Three quick reviews of in-theater movies!

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies

Five armies is two or three too many, and “The Hobbit” trilogy ends in a cluster because of it. More armies does not equal more fun. Storylines are left unfinished, the excitement comes and goes like the tide, and Martin Freeman doesn’t get the screentime or the memorable dialogue that he deserves. Duty compelled me to see the ending of a trilogy that fell apart with “The Desolation of Smaug,” and unfortunately I’m now happy that the triology has come to a close. 6/10


Angelina Jolie‘s second directing effort is the sentimental war epic that the Christmas crowds enjoy, but this time the emotional response wasn’t there for me. Jack O’Connell plays the real-life WWII war hero and Olympian Louis Zamperini, whose true story includes an intense plane battle, a life-altering 45 days lost at sea, and internment in a Japanese POW camp. It’s a story primed for the big screen, and Jolie has only the best intentions. O’Connell and Domnhall Gleeson, who plays a fellow solider, give incredibly convincing performances. Unfortunately, the scenes that should have made me feel compelled to cry or stand and cheer left me expressionless. “Unbroken” is a respectable tale of a real hero told by a brilliant cast and crew, but it missed its mark. 6.5/10

St. Vincent

“St. Vincent,” the dramedy about a single mother (Melissa McCarthy) who has to rely on her crotchedy and immoral old neighbor (Bill Murray) to babysit her young boy (Jaeden Lieberher), did arouse those emotions that “Unbroken” couldn’t. Leiberher does an extraordinary job in his first feature film, and Bill Murray takes it up a notch to give a performance that deserves to be seen. Even McCarthy, whose comedy I’ve never enjoyed, dials down the raunchy and plays a normal person. Maybe that’s why I loved it so much. 7.5/10

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