9   +   5   =  

the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaugGiven the size of the advertising campaign, you’d have to have been living under a pretty big rock to not be aware what is out this week. In the first instalment they set off on an Unexpected Journey, now Martin Freeman’s Bilbo and his merry band return to fight a dragon in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. This time last year, I was sat in the cinema dreading the start of what I assumed would be a major disappointment. Splitting a small children’s book into a 3 film, 8 hour epic seemed like madness. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I wasn’t gasping in astonishment, I was just having a great time. Peter Jackson, please forgive me for ever doubting you.

When you’ve finished watching one kind of big screen spectacle, don’t forget to catch the re-issue of perhaps the finest love letter to film ever made, Cinema Paradiso. Giuseppe Tornatore’s classic sees acclaimed director Salvatore return to his hometown to make peace with a past that is bound up with the fortunes of his local cinema. The romantic power of film has rarely been as strong as in that closing montage.

If you fancy a change of pace, why not check out Israeli drama Fill the Void. The opposite of this week’s headline act, it follows life among the Haredi community in Tel Aviv as young Shira is pressured into marrying the husband of her older sister who died in childbirth. It’s a small-scale, intimate experience that may seem the opposite of The Hobbit but again shows just how cinema is capable of opening the door to a world you might otherwise never see.

With the big screen full of large scale epics and thought provoking drama, you might need a break at home. Coming to DVD is the Denzel Washington/Mark Wahlberg action thriller 2 Guns. Don’t be fooled by the misleading title. There are considerably more than 2 guns in use. Both men play undercover agents unaware of each other’s identities as they try to infiltrate a drug gang. It’s absolute nonsense, but the rapport between the leads is top-notch and very funny.

Next week, aside from a trip to see The Hobbit again, Ron Burgundy might just have an early Christmas present for you all. Stay classy guys.

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