Weekend Movie Preview: December 13, 2013

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The weekend movie preview for this mid-December weekend finally brings the arrival of one of the most anticipated movies of the year, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

The J.R.R. Tolkien-penned classic isn't the only film to land on screens this week with Tom Hanks channeling Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks and Paul Walker turning in a powerhouse performance in one of his final films, the Hurricane Katrina drama Hours. Also, Tyler Perry is back as Madea in A Madea Christmas... sure to ring the jingle bells of his fans.

The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug: Peter Jackson's second chapter in his The Hobbit trilogy finds Bilbo (Martin Freeman), his band of dwarves and Gandalf inching ever closer to the evil dragon Smaug. The film truly cooks with action sequences that are among the best of the year and it is leagues better than the first film in the series, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. As we stated in our The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug review, the addition of a new character in Evangeline Lilly's Tauriel actually adds a whole lot of punch and heart to a series that already had it in droves. 

Saving Mr. Banks: Hanks is Walt Disney in the film that chronicles the incredible effort it took for the entertainment titan to secure the rights and film P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins. Emma Thompson astounds in the role of Travers, and the behind-the-scenes drama of making a classic is compelling on every level. Our Saving Mr. Banks review found it a "spoonful of excellence" and it is a priceless look into the creative genius of two very different souls. 

Hours: The story of a father's epic effort to keep his prematurely born baby alive after her mother dies in delivery in the midst of the horror of Hurricane Katrina is truly powerful. Paul Walker, in one of his final roles, astounds in his ability to channel the entire spectrum of emotions. The people of the city of New Orleans should also be quite proud of this picture as it tributes the tenacity of a community that is reflected in Walker's father who never gives up. For more, check out our Hours review.

A Madea Christmas: Perry is back as Madea in her first holiday venture, and for fans of the character and Perry's performance as the woman, it should bring some Christmas joy. For those who aren't too familiar with Madea, this Christmas story may not be your cup of eggnog. As reported in our A Madea Christmas review, Perry knows this character so well, and his improv riffs with co-stars Larry the Cable Guy and Kathy Najimy are absolutely hilarious.

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