” into three films. I definitely asserted myself as an outcast raving over how formidable Jackson’s first outing “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was and how it placed the forthcoming flicks on impeccable footing. Now, we’re a year down the road, and I feel no different about it. It’s been a year between chapters, that’s a long wait, especially for an enthusiast such as myself, but the second chapter of this soon-to-be epic trilogy is finally upon us and I’ve stayed true to my fanboy title. Rushing, nervously and excitedly to my nearest theatre late Thursday night to behold the first showing of Jackson’s next masterpiece, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in IMAX 3D, and not just for Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” teaser either…that’s just a bonus. How’d I feel about the film, you ask…let’s just say, I wasn’t disappointed…

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Now, I know what you’re all thinking, “this guy is supremely biased” and you’re not wrong in concluding that. You may choose to skip my review for a more neutral, honest take and I won’t hold any blame against you. But before you do, consider this. The hard truth of it is, if you can’t enjoy this, you’re probably not a fan of Jackson’s LOTR universe to being with and shouldn’t be judging it in the first place…and I never cheat my readers out of the truth and honesty. If the “The Desolation of Smaug” had flopped, believe me, I’d be the first to let you know. Thankfully however, this isn’t the case. It’s a definite improvement in nearly every aspect while also capitalizing on the errors of its predecessor, not that there were many to begin with. And despite having similar themes, Jackson is able to make the content seem fairly new and exciting. He captures a lot of the magic that made his LOTR trilogy so superlative and successful, which is, quite frankly, the most reassuring aspect for the upcoming finale and is all any good-hearted fan could ask for.

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There’s a lot here that is reminiscent of the LOTR trilogy, but it’ll never be the LOTR, so let’s just get that comparison out of you head right now! If there’s one thing holding back “The Hobbit” trilogy, it’s no fault of its creators, rather, the viewers simply expecting LOTR all over again. That’ll never happen! Honestly, I consider the LOTR trilogy to be cinema’s greatest achievement. I know a lot of you will fight me on that, but that’s just how I feel. Nothing will ever live up to that comparison, so stop holding this series against it. The source material for both series differ greatly, I can’t stress that enough. If you’ve read the series, you’ll know exactly what I’m referring to. “The Hobbit” is directed to younger readers, it’s more cliched, nostalgic, simple. I wouldn’t go as far as to recommend completely cleansing your thoughts of any relation to the LOTR, simply because you’d miss out on a few awesome easter eggs and shout-outs to the original trilogy. That being said, the less you stack up Jackson’s two trilogies, the greater your experience will be.

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It may end on a bit of a cliff-hanger, which hampers most middle films, but if anything, it only really sets its hooks in deeper. A nagging, stinging, aching anticipation for next year’s finale that is proves useless to try and shake. Nonetheless, let’s stick to what’s available to us now. There’s a lot of new faces presented in this sequel, but of course there’s only one newcomer on everybody’s mind. There’s no question that the highlight of “The Desolation of Smaug” is of course, Smaug himself. It’s all any die-hard Tolkien fanatic has been waiting for since the series was first announced. You’ll be waiting till roughly the last forty minutes of the film’s nearly three hour runtime for Smaug to finally appear, but when he does, you’ll find yourself watching one of the greatest cinematic achievements of 2013.

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Apart from this greedy fire-breather, Orlando Bloom’s Legolas draws a substantial amount of excitement. Jumping weightless amongst the striking scenery of Middle Earth (provided by the always breathtaking New Zealand which Jackson once again utilizes to full effect) and dismissing countless foes. He might be a little more edgy than you remember, but a thrill to watch nonetheless. Luke Evans’ Bard really was a pleasant surprise. Gritty, emotional, and whole-heartedly invested, Evans truly added another complex, impressive layer to this fantastical spectacle. The final addition, Evangeline Lilly’s Tauriel still reigned supreme, for me at least. Rarely have I ever become smitten with someone so striking who could also beat me to a bloody pulp at the drop of a hat. A quick shout-out to the cast of dwarves who’ve finally been allowed to expand their emotional range. The serious tone really allows them to show off their depth instead of trotting around uttering witty, cliched catchphrases.

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Smaug is played by the incomparable Benedict Cumberbatch, who, aside from giving voice to this monstrous dragon, also provides the facial expressions and movements, much like that of Andy Serkis’s Gollum. Emerging from a baffling pile of riches, it’s the dark, malicious, egotistical voice that first strikes fear into your gut as Smaug himself dances amongst the shadows. Then, when the big reveal hits, you’ll find yourself struggling to pick your jaw off the sticky cinema floor. Agile, gargantuan, and devilishly clever, Cumberbatch’s Smaug is, without question, the biggest “wow” moment of the year. As for Martin Freeman, he’s still the only young Bilbo for me. His reluctant courage and comical movements are inspiring and hilarious. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who could successfully deliver just one of those facets. Sadly, Gandalf takes a bit of a back seat on this one, but it’s Ian McKellan, it’s the role he was born to play. So those brief moments he’s present are just as rewarding and nostalgic.

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“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is another magnificent entry into Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth. The visuals are as superlative as ever. Whether it’s Smaug, the bewildering, gloomy Mirkwood and Laketown, or panoramic shots of Middle Earth, Jackson never seems to lose his form. The progression of the story isn’t a strain to endure and keeps the viewer glued with heart-racing action and genuine emotion. The dialogue doesn’t feel so contrived and each character is given more than enough importance to thrive. It still doesn’t rank with the best the LOTR trilogy has to offer, but it isn’t a steep decline either. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” will undoubtedly stand the test of time and is a terrific set-up for next year’s big finale.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 9 out of 10.

The World’s End (2013)

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The “Cornetto” trilogy has always been about humour, heart, and homage. And even though it’s been six long years since we last visited a quirky, enthralling, and action-packed world created by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright…”The World’s End” was well worth the wait. That being said, the fact that Pegg, Wright, and company were able to pull it off is no surprise at all. It’s simply a rarity for a trilogy to be so evenly brilliant, so skepticism is understandable. Nevertheless, “The World’s End” is a fitting conclusion to such a fantastical series. Undoubtedly, it’s sad to see one of the most critically and all-around successful trilogies come to a close…but much like our way of life, nothing lasts forever. “The World’s End” is a superlative finale to a near-perfect trilogy and while not as strong as “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” it isn’t far off…

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Gary King (Pegg) is somewhat of a low-life and a borderline alcoholic. One day, having been reminded of his youth and happier times. Gary sets out to track down his old friends in order to convince them to complete a pub crawl they all failed to accomplish when they were younger. Upon successfully persuading Peter (Marsen), O-Man (Freeman), Steven (Considine), and Andy (Frost) to accompany him on this idiotic journey, the crew head back to their hometown of Newton Haven. After the group finishes up the first few pints, they begin to realize that something is amiss. However, deciding to carry on, Gary and his pals soon come to terms that this night will not go as originally planned.

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For all of it’s playful hilarity and jaw-dropping action, I don’t think the public expected “The World’s End” to be so decidedly earnest, disheartening, and tragic. Without question, it’s the most serious and honest chapter of the trilogy. After removing layer upon layer of relatable fears and experiences, such as dissipating youth and failed relationships, not to mention the triviality and flaws of the human race. It’s quite upsetting to realize how deep and truthful this satirical, bittersweet rabbit hole is. No matter how disingenuous and unfazed this group of pub-crawlers appears to be facing down their impending doom, they reek of mortality, mistakes, vulnerability, and imperfection. That being said, the final confrontation, themes, and the film as a whole is funny and unforgettable. Yet resonates a harsh, inevitable wake-up call.

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Perhaps the most important thing about “The World’s End” is that it didn’t let the previous entries down. Granted, it is somewhat a blend of the first two entries, brandishing similar plot points and themes. In addition, the premises and specific style of the “Cornetto” trilogy is becoming a bit stale and a tad bit predictable. That being said, “The World’s End’s” candidness, fresh comedy, and fast-paced violence is enough to differentiate it from the others. Each entry carries its own merit and traits that make them like no other. It feels like the right time for Wright and company to move on and bring to fruition their bright, limitless futures. With the “Cornetto” trilogy, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, and Edgar Wright have created something that is truly invaluable, priceless… They should take unmeasurable pride in what they have accomplished.

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Without question, Edgar Wright is the most responsible for the triumph of not only “The World’s End,” but the “Cornetto” trilogy as a whole. His refusal to make pictures inside the norm is easily the most promising aspect of his career thus far and is what makes this trilogy so utterly brilliant. Wright continues to employ a Guy Ritchie-esque style melded with his unwavering, youthful wonder and cinephile heart. Essentially, this is what makes Wright’s films so intoxicating and enjoyable. But more importantly, what sets him apart as a filmmaker is the passion and humbleness in which he derives vision and creativity. He conjures up films that he, as a cinephile would cherish, which is the reason he is so respected and relevant to movie lovers every where. Sure, things might get a little hectic here and there, especially when your filming a battle to save all mankind, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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One thing that no one will ever accuse the “Cornetto” trilogy of having is shallow ensembles. And with “The World’s End,” we are treated to much of the same. Starring the exuberant, trustworthy duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, a wonderful supporting cast that features Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsen, in addition to a plethora of brief cameos. “The World’s End” arguably contains the strongest cast in the trilogy. Freeman is sort of the unsung star of the group, having landed the role of Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s “Hobbit” trilogy. He continues to provide evidence as to why he earned the job in the first place and apart from his reprising role on “Sherlock,” Freeman has never been better. Marsen and Considine, both severely underused in the business today, have an undeniable comedic charisma that is on full display in “The World’s End” and will hopefully garner them the attention they deserve.

As predicted, it’s Pegg and Frost who take the reigns of this fantastic adventure, with one significant change. Nick Frost is the responsible, sensible wet blanket, well, for as long as he can muster it anyhow and Simon Pegg is the  idiotic, chaotic friend, who isn’t really much of a pal at all. Now, aside from the closing of the trilogy, the biggest tragedy here is the disconcerting underuse and lack of acknowledgement from filmmakers everywhere towards Frost. Who, continues to be an under-appreciated talent and arguably gives the performance of his career in “The World’s End.” As for Pegg, who’s chagrin, heedless, and selfish performance is unfathomably effective. Pegg, who has gone on to star in several big-budget blockbusters, makes a fortuitous return to his humble beginnings and certainly adds another invaluable notch to his already stellar repertoire.

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Just a brief shout-out to Alice Lowe, Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley, Bill Nighly, and Steve Oram for their brief, but memorable roles in “The World’s End.” It’s nice to see Wright give a little extra screen time to the great, up-and-coming filmmakers for, his homeland.

Funny, heartfelt, and all-around awesome. “The World’s End” is the closing chapter die-hard “Cornetto” fans and cinephiles were hoping for and so much more.

The World’s End: 9 out of 10.

Top 10 Best Cameos

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As promised, this week’s top 10 will consist of what I believe to be the best cameos in cinematic history. After last week’s list of dreadful and down-right idiotic guest appearances, I think this segment could use a pick-me up, don’t you? Now, we can sit here until we’re blue in the face arguing what makes a cameo truly great. We can list the traits off one by one, subtlety, hilarity, relevance, and on, and on. Regardless, in this top 10 I believe you’ll find, like I did, that a cameo doesn’t have any criteria, they simply succeed or falter based on their own individual merit. Granted, a few of the cameos listed are quite odd, funny, incredible, memorable, and indescribable, but there are no errors. I’ve compiled this list with purpose, to be diverse, I want there to be something for everyone, and if there isn’t, please let me know.

Again, just so there are no discrepancies later on. Tom Cruise in “Tropic Thunder” will not be featured in this top 10. The image is simply a header for the top 10 and this will continue until I am able to create a suitable segment header.

As always, if you feel that I’ve overlooked a cameo or believe one was listed that shouldn’t have been, please comment below. I am always looking to improve on this segment and all feedback is welcome.

Let’s get started!

 

10: Tim Robbins “Anchorman”

Why?: Upon appearing in numerous films that have historical and cinematic importance, it was extremely odd to see “Andy Dufresne” chop off Luke Wilson’s arm with a machete.

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9: Hugh Jackman “X-Men: First Class”

Why?: I know for some it wasn’t a surprise at all, but I had no idea it was coming and laughed my ass off like an idiot.

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8: Martin Freeman “Shaun of the Dead”

Why?: Honestly, I had no idea he appeared in the film until very recently. Now that I know, I think it is possibly the coolest thing ever. Bilbo Baggins killing zombies, c’mon.

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7: Will Ferrel “Wedding Crashers”

Why?: You know why, if you don’t, you’re not my friend.

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6: Bruce Campbell “Spider Man” trilogy.

Why?: I know most of you didn’t like the fact I disliked Stan Lee’s numerous cameos in multiple Marvel films. And the fact that I am adding Campbell from three films in which Lee also appeared must really burn. But, c’mon, it’s Bruce Campbell…”Evil Dead”…”Army of Darkness”…you know…he’s awesome.

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5: Cate Blanchett and Peter Jackson “Hot Fuzz”

Why?: Two of the most respected names in film appearing in a movie centred around a corrupt, murderous, deranged town…Yes Please!!

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4: Christopher Walken “Pulp Fiction”

Why?: I don’t really know if this counts as a cameo or a supporting role…can any of you clarify this? Nonetheless, it is hilarious and inventive.

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3: Bill Murray “Zombieland”

Why?: IT’S BILL FUCKING MURRAY!!

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2: Martin Scorsese “Taxi Driver”

Why?: It is one of my all time favourite Scorsese scenes, just incredible.

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1: Ralph Fiennes “The Hurt Locker”

Why?: Can anyone clarify this as a cameo or supporting role? Anyway, I am a huge Ralph Fiennes fan and this cameo is pure brilliance.

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s top 10. If you feel I’ve overlooked a cameo or placed one in the top 10 that shouldn’t be there, feel free to comment below. Everyone have a great weekend!

Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2013

All right, now, not to be confused with last week’s “Top 10 Films of 2013 Predicted.” This week’s Top 10 will consist of the 10 most wanted films set for release in 2013. Judged by budget, publicity, and overall excitement stemming from the general public, this Top 10 will feature, in a general sense, crowd pleasers. Without any further ado, let’s begin.

Honourable Mentions: Anchorman 2, Monsters University, The Wolverine, Elysium, Sin City 2, Kick Ass 2, Evil Dead.

10: Thor: The Dark World. The hotly anticipated follow up to 2011’s smash hit Thor. This soon to be blockbuster stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins.

9: The Great Gatsby. From visionary director Baz Luhrmann and starring a plethora of stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan. and Jason Clarke. The Great Gatsby seems primed for stardom.

8: The Green Inferno, V/H/S 2, and The Conjuring. This is for all of you who need your horror fix, a lot like us. Coming from modern horror master such as James Wan, Eli Roth, and Adam Wingard. This trio of frightening delights is sure to leave your pants wet and in need of a wash.

The Conjuring Trailer:

V/H/S 2 Trailer:

The Green Inferno: First official picture.

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7: This is the End and The World’s End. Here to get you prepared for the apocalypse are these two doomsday comedies. Brought to you by the guys behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The World’s End reunites Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright. Also starring Martin Freeman, The World’s End looks like to become another cult favourite. As for This is the End, starring a multitude of comedies best such as Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Jonah Hill. This hilarious heavyweight film should be interesting to say the least.

This is the End: Red Band Trailer.

The World’s End:

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6: World War Z. Brad Pitt, Zombies, and based off of Max Brooks highly addicting novel, need I say more?

5: Iron Man 3. The Third entry into the Iron Man trilogy. It features an army of iron men and Ben Kingsley as a villain. Your argument is invalid.

4: Pacific Rim. Directed by Guillermo Del Toro and starring Idris Elba. This monster vs man picture features the use of gigantic robots controlled by humans battling humongous aliens, I’m sold.

3: Man of Steel. Produced by Christopher Nolan and starring Michael Shannon as General Zod. Man of Steel is the highly anticipated reboot of the Superman franchise.

2: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The follow up to An Unexpected Journey. Peter Jackson’s The Desolation of Smaug should be a much improved film and appease those disappointed by the first.

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1: Star Trek Into Darkness. I have nothing to say, I am beyond words with anticipation. Just enjoy the trailer.

Oblivion (2013)

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Depending too heavily on the CGI to rescue its faults and scavenging a few too many plot points from other science fiction films. Oblivion’s bloated budget and excessive storyline dismantle any hope for resuscitation and disengage the audience to a point of pity. Even though at times Oblivion seems to be saved from becoming another meaningless entry into an over saturated genre. The forced and fabricated acting, with the exception of Andrea Risebourough, is too artificial, much like the numerous drones and futuristic machines zooming sporadically around Oblivion’s desolate Earth. Directed by TRON: Legacy’s Joseph Kosinski and featuring Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, and the aforementioned Andrea Risebourough. Oblivion has the accomplished, visionary crew to undertake its cosmic mission, but doesn’t have the essential resources to get more than a few feet off the ground.

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In the year 2077, Jack Harper (Cruise) and Victoria (Riseborough) are a team assigned to Earth for drone repair. Jack travels down to the surface for the repairs while Victoria monitors him from above. The drones are used to eliminate any remaining Scavs on Earth after the war. The human race was at war with the alien species after they destroyed the moon, causing multiple natural disasters which wiped out a large chunk of the population. Humanity was forced to use nuclear weapons. Humanity won the war, but lost the planet. The remaining population now lives on Titan, a moon of Saturn, while a few remain on the spaceship TET orbiting Earth. When Jack is attending to a routine repair, an unidentified object crashes into Earth. When he searches the wreckage, he makes a startling discover that shatters his perceived notion of what is real and sets out on a mission to discover the truth.

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Let’s begin with the positives of Oblivion, even if they are scarce. Surprisingly, Oblivion is full of lacklustre performances from the likes of Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, and Olga Kurylenko. With their film history, you wouldn’t expect it. I anticipated more from them, especially Kurylenko after seeing her recently in To the Wonder. However, Andrea Risebourough is the only bright spot amongst the mediocrity. Her calm and composed nature is elegantly emotionless, robot like. She radiates, exudes those few moments before a storm. As long as she isn’t disturbed or have her routine interrupted, she’ll continue to glow, seductively. Yet, when the fabric of her apocalyptic world comes undone, she destroys what’s blocking the path. To be honest, she’s probably the reason I didn’t walk out of the theatre, I think that is the highest praise I can give. With Cruise and Freeman, you know what you’re getting. We take the good with the bad from them because the good is worth it. Unfortunately however, Oblivion is the bad.

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Aside from the heavenly performance by Risebourough. The only other positive Oblivion has to offer is its top of the line CGI. Which shouldn’t really be a positive at all. It should be afore gone conclusion that with its budget, Oblivion should produce unparalleled computer generated imagery. But, for the sake of this review, lets pretend that it’s a miraculous feat. I’d also like to applaud Kosinski and crew for trying to inject as much emotion and humanity into the film that they could muster. They didn’t fail miserably. Again, the issue stems from the unnatural dialogue. There is no flow to it, it simply isn’t fluid enough. The scene that resonated with me the most is when Risebourough, naked, seduces Cruise into the pool and the two begin to entangle themselves beneath the surface. I find it quite ironic that in a film that suffers greatly from its overly complex story, the most entrancing scene is also the most simple.

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Now for the lacklustre. In summary, the dialogue is too scripted, not at all realistic and it causes great disconnect with the viewers. How can one empathize with what is happening when it is painfully clear that you’re watching a performance.This coincides with the storyline and characters being abhorrently predictable. Moving right along, Oblivion steals too many plot points from other, successful sci-fi films such as Moon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Matrix, etc…This contributes to the predictability of the film because we’ve seen it all before. It was actually infuriating watching Oblivion’s plot continue to pile useless addition after useless addition of unnecessary twists and turns from past films of the genre.

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Despite its stunning CGI and a lovely performance from Andrea Risebourough. Oblivion’s lack of originality and unbelievable characters are the reason it falters.

Oblivion: 5.5 out of 10.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

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If there is one thing Peter Jackson does better than anyone else, it’s large scale cinema. After concurring the Lord of the Rings trilogy in impeccable fashion, Jackson shifted his gaze to an ambitious remake of the 1933 classic, King Kong. Now, his much anticipated journey through another of J.R.R Tolkien’s masterpieces, The Hobbit, is just beginning. The first chapter in his imaginative trilogy, Jackson picks up right where he left off in the Lord of the Rings. This kind, bold, and immense outing reaffirms Jackson’s ability to handle delicate literature with charisma and flare while still being able to extract the emotion and personality needed to completely capture the audience. Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, and Richard Armitage, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a spectacle to behold.

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A Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) is smoking, off in thought when he is approached by a tall, intimidating figure.  The cloaked man is revealed to be Gandalf the Grey (McKellen) who urges Mr. Baggins to partake in an adventure. Later, famished and about to sit for dinner, Bilbo is interrupted by the intrusion of a group of dwarves. Reluctantly willing to accompany the group on its journey to the lonely mountain. Bilbo is thrust into some new, exciting experiences while others are deathly and life altering. Continuing their quest, the group encounters all sorts of creatures, good and evil and begin to understand and trust one another.

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Tapping into a familiar theme from the Lord of the Rings, Jackson very strongly states that no matter how small the detail or creature, the impact is still enormous. Not letting gigantic boxing mountains or the trembling inducing beauty of New Zealand overshadow the heart of the story, Jackson completes another outstanding return to Middle Earth. While most were surprised to hear that Martin Freeman would take the reigns of young Bilbo Baggins. I, after viewing Mr. Freeman countless times in the revamped Sherlock Holmes series alongside Benedict Cumberbatch (also appearing in the Hobbit trilogy), knew the role was in capable hands. What can I say? Freeman exudes the quaint, laziness lifestyle of Bilbo perfectly, as well as the quiet lust for adventure deep inside. Sir Ian McKellen returns to top form as Gandalf while Richard Armitage immerses himself along with the other dwarf cast into tough, unrecognizable brothers.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey stacks up well against the Fellowship of the Ring as great introductory films into their respected trilogies.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: 8.5 out of 10.

Sherlock (2010-)

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With the third season set to begin filming on March 18th, 2013 and word breaking recently of the fourth season signed and ready for 2014. Sherlock is safe, its future secured while we are left waiting impatiently for its long anticipated return. There has been no new episodes aired in over a year and none scheduled for release until late 2013 or early 2014, now would be the ideal time to catch up on what you’ve been missing. Leaving all embellishment, gadgetry, and exaggeration behind, this adaptation of Sherlock Holmes isn’t your grandfathers Conan Doyle. Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as John Watson. The clever scripts merged with Doyle’s ingenious tales which are transposed into modern format have the resourceful duo to undertake the fragile endeavour that is bringing classic literature to the modern masses.

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Season 1:

Episode 1: A Study in Pink. The police hire the help of Mr. Holmes when they fail to find the culprit who forces his victims to commit suicide by taking a poisonous pill.

Episode 2: The Blind Banker. Holmes and Watson are offered a job investigating a break-in at a Bank in the city.

Episode 3: The Great Game. Holmes is offered employment by Mycroft researching the suspicious death of a government employee.

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Season 2:

Episode 1. A Scandal in Belgravia. Mycroft hires John Watson and Sherlock Holmes to recover embarrassing photos of a minor royal which are held on the camera phone of Irene Adler.

Episode 2: The Hounds of Baskerville. Sherlock and Watson are reached by Henry Knight who wants the dynamic duo to investigate the death of his father by a monstrous hound.

Episode 3: The Reichenbach Fall. When Holmes and Watson become celebrities for their work on high profile cases, Moriarty conducts several heists and allows himself to be captured. Upon encountering Holmes, Moriarty reminds Holmes of his intentions and provides one final problem for Watson and Holmes to solve.

Season 3:

To be announced.

Packing staggering amounts of witty banter, emotion, clever one liners, and intelligent plots with heavy twists and huge payoffs into every episode. Sherlock’s hour and a half runtime is more entertaining than most television series in their entirety. Having an eccentric, cultivating cast to absorb the priceless material on which the show is based. Cumberbatch, Freeman, and company perform desirably injected with the essence of Conan Doyle’s incalculable masterpieces. Sherlock is by far one of the most complete and entertaining shows presently running. The humour levels might be an unorthodox addition but the effectiveness of it is pure. In order to create the complete experience, every aspect of reality must be authentic. There is very little rise and fall between episodes, rather, the show gently pulsates. The best episode of the show to date is “A Scandal in Belgravia.” It may not be the most elaborate episode, but the performances, interactions, and overall cohesiveness is far beyond that of any of the other episodes. Its two leads performing their characters inconceivably wicked with the writing and direction to set them up, Sherlock is perfection.

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Sherlock: 10 out of 10.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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Where to begin with a film that is so entrancing and cataclysmic it sets off air raid sirens to everyone of its viewers senses. Christopher Nolan once again manages to spawn a villain more loveable than the superhero. As destructive and necessary his evil may be, Bane has a method to his madness and somehow this insanity is acceptable and cheer worthy. The scale of the entire film is stupefying and the entire ensemble is out of this world. Literally featuring one of the greatest casts ever assembled. Leading The Dark Knight Rises is Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Directed by the previously mentioned Christopher Nolan or otherwise known as the series saviour. The Dark Knight trilogy’s beginnings may have grown from a simple comic book, but what the cast and crew have done is not that of the imagination from a few colourful pages. The trilogy has shattered stereotypes and the box office, redefined a genre, and set the bar for every comic book film to follow.

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Eight years after the events in The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne (Bale) is a recluse trying to recover mentally and physically from his arduous battles for Gotham. At the anniversary party of Harvey Dent’s death at Bruce’s manor, a seemingly normal maid steals from Mr. Wayne’s safe and proves elusive in his attempts to capture her. Bruce later finds out that this thief is career burglar Selina Kyle (Hathaway), however he is unaware that she is the least of his problems. Commissioner Gordon (Oldman) and a hot headed cop named Blake (Levitt) out on a call run into trouble. The commissioner is taken captive by the evil force named Bane (Hardy). While dealing with his financial problems with Mr. Fox (Freeman) and Miranda Tate (Cotillard), his return to the world, and the absence of Alfred (Caine), Bruce Wayne now must deal with the terrorist, Bane.

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One would have figured it safe to assume that it would be impossible for The Dark Knight’s follow up to compete, so most would watch The Dark Knight Rises with low standards. When in actuality the bar along with our expectations should have continued to rise (no pun intended). Yes Heath Ledger’s performance was delightfully mad and morally impartial, but he wasn’t the only aspect of that great cinematic achievement. Regardless of his tragic death, would the story have continued with the Joker? Calculating the way Nolan and his crew function, I think it’s a safe bet that they would have gone in a new direction. Therefore, for any of those who dismissed the sequel without giving it a chance or those not respecting Nolan and cast. it is your loss. The Dark Knight Rises, one of the best films of all time, let alone 2012 is an electric and stirring thrill ride that is deserving of our praise, its runtime, and to hold the Batman legacy for eternity.

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The Dark Knight Rises: 9 out of 10.