חזרה

BATTLE OF THE FIVE BLOCKBUSTERS

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

More than five blockbusters, actually, if you count those that opened in the past few weeks and are still playing ("Mockingjay," "Exodus," etc.).

Christmastime movies are always an odd mix of big fantasies and family pictures, and R-rated art films hoping to become Oscar contenders. This week we see the entire mix competing for your moviegoing dollars.

"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" (PG-13). The final entry in Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" trilogy must deal with the dragon Smaug from the previous film's cliffhanger ending before getting down to the business of the battles alluded to in the title, as Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Iam McKellen) and friends fight to save Middle-Earth. This one opened on Wednesday.

"Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" (PG). Ben Stiller and many of the cast members from previous entries star in this third go-round of the fantasy franchise about exhibits in a New York museum that come to life at night. The late Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Ben Kingsley, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Rebel Wilson, Dick Van Dyke, Bill Cobbs and the late Mickey Rooney are among those who appear.

"Annie" (PG). Third filmed version of the Broadway musical-comedy (after the 1982 film and the 1999 TV movie) stars Quvenzhané Wallis (the youngest best-actress nominee ever, for "Beasts of the Southern Wild") in the title role of "Little Orphan Annie," with Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks (apparently "Daddy Warbucks" is too dated for 2014), the mogul who takes the child in for publicity purposes but learns to love her. Cameron Diaz is Miss Hannigan. Hey, it's a hard-knock life.

"Top Five" (R). Chris Rock wrote, directed and stars in this comedy-drama as an action-franchise movie star looking to get serious with a new film that has not previewed well, and he finds himself on the defensive with a reporter (Rosario Dawson). Also on hand are Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Sherri Shepherd and J.B. Smoove, with cameos by Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler and Tracy Morgan.

"Wild" (R), based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," stars Reese Withspoon as Strayed, divorced and grieving the death of her mother when she decides to hike more than 1,000 miles as a form of healing. Laura Dern co-stars as her mother in flashbacks.

"The Babadook" (not rated, Australian). Horror film from Australia about a widow's young son slipping into behavioral problems connected with his attachment to an imaginary monster that may not be so imaginary after all. Exclusively at the Tower Theater.

"National Gallery" (not rated, documentary). This film explores the National Gallery in London, which houses a collection of paintings that dates back to the 13th century. Exclusively at the Broadway Centre Cinemas.