This week brings on the battles with “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” “August: Osage County,” “Grudge Match” and more. Star ratings are by Seattle Times movie reviewers, freelancers or wire services. For full reviews, search the title at seattletimes.com. Release dates are subject to change.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (PG-13): Enter the dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) and a new character, elf Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), in this second installment of the series. The story resumes as hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a band of dwarves descend into the dark and diseased forest of Mirkwood. The film received Oscar nominations for sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects.
“I Am Divine” (not rated; for mature audiences): Jeffrey Schwarz’s documentary goes beyond the makeup and shock effects of Harris Glenn Milstead, the midnight-movie icon better known as Divine.
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“August: Osage County” (R): The screen adaptation of Tracy Letts’ play explores a family’s secrets, lies and ability to shriek at each other. It stars Oscar nominees Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.
“Snake & Mongoose” (PG-13): The low-budget biopic follows two drag-car racers — Don “The Snake” Prudhomme (Jesse Williams) and Tom “Mongoose” McEwen (Richard Blake) — who lucratively promote their rivalry.
“Grudge Match” (PG-13): Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone play over-the-hill boxers who, fueled by 30 years of mutual loathing, lace up the gloves for one last fight.
“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” (R): The fifth in the found-footage horror series picks up with new characters — teenagers played by Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz and Gabrielle Walsh — who stumble onto an unsettling mystery when a reclusive woman in their apartment complex dies. No star rating provided.
TV and other releases
“The Amazing Race: The Thirteenth Season”
“Justin Bieber’s Believe”
Lori Taki Uno: email@example.com