The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was just too long, drawn out, at times incredibly boring. The only reason to expand this story into a trilogy like its "Lord of the Rings" predecessor is money. Don't let anyone tell you differently. However, I thought it looked wonderful. I watched the 48-frames-per-second version (twice the standard rate), which caused a lot of consternation when some early footage was released, and despite the fact that I also had to endure 3D, I found it to be extremely crisp visually. My grade: C-plus.
Not filmed in 3D or 48 frames per second, The Guilt Trip will cause no consternation or controversy whatsoever. As a mother-and-son duo making a cross-country trip we're given a phoning-it-in Barbra Streisand and a neutered-for-PG13 Seth Rogen. There are a few mild laughs but there's nothing new or innovative about this at all. It's basically harmless. My grade: C.
Let be me honest: I walked out of Les Miserables early. I saw over an hour, but that was enough. I am not against musicals, even musicals with virtually no spoken dialogue whatsoever. I like musicals. But this one just sounded like everyone sang the same loooooooooooooong song. Even as one scene bleeds into another, even as the film jumps years ahead to continue the story, the songs were virtually indistinguishable. (Compare it to "Evita," which also has very little speaking and also has a couple of time jumps, but at least there's variety and clarity.) The only things that snapped me out of my stupor: Anne Hathaway's passion in singing "I Dreamed A Dream" and woefully-miscast Russell Crowe's painful vocals on whatever song or songs he sang. As it went on, and as more characters were introduced, I became increasingly disinterested. This was an absolute mess in every way (except the aforementioned Hathaway bit). Finally, I could take no more. And I even I managed to sit through all of "Rock of Ages." Still, I'm giving it a better grade than "Rock of Ages" just because of "I Dreamed A Dream." So, it's got that going for it, which is nice. My grade: D-minus.