Capsules of the movies opening in theaters this week.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
Before there was the “one ring” and impending doom for Middle-earth at the hands of the evil Sauron, there were the adventures of hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), as he and a band of Dwarves journeyed from the Shire to reclaim treasure stolen by the dragon Smaug. Peter Jackson returns to the director’s chair after winning a much-deserved Oscar for his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. “The Desolation of Smaug,” part two of this three-part saga based on the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, will open next December, followed by “There and Back Again” in summer 2014.
HYDE PARK ON THE HUDSON
British director Roger Michell attempts to give us an American version of “The King’s Speech” by chronicling King George VI’s visit to Franklin Roosevelt’s retreat in Upstate New York in the fateful summer of 1939. But don’t expect Bill Murray to win any Oscars for portraying FDR, but it should be humorous, just the same, especially when the prez sneaks away to tryst with his cousin, Margaret Stuckley, played by Laura Linney. Murray is an interesting casting choice, as is asking the lovely Olivia Williams to portray the decidedly unglamorous Eleanor Roosevelt.
THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
The incomparable Ken Burns moves from the small screen to the big one to tell the disturbing tale of how five kids from Harlem were erroneously sent to prison for 18 years in the aftermath of the rape of a white woman in Central Park in 1989, a crime that infamously spawned the term “wilding.”