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Peter Jackson‘s fifth J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation and second Hobbit film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, is now in theaters. It picks up right where 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey left off, with Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Thorin (Richard Armitage), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a company of Dwarves en route to the Lonely Mountain to defeat the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) and rightfully reclaim Dwarven fortune and lands.

The Desolation of Smaug not only continues that storyline, but introduces a ton of new characters and also considerably ups the level of action, giving Jackson plenty of room to play with special effects. Characters like Bard (Luke Evans), Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), Thranduil (Lee Pace) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom, reprising the role) add even more scope, but also more story for the film to work through.

There’s lots to talk about in regards to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and here’s where you can do it. I’ve weighed in with my review but we want to hear yours. Did you think the film improved on An Unexpected Journey? Which format did you see it in? Was the effect of high frame rate any different this time out? How about the IMAX? What did you think of the additions and computer graphics? All spoilers are allowed below. Read More »

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The second film in the Hunger Games series is out this week, and with it comes a new director, and a layer of extra complexity that fans of the novel series have been eager to see on screen. Now that we know the general outline of life in Panem, and how the Hunger Games are used as a tool for population control, it’s time to get into what really happens when the “winners” of the games learn how the Capitol really works.

With those elements, the addition of new characters, and a great load of footage shot in IMAX, there’s a lot to talk about with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. We’ve had Germain’s review and interview with Jennifer Lawrence, but now it’s your turn. What did you think of the film? Let us know in the comments below, where spoilers are encouraged.

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2 continues this weekend with the release of Alan Taylor‘s Thor: The Dark World. Coming from Game of Thrones, Taylor was hired to bring a new level of reality and action to the Thor universe, and many think he succeeded. Others do not.

Fresh off the events of The Avengers, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is imprisoned in Asgard and a new threat rises: Malekith (Christopher Eccelston), head of the Dark Elves, who hopes to destroy not only Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Asgard, but Earth, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and the entire universe.

After you see Thor: The Dark World, there is so, so much to discuss: Its effect on the rest of the MCU, the two credits teases, some major plot points and other surprises. Here’s where you can do that. Below, tell us and your fellow /Film readers what you thought of Thor: The Dark World. Read More »

‘Gravity’ – What Did You Think?

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For years we’ve heard that Alfonso Cuarón, director of Children of Men, wanted to make a space-set film like no other. Gravity has been the subject of rumor almost from the start, about how it would feature a very long unbroken “shot” as its opening sequence, about how a mixture of practical photography and CG would be combined to create an immersive and realistic vision of being stranded in space.

Unlike most rumors, most of the ones about Gravity were true. The film follows two astronauts, played by George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, and tracks Bullock’s character as a fairly routine spacewalk turns to disaster. It was shot with unusual methods and features an atypical soundtrack to create the sensation of being in space. And the general reaction to the 3D in the film has been very enthusiastic, especially when seen in IMAX. Our contributor Laremy Legel loved the film in Toronto, and now you have the chance to see it for yourself. So let us know; what did you think about Gravity? Read More »

‘Breaking Bad’ Series Finale Open Discussion

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Breaking Bad is finally coming to an end tonight. Joanna Robinson will be filing her awesome list recap and The One’s Who Knock podcast will both be published in the coming days — but I thought I’d start a post for /Film readers to talk about their thoughts, reactions, theories and criticisms as the final episode airs nationwide. Feel free to have an open discussion about the series as a whole and tonight’s finale. The finale will be airing around the country at different times beginning at 9pm eastern, so you may want to tread lightly and not want to enter the discussion after that time as we’re allowing open discussion of spoilers (better here than on twitter, eh?). So go at it!

Insidious Chapter 2 Bed

When James Wan‘s Insidious hit theaters in 2011, there were no expectations. The $1.5 million movie ended up grossing almost $100 million worldwide and created a legion of fans. That happened because Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell (co-creators of the Saw series) conceived a relatable, terrifying world where a family, rather than a house, was haunted.

Just two years later, with the Friday the 13th release of Insidious: Chapter 2, Wan faces huge expectations. Not only does he have to follow up that first film, but he’s coming off the massive hit The Conjuring and is next making Fast and Furious 7. Tell us what you thought of the second chapter of Insidious, after the break. Read More »

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‘The World’s End’ – What Did You Think?

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Edgar Wright‘s new film, the final chapter in the loose trilogy of films that also includes Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is The World’s End. The movie opened outside the US earlier this summer, but this weekend it hits the States. The story of five friends (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine) who are roped into taking on a pub crawl they failed twenty years prior, the film is a sci-fi comedy that explores the effect of nostalgia and the  ways that life goes on (or sometimes doesn’t) as we grow older.

This is a slightly different sort of comedy from the prior two films in the “trilogy,” but one that is still very definitely related to those individual chapters. In the comments below, tell us what you thought of The World’s End; keep in mind that spoilers are encouraged here. Read More »

‘The Wolverine’ – What Did You Think?

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After years of development, the second standalone film featuring Marvel’s favorite claw-wielding mutant is here. The Wolverine had a hell of a development path, but finally came together with Hugh Jackman reprising the title role under the direction of James Mangold. Their inspiration was the mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller that cemented Wolverine’s popularity in the early ’80s.

The team took quite a few liberties with Claremont/Miller — characters are changed, and with them so are some of the broad strokes of the story — but there’s a definite path that links the films.

Is that link, along with the film’s other positive factors, enough to make this one work? Let us know below — what did you think of The Wolverine? Is this a lot better than the first standalone movie, or just a bit better? (It can’t possibly be worse; on that point I think everyone can agree.) As always with posts of this sort, spoilers are encouraged in the comment thread below.

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‘World War Z’ – What Did You Think?

Brad Pitt World War Z

In 2006, author Max Brooks released a book with an amazing premise and an even better title. World War Z, the book, was billed as an “oral history of the zombie war.” It told fictionalized stories of people’s experiences looking back at zombie apocalypse and how humanity ultimately triumphed. Actor Brad Pitt‘s production company almost immediately picked up the movie rights and director Marc Forster was attached in 2008. From there, the film went through several different incarnations before finally going in front of cameras in 2011.

Then, during production, controversy once again surrounded the film. We already knew Brooks’ structure had been jettisoned for a more straight-forward approach by now, millions of dollars and weeks of reshoots were ordered. Turns out, Paramount had hired a new team to rewrite a major section of the film hoping to create a more satisfying experience.

The gamble paid off. A mere eight years after Brooks’ book was released, World War Z is now in theaters. Though reviews haven’t been uniformly positive, most agree Forster and Pitt have made a decent film. It’s certainly the most epic zombie film ever made in terms of scope, but it does have some issues. What did you think of World War Z? Was it entertaining? Did you like the reported changes? Listen to the /Filmcast review here and talk about the film below.