Lloyd (Jim Carrey), who has successfully faked a mental illness for 20 years, meets up with Harry (Jeff Daniels) once again to join forces in another wacky adventure. This time, Harry discovers he has a daughter.

The two old pals set out to find her, with Lloyd determining to make her fall in love with him. Along the way they fall into their old, dumber-than-dumb habits. Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden, Kathleen Turner

Comedy 1 hour 50 mins

Parental Guidance
Parental Guidance (PG)
A film is to be classified as Parental Guidance where the themes or content of the film may not be suitable for all children, although there is no age restriction.

 


I remember back in 2001 sitting in a movie theatre to watch the first “Lord of the Rings” film, “The Fellowship of the Ring.” I really didn’t think it could be done, this telling of Tolkien’s grand vision on screen. Sure, Peter Jackson had done cool things with genre (“The Frighteners,” for example), and I’m a big fan of his “Heavenly Creatures,” but this whole thing seemed too big, too dense, too brash to do.

About 10 minutes in, as the prologue slams to a close and we’re thrust from the ancient battlefields right into the wondrous vision of the woods surrounding Hobbiton, it all felt so right. There were changes to the source material, but what was clear was the translation to the big screen was being done by a bunch of truly savvy filmmakers. This, after all, was no less a transmogrification than was done by Tolkien when he rejigged Norse myths and Beowulfian dramas to tell the tale of a hairy-footed Halfling. The connection between film and book is closer, of course, but the change in form has resulted in a kind of reinvention that sees its culmination in this lynchpin film.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” isn’t the sixth film of the Middle-earth series, it’s the crux for the whole endeavour, the last puzzle piece that allows the narrative to be screened as one, back to front.

Whoa, whoa, whoa … easy there, nerd. I just want to know if it’s better than the last two films, which were boring and stupid.
Well, first of all, it’s not nice to call me names, even if the epithet is accurate. Secondly, I think the last two “Hobbit” films have been given short shrift. In fact, I’ll go one better — I think that this final film will help those who re-watch the early Hobbitses and see that the shift in tonality is actually exceptional, and the dive into darkness and violence well-earned.

Then again, many who don’t like this second trilogy are always going to find them redundant however they’re executed. I think some moviegoers remember elements from “LOTR” more favourably than they should, making these more recent films attempt to live up to even more impossible expectations. Sure, we can quibble about it all, and always wonder what the Guillermo Del Toro vision for the series would have looked like, but for my money PJ and Co. have done a terrific job at weaving all these films into one coherent whole.

As a guy not afraid to marathon movies for most of a day, I look forward to the six-pack filmstravaganza, and believe “Battle of the Five Armies” will make a pretty killer middle bit.

OK, fine, I’ll give it a shot … but is this one at least a bit more fast-paced?
I think it’s fair to say that this movie is weighted highly on the “getting s**t done” side of the spectrum. From the first seconds we’re thrust into a terrific pre-title sequence where we see Lake Town get obliterated by Smaug, that last of the fire drakes who we last saw leaving Erebor after being roused by Bilbo and his Dwarven friends.

If this last bit doesn’t make any sense, well, you might want to re-watch the last one again, because from that point on the film hits the accelerator, tying up the majority of the stories set by the last two films while also coyly setting up bits that will crop up later in the timeline (aka, “LOTR”).

Does the big battle look like a mass of mushy CGI?
Well, first of all, forget the hate — go see this film in 3D high frame rate if you can, as it truly is a thing to behold. But having seen it in several formats, including 24P, I can attest that the film and the massive concluding battle looks pretty damn good. Jackson does well to pace things out, with the action taking place in and around the war ebbing and flowing, allowing for truly humongous moments to be buttressed against tinier, more intimate confrontations.

Plus, there’s some great moments of silliness, where it’s clear that Jackson and his animators are having fun, upping the ante once more and giving it all they’ve got to give.

Oh, what the hell, might as well see it.
That’s the spirit! No, wait, I think this film deserves more than that. We’ve gone from not believing this type of film was possible to make, to taking for granted that another iteration is here for our enjoyment. After the flourish around the last trilogy (culminating in a slew of Oscars, no less) there’s a sense of jadedness around this entire trilogy that I think is unfounded. In many ways “The Hobbit” series is the equal to what came before, at times superior, at other times less so. Still, its capacity to amaze, enthrall, and entertain is easily on par with the films that it has built upon, and for which they now serve as a de facto introduction.

This entire saga has been a hell of a journey, and this seems to be an entirely satisfying ending to what’s come before. Little of what I have to say will sway those convinced that the whole thing is silly and “LOTR” should have been left alone. I, for one, never felt those films to be so, um, “precious” that a bit more of Tolkien’s prose and Jackson’s magic would be anything less than a welcome thing.

“Battle of the Five Armies” doesn’t work even a tiny bit as a standalone piece, but few final chapters ever do. It’s in some ways a reward for sticking it out, a series of super-fun action scenes and moments that are both moving and memorable. It’s as if we’ve filled a chest with memories, just like the one that Bilbo carries under his arm to Bag End. It’s a lovely little chest of memories, dented in places, smelling of goblin perhaps, but nonetheless filled with rare treasures indeed.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is now playing in theatres.

'The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies': IMAX Featurette

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There’s very little that Hollywood likes more than to take a cast of expensive actors, place them in a lavishly-produced set, and then blow everything up. The resulting mix of all-star casting and spectacular destruction is what makes a disaster film, and disaster films don’t come any bigger than “The Towering Inferno.” Released 40 years ago this month (on December 14, 1974), the film was so big that it was based on two novels by different authors, was the first movie that required the backing of two studios to make it (20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. were the collaborators), and featured two stars so huge (Steve McQueen and Paul Newman) that no one could agree on which of them should be billed first. (The solution: McQueen’s name appeared in the poster and on the screen in the lower left, while Newman’s was placed in the upper right, so that both names appeared to be first, a stagger-step solution that has been used many times since in similar situations.)

“Towering Inferno” was not only the top-grossing movie of 1974 and a Best Picture Oscar nominee, but it also marked the crest of the first great wave of disaster movies, a tsunami of all-star destruction orgies mostly produced by one man: Irwin Allen. (He had a decade-long run, from “The Poseidon Adventure” to the aptly titled “When Time Ran Out…”). The genre lay dormant for a while, but it was revived in the late 1990s by both millennial dread (over Biblical prophecy, the Y2K bug, and other potential real-world catastrophes) and by director Roland Emmerich, whose Irwin Allen-like body of work includes “Independence Day,” “Godzilla” (1998), “The Day After Tomorrow,” and “2012.”

Today, the disaster film persists, perhaps because the world seems ever more dangerous, and perhaps because of our schadenfreude over watching pampered actors flee for their lives in terror. (Admit it: watching one of these movies, you have the cathartic feeling of “There but for the grace of God go I.”) Here, then, are 33 unforgettable disaster movies to revisit as we light a candle (while keeping a fire extinguisher close at hand) to “The Towering Inferno.”

disaster movies

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Biblical epic “Exodus: Gods and Kings” ruled the box office its opening weekend with a chart-topping $24.5 million, according to box office tracker Rentrak’s Sunday estimates.

The Ridley Scott-directed tale effectively ended the three week reign of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” which came in second with an estimated $13.2 million.

With a reported $140 million production budget, “Exodus: Gods and Kings” met expectations in its debut weekend, but it failed to live up to the precedent set by some recent biblically-themed films, including “Noah” which opened to $43.7 million in March.

Also new in theaters, “Top Five,” from writer-director and star Chris Rock, opened strongly. The Paramount-distributed comedy took in an estimated $7.2 million from only 979 locations to take the fourth-place spot.

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A 12-year-old boy whose parents just got divorced begins to hang outwith his next door neighbor Vincent (Bill Murray), a cantankerous, war veteran. The man teaches the boy all about gambling, fighting, stealing, and other guy stuff, to the horror of the local parish priest

(Chris O’Dowd). Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Terrence

Howard

Comedy  1 hour 43 mins

Parental Guidance
Parental Guidance (PG)
A film is to be classified as Parental Guidance where the themes or content of the film may not be suitable for all children, although there is no age restriction.

 

Best Family Movies 2014We know you must be overwhelmed with all the Best Movies of 2014 lists touting the understated brilliance of “Boyhood,” the powerful resonance of “Selma,” and the incomparable performances in “Birdman,” ” and “Whiplash” (all true of course). But this is list is different, because it’s all about the family and the movies those of us with kids don’t have to get a babysitter to see in theaters. Here’s a look at 10 of the year’s best family films (all G and PG-rated, if they’re rated at all), with the caveat that I’ve yet to see either “Annie” or “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.” If you missed some of these on the big screen, definitely rent, buy, or stream them for family movie night!

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Hot Tub Time Machine 2
A new trailer for “Hot Tub Time Machine 2″ reunites three-quarters of the original gang — Lou (Rob Corddry), Nick (Craig Robinson), and Jacob (Clark Duke) — for even more time-traveling shenanigans, only in this version, the trio is actively trying to alter the past.

Unfortunately for the gang, that plan doesn’t go as well as the first time around. While their inadvertent trip to the ’80s in the first flick allowed them to return to the present with lots of insider knowledge — Lou has invented the internet, while Nick has become a famous musician thanks to penning popular tunes like “Call Me Maybe” more than a decade before Carly Rae Jepsen stormed the charts — it seems that the trio has now fallen on hard times.

Naturally, they decide to take another dip in the fateful tub to determine what went wrong, but can’t quite control where they land in time. They visit the ’50s — where Jacob has a fling with Marilyn Monroe — and even the 1770s — Lou gets to invent America itself this time around — but can’t seem to figure out how to stop their downfall in the year 2025. Will the titular time machine save the day again?

We’re guessing yes, though if the sequel is half as silly as the original, it should be an entertaining journey to the inevitable.

“Hot Tub Time Machine 2″ also stars Adam Scott, Gillian Jacobs, and Collette Wolfe. It hits theaters on February 20, 2015.
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Photo credit: Steve Dietl/Paramount

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