The Desolation of Smaug is actually a lot livelier than the first Hobbit installment, An Unexpected Journey. For one thing, there's nothing in it as fun-smothering as the endless hobbit-hole chow-down that opened the previous film. There's a lot more action this time, and at several points director Peter Jackson exceeds even his own very high standard in designing and executing it. Yet, Kurt Loder marvels that a story so simple should take nearly three friggin hours to tell it. For its part, American Hustle is a wannabe Scorsese movie, while Saving Mr. Banks is light on its feet and cleverly constructed.
Plus: Tyler Cowen on libertarianism now, inflation fears, and more...
A Medical Student Questioned Microaggressions. UVA Branded Him a Threat and Banished Him from Campus.
Kieran Bhattacharya's First Amendment lawsuit can proceed, a court said.
The president is picking fights with much of the population and further dividing the country.