The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug

The second of Peter Jackson‘s trilogy of films adapting The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug, both improves on the previous film, and regresses from some of its achievements. In 2012’s An Unexpected Journey, Jackson stretched the story of The Hobbit to a breaking point. Sequences that were mere blips in the book became much longer, hurting the pacing immensely. At the start of this second film, Jackson picks up the pace considerably and, in just over an hour, our characters are at their final destination: The Lonely Mountain. Unfortunately, there’s still an hour and a half to go (plus another movie) which means that briefly improved, upbeat pace comes to a screeching halt. Plus that rushed first hour glosses over some of the most famous scenes in J.R.R. Tolkien‘s book.

Besides the major pacing problems, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has lots of good things going for it, including more rousing action, great performances by new characters, and several beautiful new settings. But all of those don’t save the film from being considerably divisive.

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Simon Pegg and Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

Today’s action-packed Sequel Bits contains news about spies, martial artists, giant alien robots, tortured mutants, and so much more. After the jump:

  • Transformers 5 and 6 depend on Transformers 4
  • James Mangold offers a minor Wolverine 2 update
  • Winona Ryder is “sworn to secrecy” about Beetlejuice 2
  • Simon Pegg says he’ll return for Mission: Impossible 5
  • Ong-back star Tony Jaa joins Wu Jing in SPL 2
  • Dwayne Johnson shares a fiery Fast & Furious 7 pic
  • Somehow The Hobbit is not done putting out new posters

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Hobbit Desolation Of Smaug header

The page has turned from October to November and that means the Fall movie season is really kicking into high gear. Besides all the Oscar-hopefuls, Hollywood releases a whole other block of potential blockbusters, and one of the biggest this year will be The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Peter Jackson‘s second part of The Hobbit opens December 13, and will continue the story of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and a team of dwarves on their way to reclaim the riches of the Lonely Mountain.

One new theatrical poster and seven character posters for the sequel have just been released showing the principal actors — including characters played by Orlando Bloom, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace and Luke Evans — ready for action. Check them out below. Read More »

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Trailer

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Two years after X-Men: First Class and seven years after X-Men: The Last Stand, we have our first peek at what happens when those two worlds collide. The full-length trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past has just arrived, bearing two Magnetos, two Professor Xaviers, and a whole lot of action. Check it out after the jump.

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Bilbo’s unexpected journey continues this winter with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and Warner Bros. has a new banner out to show off some of the sights to come.

Whereas the last film’s marketing campaign was stuffed with dwarves, only the prettiest and most popular make the cut this time around. (Though you can barely make out a few of the others in the background, if you squint.) Instead, the artwork makes room for a couple of new characters, like Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) and Bard the Bowman (Luke Evans), along with old favorites like Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and Legolas (Orlando Bloom). Check it out after the jump.

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Ian McKellen

Over a century since he first appeared in print, Sherlock Holmes is, if anything, more popular than ever. BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’ Elementary offer dueling visions of the famed detective in present-day London and New York, respectively, while Robert Downey Jr. plays a less modern, more Iron Man-y version of him in the Warner Bros. movie franchise.

Now the iconic British character is being reimagined yet again, this time by an iconic British actor. Ian McKellen will play a retired Sherlock Holmes for Bill Condon‘s A Slight Trick of the Mind, based on the novel by Mitch Cullin. Hit the jump for plot details and more.

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X-Men DOFP Magneto header

UPDATE: We’ve added the high resolution, non-watermarked images, as well as the Sentinel viral posters from SDCC.

X-Men: Days of Future Past won’t be out until next summer, but the marketing has already begun. It started at Comic-Con with the reveal of a Sentinel viral campaign, and continued in the Hall H with a big-time panel. Now Fox has revealed two striking teaser posters featuring Professor X, played by Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy, and Magneto, played by Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender. Check them out below. Read More »

Ian McKellen as Gandalf in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

Guess who’s been hanging out in Middle-earth again! Also after the jump:

  • There will be three more Transporter movies
  • Sly Stallone wants The Raid stars for Expendables 3
  • “Fuck, yeah,” Guillermo del Toro says about having Pacific Rim 2 ideas
  • Details uncovered on Transformers 4‘s new robots
  • Who else has an Anchorman 2 cameo lined up?

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Fox, producer Bryan Singer, and the writing and directing team that included Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn did some deep playing around with the onscreen X-Men franchise in X-Men: First Class. The film recast several primary characters, as it told a story from their youth, but also did a few things that contradicted the existing X-Men movies in a notable way.

Not a big deal for some audiences, but for a continuity-obsessed fan base — one encouraged by the notably knotted timeline of comics featuring the mutant characters — there was a lot to think about.

The next film in the series, X-Men: Days of Future Past, seems like it might address some of those continuity issues. It brings the First Class cast (James McAvoyMichael FassbenderJennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult) into a story that also features original actors Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, as well as Hugh Jackman, whose First Class cameo was one of those little kinks of continuity. How will the older actors be integrated into a story dominated by the younger cast? You probably know by this point that Days of Future Past jumps back and forth on the timeline, and that’s the key. But it sounds like there might not be too much interaction between the old and young cast.  Read More »

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