The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Shire, Warner Bros. has released the extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.The movie, which grossed more than a billion dollars worldwide is getting its second home video release in the course of the year, meant to prime the pump for the upcoming sequel in December. Director and all-around Tolkien movie guru Peter Jackson joins with his production partner Philippa Boyens to dissect the first installment in The Hobbit trilogy. It’s a long one, clocking in at just about three hours, the commentary was recorded in the summer of 2013 while they were in post-production of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. This commentary track is exclusive to the extended edition of the film, and there is none available for the theatrical version, which came out in March of 2013.

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discs white house down

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. And for those of you still reading, how’d you like a chance to win a new Scream Factory Blu-ray of John Carpenter‘s Body Bags? Just leave us a comment below with the name of your favorite horror anthology and why you love it, and we’ll pick a winner on Friday 11/8. (U.S. addresses only!) White House Down John Cale (Channing Tatum) is a Capitol cop with aspirations towards the Secret Service, but while his application is rejected he gets a second shot when terrorists attack the White House with a nefarious goal in mind. Cale finds himself protecting the president (Jamie Foxx) while simultaneously trying to save his own daughter. All that and he still doesn’t get the job. Probably. You’ll have to watch. Director Roland Emmerich‘s film had the misfortune of following the near-identical Olympus Has Fallen into theaters, but while most folks will tell you you can only like one or the other I’m here to say I love them both. Olympus is the better action film, but while this one does just fine in that department its real strength is its energy and sheer entertainment value. The effects are shady, and I’m fairly certain there’s not a single scene in the film that was actually filmed outdoors, but Tatum and Foxx have fantastic chemistry that when combined with an absolutely ridiculous script will have you smiling […]

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Drinking Games

After a lot of gnashing of teeth about splitting it into three parts, complaining about the 48 fps presentation, and debating whether it would make a billion dollars, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is now available on 3D Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray and DVD. So it’s a fine time as any to tune your HDTV to your favorite settings and enjoy the film in the comfort of your own home and the control of your own image. If you have the love of Middle-Earth (and the tolerance for alcohol) to make this a marathon of Tolkien movies, you can play our Lord of the Rings drinking game from last year as well. However, Peter Jackson’s three-hour first installment of The Hobbit should give you plenty of reasons to knock a few back as if you were a dwarf at Bilbo’s table. Enjoy the first third of this Lord of the Rings prequel with your favorite blend of Middle-Earth-inspired brew.

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discs big picture

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Big Picture Paul (Romain Duris) is a successful lawyer with a wife and two beautiful kids, but something is amiss in his marriage. He envies his neighbor Greg’s casual freedoms, but when he discovers his wife has been loving Greg in some far more physical ways, a conversation between the two men leads to an incident that sends Paul running for his life. This French thriller is based on a novel by Douglas Kennedy, and as they did with Harlan Coben’s Tell No One, the result is a far more literate thriller than we would probably get from Hollywood. Duris is a fantastic actor, and he invests Paul with passion and emotional intensity as his mistake leads to a life he’s always wanted but was afraid to attempt. The supporting performances are equally solid including a brief turn by Catherine Deneuve. [Blu-ray extras: Trailer]

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Best Production Design

It’s got a new name! Best Art Direction is now Best Production Design, in keeping with the equivalent change of the Academy branch. Of course, the name change doesn’t have any practical impact on the content of the category or its predictability, but it is cool nonetheless. This year’s crop is an interesting bunch. Three of the five nominees are also up for Best Picture, though the category doesn’t align with the top often enough to make it a no-brainer. There are three period films and two fantasy films, in keeping with the Academy’s reluctance to award contemporary design. And it goes without saying that most of the nominated films are visually stunning. Check out the nominees for Best Production Design with my prediction in red:

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12year_disappointments

If there’s one word I think of that’s best tied to the story of film in 2012, it’s “disappointing.” That’s not to say that 2012 was a disappointing year for movies. I don’t know if it was the best in a while, as some of my fellow critics claim, but then I still haven’t seen a lot of the “best” titles of the year. What I do know is that there were enough movies that really, really, really disappointed a lot of people, and so I feel like I heard — or read — the word “disappointing” more than any other. Whether it was a long-awaited prequel to a classic helmed by the original’s director or the expected return to form for a filmmaker or a final installment of a much-worshipped superhero trilogy or a reboot of a beloved comic-based franchise or a new animated feature from a usually dependable studio, there were plenty of major releases that turned out to be less than satisfying. At least for some.

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Drinking Games

By now, you’ve probably seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and you may have stumbled out of the theater, feeling drunk from the effects of the HFR projection. Regardless of what you thought of Peter Jackson’s latest Middle-earth fantasy epic, you might be tempted to watch all or part of his previous trilogy The Lord of the Rings. This is a marathon session to endure, especially if you opt for the extended editions of the films, which totals close to twelve hours of movies. In short, you can start one movie with breakfast (or second breakfast, or elevensies) and be drinking your nighttime spirits by the middle of the second film. So whenever you plan on drinking during this batch of movies, there’s always time for this drinking game.

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Mondo LOTR

While some might think that the best way to celebrate the release of a new film is to perhaps craft some art based on said new film, the folks over at Mondo have decided to use their poster celebration (posterbration?) of Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to honor Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy instead. Sounds good to us! Everyone’s favorite poster shop (and the official collectible art division of the Alamo Drafthouse) will release the Olly Moss-made posters tomorrow, December 13. The posters each measure 15″ x 36″. The regular edition (as shown up top) is limited to 580 posters (priced at $50) and the variant edition is limited to just 285 (priced at $90). Make sure to follow @MondoNews on Twitter for the exact sale time for these Hobbit-celebrating LOTR posters. Check out the variant after the break!

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Django Unchained

This last month of 2012 is packed with movies to suck up our time when we need it the most. You got Tom Cruise stretching his acting muscles as an action hero, Russell Crowe singing in the shower, Matt Damon getting all teary eyed nostalgic over old America, and more. Plenty of variety before the apocalypse ruins our chance of ever seeing what Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s Batman would be like. If this is our final month of filmgoing, then so be it. With Quentin Tarantino, Peter Jackson, Judd Apatow, Kathryn Bigelow, Christopher McQuarie, and Gus Van Sant all jollying up our holiday season, we couldn’t ask for a better last hurrah for movies if those apocalypse rumors are proven correct. Before we all die horrible and painful deaths, make sure to see these films:

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By now, you’ve probably already decided which format you’re going to see Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in, be it IMAX, 3D, 24 FPS, 48 FPS, 2D, PQUEZ (that one is a joke, you guys) or otherwise, but it looks like the marketing team behind the production just might have thrown a wrench into your decision. For those intrepid midnight movie-goers, Warner Bros. and IMAX have teamed up to put together a package of no less than four exclusive character posters for the film, posters that will only be given away to fans who come out to see the film for a 12:01AM 3D screening on December 14 at select IMAX theaters. While these posters should pretty much sell themselves, it is essential to note that these screenings will not be in 48 frames per second. But, hey, free posters. And Star Trek Into Darkness footage! Think you want to go? Check out this list of participating theaters that will all be doing the 12:01AM screenings with posters for giveaway (while supplies last, of course). Check out all four posters after the break.

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It just doesn’t stop, does it? Not only is one film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s “The Hobbit” not enough for movie fans (or director Peter Jackson? or his vast and very talented cast? or the country of New Zealand?), two film adaptations are also not enough, so you better believe that just one soundtrack isn’t even close to good enough for a production that has now ballooned to include three films based on one novel. WaterTower Music has just announced (via Fandango) the release of the official soundtrack to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and, shock of shocks, just one disc isn’t going to cut it. The Official Motion Picture Soundtrack will arrive in stores and online on December 11 as a two-disc set, with a Special Edition also available on that same day. The so-called Special Edition will include six exclusive bonus tracks, seven extended score cues, and deluxe liner notes. The soundtrack features an original score by Academy Award winner Howard Shore (who also did the score for Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy), along with a new original song by Crowded House’s Neil Finn. You can check out the full track listing for both editions of the soundtrack after the break, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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Reading J.R.R. Tolkien‘s “The Hobbit” and processing its myriad characters can be confusing enough for kid brains (I remember, quite vividly, making a cheat sheet of all the names within the book, a list that I stuck in the back of my paperback copy and would refer to frequently), and few of those names are more interchangeable (and confusing) than that of the thirteen dwarves who accompany Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf on their (unexpected) journey. I mean, the rhyming, while sweet, is just not helpful when trying to differentiate between Thorin and Gloin and Oin, but that’s just how things are in Middle-earth. Of course, now we have three whole films to look forward to, and a massive cast of talent to finally put faces to (a multitude of) names. So why not use a handy dandy banner to brush up on all the dwarves we will soon meet in Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? Heck, even Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf (Ian McKellan) are there! Take a look at the banner after the break. How many dwarves can you name before you look at it?

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The week has flown by, and I’ve had a blast sharing links, videos, and images with you all. I still have one more day behind the wheel of this ship, and I intend to bring you all kinds of goodies. While today is another one of those slow news days as everyone winds down at Fantastic Fest, and prepares for the New York Film Festival, I managed to find some pretty neat things in my feed reader.

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Peter Jackon On Set The Hobbit

From his Facebook page, Peter Jackson has announced that principal photography is done for The Hobbit. “We made it! Shoot day 266 and the end of principal photography on The Hobbit. Thanks to our fantastic cast and crew for getting us this far, and to all of you for your support! Next stop, the cutting room. Oh, and Comic Con!” The first film in the 2-parter, An Unexpected Journey, is due in theaters December 14th, giving Jackson and company 161 days to finish the film. But first, crowds at Comic-Con will get what will most likely be an incredible look at what they’ve got so far.  

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Legolas Orlando Bloom

What’s striking about the newest production blog for The Hobbit is how many people it features – and even then, it’s probably 1% of the full crew. For anyone wondering what making a movie is really like, this is a nice primer (even if it’s staged). People living in a trailer village, shuffling paper from one office to the next, coordinating with the extensive costuming department. These are the tricks behind the magic. The dwarf noses are fake, but the fire is real. The video features Peter Jackson, many of the actors, and the badass taking over as Legolas while Orlando Bloom films the blog footage. It’s a cool tour through Stone Street Studios and the behind-the-scenes world of Gloin and Friends. Check it out for yourself:

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If you want to be spoiled on the new character created by Peter Jackson and company for The Hobbit, read on. If you want to be spoiled on what happens in The Hobbit beyond her character, read “The Hobbit.” That new character is an elf played by Evangeline Lilly. When Jackson announced it, he was quick to point out that there would be no romantic relationship between her and Legalos, that her name was Tauriel (which is not the ingredient in energy drinks), and that her name meant “daughter of Mirkwood.” Now, Lilly has given a few more details on the character to Entertainment Weekly, and they’re more than a bit revealing with a small note on plot and a lot on how much this new creation will be featured in the films.

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