The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug And so Bilbo Baggins and his dwarf pals continue their trek eastward, determined to return their copy of Backdoor Sluts 9 to the video store before their parents get wise. Dammit! I gotta stop writing these things after staying up all night watching South Park. What I meant to say is that we’re all guaranteed a great December at the movies now that Peter Jackson is finally releasing the follow-up to a picture that – in the words of Orlando expat, Hollywood gadfly and friend of this column Ben Rock – looked like an episode of The Guiding Light from 1987. Then again, maybe us Luddites are just unqualified to appreciate the caught-on-tape hyperrealism of cinema’s future, which is something we should all keep in our minds as the second Hobbit outing seeks to beguile us with its depiction of geekdom’s favorite “greedy, strong and wicked worm.” Stan Lee? No, silly: the title dragon! Also includes the franchise debut of Evangeline Lilly, once again face-to-face with a Smaug monster. Nyuk nyuk. (PG-13) – Steve Schneider
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas Sweet sister
of Christ, somebody make it stop. When Bad Santa was released in 2003 and Diary of a Mad Black Woman followed just two years later,
little did any of us realize that there would one day be a call for a mash-up of the two. But not even the most cynical futurist could have foreseen a world in which the Tyler Perry name would be so bankable that he’d be able to release another of his down-home homilies every seven or eight weeks, even while making them available for free on TV. In that context, Perry’s cameo as a Starfleet muckety-muck in the 2009 Star Trek was right on the money, since at this point, there’s practically nothing you or I could do to prevent his eventual rise to the station of galactic overseer. Maybe photos of him tag-teaming grade schoolers with the Elmo guy would do it, but I’m not sure I can sustain that kind of cheery optimism anymore, not even at Christmas. (PG-13) – SS
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