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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Looking back: films of winter break


    Red Granite Pictures

    “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
    The second installment of “The Hobbit” trilogy sees Bilbo, Gandalf and a company of dwarves continue their quest to the Misty Mountains, the old stomping grounds of the dwarves. The dragon Smaug has fashioned himself the King Under the Mountain, taking up residence in vast halls filled with glistening jewels. If you are already a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien and “The Lord of the Rings,” you’ll love this. If orcs, elves, hobbits, dwarves and wizards don’t sound appealing, this movie will do nothing to sway you.
    Grade: B-

    “American Hustle”
    From the opening title card of this film, “Some of this actually happened,” until the exciting end, you don’t know which way is up or down, who’s who or whose side they’re on. Director David O. Russell (“The Fighter,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) teams up again with Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in this ensemble-led tale of deception, sex, hairdos and the ’70s. Russell’s ability to find the humanity in the characters makes this one of the more all-around entertaining films in awhile.
    Grade: A

    “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”
    After the juggernaut of a marketing campaign and the fact that the original is now regarded as something of a modern comedic classic, this sequel has very large, polished shoes to fill. Unfortunately, this film is very hit-and-miss, relying on the forced, drawn-out lines of Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy. I would give a brief plot synopsis, but it’s pretty inconsequential. To give you an idea of how much of a grab bag the story is, Burgundy goes blind three-fourths of the way through the film.
    Grade: C

    “Grudge Match”
    The Aging Bull vs. Rocky LXVII (that’s Stallone’s age in Roman numerals). Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone star against each other as two aging boxers getting back in the ring one more time to settle a tie from their younger, more limber days. On the road to getting back into fighting form (or maybe something just a little less doughy and rotund), they come across old heartbreaks, neglected sons, and LL Cool J. The dialogue, acting and plot go down about as smoothly as a beverage of four raw eggs at six in the morning. Alan Arkin and Kevin Hart bring some humor in supporting roles.
    Grade: C

    “The Wolf of Wall Street”
    The excess of this Martin Scorsese-directed film puts any party scene from “The Great Gatsby” or “The Hangover” to shame. Leonardo DiCaprio portrays the real-life exploits of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker with a meteoric rise in the ’90s that comes crashing down when the FBI starts poking around. It’s three hours of hookers, blow, Quaaludes, nudity, 500 f-bombs and lots and lots of money. In this film, the complete realization of the American Dream is decadent, depraved, amoral and quite possibly un-American. Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie and Matthew McConaughey support.
    Grade: A-

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