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GET OUT OF THE HOBBIT'S WAY

For Hicksflicks.com, Dec. 13, 2013

Four movies opened today, and even though it's Friday the 13th, none of them are horror films. And three of are being marketed to specialty audiences, not movies that would give this week's big dog any trouble.

Come to think of it, what would give this week's big dog any trouble?

The big dog is "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" (PG-13), which has a fan base that won't quit. This is the second of three movies adapted from J.R.R. Tolkein's novel, a book of some 300 pages. Stretching this one out over three movies seems like … well, a stretch. But fans don't care, and "Smaug" will likely be as huge at the box office as its predecessor. ("Part 3" arrives next Christmas.)

The only other widely released new film this week is a Tyler Perry holiday comedy with his favorite character. Yes, it's Perry in drag for "Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas" (PG-13), and one of his co-stars is, gulp, Larry the Cable Guy. Of course, the film also features Kathy Najimy and Alicia Witt. I actually enjoy some of Perry's movies, but Madea is not my favorite character. But I may give this a try.

Over on the art house side, there's "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?" (not rated, exclusively at the Broadway), a documentary about commentator and political activist Noam Chomsky, or more correctly, an animated interview with him, which his to say "animated" as in "illustrated in cartoon style," rather than "expressive," and another documentary, "Bettie Page Reveals All" (R, exclusively at the Tower), an overview of the life and career of the title pin-up queen, narrated by Page herself from vintage recordings (she passed away in 2008).