Posts Tagged ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’


Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 3.02.42 PMCP24 film critic Richard Crouse reviews “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” “Annie” and “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 10.49.12 AM“Canada AM” film critic Richard Crouse reviews “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” “Annie” and “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!





Metro Canada: Hobbit actors (and others) who pilfer props!

Ian-McKellenBy Richard crouse – Metro In Focus

The release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies brings Peter Jackson’s trilogy to a close, and marks the end of a life immersed in Middle Earth for the actors. For several of the cast it was a years-long journey, and like any trip it’s nice to pick up a souvenir as a keepsake.

According to director Peter Jackson the actor who played the exiled dwarf king Thorin stole “the most boring thing in the world to steal,” from the set of the penultimate film, The Desolation of Smaug, socks.

“I did steal every single pair of costume socks,” said Richard Armitage, “because we were given a brand new pair every day.”

As production on The Battle of the Five Armies wrapped Armitage was gifted with some more interesting props including the deadly goblin cleaver Orcrist, which he keeps in an umbrella stand, “cause I want to be able to pick it up.”

Martin Freeman, who plays head Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, says he doesn’t miss making the films—“I’m really proud to have done it,” he says, “and I’m really glad to have done it, but I rarely miss jobs.”—but kept his sword and prosthetic ears as mementos.

Unlike Freeman, Sir Ian McKellen does get sentimental when he reflects on making the movies because, “a lot of the audience seeing The Hobbit part three wouldn’t have been born when we started filming it.” After spending thirteen years playing wise wizard Gandalf the Grey he took two priceless props from the set, “Gandalf’s staff, which I keep with umbrellas and walking sticks, and Gandalf’s hat, which I keep in the basement.”

Many actors have pilfered props from their movies. Keira Knightley walked off with Elizabeth Bennet’s striped socks from Pride & Prejudice. Elijah Wood has the One Ring from Lord of the Rings and Daniel Radcliffe liberated two pairs of Harry Potter’s famous round glasses, even though there was a strict policy about taking props from the set.

‘The ones from the first film are absolutely tiny now,” he says, “but they are very sweet.”

Kristen Stewart kept the engagement ring Edward Cullen gave her at the end of Twilight: Eclipse and Zachary Quinto took the ears he wore as Spock in Star Trek: Into Darkness but the strangest cinematic souvenir may belong to Mark Wahlberg.

The Academy Award nominee kept the prosthetic penis he wore as Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights. “I used to keep it in my desk drawer,” he said, “and I’d take it out and slap my friends in the face with it. I don’t keep many things from my movies, but that just seemed to have personal significance.”



HobbitBattleoftheFiveArmies-01“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is the end of an era, and the beginning of one of the biggest movie franchises in history. As the third part of the Hobbit trilogy, it brings to an end the Peter Jackson movies inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s books. In the chronology, however, it is midway, the film that sets up the “Lord of the Rings” movies.

The action picks up seconds after the Dwarves evicted greedy dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch) from the gold filled Lonely Mountain in “The Desolation of Smaug.” With the wicked worm gone exiled Dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) has now reclaimed his homeland and all the gold and power but wearing the crown has made him paranoid. He trusts no one, not even his loyal warriors and won’t listen to Bilbo Baggins’s (Martin Freeman) attempts to make him see reason. His irrational behavior leads to the epic showdown mentioned in the title. Legions of bloodthirsty Orcs (complete with their giant, hard-headed War Beasts) face off with Dwarves, Elves of the Woodland Realm, King Dain II Ironfoot of the Iron Hills and the Men of Laketown. The fate of Middle Earth hangs in the balance as alliances are made and skulls are cracked.

At least I think that’s what happens. There is so much going on, so many characters struggling for power and survival it’s sometimes hard to keep track. Jackson wraps up the series with a movie that tries to close every door it has opened which leads to a cluttered film short on story but long on characters and action scenes.

Big themes abound—greed, power, love, loyalty, family, all cloaked in a story about dragons, halflings, wizards, ill tempered Orcs and a struggle for a mountain filled with gold but the one thing, by and large, missing from the story is a strong presence from the title character. That’s right, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” treats Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) like a supporting character.

Baggins bookends the action and appears sporadically throughout, but the spotlight is fixed firmly on the other characters, rendering the “Hobbit” part of the title a tad superfluous.

The “Battle” part, however, is bang on. The movie is essentially a series of combat scenes stitched together and within those bruised and bloody sequences are some of the film’s highlights. Legolas (Orlando Bloom) running atop bricks, Mario Brothers style, as they fall through the air from a disintegrating bridge is a striking visual image and a scene where Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Saruman (Christopher Lee) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) thrash away at evil spirits will entertain the eyes.

Jackson’s grey palette infuses “The Battle of the Five Armies” with an ominous air as the dozens of characters breath life into the fight scenes. Heroes and villains abound, and while there isn’t quite enough actual story to justify the two-hour-and twenty-minute running time, the battle between good and evil is so primal, so elemental you can’t help but let it get your blood racing.

Peter Jackson thrilled to finish LOTR adventure with final Hobbit film

460230336By Richard Crouse – Metro Canada

Thirteen years, six movies and more than 1,000 minutes of film later, Peter Jackson is ready for a break.

“You can’t believe how much we don’t want anything to do,” he says.

With the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the journey that began with 2001’s The Fellowship of the Ring has come to an end for the director and his wife, producer and screenwriter Fran Walsh.

“We haven’t had a day when we’ve woken up and there hasn’t been a deadline,” he says of the last 13 years.

“Even if you go on vacation and they say, ‘You finished the first Hobbit movie and you can have three weeks off over Christmas,’ but we have to come back and start work on the next one on January 6, so it has always been this sort of looming thing.

“Now we get to wake up and it is done, finished, nothing left to do. We deliberately haven’t taken on any other work because Fran and I wanted so badly, for once in our professional lives of 30-odd years, to not have anything to do. That doesn’t mean that six weeks into our holiday we’ll not be so bloody bored that we’ll immediately start another project. That would be fine. At least we’ll do it for the right reasons.”

The new film is the end of an era, and the beginning of one of the biggest movie franchises in history. As the third part of the Hobbit trilogy, it brings to an end Jackson’s J.R.R. Tolkien’s adaptations. In the chronology, however, it is midway, the film that sets up the Lord of the Rings pictures.

“To me it has significance because it is the moment in time where a six-film series finally comes into focus,” he says.

“We are only four or five years away from a generation arriving who will have no memory or knowledge of how these films were released when they came out. All they’ll have is a six-part box set and hopefully they’ll start at the beginning and go through to the end. To me, until this movie actually existed there were these parts that were floating out there that can now be together.”

He may be done with the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies — “I have other things I want to make. I think it would be a terrible sad thing to spend the rest of my life going back over these films and trying to make them better” — but he’s not done with the cast he built over the years.

“We’ve just got such a wonderful collection of actors of all different types, and we’re friends now,” he says.

“I would be a happy man if I could make movies for the rest of my life using the cast we’ve used to date. I love it when directors have relationships with the same actors in film after film. It’s a fantastic thing.”