2019 Summer Movie Review: Tolkien

tolkien-wp

J.R.R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult) poses with his “fellowship” in Dome Karukoski’s first English-language film Tolkien. (Source: Washington Post)

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is one of the best writers who ever lived. He brought readers to a different world containing fantastical worlds and inventive languages. His imagination of Middle-Earth was brought forth to the big screen. Everybody has seen and loved Peter Jackson’s marvelous Lord of the Rings trilogy that went onto win numerous film awards. The New Zealand director came back to direct The Hobbit trilogy. Although it didn’t earn as much praise as before, it was great to be a part of a wonderful world everyone wished they were a part of.

After the popularity of those films, a biopic of J.R.R. Tolkien and his inspiration of writing his popular novels needed to happen. In his first English-language film, Finnish director Dome Karukoski and screenwriters David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford focus on the writer’s early years. Fans of the source material will be sadly disappointed with Tolkien.

The movie starts off with Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult) as an orphan. At a prep school, his life changes when he forms a friendship with three boys–Geoffrey (Anthony Boyle), Christopher (Tom Glynn-Carney), and Robert (Patrick Gibson). Together, they form a secret society called the Tea Club and Barrovian Society, where they sip on tea and discuss each other’s literary work.

Meanwhile, Tolkien develops a relationship with the lovely Edith (Lily Collins), who is also an orphan. She inspires him to write his popular Middle-Earth saga. However, their relationship gets in the way when he and his friends are enlisted in the trenches of World War I.

Making a biopic of the famous writer isn’t a problem. However, the family and his estate did not endorse Tolkien at all. It’s not a terrible movie, but it feels contrived and occasionally dull. The narrative jumps all over the place from No Man’s Land to the author’s past, which doesn’t help with its poor pacing. Hell, even the war sequences showcase what other war movies have done better. Although the cinematography by Lasse Frank is passable, they feel too generic. It is a treat to catch the numerous references from Tolkien’s work, though.

Hoult is no stranger when it comes to playing famous authors. He played J.D. Salinger in Rebel in the Rye, which also didn’t receive positive reviews. Here, the 29-year-old British actor delivers a strong performance as Tolkien, who captures his charm and wisdom of creating his own world. Two of the interesting aspects of the film is his fascination in linguistics. In one scene, we see Tolkien drunk in the middle of the courtyard shouting in Elvish to the stars. The fact he created languages and drew his own settings for his stories is amazing!

Another interesting aspect is his relationship with Edith. He and Collins are the two who keep the film moving. If the movie only focused on their relationship alone, it would have been more watchable. However–the movie has a lot of potential that hardly adds a lot to its unfocused narrative. Tolkien deserved to be so much more!

5/10

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Top 10 Best Movies of 2014

Now we’re working our way to the top. There are several great movies that I have missed in theaters this past year, like Whiplash, Nightcrawler, The Theory of Everything, John Wick, Foxcatcher, and St. Vincent. But I was lucky to catch lots of fantastic movies in theaters. Here is my list of the best movies of 2014.

Honorable Mentions: 22 Jump Street, American Sniper, Belle, Big Eyes, Big Hero 6, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Chef, Edge of Tomorrow, The Fault in our Stars, Fury, Godzilla, How to Train Your Dragon 2Interstellar (even though it was overhyped, there was plenty to like about this movie), Into the Woods, The LEGO Movie, Noah, Wild

Snowpiercer10. Snowpiercer – This is one of the best movies that got snubbed in this year’s Oscars. Korean director Bong Joon-Ho makes a futuristic picture with a George Orwell vibe. Global warming has been reversed, which causes humanity to be killed off. The remaining survivors aboard a train that is separated by three classes. Sitting in the caboose, one of the survivors (Chris Evans) leads a group of low-class citizens to make their way to the front of the train. Featuring an all-star cast, thought-provoking themes involving society, brutal action, and amazing special effects, Snowpiercer is worth the train ride.

hobbit-battle-armies9. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – I personally consider The Hobbit as the most underrated film trilogy. It was great going back to experience the magical world of Middle-Earth while reuniting with characters that I’ve known, loved, or loved to hate; as well as meeting new faces. This trilogy has been a long, unexpected, and downright exciting journey. Even though the trilogy changed the main focus to be on Thorin Oakenshield than Bilbo Baggins, it still stays true to J.R.R. Tolkien’s book. Being the shortest film in the franchise (144 minutes), The Battle of the Five Armies ends the trilogy with a bang. A lot of emotion, breathtaking battle scenes (especially the final battle being the best since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King), and an amazing song by Billy Boyd playing during the end credits is enough to become one of the year’s best. Thank you, Peter Jackson, for making two of the best film trilogies in recent years.

THE IMITATION GAME8. The Imitation Game – Benedict Cumberbatch is becoming one of my favorite actors. From playing detective Sherlock Holmes to the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit trilogy, now he plays Alan Turing in an exquisite performance. If you don’t know who he is, he was a leader of the breaking of the Enigma code during World War II. Then, he became convicted for his homosexuality, which was considered illegal in the U.K. in 1952. Despite the problems he went through, he became the inspiration for the computer that I’m typing my blog posts on. I don’t give a damn if this movie is historically inaccurate. A historical piece doesn’t have to be accurate. I loved every bit of this funny, heartbreaking, and moving historical piece.

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past7. X-Men: Days of Future Past – Bryan Singer came back to direct the sequel to X-Men: First Class eleven years after X2: X-Men United. Not only is it one of the best movies from the summer, it’s also the best in the X-Men franchise. It’s great to have Brits Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen reprising their roles of Professor X/Charles Xavier and Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr. But the focus is on Logan/Wolverine, as always excellently played by Hugh Jackman, as the team uses his consciousness to send him back to 1973 to prevent robots from taking over the world. Along the way, he encounters the younger versions of Xavier and Lehnsherr (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) to help him to save the past to prevent the future. This movie had just enough action, special effects, character development, and humor. Not to mention the scene involving Quicksilver in the White House kitchen with Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” playing in the background has to be the funniest and the coolest action set piece of the decade. I cannot wait to see how Quicksilver would be portrayed in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. I don’t know if Joss Whedon will make him as funny as Bryan Singer did in X-Men: Days of Future Past. We’ll see.

Dawn-POTA6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Three years ago, Rupert Wyatt directed Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a reboot of the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes. I couldn’t have asked for a better climax – with similarities of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes – building up to its sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Matt Reeves takes the franchise to a completely different level. Even though it has similarities of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, this throws the sequels out of the water. This movie reminds us why there is motion-capture. I hope Andy Serkis gets a special Academy Award for bringing motion-capture to life. His performance as Caesar is as powerful as in Rise. The scene in which he watches a video on a fully charged camcorder of himself as an infant being taught by Will the scientist is one of the most emotional scenes of the year. I think that’s why I prefer Rise and Dawn over the original Planet of the Apes films. Because they offer more emotion.

GuardiansOfTheGalaxy5. Guardians of the Galaxy – One of the biggest surprises of the summer, indie director James Gunn introduces a group that a lot of people have never heard of. He puts enough wit and charm into these characters to make us connect with them. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy three times in the theater, I had a blast each time I saw it. When Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, in an awesome performance) turns on his Walkman and dances to Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” on an abandoned planet, I knew I was in for a treat. Even though it features breathtaking visuals and exhilarating action, the main focus is the memorable characters and the witty dialogue. Not to mention the best soundtrack in recent memory. Cannot wait for the sequel.

Ben Affleck in Gone Girl4. Gone Girl – There are several movies this past year that made me speechless once the credits started rolling. Gone Girl is one of those movies. Based on Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel, Ben Affleck delivers the performance of his career as Nick Dunn, who becomes a suspect of his wife’s disappearance. I always like a good mystery. But there was rarely one where it had me on the edge of my seat from the first image. Kudos to a great marketing campaign, David Fincher and his team make an atmospheric thriller that gives a realistic glimpse of the media. With dark humor, many twists and turns, and a haunting score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Gone Girl has the feeling of a film noir. The gorgeous Rosamund Pike plays the craziest wife I’ve ever seen in a movie. She is an enigma to the characters as well as the audience through narration and flashbacks. I want her to beat Julianne Moore for the Best Actress Oscar.

07GRAND-articleLarge3. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson is one of my favorite filmmakers. I love almost all of his films. Unlike most filmmakers, he has his own unique style. Moonrise Kingdom is the first film that introduced me into his colorfully surreal world of zaniness. After seeing all of his early films, I wasn’t disappointed with The Grand Budapest Hotel. Wes Anderson has made the funniest film of his career. I couldn’t picture anyone else playing a better performance as Monsieur Gustave H. other than Ralph Fiennes. He has so much wit and charm as the flirtatious concierge who embarks on a journey to clear his name after being accused of murdering his former lover. His timing is spot-on. With a terrific ensemble featuring F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tom Wilkinson, and newcomer Tony Revolori, The Grand Budapest Hotel is definitely worth the visit. I’m surprised it got nine Oscar nominations (including Best Picture) this year.

Birdman2. Birdman – Nominated for nine Oscars including Best Picture, Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance is the greatest film that Alfred Hitchcock or Alfonso Cuarón never made. Alejandro González Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki make the most technically ambitious film of the year, using various film and editing techniques to make it look like it’s one continuous shot. The scene where washed-up actor Riggan Thomson holds a grudge on a New York Times theatre critic who is going to give his play a negative review before opening day proves that Michael Keaton might win the Oscar. This is a funny, satirical, bizarre, philosophical, and moving picture that reminds us why movies are made.

Boyhood-11. Boyhood – There has never been a film from 2014 that moved me as much as Boyhood did. Richard Linklater started production on this 12-year project in 2002 using the same actors and the same crew. It feels like he didn’t just make a film, but rather a lesson on adolescence. Linklater naturally depicts how kids and teenagers behave. Even though there aren’t any subtitles on what year we’re in, the audience sees the main character Mason (Ellar Coltrane, in a wonderfully convincing performance) grow up right before their eyes when his voice deepens, his hair grows longer, or if there is a conversation about the war in Iraq. This is a film that made me relate the fun times and hard times I had as a child and the responsibilities I’m going to have as an adult.

There are times in the film where Richard Linklater references his early films. There are scenes involving Mason having conversations with his father (amazingly played by Ethan Hawke) about a possible Star Wars sequel, getting advice, and talking about their day. They connect to Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight. Patricia Arquette needs to earn her Oscar as Mason’s mother who is trying to do the best she can for her kids.

To quote Richard Roeper: “There are so many things that could have gone wrong with this project when you really think about it. What if young [Ellar] Coltrane grew up to be a terrible actor in his teens? What if Lorelei [Linklater] decided five years ago she didn’t want to be in her dad’s movie anymore? Fortunately, for Linklater, and for us, it all came together beautifully.”

Boyhood is the most special movie-going experience I’ve ever had at the movie theater. Not only is it the best movie of 2014, it’s also the best movie of the decade so far and one of my favorites of all-time. This is a movie that should be seen by everyone.

I hope you enjoyed reading my choices for the best films of 2014. Feel free to leave a comment on what your favorite films of 2014 are. I cannot wait to see more great films this year. Take care.

The Hobbit: Another Long Journey Worth Taking

Peter Jackson walks through the door to film "The Hobbit" trilogy

Peter Jackson walks through the door to film “The Hobbit” trilogy

“In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit” are the first words in J.R.R. Tolkien’s first Middle-Earth adventure – The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. Published in 1937, it became a milestone in literature. It had adventure, fantasy, humor, and emotion. Sixteen years later, Tolkien published three volumes of The Lord of the Rings (Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King). After his death, his son Christopher published The Silmarillion, which consists of the history of Middle-Earth. Several film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have been made, however, the Tolkien family didn’t appreciate them (yes, they didn’t like Peter Jackson’s version).

erebor-own-the-hobbit-s-dwarven-gates-of-erebor

The Gates of Erebor

After The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim) was originally going to be attached to direct the adaptation of The Hobbit, and separate it into two films. Many delays have occurred during pre-production. Del Toro decided to only become the producer and leave the directing to collaborator Peter Jackson. Wanting to expand the Middle-Earth universe, Jackson decided to make the project into a trilogy. While filming since 2011, Jackson made fifteen video blogs featuring the behind-the-scenes of the trilogy starting with the beginning of shooting. Filmed during a period of 266 days, Jackson and his team strike back giving us another great journey. Even though it’s not as phenomenal as The Lord of the Rings, it was great returning to Middle-Earth and seeing the characters that I know and loved (or loved to hate) as well as some new faces.

We start the trilogy with An Unexpected Journey (2012). On the day of his 111th birthday, Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) begins to write his book about his first adventure sixty years ago. Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) visits a younger Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and says “I’m looking for someone to share in adventure.” Bilbo refuses. Gandalf puts a sign – consisting of a letter from the Germanic alphabet – on his door. One night while having his dinner, he gets unexpected visitors at his door. Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his company of dwarves: Fili (Dean O’Gorman), Kili (Aidan Turner), Oin (John Callen), Gloin (Peter Hambleton), Dwalin (Graham McTavish), Balin (Ken Stott), Bifur (William Kircher), Bofur (James Nesbitt), Bombur (Stephen Hunter), Dori (Mark Hadlow), Nori (Jed Brophy), and Ori (Adam Brown). They come in to his hobbit hole to have food, drinks, and sing songs.

Once they have settled down, the company talks about the journey to reclaim the Lonely Mountain, or Erebor as it’s called in the trilogy. Earlier in the film during a flashback set many years ago, Erebor has been lost after the dragon Smaug attacked the city of Dale and ended up taking the dwarves’ gold. They come to Bilbo’s house to assign him as the burglar of the

"I'm going on an adventure!"

“I’m going on an adventure!”

quest. Reluctant at first, Bilbo, then, signs the contract and ends up going on the adventure with Gandalf and the gang of dwarves. Along their way, they begins encounter wargs, orcs, trolls, goblins, and an odd wizard named Radagast the Brown (Sylvester McCoy) who warns them of a Necromancer in Dol Guldur. In the goblin tunnels, Bilbo takes possession of a magical ring – makinh him disappear whenever he puts in on – from Gollum (Andy Serkis) after playing a game of riddles.

He continues to have it in The Desolation of Smaug (2013), the gang meets with one of the more interesting characters, Beorn (Mikael Persbrant), a “skin-changer” who can transform into a giant bear. He gets advises them about the journey, and tells them his story about being enslaved by the Orcs inside the mountain and expresses his disrespect for Dwarves and his bigger hatred for Orcs. The gang goes through the forests of Mirkwood while Gandalf goes to Dul Guldur to encounter the Necromancer. They fight giant spiders, and come across the Wood-elves led by the children of Thranduil (Lee Pace), Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom). The gang gets imprisoned until Bilbo, with the help of the One Ring, helps them escape by floating down a river in barrels, which leads to an exciting action sequence. Then, they enter Lake-town with Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans) to pick up their weapons. As Durin’s Day (the last day of Autumn) comes to a close, most of the gang enter the Lonely Mountain (because Kili gets wounded after getting shot in the leg with an arrow at the river). Bilbo is assigned to retrieve the Arkenstone (King Thror’s gem) from Smaug (a scene-stealing performance by Benedict Cumberbatch). He accidentally wakes him up and escapes to Lake-town in The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) – the shortest in the franchise, clocking in at 2 hours and 24 minutes, leaving it up in flames in a breathtaking action scene (what

"I am fire. I am death."

“I am fire. I am death.”

a way to start a finale!), forcing the survivors to flee to Dale for shelter. Meanwhile, Thorin begins to suffer from “dragon sickness”, in which he becomes so obsessed with the gold. As the enemies are coming closer and closer, Thranduil asks if Thorin wants peace or war. “I will have war,” says Thorin as he and his dwarves get prepared to fight to the death in one of the most spectacular battle sequences since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Seeing these movies in theaters are movie-going experiences unlike any other. It was a treat to go back to become enthralled by the Peter Jackson’s passion of New Zealand. He brings back the sense of adventure and fantasy that made J.R.R. Tolkien’s book one of the best of all-time. He starts off the trilogy with a whimsical and humorous adventure, and then transitioning into a dark and powerful finale. At first, I had no idea how Jackson would adapt one book into a trilogy. Despite some of the gratuitous changes, like adding characters that weren’t in the book, like Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Saruman the White (Christopher Lee), and Legolas. However, Jackson puts enough story lines to make the trilogy stay true to original source material.

In a world where every great filmmaker is relying on CGI, Peter Jackson knows how to use this technology. Of course, there happens to be more CGI than practical effects frequently throughout the trilogy. However, it felt like they are realistic like in The Lord of the Rings. Not to mention the incredible action sequences juxtaposing the parts featuring others in perilous situations. Kudos to Cumberbatch and Serkis, motion-capture has never looked as amazing like ever before.

The theme of courage comes into play in the trilogy. When Bilbo goes on this journey in An Unexpected Journey, Gandalf says, “True courage is not knowing when to take a life, but when to spare one.” Bilbo enters the goblin tunnels to encounter

The Lonely Mountain

The Lonely Mountain

Gollum. They play a game of riddles, takes possession of the One Ring, and is shown the way out. He becomes invisible by putting on the ring, and he is inches away from slaying Gollum with his sword. Bilbo knows better by sparing his life than killing him.

As they go on their journey, the characters have evolved greatly. Thorin becomes the main focus in the trilogy rather than Bilbo. He has lost everything: his homeland and his wealth.

An interesting love connection occurs between Kili and Tauriel. When he is imprisoned in The Desolation of Smaug, they have a conversation about his rune stone as a promise to come back home safely. They become more affectionate toward each other in a beautiful scene when she comes to Lake-town to heel Kili’s wound. “You could not be her,” says Kili, not believing she came all this way for him. “She is far away…far away from me. She walks in starlight in another world. It was just a dream.” In an emotionally powerful scene in The Battle of the Five Armies, Tauriel weeps for Kili after getting killed. “Why does it hurt so much?” asks Tauriel to Thranduil, in tears. “Because it was real,” says Thranduil.

Billy Boyd, who played Pippin in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, wrote a song called “The Last Goodbye” played during the end credits of The Battle of the Five Armies. Reminiscent to Annie Lennox’s “Into the West”, this sweeping tune not only sums up the trilogy, it also sums up the entire franchise. It’s impossible not to get teary-eyed with the theme of the journey coming to an end. When I saw it Friday night, I was the last person to leave the movie theater thinking it’s a great way to end what is easily the best in the trilogy.

Peter Jackson won’t return to make another trilogy set in Middle-Earth. I hope someone who is familiar with the franchise to make a noteworthy version of The Silmarillion.

Movie Trailer: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Do I need to explain how excited I am for this!? I have been longing for the conclusion of The Hobbit to come to life on the big screen!! This looks beyond epic! I have a feeling this is going to feature the best battle sequence since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King!! I am totally prepared for the end of one story, and the beginning of the next! Please let December 17th come faster!

Top 20 Most Anticipated Movies For the Rest of 2014

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. Although it’s a shame that summer is almost over, I couldn’t get more excited about the fall. Leaves starting to change, starting a new chapter in life, and looking forward to seeing some movies that might get Oscar nominations. This summer managed to meet and exceed audience’s expectations. I’m hoping 2014 will end on a high note. Here’s my list of my top 20 most anticipated movies for the rest of the year:

The Hobbit 3

1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, and Benedict Cumberbatch
Directed by Peter Jackson
Opens December 17

Gone Girl

2. Gone Girl
Starring Ben Affleck, Rosmund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry
Directed by David Fincher
Opens October 3

Interstellar

3. Interstellar
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Opens November 7

Foxcatcher

4. Foxcatcher
Starring Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Michael Hall
Directed by Bennett Miller
Opens in selected theaters November 14

Nightcrawler

5. Nightcrawler
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Ann Cusack, and Bill Paxton
Directed by Dan Gilroy
Opens October 31

rosewater

6. Rosewater
Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Kim Bodnia, and Jason Jones
Directed by Jon Stewart
Opens November 7

Birdman

7. The Birdman
Starring Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, and Naomi Watts
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Opens in selected theaters October 17

The Judge

8. The Judge
Starring Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, and Billy Bob Thorton
Directed by David Dobkin
Opens October 10

Unbroken

9. Unbroken
Starring Jack O’Connell, Jai Courtney, Garrett Hedlund, and Alex Russell
Directed by Angelina Jolie
Opens Christmas Day

The Equalizer

10. The Equalizer
Starring Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Marton Csokas, and Bill Paxton
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Opens September 26

Winter Sleep (Kis Uykusu)

11. Winter Sleep (in Turkish: Kis Uykusu)
Starring Haluk Bilginer, Melisa Sozen, Demet Akbag, and Serhat Mustafa Kilic
Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Opens in selected theaters December 19

The Skeleton Twins

12. Skeleton Twins
Starring Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Ty Burrell, and Luke Wilson
Directed by Craig Johnson
Opens September 12

Big Eyes

Tim Burton directing his latest biopic “Big Eyes”

13. Big Eyes
Starring Christoph Waltz, Amy Adams, Terence Stamp, and Jason Schwartzman
Directed by Tim Burton
Opens Christmas Day

Wild

14. Wild
Starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gabby Hoffmann, and Michiel Huisman
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallee
Opens in selected theaters December 5

Fury

15. Fury
Starring Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Scott Eastwood, and Shia LaBeouf
Directed by David Ayer
Opens October 17

Bradley Cooper American Sniper

Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper”

16. American Sniper
Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, and Kyle Gallner
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Opens in selected theaters Christmas Day; everywhere January 16, 2015

Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice"

Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice”

17. Inherent Vice
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, and Owen Wilson
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Opens in selected theaters December 12; everywhere January 9, 2015

The Theory of Everything

18. The Theory of Everything
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Emily Watson, and David Thewlis
Directed by James Marsh
Opens November 7

Annabelle

19. Annabelle
Starring Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodward, and Eric Ladin
Directed John R. Leonetti
Opens October 3

Exodus - Gods and Kings

20. Exodus: Gods and Kings
Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, and Ben Kingsley
Directed by Ridley Scott
Opens December 12

There you have it. I hope you enjoy my picks. Leave comments below on what movies you’re looking forward to this fall.

“The Hobbit” Finale Retitled

Peter Jackson

Director Peter Jackson has changed the subtitle of The Hobbit finale. From a post on his Facebook page, he simply put:

Our journey to make The Hobbit Trilogy has been in some ways like Bilbo’s own, with hidden paths revealing their secrets to us as we’ve gone along. “There and Back Again” felt like the right name for the second of a two film telling of the quest to reclaim Erebor, when Bilbo’s arrival there, and departure, were both contained within the second film. But with three movies, it suddenly felt misplaced—after all, Bilbo has already arrived “there” in the “Desolation of Smaug”.

When we did the premiere trip late last year, I had a quiet conversation with the studio about the idea of revisiting the title. We decided to keep an open mind until a cut of the film was ready to look at. We reached that point last week, and after viewing the movie, we all agreed there is now one title that feels completely appropriate.

And so: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” it is.

As Professor Tolkien intended, “There and Back Again” encompasses Bilbo’s entire adventure, so don’t be surprised if you see it used on a future box-set of all three movies.

First of all, when Peter Jackson decided to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy book into a trilogy, I had mixed feelings. I had no idea how if it was necessary to add more subplots that weren’t in the original source material. When Tolkien was alive, he didn’t want anyone to adapt any of his work to the big screen. As a big fan of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, it was quite refreshing to revisit Middle-Earth. Although it will never surpass its epic scale of The Lord of the Rings, I love the first two Hobbit films on their own terms. Despite the countless subplots, it does not necessarily mean the movies are slow. It stays true to the original source material, and it captures the heart and soul of Middle-Earth.

With the finale retitled to The Battle of the Five Armies: it’s not that bad of a subtitle. Although its title may attract more to the action junkies, it makes sense on why Peter Jackson made the change. I am still looking forward to see how the underrated trilogy will unfold. I have a feeling the climactic battle will be considered the best movie battle since The Return of the King. Please make December 17th come quicker!

What are your thoughts about this title change? Are you still looking forward to the last installment to The Hobbit trilogy?