That time has arrived, my friends. “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies” arrives in theaters this week, bringing a conclusion to the “Hobbit” trilogy, which is a prequel to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Let’s not kid ourselves — there will hopefully be more Tolkien movies (I’m gunning for “The Silmarillion”), but this is a big moment for fans of Middle-earth.
Also, “Annie” and “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” one of Robin Williams’ final movies.
Here’s what’s opening in wide release this week…
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images | In Theaters 12/17 (2D/3D/IMAX 3D) | Ok for Kids 12+ | New Line Cinema (Warner Bros.) | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels
Peter Jackson’s third movie in “The Hobbit” trilogy, adapted from the books by J.R.R. Tolkien, concludes the adventures of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), the group has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world, and Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless people of Lake-town.
Obsessed with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor to hoard it as Bilbo tries to reason with him. Meanwhile, evil Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain, and the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.
PG for some mild language and rude humor | In Theaters 12/19 | Ok for Kids 8+ | Sony Pictures (Columbia Pictures) | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
The delightful Broadway classic comes to the big screen with Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) starring as Annie, a happy foster kid who’s tough enough to make it on the streets of New York in 2014 (don’t try this at home, kids!).
It’s been a “hard knock” life, thanks to her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz), but everything changes when hard- nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) rescues her from the path of a speeding vehicle. Stacks thinks he’s her guardian angel, but Annie’s self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook just might mean it’s the other way around. Emma Thompson, Aline Brosh McKenna and director Will Gluck wrote the screenplay for this super cute adaptation, which also stars Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB
PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language | In Theaters 12/19 | Ok for Kids 7+ | 20th Century Fox | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels
You know how all the exhibits spring to life at the museum every night? Well, that magic might come to an end unless security guard/CEO Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) can figure out why the Tablet of Ahkmenrah is dying out. To do so, he spans the globe, uniting favorite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it’s gone forever.
Directed by Shawn Levy, the all-star cast includes Robin Williams (one of his final films), Mickey Rooney (his final film), Rebel Wilson, Ben Kingsley, Dan Stevens, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Skyler Gisondo and Ricky Gervais.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Jane Boursaw is a well-known film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Images used are courtesy of respective film studios.